Rediscovering old favourites…Pt 2.

I posted about a favourite film of mine back in January of 2013. The article talked about films that stay with you over the years. Films that when you come back to them for another re-watch, it’s like settling down with an old friend.  This weekend, I caught such a film on late night TV.  I first saw it when I was in my early twenties (so about 15 years ago!!), and at the time I adored it. I bought the soundtrack, bought the video and watched this movie over and over and over again.

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This coming of age tale features Sarah (Robin Tunney), a troubled girl who has just moved to a new city to live with her father after losing her mother. Sarah is quickly taken advantage of by the school jerk, Chris (Skeet Ulrich) and after just one day at her new school, she becomes a social pariah. Sarah ends up falling in with a trio of outcasts “The bitches of Eastwick” – Rochelle, Nancy and Bonnie.  The girls practice witchcraft and soon realise that Sarah is their “fourth” – they can now call the four corners and have greater power than ever. The four girls quickly bond and for a while, are inseparable best friends.

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Sarah is a natural and talented witch, and the others soon benefit from her pure power after failing to achieve anything so far without her. Scarred, burned skin becomes healed, a windfall after being poor, and revenge on enemies are among some of the things that suddenly go right for the girls.  Sarah manages to exact a just, balanced revenge on the school jerk.

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But things also start to go very wrong, very quickly. Any grip on reality is lost due to the power hungry coven leader Nancy (a great turn by Fairuza Balk).  Sarah is the one with the talent and the power but Nancy wants to lead and be obeyed – the two butt heads as Sarah questions Nancy’s decisions. When Sarah wants out, the trio turn on her, primarily led by Nancy. You get the feeling that Rochelle and Bonnie wouldn’t have wanted to hurt Sarah if it were left to them but they’re too weak to stand up to the quite frankly demented Nancy.

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So it’s down to Sarah alone to stop her.

This movie was clever for its time and has actually stood the test of time as well. The characters are likable, and real – you find yourself truly empathizing with Sarah and rooting for her too. The finale is fantastic stuff. Watch it and see who’s left standing at the end.

Or cut to the chase and watch the final scene here:

Favourite quotes:

Driver: Watch out for the weirdos, girls.
Nancy: We are the weirdos, mister.

Sarah: Did you tell your friends?
Chris: What?
Sarah: That you’re a lying sack of shit.
Chris: No… b-but I will!

Sarah: By the power of three times three, make them see, make them see.

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Where have I seen you before?

Robin Tunney: Empire Records, Prison Break, The Mentalist.
Neve campbell : Scream movies, Party of Five, Three to Tango, Wild Things.
Fairuza Balk: The Sopranos, Almost Famous, The Waterboy
Rachel True: The Cosby Show, The Drew Carey Show, Half & Half
Skeet Ulrich: Jericho, Law & Order, Into the West

The Craft Cast reunion, Hollywood – October 2013

There was a mini cast reunion for “The Craft” in Los Angeles — but one of the four witches was MIA. Robin Tunney, Rachel True and Neve Campbell were all surprise guests at Cinespia’s cemetery screening of the 1996 film on Saturday, showing up for a brief Q&A after the movie played to a sold out crowd. Noticeably absent was Fairuza Balk, who played the viciously evil Nancy in the teen witch flick. How are they going to call the four corners without her?!

The entire cast has been pretty busy since the film’s release, none more so than Neve, who would star in the first “Scream” movie later the same year.

Read the full article here.

The cast – then and now.

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My Favourite Christmas Film

Or, my favourite Christmas movie. I’m sorry, I’m English so I still say film 🙂

Anyway, this one is my favourite:

The Polar Express

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This film is pure magic. I like it because there is no smug little actor or actress repeating cheesy lines and trying to look all cutesy.  It’s all about the story, the possibility, the train and the power of believing.

Here’s a breakdown of the movie:

On Christmas Eve of the late 1950s, a young boy living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, questions his belief in Santa Claus. While sleeping, he magically discovers a steam-powered passenger train named “The Polar Express”. The conductor (Tom Hanks) tells him that the train is headed to the North Pole. At first the boy refuses, he boards the train while it leaves.

Once aboard, the boy encounters other children, including a young girl (Nona Gaye) and a know-it-all (Eddie Deezen). The train stops again at another house; 11344 Edbrooke Ave., for a young boy named Billy (Peter Scolari). Billy at first refuses to get on, but as the train starts to leave he attempts to board, but is unsuccessful. The boy applies the emergency brake so Billy can board the train. When the children are given hot chocolate the girl hides and saves a cup for Billy who is riding in the observation car. The conductor helps her deliver it. The boy discovers that she left her ticket on the seat. He attempts to bring it to her but loses it in the wind while passing between carriages. The girl returns to find her ticket missing and the boy tells the conductor that he lost it.

The conductor takes the girl up to the train’s roof. The protagonist finds that the ticket has flown back into the train, grabs it and climbs onto the train’s roof to give the ticket to the girl but arrives to see the light of the conductor’s lantern vanish in the darkness. He crosses along the train’s roof until he meets a hobo, who claims to be the owner of The Polar Express and king of the North Pole. The hobo gives the boy some coffee, who expresses doubt that Santa exists. With that, the hobo replies that if he is seen, the boy actually believes in Santa. He then helps him follow the conductor and girl. They ski down the train roof as it approaches Flat Top Tunnel. The hobo claims that the tunnel’s clearance is low. The boy hops in the engine as the hobo magically vanishes in the air.

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The boy finds that the girl is driving the train while Steamer, the engineer and Smokey, the fireman, try to fix the train’s headlight. They are forced to stop when a herd of caribou block the tracks. The conductor gets the caribou to move by pulling Smokey’s beard, making him yell. The train continues with the conductor, the boy, and the girl stuck in the front of the engine. When the cotter pin of the throttle slips off, the train accelerates dangerously while riding along Glacier Gulch. The train soon reaches a lake freezing over the tracks. However, the lost cotter pin pierces the ice and begins to crack, putting everybody in danger. Smokey immediately repairs the throttle, and the conductor orders the train to full-speed to get the train to the other side of the lake.

Once having arrived at the North Pole, the boy and the girl find Billy alone in the observation car. The boy accidentally uncouples it, causing it to speed backwards. The three make their way back to the city square and travel from section to section throughout the North Pole. While Santa’s sleigh is being readied, a bell falls off a harness. The boy picks it up and shakes it after remembering that the girl and Billy could hear a bell earlier when he could not. The boy then says he believes in the spirit of Christmas and finally hears the bell. Santa selects the boy to receive “The First Gift of Christmas”, and the boy chooses the bell.

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As the children prepare to head home, the conductor takes their tickets and punches an individual message for each of them. Once aboard, the boy discovers that the bell has fallen through a hole in his pocket. When Billy is dropped off home, the boy finds out that Santa had already visited his house. The boy arrives home and the conductor wishes him a Merry Christmas as well as the others on board waving goodbye.

On Christmas morning, the boy’s sister Sarah finds a small present hidden behind the Christmas tree. The boy opens the present and discovers that it is the bell, which Santa found. When the boy rings the bell, both he and Sarah marvel at its beautiful sound. However, their parents neither believe in Santa Claus nor the spirit of Christmas and do not hear it and remark it to be broken. In the film’s last line, the boy, narrating decades later, recites the book’s final line:

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”

Nowadays, some train companies operate a “Polar Express”. Kids and even parents board in their PJs and drink hot chocolate whilst riding the train.

There’s a company here who do this. I’m taking my little boy next year!

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Rediscovering old favourites….

I have my all time favourite movies as I’m sure other fellow losers do; the ones where I’ve seen them at least 20+ times and will probably watch them another 20+ times, if not more before I shuffle off this mortal coil.  These days, less and less movies make it onto that elite list. However, joining the hallowed ranks of Dirty Dancing, Dead Poet’s Soceity, The Breakfast Club and Sense & Sensibility is little known film Catch & Release.

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Starring the very watchable Jennifer Garner, Juliette Lewis, delectable Timothy Olyphant and a genius speaking appearance from Silent Bob himself, Kevin Smith along with a good solid performance from Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw), this movie really shouldn’t work at all.  But…somehow, it does.

It completely and unapolgetically manipulates the emotions, you can see the ‘twists’ coming a mile off,  Juliette Lewis is so typecast as the kooky but sexy ‘chakra-chi-aura’ therapist, the ending is delivered all tied up neatly in a predictable bow and yet for some reason….I love it!

Susannah Grant directs Garner as Gray, a woman burying her fiancé Grady on the day that she should have been marrying him.  Garner is absolutely heartbreaking in these early scenes, pulling those tears from you whether you want to give them up or not. She finds herself unable to afford the place she was going to share with her husband Grady and instead moves in with his best friends, who offer moral and emotional support as she discovers that her fiancé was not the man she thought he was at all and that was in fact harbouring big secrets – bad ones.

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She moves in with 2 of Grady’s best friends – who provide much needed care for Gray.  The 3rd friend on the scene is Fritz, visiting from LA.  Unreliable, irresponsible, seemingly thoughtless and selfish…….Gray can’t understand why Grady was ever friends with him.  But she misjudges him massively and of course….he ends up being the one person to bring her back to life.  The chemistry between Garner and Olyphant is tangible, evident and very real and a big part of why this film works so well.

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This film is sad, heatbreaking, funny, touching, poignant and sweet. I absolutely recommend it and yes……it’s one you can rewatch over and over…..and you’ll cry every time.

Even if when you do know what’s coming.

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Favourite quotes:

Fritz: I owe you an apology.
Gray: Just one?
Fritz: For ruining the funeral.
Gray: Yeah, if it hadn’t been for you, that would’ve been one great day.

Gray: What’s your favorite color?
Fritz: Grey.

Gray: (as voiceover, talking to Grady who has passed) :
I didn’t tell them everything, though. I left out the complicated stuff, like how it took losing you forever for me to truly find you.  They want to know I miss you. Not that while I’ve been missing you, I’ve fallen for someone else. It’s weird, though. I feel like the only one who would understand this is you. In a way, that makes sense. He was the one person you were yourself around. Of course he’d be that same person for me.

Favourite picture :

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Where have I seen you before?

Jennifer Garner – Daredevil, Elektra, Alias

Timothy Olyphant – Hitman, Deadwood, Diehard, Go

Kevin Smith – Clerks, Mallrats, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back

Juliette Lewis – Cape Fear, Natural born Killers, Kalifornia, From Dusk til dawn

Fiona Shaw – Harry Potter 1-8, True Blood, Jane Eyre