Viewed – 06 March 2021 Netflix

Two straight-laced best friends (Kaitlyn Dever & Lady Bird’s Bernie Feldstein) who have always put studying and grades before fun and games … decide to have a night to remember on the eve of graduation. However, they end up learning more about themselves and the world around them than they could have anticipated.

Imagine a woke version of Superbad. Yeah I said it and that’s ok. Although actress turned director Olivia Wild’s teen comedy might be quite obvious from the off, unlike that forced girl-power moment in Avengers: Endgame this manages to deliver a message more naturally through an engaging, occasionally touching story of friendship, high school and one wild night.

At first this was trying too hard to be hip and self-aware, and the two friends come across a bit obnoxious – yet as I eased into the movie’s style I began to relate to the friend’s outsider image and found myself pulled into their story. It fails to be as funny (or as quotable) as it clearly wants to be (except for an animated sequence that is great) but that can be forgiven as eventually the movie revealed a heart to it I wasn’t expecting and the closing moments worked well. Feldstein can’t escape comparisons as a female Jonah Hill (she’s his sister, after all) yet proves entertaining regardless … but for me the star was Kaitlyn Dever, who first caught my eye in TV mini series Unbelievable and is just as watchable here. Overall quite effective stuff, flipping teen movie conventions on their heads whilst retaining what makes a teen movie work. One to check out.

Verdict: Good

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Viewed – 08 February 2017  Blu-ray

Throughout the eighties and to a lesser extent the 1990s, director John Hughes made some of the most memorable and fun movies I’ve ever seen (big breath: The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Home Alone, Plaines, Trains & Automobiles).  Arguably this is his crowning glory, the simple tale of the popular smart-ass (but likeable) school kid who chooses to take a day off school, and out smart the authorities at every turn.  I was always appealed to the cool-kid-gets one over the grown ups idea (and that was never me, by the way) often seen in similar movies and tv shows like Back To The Future and Family Ties (and yes, Michael J. Fox would have been perfect for this), so this remains one of my all time faves.

Matthew Broderick

Matthew Broderick made a bit of a name for himself in roles where he played the cool kid in films like War Games and Biloxi Blues – but it was his turn as the iconic Ferris Buellar that cemented his reputation.  Everything about this film just plants a big goofy grin on ones face – the opening POV sequence as Ferris lays down his plans to the viewer, to the carnival float Twist & Shout bit, and finally the edge of the seat run home before the folks find out he’s not sick at all and has been fooling them all along (!).

Mia SaraThe teenager in all of us (no matter your age) will have something to like and find familiar, be it the dawky best friend, the hot girlfriend (or that hot girl u wished was your girlfriend), the boo-hiss Principle (a career best from Jeffrey Jones), or just all those eighties moments from the fashion-sense to the music to the fast cars to the jokes – all zip along so wonderfully, that well this is pretty much the perfect movie – and thankfully free of the angst of other John Hughes films like Pretty In Pink.  Therefore, very little dates this one – and that is why it’s still as fresh and enjoyable as it was all those years back.

The Blu-ray (I picked up the limited edition Zavvi exclusive steel book) is for the most part impressive.  The image is vibrant and has some good detail but does leave in the odd soft still image occasionally (house interiors, wider city shots) preventing it from being a total home run.  The soundtrack in 5.1 Dolby Digital True HD has several great 80s music cues that deliver a lively and punchy experience, and dialogue throughout is crisp with only occasional (very minor) lip-sync issues.  The plentiful extras consist of archival and slightly more recent interviews and behind the scenes featurettes that prove invaluable for fans.  No commentary from director John Hughes (which does exists somewhere I’m told) but with attractive menus and the classic, always appealing allure of the movie itself … this overall, is an essential purchase.


(the movie)  5 /5

(the Blu-ray)  4 /5

Everybody Wants Some!!

Viewed – 14 October 2016  Online-rental

As soon as I heard about this I wanted to see it.  Director Richard Linklater’s as he puts it ‘spiritual sequel’ to one of my all-time favourite movies; Dazed and Confused.  This like Dazed follows a group of high school students but is now set in 1980 rather than that movie’s 70s and on the eve of starting college as apposed to the last day of school.  It primarily follows baseball pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner) as he arrives at a frat house and becomes acquainted with the rest of the college baseball team; a group of guys who seem obsessed with getting high, partying and getting laid.

Everybody Wants Some!!

It’s hard to not make comparisons with that earlier movie, as I kept being drawn back to it for everything this one lacked.  Jake is the only particularly likeable character here but even he has very little ark but for a tacked-on romance towards the end.  Everyone else are simply obnoxious stoners or loud-mouthed jocks who despite being believable … I really wouldn’t enjoy being in the company of.  Also Jake’s story is the only one we follow, nobody else has a ‘journey’ or any real defined personality and frankly several of the characters are very similar to one another.  Also situations rarely had any pay off, like an early scene with a water bed and a little later on one character having to leave for the weekend because his girlfriend might be pregnant … but when he returns, it’s never mentioned again.

That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have it’s merits.  Linklater’s keen observations of the era and setting are well done and the soundtrack on the whole is decent (the movie starts off well with The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’).  And well, It all looks pretty good too, shot with an  early eighties vibe that works a treat.  Just a shame the wafer thin characters and lack of interesting situations means that unlike ‘Dazed it’s unlikely this one will achieve anywhere near the same cult status.

Verdict:  2.5 /5