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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Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Frank Oz, K Callan, Noah Segan
Seen on: 8.1.2020

Plot:
Famous author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) has died, leaving behind an eccentric family, a lot of money and a police investigation into his death. Just before it is officially declared a suicide, detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) joins the investigation to make sure that everything is as everybody thinks it is. As he interviews the entire family, including Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), there is no telling what he will uncover. But it’s probably nothing good.

Knives Out was an amazingly entertaining film that managed to breathe some new life into a genre that has been well-established for many, many years (and it’s not even a genre that I personally love a lot). I had the best of times.

The film poster showing all of the main characters standing in a group.
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Blue Steel (1989)

Blue Steel
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red
Cast: Jamie Lee CurtisRon SilverClancy BrownElizabeth PeñaLouise FletcherPhilip BoscoKevin DunnRichard Jenkins
Seen on: 7.8.2016

Plot:
Megan Turner (Jamie Lee Curtis) only just finished police school and she’s eager to work and to prove herself. On her first patrol, she becomes involved in a robbery, leading to her shooting the armed robber. One of the bystanders, Eugene (Ron Silver), grabs the robber’s gun, though, and leaves before he can be noticed. Since it now appears that Megan shot an unarmed man, she is suspended from work, only to be reinstated after a deadly bullet is recovered from a murder scene with her name carved onto it – and homicide detective Nick Mann (Clancy Brown) counts on her help to catch the killer.

Blue Steel is a more than decent thriller with a fantastic Jamie Lee Curtis and a tense story. It pretty much kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

bluesteel

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The Fog (1980)

The Fog
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John HousemanTom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Kyes, Ty Mitchell, Hal Holbrook
Seen on: 20.5.2016

Plot:
Antonio Bay is approaching its centennial. The town is said to have been founded on the ruthless murder of a leper colony, a legend that nobody really believes in. But on the evening on the anniversary, a thick fog starts rolling into town. And there is something in the fog that is looking to take its bloody revenge.

I don’t get The Fog’s reputation. With Halloween at least I understood why it was considered a classic [even if I didn’t love it], but The Fog was simply a bad film. Not scary, not impressive, just… bad.

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Halloween (1978)

Halloween
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham, Tony Moran
Seen on: 20.5.2016

Plot:
When Michael Myers (Tony Moran) was six years old, he stabbed his sister on Halloween. Exactly 15 years later he escaped the psychiatric institution he has spent his life in and has found his way back to his hometown again. He is ready to strike again and has his eyes set on Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) who plans to spend her Halloween babysitting. Michael’s doctor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) suspects Michael’s plans and tries to prevent the worst from happening.

When the Gartenbaukino in Vienna announced that they would make a little Carpenter festival, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally close some gaps in my cinematic education. Halloween was one of those gaps. Having seen it now, I have to admit that I wasn’t all that impressed with it – although there were some great moments and it is obvious how hugely influential it was (and is).

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Re-Watch: Trading Places (1983)

Trading Places
Director: John Landis
Writer: Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod
Cast: Dan AykroydEddie MurphyJamie Lee Curtis, Ralph BellamyDon Ameche, Denholm Elliott, Giancarlo Esposito, Frank Oz, Bo Diddley, James Belushi, Al Franken, Tom Davis

Plot:
Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) was born on the sunny side of life and has proven to be a quite successful trader for the Duke brothers (Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche). Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) on the other hand barely scrapes by with crooked schemes. When the Duke brothers bet on whether or not it’s the circumstances or nature that make a man what he is, Louis and Billy Ray quickly find themselves in each other’s shoes. Louis’ reputation is completely destroyed when he is found with a sex worker Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis) hired to set him up, loses his fiancée, his home and his job – the latter to Billy Ray. In the end, Louis has nobody but Ophelia and – surprisingly – Billy Ray to make things right again.

I used to watch this film as a kid as well, though certainly not as often as Scrooged, probably because I am not so much of an Eddie Murphy fan and never was. But since the cinema showed the two films as a double feature, I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately even with the nostalgia bonus, Trading Places barely worked for me at all.

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