Clueless (1995)

This Reminds Boys of Being Naked, and Then They Think of Sex.

Again feeling the need to get away from the underdog fighting movies, I feel that the movie I’ve chosen for today could not be further removed from them.  When the Lady MacBalls last suggested a movie, it was my most popular review in a while, so I felt a little obligated to do her next request quickly.  The movie she suggested was a movie I already owned, but had never opened and never really had an inspiration to open it.  I had seen it before, though the last time was much closer to when the movie came out.  It doesn’t seem like the kind of movie I would enjoy, but I vaguely remember it being better than one would expect based on the subject matter.  Let’s see if memory serves in my review of Clueless, written and directed by Amy Heckerling, and starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, Dan Hedaya, Jeremy Sisto, Justin Walker, Wallace Shawn, Twink Caplan, Elisa Donovan, and Julie Brown.

I just realized that this is going to be a hard movie to describe because there’s no singular plotline to be seen.  Well this movie is basically about a superficial high school girl named Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), who is pretty, popular, and rich.  She’s friends with Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), who is roughly as pretty, popular, and rich.  Cher lives with her father (Dan Hedaya) in Beverly Hills and is visited often by her ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd).  First, Cher gets a mediocre grade on her report card and resolves to fix that by setting her teacher, Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn), up with another teacher, Miss Geist (Twink Caplan).  With that out of the way, she then decides to give a makeover to the new girl at school, Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy).  Tai seems to like a stoner named Travis (Brecken Meyer), but Cher sets her straight and steers her towards rich kid Elton (Jeremy Sisto).  Elton doesn’t want Tai; he wants Cher, so that backfires.  Cher starts going after a new kid whose wardrobe is stuck in the 50’s named Christian (Justin Walker), but it turns out he’s gay.  Then a couple of other things and the end.

I remember this movie being better, but I suppose it’s not really made for my age range.  This movie seems more appropriate for teenagers around the same age as the characters in the movie, or at least for people that really enjoyed the movie back then.  Watching the movie today and as a 28-year-old, I don’t find a great deal of appeal in the movie.  It’s fine, but doesn’t really seem for me.  Even though I know that it’s mostly done in parody, I don’t know why I’d want to spend very much time with this superficial and stupid lot of people.  Yeah, pretty much everyone in this movie is super great to look at, but it turns out they talk too.  I grant that I’ve seen the movie before, but I didn’t really find most of the jokes funny.  The funniest thing to happen in the movie to me was when Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd were talking about Marky Mark and how he wasn’t cool anymore, which made me laugh because Mark Wahlberg is super famous now and Alicia Silverstone could very well be dead for all I know.  Beyond that, it seemed as if the bulk of the humor came from how dumb the characters were.  I would give the movie credit for having a decent enough message in the end about getting over yourself and trying to do something for those in need, even if you remain dumb to do so.  I didn’t feel like the story was ever really any one story either.  It was just like a couple of smaller stories smashed together to no great effect.

I guess you could say the performances were really good because they accomplished the two goals they set for themselves: be super-hot and pretty stupid.  Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash were particularly good at both of these.  Brittany Murphy’s looked better than she did in this movie, even after the makeover, and her character typically got on my nerves.  I had completely forgotten that Paul Rudd played the stepbrother in this movie.  That’s all I had to say about that.  Donald Faison and Breckin Meyer’s characters had a few quasi funny moments.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t muster much to say about this movie.  It wasn’t really good, and it wasn’t really bad.  It wasn’t funny, but it wasn’t painful.  It’s a decent enough conclusion, but a haphazard story with no real conflict and resolution, and the characters were mostly dumb and not people I want to spend time with.  I vaguely remember liking this when I was younger, but the attractive stars would’ve accomplished piquing my interest at that age all by themselves.  You may still like this movie if you have really fond memories of it from your youth, but it doesn’t really stand on its own anymore as far as I’m concerned.  You can probably skip this movie and not miss much beyond some sexy, fully-clothed ladies.  Clueless gets “Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?” out of “Old people can be so sweet.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

It’s Only Powerline, Dad, The Biggest Rock Star on the Planet

Today’s review request sat my butt down in the Delgadoian and sent me back to my childhood.  Oh wait, I mean DeLorean.  How could I have made such a mistake?  Either way, this movie is a cartoon from my childhood that I’ve always been super fond of.  So much so that it lead me to purchase it the first time I saw it on DVD.  But then I never watched it.  There have been far too many things from my childhood that have been smashed by watching them in adulthood, and I didn’t want this to become one of those things.  But when my friend Christian posted a video to Facebook of two of the songs from this movie, it lead to it becoming a review request.  There’s a very real chance that Christian may have just shattered a beloved childhood memory of mine.  We’ll see, I guess, in my review of A Goofy Movie, written by Chris Matheson, Jymn Magon, and Brian Pimental, directed by Kevin Lima, and starring the voices of Jason Marsden, Aaron Lohr, Bill Farmer, Kellie Martin, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Pauly Shore, Jenna von Oy, Frank Welker, Wallace Shawn, Pat Buttram, Joey Lawrence, and Julie Brown.

Max Goof (Jason Marsden speaking, Aaron Lohr singing) is trying to make it through high school.  The combination of the clumsiness he’s inherited from his father, Goofy … Goof, I guess (Bill Farmer), and his own teen angst makes it kind of difficult.  His mega-crush on schoolmate Roxanne (Kellie Martin) doesn’t help things.  On the last day of school before summer Max, along with his friends Pete Junior, or PJ (Rob Paulsen), and Robert “Bobby” Zimmeruski (Pauly Shore), stage an elaborate concert, in tribute to everyone’s favorite “rock star” Powerline (Tevin Campbell), to interrupt an announcement by Principal Mazur (Wallace Shawn), with Max as Powerline.  The concert has the desired effect of making Max instantly popular and making Roxanne talk to him, but he also gets in trouble for it.  Worth it!  Max now has a date with Roxanne to watch the Powerline concert.  Unfortunately, the combination of the phone call from the principal and some bad advice from Goofy’s friend Pete (Jim Cummings) lead Goofy to think his son is in danger of going down a trouble-making path that will eventually lead him to the electric chair.  Goofy’s response is to take Max (against his will) on a trip to Lake Destiny, Idaho, on a family fishing vacation the likes of which Goofy himself went on with his father.  Max must tell Roxanne that he can’t go to his date with her because he’s been shanghaied and, not wanting to disappoint her, he fabricates a story about going across the country to dance onstage with Powerline.  Roxanne is now really excited to have Max wave to her from the stage, and Max is now in really deep shit.  Can he hijack his dad’s roadtrip in order to somehow get onstage and get the girl, and what will happen to his relationship with his dad if he does?  We’ll find out!

I’m slightly embarrassed to say this, but I still really like this movie.  I don’t doubt that my own reminiscences are kicking it up a notch or two in my brain, but I found this movie to be really charming with a good message and some pretty catchy songs.  The premise of the movie is pretty ridiculous, but then again, it IS A Goofy Movie.  The first thing that struck me about the story in this movie was that it was probably the reason I was always so excited for summer.  I can recall at least three animated movies that I loved back then that started with everyone in school being so excited for summer, thus getting me very excited for summer too.  Unfortunately for me, I never went on adventures in my summers.  In fact, I barely went outside, but I was still excited for the IDEA of summer.  After that, I got a little confused about why Max was thinking he was a loser after the song in the auditorium.  You just impressed the entire school AND got in trouble for it.  Neither of those things point you towards “loser” status in high school.  You’d be the bad boy that is a pretty awesome dancer!  But that got thrown back in my face when he actually WAS made popular AND got the girl as a result of his actions.  I found it a little weird that this was clearly a kid’s movie but the biggest motivating fear that Goofy had was that his son would end up in the electric chair.  I understand that is motivating and all, but isn’t that a little dark for a kid’s movie?  The thing I didn’t understand even more was that Max ramped up his lies to Roxanne so much.  It didn’t work to just say “I really want to go on this date with you, but my dad is forcing me to go fishing with him”, but you don’t need to take it to “He’s taking me on a trip … to LA … to dance on stage with his old buddy Powerline … and I’ll wave to you from stage … but only after Jesus comes out … and only if I can defeat Albert Einstein in a boxing match on stage … I’m going to shut up now.”  For the remainder of the short movie, they fill it with ridiculous situations, over the top goofiness and slapstick while Max is being a buzzkill and we’re just feeling really bad for Goofy.  Goofy was trying so hard to connect with his kid, who was in turn not having any of it.  I felt bad for the guy.  And it gets worse for Goofy when Max changes the trip on Goofy’s map in order to get him to LA, but I feel like Max was harshly judged for it.  First of all, fate was CLEARLY telling Max to do it when the map pops out of the glove compartment on it’s own and the pencil rolls out and stops, pointing to LA.  God clearly wanted him to change this thing!  Secondly, Goofy gives him the map to navigate and tells him he can pick any stop on the way to Lake Destiny he wants, but then gets all butt hurt when Max takes them to LA.  You told him he could pick ANY stop he wanted!  He just chose LA.  It’s still on the way!  The movie ends with a nice little message about how your parents might not be your cup of tea, but they love you and just want to connect with you, so you should stop being a douche about it all the time.  I definitely didn’t listen to this message when I was a kid, but I’m pretty sure I took another message that messed me up.  I feel like I’ve avoided getting into any relationships because of this movie, because it is so hard to find out what a girl’s favorite artist is and get on stage with them at a concert just to impress them.

The characters mostly worked in this movie, but they were also just well known Disney characters for the most part.  Max was the main star of the movie and was pretty easy to relate to when I was that age.  We all know what it’s like to be embarrassed by our parents and think they’re the worst, but most of us grow up to at least realize that they were trying their best for us, even if it wasn’t what we wanted.  I hope my mom doesn’t read this and come at me all gushy and huggy over this.  I felt really bad for Goofy through the movie.  His heart was in the right place.  Pete, as he was supposed to be, was an asshole.  Most of the bad situations Goofy ended up with Max in was because of bad advice from Pete, who was no great father to begin with.  I feel like most kids nowadays could probably count themselves lucky that they don’t know who Pauly Shore is, but this movie reminded me.  His character was pretty obviously just trying to capitalize on his inexplicable fame at the time because it was just Pauly Shore as a dog … thing … or whatever the hell Goofy and Max are.  Speaking of which, Roxanne was pretty attractive for a … whatever they are.  She had the classic hair in front of one eye and the little Marilyn Monroe beauty mark on her cheek.  I don’t know, this is probably an attraction I should not be having.  I didn’t get how Max was calling Powerline a “rock star” when he was OBVIOUSLY  a “pop star”.  Tevin Campbell supplied the singing voice for Powerline, but I really enjoyed the songs in this movie, particularly his songs “Stand Out” and “I2I”.  And this movie is REALLY a musical, having two songs in a mere 10 minutes of movie, but the songs were all enjoyable to me.  But the star of this movie for me is Frank Welker as Bigfoot.  That Bigfoot character still makes me laugh today.  He’s somewhat intimidating when he needs to be, but most of the time he’s kind of adorable.  I still laughed when the headphones landed on his head and he started getting into “Staying Alive” by the BeeGees.  The part that made me laugh was when Goofy and Max were having a serious conversation in the car and, through the back window, you could see Bigfoot dancing in the background.

Sure, this movie is goofy, clearly for kids, and really cheesy in parts, but it charmed me.  I loved the animation, the songs, the characters, and even the cheesy message of the movie.  I even laughed during this movie, and that is completely left of the ordinary for a kid’s movie.  But it’s a fun, charming little movie to me.  I grant that there is a very strong chance that people won’t like this movie if they didn’t see it when they were 12 as I did, but it’s worth taking a look at, especially if you have kids.  I still enjoyed this movie.  A Goofy Movie gets “It’s the Leaning Tower of Cheesa!” out of “It’s been handed down from Goof to Goof to Goof … and now, it’s yours, son.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

The Princess Bride (1987)


This movie came as another request from Robert. Not the “friend” that made me watch Thankskilling. This one came from the me Robert. I had managed to catch about 20 minutes of the movie while waiting to be passed over for another promotion (long story for elsewhere) and decided that I should watch it again. And then I responded “As I wish”. Thankfully, this movie was already in my collection and it was not a difficult wish to grant. So I present to you my review of The Princess Bride, starring Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Mandy Patinkin, and Andre the Giant, with notable guest appearances by Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Peter Falk, and Fred Savage.

Buttercup (Robin Wright) is a dirty bitch to her stable boy Westley (Cary Elwes). She delights in bossing him around and he responds only with “as you wish”. These words apparently end up meaning “I love you” and she starts to feel the same. In order to get married, Westley sails off to earn his fortune for their wedding. Unfortunately, Westley’s ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is notorious for not being a fan of hostages. Buttercup receives word of his death and becomes despondent. Five years later, Buttercup is reluctantly engaged to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). While out riding her horse, Buttercup is kidnapped by Sicilian criminal genius Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), a Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and a gigantic wrestler from Greenland Fezzik (the gigantic wrestler from France, Andre Roussimoff aka the Giant). While sailing away, they find that they are being followed. They reach the Cliffs of Insanity and Vizzini orders Inigo to kill the masked man in black following them. The Dread Pirate Roberts bests Inigo in fencing (as people named Robert are known to do), but leaves Inigo alive, knocking him out instead. Vizzini then orders Fezzik to kill Roberts, but Roberts manages to choke out the giant (as people named Robert do) and leaves Fezzik unconcious. Vizzini then accepts a battle of wits with Roberts, but Roberts outsmarts him (again, Robert’s do these things!). Vizzini is all the way dead though. After needlessly pestering Buttercup for a bit, Roberts reveals that he is Westley, who was not killed, but befriended by the Dread Pirate Roberts and was handed the mantle of the Dread Pirate Roberts upon the old Roberts’ retirement. Soon after, Humperdinck catches them, but Buttercup agrees to marry Humperdinck if he promises not to kill Westley. The deal is struck and Humperdinck and Buttercup ride off together, and the six-fingered Count Rugen (Christopher Guest) takes Westley to safety … and by that I mean his death. WHAT WILL HAPPEN?! WILL TRUE LOVE TRIUMPH?! Well sure, but it’s fun to watch.

This is a pretty damn good movie, says I. And what’s best about it is that I feel it works for almost everybody. It’s got romance for the ladies and sword fighting and action for the mens. And the comedy will work for both. The entire movie is basically a rom-com based around Buttercup and Westley with all that icky girly kissy-faced stuff that them girls are into. But then when you involve Inigo, you get a lot of cool sword fighting and a great revenge story as Inigo searches for Count Rugen to avenge the murder of his father. I feel that everybody knows the famous line from this movie “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” And if you don’t remember this line, you will once you’ve watched the movie. It’s used about 8 times, but never in a way that makes you say “STOP SAYING THAT”, unless you’re Rugen. Wallace Shawn and Cary Elwes’ discussion over the poison goblet is solid good-time funnies. The only real problem I had with this (which I may not have if I read the book of the same name) was with the bookending with the Fred Savage and Peter Falk. The movie’s premise was that it was a story a grandfather (Falk) was reading to his grandson (Savage). Falk put on a good show and all, but these parts seemed like an unnecessary intrusion on a good story. But that’s not a major gripe. Another problem is the last line of the book. It’s something like “Since the invention of the kiss, there have been 5 kisses that are the best, and this one was better than those”. That just seems like lazy writing right there. It’s like “I can’t really think of a description that perfectly captures how amazing and romantic I want this kiss to be. …I guess I’ll just say that.”

The production of this movie is mostly top of the line (at least for what I’d expect from ’87, but they still hold up today). The backdrops for the scenes are all pretty epic in scope and fit the scene perfectly, most notably the Cliffs of Insanity. The clothing and make-up effects are all great and fit the scene perfectly. This will sound gay, but I noticed Robin Wright’s outfits as being particularly good. One thing that I felt was problematic to this movie probably wouldn’t have been a problem if you were reading it. That problem is that nobody was unaware that the Dread Pirate Roberts was Westley. Put a Robin mask on him and hide his hair, give him a Hitler ‘stache, and no one will be the wiser. Also, the ROUSes (or the Rodents Of Unusual Size) were less than convincing. But I suppose it was the best they could muster at the time, so I let it slide. They’re a minor part of the movie anyway. Also, I just realized on this viewing of the movie that I try to figure out exactly how Count Rugen’s pain machine works every single time I’ve watched this movie. Maybe I desire to be an evil genius and torture people with a water-based complicated piece of machinery.

I can’t really think of a single performance in this movie I didn’t like. Inigo was the man, as far as I was concerned, but Westley did a good amount of awesome himself. I especially liked Cary Elwes’ performance when his body was paralyzed. Wallace Shawn is another stand out performance here. He was only briefly in the movie, but was entertaining the entire time. The best percentage of comedy, however, goes to Billy Crystal as Miracle Max and Carol Kane as his wife. I loved their scenes. Christopher Guest as Count Rugen was a different step from the other performances I’ve enjoyed him in, but he performed it very well. Andre the Giant would have to be the surprise performance here because he was very good, though technically he may have been playing himself, though he did hide the fact that he could barely walk throughout the movie. I don’t know the guy’s name, but the guy that played the priest and did the whole “Mawwiage” thing was priceless.

So that’s that. This could be my favorite rom-com ever. I say that because it’s funny enough and contains enough action that guys aren’t slitting their wrists while their girlfriends are making them watch it. I give this movie “Her appeal is undeniable” out of “I wonder if he is using the same wind we are using”.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.