Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This week sees the release of two very different romances on blu-ray.  One is a classic 80s romance that is beloved by many and features one of the most iconic film images of the 80s.  The other is a new comedy that is packed full of laughs, despite the unceremonious way it was dumped into theaters with hardly any publicity.  Both are great flicks that should be on your list to at least rent, if not to own.

The first movie is, Say Anything, the directorial debut of Cameron Crowe and featured John Cusack in what is arguably the most memorable performance of his career.  The movie also features great performances from Jeremy Piven, Eric Stoltz, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, and Ione Skye.  The movie's plot is one we've all seen a thousand times, boy falls for girl from afar and ends up winning her over, but here the unique characters really help the film rise above what could have been a typical romantic comedy.  Cusack's Lloyd Dobler is far from the typical male lead, he's a bit off, and speaks in a way that few people, or characters do, yet he still feels so real that you'll swear you knew him in high school.  Skye does a magnificent job as Diane Court, she's a girl who upon meeting Lloyd, suddenly realizes she's let high school pass her by while she did all she could to gain accolades and scholarships.  And it's the journey these two take as they get to know each other, and themselves, that really makes this something special.

The movie also has some great (and quotable) lines and as I said one of the most iconic images of 80s film.  One of these lines, featured on the box, is one I love so much that my AIM screenname is derived from it: "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."  And if anyone doesn't immediately recognize the image of Cusack holding the boombox over his head, then they probably weren't alive in 1989.  That scene alone, with Dobler professing his love for Diane, by allowing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" to say everything he can't is worth the purchase of this movie.  

I highly recommend you get out there and grab yourself a copy of the film.  Although I will say if you already own the previous DVD release, it's probably not worth double-dipping, as this one has all the old features, with the only new addition being the inclusion of a retrospective of the film.

I Love You, Beth Cooper couldn't be further apart from Say Anything, it's slapstick and whimsy as opposed to emotional and romantic, but it's still a good film.  In fact I'd say it's one of the most overlooked films of 2009.  The movie was unfairly dumped into theaters with hardly any promotion, do you remember seeing ads for it, and barely had a chance at the box office, despite decent reviews.  While the movie is not as good as the excellent book by Larry Doyle, it is still quite funny, and just plain fun.

Paul Rust (Inglorious Basterds) stars as Denis Cooverman, a nerdy, nervous sweaty senior who uses his valedictorian speech to profess his love for the head cheerleader, Beth Cooper, who barely knows who he is.  What follows is a typical "one night in the life" of a bunch of partying high schoolers.  As the night goes on the extremely nerdy Denis actually gets to know the real Beth Cooper and discovers that she's not who he thought she was, and although she's not what he expected, she's actually better, she's a full-fledged person.  The movie really touches on some great issues that comes with graduating high school, and might even take you back to your own high school days.  It's definitely worth renting.

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