A Walk To Remember to Remember

I’ll always remember it was late afternoon… when I went to Greece Ridge Cinemas as a 15 year old and saw A Walk to Remember and unexpectedly cried because ~*tRu LoVe*~.

On January 25th, 2002, “Candy” and “I Wanna Be With You” hitmaker Mandy Moore hit the big screen for her first starring role in a movie, alongside Once and Again star Shane West. Based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, the story centered on bad boy Landon Carter, who unexpectedly falls in love with good Christian girl Jamie Sullivan (even though she tells him not to). It’s a love story for the ages with one big twist and for most people, it was just another teen movie. For older millennials, it was one of the movies that defined our generation.

For me, A Walk to Remember holds a special place in my heart for different reasons, with different memories connected to each one. In addition to the VHS tape I played over and over again (and currently have in my room JIC I need a Landon/Jamie fix), I was equally obsessed with the soundtrack. For my 16th birthday, my friend gave me the soundtrack (along with a set of fake play keys because I could drive and lololol) and as soon as I popped that baby in my boombox, it was spinning constantly.

While music did play a big part in the film (ONLY HOPE THO), I always felt like the soundtrack didn’t receive the attention it properly deserved. So what better way to celebrate A Walk to Remember than by stepping back in time This Is Us style and revisiting the tracks that formed our formative years.

Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

Some songs are just meant to be featured in movies with characters driving a long distance and thinking about their lives. In this case, it’s Switchfoot’s Dare You to Move falls under that category. It’s the perfect blend of stirring instrumentals and contemplative lyrics that make it a great fit for the movie and an even better fit as the first song on the soundtrack.

Cry by Mandy Moore

Only Hope aside, Cry was the most well known song off this album. Partly because it was sung by Queen Mandy, but also because it was also a single from her self-titled album that came out the year prior. Of course the irony is that we were all left crying in the theater after watching this movie, but I find it much more entertaining to take in the magic that is this music video to promote the film.

Someday We’ll Know by Mandy Moore and Jonathan Foreman

I was obsessed with the New Radicals original version of this song when it came out in 1999, and when I thought I couldn’t even love it even more, Mandy and Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot did just that. By having the two of them cover the song specifically for the movie, it took on a whole new meaning and reflected the love story between Jamie and Landon, pivoting from the New Radicals’ version of lost love and regret.

Dancin’ in the Moonlight by Toploader

15 year old me had no idea this song was a cover of a King Harvest track from 1972, but I guess A Walk to Remember was there to educate the people. Either way, it was a nice lighthearted song that conveyed the easiness to Jamie and Landon’s relationship, despite the fact the odds were against them. Also I’d like to think it was a preview into Mandy’s most ICONIC album, Coverage (which I wrote about for a past Mandy Moore Monday post).

Learning to Breathe by Switchfoot

Fun fact: Switchfoot was initially signed to a Christian label, and throughout their tenure as a band, they’ve had a weird relationship with being labelled a “Christian band”. However, this song, and the album of the same name, proved to be very sucessful for them in 2001, when it was nominated for a Best Rock Gospel Album Grammy.

Only Hope by Mandy Moore

I.CON.IC. ICONIC.

It’s Gonna Be Love by Mandy Moore

I really like this song, but it always threw me off when it started playing during a tender moment between Landon and Jamie when he’s putting the temp tattoo on her and softly blowing her skin. Cue Mandy Moore singing on the radio while Mandy Moore as Jamie Sullivan reacts in awe/shock/love when she feels the feels.

You by Switchfoot

Switchfoot probably got the most exposure during the Walk to Remember era, but they’ve always been one of those bands that is just always… around. It’s because their music is fine – it’s not bad, it’s not great, it’s not mainstream pop being played on the radio 24/7. Example: this song.

If You Believe by Rachael Lampa

Now that I’m thinking about it – were the producers of this film purposefully choosing Christian music artists for the soundtrack because Jamie and her Reverend father were too? Or does Rachel Lampa just have a really good PR team?

No One by Cold

This is the song I always skip.

So What Does It All Mean? by West, Gould, & Fitzgerald

This track is more in line with Landon’s squad of horrible people, but also, could have been on the Empire Records soundtrack too?

Mother, We Just Can’t Get Enough by New Radicals

New Radicals didn’t get to sing their own song, so instead, they featured on their own track. Good enough.

Only Hope by Switchfoot

You’re a certain type of person that says they prefer this version over Mandy Moore’s version of Only Hope. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s a choice.

This Should’ve Won An Oscar: Rewatching Matilda

We’d never dream of doing an entire Matilda Week without rewatching the movie. Dare I say, this week was one part celebration of one of our favorite books and movies, one part commemoration of Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, and one part excuse to watch Matilda again. Like us, the movie has aged very well and is a constant delight. Here were some of our thoughts as we watched it:

This Should’ve Won An Oscar

In general, I think the cinematography is A+. Every scene can be taken as a still shot and look like a piece of art. Danny uses a lot of overhead shots and creative angles when need be, and I appreciate that when Matilda’s younger, there are a lot of camera shots taken from her point of view

I Forgot About 90s Film Quality

Maybe my DVD isn’t ~digitally remastered but I’m shocked by how dull and fuzzy this is.

Truly, Truly Iconic Scene

A+++ Casting On Young Matilda

During our last blog meeting we went on a search for the younger versions of Matilda. Here is Caitlin Fein (one of the toddler Matildas) now:

And here is Mara Wilson now:

Good work, C.S.A.

#RIPMrsPhelpsTheLibrarian

Do you guys ever watch movies from the 90s and see an old person and think, ‘He/she is probs dead.’ Then feel really sad because it’s true? (This actress died in 2000).

Likewise, anyone who was a small child is now an adult. Obviously we know that Mara Wilson has always been roughly our age, but baby Matilda? You saw how old she is.

Harry Wormwood Is The Worst

“Listen, you little wiseacre: I’m smart, you’re dumb; I’m big, you’re little; I’m right, you’re wrong, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Harry Wormwood, the worst

Dark Matilda

You know, if this movie was cut differently, it could easily be a prequel to The Orphan or basically any horror movie which features a little girl as the demon. OH LOOK SOMEONE’S DONE THAT ALREADY. LIKE, MULTIPLE TIMES.

Plus, taking the magical powers out of it, even if you’re the loveliest teacher ever you don’t just get to KEEP THE KID THAT YOU LIKE. This movie definitely demands a dark recut.

Also Lissy Doll is a dead ringer for Matilda which is very Are You Afraid Of The Dark, if you ask me.

Michael Wormwood Is Dudley Dursely

And Matilda’s parents are Vernon and Petunia. Miss Honey is Dumbledore, but also Hagrid and Sirius.

Matilda is probably a Gryffindor but you can make an argument for Ravenclaw. Lavender is a Hufflepuff. I think Miss Honey has some Hufflepuff traits but she’s mainly brave, so Gryffindor.

Do We Think It’s Weird That This Is Set In The USA?

Roald Dahl is such a beloved British treasure that it feels kind of odd that this is set in the USA. I’m not exactly complaining because this movie is so perfect that I wouldn’t wish away any of it. I bet if this movie were made today there would be a big outcry about exporting it to the US and it would have been set in the UK instead.

To translate Crunchem School to the US system they had to create this weird public school that’s sort of like a bizarre private school. It all contributes to the storybook quality of the movie, so it’s fine.

Romper Room

I know what rompers are in modern fashion parlance but I always imagine those baggy calico overalls that Pigtail Amanda wears.

“You Chose Books, I Chose Looks”

Mrs. Wormwood’s taunt reminds me of something a snotty girl would have said in second grade. Also joke’s on her, Miss Honey is a fox and everybody knows it.

Cake By The Pound

“It’s hard for me to remember a specific cake.” Bruce Bogtrotter spittin the truth

I continue to think that chocolate cake looks like the best chocolate cake ever made (apparently the actor who played Bruce didn’t really like cake much, and Danny had his baker friend create a Magnolia Bakery-esque cake for the scene).

“I can’t look, is he going to puke?” – little Lavender’s delivery of this line is one of the best things in the whole movie, and that’s saying something.

Truncuhbull’s Not Wrong

Mrs. D. Mrs. I.
Mrs. F. F. I.
Mrs. C. Mrs. U.
Mrs. L. T. Y.

…why are all these women married?

This Score Is Perfect

Whether it’s the suspenseful music when they’re in Truncuhbull’s (ahem.. rightfully Miss Honey’s) House or the jaunty tune when Bruce is gorging on cake, this is a masterpiece and we’re retroactively annoyed about the missing Oscar. Did you ever notice that 90s kids’ movies, like Matilda, Home Alone, and The Parent Trap, had phenomenal scores, like filmmakers realized children could appreciate good things?

By the way, if you loved a movie in the 90s there’s an excellent chance David Newman was responsible for the score.

The 1972 Olympics

Trunchbull competed in the 1972 Olympics. This film was released in 1996. Ergo, the 2016 equivalent would be a principal who competed in the 1992 Olympics, which I can sort-of remember. Woof.

By the by, Trunchbull’s build is sort of a take on those poor East German athletes who were forced to take a lot of hormones, I think.

PeeWee Herman

… is in this??? I’m honestly not even including this as a thing you probably don’t know about Matilda. I’m just shocked I never noticed this.

Danny DeVito Is A Prince

You know the too-cute scene where Matilda dances around to Little Bitty Pretty One making objects move? In the behind the scenes footage, DeVito explains that Mara was a little nervous about doing that scene. He said “you know why? Because you’re the only one dancing” and made everyone on set – down to craft services – dance. I did some acting as a kid and a lot of adults just didn’t understand how kids think, but it seems like DeVito GOT IT and created a set that was every bit as magical as the movie.

I Don’t Think You’re Ready…

“Absolutely not, Molly” – My mother, Aisle 12 of Wegmans, 1995.

The Wormwoods have that peanut butter and jelly that is all swirled together in one jar and seriously they WOULD.

I Have Another Oscar Complaint

I want there to be a category for extras and bit players and I want it retroactively awarded to the children in Matilda’s class during the Trunchbull revenge scene.

We don’t need to talk about the special effects during that scene. They were doing their best.

Send Me On My Way

The closing scene is so perfect there’s nothing to say about it, so we’re just going to send you on your way.

Baseball Movies, A Late 80s/Early 90s Micro-Trend Remembered

Baseball and film go together like, well, peanuts and cracker jacks. The oldest baseball comedy I could track down, Baseball Madness, was released in 1917, so the genre is almost 100 years old. As recently as 2014, Million Dollar Arm and 42 proved that the baseball film isn’t going anywhere. Still, I’d argue that the baseball movie was especially hot during the late 80s and early 90s. Some of these films recycled plot points and key scenes, but they’re still the best way to begin the most wonderful time of the year: MLB season.

Bull Durham

Year: 1998

Catch Phrase: This speech that I hate:

(I forgot how much I hated this speech but I do. I hate it.)

Key points: One of the only baseball rom-coms on this list (or in film, to be honest). Kevin Costner (Crash) mentors pitcher Tim Robbins (Nuke). Susan Sarandon (Annie) loves them both. Basically Annie and Crash both “coach” Nuke and in the process they form this weird enmeshed relationship. Who will she choose? (Spoiler: Crash, after Nuke makes it to the majors.) Also this is where I learned that baseball groupies exist.

Fun facts:

  • Sports Illustrated has named Bull Durham the best sports movie ever made.
  • Writer/director Ron Shelton was a minor leaguer himself, playing for the Rochester Red Wings (incidentally, our hometown team).
  •  Susan Sarandon, at 41, was thought to be too old to play the love interest of Tim Robbins (29) and Kevin Costner (32).
  • Sarandon and Robbins, who were together for over 20 years, met during filming.
  • The wedding extras came from a nearby Pink Floyd concert.

Is Costner In It: Yes

Field Of Dreamszone27s-5-web

Year: 1989

Catch Phrase:

Key points: Kevin Costner again plays a baseball guy (Ray Kinsella) with a significant other named Annie (Amy Madigan). His dead father shows up and tells him to plow a baseball diamond into his cornfield, which he and his wife both think is a reasonable request. Then all these basbeball ghosts from 1919 keep showing up, which again leaves everybody more or less nonplussed. Okay, then it’s time for a road trip, and Ray meets an author and they see ghost stats from the 1920s on a Fenway scoreboard. Spooooky. Except not, because again, nobody is really disturbed by any of this. Right. Well, they meet more baseball ghosts, and then they go back to the farm, and Ray’s dead father comes to play catch. Ray’s daughter Karin chokes on a hotdog, because this is baseball, and a baseball ghost named Moonlight saves her, then walks off into the corn. They all play baseball and people come to the games. This summary has been provided by me watching this movie on cable a lot when I was under the age of 8, and then not seeing it for the past two decades.

Fun facts:

Gaby Hoffman (Now and Then and – more recently – Transparent, Girls and Obvious Child) plays little Karin.

It sounds made up but it isn’t: a young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were extras at Fenway.

James Stewart was offered the role of Moonlight Graham.

A lot of the baseball ghosts were from the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Is Costner In It: Yes

Major League

Year: 1989

Catch Phrase:

Key points: A showgirl inherits the Cleveland Indians, and tries to trigger an escape clause to move the team to Miami. To do that she needs low attendance, so she hires a ragtag team of really old or really bad baseball players. I think if you’ve ever seen a movie you know where this is going: they pull it together and win. Plus, they beat the Yankees, which as a Mets/ Red Sox blog we really enjoyed.

Fun facts:

  • Charlie Sheen (Ricky Vaughn) almost landed a role in another late 80s/early 90s baseball movie: Bull Durham.
  • Sheen took steroids to prep for the role, even though by now we all realize he isn’t really a person who needed to get hyped up by ‘roid rage.
  • In the original ending, showgirl owner Rachel Phelps actually never planned to move the team to Miami, she just wanted to give the team some motivation. But why did she field such an (on paper) terrible team, then?
  • Pete Vuckovich (Clu) was a real MLB player, and when told to say something to the catcher that a real ball player would say, he asked “how’s your wife and kids.” The sport of gentlemen, my friends.

Is Costner In It: No

A League Of Their Ownleage-own

Year: 1992

Catch Phrase:

Key points: During WWII, with baseball-aged men fighting the war oversees, the All-American Girls League is formed. Among the players: sisters Kit and Dottie, dancer Mae, Southern Belle Ellen Sue, and poor frumpy Marla Hooch. Manager Jimmy Dugan is a total jerk and he’s really mean, but the players are all fantastic and Jimmy can STFU. Kit and Dottie have a Venus and Serena-style sibling faceoff. Then it’s 1988 and the players are all old ladies, and they sing their baseball song, and I cry every single time.

Fun facts:

  • If you think this isn’t one of the best sports movies ever, you’re wrong.
  • If a group of elderly ladies reunited to reminisce about the baseball team of their youth today, they’d be looking back at 1976 (which, by my estimates, means that the “old ladies” at the hall of fame actually aren’t really old; this just came out when I was really young).
  • The director’s cut is four hours long and I want it.
  • The actresses attended baseball training camp before filming. Madonna was not great.
  • Truth > fiction and the real players in the AAGPL were pretty much amazing.

The Sandlotthe-sandlot-moviejpg-e0cddbb30033fc8a

Year: 1993

Catch Phrase: So many! Just a few:

  • You’re killin’ me, Smalls.
  • For-ev-er.
  • Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die, follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.

Key points: If you grew up in the 90s, there’s an excellent chance you watched this dozens of times and still know when to turn away during the carnival scene. It’s a classic “gravelly voiced adult man narrates his nostalgic, sun-tinged childhood” story. Scotty Smalls moves to a new town and starts playing pickup baseball with the neighborhood kids. The sandlot where they play backs up to an old man’s house, which is guarded by a ferocious dog (the beast), so every time they hit a ball over it’s gone forever. Smalls hits his stepfather’s Babe Ruth ball over the fence, so he has to face up to The Beast. In the process he meets Mr. Myrtle, a Negro League player who gives Smalls a ball signed by all of the Yankees as a replacement.

Fun facts:

  • If The Sandlot came out today, the carefree, old-fashioned childhood would have taken place in roughly 1986. Gulp.
  • It was only 56 degrees the day they shot the Wendy Pfeffercorn pool scene.
  • The Beast was a puppet (some of the time, anyway).
  • The Sandlot’s birthday is this week, and Where Are They Nows are popping up all over the place.

Is Costner In It: No

Rookie Of The Year101215rookieoftheyear

Year: 1993

Catch Phrase: The three Rs:

Key points: Henry, a little boy, breaks his arm and it is reset in such a way that he becomes a baseball phenom. He is recruited to the Chicago Cubs. Henry’s mom has a garbage boyfriend who tries to trade Henry to the Yankees, but it doesn’t pan out. Then Henry loses his magical broken arm pitch, and it’s back to Little League – but the Cubs did the World Series thanks to him.

Fun facts:

  • Thomas Ian Nicholas (Henry) has a Cubs jersey with his character’s name on it, which he recently wore to a Cubs game, which is adorable.
  • The official MLB minimum signing age: 16.

Is Costner In It: No

Angels In The Outfield39f87a27-1e5a-476a-ba0d-dc5cc3544862

Year: 1994

Catch Phrase:

Key points: It’s really hard to tell this, Rookie of the Year, and Little Big League apart if you haven’t seen them for 20 years. But this one stars baby Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Roger, a foster kid whose dad tells him they’ll be a family again “when the Angels win the pennant.” So Roger starts praying about it, and THEN Roger and his boy J.P. watch a game and see… well, it’s in the title. They see angels. In the outfield. Roger becomes a kind of good luck charm/consultant since he knows what the angels want. The Angels make it to the championship but I guess angels aren’t allowed in the, ahem, outfield during the postseason, so they have to win it on their own. Which they do. Then Roger and his boy JP get adopted by  the team manager, George, who unlike Roger’s dad isn’t the worst.

Fun facts:

  • Received the college humor treatment, parodying sports doc series 30 for 30:

  • All-star cast: in addition to JGL, the film featured Matthew McConaughey, Adrien Brody, Tony Danza, Danny Glover, Christopher Lloyd and Dermot Mulroney.
  • Angels In The Outfield was a remake of a 1951 film of the same name.

Little Big League

Year: 1994

Catch Phrase: I feel like there weren’t any?

Key points: Rounding out the 1993-1994 “baseball would be even greater if run by little boys” series, Little Big League is about a boy named Billy who has a single mom (so many single moms in baseball movies?). Billy’s grandpa dies and Billy inherits the Minnesota Twins. So Billy has some run-ins with the grownups in the franchise who are just trying to do their jobs, and names himself manager, since he’s a 12 year old white boy (aka the living, breathing heart and soul of baseball according to early 90s films). As it turns out, little boys are bad at running baseball teams so Billy steps down after ruining things. But he’s one of those people who can ruin things and still be totally beloved, like Tim Riggins.

Fun facts:

  • IRL, owners can’t also manage their teams.
  • The early 90s baseball movie boom means there was an early 2010s “where are the people in those early 90s baseball movies now” boom, and Little Big League wasn’t left out.

Pop Culture Blind Spots: The Quiet Man

Just last week I wrote this post about things Irish-Americans will understand, but the truth is I’ve been missing a big part of the typical experience. Friends, I’ve never seen The Quiet Man. Pop Culture Blind Spots are all about getting acquainted with the classics and cult favorites that we’ve somehow missed out on, and it doesn’t get much more classic than John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. It’s still Irish-American Heritage Month, and this pop culture blind spot is FULL of Ireland, America (John Wayne, hello!) and a healthy heaping of heritage.

  • What I know about The Quiet Man: John Wayne is an American (I hope, because he’s not great with accents) who goes to Ireland and falls in love with Maureen O’Hara before dragging her across a meadow on Christmas. Maybe he’s trying to be a cowboy in Ireland? Maybe Ireland doesn’t need cowboys. But maybe Maureen O’Hara needs a cowboy.

Based on this poster: a lot’s going on.

  • Also, I’ve been present when The Quiet Man was on – my dad has it on TV at some point every Christmas – but I’ve never actually watched it.
  • Huge props to whomever first put credits AFTER the movie instead of before. Like most old movies, this one begins with a solid few minutes of people’s names.
  • They segregate Irish cast members under a heading The Irish Players and for some reason that cracks me up.
  • John Wayne meets a priest whose whole purpose is to give exposition about him and his parents.
  • Okay, so Sean (John Wayne) was born in Ireland, and now is returning, but he was in America long enough to sound like John Wayne, the voice that comes out of the eagle on a $1 bill.
  • Wow, Ireland has a normal amount of trees. Background: I have relatives who maintain that “the English” cut all the trees down in Ireland and that’s why there … aren’t trees there? First of all, sounds fake. Second of all, if Ireland had a climate where trees grow, wouldn’t trees eventually come back? According to the cinematography of The Quiet Man, yes.
  • No lie, this is filmed in BEAUTIFUL technicolor.
  • This lush countryside with the sheep, collie, and Maureen O’Hara in it is 100% how Americans stereotype Ireland. Just need a thatched cottage (forthcoming, I’m assuming) and a leprechaun (probably not) or family with many children (maybe).

  • Thatched roofs appear by the 10-minute mark, don’t worry.
  • Maureen O’Hara has my natural hair type, and I’d really like those poofy 40s hairdos to come back.

Lit’rally my stupid hair.

  • Speaking of 1940s hairdos, when is this set? Is it mid-century, or is it, like, 1880? So far the modes of transportation are bicycle, horse, and train, so that doesn’t help. I got up to let my dog in during the first minute of the movie so this may have been addressed already. Widow Tillane is showing kind of a lot of ankle if it’s set in olden days, no offense.
  • Wow, everyone sure is wrapped in a lot of tweed in this movie.
  • Mr. Danaher (Victor McLaglen) tries to have an Irish accent some of the time (not all of the time).
  • Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara) and the other Danahers live in a spacious cottage with a hutch full of fancy china, so at least they aren’t going for the thing where everyone in Ireland is poor.
  • Is this a drinking game? Cool, drink for family with many kids (Mary Kate has an indeterminate number of brothers, unless they’re just house guests).
  • Unrelated: a teen walking a pit bull just let it poop in my front lawn then walked away. SO RUDE, wow. I was going to go bang on my window but I was afraid of spite poop from now til eternity.
  • Drink for people singing folk songs in a pub.
  • I like how there’s a stock character of Old Ethnic White Man With Long Beard who looks completely the same for every ethnicity. Whether you’re Russian, Irish, German or French, eventually you’ll look like this guy:

Far left.

  • Drink again for people singing folk songs in a pub.
  • I don’t know when the title is going to make sense, but as of a half hour in, John Wayne talks a normal amount at a regular volume.
  • OK, I’ll bite. I’ve heard in/een added to girl names before to make it a nickname, but never guy names. Michaeleen, Seanin… I guess it’s a thing! That’s fun.

Sean: So you can talk.

Mary Kate: Yes I can, I will, and I do.

…Maybe he’s only quiet compared to her then.

  • Now Sean and Mary Kate are in love because they looked at each other at mass, which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to go to mass more.
  • A (Protestant) Reverend and his wife visit Sean. They’re mostly made of tweed.
  • Over 60 years later, The Quiet Man still looks like a product of Ireland’s travel bureau.
  • My favorite thing about Mary Kate is she’s always wearing a blanket cape like me in the winter watching Netflix.
  • Mary Kate will only get married if her property goes with her. Married women could own property in the UK after the 1880s (assuming this is pre-independence?).I’m not sure yet when TQM is set. The costuming and set design are vague and woolen.
  • I had to look it up, because it was driving me crazy. Released in 1952, set in the 1920s. Some of the folksy dresses are probably fine because it’s a rural area, but I think Mary Kate’s hair is a bit anachronistic. Probably because it’s my hair, scalped off of my head and placed on Maureen O’Hara’s.
  • They’re at the races, and nobody started singing “ev’ry duke and earl and peer is here,” so I did.
  • No offense but this isn’t going to be a great jockey:

    I can’t find a photo of him in his racing silks, but trust me, hilarious.

  • “Two women in the house, and one of them a redhead.” File under: should be offended, but that’s actually fair.
  • Man. Everyone is very pissed that Mary Kate (MK, I call her) isn’t putting her bonnet on a pole, which is culturally relevant somehow.
  • Call me crazy, but I’m starting to really like the name Mary Kate. Too Olsen Twins? Maybe it could be short for Mary Katherine. Too Molly Shannon? Just putting it out there.
  • IF there were such a thing as drag racing horses, that’s what happens.
  • Well, I’ve thought Mary Kate’s brother was her dad for the past hour. Let it be known that MK has a giant brother who is approximately 40 years older than her.
  • MK has a “fearful temper” which in the 1920s just meant opinions, sometimes.
  • Sean and MK steal a bicycle built for two after they get engaged, but as far as I’m concerned the only crime they’re committing is being too darn adorable (plus petty theft I suppose).
  • Everyone folk-sings “I’m sorry I never got married” at Sean and MK’s wedding. Fun party.
  • BRB overdubbing this whole wedding scene with Helpless/Satisfied from Hamilton.
  • MK’s Old Brother announces that he’s marrying Widow Whatever-aher at Sean and MK’s reception. Talk about thunder-stealing. Also he didn’t clear it with Widow first, which isn’t great. All of these people are like 2 generations apart and it’s very confusing.
  • Sean flashes back to boxing, punching a guy out, and accidentally killing him. WOAH PLOT TWIST. Genuinely did not say that coming.
  • Saddest moment in the movie: MK says “ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having my own things about me.” Her lifelong dream was to be allowed to own stuff. What does her old brother care anyway? He’s probably almost dead or about to marry into all that sweet Widow Talooley money or whatever.
  • OH OK. MK is going to go Lysistrata until she gets her dowry.
  • MK gets her furniture, and it looks GREAT. But no money because her brother’s a dick.
  • MK talks Irish to the priest, who is fishing and wearing some tweed, but not like a Protestant amount.
  • How about from now on I just tell you if there’s a pub scene that doesn’t end in singing?
  • Meanwhile in the protestant minister’s house, you can tell that he’s a protestant minister by the wife and the giant globs of silver on the mantle. He and Sean have a tete-a-tete about the deadly boxing max and the Danaher dowry.
  • Not to make too much of the cinematography, but I feel like I should be paying more than my monthly Netflix membership to watch this, it’s so pretty.
  • Basically all of the male minor characters are Alfred P. Doolittle from My Fair Lady.
  • Know whose butts looked good in those saggy woolen pants they used to wear? Nobody’s butts. Not a single butt.
  • OK, help me with this. Sean pulls MK off a train and drags her by the arm through the town. A flock of Irish Players trail behind them. A guy at the pub announces that he’s “walking her back, the whole way.” The crowd grows, and Sean grows increasingly yank-y and rough. MK looses a shoe. She falls, he drags her anyway, then yanks her up and pushes her down a hill. Sean then drags MK by her coat collar. A woman hands Sean “a good stick to beat the lovely lady.”
  • You know how sometimes with old movies, it’s hard to understand how the original audiences found them at all surprising or riveting? I am every bit as befuddled as the 1952 audiences were. WHAT IS GOING ON. WHY CAN’T SHE WALK REGULAR. SINCE WHEN IS SEAN A WIFE-BEATER. WAS THIS COMEDY IN THE ’50s. IS THIS A SCHEME? IS THE WHOLE TOWN IN ON IT, BECAUSE IF NOT THEY ARE VERY VERY CHILL ABOUT ALL OF THIS WIFE-DRAGGING.
  • Here, just watch it actually:

  • Danaher won’t fork over the dowry money. Sean throws MK back at her bro, because no dowry/no wife. Old Brother Danaher throws the money at Sean. He and MK burn it. She was in on this, right? I still think he was unnecessarily rough. MK says she’ll have dinner ready for him, then leaves Sean to beat up her brother.
  • What follows is a ten-minute long fight sequence involving:
    • indiscriminate punches thrown by all of the villagers
    • … in a pile of hay
    • a shot fired by Michaeleen to call attention for the rules of the fight
    • Widow Tooraloora watching through an opera glass
    • Old Brother Danaher landing in a river
    • Bookies
    • A deathbed scene for the Bearded Ethnic White Man, interrupted when he pops up to watch the fight
    • Buckets of water thrown on Danaher
    • A priest rubbing his hands with glee
    • Other buckets of water thrown on everyone else
    • A BREAK FOR A PINT TOGETHER AT THE PUB
    • A sub-fight about who is buying the drinks
    • A door breaking into smithereens, a word I don’t use nearly enough
    • A singalong
    • Sean and Old Brother Danaher showing up, drunk and woozy, for dinner at MK’s on her great furniture she owns.
  • Time passes. A crowd is told to cheer like Protestants, which apparently is the word “hooray!” Old Man Danaher and Widow Talooraeay get married! Sean and MK scamper back to their cottage, married and adorable.
  • Well, it’s official. This movie has nothing to do with Christmas. Or, now that I think about it, a man who’s particularly quiet.

 

Post-Holiday Blah-Busting Winter Watchlist

So. Now it’s January. Just January. Been back at work for a few days. I’m feeling sort of chilly, but otherwise unremarkable. Maybe I have some Christmas cookies in my freezer, maybe not. Blah. January.

The same part of me that loved getting new school supplies every September (and even buying new textbooks in college and law school, except for the hefty price tag) likes the clean slate of a new year. Everything is white and blank and open to possibility. But still, it’s not exactly Christmas, is it?

If you had a really good Christmas or Solstice or whatever, going back to regular life is a letdown. If you had a terrible holiday, it kind of feels like you should get a do-over. There’s nothing you can do about that now, so let’s start our post-holiday watchlist.

Here are my requirements for post-holiday blah-busting viewing:

  • It shouldn’t be about the holidays, at least not primarily. If you simply had a wonderful Christmastime you’ll miss it, and if you had the Worst Kwanzaa In The World you’ll just dwell on it.
  • Something set in winter is good, but something that is at least not summer-specific is fine. Some people like escaping to warmer weather and longer days via TV and movies, but I’m more into celebrating the season that I’m in.
  • You know those dark independent comedies that are KIND of funny, like you chuckle under your breath a bit, but mostly they leave you feeling sort of bleak? Not now. Not this binge watch. Not on our blog.

Television

Happy Endings

Why: It’s one of the funniest shows that not enough people (apparently) watched, and is so light and sweet that you could consume large quantities of it in a single sitting, like FroYo. AND it is finally streaming on Hulu, for those of you who didn’t buy all of the seasons on DVD.

Friends

Why: It’s straight-up TV comfort food, and it’s also been so long that a lot of us have watched certain episodes that it’s like rereading old letters. For some reason I’m particularly thinking of seasons 3-8 or so, not sure why. Again, Netflix is going to facilitate this one.

Wings

Was this even good? I genuinely forget.

Why: I don’t know. I got it in my head a few days ago that I’d like to rewatch Wings, so I guess I just want SOMEONE to do it. But really: workplace comedy, occasional romantic intrigue, it’s set in Nantucket so things never get particularly tropical.

Fawlty Towers

Why: If you haven’t seen Fawlty Towers yet, you should – so why not now? And if you have seen it before, I think it would hold up to a rewatch. I know it’s set on the “English Riviera” but the hotel setting makes it feel kind of cosy.

Master of None

Why: We already told you that it’s a show you should be watching if you aren’t already, and we meant it. When I was wrapping Christmas presents this year I literally texted Traci and asked whether I should watch Master of None or Making a Murderer (I didn’t want anything Christmas-y, so I was basically looking for something that would fit on this list). Anyway, Master of None made the cut and two days later I had finished the whole series. Master of None is remarkably true to life for a certain kind of older millennial (read: us), and it paints a kind and optimistic portrait of people you’re sure to recognize.

Movies

Groundhog Day

Why: In the 90s, this passed for a solid and possibly innovative comedy. In 2016, the concept reminds me of one of those Hallmark Christmas movies. Except not even about Christmas. About Groundhog Day. And yet it’s still fun and cute and it taps into the 2016 zeitgeist with Bill Murray and “normcore.”

The Mighty Ducks

Why: The Mighty Ducks is the rare children’s winter movie that isn’t about Christmas, it will remind you of your 90s childhood, it’s a surprisingly well-done family comedy/drama, and you can watch baby Pacey Witter and realize that in 5 years you’re going to have a crush on him and feel weird about it.

Chronicles of Narnia

How I feel about James McAvoy with cloven hooves and a tail.

Why: When Winter is presented as a mystical dreamland, you remember how really beautiful it is. Lots of gorgeous snowy imagery, cute British tots, and some religious allegory if you’re into that. I mentally still refer to this as “the Chronic -what? – cles of Narnia,” so thank you, Samberg and Parnell.

March Of The Penguins

Why: Warm-weather nature gets all the glory, but arctic life is pretty awesome too. If you haven’t seen this yet you may think it sounds dumb, but it isn’t, it’s life-affirming and fascinating and there’s a chance that I cried when I saw it.

Cool Runnings

Why: Okay, there’s a lot of Jamaica, but it’s warm-weather action leading up to cold weather action. Besides, you loved this movie, once upon a time. May as well give it another shot.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Why: Like Fawlty Towers, the enclosed hotel setting feels comfy and wintery, and it has a story you can really fall into for a few hours. Plus the very Wes Anderson sugarplum and macaron color palette feels seasonal, in a good way.

The Peanuts Movie

Why: If you’re watching movies with kids, and you don’t want to watch a Christmas movie and you’ve seen Frozen a million times … but you still want to keep it wintery …. this adorable but not ground-breaking movie is not a bad way to spend 90s minutes.

Obvious Child

Max, guys.

Why: It’s a funny and sweet film and Jenny Slate is the kind of leading lady I want in my rom-coms. But also, this one is set during that point in the winter where you sort of give in and wear Brillo-textured sweaters everywhere and can’t sleep because your radiator is always either at 0 or 1,000. By the way, Jake Lacy is going to be a big thing in 2016 and you can totally see why.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Why: There’s some minor holiday season shenanigans, but it’s mostly a winter (/season-neutral) romantic comedy. I haven’t seen Bridget Jones’s Diary since I was 15, so I completely forgot that it’s a reinterpretation of Pride and Prejudice (… I know), but I have the same ambivalent feeling toward Colin Firth’s character as I do toward Fitzwilliam Darcy, so now I probably need to rewatch it and write a post about that.

Bye Forever, Hunger Games Press Tour

The final installment of The Hunger Games comes to an end today with the release of Mockingjay – Part 2. Will Peeta overcome his hijack by the Capitol? Will Katniss kill President Snow? Will Gale find a happy ending? All these questions are answered in the movie – and if you’re like me, you’ll forget what happened in the book and most of the movie will be a surprise. A good surprise, though. I’m just saying I forgot how stressful it gets, especially in the tunnel scene.

And as the franchise comes to a close, so does the epic press tours that our lovely cast has been going on for the past four years. We’ve gotten to see a number of enviable gowns from Ms. Lawrence and co. but by far what I’ll miss most is these idiots together answering dumb questions and playing stupid games to promote the movies.

For example, here’s one (that’s not as dumb) from this press tour that involves pranking YouTube prankers Smosh all in the name of charity.

So here’s the thing. I’ve read all the books. I’ve seen all the movies on opening weekend. I’m a fan. But for some reason, I become a teen fangirl when it comes to watching videos of interviews of this cast. I’ve seen an embarrassing amount of Josh, Jen and Liam answering similar questions over and over again, but it always comes down to their chemistry. Friendship, real or not real? TOTALLY REAL. And that’s why I love these videos. As we say goodbye to the Hunger Games one last time, here are some parting clips of our beloved cast through the years that will make you wish there was another franchise for them to all star in once again.

The Hunger Games

This was in 2012, but Josh and Jen look like different humans.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

SAM CLAFLIN IS SUCH A DREAM BOAT. THE WINKS. I CANNOT.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Possibly my fave “Joshifer” interview/game? Jen is very excited about winning these Fandango movie tickets, but is she actually more excited about winning? Also they’re cute.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

If you have a chance/want to keep avoiding work, just go through and watch any and all interviews Josh Horowitz from MTV has with the cast. He’s been interviewing them since the beginning and it’s kinda sad seeing it come to an end. Luckily he got to go out with a bang and take shots of bourbon with the cast at their final premiere.

 

ICYMI: Time To Visit Halloweentown

We’ve established October is a cult favorite month. Halloween is a big reason for that. But getting scared? Not so much. For us at least.

Low-Fright Movie Night: Halloween Movies That Won’t Scare Your Pants Off

I love almost everything about Halloween. Candy? Awesome. Costumes? Fun! Falling leaves, cider, donuts, tacky decorations? Sure! But there’s one big part of the holiday I can’t get behind: being scared. Slasher movies gross me out. I love ghost stories and spooky stuff, but as night falls and I’m alone in my 105-year-old house, I really, really wish I had skipped it. Besides, there’s plenty of real-life stuff to be afraid of, like repaying my student loans, or the prospect that the dead mouse I found this morning has left a widow and children somewhere in my house. Scaring myself silly over things that probably don’t exist doesn’t help matters.

So what to do if you want to get into the Halloween spirit, but don’t want the Halloween spirit to keep you up in the middle of the night? Here are some of my favorite Halloween movies – either gently supernatural, or set during the season – that don’t leave me feeling all goosebumpy.

Harry Potter

Pick a Harry Potter, any Harry Potter! But for the gentle, slightly witchy fun I’m looking for – before things get quite so heavy and house elves start dying – I like to stick to the first three movies. The Halloween scene in Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s (/Philosopher’s) Stone is especially festive. Note: I have also convinced myself that some of the Harry Potter movies are Christmas-appropriate due to the occasional picturesque snowfall or Yuletide celebration in the Great Hall.

The Crucible

You know what’s REALLY scary? McCarthyism. While the only demon here was the mob mentality bred by religious fundamentalism (Halloween fun!!!), the talk of witches and rustic New England setting make this a great one to enjoy in October.

When the two of us were in high school, we covered this play in English (of course), and entertained ourselves for weeks by saying things like “I saw Goody Traci with the devil, she ‘ad ‘is poppet! She signed ‘is book!” in an inexplicably Cockney accent. Yes, we have always been exactly the people we are right now.

This is coming to Broadway with Saoirse Ronan and Tavi Gevinson as Puritan teens and I couldn’t be more excited.

Hocus Pocus

Speaking of nostalgia, nothing could bring me back to my youth in a better way than the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus. It has an all-star cast – Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker! – gorgeous visuals, a fun plot, and even takes it back to Colonial times like the Crucible did. This movie is from 1993, but I swear it’s timeless. You can read our live blog here.

Halloweentown

I saw (and live blogged) Halloweentown for the first time a few years ago because I didn’t have Disney as a kid, and was hit over the head by how deliciously late 90s it was. You can also follow up with Halloweentown II, Halloweentown High and Return To Halloweentown (but I didn’t).


Speaking of which, here’s that very live blog.

Live Blog: Halloweentown

Welcome to our second Halloween Throwback Live Blog (the first was Hocus Pocus). Live blogging Halloweentown was a no-brainer: we love the 90s, we love live blogging terrible tv movies, and we love Disney Channel Original Movies (that’s DCOMs to all of y’all). Plus, Halloweentown is airing on the Disney Channel tonight! Read this to do your prep work, or follow along during the broadcast. I promise you would have predicted all of the spoilers anyway. Without further ado, your companion to Halloweentown:

– I’m already thinking this is going to be better than I remember, because one of the first things to show up on the credits is “Music by Mark Mothersbaugh”. You may remember that he did the spot-on music for Rugrats. Also, a little project called Devo.

– Fun fact: the main character, a Winnie Cooper-ish 13-year-old, is named Marnie. The timeline just about adds up for her to be the same age as the character in Girls today. So, if you get bored during this, just imagine the teen witch (SPOILER!) growing up to be Marnie Michaels.

Danica McKellar was presumably busy doing ‘oh God anything but this.’

– This flick features one of my favorite 90s stock characters, the dweeby, infuriating younger brother a la Ferguson Darling.

– Well, I spent the whole first 5 minutes wondering why Winnie’s Marnie’s wearing a Halloween costume when the whole plot is that her mom won’t let the kids go Trick-Or-Treating. Then, I realize that this is probably just an outfit in 1998.

– Marnie and her mom, Gwen, argue about trick-or-treating. Bam. Say what you will about DCOMs, we are five minutes in and the movie has already passed Bechdel test.

– Annoying younger brother (Ferguson, I’m calling him) says that talking about their father – who the kids don’t know – always bums their mom out. Why are so many childrens’ movies predicated on the idea that mama used to get around? Or maybe he’s dead.

– The kids’ grandma, Aggie, shows up and is a total witch.

– Aggie, by the way? Debbie Freakin’ Reynolds. Well, they can’t all be Singin In The Rain. If we learned anything from Hocus Pocus, it’s that children’s Halloween films are where beloved elder actresses go when they just don’t care anymore.

– Also, Gwen is Judith Hoag, so hell, they can’t even all be Nashville.

– After what seems like minutes (but, like, a lot of minutes), Tandy Gwen finally lets Aggie tell the kids a story. See, although a lot of movies have the trope where a parent is super strict but it’s for a very good reason the kids can’t know about, I still think Gwen kind of sucks.

– Aggie brings a picture book with crude illustrations of witches and goblins. Marnie loves it because it’s “all the stuff [she’s] into.” Things Marnie’s Into: (1) Drawings that look like they were made on Microsoft Paint, I guess.

I’m just going to go ahead and say that the entire budget went to Debbie Reynolds.

– Did every girl in the 90s have a white wicker bed, or was that just on tv?

– Aggie – wearing a diaphanous blouse that makes her look like Stevie Nicks as played by Debbie Reynolds – argues with Gwen that Marnie’s witch education should be done by now (Bechdel!). So, this is basically a way-less cool version of Harry Potter. Forget an owl on your 11th birthday, in Halloweentown-verse, you find out you’re a witch when your grandma visits.

– Marnie is surprisingly chill for a child who just discovered that she and her relatives are all supernatural beings. Meanwhile, I found out I’m part English last year and I’m still trying to get my head around it.

– Marnie and Ferg-wad sneak onto grandma’s super secret witch bus – which is just a school bus rocking back and forth in front of a green screen. Well, it’s no Knight Bus, that’s for certain. It’s like this whole thing was written by J.K. Rowling’s less-imaginative cousin.

– You don’t have to do a Halloweentown drinking game, but if you are, you should chug every time Ferguson Darling refers to himself as “the man of the house,” because he does it kind of a lot.

– It appears that everyone in Halloweentown is in costume, so who knows, maybe Aggie is going as Stevie Nicks this year.

– Fergie and Marnie’s sister, Sophie, followed them there. Oh yeah. Now’s a good time to mention that there’s a little sister. There was really no reason to talk about her before. She’s a generic brunette child with bangs.

– The kiddos run into a warlock who tells them that he “knew their mother a long time ago.” Knew biblically? Is he the baby daddy? Why is there so much Maury Povich and so little magic?

– Obligatory Disney meta-reference, re: skeleton chauffer: “He’s probably animatronic; Disney Land’s full of stuff like that.” But honestly? I’ve seen better spooky special effects in the part of the Haunted Mansion ride when the ghost appears next to you in the car.

– Revelation: the people in Halloweentown aren’t in costume, they’re actually supposed to be whatever it is that they’re dressed as. It’s bad, though. The Frankenstein, for instance, looks like a regular guy in a $7.99 latex Frankenstein mask from Party City.

– Marnie’s ready to begin witch training. Her Grandma needs another Cromwell lady to fight some kind of villain, who I already know is going to be way less cool than Voldemort — and I mean less cool than any incarnation of Voldemort, including under-the-turban Voldemort and Tom Riddle Voldemort.

– Luke, the Halloweentown “bad boy,” looks like a tough 13-year-old from the 50s. He has the face of Eddie Haskell, a hairdo that looks like a duck’s ass, and a sassy cropped vest.

– I believe that in Harry Potter parlance, we just learned that Marnie is a mudblood. In English parlance, she’s wearing a big freaking scrunchie.

– The mayor and Gwen reunite and I totally called it: they used to bone.

Gwen: You used to let the magic do the talking.

Mayor: You used to like it – or are you forgetting that part?

Marnie: I guess you like magic when he does it, huh?

– “You’re not a witch just because grandma says you are.” – Gwen, offering reassurance to every girl whose grandma just doesn’t like her very much.

– Disney throws in a hastily-written b-plot to make things more exciting for the older kids. The bad guy stands in an abandoned movie theater and explains what’s going on. It’s like the exposition version of deus ex machina – just really fast-tracking it.

– I worked at a movie theater for like 5 years, and my scariest movie theater story is that one time a teen couple had sex in the theater during Flushed Away, an animated feature about rats and poop.

Anyway. There’s a wicked spell, a bad guy who wants … something to do with power, people being turned into statues, and a magical talisman. Because there’s always a magical talisman in these things (Aggie has it). It’s like a winning row in scary movie bingo.

– Gwen and Aggie get petrificus totalus-ed. Accio, the last hour of my life! Please.

– Marnie says “duh!” because she’s not even cool enough for “doy!”

– Marnie: “We’re Cromwells! Together we can conquer anything!” (Anything like… Ireland? Seriously odd surname choice there, Disney)

– There’s a really pointless scene (as in, more than the other scenes even) with a Halloweentown hairdresser who’s like a lame, cat-like version of Cinna from The Hunger Games – doing the hair of a woman who looks like she’s from The Capital. He keeps saying “yeah, baby!” and I think Disney thinks it can make this movie funny by quoting Austin Powers.

– Sophie saves the day by remembering the spell. Pretty clear who’s the Hermione and who’s the Lavender Brown here (too soon?).

– We learn that spells are simple. “You just have to want it, and let yourself have it!” So now we know where that guy who’s making a ton of money from The Secret got the idea.

– GAME CHANGER. He Who Shall Not Be Named (because I forget his name… because it was stupid) morphs into Gwen’s ex-lover.

– Marnie drops the magic stick into a giant jack-o-lantern and defeats Voldumbort. Apparently his name is Kalibar. I spent a while looking for a cool anagram in there, but again, this is no J.K. Rowling. Unless Bail Ark means something. Maybe it does – as in “abandon ship? this movie is sinking?”

– Fergwad is a warlock, which is convenient for when Marnie inevitably gets Menudo-ed out of the Halloweentown franchise.

– Luke is nice, and as it turns out, troll-faced. He was under a spell before. Aggie is going to move in with the family to babysit. It’s over. Thank goodness. Good night.

ICYMI: Casting A Different Clueless Net

It’s been 20 years since Clueless came into our lives for the first time, and we’ve been celebrating its brilliance all week. We talked about how if there was ever a Clueless reboot, our top choices for Cher and Dionne would be some of young Hollywood’s most talented stars.

Extreme Makeover: Clueless Edition

When Clueless director Amy Heckerling was casting the movie back in the early 90s, she came across a number of up-and-coming actors and actresses who are now household names. In an interview with Vanity Fair for the 20th anniversary, Amy revealed the shortlist for Cher, which included young talents like Cybill’s daughter Alicia Witt, Kelly Kapowski aka Tiffani Thiessen, #HairGoals Keri Russell, and the actress Amy recalls the casting director told her she ‘had to see the girl in Flesh and Bone’, who turned out to be Gwyneth Paltrow.

But the one person that could’ve donned the Alaia dress is Legally Blonde herself, Reese Witherspoon.

“I had my heart set on Alicia… But Fox … wanted me to explore all the options… I met with Reese because everyone said, ‘This girl is amazing. She’s going to be huge.’ I saw some movie where she had a southern accent. Maybe it was on TV, a movie of the week. But I did see some scenes of hers and went: ‘Wow. She’s amazing.’ But Alicia is Cher.”

With the infinite amount of permutations that could’ve happened with casting back then, we could’ve seen an entirely different Clueless – but we think they got it right. But moving forward in an era where there seems to be an announcement for a reboot of some 90s TV show or movie every day (hi, Fuller House, The X-Files, and Twin Peaks), we got to thinking what it would be like if Clueless, which is itself loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, what would a modern day BevHills Clueless look like with some of today’s hottest and up-and coming actors? Here are our personal picks for Clueless 2.0 – do you agree?

Kiernan Shipka as Cher Horowitz

What Alicia Silverstone was in 1995, Kiernan Shipka is in 2015. A likable blonde teen who looks impossibly polished, but can still pull off the Girl Next Door thing. Plus if you watched Mad Men, you know that Kiernan is such an incredible actress that she would bring out whole new layers in the character.

Besides, when you think about it, Cher Horowitz is the logical extension of a 16-year-old Sally Draper.

Alternate casting: Amandla Stenberg

Zendaya as Dionne Davenport

In real life, Zendaya is a smart, well-spoken, fashionista. Some of the characters she’s played have a bit of sass, and Dionne is kind of a mix between the two Zendayas. Dionne is also a girl who knows who she is and comes across as super confident, without being arrogant, and that’s Zendaya to a T.

Alternate casting: Maia Mitchell

Rowan Blanchard as Tai Frasier

You’re going to need to bear with me on this one. Do you watch Girl Meets World? No, because you’re a grownup? Fine. Maybe you watched Boy Meets World. Rowan plays Cory’s daughter, and she’s the perfect 2015 answer to Cory Matthews. A little awkward, sort of wide-eyed and naive, but above all a smart kid with a heart of gold. Another 90s character that shared those traits: Tai Frasier. She’s a bit younger than the rest of the prospective cast, but so was Brittany Murphy. It made it all the more believable that she was the fish out of (New Jersey) water.

Alternate casting: Maisie Williams

 Can you even imagine if Reese got the role of Cher instead of Alicia? There have obviously been a lot of could have beens in Hollywood over the years, so here are some of them that will make your brain possibly malfunction.

Actors Just Say ‘No’: A Story of What Could Have Been

Rob Lowe’s new book, Love Life, comes out this week and just like his first memoir, he reveals a lot about his personal life and career. One of the new revelations is about how he passed on the role of Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy. Not only did he turn the part down, he turned it down to star in Dr. Vegas. Yeah, exactly.

He writes: “I got an urgent call from the producers of a potential new show for ABC called Grey’s Anatomy. I agreed to meet with the people making Grey’s Anatomy. I had read it and loved it. The writing was crisp, real and very entertaining, and it’s always been a good idea to hear out talented people. ‘We would be thrilled if you would play Dr. Derek Shepherd,’ they said right off the bat. I was torn. Grey’s was a much better script; in fact, there was no comparison… (but) I chose Dr. Vegas. The odds were just too stacked.”

Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey was offered the part instead, who is obviously still roaming the halls of Seattle Grace Mercy West Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, while Dr. Vegas was cancelled after five episodes.

So in the spirit of ‘what could have been’, here a look at some other celebs who either turned down or were considered for an iconic role, but never came to fruition. Also please note my *superior* photoshopping skills

Jennifer Love Hewitt as Robin Scherbatsky (How I Met Your Mother)

f_robin-sparkles_edit

Finale controversies aside, just think about Robin Scherbatsky played by anyone else but the talented Cobie Smulders. She’s gorgeous but still has that ‘hang with the guys’/tomboy attitude in her that was obviously instilled at a young age. Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas did a Reddit AMA back in February and they revealed that Jennifer Love Fefferman Hewitt was originally offered the role (which would have also made the whole cast extremely 90s throwback TV), but she decided to do The Ghost Whisperer instead. Thank GOD she declined the offer, because can you imagine if Robin Scherbatsky wasn’t Canadian?!

Katie Holmes as Buffy Summer (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

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To be honest, I’ve never watched a single episode of Buffy (I know, I know), but as avid readers of this blog, you might be familiar with my recent viewings of Dawson’s Creek, which is why it’s fascinating to me that Katie Holmes was almost chosen to be a kick-ass heroine. Katie turned the role down to go to high school, which was for the best. Besides getting a solid education, I bet it helped her to prepare to play a moody, annoying teen on TV.

Craig T. Nelson as Jay Pritchett (Modern Family)

f_jay pritchett_edit

Do you watch Parenthood? If not, WHY and you should. Coach alum Craig T. Nelson plays the patriarch of the Braverman family, aka the family I would want to be in if ever given the option. That or the Taylors from another Katims show, Friday Night Lights. Anyways, before Parenthood, Craig was offered the role of Jay Pritchett, the patriarch on Modern Family. He apparently asked for too much money that ABC wasn’t willing to hand over, and ended up passing and taking Parenthood instead. While Craig is fantastic as Zeek Braverman, Ed O’Neill used his role as Jay to prove he’s not an idiot like on Married… With Children – and has three Emmy noms and three SAG Awards to prove it.

Gillian Anderson as Lady Cora (Downton Abbey)

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Listen, Lady Cora is probably my least favorite character on Downton (yes, that includes Edith and Thomas). But I feel like I would have maybe disliked her even more if Gillian Anderson hadn’t turned down the role (that eventually went to Mary McGovern). Both Mary and Gillian fall under the category of ‘American actresses or spend so much time in England they might as well be British’ (see: Madonna), but I don’t know, I just can’t see Gillian living in the world of Downton.

Pamela Anderson as Dana Scully (The X Files)

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Speaking of which, Chris Carter and the rest of The X Files team were originally looking for what  Gillian describes as “someone bustier, taller, leggier than me. They couldn’t fathom how David and me could equal success… At the beginning, nobody trusted that I could do anything”. Who knows whether Pamela Anderson went as far as auditioning but that show would’ve been completely different than what it turned out to be. And maybe even Californication: the Prequel.

Henry Winkler as Danny Zuko (Grease)

f_danny zuko_Edit

Because, obviously.

John Travolta as Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump)

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Luckily Henry Winkler’s pass was a win for John Travolta, but later in life, he would be the passee (?) when he turned down the iconic movie role of Forrest Gump. John later admitted it was a mistake. Ya think? Apparently Bill Murray and Chevy Chase also turned down the role, which is just boggling to me, because like Pam Anderson as a possible Dana Scully, it would have completely changed the tone of the film. Not to mention, I don’t think the film winning so many Oscars – including Best Picture – would’ve been possible.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Cher Horowitz (Clueless)

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SMG had her chance to be the fashionable, lovable ditz of the 90210 zip code but had to turn it down because of scheduling conflicts with her stint on All My Children. Let’s be real, she would have been great in this role.

Bette Midler as Sister Mary Clarence (Sister Act)

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People make mistakes, as seen from pretty much everyone above. But I imagine it would be that much harder if you turn down a role that was not only written for you in mind, but went on to spawn a sequel and a classic for 90s kids everywhere.

I’ve made so many (mistakes). Oh my God, it’s all so tragic. But it’s best to forget those and put them behind me. Unfortunately, my husband never lets me forget them. There was Sister Act, which was written for me, but I said: ‘My fans don’t want to see me in a wimple.’ I don’t know where I got that from. Why would I say such a thing? So Whoopi [Goldberg] did it instead and, of course, she made a fortune. Then she went on and did Sister Act 2. I also didn’t do Misery and Kathy Bates won an Oscar for it. That’s not to say I would have. It was so violent and I had no relation to it. I was afraid. – Bette Midler {x}

Hey, like Tim Riggins says, No Regrets, y’all.

Tom Hanks as Jerry Maguire (Jerry Maguire)

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You know you’ve hit at least a moderate level of success when screenwriters write an entire movie with you in mind as the lead role. By the time Jerry Maguire came out in 1996, Tom Hanks had long-been an A-lister with two (consecutive) Oscars for Best Actor. So when you’re Tom Hanks, you have the luxury of turning down roles that are exceptional. Unfortunately (or fortunately for Tom Cruise) the timing wasn’t right for Hanks, as he was busy directing That Thing You Do (GREAT MOVIE) at the time. But everyone’s fave celeb admitted that the role was perfect for Tom Cruise, telling Access Hollywood, “I think you look at it now and it couldn’t have been anybody other than Tom Cruise. It’s the way the movie’s operated. I don’t think anybody would look at that now and say, ‘That movie was not perfect.'”

Tom Cruise as Ren McCormack (Footloose)

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Scheduling conflicts tend to be the big problem for high-demand actors, as Tom Cruise could’ve been Ren in dance musical Footloose, if it were not for his movie All the Right Moves. You know who had all the right moves? Kevin Bacon. God Bless America.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Dirk Diggler (Boogie Nights)

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Oh man this is probably the most disappointing of all, in terms of what um… is revealed in Boogie Nights. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some Mahky Mahk, but it could’ve been Leo. In 1997. That’s Titanic era, you guys. But Leo recognizes his mistake, admitting it’s the worst decision he made in his career to turn that role down. He told GQ, “I’m a huge fan of (director) Paul Thomas Anderson but the first time I met him for that role I hadn’t really seen much of his previous work. Now I love that movie.” At least these two were able to bring the hotness later in life to The Departed.

We’re Just That Into You: Underrated RomComs

If you delve into RomCom culture (which is like… probably a real thing, right?), you’ll find different tiers of Romantic Comedies. First, the well-respected, critically acclaimed classics. There you have your Annie Hall, your When Harry Met Sally, your Breakfast at Tiffany’s, maybe even your Sleepless in Seattle.

Then, there are those box office hits that are not technically cinematic masterpieces. If you ask a lady what her favorite romantic comedy is, she may say one of those top-tier movies, but then she’ll pause for a second and say “You know what my REAL favorite is?” Then she’ll say something like You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, or Love Actually.

Next tier: guilty pleasures. These are the filler films or teen comedies that you can’t help but love – and everyone else does, too. Enter 10 Things I Hate About You, 13 Going On 30 … probably anything with a number in the title, or that is on heavy rotation on TBS.

Finally we hit the focus of today’s post: the underrated RomCom. Those movies you adore, but that nobody ever really talks about when they talk about RomComs. Sometimes it’s because they don’t get classified as romantic comedies even though they are, and sometimes it’s because nobody has seen them. And we’re not ashamed to say they’re some of our favorites.

Away We Go

This is an atypical romantic comedy because it’s not a boy-meet-girl, boy-loses girl scenario. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph play a committed couple with a baby on the way, and they make a journey to decide where and how to raise their daughter. It raises the much more interesting follow-up question to “will they end up together?”: how will they build a life together? Instead of watching a couple grapple with their love for another, that’s a given from the beginning – but just like in real life, that’s not the answer to every question. A perfect movie if your concept of love goes beyond wondering who you’ll end up with.

Crossing Delancey

I can’t understate how much I loved Crossing Delancey as a kid, and how much I still love it now. It sounds typical enough: Izzy Grossman (Amy Irving) works at a bookstore, and her bubbie uses a marriage broker to set her up with a pickle salesman. But does Izzy end up with him or the high-profile author? I mean, you already know. But that’s never the point. The reason this movie always seemed so special: Izzy could be me or someone I know. She’s good at her job, but she’s not that stick-up-her-butt RomCom lady who’s so caught up in her professional life that she’ll never accept love. She’s funny, but she’s not a sad-sack gal who trips a lot. If you want to watch a reasonably realistic lady fall in love in a very 1980s Lower East Side, this is the one for you.

I know that this one is underrated because whenever I call out my “Crossing Delancey bangs” when the humidity monster hits, nobody ever gets the reference.

They Came Together

If you love RomComs, you might not be interested in a mean-spirited takedown of the genre, but They Came Together isn’t that. It just plays up all of those silly RomCom elements we’ve come to love. It was billed as a parody of romantic comedies, but it felt more like a pastiche.  Oh. And did I mention that it stars Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler? She works in a candy shop (of course) and he works for Big Candy. Her name is Molly, and I’m not just saying this because it’s my name – it’s such a RomCom name. You know how most 20- and 30- something women have names like Melissa and Courtney, but RomCom ladies all have names from Little Golden Books, like Molly or Annie or Sally? And he’s vaguely Jewish, but not kippah-every-day Jewish. They hate each other, until they love each other, and I’m sure you can guess the rest.

What If

Please just trust me here. If your write out the plot summary – boy and girl meet, she’s attached, he’s a boy wizard, they have obvious chemistry, and they decide to be friends – it doesn’t sound like much. But do any RomComs sound like much? This one succeeds on its clever writing and the great chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. It sounds like a picky thing, but a lot of romantic comedies have major pacing issues, devoting 50 minutes into convincing you this couple should be together, and then some weird misunderstanding for 20 minutes… I don’t know what it is, but director Michael Dowse nails the pacing and that really contributes to how downright enjoyable this movie is.

Obvious Child

This one wasn’t underrated by critics – they loved it! – or by audiences – they loved it too! – but it’s a bit underrated as a RomCom. When the media started billing Obvious Child as an “abortion comedy,” I think people expected something political or hard-edged. What it is, instead, is a very sweet comedy that speaks to what it’s like to be in your late 20s, a time so full of awkward growing pains that it almost feels like a second adolescence. Donna (Jenny Slate) doesn’t have a high-powered job or a flashy wardrobe. But she does work hard at her fledgeling standup career, dresses nicely on stage, and has a tidy apartment. That is: Donna’s life is a mess for a while, but you don’t believe that she, as a person, is a mess, at least not for the long-term. And her love interest, Max, is what I believe old people call “cute as a bug’s ear.”

I remember seeing an interview where either Slate or director Gillian Robespierre (can’t remember!) said she loved Crossing Delancey too, so there’s my RomCom advice. Find out who loves your own underrated favorites, then watch whatever they come up with.

Midnight In Paris

If you were a certain kind of kid, you probably went through a phrase where you thought time travel would be the coolest thing ever. That’s what happens here, as Gil (Owen Wilson) travels between present-day Paris and the city in the 1920s, where he meets the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Josephine Baker and a host of others. The glitz and wackiness of the roaring 20s is fantastic, and you see the perils of nostalgia through the eyes of a modern man finally getting to experience his favorite era. Midnight In Paris is a lot of fun and a true cinematic rarity: a Woody Allen movie that does not star Woody Allen.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

I went into the theater to see this by myself, thinking I was in for a fun romantic comedy featuring two of the greatest people, Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones. While the movie does include romance and comedy, I wasn’t prepared for the drama part of it. I’m not going to spoil it for you, because I think everyone should see this film, but just have tissues by your side in the event of an emergency. So giving you the info I was given before seeing the movie, Celeste and Jesse met in high school and married young, but at the beginning of the film, we meet them in the midst of a divorce. There are twists and turns that you might not expect, but it has all the elements of my ultimate favorite kind of film – the RomComDram (Romance-Comedy-Drama, if you didn’t crack that code). Also the soundtrack is reason to go alone. When you’re Quincy Jones’ daughter, you have to have excellent taste in music.

Down With Love

One of the queens of the RomCom world, Bridget Jones herself, Renee Zellwegger stars as Barbara Novak, an author who advocates female independence, most notably in her book Down With Love. Set in the 1950s, Barbara encourages ladies to enjoy sex without commitment, and meets her enemy (potential match?) in Ewan MacGregor’s Catcher Block, a notorious ladies’ man and overall chauvinist pig. What I love about this movie is that is basically a parody of all those classic Doris Day-y comedies that were made in the ’50s, so when you watch it, you have to keep in mind that it’s not being entirely serious. I’m a sucker for this era of music, and yet again, the soundtrack pushes it over the edge and even I fell head over heels in love with the film.

Fever Pitch

Maybe it’s because Jimmy Fallon’s in it. Maybe it’s because I just really enjoy Drew Barrymore. Maybe it’s because the film is set/filmed in Boston. All I know is that Fever Pitch is not only one of my most underrated RomComs of all time, but it’s one of the most underrated movies of all time, IMO. Jimbo plays Ben, a teacher who, like many New England-ers, is a die-hard Red Sox fan. He meets Lindsey, who is a super-businesswoman who could care less for the Sox. Clearly Ben, who sleeps in Sox sheets and has a replica of the Green Monster in his apartment, lets his love for the team get in the way of any relationship, especially the one with Lindsey, despite the fact she’s obviously the love of his life. As an added bonus to this hilar and romantic love story, the movie actually ends with victory in more ways than one. Go Sox.

On the Line

As a BSB fan, I was ashamed that I even watched On the Line, which starred Lance Bass and Joey Fatone. But as a teenybopper, I felt it was my duty to watch this film, no matter how horrible I thought it would be. I mean, it’s a story that’s been told before – boy meets girl on subway. Boy puts up flyers and classified ads to find girl. Boy and girl nearly miss each other at Al Green concert. JT & Chris Kirkpatrick show up as part of a glam squad. Boy and girl finally reunite at the train station they met at. But you know, still one of those bad good movies you should probably watch.

License to Wed

So this might be the third time John Krasinski’s come up during RomCom Week – so what, who cares? In a stark contrast to Away We Go, Licensed to Wed is a super corny RomCom in the truest sense of the term. Ben (JKras) and Sadie (Mandy Moore) are heading down the aisle. But in order to get married in the church of Sadie’s choice, they must go through an intense and, quite frankly, pretty insane prenuptial course run by Reverend Frank, played by the great Robin Williams. The movie is super predictable, but the best/worst RomComs always are. Mandy perfectly plays the sweet bride, John portrays a charming motherf’er, per usual, and Robin is his usual hyper, hilarious self. If you want to watch a movie that’s not completely horrible, but not Shawshank Redemption level, this one’s for you.

He’s Just Not That Into You

I never read this book, and I know the movie got a bunch of mixed reviews, but I am in the minority of people who didn’t hate this movie? Ok, I straight up liked it a lot. I’m a sucker for those big cast/intertwining story movies (I actually saw New Year’s Eve in the theater), and this one is no different. With Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, and BRADLEY COOPER (I think I’m confusing his character with the one in Valentine’s Day, which I also liked), you assume it’s a movie that’s going to be really good. From the cheating husband to the man who won’t commit to the best friends who won’t just realize they’re perform for each other, the movie covers almost every type of relationship problem there is. Which, I guess, is kind of the point, isn’t it?

2014: A GIF-tastic Retrospective

Well we’re almost to the end of the year, folks. And that means you get to see Best Of lists everywhere you look. Including here. But rather than countdown our favorite albums or TV shows or Poehler moments, we’re opting to compile the best moments of the year in GIF form, one of the greatest gifts the Internet has ever given us. Did your faves make the list?

**Warning – this is obviously iamge heavy, so just be patient!

{January} Jennifer Lawrence being Jennifer Lawrence and sneaking up on Taylor Swift during the Golden Globes red carpet but not realizing she’s also in the show. And also on live TV.

{January} “I want you to know that the red underneath my shoes is my blood.” – Emma Thompson not giving any fucks while presenting at the Golden Globes {x}

{January} POEHLER FINALLY WON A GOLDEN GLOBE/AWARD AND I THOUGHT I WASN’T SEEING CORRECTLY BECAUSE OF MY TEARS OF JOY, BUT THIS MAKE OUT SESH WITH BONO REALLY DID HAPPEN.

{January} Good recovery on Swift’s part when she thought she won Best Album at the Grammys. Her team – not so much.

{January} Joe Biden being all Joe Biden-y at the State of the Union. John Boehner orange and bored, per usual.

{February} Bob Costas, Olympics broadcasting icon, got pink eye and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves, so we made this gif instead.

{February} Olympic ice skater Ashley Wagner calls bullshit with her horrible scores, becomes meme.

{February} Ice skater Jeremy Abbott falls rulll hard on the ice, slams into the wall, lays there for a bit, THEN GETS BACK UP AND FINISHES HIS ROUTINE.

{February} Jimmy Fallon takes over the Tonight Show and I sob like a baby.

{March} Jennifer Lawrence falls at the Oscars. Again. This time on the red carpet. On a traffic cone. Just getting out of the car. #Bless

{March} Still the best selfie ever taken in the storied history of selfies. (JLaw obvs said the boob comment)

{March} The time we all thought wecollectively had a stroke, then realized John Travolta just can’t read.

{March} And the entire world sobbed as Lupita won her first Oscar.

{March} Marshmallows united and wait 10 years for this. Worth it.

{April} In one of the final episodes of Mad Men, Ginsberg actually goes mad. Luckily, Ben Feldman is much more sane (and hot) than this.

{April} When the internet made the most of this cute chubby future king nugget

 

{April} Rita Ora became a national hero by ripping Zefron’s clothes off as he accepted his Best Shirtless Performance prize at the MTV Movie Awards

{May} Coming up – coming down – Solange kick yo ass up in a gownnn.

{May} The collective exclamation of How I Met Your Mother fans everywhere.

{May} This was a confusing thing Ryan Gosling and Macaulay Culklin did.

{May} 50 Cent proves he’s much better at ANYTHING ELSE

{June} I didn’t care about the World Cup but I cared about this guy.

{July} A lot of celebrities died as part of the Sharknado 2 wrath

{August} Pratt.

{August} This lil guy.

{August} Ebola was a thing we freaked out about

{August} Andy Cohen takes a Belfie (butt selfie, obvs) with Kim K.

{August} People poured a bucket of ice water over themselves for charity and Ben Affleck pushed his wife into the pool.

{August} A joke set up at the beginning about their Seinfeld past paid off with this makeout sesh right before Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepted her 10,290th Emmy award. Bonus JFal.

{August} ‘Please welcome my beautiful, amazing, and talented friend: Beyonce!’

 

{August} Disregard Miley’s tears and put all your attention to the shade Katy Perry and Sam Smith are throwing in the back.

{August} Bow.Down.Bitches.

{August} If there’s anyone to upstage Beyonce while performing a 15 minute routine at the VMAs, it’s Blue Ivy. I’ve watched this Vine more times that I should admit.

{September} “This week, Amal Alamuddin, a brilliant Oxford educated human rights lawyer and former UN advisor settled for a 52 year old man.”

{September} Diamond Dan guys. Diamond FREAKING Dan.

{October} Taylor Swift became a pop star by doing this.

{December} Walken proved that you can just fake it til you make it if you’re in a live musical of Peter Pan

{December} This reunion made me feel all the feels.

{December} The King and Queen meet Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge