Re-Watch: She’s All That (1999)

She’s All That
Director: Robert Iscove
Writer: R. Lee Fleming Jr.
Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, Matthew Lillard, Paul Walker, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Kevin Pollak, Anna Paquin, Kieran Culkin, Elden Henson, Usher, Lil’ Kim, Gabrielle Union, Dulé Hill, Tamara Mello, Clea DuVall, Tim Matheson
Seen on: 8.10.2021

Plot:
Zack (Freddy Prinze Jr.) is the star of his high school. He is gorgeous, athletic and rich, he has a beautiful girlfriend in Taylor (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe). He should be set to finish High School on a high as prom king with Taylor as prom queen at his side. But when school starts, he is unceremoniously dumped by her for reality TV star Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard). Zack’s best friend Dean (Paul Walker) is ready to pour salt into Zack’s wound, so in an effort to reassert himself, Zack agrees to a bet with Dean: He can take any girl in school and make her prom queen. Dean chooses Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) for the challenge: disheveled, outspoken and artistic, she seems like the perfect challenge for Zack. But as Zack starts to woo her, and Laney slowly gives into his wooing, he soon finds that there is more to her than just a bet.

I know that I saw She’s All That at some point, but I’ve only had a vague recollection of it. Unfortunately, re-watching it didn’t prove it to be some kind of 90s high school romance winner, but rather a pretty lackluster affair.

The film poster showing Zack (Freddy Prinze Jr.) and Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) smiling.
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Re-Watch: But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

But I’m a Cheerleader
Director: Jamie Babbit
Writer: Brian Peterson
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Melanie Lynskey, Katrina Phillips, Katharine Towne, Joel Michaely, Douglas Spain, Dante Basco, Kip Pardue, Cathy Moriarty, Bud Cort, Mink Stole, RuPaul, Eddie Cibrian, Michelle Williams, Wesley Mann, Richard Moll, Julie Delpy
Seen on: 16.5.2021
[Here’s my first review.]

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia, conversion therapy

Plot:
Megan (Natasha Lyonne) comes from a good Christian household, is a cheerleader, has a boyfriend. That’s why she is completely blindsided when her parents (Bud Cort, Mink Stole) suddenly cart her off to True Direction, a “rehabilitation facility” for turning homosexuals into heterosexuals. There Megan undergoes rigorous training together with other kids in the same position. But what happens when you put five lesbians into a room? Well, sparks fly – and so Megan finds herself drawn to Graham (Clea DuVall).

When I watched But I’m a Cheerleader for the first time, I hadn’t realized yet that I was into women myself, and let me tell you, the film hits differently when you know you’re queer. I definitely liked it more now than I did back then (though I did like it then, too). In fact, I adored it.

The film poster showing Megan (Natasha Lyonne) in a pink ball gown, holding a cheerleading pompom.
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Ten Inch Hero (2007)

Ten Inch Hero
Director: David Mackay
Writer: Betsy Morris
Cast: Elisabeth Harnois, Clea DuVall, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jensen Ackles, Danneel Ackles, Alice Krige, John Doe
Seen on: 26.8.2018

Plot:
Piper (Elisabeth Harnois) moves to Santa Cruz to go to art school there and to maybe find the daughter she gave up for adoption when she was just a teenager. She starts working in a sandwich shop run by Trucker (John Doe), together with shy Jen (Clea DuVall), flirty Tish (Danneel Ackles) and punky Priestly (Jensen Ackles). Much like Piper, all four of her colleagues struggle with love and finding their place in the world.

I didn’t know much about Ten Inch Hero other than Jensen Ackles is wearing outrageous hair in it, and then I watched it and got Clea DuVall in the bargain, and that’s pretty much the best thing that can happen. Overall, the film is pretty sweet.

The film poster showing Elisabeth Harnois, Clea DuVall and Jensen Ackles.
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Argo (2012)

Argo
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Chris Terrio
Based on: Joshuah Bearman‘s article [pdf link]
Cast: Ben Affleck, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber

Plot:
In 1979, Iranian revolutionaries stormed the USAmerican embassy in Teheran. In the middle of this confusion, 6 employees managed to flee to the Canadian embassy and hide there. The CIA hires exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to get them out of there. So Tony concocts a story about the shoot of a SciFi movie to provide a cover for the six of them, which includes the basic pre-production of the film.

Argo is a classic, straightforward and very well-made thriller that hits all the right notes in the right way, even if it doesn’t surprise. But it makes the perfect case for a tried and tested format executed well.

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Re-Watch: The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Laura Harris, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Jon Stewart, Piper Laurie, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, Usher Raymond, Daniel von Bargen

Plot:
Something weird is going on in Herrington High School, Ohio. Even weirder than the usual high school occurrences, that is: aliens are slowly taking over the teachers, starting with the football coach (Robert Patrick). But a group of teenagers notice that something weird is going on: nerdy Casey (Elijah Wood), gothy Stokely (Clea DuVall), jock Stan (Shawn Hatosy), cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster), bad boy Zeke (Josh Hartnett) and country girl Marybeth (Laura Harris) get thrown together by circumstances and decide to fight.

I think I saw The Faculty the first time when I was 14, maybe 15. Until then I hadn’t had much contact with horror in general (though I probably had read a Stephen King novel or two), but I knew high school movies. And in its combination of High School and Horror, The Faculty proved to be my gateway drug into the entire horror genre (arguably also because I was madly in love with Josh Hartnett’s Zeke afterwards). I love it for that. But also as a movie in its own right, it’s pretty damn awesome.

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The Killing Room (2009)

The Killing Room is a film by Jonathan Liebesman, starring Chloë Sevigny, Peter Stormare, Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon, Shea Whigham and Clea DuVall (it seems I’m on a Clea DuVall roll. In the past month I’ve seen more films with her than in the past three years put together).

Plot:
Emily Reilly (Chloë Sevigny) is a military psychologist who gets called in for a job interview by Dr. Phillips (Peter Stormare) who works for a secret division of the CIA. He wants her to take a look at an experiment he’s been conducting: In this experiment, Phillips locks four strangers into a room. Under the pretense of normal psychological testing. But the experiment gets quickly out of hand when Phillips shoots one of the four.

I like locked room films and The Killing Room is a nice example of one. It probably won’t blow you away or leave you astonished, but it does its job nicely (if you disregard the logical flaws and the bad script) and with good performances.

[SPOILERS]

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Conviction (2010)

Conviction is the newest film by Tony Goldwyn, starring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Clea DuVall, Ari Graynor, Peter Gallagher and Juliette Lewis.

Plot:
Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) gets convicted of murder. He insists that he’s innocent and his sister Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) believes him. From then on, she does everything she can think of to get Kenny out. She even starts going to law school in the evening, even though she has a a job and two kids. And she sticks with it – for 16 years.

Conviction tells a fascinating story but gets a bit too sappy at times. But anchored by the amazing cast, you can lean back and enjoy the sap.

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The Slaughter Rule (2002)

The Slaughter Rule is the first feature film by Alex and Andrew J. Smith, starring Ryan Gosling, David Morse, Clea DuVall, David Cale, Eddie Spears and Kelly Lynch (and in a mini-mini-role Amy Adams).

Plot:
After the deat of Roy’s father and Roy’s (Ryan Gosling) getting kicked out of the football team, he is approached by Gid (David Morse) who offers to establish a six-man-football team with Roy as the quarterback. Roy agrees, also because Gid knows Skyla (Clea DuVall), a bartender Roy likes. The relationship between Gid and Roy is in turn very caring and very difficult, especially when rumors about Gid’s sexuality start surfacing.

When I first heard about The Slaughter Rule, I thought it would be your run of the mill sports movie and only Ryan Gosling actually made me want to watch it. But I was pleasantly surprised: it’s a thoughtful, well-acted movie that draws you in.

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But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

But I’m a Cheerleader is a movie by Jamie Babbit, starring Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall.

Plot:
When Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is suspected to be a lesbian, her parents send her to a Christian “rehab” center, where she’s supposed to learn the straight way. Instead she falls for Graham (Clea DuVall).

The movie is a little campy, but it’s supposed to be. There are some very funny scenes and it’s a lighthearted look at a serious issue. Entertaining.

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