REVIEW: The Edge of Seventeen [2016]

“You should look out for run-on sentences” If you ever wondered what a John Hughes movie would look like without the cutesy cliché and overblown 1980s caricatured comedic appeal, Kelly Fremon Craig‘s The Edge of Seventeen is it. So don’t treat the talk about it being a “twenty-first century Hughes” film as hyperbole or a slight because the shoe fits its depiction of angst-fueled, hilarious embarrassment. What it lacks is the need to feed into stereotype, sentiment, and melodrama that weigh reality down into fairy tale. This is the life…

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REVIEW: The Great Outdoors [1988]

“Let go of the rope” Most would probably call it lesser John Hughes—he wrote and produced with Howard Deutch taking the director’s chair—but The Great Outdoors will always hold a special place in my heart. If you asked me who John Candy was in 1990 I’d probably have said, “the guy from The Great Outdoors” even though Uncle Buck had been released and deservedly held as the better work. There was something about the comedy brought forth from nature that appealed to me as a kid who had never been…

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REVIEW: Vacation [2015]

“I’m as hard as a faucet right now” I smelled trouble as soon as Ed Helms was cast in Vacation as the now father-of-two Rusty Griswold. While the perfect surrogate for Chevy Chase‘s bumbling Clark in a remake of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, he’s a far cry from the character he’s meant to play in this half reboot/half sequel. I made the mistake of rewatching that first entry into the Griswold’s saga to realize it coupled with the equally fantastic Christmas Vacation prove Rusty was always the one family…

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REVIEW: National Lampoon’s Vacation [1983]

“Nothing worthwhile is easy. You know that.” You can’t blame the magazine for thinking movie-making was going to be easy after the success of National Lampoon’s Animal House. But does anyone really remember its two follow-ups National Lampoon’s Movie Madness and National Lampoon’s Class Reunion? I didn’t think so. Something about the latter must have hit someone’s funny bone, though, because screenwriter John Hughes—a writer for the periodical—would get another shot. This time it was in the form of a somewhat established property the producers knew could be successful as…

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REVIEW: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [1989]

“Look around you, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell.” While I enjoy A Christmas Story‘s 1940s holiday aesthetic like the rest—when it’s not on 24-hour TBS repeat—I prefer my dysfunctional yuletide spirit to hit a little closer to home. This is where Christmas Vacation comes in, National Lampoon’s 1989 classic continuation of the Griswold clan’s shenanigans that takes place the same decade as the one when I was still young enough to awaken every December 25th extra early to see what Santa brought. While the details aren’t exactly the…

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REVIEW: Easy A [2010]

“The Accelerated Velocity of Terminological Inexactitude” Who knew Huck Finn had such homosexual overtones? And who knew Easy A—a film I now regret not having caught at its TIFF debut three months ago, dismissing it as a low-brow tween comedy—would be such a great film? Director Will Gluck has just cemented himself as a guy whose work I will no longer preconceive as unworthy of my time—yes, I will admit to being mesmerized by the surprising comedic glory of his debut film Fired Up! He and writer Bert V. Royal…

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REVIEW: Going the Distance [2010]

“Dan, take me to Berlin” Acclaimed director—and Buffalo, NY native—Nanette Burstein has finally made her way to the world of fictional film. After helming the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture about producer Robert Evans, one could say she took a step towards narrative with American Teen, a real-life look into today’s high schools and just how close John Hughes got The Breakfast Club. I remember some talk about staging and scripting reactions to make it all more cinematically interesting, but whether true or not, the film was a…

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The 82nd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • NPH in sequins … i guess that’s something … The 82nd Annual Oscars ceremony begins, yet the hosts are nowhere to be found. Have we gotten to the point now where we need a lead-in for the most assuredly lame/very PC stand-up routine? We need to get the ball rolling for the ball that gets the show rolling? And they wonder why it always goes over its allotted timeslot. So, not only do we have to be introduced to all the lead acting nominees—because anyone watching doesn’t know…

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REVIEW: Let It Ride [1989]

“This is just taking advantage of an extraordinary business opportunity” I sometimes forget how blatant music was used in films of the 1980s. Let It Ride may have been made in 1989, but it did not leave that trend behind quite yet. Not only do the cheesy rock ballads come through at the start, the montage shots behind the credits are graced with one that has the title in the lyrics. That’s just how Hollywood rolled in the 80s, and the process recalled those films of John Hughes, a man…

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REVIEW: Planes, Trains & Automobiles [1987]

“Like your job; love your wife” Being the first John Hughes film I have seen since the writer/director’s passing, I feel that I need to speak about the man’s oeuvre along with the movie itself. I think many could make the argument that Planes, Trains & Automobiles is his best work. He wrote a lot of scripts, even into the years before his death, but as far as the ones he directed, you won’t get one that resonates on an adult level quite like this. The Breakfast Club will always…

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REVIEW: The Breakfast Club [1985]

“You’ll get the horns” It may not be the funniest film that John Hughes crafted, but The Breakfast Club is the one that I think made the biggest impression on me. Revisiting it—so many years after its creation, as well as many since I last sat down to watch its entirety—gave me an interesting experience. How the three friends with me had never seen it is beyond me, but that fact caused something I never expected. Each moment of weight, those moments when the kids explain the pressures of each…

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