Archives for category: Film

Every so often, I visit my best friend and bring over a few DVDs to watch between laughter-filled girl talk. Some of our favorite picks in past movie nights have included a mix of ‘80s / ‘90s flicks (“Cry-Baby,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club”) and new ones, such as “Bad Moms.” This past weekend I brought over “Why Him,” which we missed during its recent run in theaters. We could relate to the comedy’s dad character, Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston), disapproving of his daughter Stephanie’s (Zoey Deutch) love interest. Both of us have either had crushes on or dated someone our dads absolutely did not like one bit.

Right away, Laird Mayhew (James Franco) had us in hysterics over his wild and free-spirited personality. How would this clash between two opposites play out and what would happen along the way? Ned is the odd man out as the mom, Barb (Megan Mullaly) and brother, Scotty (Griffin Gluck) seeing more of Laird’s cool side. The party scene hinted at the dad having a not-so-rigid past in his own younger days. Unfortunately, we didn’t get too far into the movie before skip…skip…skip went the disc in my best friend’s portable DVD player. Stopping the movie and ejecting it, I noticed a two-inch scratch on the disc. Having never played this particular DVD before, as well as handling it properly, we were disappointed to miss the rest of the comedy for the time being. Cedric the Entertainer, Keegan-Michael Key and the voice of Kaley Cuoco add more laughs to this father-vs-boyfriend tale. By the next time I’m visiting my best friend, I’ll have a new DVD of “Why Him” for us to watch.

I had a few of our favorites to choose from in continuing our movie night and it came down to “Cry-Baby” or “The Breakfast Club.” We can’t resist the bad-boy characters to swoon over in either one. John Hughes’ detention-bound teens from drastically different backgrounds won out in the end. Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez and Anthony Michael Hall made for the most memorable teen characters who clashed yet found common ground.

Watching Bender and his antics, it’s like being back in high school and trying to hide my good-girl giggling at my bad-boy crush. The guy who I couldn’t keep my eyes off of didn’t have that “criminal” label and he wasn’t known for having any illegal items on hand. He simply got on the nerves of several teachers, doing things that I couldn’t refrain from laughing at in class. To top it off, he was so gorgeous and had such a devilish expression playing on his face. Hey, didn’t many girls see that in Bender? Just as in the movie, when mean Principal Vernon (Paul Gleason) lectures the other four students about thinking the “criminal” is humorous, I had a similar experience. After laughing at my crush and his antics, one teacher called me out on how it was obvious that I had a huge crush and warned me that I’d get hurt. This happened right in front of him! Another teacher had me move to another seat, away from where I sat next to my crush as something else he did set off more lovestruck-induced giggles. In a new seat, he wasn’t even in my line of vision to further distract me. I didn’t have a Bender-and-Claire ending with my bad-boy crush, being too shy to get that close. Yet his wild demeanor and intense good looks drew me in and set my heart racing. That’s what I saw in Claire when it came to Bender in certain scenes.

“The Breakfast Club” came along before my time in high school. It doesn’t matter, though, what generation a viewer of this classic belongs to in life. Of course, that’s due to the overall struggles and drama of teen years. The ideas of acceptance, acting the way your friends act, family-initiated pressure and much more keep Hughes’ work relevant. For my best friend and I, we definitely love the bad-boy element and a totally opposite type of girl falling for him. We both also love Hughes’ “Sixteen Candles,” especially in the way that Samantha (Ringwald) can’t bring herself to talk to her heartthrob, Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling). If only we could all have the ending which those two shared. Another relatable element in that teen flick was how the geeky kid, known as Farmer Ted (Hall) would pester Samantha, while her heart was set on someone else. There were one or two guys at my high school who just didn’t seem able to take a girl’s hint of not being interested.

Even though we didn’t get around to watching “Cry-Baby” this time, my best friend and I relate to it with our crushes and how we felt. This is especially in the way that good-girl Allison gazes dreamily over at rebellious Cry-Baby. She longs to be closer to him and to rid herself of the contrasting square image in which she was raised.

All of these movies, at one point or another, bring about more girl talk of memorable high school days. We loved those times, even though neither of us dated our crushes. Of course, it’s just as Samantha’s dad in “Sixteen Candles” says to her about those feelings.

Now that this year’s top awards for the big screen are just around the corner, my favorites in most categories have been decided. A few of these seem difficult to pick every year, not always
hearing about nominees until last minute. Documentary, foreign language and the short films
don’t often play in theaters near where I live. So, it’s just a matter of which one tends to be
leading the pack. Technical category favorites aren’t usually the easiest to choose, either. Anyway, here are the nominees I’ve picked out so far to win.

  • Best Picture: “La La Land”
  • Actor in a Leading Role: Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea” or Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
  • Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone – “La La Land”
  • Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
  • Actress in a Supporting Role: Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Directing: Damien Chazelle – “La La Land”
  • Adapted Screenplay: “Fences” or “Hidden Figures”
  • Original Screenplay: “La La Land”
  • Animated Feature: “Zootopia”
  • Documentary Feature: ?
  • Foreign Language Film: ?
  • Cinematography: “La La Land”
  • Costume Design: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Jackie” or “Florence Foster Jenkins”
  • Documentary Short: ?
  • Film Editing: “La La Land”
  • Makeup and Hair: “Suicide Squad”
  • Music for a Motion Picture (Original Score): “La La Land” or “Passengers”
  • Music for Motion Picture (Original Song): “Can’t Stop the Feeling” – “Trolls” or “City of Stars” – “La La Land”
  • Production Design: “Arrival,” “La La Land” or “Passengers”
  • Animated Short: ?
  • Live Action Short: “Sing”
  • Sound Editing: “Sully”
  • Sound Mixing: ?
  • Visual Effects: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Which nominees do you hope will take home the big award?

Just ahead of these awards, I’ll be away for the weekend and not tuning in; just following highlights via social media. But here are my favorites, a few of which I added recently.

Movies

  • Male Actor in a Leading Role: Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea” or Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
  • Female Actor in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman – “Jackie” or Emma Stone – “La La Land”
  • Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
  • Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Cast in a Motion Picture: “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: “Captain America: Civil War”

TV

  • Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries: Bryan Cranston – “All the Way”
  • Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries: Bryce Dallas Howard – “Black Mirror”
  • Male Actor in a Drama Series: Rami Malek – “Mr. Robot”
  • Female Actor in a Drama Series: Thandie Newton – “Westworld”
  • Male Actor in a Comedy Series: William H. Macy – “Shameless”
  • Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep”
  • Ensemble in a Drama Series: “Downton Abbey” or “Game of Thrones”
  • Ensemble in a Comedy Series: “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Action by a Stunt Ensemble: “Game of Thrones”

Which nominees do you think will win?

As this new teen flick opens, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is rushing through the high school halls, reflecting emotions racing from hitting “send.” Life couldn’t get any worse after she accidentally texts desires to her crush. Both that and the exchange between Nadine and her teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) drew me to “The Edge of Seventeen.” It made me wonder what it would be like if texting was around during my high school years. The “what if” scenarios my best friend and I talked about made us glad we missed a slip-up such as Nadine’s. Of course, we also had the tradition of passing paper notes, hoping not to get caught by the teacher. But that almost happened when my best friend tried to pass me a note, asking what was going on between me and a certain guy. That was only part of what she wrote. She had to quickly crumple it up to avoid the embarrassment of a teacher seeing it, reading it to everyone and revealing a secret to the entire class…my crush included. So, despite the difference in communication, Nadine’s dilemma was already very relatable to us.

The facial expressions and body language Nadine shows as she relays her troubles to Mr. Bruner are that of absolute teen mortification. All I could think during this scene was, If my best friend had been caught, what would I do? I only know that I’d be rushing out of school. Or wishing I could do so, since it wasn’t local to my town and I didn’t yet have my license to drive off and escape from my own Nadine moment. It was all too close to happening.

Then, Nadine backtracks through a long line of misfit moments and family tragedy, which makes her feel as though nothing goes right. At least not in her life or from her perspective. It doesn’t help that Darian (Blake Jenner) is her win-at-life brother. In sarcastic, attitude-filled narrating, Steinfeld captures the tormented experience of teen life.

Yet there are easy-going moments, such as when Nadine and Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) are talking about boys as they hang out at school. What Nadine says reveals that she’s got a thing for a bad boy, Nick (Alexander Calvert). Not only could I relate to that, but also to the chit chat about imagining that first time. It reminded me of girl talk between my best friend and I during many high school sleepovers.

Tension mounts between the onscreen best friends because Krista ends up with Darian; it’s just another way in which he wins at life. Nobody could understand how Nadine felt, why it added to her isolation. Then again, she did encounter an awkward moment that shocked her, along with that aggravating sense of Darian getting what he wants as usual. If she had experienced some wins here and there, the budding relationship between her best friend and popular brother wouldn’t have been so troublesome. It just wasn’t as easy for her. Nadine herself longed for a certain guy, although he seemed out of reach and in his own circle of friends. So, unless something happens with him, it counts as another loss for her in life. A partygoer inadvertently rubs it in Nadine’s face how she and her brother differ in image, referencing a comedy movie that she happened to enjoy. The meaning and its parallel to herself and Darian is all too glaring. I figured, Well, I guess that’s no longer one of her favorite flicks!

Despite her feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood, Nadine has another person who seems like an escape from drama. The torment is gone as she spends time with Erwin (Hayden Szeto), a classmate with artistic talents. He’s witty, hilarious and even adorable, in the way that his feelings show for Nadine. As an overall good guy, he likes her and seemingly has no chance because she is blinded by feelings for bad boy Nick. It’s that circle of high school crushes and reminded me of when someone liked me, while my good-girl heart was bursting over another guy. I just couldn’t help but fall for his smoldering eyes, up-to-no-good grin and wild antics.

The issues Nadine has with her brother and best friend dating lands her time in the office where her mom (Kyra Sedgwick) works. As the angst-filled teen acts defiantly and goes berserk with a hole puncher, she brought to mind the image of Bender, in “The Breakfast Club,” as he just keeps pushing for more saturdays under the principal’s watch. For that matter, Nadine speeding off in her mom’s car was similar to Bender leading his detention friends as they sneak through the school. Much like running into their own problem along the way, Nadine races headlong into yet another personal drama…that humiliating text message to her crush. To think that she tried to change her mind, only to have the worst thing happen! Nadine understandably freaks out. This is yet another moment in which Steinfeld perfectly displays the emotion of such an embarrassing moment of feelings for a teen crush. It’s in her verbalized disbelief and angered physical reactions, banging on the playground slide. I could feel that she just wanted to tear her hair out, wishing she was able take back the racy message to Nick, never to be seen.

In misery and hanging out alone, she gets the most unexpected reply and it’s her crush. All too excited to take it any other way than something finally going right, Nadine is readying for date night. As her mom arrives home, my mind was racing with, Hurry up, Nadine…or you’ll never get out of the house! Let this work out for her!

I couldn’t help feeling excited and nervous for Nadine as she meets up with Nick, following their back-and-forth texts. He even came across as sweet as they rode through town. It stirred me that way as I thought about my own high school crush and how I would’ve felt going for a drive with him. Not only that, but in school he gave me, the shy type, subtle and maybe innocent flirty attention. Back then, I’d get a rush from thinking, Oh, my…he likes me…maybe…I couldn’t possibly be his type…how could he…but? How do I know for sure? It was an ongoing mystery, which I kind of loved to ponder. Luckily, there was never anything racy falling into his hands that sparked wilder situations. Of course, I wouldn’t have wanted something to happen just because a guy thinks it’s a sure thing with me. I’d want a guy, especially the high school guy of my dreams, to really feel the same way that I felt for him if things had gone further. In Nadine’s case, what with her bad luck, there is the element of the guy noticing her totally out of the blue because of what she texted. She didn’t interpret his reply that way and hopes for romance, while he is one-track-minded in a bad way.

After what happened, I thought, I was hoping he wouldn’t turn out to be a jerk! If things had turned out that way with my crush, it would’ve been total heartbreak. Watching the outcome of that scene, I could still feel what Nadine felt, as though I’d gone through the same exact ordeal. It brought to mind how I also wished for alone time with my crush. As Nadine hurt, I wondered, What would’ve happened? Would it have turned out different, with a budding romance? Or would it be a similar situation? It seemed like a cinematic message for teen girls to not fall for the bad boy type. Even with that rep, though, they can’t all be the way Nick was in how they treat a girl. Right? I fell for a guy in high school who I guess many would say had a bad boy image. Yet, I never had a moment in which my heart felt broken to the point of seeing him as a creep in the end. There were times when I thought he was helpful and sweet, making my heart melt. Unfortunately, I never dated him, always too nervous and shy to make an approach and tell him how I felt. Earlier in the movie, as Nadine tried to talk to her crush in Petland, I could relate to that barrier of awkwardness she showed in her steps toward the guy. But there was a determination, as well, to at least say something. So, I rooted for her in that moment.

Fast-forward to the film festival, Erwin’s sense of humor continued to show in his entry for the event. Between what Nadine read into it and the good guy’s response, my heart sank once more for her…Oh, no! My eyes teared up in the closing scenes after everything that the tormented teen had been through, followed by a new day and new possibilities.

Congrats to Steinfeld on her nominations for “The Edge of Seventeen” this award season!

Now that my votes have been cast for most of these categories, I’m looking forward to seeing which nominees become the people’s choices. Undecided in a few cases, I’ll have to revisit the choices as the ceremony draws closer. But here are the nominees who have my vote so far:

Movies

  • Movie: “Captain America: Civil War”
  • Movie Actor: Tom Hanks
  • Movie Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
  • Action Movie: “Captain America: Civil War”
  • Action Movie Actor: Chris Evans
  • Action Movie Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
  • Animated Movie Voice: Ellen DeGeneres, “Finding Dory”
  • Comedic Movie: “Bad Moms”
  • Comedic Movie Actor: Chris Hemsworth
  • Comedic Movie Actress: Kristen Bell
  • Dramatic Movie: “Sully”
  • Dramatic Movie Actor: Tom Hanks
  • Dramatic Movie Actress: Amy Adams
  • Family Movie: “Finding Dory”
  • Thriller Movie: “The Conjuring 2,” “Nerve” or “The Shallows”
  • Movie Icon: Tom Hanks

TV

  • TV Show: “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Network TV Comedy: “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Comedic TV Actor: Jim Parsons
  • Comedic TV Actress: Kaley Cuoco
  • Network TV Drama: “How To Get Away With Murder”
  • Dramatic TV Actor: Terrence Howard
  • Dramatic TV Actress: Viola Davis
  • Cable TV Comedy: ?
  • Cable TV Drama: “Mr. Robot”
  • Cable TV Actor: Rami Malek
  • Cable TV Actress: Vera Farmiga
  • Premium Drama TV Show: “Homeland”
  • Premium Comedy TV Show: “Veep”
  • Premium Cable TV Actor: Kevin Spacey
  • Premium Cable TV Actress: Claire Danes
  • TV Crime Drama: ?
  • Crime Drama TV Actor: ?
  • Crime Drama TV Actress: ?
  • Network Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show: “Once Upon A Time,” “Supernatural” or “The Vampire Diaries”
  • Cable Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show: “Shadowhunters”
  • Premium Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show: “Game of Thrones”
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Actor: Ian Somerhalder
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Actress: Emilia Clark
  • Competition TV Show: ?
  • Daytime TV Host: Ellen DeGeneres
  • Daytime TV Hosting Team: Good Morning America
  • Late Night Talk Show Host: Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Fallon
  • Streaming Series: ?
  • Actor in a New TV Series: Kiefer Sutherland or Milo Ventimiglia
  • Actress in a New TV Series: Minnie Driver
  • Animated TV Show: “The Simpsons”
  • New TV Comedy: “The Great Indoors”
  • New TV Drama: “Designated Survivor”

Music

  • Male Artist: Justin Timberlake
  • Female Artist: Ariana Grande
  • Group: Coldplay
  • Breakout Artist: DNCE
  • Male Country Artist: Keith Urban
  • Female Country Artist: Carrie Underwood
  • Country Group: The Band Perry
  • Pop Artist: Ariana Grande
  • Hip Hop Artist: ?
  • R&B Artist: Rihanna or Usher
  • Album: “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande
  • Song: “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake

Social Media

  • Social Media Celebrity: ?
  • Social Media Star: ?
  • YouTube Star: ?
  • Comedic Collaboration: SNL with Alec Baldwin as Trump and Kate McKinnon as Clinton
  • Digital Obsession: Facebook Live

Which of these entertainment nominees did you vote for this year?

Moving on to the Golden Globe announcements, here are some of my favorite actors, actresses and titles to win.

Movies

  • Motion Picture, Drama: “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: “La La Land”
  • Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: Natalie Portman – “Jackie”
  • Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”
  • Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
  • Actress in a Supporting Role: Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
  • Director: Damien Chazelle – “La La Land” or Kenneth Lonergan – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Screenplay: ?
  • Animated Feature Film: “Zootopia”
  • Foreign Language Film: ?
  • Original Score: “Hidden Figures” or “Arrival”
  • Original Song: “Can’t Stop the Feeling”

TV

  • TV Series, Drama: “Game of Thrones”
  • TV Series, Comedy or Musical: “Veep”
  • Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for TV: ?
  • Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for TV: Thandie Newton – “Westworld”
  • Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for TV: Bryan Cranston – “All the Way”
  • Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Evan Rachel Wood – “Westworld”
  • Actor in a TV Series, Drama: Rami Malek – “Mr. Robot”
  • Actress in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical: Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep”
  • Actor in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical: Donald Glover – “Atlanta”
  • Actress in a Supporting TV Role: Lena Headey – “Game of Thrones”
  • Actor in a Supporting TV Role: Christian Slater – “Mr. Robot”

Which nominees do you think will win at the coming Golden Globes?

I’ve been playing catch-up with my favorites to win awards in this busy month. Also for the moment, I don’t have a working television set and as a result, missed this year’s Critics’ Choice ceremony. I’ll have to take care of that before the next award show for this season. However, I thought I’d share who my favorite nominees were, just for a comparison to the winners. I was undecided on a few of these and hadn’t heard about or seen nominated movies and shows in some categories.

Movies

  • Picture: “Sully”
  • Actor: Tom Hanks – “Sully”
  • Actress: Natalie Portman – “Jackie”
  • Supporting Actor: Lucas Hedges – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Young Actor / Actress: Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”
  • Acting Ensemble: “Hidden Figures”
  • Director: ?
  • Original Screenplay: ?
  • Adapted Screenplay: “Sully”
  • Cinematography: “La La Land” or “Arrival”
  • Production Design: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • Editing: “Sully”
  • Costume Design: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • Hair & Makeup: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • Visual Effects: “Arrival” or “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • Animated Feature: “Finding Dory”
  • Action Movie: “Captain America: Civil War,” “Hacksaw Ridge” or “Jason Bourne”
  • Actor in an Action Movie: Matt Damon – “Jason Bourne”
  • Actress in an Action Movie: Scarlett Johansson – “Captain America: Civil War”
  • Comedy: “The Edge of Seventeen”
  • Actor in a Comedy: Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
  • Actress in a Comedy: Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”
  • Sci-Fi / Horror Movie: “Arrival”
  • Foreign Language Film: ?
  • Song: ?
  • Score: ?

TV

  • Actor in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Actor in a Drama Series: Rami Malek – “Mr. Robot”
  • Actor in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: Tim Matheson – “Killing Reagan”
  • Actress in a Comedy Series: Kate McKinnon – “Saturday Night Live”
  • Actress in a Drama Series: Viola Davis – “How to Get Away with Murder”
  • Actress in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: Cynthia Nixon – “Killing Reagan”
  • Comedy Series: “Veep”
  • Drama Series: “Game of Thrones”
  • Guest Actor / Actress in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin – “Saturday Night Live”
  • Guest Actor / Actress in a Drama Series: Jeffrey Dean Morgan – “The Walking Dead”
  • Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: “Killing Reagan”
  • Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Kit Harington – “Game of Thrones”
  • Supporting Actor in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: ?
  • Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Emilia Clarke – “Game of Thrones”
  • Supporting Actress in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: ?
  • Animation Series: “The Simpsons”
  • Reality Show – Competition: ?
  • Reality Show Host: Anthony Bourdain – “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”
  • Structured Reality Show: “Inside the Actors Studio”
  • Talk Show: “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
  • Unstructured Reality Show: “Deadliest Catch”

So many great nominees once again. Congratulations to this year’s Critics’ Choice winners!