Get Ready for a “Totally Awesome” Parody Experience!

Greetings and salutations, everyone! I’ve been watching some movies in the last few days, so I haven’t had much time to post reviews to this blogs as of late. Today’s movie will be VH1’s  satire on 80’s teen flicks, “Totally Awesome” (2006). It takes all the cliches and jokes supplied by 80’s teen movies, and lightheartedly makes fun of them for being dated and conventional. Think of it an “80’s”fied verson of “Not Another Teen movie. I’d like to thank “Moreland” from the blog “Jane Austen runs my Life” for suggesting and recommending this movie.

The idea behind “Totally Awesome” is that there was an old teen movie from the 80’s that has never been shown or released to a contemporary audience – until now, that is!   The tale follows siblings Charlie (Mikey Day)  and Lori (Dominque Swain), who have newly arrived in California from Pittsburgh. Charlie finds out that he’s ranked low on the class “popularity list”. He hopes to land the affections of popular but shallow Kimberly (Brittany Daniel) and show up typical cocky cool jock Kip (Joey Kern) in an upcoming decathlon. He enlists the help of smooth talking Darnell (Tracy Morgan), who tries the “Soul Man” approach, which involves impersonating the mannerisms and look of a black man, borrowing the plot of the controversial C. Thomas Howell movie, and effeminate next door neighbour Mr Yamagashi (James Hong)  who helps him train for the decathlon, “Karate Kid” style of course. But will he see that the right girl has been under his nose all along, in the form of his best friend Billie (Nicki Clyne)?

Meanwhile, Lori finds herself reenacting the plot of “Footloose” when she discovers that  dancing has been outlawed in her new town ever since the last people who danced in the town had their feet literally come loose when they kicked off their Sunday shoes. Lori decides to take action to restore dancing to the town. Enter Gabriel (Chris Kattan), a 35 year old former dance instructor turned destitute janitor, who steps in to show her some sweet dance moves, among other things!

As you may imagine in a frothy parody movie, “Totally Awesome”  is chock full of funny moments. In fact, I thought that the homage to “Soul Man” was actually kind of funny, despite  having utterly loathed that movie, primarily because of how racially insulting it was perceived as, even when it was first released back in 1986. However, as “Totally Awesome” is fully aware of how ridiculous that whole plot was, it dedicates its time to showing how that would play out in a more self aware environment.

I loved guessing the movies that were being parodied in certain scenes. The most obvious were probably “Dirty Dancing”, “Footloose” and “The Karate Kid”, but there are also shout outs to the likes of “Secret Admirer”, “Risky Business” and “Some Kind of Wonderful”, and even “Teen Wolf”. I would have liked to have seen some John Hughes movies get the spoof treatment, but many were already covered in “Not Another Teen Movie”.

I was also surprised by how funny I found Tracy Morgan’s  role in this movie. Usually, his brand of humour can be fairly hit or miss to me, as seen in his show, “30 Rock”. His role is limited to to the standard “black best friend/ sidekick archetype, but he did make me chuckle from time to time. His fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum, Chris Kattan, is also on top form here, as his character gets some genuinely funny moments in.

“Totally Awesome” earns a total of 3 and a half out of five stars, as it’s a fun flick  to check out if you a fan of spoof movies that aren’t meant to be questioned or taken too seriously, then this movie just might be up your street! Also, feel free to check out the website “Jane Austen Runs my Life”. Until next time!

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“Fatal Attraction” isn’t a Thriller to be Ignored…

Greetings, bloggers! I’ve been watching a fair few thrillers as of late. Among these thrillers is the 1987 Adrian Lyne film, “Fatal  Attraction”.  As usual, I’ll be critiquing the plot of the movie, as well as the actors’ performances, my favourite and least favourite scenes, and whether or not it’s worth checking out. Without further delay, here’s “Fatal Attraction”!

The Plot in a Nutshell: Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is a happily married lawyer based in New York City with his loving wife Beth (Anne Archer) and cute daughter Ellen (Ellen Hamilton Latzen). He should have little to no reason to engage in a meaningless one night stand, right? This isn’t the case, as his head is soon turned by Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a comely publishing editor when Beth and Ellen are out of town, which leads to them sleeping together.  However, Dan instantly regrets his impromptu fling, and lets down Alex brusquely, who wishes for it to continue.

This turns out to be something that he’ll regret in retrospect, since Alex turns out to be scarily psychotic, even going as far to attempt suicide when Dan reveals his intentions to put their whole one night stand behind him. She soon begins stalking Dan and his family , becoming chummy with Beth and threatening to unveil the affair. This leaves Dan fearful over what lengths Alex will go to snag her man, including kidnapping Ellen,  but it soon transpires that not even Ellen’s pet bunny is safe from Alex’s wrath…

Character/Actor Observations: In my opinion, the main cast members absolutely nail their respective characters, especially Glenn Close, who is utterly compelling as the insane, scorned Alex. She has a superb foil in Anne Archer, who portrays the cuckolded, unsuspecting wife to a tee. Meanwhile, Michael Douglas delivers as a man who made a reckless decision in the spur of the moment, and must repent for his actions.

My Favourite Scene(s) in “Fatal Attraction”: The scene which comes to my mind when envisaging this film is the infamous “Bunny Boiler” scene, where Beth finds a nasty surprise awaiting her on the stove, courtesy of Alex. It helps to show us, the viewer, that things have just gotten really serious. It’s because of this scene that the term “Bunny Boiler” has gone down in history to be synonymous in pop culture with a cheating spouse, or a stalker.

My Least Favourite Scene(s) in “Fatal Attraction”: There wasn’t many scenes which I detested in the film. However, the sequence in which Alex kidnaps Ellen from her school is chilling. While it’s not bad by any means, the scene can really hit home to any parents in the audience, in that the idea of a child going off with a stranger just because they appeared to be nice could happen at any moment. Granted, Ellen doesn’t even realize that she’s being kidnapped, but it’s still a chilling, realistic sequence.

Actors Before they were Famous: This one’s for fans for the NBC sitcom, “30 Rock”. At the opening of the movie, we briefly see a teenage girl babysitting for the Gallaghers. This is Jane Krakowski, who would later be known for her role as diva Jenna Maroney on the sketch comedy.

Miscellaneous Trivia: It’s speculated that Alex has Borderline Personality Disorder, as many of the traits associated with that disorder are symptoms she exhibits throughout the movie, which include the common traits of fear of abandonment, mood swings and self harm. However, according to Glenn Close, when she read the script, she didn’t feel as though Alex had any known psychological disorder that she knew of. Close also states that to this day, passersby approach her on the street and remark “Thank you, you saved my marriage”!

My Take on “Fatal Attraction”: “Fatal Attraction” is a movie which still has the capacity to be genuinely shocking and suspenseful, even after almost 30 following the movie’s initial release. I present it with 3 and a half stars out of five, as it’s riveting and fast-paced, and you care about what happens to the characters, despite the fact that they make rash decisions at times.

Recommendations: If you enjoyed “Fatal Attraction” and wish to view other titles similar to it, then I’d suggest the gripping “Gone Girl”, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. For a version of “Fatal Attraction” set in high school, check out 2002’s “Swimfan”, with Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen and Shiri Appleby.