I feel every generation should have a movie or two that defines them and how hard it is to grow up during that period. We’ve had movies like “Dazed and Confused,” “Mean Girls,” and “Breakfast Club,” and we’re very fortunate to have had two very good movies (“Eighth Grade”) about the modern youth culture in the last five years. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is one of the finest drama comedies of the year. It’s an honest and entertaining look at two girls trying to find out who they are before they graduate high school and enter in to college–possibly without one another.
Hoping to market off of the momentum of “Captain Marvel,” Netflix releases Brie Larson’s 2017 directed film “Unicorn Store,” a movie I can describe as a delightfully cute, drama comedy for the dreamers and artists, but it suffers from a hazy message to its audience. I’m one of Larson’s biggest admirers and fans, but “Unicorn Store” is a filled with so much quirk that it forgets to come full circle and fill us in on what it’s trying to say. Is it best to sometimes abandon your dreams for better dreams? Is it fine to have dreams but embrace adult responsibility? Are dreams for some people, but not for others?
David Sanberg makes the leap from solid horror chillers to blockbusters with what is surprisingly one of DC/Warner’s most modest superhero movie to date. While “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman” had massive epic plots about world wars and societies in peril, “Shazam!” is a more personal and down to Earth tale with very relevant overtones about bullies and the damage they can inflict on the people they victimize, as well as the environment around them. Sure, “Shazam!” is a superhero movie, but it’s also one worth watching for its positive ideas, and fantastic energy.
Robert Zemeckis’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is a charming, if flawed tribute to the Beatles and the rampant Beatles Mania that ran throughout much of the late sixties. I’m sure Zemeckis bear witness to a lot of the “Beatlemania,” and his film seems to come from a place of experience. For folks that loved movies like “American Graffiti” or “Dazed and Confused,” Zemeckis’ 1978 comedy is one of those movie set over the course of a night that centers on a group of teenagers that are so devoted to the Beatles, they risk just about everything to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show.
I first saw “The Legend of Billie Jean” on Television when I was nine years old on my favorite network WPIX Channel 11 in New York. This was a time when I had no cable, so my only movie entertainment were the edited for time, pan and scan films from the eighties that were also cut for adult content and language. In either case, “The Legend of Billie Jean” became an instant favorite and it’s remained one of my favorites for a very long time. Now with a Retro VHS re-release from Mill Creek, I thought I’d ponder on my favorite memories with what I consider a classic from 1985.
When I was a kid I was heavy in to the mythology of Arthurian lore. Everything about King Arthur and the knights of Camelot drew my immediate attention and fascination. I spent a great three years learning everything that I could about that era. As a kid if I’d have seen Joe Cornish’s “The Kid Who Would Be King,” I’d have left the theater with a humongous smile on my face and anxious to learn a lot more that was available in the libraries. Joe Cornish has a particular love for making heroes out of underdogs and the least suspecting people you’d come across, and he carries that trademark in to his newest film.
Director Chelsea Lupkin’s “Lucy’s Tale” is a short I hope to see turned in to a movie someday very soon. I think it has so much potential to become a twisted coming of age story about the birth of evil, as well as a story about body insecurity, sexual awakening, and the horrors of modern bullying. “Lucy’s Tale” suffers from a pun of a title, but once you get past it, Lupkin delivers a narrative that I wish was a hundred minutes and went further in to the story of Lucy.
I wish I liked “Lost Holiday” a lot more. While I think the premise has a ton of potential to be an off kilter drama mystery, it works a little too much in the bizarre comedy spectrum to really involve the audience. Michael and Thomas Matthews mix a coming of age comedy with a crime mystery, focusing on a gum shoe of a woman who has no idea how to keep herself from falling over, but decides to solve an unusual kidnapping that only sees her descend deeper in to catastrophe.