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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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what did you see this weekend?

"Well, I saw MOMMY on Saturday, and it kind of spoiled my Sunday movie-going, it was so good. " - Bill

"THE SKELETON TWINS. Darker than advertised." -Charlie G

"MAPS TO THE STARS at the cinema. It's certainly very "Cronenberg", satyrical and darkly funny...and Julianne Moore is absolute dynamite. It must have been so much fun for her! - Carlos

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Entries in High School Movies (30)

Tuesday
Sep092014

Learning the Power of Knowledge from "Pleasantville"

Back to school week continues with Abstew on Pleasantville...

Let's face it, sometimes school can be a real drag. When you're not trying to find your place among the social circles (which is just as much work as any assignment a teacher could give), there's the constant pressure of doing well academically so that you can go to a good college so that you won't waste your life! (Nope, no pressure at all...) When David (a pre-Spider-Man Tobey Maguire) isn't having imaginary conversations with pretty girls that are out of his league, he has to sit through bleak lectures that are so depressing in their statistics that it kinda makes you just wanna give-up:

For those of you going on to college next year, the chance of finding a good job will actually decrease by the time you graduate. The available number of entry level jobs will drop 31% over the next 4 years. Median income for those jobs will go down as well. Obviously, my friends, it's a competitive world. And good grades are your only ticket through. In fact by the year 2000...

...Contracting HIV from a non-monogamous lifestyle will climb to 1 in 150. The odds of dying in an auto accident are only 1 in 2,500. Now this marks a drastic increase...

...14 years ago when ozone depletion was just at 10% the current level. By the time you are 30 years old, the average global temperature will have risen 2.5 degrees. Causing such catastrophic consequences as typhoons, floods, widespread drought, and famine. Okay...who can tell me what "famine" is?

Yikes. No wonder David seeks out the simpler times captured in the 1950's sitcom world of his favorite show "Pleasantville". [more...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep082014

Dress for the part, Clueless-style

Continuing our Back to School week...

Hey all, Manuel here, reminding you that when it comes to prepping for back to school fashion, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) has had an app for that, even before Apple ruled product placement in Hollywood.

The year is 1995 and I remember watching Cher open Clueless by telling me that she actually has a “way normal life for a teenager.” She gets up, she brushes her teeth and she picks out her school clothes. So far so good. Except then we get a shot of her touchscreen (!) computer where she has her entire closet digitized (!). Way normal? As if!

This was mind-boggling to me. Not only because my “pick out school clothes in the morning” routine was restricted to making sure my uniform was nicely ironed (yes, I always looked on with envy to these American high school movies where kids were allowed to wear whatever they liked, never bothering with ties or blazers as I did), but because it seemed like a scene more at home in the Jetsons than in a teenage remake of a Jane Austen novel. This little scene, meant to index Cher’s wealth and fashion sense, works also as a wonderfully prescient scene about our digitized and app-ready world. (So much so that in 2014, Iggy Azalea's take on Cher's closet organizer looks quite at home in a tablet, while the world has finally created an app rivals Cher’s own! #ShareYourCher)

Needless to say, I could have used Cher’s fashion software. By the time I was a college freshman I barely had any idea how laborious choosing a collegiate-ready outfit could be with no school-approved shirts and grey pants to choose from. Last thing I wanted to be was a “fashion victim” let alone “ensembly challenged.” For if there’s something to be learnt about the fashion in Clueless is that it isn’t merely a cosmetic addition to one’s personality, but it can function as a confidence booster. It’s not the clothes that make the woman, of course, but a yellow plaid ensemble can go a long way.

Cher's outfits are truly things of late 90s beauty, it's almost hard to pick a favorite, but I've always loved that first ensemble; which one of hers do you love the most? Do you have a first day of school ensemble you still remember fondly? Or one you don't quite understand what you were thinking when you wore it? 

Tuesday
Sep022014

Summer (lovin') happened so fast

Hello all, Manuel here wishing you all a great “back to school!” week with some choice words from your favorite singing and dancing adults-playing-teens.

I've had the best summer of my life and now I have to go away. It isn't fair."

To all the Sandys out there who have spent their summer nights bowling in the arcade, making out under docks, and getting friendly in the sand, it must surely seem unfair that it’s that time of year again when we bid goodbye to fun summer flings and have instead to prep ourselves for another school year. We could spend the next couple of weeks moping about the end of summer, and wishing we didn't have to spend the last beautiful days of the year indoors pining away, but, like Grease itself, we should see this coming back to school moment as an opportunity to engage in a high-energy musical number. True, Frankie Valli's rendition of Barry Gibb's "Grease" opens the film (while cartooney versions of our leads get ready for their first day of school) but it is "Summer Nights" which officially kicks off this musical comedy, framing the entire narrative of the film as an attempt to reclaim and repurpose the spirit (and romance!) of those summer nights amidst the dreary day to day of senior year.

“Okay girls, let’s go get ‘em!”

I had a friend in high school who, without a doubt, would always bring up "Summer Nights" on our first day of school ("tell me more! tell me more!" he'd joke, though I rarely had anything as interesting as Sandy to share with him). I never told him this, but thinking back on it, I would have much rather us role-play being the Pink Ladies (rather than dear old "Sandra Dee"!). I mean, in terms of heading back to school, I think Rizzo and the Pink Ladies have the right attitude. Can you really go wrong with sunglasses, pink jackets, gum and a killer strut?

Did you have, like Sandy, an unforgettable summer that you wish would never end? Have you already chosen what fabulous outfit you’ll be wearing when you make your grand return to the classroom this fall? Tell me more, tell me more!

Tuesday
May062014

Hot Docs '14: Beyond Clueless, The Secret Trial 5

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting on The Hot Docs Film Festival which wrapped Sunday. Reviews will continue this week.] 

In the history of cinema, there are few genres that receive as little acclaim or critical analysis as the high school film does. British critic Charlie Lyne's (of Ultra Culture blog fame) visual essay is therefore a treasure for enthusiasts of recent film history. In Beyond Clueless, he examines teenage characters in a wide variety of films produced between 1996 and 2004. Little of the titular film is shown, though its influence over the films that came after it looms large. From The Craft to Mean Girls, from The Faculty to Rules of Attraction, via Spider-man, Final Destination and everything in between, the high school student is analyzed through the tumultuous process of entering that period of adolescence and exiting it unscathed and transformed.

Beyond Clueless itself takes on the narrative arc of a teen movie. Divided in five chapters that are designed to embody the high school experience, it begins with ‘Fitting In’ and ends with ‘Moving On.’ No new material is added to the clips taken from the films discussed, but crucially, the lengthy essay is narrated by Fairuza Balk, star of The Craft, whose somber but familiar voice instills the film a teen personality of its own. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr302014

"I know what you're thinking: Home schooled kids are freaks!"

[Our Mean Girls week concludes with a really fresh angle I think you'll love. Here's Tim on being a home schooled freak. - Nathaniel R]

Tim here. I can't tell you how many times I, a perpetually overweight, underemployed, thirtysomething male, have looked at Lindsay Lohan and thought to myself gosh, she's just like me! But I can tell you the time it struck closest to home was when I first peered into Mean Girls a decade ago. Look at any appreciation, vintage or current, like the ones we have going for our Mean Girls Week, and you're going to encounter the sentiment that the film understands deep and universal truths about the public high school experience, but the kinship I feel with Lohan's Cady Heron is of an entirely different sort - the exact opposite, in fact.

Mean Girls, after all, isn't just a movie about any old bright teenager entering a new school and being partially devoured by the social order she finds there: it's about a bright teenager who has spent her life to that point being home schooled, thrust for the first time into a world full of people her own age. And like Cady, I spent my share of time being home schooled, though it wasn't because my parents were awesome zoologists who took me with them for a decade-plus research trip in Africa (it wasn't for fringe religious reasons either, I want to make that very clear). And unlike Cady, I never did get to experience the magical horror show of American high school. But I did get to have that same brutal, abrupt shift from being essentially solitary, driven only by my own sense of discipline, to be thrown into a terrifying world of people and schedules when college and dorms came upon me. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr282014

Podcast: Mean Girls Commentary, Two Parts

You own a copy of Mean Girls (2004), right?

Pull it off the shelf, rent it or Netflix Instant it (it expires May 1st!) so you can watch as you listen to this podcast. In this very special 10th anniversary celebration, Nathaniel R (The Film Experience) and Joe Reid (The Wire) return to North Shore High to watch Mean Girls together and provide you with our very own DVD commentary track. If you don't watch while you listen we'll sound like mad men giggling out of context or merely like we're too gay to function.

We discuss everything: performance, writing, costumes, set design, scoring and even casting that almost was -- it would have been such a different film. We also talk the reliable time capsule worthiness of the high school comedy film genre and tangents occur. Due to file sizes and the 97 minutes of running time, I can't embed both parts here in the post but you can download the 2 part conversation on iTunes. Or, if you don't have iTunes, both parts are here on the podcast upload page

Joe and I would really love you to continue the conversation in the comments. (Katey and Nick couldn't attend. But they love Ladysmith Black Mambazo!)

Articles referenced in The Podcast
Mean Girls Cast power rankings
Hit Me With Your Best Shot 
'let me tell you something about Lindsay Lohan' 
IndieWire: Daniel Franzese's coming out letter 
The Map of North Shore High's Cafeteria

Friday
Apr252014

Mean Girls: 1) Choose Your Seat and 2) Scribble in the Burn Book

Mean Girls Anniversary Week 

Two comment party questions for you this lovely Friday.

click for a larger view in new window

THE CAFETERIA
I love how detailed the North Shore High's social structure is and that Janis & Damian ('the coolest people you will ever meet') make a map for Cady.

1. Was your High School as regimented? And which table would we have found you sitting at? My table was more "the brains" but I don't see that here so I definitely would have been with seated at either of the "Band Geek" tables (all my friends were in band), sexually active and otherwise. 

THE BURN BOOK

it seems kind of unsanitary to leave lip prints all over a book.

2. What would people have written about you in high school? Or were you one of the mean girls who did the writing? 

JANIS: What does it say about me?
CADY: You weren't in it.
JANIS: Those bitches!