Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.
Kim’s Pick – Easy A (2010)
Scroll back 10 years ago in 2010, Easy A was one of the first movies to really give the teen movies a big boost both in character and nostalgia. It paid homage to John Hughes films while also creating its own voice on teenage coming of age experience in the high school environment. Easy A tells the story of Olive, a girl who is a normal high school student that didn’t stick out in a crowd but through her own misuse of words to the wrong person ends up propelling rumors that she ends up riding along with and raising her own popularity to a point that gets a little out of hand.
There’s so much to love about Easy A. While it does wittingly put in a lot of teenage romance comparisons to John Hughes films or even 80s teenage films in general, the movie itself is somewhat a refreshed parallel of those memorable movies as well with a look at the 2010s landscape with technology being able to propel the rumor mill at a faster speed. While at the same time, a lot of the film’s success does have to lie with its cast, especially the witty take on the character of Olive by Emma Stone, showing off her comedic side thoroughly as well as her convincing take on this character that tries to prove a point by embracing the dark side in public, at the same time, not realizing the pain it would cause her until it was too late.
Of course, no great movie is one person. It also has to pair up with a lot of equally witty characters, mainly, Olive’s entire family which is packed with some fun characters. Playing her mother is Patricia Clarkson and as her father is Stanley Tucci who both make the family scenes every bit a highlight with their quick comebacks and witty dialogues. At the same time, the school scenario is not lacking for good cast members either with Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow and of course, Amanda Bynes who was a teen film favorite in 2000s and sees her in her last feature film role here.
Easy A is executed as a look back at the events as Olive recounts what she has gone through in a livestream. Its a particularly smart move to give the film structure, almost like its in stages and chapters for each turning point of the situation, narrated by the main character themselves. At the end, it also delivers a good message about high school rumors and being true to yourself. Packed with a great lesson and a witty and sarcastic take on the high school dilemmas and rumors, Easy A is a great movie that is still fun every single watch even after 10 ten years.
Elwood’s Pick – Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Back in the late 90’s when I was first seriously getting into film, beyond the surface level enjoyment I already got from my movie watching, Channel 4 here in the UK used to show Extreme cinema; a genre pretty much dead these days with society on a whole becoming harder to shock it would seem. Back then these films were truly seen as pushing boundaries of taste and would be shown as part of their late night schedule on a Friday night. It was from these seasons of films that I was exposed to films such as Greg Araki’s The Doom Generation and necrophilia romance Kissed which shocked me almost as much as they held a strange fascination for me, knowing that I was watching something which certainly fell outside of the cinematic mainstream, especially with their frequently graphic depicatations of sex, drugs, nudity and any number of taboo subjects. It would also be through these late night movie watching sessions that I would first see this film, which while I might not have followed it fully back then, still proved to be a memorable experience while kick-starting a lifelong fascination with the films of Abel Ferrara whom I mention in my review of The King of New York is my director of choice when I feel like watching something truly grimy and once again here it’s what he truly delivers.
As always with Ferrara it is a suitably grimy vision of New York that he once again gives us here, especially with the Lieutenant frequently seeming to take us on a guided tour of its most seediest parts as investigates the rape of a nun while he hangs out with drug dealers and trades drugs he steals from evidence aswell as adding to his own habit. It’s a habit which when combined with his frequent drinking, often finds him in some more than questionable situations as he frequents with prostitutes often in some form of stupor which also gives us one of the more memorable scenes from the film as a naked Keitel staggers around a room wailing into the night as he looks barely capable of functioning in any form and this is just for starters.
As well as these two vices and the constant pursuit of them, the Lieutenant also finds himself in a rapidly increasing spiral of gambling debts, as he continues to back the Dodgers as they face off against the Mets over a series of games, while Baseball player Darryl Strawberry seems to be the only hint at any human connection that he has with anyone with the sporadic interactions he has with his family either erupting in volatile outbursts or general neglect as he often appears to be distant even when surrounded by his family. This self-imposed isolation only increases over the course of the film as he gambles himself into further debts, while his addictions run wild, ultimately coming to ahead as he suffers a breakdown in a church, memorably grovelling and howling for forgiveness to a vision of a post crucified Jesus.
Unquestionably this is not an easy film to view, but despite the frequently graphic nature and crude tone the film takes, Ferrara clearly isn’t aiming to just shock his audience but instead punch them square in the face as he blurs the lines of gritty reality with frequently grotesque imagery. At the same time it is a powerhouse combination that we get from the potent combination of Ferrara’s direction and a bold and fearless performance by Keitel who despite committing numerous hideous and depraved acts still remains grimly watchable.
Similar in many ways to Taxi Driver the film views humanity at its darkest, perhaps making it all the more fitting that a nun is chosen as the victim of rape, as here even a symbol of purity and light is not beyond being soiled. At the same time the nun’s refusal to participate in the investigation of her attackers, furthers Ferrara’s own reoccurring ideals of finding forgiveness and compassion even when surrounded by a society fuelled on violence and hatred.
Unquestionably though thi is not the sort of film which is watched for enjoyment in the traditional sense, but this is still a griping if bleak experience and one truly carried by Keitel, whose performance Nicolas Cage would attempt to replicate with perhaps more overacted results in the unrelated, let alone Ferrara despised Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. However if you’re looking for a companion piece to Taxi Driver it’s safe to say that this film delivers the goods and more.
So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?
Let us know in the comments section below.