Hit Me!: 15 Years of ‘Thirteen’ and It’s Defiant Youth

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

It’s been 15 years since we were introduced to the gritty and hardcore coming of age film, Thirteen, and it hasn’t aged a bit.

Although the 2003 story gives off a very early 2000’s vibes with the clothing and music, teenagers Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) still mirror the youth of today. Tracy, the straight A student, befriends the rebellious Evie in hopes of becoming popular. With this friendship comes the destruction of Tracy’s image, morals, and family as she begins to steal, use drugs, and act violent.

What makes this relevant to adolescence today is that it’s real. Written by a 13 year old Nikki Reed, Thirteen was based on her own drug addicted, promiscuous life, which provides massive insight into an actual teenager’s experiences.

Teen addiction is and was a massive problem and the effects are obviously damaging but this film shows the downward spiral of it all. Tracy went from being a friendly, hardworking student and daughter to a raging, mentally unstable teen. She self harms through cutting and having her friend beat her up. Tracy’s fast life with esometimes older boys ruins her relationships with everyone around including Evie.

Near the end of the film, we see her secrets revealed to her mother in a betrayal from Evie and a mental breakdown from Tracy. She’s darker and more disturbed. Inside she’s broken and her outrageous actions are a cry for help even when her behavior gives off a different story.

Reed knew exactly what we wanted to see in a coming of age film which was the other side of the teenage experience. One that is raw, chaotic and goes unnoticed or ignored by society. There’s a dark side to everything and Thirteen exposes it while showing the real humanity behind it.

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‘The Room’: The Best Worst Movie Ever

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Therese Gardner

The Room is infamous for many reasons. Its strange origins, how absolutely terrible it is, and the cult following it has developed.

The man, the myth, the legend, Tommy Wiseau, wrote, directed, and starred in this film. Even those closest to him are unsure how he got the money to make this film which cost roughly $6 million to make which, if you’ve seen it, is quite hard to believe.

But Wiseau’s money isn’t the only thing that’s mysterious about him. For the longest time no one knew exactly how old he was, but after a quick internet search it seems we may have finally settled on 63. People also aren’t sure exactly where he’s from as he used to claim he was from New Orleans, but his accent told a different story.

The mystique surrounding Wiseau and The Room was a large contributor to its cult following. However, that isn’t the only factor. It also helps that it’s so bad that it makes you actually want to watch it. While most bad movies make you want to turn them off, The Room somehow has you coming back for more.

Although not very popular at the time of its release in 2003, it has now grown to cult status with regular midnight showings across the country that Wiseau himself will often show up to and sign stuff for fans.

The intrigue surrounding this film even sparked a movie, The Disaster Artist, which stars James Franco and is based off the book by Greg Sestero who co-starred in The Room. The Disaster Artist gives a detailed look into how this strange film came to be.

All in all, The Room definitely made an impression on the film community. It’s hard to pinpoint what about it makes it so watchable despite how bad it is, but to be so widely talked about 15 years after its release is quite impressive for any movie. Especially for one known as the worst movie ever made.

 

‘The Notebook’: A Tale of Unconditional, Everlasting Love

By Therese Gardner, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Based on a novel written by Nicholas Sparks, one of the world’s most beloved romance storytellers, The Notebook has easily become a timeless story of young love. The lovers are named Allie Nelson and Noah Calhoun. As young lovers they are played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. As older lovers, they are played by Gena Rowlands and James Garner. The story intercuts between the same couple at two different points in their lives: passionate teenagers at the brink of the rest of their lives, and then as older people fading away in the midst of getting older and her dealing with Alzheimer’s.

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Directed by Nick Cassavetes, the story is narrated by an older Noah (James Garner) as he tells a story from his notebook of two people who fell madly in love. He reads the story to a fellow patient at a nursing home who has forgotten most memories as a result of the onset of Alzheimer’s.

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A classic love tale of a poor boy and a rich girl falling in love against all odds. Allie is a rich kid, spending the summer at her family’s mansion in North Carolina while Noah is a local poor boy working at a sawmill to support himself and his father. He’s a hardworking, smart, poetic teenage boy working to figure things out for himself with the support of his father.

 

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Noah (Ryan Gosling) notices Allie (Rachel McAdams) while at a summer carnival and, so their summer love affair begins. The two spend many moments together dancing in the streets, running through the woods, and experiencing the heat of the summer alongside one another. All appears to be going in their favor, until Allie returns home one evening with Noah in hand. Allie’s parents disapprove of Noah immediately and forbid her from seeing him again. Allie chases after Noah, as he’s leaving her parent’s house where an argument ensues and the two break up. The following morning, Allie’s mother, Anne, suddenly announces the family is leaving South Carolina. So, Allie tries to find Noah to tell him the news. When she can’t find him, she asks one of his best friends, Fin, to tell Noah that she loves him. After Noah receives the message, he returns to her home to find she is nowhere to be found.

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As a result, Noah writes to Allie every day for 365 days, but Allie’s mother, Anne, hides all the letters such that Allie never sees them. Noah enlists with Fin to fight in World War II, where Fin is killed in battle. Allie volunteers in a hospital for wounded soldiers where she meets a captain. The two fall in love, and after a couple of years of dating, the two get engaged with full support from her parents, as he is young and has money. Shortly after, Noah returns home from the war to buy the abandoned house him and Allie found long ago. While in town, Noah happens to be walking by a restaurant where he sees Allie kissing Lon.  

Noah convinces himself that if he renovates the house, Allie will return to him. Allie sees a picture of Noah in the newspaper alongside the house and decides to take a trip to Seabrook to find Noah living in the house. The two rekindle their relationship, until Anne shows up to warn Allie that Lon has followed her. Anne recounts her love for a young man from her teenage years that she still thinks of and, in doing so, finally gives Allie the letters that Noah had written. Allie confesses to Lon, and decides that she belongs with Noah and so returns to the home.

It is then revealed that the patient from the beginning of the movie, is Allie and that Duke is Noah. Allie had told Duke at the onset of her illness to continue to reread their journals to help her remember their past memories together. Noah suffers a heart attack while Allie is sedated after having a panic attack. Noah visits Allie in the middle of the night, and both Noah and Allie pass away holding each other while sleeping.

An emotionally, yet romantic movie that many are attracted to, as they can place themselves into the story and live out its emotion. A timely reflection of the power of a deep, everlasting love. Noah’s commitment and love transcends the emotional and physical grief caused by Allie’s Alzheimer’s – his unconditional love for Allie sustains them.  

‘Remember Me’: 2010 Was Unnecessarily Depressing

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

In the daunting midst of the Twilight saga, Robert Pattinson stars as Tyler in Remember Me, the unnecessarily tragic story of a New Yorker in 2001.

It follows both him and a girl named Ally (Emilie de Ravin) as they develop a classic movie cliché relationship with plenty of issues and heartache. Half of this heartache is because of the detached relationship Tyler has with his father (played by Pierce Brosnan).

I chose this movie for this week’s Time Warp Tuesday because not only did I watch it yesterday, I also wanted to cover a Pattinson movie that wasn’t Twilight that had some impact. That impact being that not every movie has to be a tragedy to be good. Why I chose the one that has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, I couldn’t tell you.

The acting in this wasn’t anywhere near magical, but it was certainly cute. Sometimes what you need is a good cliché love story, no matter if the movie is outstanding or not.

That wasn’t all this movie was, though. It was a disastrous tragedy that didn’t need to happen. As hard as it is not to spoil the ending, I won’t. But all it proved was that some movies that have the ability to be good can stay good without having to be heartbreaking.

Remember Me is nowhere near a perfect movie. In fact, it’s not even considered a good movie by any aspect. Regardless, it taught everyone a lesson that’s made a movie after it. Thank God for that.

‘Something Borrowed’: An Affair

By Therese Gardner, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Based on the novel by Emily Giffin, of the same name, Something Borrowed, is a romantic comedy that follows Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) as she begins an affair with her best friend’s, soon-to-be husband, Dex (Colin Egglesfield). While it is a stereotypical and predictable rom-com where the protagonist accidentally falls in love with her best friend’s fiance, it still is an all-time favorite of mine.

At the beginning of the film after having had too many drinks while celebrating her thirtieth birthday, Rachel grabs a cab with Dex where they head to another bar for some more drinks and she unintentionally reveals the crush she had on him throughout law school. As the night progresses, the two end up going back to her apartment together and, as the saying goes, the rest becomes history. Except, this time, it’s actually just the beginning of an extremely complicated and heartbreaking narrative.

The following morning, Rachel and Dex are both startled awake to Darcy calling both of their phones. Dex rushes out before Rachel answers the phone and they are able to discuss what happened the night before. Rachel thinks her encounter with Dex was only a one night stand, but is not long before it develops into something much more – an affair.

As their affair continues, Dex and Rachel begin telling a thread of lies to Darcy and friends in order to cover up their secret relationship. Rachel does so by telling Darcy she’s having an affair with their shared friend, Ethan (John Krasinski) and Marcus (Steve Howey). Rachel and Dex spend as much time together, as circumstances will allow, until the wedding nears and they start seeing each other less. Rachel begs Dex to call of the wedding, so the two of them can be together, but Dex refuses. The morning of the wedding Rachel finds Dex at her doorstep and announces that him and Darcy have called of the wedding.

Initially, Rachel is over the moon until Darcy shows up at her door to talk and realizes that Dex was there all along, and Rachel was the other woman. Darcy is furious with Rachel, and the two seemingly never talk again until two months later when they run into each other on the street.

Although there is not much to take away from this film, hence why I have provided a brief synopsis, Something Borrowed is a lighthearted rom-com that is perfect for a girls night in. Just grab a box of chocolates, a drink of choice, and relax.

How ‘Scream’ Revitalized The Slasher-Horror Genre

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Scream has become one of those classic horror franchises along with others such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. However, Scream differs from the latter three in the sense that part of its purpose is to parody them.

In short, Scream is about a masked murderer who goes on a killing spree that is interspersed with creepy phone calls and centers around the murderer’s main target, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). As the series progresses you find out why Sidney is always targeted and more of the backstory.

The first Scream movie came out in 1996 and it proved to be a pivotal point for the horror genre. In the early 90’s the genre seemed to have hit a little bit of a lull, unable to find itself after the massive successes of the 70’s and 80’s including Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. After those three the slasher genre seemed to be done with until the release and massive critical and financial success of Scream, which is still currently the highest grossing slasher film of all time.

Scream was able to revitalize slasher movies and bring the horror genre back to life due in part to its self awareness. Throughout the film – and every film in the series – the characters use common horror cliches to try and figure out who the killer (or killers) is and how to survive the killing spree. This includes the character Randy’s (Jamie Kennedy)  infamous three rules on how to survive a horror movie: don’t have sex, don’t drink, and never say “you’ll be right back”. The final scene of Halloween is even playing in the background of the last part of the film as though guiding the progression of it.

The film also was able to revitalize the slasher genre by doing something that the originals hadn’t – make it realistic. In Scream, Ghostface, as the killer is dubbed, isn’t superhuman, he doesn’t appear in your dreams, he’s just a real person going around killing people with a knife and playing with their emotions through phone calls. A premise based in reality as screenwriter Kevin Williamson was inspired by the real killings of the Gainesville Ripper.

The other thing this franchise did right is it knew when to stop, as there are only four films, which is much less than other big horror franchises, and each film had a distinct purpose.

The first film of course was just touching on horror cliches in general. Scream 2 talked specifically about the rules of horror sequels, and Scream 3 showed how horror trilogies often go off the rails and give you a “preponderance of backstory” as Randy says. Then, after the many horror remakes of the late 2000’s, they made one last movie, Scream 4, featuring a lot of new characters and touching on all the common trends seen in horror remakes.

The films were directed by Wes Craven, who also created the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and wow did he do an amazing job. The dialogue in the film, written by Williamson, was also brilliantly done. It felt so real with the way the characters spoke and how they used what they knew, horror cliches, to try to figure out what was happening in their little town.

The combined use of self-aware humor and a killer that could actually exist, not only made this movie scarier, but gave the slasher genre the refreshment it needed to continue. Scream remains one of the most well done horror franchises and is still referenced and talked about even over 20 years after the first film was released.

‘Mean Girls’: The Movie that Defined a Generation

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

 
Happy Time Warp Tuesday everyone! I hope you’re getting your pink outfits ready for tomorrow because today we are talking about Mean Girls.

If you were alive in 2004 when this gem came out then I am sure you have seen it, but just in case, I will give you a rundown of the plot.

Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) has lived in Africa and been homeschooled her entire life until her and her biologist parents move to the suburbs of Illinois, and she has to get acquainted to the world of high school.

Once she arrives at North Shore High she is quickly scooped up by best friends Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese) who let her in on everything she needs to know about all the cliques at North Shore High. The most important and infamous being The Plastics. The Plastics contain massive deal Regina George (Rachel McAdams), secret holder Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and ditzy Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried).

After The Plastics invite Cady to sit with them at lunch, Janis, Damien, and Cady devise a plan to take down the queen herself, Regina George. From that point on all kinds of chaos and girl world warfare ensues.

This movie is truly iconic. It has one of the funniest and most well written scripts, written by the amazingly talented and funny Tina Fey, which is evident in the fact that the script is often used as an example in film classes. And if you need any more proof of its icon status just look at how quotable it is. I mean practically the entire movie is quotable. Even if you have never seen this movie I am sure you could think of dozens of quotes from it because people are quoting it all the time.

Now I have seen this movie honestly probably hundreds of times, and it never gets old. October 3rd is a sacred day for me, Glen Coco is my personal hero, and if Regina George ever punched me in the face I would be truly honored. If you also were growing up in the early 2000s then I am sure you feel the same way because this is the movie of our generation. This is like the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Breakfast Club of our generation.

Mean Girls came out 14 years ago and it is still one of the most talked about and quoted movies. It is so amazing in fact that it is now also a Broadway Musical – which is absolutely fantastic, and if you haven’t listened to the soundtrack yet that is what you need to do for the next hour and a half.

All in all this movie is a timeless classic about high school life and an honest to God gift to this world.