Weekend Watching: Heathers

High school is all about who your friends are – they define you. Our heroine Veronica (Winona Ryder) falls in love with rebel J.D. (Christian Slater) and determines to teach a group of popular girls a lesson.

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Heathers is a film from 1989 that deals with high school life. It’s dark, macabre, and scathing of the dichotomy that exists in adolescent life. If you’re not cool then you’re clearly not someone important. This is the heart of the narrative and it’s what Veronica rebels against. Continue reading “Weekend Watching: Heathers”

Weekend Watching: Brick

High school and film noir collide in Rian Johnson’s directorial debut. Joseph Gordon Levitt stars as loner Brendan who sets out to uncover what happened to his femme fatale ex-girlfriend when her body is found.

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Brick (2006) is a quirky indie that did very well at Sundance. Rian Johnson deftly uses a high school as the place to set his neo-noir opus. It borrows stylistically from the genre’s great writers like Dashiell Hammet, James M. Cain, or Raymond Chandler. But Johnson finds something unique in his stylised take on adolescence. Continue reading “Weekend Watching: Brick”

Weekend Watching: Network

It’s been a few months since my last Weekend Watching recommendation but a recent rewatch of Sidney Lumet’s Network prompted me to break cover.

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Network (1976) is a film that remains surprisingly prescient. The narrative follows an aging newscaster Howard Beale (Peter Finch) who is on the brink of an anticlimactic retirement. His ratings are down and as everyone knows ratings are god when it comes to television. Continue reading “Weekend Watching: Network”

Weekend Watching: Observe and Report

Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) is a mall cop who takes his job way too seriously. He has mental health problems, a gun, and an obsessive crush on a make-up counter girl (Anna Farris). His ‘professional’ mission is to catch a stripper terrifying shoppers at the mall.

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Observe and Report (2009) has all of the standard frat boy humour you’d expect from a Seth Rogen led comedy. This isn’t quite his usual fare however and the laughs are decidedly uncomfortable. Ronnie isn’t a nice guy but one with delusions of grandeur and a very dark and unhealthy perspective on life. Throw a tiny amount of power his way, and he’ll take it much too far. Continue reading “Weekend Watching: Observe and Report”

Weekend Watching: Chasing Amy

Holden (Ben Affleck), a comic book artist falls for Alyssa. The only problem is, she’s a lesbian.

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Chasing Amy (1997) is Kevin Smith’s third film in the loosely linked Jersey trilogy. The first, Clerks, is an ode to generation X slackers stuck working in a menial job. The second is Mallrats, a film that didn’t do so well, and the third is Chasing Amy. This is by far Kevin Smith’s most mature work and in amongst the sexually charged humour a gentle, poignant, and often bittersweet comedy emerges. Continue reading “Weekend Watching: Chasing Amy”

Weekend Watching: Chuck and Buck

The past isn’t always a happy place to visit and when Buck’s mother dies he’s thrown straight back into his adolescence. Seemingly naïve and innocent, Buck develops a fascination with old childhood friend Chuck that quickly turns into an obsession.

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Chuck and Buck (2000) comes from the pen of Mike White (School of Rock) and it’s a low budget, but utterly compelling indie film. It did really well at Sundance back in 2000 with its quirky and unusual narrative. Continue reading “Weekend Watching: Chuck and Buck”

Weekend Watching: Grandma’s Boy

35-year-old video game designer Alex is kicked out of his apartment when his roommate neglects to pay the rent. Homeless and with few options, Alex moves in with his grandma and her two elderly friends.

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Grandma’s Boy (2006) is a comedy produced by Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison that wouldn’t look out of place in the nineties. It contains his particular brand of humour and although the film isn’t particularly original or interesting there’s a comic edge that makes it worth watching. This is a stoner film on par with Harold and Kumar and although it shouldn’t, Grandma’s Boy elicits more than a few laughs. This comedy is mindless to say the least but as a stoner flick it kind of works. Continue reading “Weekend Watching: Grandma’s Boy”