Teen Witch

An eighties cult-classic (just barely, coming in in 1989), Teen Witch touches on many subjects that teenagers will always face: trying to “fit in” and, more importantly, having the courage to be yourself.

The movie has one of the best opening scenes that I’ve ever seen.  Surprise, surprise, though, IT WAS ALL A DREAM.  That’s okay, I’m pretty sure most humans have had dreams along the same lines before.  Also, I’m in love with her red dress and the entire movie soundtrack.  So eighties, and so perfect.  Teen Witch stars Robin Lively as Louise Miller (yes, related to Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively), a nerdy girl in high school who is unsatisfied with her life and current social standing.  Sound familiar?  Secretly in love with the football quarterback and part of a clueless family.  Besides the dream sequence, her wardrobe in the beginning of the movie is atrocious.  Even for eighties standards.  The most “blah” colors all the time.

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My favorite characters really have no added benefit to the plot of the movie, but they are immensely entertaining – the three “bros” that are musically inclined.  My least favorite character is the life-ruining teacher.  He is very annoying and cruel, calling Louise out in class.  THEN HE GOES AND READS A PAGE OF HER DIARY OUT LOUD IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE CLASS.  Are you kidding me???  Worst teacher ever.  I feel ya, Louise.  I would’ve hidden in the bathroom too.  Then we realize this movie is actually better off as a musical, because they all “Like Boys”.  It may be cheesy, but I do enjoy the scene and the song.  So many different ways to wear that purple leotard.  Although, I’m glad my high school didn’t have a required gym uniform.  And then, because it is an eighties movie, it is basically a requirement to have a scene where Louise hides, watching Brad staying late at football practice by himself because he is just *so* dedicated (*I said that in a fake, dreamy voice*).

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Then the REAL story begins.  She is stranded at night and takes refuge at a psychic’s house who tells her strange things will happen.  A few days later, Louise’s drama teacher just *happens* upon an antique amulet and strange things ACTUALLY start to happen.  [SIDENOTE: the sex education scene is also pointless, but too good to not include in the movie.]  After that, I’m sure much of the audience is jealous when she turns her annoying sibling into a dog.  You’ll notice I’m not saying much about the school dance sequence because it is so lame.  Literally the only thing I will say is that her pervvy date helps the plot along by scaring her into going back to Madame Serena’s.  Time to get the party started.

[SIDENOTE: Proud to say I have glasses very similar to Madame Serena’s.  No shame.]

Two words: truth spell.  It spells trouble.  And humor.  Calling the rain and then dancing around?  Totally something I would do.  Love spell?  No.  Absolutely not.  Voodoo doll on the evil teacher?  Utter perfection – one of the best scenes in the entire movie.  Completely necessary to the plot and my life.  Strip tease in front of students, walk through the car wash for a shower – sounds like a good punishment to me.  Then.  It’s time.   THE ALL TIME BEST SCENE – TOP THAT.  Again, we see my favorite characters just gettin’ down.  Then they are joined by Polly being a badass woman for one moment in her life.  One of the few scenes that Louise is a completely good friend.  “Look at how funky he is.” Too much.

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And finally, the popularity spell.  First of all, the concert scene is adorable and I love the jean jacket.  Second, WHY DOES HER HAIR MAGICALLY CHANGE BECAUSE OF THIS SPELL?  Nothing in the words say “make my hair beautiful”.  SHE COULD HAVE DONE THAT TO HER HAIR AT ANY TIME.  Not trying to be superficial here, like she was, but…  (That elipsis is because I paused to get tea.) … you can have good hair and take care of yourself without being popular.  This part also shows how Polly is probably the only character in the movie with her head of straight, BECAUSE SHE WAS FRIENDS WITH LOUISE BEFORE LOUISE BECAME POPULAR.  Also, I think Louise went a little overboard with the spell.  I mean, having banners hanging in the school with your name on them?  A little pathetic.

 

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And then the slutty music begins to play.  And clothes begin to come off.  And the movie does not hold back on the tongues.  From this point on, the movie seems a tad rushed.  Louise begins to see the cracks in her spell and the rest of her powers.  But then her clueless dad comes in to have a cheesy conversation about self-confidence.  I mean, the people camped out on her lawn are a bit much.  Her conscience really shows when she rejects Brad’s dance invitation,  Then Louise takes the advice I screamed loudly at the television and goes back to see Serena about fixing everything.  Although, it might’ve been easier to just start wearing her dorky clothes again to make everyone ignore her.  Unfortunately, Serena is a cynic and not a lot of help, until her conscience bubbles to the surface too.  “The real magic is believing in yourself.  If you can do that, you can make anything happen.”  Cheesy-to-the-max, but still rings true.

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Finally, another dance scene.  Of course an eighties movie culminates to this fateful point.  Almost like a lead-in to the nineties classic, Can’t Hardly Wait…. (LIGHTBULB.  That is another possible review… Stay tuned.)  I must say, thank goodness they turned this movie into a Broadway musical, because it was simply meant to be.  POLLY FINALLY GETS HER RHET.  That’s the true magic of this movie, because I relate most to Polly.  IT’S GONNA BE MY FINEST HOUR.  Perfect finale song.  But the way she ends the popularity spell is so obvious and kind of cliche, but still touches the heart.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for the happy endings.

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~Tales

 

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Jersey Boys

A little housekeeping first… If the film I choose to watch is a new release, like this one, then I will write my review after the fact.  But with the older movies that are on DVD and Netflix (or even VHS), I have the ability to write my thoughts down AS I watch them.  Which is what I plan on doing.  That way I won’t forget a particularly witty thought that I am sure to have.  Obviously after watching the older movies I will go back through my initial post and edit- My thoughts may not make complete sense to others the first time around.

My latest movie theater excursion found me in the Jersey Boys showing. Now, I’ve never had the chance to witness what I hear is the brilliance of the Broadway show, but I must say that the film was FANTASTIC.  Unfortunately, I could not drink tea in the theater, so instead I’m drinking tea as I write this.  As a frame of reference, I absolutely love older music, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons included.  I have not done much research into the history of the band, but I am curious as to how much of the film/Broadway show are true.  Like, did they really get the band name from an old bowling alley?  I also have enjoyed the Clint Eastwood films that I have previously seen, so I went into this with high expectations.  Thankfully, I was not disappointed.

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Obviously the film is set back in the 50s and 60s, and they did a fantastic job of not going over the top with the sets and costumes.  Is it odd to admit one of my favorite aspects was seeing the progression of the microphones used in their shows?  No shame.  The sepia tinting to everything made sure the audience always knew what era it was supposed to be.  I was grateful that the film did not just turn into another Goodfellas, even with all of the mob histories.

The time jumping did get a little confusing at times, but the director made sure to explain the time jumps or go back and clear a couple things up.  It was especially helpful when the characters would break down the fourth wall and talk to the audience.  I love when that happens in movies and television!  The acting was also great, they didn’t lay it on thick and tailored it to an actual movie performance instead of a Broadway show.  (I heard that the actor playing Frankie Valli, John Lloyd Young, tried out for the Broadway show and didn’t get the part – their loss)

Film Review-Jersey Boys

It was actually a very powerful movie, showing the ugly side of fame as well as loss and heartbreak.  The Clint Eastwood made no effort to gloss over anything, it was pretty raw.  Was it supposed to feel like a documentary?  If so, then they succeeded.  The song choices were perfect, as well.  Although, if I could change anything, I would’ve added in Frankie Valli singing “Grease” at some point.  I’m a cliche because one of my all-time favorite songs is “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, so when they FINALLY got to that point in Frankie’s career, I was beyond excited and it was almost overwhelming.  It was shown as what really saved Frankie’s life, after living through a terrible tragedy.  I can only hope that it’s true.

Do I have any complaints about Jersey Boys?  Well, I will answer that question with another question – What normal person wouldn’t?  That’s like asking a reader if they like the movie better than the book.  Blasphemy.  Anyway… Most of my complaints are more about the life choices the band members made, and the screenwriters couldn’t really do much to fix that.  I would’ve like to have explored Bobby’s motivations more.  Or even Nicky’s.  Things were said when the band finally broke up, but they didn’t explain everything.

Overall, I loved Jersey Boys and I will totally watch it again.  It is definitely an interesting comparison, going from watching this and then listening to the actual songs after.  Even now as I listen to the music while pondering my thoughts on the film.

Stay tuned for my next review!  As an FYI, I don’t go to the movie theater as often as I would like, but I will do my best to make the extra effort!

~Tales

 

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