Basement Talk 006: Movie Conspiracies

Welcome back to Basement Talk hosted by Olivia Norwood and Anthony Peyton. In our sixth episode, we will be discussing a variety of movie conspiracies. Some of these include dark industry secrets like Shirley Temple’s childhood and Mark Salling’s pedophilia. Aside from that, we have interesting theories involving the true mastermind of the Scream franchise and who the real chosen one is in the Harry Potter series.

WARNING: Extremely dark subject matter, including pedophilia and sexual aggression.

Episode Length: 32 minutes

Intro & Outro Song: “Funhouse” by John Treash

 

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‘Heathers’: F*ck Me Gently With A Chainsaw

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

It’s time for another Time Warp Tuesday, folks! This time we’ve got the brilliance of the 1988 cult classic, Heathers.

That’s right, I’m talking the iconic original teen bitch dark comedy that has influenced more movies than Meryl Streep has acted in. That’s a lot, if you weren’t aware.

Heathers is basically one of the best movies any teen could watch and I highly recommend. It’s absolutely not one of good influence, but it’s a fun one. A movie from the 80s doesn’t get a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes for being “alright”.

First of all, we have the stunning Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer and all the talent that that beautiful woman delivers. Following her we have Christian Slater as JD, Veronica’s insane – no, like literally insane – love interest who likes explosives a little more than a person should.

Beyond that we have the beautiful title characters Heather Chandler, Heather McNamara, and Heather Duke played by Kim Walker, Lisanne Falk, and Shannen Doherty, respectively.

One of my favorite parts about this classic other than the unforgettable quotes (check the title real quick because that’s a quote) was the fact that there was not a single weak actor in this cast. They all had talents beyond their ages and their wasn’t anyone I got bored watching.

More than that was the stunning color pallete that this movie crew decided would fit best for the Heathers respective personality – head bitch Heather was red, Duke was green, and McNamara was yellow. The decision to have them visually separated added to the memorable scenes and ability to see a group of friends that were very clearly on different pedestals.

Heathers went on to influence such movies as Mean Girls, Clueless, Jawbreakers, and dozens of others. I don’t blame them, if I were a filmmaker I’d want to follow the footsteps of this cult phenomenon, too.

Aside from all the praise, Heathers unfortunately did not have – just kidding, trying to find reasons to not like this movie is next to impossible. Obviously, I love Heathers. I think it just did so much right and cultivated a culture. Even if nowadays the subject matter is a lot more touchy, Heathers is still appealing to everyone who wants a dark teen girl trope comedy.

‘A Simple Favor’: The Perfect Dark Comedy Thriller

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Is it a mystery? Is it a comedy? Or is it both? The new Blake Lively film A Simple Favor is more than what it appears to be in the trailers. In all of their promos and previews, the film is sold as a murder mystery with Anna Kendrick being her awkward self. It’s safe to assume that this was where the comedy was going to come from.

But, Kendrick wasn’t the only one contributing to the comedy. Lively, Henry Golding, and other cast members were pretty much funny the entire time which is why I am deeming this a dark comedy.

When single, crafty mom Stephanie (Kendrick) meets the enigmatic Emily (Lively) through a play date, she becomes wrapped up in the drama and mystery of her disappearance. Emily’s character, being brash and self-centered, completely counters cautious Stephanie which makes for an interesting dynamic when Emily uses the words ‘fuck’ regularly in front of her kid and Stephanie feeds her child meatless Swedish meatballs.

Kendrick usually gives us the clumsy girl performance but in this she evolves from it and becomes the cunning Nancy Drew type (because we all know that Nancy Drew deserves more credit).

While Kendrick gave us the brains, Lively gave us the bitch. Not only a bitch, but stone cold and evil bitch. Her character takes what she wants and never apologizes (this was a huge point in the movie). It was reminiscent of her role in Derek Martini’s 2012 film Hick where she played a street smart grifter. These two roles are very different from the same old ones that she’s used to portraying in Gossip Girl, The Age of Adeline, and All I See Is You (characters with no real backbone).

All in all, it was refreshing to see these two actresses portray something a little different from themselves and see that A Simple Favor was able to surprise us all when seeing it for the first time.


My Rating: 93%

Acting: 3.7/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 4/4

Basement Talk 005: The Magical Impact of Harry Potter

For the 5th episode of Basement Talk, hosts Anthony and Olivia (and guest Julia) fangirl over Harry Potter, their favorite characters, books/movies, and the impact it had on an entire generation.

Episode Length: 37 minutes

Intro & Outro Song: “funhouse” by John Treash

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.

Chloë Grace Moretz Shines in ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Earlier this year, we were introduced to the worst performance in Chloë Grace Moretz’ career with Brain on Fire. As a fan of Moretz’ work, I was thoroughly disappointed to see the Netflix Original and hoped for another film/performance this year that would make up for it.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post was that film and Moretz’ lead role was that performance. Taking place in 1993, teenaged Cameron is sent to a Christian treatment center after she is caught making out with a girl in the backseat of a car. While struggling with her oppressive situation, Cameron manages to find a few good friends in Native American Adam (Forrest Goodluck) and hippie Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane).

What I love so much about Moretz’ performance is that it’s completely different from the past where she played the headstrong, outspoken girl. Her role as Cameron is definitely the opposite as she is quiet, shy, and submissive. It’s refreshing to see Moretz as something that is more vulnerable and deeper than just the face value that we get with a lot of her characters.

Along with Moretz, the supporting characters gave their own memorable performances. Owen Campbell, who plays Mark, seemed like he was just another character but proved us wrong with one of the most powerful scenes I’ve seen this year that includes a dramatic and emotional reading of a bible verse that results in a mental breakdown. It’s one of the best performances of the film and Campbell deserves many praise for it.

All in all, The Miseducation of Cameron Post was one of the most authentic films of the year with actors who treat the material and the characters with respect.


My Rating: 95%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.7/4

Falling Crazy in Love with ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

One of my favorite film genres (if not, my favorite) is romantic comedy. From The Wedding Planner to Love, Simon, I always rush to the theatre (or Netflix) to see these movies. More recently, I rushed to see Crazy Rich Asians which did not disappoint.

Starring an all Asian cast, Crazy Rich Asians follows Chinese-American Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) on a trip to Singapore where she meets her boyfriend Nick Young’s (Henry Golding) family and discovers just how wealthy, luxurious, and privileged they are. Rachel, then, tries to prove her worth to his snobbish, overbearing mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) and ponders if she’s really cut out to be apart of Nick’s otherworldly life.

This film exceeded everyone’s expectations as it made $34 million dollars at the box office in its first five days, making it the best debut for a comedy this year and the best debut for a rom-com. This shouldn’t be shocking because it marks a very important moment in film history as it is the first Hollywood film to feature an all Asian cast in 25 years. When I went to see the film, nearly the entire audience were of Asian descent and that is something to be immensely proud of.

Crazy Rich Asians is pulling in the audiences that may have felt underrepresented in Hollywood and giving them something to connect to, and that is why this film made the money that it did.

Aside from its logistics, let’s talk about the film itself. I loved it, to say the least. It was one of the most visually appealing films that I have seen this year (and the past few years) and had characters that you just want to hold and never let go.

What I mean by that is that I want a second movie.

By the end of the film, I was begging for more of the posh Astrid (Gemma Chan), the fashionable Oliver (Nico Santos), and the goofy Peik Lin (Awkwafina). I wanted to follow the rest of Rachel and Nick’s relationship, see what the wedding was like, and see if she ever meets her long lost father. Now, the film is based on the book trilogy by Kevin Kwan and with the extra clip added at the end of the film (NO SPOILERS) I think it’s safe to hope for a sequel.

In conclusion, Crazy Rich Asians made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with its main AND supporting characters. It’s a beautiful film that deserves all of the spotlight and praise that it’s receiving.


My Rating: 91%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 4/4