I’m not one to agree with film snobs like Steven Spielberg but there is part of me that wishes Netflix would stop making films. It’s not about watching films at home or on your phone. It’s about quality. To be fair, it’s not just a Netflix thing but they tend to have a pretty dire output. Especially when it comes to comedies. Whoever is in charge of greenlighting films needs to really take a step back for a minute. Yes, they’ve had a few epic hits in recent years but that shouldn’t erase all of the rest of it. I can’t name one of their comedies that has been worth a watch. So, I wasn’t holding out much hope even if it did star Taraji P. Henson. After all, Proud Mary taught us that she’s doesn’t necessarily make good choices all the time. It’s not just that the film is a Netflix original. The fact that it doesn’t even make it past the 90-minute mark is a clear sign of bad things. How many films go under an hour and a half these days? Only the ones that didn’t have enough jokes to fill a few more minutes. But with cinemas closed and films being postponed, I’m going to run out of recent films to review. I’m just going to have to bite the bullet.
During my TBT review of Sixteen Candles, I suggested that having the film as your favourite John Hughes movie probably said a lot about you as a person. The film is great, as I say in my review, and was a solid debut for him as a director. It was also a great breakout role of Molly Ringwald. The problem is, it’s quite rapey and kind of racist. I know it’s an 80s thing but watching it now makes me uncomfortable. To be fair though, most of them do. But I decided that it would be fun to decide which my favourite movies were by him as either a writer, director or both. So, here are mine. What is your favourite John Hughes film?
You never really know what to expect from a film that makes headlines because of leaked photos showing a child actor in blackface. Good Boys caused a great deal of controversy when TMZ leaked photos showing one of the stand-in actors having been made to look darker-skinned. Seth Rogen apologised, obviously, but it’s a weird thing. In this day and age, why would anyone think it’s a good idea? Now, I’m not an expert but surely there are better ways of dealing with inconsistencies like this? For one thing, find someone who looks more like the main actor? There have got to be loads of kids out there who look similar enough to Keith L. Williams, right? Anyway, I guess it got the film noticed. Although, it’s a film that sees Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg producing a version of Superbad with kids. It was always going to get a fair bit of attention.
One of the films that I watched for my Throwback Thirty was the Michael Caine and Steve Martin comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. It wasn’t the worst film that I watched last year but it didn’t really make an impact. So, the news that it was being remade with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson didn’t necessarily leave me feeling super excited. I’m all for getting more female leads in comedy films but why does it have to be like this? Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was itself a remake. So, The Hustle is a remake of a remake. I know it’s a bit of a cliche to say that Hollywood is out of ideas but, is Hollywood out of ideas or something? And, as much as I don’t want to sound like those awful men on the internet, I just didn’t really see what the gender switch was really going to add to the story.
This is last TBT post of November. A fact that can only mean one thing: we’re only 4 posts away from the end of this whole series. In just four weeks time I never have to watch a film from 1988 ever again if I don’t want to. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid watching any of the “decent” films that I had intended to watch. I kind of feel like I need to at least watch Cinema Paradiso as it was the Oscar winner from that year. But, then again, when there are still so many shitty films out there it’s impossible to imagine sitting down to watch something good. I know that I’m watching both Scrooged and Die Hard in December so it just begs the question, what are the other two going to be? But, let’s not think about that now. Not when we have a film all about female empowerment. It’s all feeling very progressive but is it as predictable as I think it’s going to be?
Sherlock Holmes is quite the character. According to certain statistics, he’s the most portrayed human literary character. Way back in 2012, the Guinness Book of World Records awarded him the title after it decided the sleuth had been depicted a whopping 254 times on-screen. A number that beat Hamlet by 48. All in all, the great detective has, according to the numbers, been played by over 75 different actors so, by this point we’re definitely starting to get that sense of déjà vu. Which is probably why so many TV and film executives keep trying to find new and interesting ways to reinvent the character. We’ve seen him with deerstalker, without deerstalker, with a coke habit, without a coke habit, with emotions, without emotions. He’s been played by American actors, by British actors, by Grand Moff Tarkin, and by Dr Strange. So many options. It’s amazing anyone even keeps trying when there have been so many options! But, apparently, people will never stop trying to make it new again. Something director Thom Eberhardt took to a new level in 1988 when he turned the traditional premise on its head starring two of our finest actors.
John Hughes wrote a shitload of films. A hell of a lot more than I’ve ever really appreciated. Looking at his filmography has shown me just how much of an influence he had over my childhood and teenage years without me ever realising. Obviously, films like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles are classic 80s teen films that everyone knows about. Then there’s kid friendly things like Home Alone and Uncle Buck both of which I’ve loved for years. But, as it turns out, there’s absolutely loads of films I’ve always enjoyed that were written by him too. After all, what kid really pays any attention to who writes a film? I mean if I had £1 for every time my sister and I watched the 1994 film Dennis the Menace I’d had a fuckload of pound coins right now. It was only thanks to Wikipedia today that I realised it was written by non other than John Hughes. Miracle on 34th Street is one of my top 10 Christmas films without me ever realising that it was another Hughes film. So, all set with the knowledge that John Hughes is probably single-handedly responsible for my cinematic awakening, I set out to watch another of his films that I’d never seen before. Would it be another classic or another Mr Mom?
I’m starting to get to the point with my TBT film jar where the fun films are getting fewer and the more serious ones are piling up. It will mean that I will finally get to see some of the classics of the 80s that I’ve always put off but it also means I’ll have to be in the right frame of mind when I watch them. Today I don’t think I could have handled anything other than this light-hearted crime caper. It’s been my day off and I’ve been super lazy all day. So lazy, in fact, that I fell asleep during my initial viewing of this film and missed a good chunk of the story. Once I’d been revitalised by my nap I went back and finished it properly. I don’t think my inability to stay awake was caused by the film itself. More the fact that my bastard body clock refuses to let me sleep in when I’m not working. The problem with working 7am shifts during the week means I’ve not had a proper lie in for years. I miss my uni days when I could genuinely sleep in all morning and not give a shit. Also, back in those days, because I had so little contact time, I could watch at least 3 films in one day.
Today has been a bad day, if I’m honest. Work sucks at the moment and, as it’s nearly been 2 weeks since the deadline for the job I really wanted, I’m assuming my recent application hasn’t come to anything. I mean I haven’t heard anything so I can still blindly cling to the small amount of hope that’s left. But it doesn’t look good. Still, there’ll be other jobs somewhere… I’m sure. I’ve just been tired and stressed today. A good night’s sleep will make everything seem better, right? Well, it can’t hurt. So I’ll try to wrap this up as quickly as possible. Which, to be honest, is probably a good thing. I watched Midnight Run for the first time ever yesterday and, stupidly, I wasn’t paying a great deal of attention to all of it. I mean I got the gist of it but I can’t say it really pulled me all the way in. So we’ll see what kind of sense we can make out of it. Incidentally, I’ve had the ‘Bobby DeNiro Song’ by comedians Adam and Joe in my head all day. I’m not complaining. It’s a great song. I could just have done with remembering more of the words…