Re-Watch: The School of Rock (2003)

The School of Rock
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Mike White
Cast: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Lucas Babin, Jordan-Claire Green, Veronica Afflerbach, Miranda Cosgrove, Joey Gaydos Jr., Robert Tsai, Angelo Massagli, Kevin Alexander Clark, Maryam Hassan, Caitlin Hale
Seen on: 30.6.2021

Content Note: misogyny

Plot:
Dewey (Jack Black) is a passionate musician, playing guitar in a band that has grown tired of his antics, feeling that he is holding them back with his talk about real rock instead of going in a more crowd-pleasing direction. That’s why they kick him out just before a big music contest. Hurt, Dewey withdraws to Ned’s (Mike White), where he lives for the moment, much to the chagrin of Ned’s girlfriend Patty (Sarah Silverman) who would like to see Ned, a substitute teacher, in a more settled position without any old friends who are freeloading. In short, Dewey needs a job, so when Ned gets a call to substitute at a prestigious school, Dewey pretends to be him. And when he realizes that the kids he should be teaching are actually good musicians, he hatched a plan to fulfill his dream after all.

I saw The School of Rock for the first time not long after it came out and I remembered it quite fondly. So when I was in the mood for a nice comedy, I decided to give it another try. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite hold up as well as I’d hoped, even if it is still pretty entertaining.

The film poster showing Dewey (Jack Black) in his teacher outfit with a guitar, in a full-on rocker pose. Behind him, we can see 8 children dressed as rockstars themselves.
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Thirteen (2003)

Thirteen
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer: Catherine Hardwicke, Nikki Reed
Cast: Nikki Reed, Evan Rachel Wood, Holly Hunter, Brady Corbet, Sarah Clarke, Vanessa Hudgens, Jeremy Sisto, Deborah Kara Unger
Seen on: 31.1.2021

Plot:
Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) just started 7th grade and is desperate to fit in. She sets her sight on Evie (Nikki Reed), widely known as the prettiest girl in school. Evie is a wild child who basks in Tracy’s attention and also takes to Tracy’s mother Mel (Holly Hunter). The two girls become inseparable, Tracy quickly discovering drugs and sex through Evie and both egging each other on, as things spiral out of control.

Thirteen is an excellent debut feature for both Hardwicke and Reed that feels like a debut in every frame – but in the best sense, filled with an energy and wildness that mirrors the central characters.

The film poster showing Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) sticking out their tongues to show off their tongue piercings.
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Freaky Friday (2003)

Freaky Friday
Director: Mark Waters
Writer: Heather Hach, Leslie Dixon
Based on: Mary Rodgers‘s book
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Harold Gould, Chad Michael Murray, Stephen Tobolowsky, Christina Vidal, Ryan Malgarini, Haley Hudson, Rosalind Chao, Lucille Soong, Willie Garson, Julie Gonzalo
Seen on: 13.4.2020
[Here’s my review of the 1976 version.]

Content Note: racism

Plot:
Anna (Lindsay Lohan) and her mother Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) don’t get along very well. While Tess is preparing for her wedding to Ryan (Mark Harmon), juggling a demanding career and just published a book, Anna is less goal-oriented. In fact, her interests only lie in her band – together with her friends Peg (Haley Hudson) and Maddie (Christina Vidal) – and Jake (Chad Michael Murray), the boy she’s been crushing on from afar. When things come to a head at a family dinner in a Chinese restaurant, the restaurant owner (Lucille Soong) decides to take matters into her own hands and hands Anna and Tess two fortune cookies that the crack open. When they wake up the next morning, they have swapped bodies – and both have to learn that things aren’t easy for either of them.

Before I watched the film, I could have sworn that I had seen it, even if that was many years ago. But now that I did watch it, I’m pretty sure that all I saw of it were gifsets. In any case, Freaky Friday is fun enough, despite the racist twist on the “curse”, and there are definitely some interesting points to make when you compare it to the version that came almost 30 years before.

The film poster showing Anna (Lindsay Lohan) dressed all business-like and Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) in a rock get-up, both with shocked facial expressions.
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What a Girl Wants (2003)

What a Girl Wants
Director: Dennie Gordon
Writer: Jenny Bicks, Elizabeth Chandler
Based on: William Douglas Home‘s play The Reluctant Debutante
Cast: Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Kelly Preston, Eileen Atkins, Anna Chancellor, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver James, Christina Cole
Seen on: 3.1.2020

Plot:
Daphne (Amanda Bynes) lives with her mother Libby (Kelly Preston), an artist and a free spirit. Daphne has never met her father, she only has a photo of him and knows that he is British. Taking a leaf out of her mother’s book, she decides that the best thing she could do is get on a plane, fly to London and find him. So that’s what she does. And things start pretty well. She meets the cute musician Ian (Oliver James) and she actually quickly finds her father – Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth), who is running for political office at the moment and could not learn about an illegitimate teenage daughter at a worse time. So they have a lot of stuff to figure out.

I was actually not sure if I had seen What a Girl Wants before. It feels like I must have, but having seen it now, I’m now certain that I hadn’t before. Anyway, it’s fun in many ways and if you’re looking for 90 minutes entertainment that doesn’t need you to think for a single second, it could be just the film for you.

The film poster showing Daphne (Amanda Bynes) dressed in a shirt with the USA flag standing in front of two beefeaters.
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The Room (2003)

The Room
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Writer: Tommy Wiseau
Cast: Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle, Greg Sestero, Philip Haldiman, Carolyn Minnott, Robyn Paris, Mike Holmes
Seen on: 26.1.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is successful, rich and has a beautiful fiancée, Lida (Juliette Danielle). With his tight circle of friends – tightest of all being Mark (Greg Sestero) – he has a happy and pretty much carefree life. His wedding is fast approaching, but something is happening with Lisa: she seems to take a sudden interest in Mark. And Mark can’t withstand her manipulations.

The Room is famous for being one of the worst movies ever. It’s so bad that it has garnered a cult following. You’ve got to see it to believe it – and I have to say that seeing it is an absolute experience, especially when you’re watching it with a crowd.

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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Director: Donald Petrie
Writer: Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Burr Steers
Based on: Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long’s comic
Cast: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Parisse, Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon, Michael Michele, Shalom Harlow, Robert Klein
Seen on: 21.1.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Andie (Kate Hudson) writes a How to-column for a magazine and she’s in need of a new idea, especially since she wants to write something of more substance. She may get the chance to do so if she writes a column on how to lose a guy in 10 days. Meanwhile ad executive Ben (Matthew McConaughey) has to prove that he knows what women want. He proposes a bet, promising to make any woman fall in love with him. His colleagues accept – and point to Andie as the object of his plot. As they both work towards opposite goals, their dates are quite tumultuous.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was suprisingly charming and didn’t veer into the condescending romantic direction that movies about covert bets usually do. It’s not a revolutionary film, but I enjoyed it.

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Selma & Sofie (2003)

Selma & Sofie
Director: Mia Engberg
Cast: Camilla Carlsson, Sara Lindkvist
Seen on: 15.10.2016

Plot:
Selma (Camilla Carlsson) meets Sofie (Sara Lindkvist) at the pool and feels immediately drawn to her. Despite her boyfriend at home, Selma finds herself actively searching out Sofie.

Selma & Sofie concluded the “Lesbian porn first” special I saw, being the first Lesbian porn film (by and for women) that actually showed explicit sex (the lack of which arguably makes Shadows and Airport not even “real” porn). Despite the explicit sex, the film is more focused on the romance of the story and it’s very sweet indeed. It may not work as well as a porn, but as a love story it’s nice.

Exploration (2003)

Exploration
Director: Joerg Burger
Seen on: 28.03.2015

Plot:
Two women are talking in what is quickly revealed as a psychiatric setting. But who analyzes whom?

Exploration is an interesting short film, but I did call the big twist rather early. Nevertheless it was fascinating to watch.

[SPOILERS]

explorationIt turns out that Exploration is footage of an actual psychiatric training talk, with a psychiatrist playing a patient, and a younger trainee trying to figure out what’s wrong with her. So first the trainee tries to evaluate the performed mental health, than the doctor tries to evaluate the trainee. I thought that would be the case pretty early on, so I leant back to enjoy the acting performance of the doctor – because she was frankly amazing. I do wonder if she would be up to shooting a film. That would be great.

But apart from that performance the film remained too much of a sterile concept, though one that is not without effect.

Summarizing: Interesting.

The Station Agent (2003)

The Station Agent
Director: Thomas McCarthy
Writer: Thomas McCarthy
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Williams, Richard Kind, John Slattery, Joe Lo Truglio, Lynn Cohen

Plot:
Fin (Peter Dinklage) lives a very quiet life working in a model train shop. Until the shop owner and Fin’s only friend Henry (Paul Benjamin) dies and leaves Fin an abandoned train station in the middle of nowhere where Fin decides to move to. There Fin is found by Joe (Bobby Cannavale) who runs a foodtruck for his sick dad and then Fin is almost run over – twice – by Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a painter going through a rough time. All three are obviously lonely and struggle with human contact in very different ways. But somehow that seems just the perfect recipe.

The Station Agent was a really sweet, entertaining and pretty much wonderful film. There is nothing not to like about it.

thestationagent

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Fear X (2003)

Fear X
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Hubert Selby Jr.
Cast: John Turturro, Deborah Kara Unger, James Remar, Jacqueline Ramel

Plot:
Harry’s (John Turturro) wife Claire (Jacqueline Ramel) was shot and killed. Nobody knows why or by whom. Harry spends all his spare time looking at security footage and trying to piece everything together. He is haunted by visions of Claire which are slowly but surely pointing him in a certain direction. So Harry starts investigating even harder and finds a trace that leads him to Kate (Deborah Kara Unger) and the murderer.

Fear X is an idiosyncratic movie. It’s beautiful to look at, with a mesmerizing performance by John Turturro but it won’t fit any mold easily.

fearx

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