Re-Watch: Never Been Kissed (1999)

Never Been Kissed
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writer: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
Cast: Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Garry Marshall, Sean Whalen, Cress Williams, Octavia Spencer, Leelee Sobieski, Jeremy Jordan, Jessica Alba, Marley Shelton, Jordan Ladd, Katie Lansdale, Branden Williams, James Franco
Seen on: 1.4.2021

Plot:
Josie (Drew Barrymore) is a copyeditor at the Sun-Times, but she would like to be a reporter. Her chance comes quite surprisingly when her unpredictable boss (Garry Marshall) tells her to go undercover at a high school to figure out what kids these days are up to. Josie is so excited about the opportunity, she doesn’t remember that she was bullied in high school. But once she is back, all her old memories flood back again. Maybe this time, though, Josie has a chance to do better.

It has been many years that I watched Never Been Kissed, but I remembered it very fondly. I’m happy to report that it is still an utterly charming film with a cute love story.

The film poster showing Josie (Drew Barrymore) sitting on the floor, one of her knees pulled to her chest.
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The Iron Giant (1999)

The Iron Giant
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Tim McCanlies, Brad Bird, Brent Forrester
Based on: Ted Hughes‘ novel The Iron Man
Cast: Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel, James Gammon, Cloris Leachman, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, M. Emmet Walsh
Seen on: 27.1.2021

Plot:
Hogarth (Eli Marienthal) is a bright, curious child, prone to adopting critters and with a love of everything SciFi. His single mother Annie (Jennifer Aniston) has her hands full with him and with work. One night, Hogarth sees something weird in the forest next to his house and goes to investigate. What he finds is a giant metal robot from outer space in some distress, and Hogarth can’t just walk away – he helps. But a robot of its size is bound to draw attention – and not every attention is good.

I missed The Iron Giant when it came out and it had been on my watchlist ever since (that hasn’t kept me from using the ever useful “ART” gif). I finally made it, and I’m glad I did. It’s a really sweet, fun film with very nice animation.

The film poster showing the Iron Giant, a huge robot, standing in a forest, cradling Hogarth in his hands.
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Ravenous (1999)

Ravenous
Director: Antonia Bird
Writer: Ted Griffin
Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, John Spencer, Stephen Spinella, Neal McDonough, Joseph Runningfox, Bill Brochtrup, Sheila Tousey
Seen on: 17.8.2018

Plot:
After a promotion that his superior feels was actually unearned, Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) is reassigned to Fort Spencer, middle of nowhere. The fort is small and there are only a handful of soldiers posted there. Soon after his arrival, a man (Robert Carlyle) shows up at the fort. He is in bad condition and once he finds a little strength, he starts telling them of his party who turned to cannibalism to survive. The soldiers in the fort know they have to do something about them.

Ravenous had been on my watchlist for a very long time and while I didn’t love it, it was really good. I’m glad I finally got around to it.

The film poster showing an opened mouth.
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Romance (1999)

Romance
Director: Catherine Breillat
Writer: Catherine Breillat
Cast: Caroline Ducey, Sagamore Stévenin, François Berléand, Rocco Siffredi
Seen on: 6.10.2016

Plot:
Marie (Caroline Ducey) is very much in love with her boyfriend Paul (Sagamore Stévenin), but Paul doesn’t want to have sex with her. Her increasing sexual frustration leads her to encounters with other men – be it Robert (François Berléand) who work in the school she works at, or Paolo (Rocco Siffredi) who she picks up in a bar. All the while Marie still tries to keep her relationship with Paul alive.

Romance is an interesting film that provokes discussion about sex, relationships and power. Though I found myself disagreeing with a lot of the conclusions it seems to draw, I enjoyed the thought experiments that come with watching it.

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Deine besten Jahre [Your Best Years] (1999)

Deine besten Jahre
Director: Dominik Graf
Writer: Markus Busch, Bernd Schwamm
Cast: Martina Gedeck, Tobias Moretti, Tim Bergmann, Carla Hagen, Wolfgang Hinze, Mona Seefried, Marian LöschBirge Schade, Monika Woytowicz
Seen on: 20.4.2016

Plot:
Vera (Martina Gedeck) seems to lead a perfect life: she’s the heiress of a successful company that is run by her husband Manfred (Tobias Moretti) who is devoted to her and their son Max (Marian Löschl). Then Vera starts to discover a first crack in the facade: Manfred seems to be having an affair. In an attempt to save their relationship, she whisks him away on an impromptu holiday. But very quickly Vera finds her life crumbling around her entirely and the only one who seems to be always there for her is former company employee Andreas (Tim Bergmann).

Deine besten Jahre is a strange film, made even more unusual because it’s a TV production. What starts as a normal family drama takes some surprising and sometimes downright experimental turns leading to a fascinating film that takes a while to settle.

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Meine Mutter war ein Metzger [My Mother Was a Butcher] (1999)

Meine Mutter war ein Metzger
Director: Jörg Kalt
Writer: Jörg Kalt
Cast: Jiri Bábek, Pavel Zvaríc, Christoph Müller, Sebastian Blomberg, Andrej Losin
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 26.2.2016

Plot:
Two students need to transport a body from Vienna to Russia which is a pretty expensive thing to do officially. So they decide to pretend that the body was simply drunk and to smuggle it to Russia by night train.

Meine Mutter war ein Metzger is a short film that was shot pretty much without a budget and in black and white, making it feel older than it actually is. But that doesn’t hurt the film at all. Neither does the fact that I can’t quite believe that the outlandish story is based on actual events like the film claims. Whether it’s half-true, all-true or all-made-up, it’s a funny film with awhole lot of black humor. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been longer.

meinemutterwareinmetzger

Nordrand [Northern Skirts] (1999)

Nordrand
Director: Barbara Albert
Writer: Barbara Albert
Cast: Nina Proll, Edita Malovcic, Astrit Alihajdaraj, Tudor Chirila, Michael Tanczos, Georg Friedrich, Brigitte Kren, Margarete Tiesel
Seen on: 12.2.2016

Plot:
Jasmin (Nina Proll) and Tamara (Edita Malovcic) were in school together when they were kids, but have since drifted apart. While Tamara is working as a nurse and dating Roman (Michael Tanczos), leading a relatively stable life, Jasmin is drifting at the edge of the politically right scene, moving from guy to guy and none of them are particularly nice. Their paths cross again, when they both end up getting an abortion on the same day. And somehow this time their connection seems to stick.

Nordrand is a smart film that looks closely at harsh social circumstances in Vienna. And it’s also a film with vivid characters that are lovingly set in scene.

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Re-Watch: Cruel Intentions (1999)

Cruel Intentions
Director: Roger Kumble
Writer: Roger Kumble
Based on: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius, Sean Patrick Thomas, Swoosie Kurtz, Christine Baranski, Tara Reid
Seen on: 7.2.2016
[This concludes my Dangerous Liaisons marathon. At least until I can get ahold of the other adaptations.]

Plot:
Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe) and Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) are step siblings, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Annette Hargrove (Reese Whitherspoon), the new principal’s daughter, who is widely known for her chastity pledge and that before school starts. Kathryn, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just dumped her for the naive Cecile (Selma Blair). So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cecile.

I was 14 when Cruel Intentions came out, 15 by the time I saw it the first time and I think that it is one of the defining teen movies of my generation. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good film, though it definitely does have its strengths, but it is very hard to view it separately from its influence.

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Outer Space (1999)

Outer Space
Director: Peter Tscherkassky
Writer: Peter Tscherkassky
Based on: The Entity
Seen on: 27.03.2015

Plot:
Tscherkassky re-edited footage from The Entity, transforming it into a psychedelic fight of a woman (Barbara Hershey) against, apparently, her own house. Or is it against the film itself?

Outer Space is a short film and I was glad that it was only a short – I don’t think I could have stomached the kaleidoscopic images, the sound design, the film jumps, the flashing lights for an entire feature. But despite the exhaustion caused by the film, the disorientation is evocative, creating a very unique atmosphere and one that is worth experiencing.

outerspaceSummarizing: it’s work, but it’s worth it. At least if you like experimental film.

The Winslow Boy (1999)

The Winslow Boy
Director: David Mamet
Writer: David Mamet
Based on: Terence Rattigan‘s play, which is in turn based on real events
Cast: Rebecca PidgeonJeremy Northam, Nigel HawthorneGuy Edwards, Colin Stinton, Matthew Pidgeon, Gemma Jones

Plot:
When Ronnie (Guy Edwards) returns early from his school, it doesn’t take long for his family to find out that he has been accused of stealing and expelled. When Ronnie is adamant that he didn’t do it, his father Arthur (Nigel Hawthorne) and his sister Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon) take up the fight to prove that he is innocent. They hire the famous lawyer Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam) to help, but the fight is more complicated, makes bigger waves and takes much longer than anyone expected.

The Winslow Boy is a nice film that wouldn’t stand out much if it weren’t for Rebecca Pidgeon and Jeremy Northam (and Jeremy Northam’s sexiness).

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