I made a bold claim on Tuesday that I liked every romantic-comedy starring John Cusack. Well, I said that before I remembered just how many shitty romantic-comedies he’s been in. I mean he’s not up to Tom Hanks numbers yet but there are some bad ones. I mean I can kind of give Serendipity a pass because of the book thing but America’s Sweethearts? Urgh. High Fidelity and Say Anything really do a lot for his reputation as a romantic hero I guess. Or maybe I just do a lot for it? I do love him. And I have done since that first time I saw him holding that boom box outside Ione Skye’s window. I’d recently seen a John Cusack romantic-comedy that I’d never seen appear on Netflix, so I decided it could really answer the question once and for all. Is John Cusack the romantic hero of my dreams or my nightmares?
I have to admit that I normally roll my eyes at romantic-comedies. I just get pretty bored with them. It’s always the same thing. Boy meets girl who is way out of his league. Boy tries to win girl but doesn’t. Girl eventually realises that boy is perfect for her. Boy gets girl. Urgh just thinking about it is making my eyes roll. I haven’t always been like this. As a youngster I loved romantic-comedies. I definitely liked Richard Curtis films ways more than they deserved. Obviously, anything starring John Cusack was more than okay with me. And I definitely spent many a sleepover watching whatever 90s/00s chick flick was all the rage. But I’ve grown up a lot since then and I find the whole thing pretty dodgy these days. Some of them break through and do something different. Most of them are just guff. I mean just look at how many romantic-comedies Netflix are churning out these days. They’re essentially the same film but with characters of different ages, ethnicities, and genders. And, if I’m honest, I thought Long Shot was going to be another forgettable piece of nonsense.
Anyone who’s been keeping up with my Sunday Rundowns of late will know that I’ve been making painfully slow progress with Shakespeare: The World as a Stage by Bill Bryson. So, when I was approached by Linh Le James to read her novel #Toots for a review, I decided it would be a good excuse for a break from my current read. And, thankfully, it was a quick read that proved to me it’s not that I’m in a slump that Byrson is taking so long. It’s just the book itself. So, I’m now wondering, still being only about halfway through at 2.5 weeks, whether it’s worth carrying on with it. I don’t want to give up considering how much time I’ve put into it but it feels like this uphill struggle is never going to end. I mean, there’s only so much pleasure you can take reading the history of a man who we know next to nothing about. It’s pretty much all speculation. I’ll be honest, I could have been asked to review any book right now and I’d probably had agreed just to give me the excuse to put Bryson down again. Maybe that explains why I got through #Toots in only 3 days? Or maybe it was just the best book I’ve ever read?
I will always kind of believe that reviewing a Netflix film for my Tuesday review is something of a cop-out. It doesn’t feel as though it takes much effort and, as we’ve come to see, most Netflix original films aren’t that great. Netflix does something things amazingly well; documentaries; animated shows; reviving old comedies; and stand up specials. What it hasn’t yet nailed is films. Some have worked really well. Okay, I mean Okja was worth watching and others were enjoyable enough. But the majority of films I’ve watched in the last few years have been disappointing or just ridiculous… I’m looking at you A Christmas Prince. So when Netflix announced that it was adapting the hit YA romance novel All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. It’s a book I’ve seen all over Instagram in the past but dismissed it due to it’s awfully clichéd romance cover and my horribly judgmental personality. But I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for the film version so I had to check it out. Even though I knew it wouldn’t be for me. Any teen movie not starring Chad Michael Murray and Hilary Duff will feel right.
I was absolutely sure that I’d seen all of Cocktail before. It’s one of those infamous Tom Cruise films that I guess I just know so much about that I believe I’ve watched it. I’ve seen the beginning, I’m sure. I know that somewhere along the line I’ve sat and watched Tom Cruise chuck bottles of booze around. But, when rewatching this week, I realised that there is a whole lot more to this film than I’d remembered. I guess I just never finished it. It’s like The Sound of Music. Throughout my childhood, I don’t think I’d ever got beyond the Edelweiss scene. That means for a large part of my life I’d never seen the Von Trapp family hike over the mountain to freedom. It does leave me wondering how many other films I claim to have seen despite never making it to the end credits. Have I ever actually watched any film? Is my memory just playing tricks on me? Well, whatever the case is, I can now happily say that I watched an entire film about Tom Cruise pretending to be a sexy barman who can mix drinks with style. It’s not like it’s made my life better but it’s a fact.
I’ve had a really difficult week at work and I really wanted to relax by watching an old favourite film. Unfortunately, most of the 1988 films that I know and love have already been used as topics of my weekly Throwback Thirty review. So, when I put my hand into my TBT jar or film titles it was highly unlikely that I was going to get one I really wanted. I have to admit that, in my down state, I took several attempts to pick a film that I was in the mood for. I know I should want to watch Cinema Paradiso because it’s so celebrated but I really don’t think I could have handled it. Eventually I settled on this cult film that is not only one of Julia Roberts’ first roles but also Matt Damon’s first appearance in a film. It’s weird to think of a time before Julia Roberts was a massive star. It was 1990’s Pretty Woman that really pushed her into the limelight and showed that she was someone to pay attention to. Two years before that she was given second billing behind Annabeth Gish in this tale of three young women working at a small pizza restaurant. It was believed that Gish would go on to be the biggest name from this film. Bet whoever made that assumption feels stupid now.
There are loads of amazing films coming out soon and I’m desperate to see them all. The only trouble is finding time to see them. These days I don’t get to the cinema as often as I’d like. It’s why I have to review older films and Netflix originals in my Tuesday posts so often. Not that I’m really complaining. There were so many films I missed last year that I feel like I need to watch and I’m always hopeful that Netflix will create a truly wonderful film. So far I’ve not been completely impressed by their film outputs but they’ve been getting better. The so-called comedies have been a huge letdown but their more intimate portrayals of people’s lives have fared better. Kodachrome wasn’t perfect but it was the best Netflix film I’ve seen since Okja. The trailer for their latest film kept popping up on my feed as something they obviously thought I’d enjoy. And I can see why. I’ve not seen a great deal of Ben Schwartz’s back catalogue but, as a huge fan of Parks and Rec, am always a little excited to find out he’s in something. Plus, this film looked super adorable and the plot looked interesting and simple. And, the best thing of all, it didn’t star Adam DeVine. Massive bonus.