It’s a Boy Girl Thing

It’s a Boy/Girl Thing. Rocket Pictures 2006.

Before watching the movie:

So here’s a high school movie about gender-swapping body swapping. Commentary on the differences between men’s and women’s experiences is something that doesn’t always age well, especially with recent trends, so I’m not sure if this will come out as something to really recommend. It looks like the characters have some traits that make them slightly more than stereotypes, which makes it more likely positive statements can be made.

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The Astronaut Farmer

The Astronaut Farmer. Spring Creek Pictures 2006.

Before watching the movie:

What I’m most interested in about this story of an ex-astronaut who had to quit NASA to save the farm, but then decides to build his own rocket, is how the movie makes it plausible that one man can build a rocket on his own. The farm must be doing really well to be able to afford that kind of DIY equipment.

It’s meant as a feel-good story about Following Your Dreams™, but it’s just about the most extreme way to depict it. Solo rocketry projects are most likely to end up with the hobbyist spread across the landscape, no matter how much of an expert in engineering the rocketeer is.

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Shaolin Soccer

Shaolin Soccer. Star Overseas 2001.

Before watching the movie:

I know there must be a whole range of movies about applying martial arts to unusual activities, but I can’t come up with any others off the top of my head. Jackie Chan has probably made five of them. Maybe the training sequence in The Karate Kid counts?

This is maybe one of the highest-profile ones. I dimly remember being aware of its release, but it at best ranked “vaguely interesting”, which wasn’t nearly enough draw to get me to try to see it.

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Kate and Leopold

Kate & Leopold. Konrad Pictures 2001.

Before watching the movie:

This is such a minor detail in my memory of the time and all that I’m not sure if I remember any promotional material that would have said this is about a time-displaced nobleman in modern times or if I more surmised it from the way the title makes a point of highlighting the difference in their names and extrapolating. Extrapolating very, very far. And also he dresses very nicely, but the basics of men’s formalwear haven’t changed in the last few centuries. Anyway, I know that that’s what this is about now, but since I don’t directly remember being told that before I selected this now, I’m not entirely certain if I was ever told that.

Turning my thoughts to “person from history is now transplanted to the modern day” movies, I’m particularly interested in the fact that I can’t think of any stories that were contemporary to before the 80s (Specifically, Time After Time). I’m sure there were some, and now I’m pretty interested in what the early part of the 20th century would’ve imagined the people of earlier centuries would have thought of them.

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Mr. 3000

Mr. 3000. The Kennedy/Marshall Company 2004.

Before watching the movie:

It occurs to me that even though I remember seeing all of the tv spots for it at the time, and I have a synopsis in front of me, I don’t know much about this story other than “Bernie Mac unretires from baseball to protect his record”.

I’m guessing the tension comes from him clashing with his teammates, mostly due to them resenting him using them like that, but also maybe an old school baseball/new school baseball rivalry.

I’m still going to go with “it’s about Bernie Mac playing baseball” though.

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Two Weeks Notice

Two Weeks Notice. Fortis Films 2002.
Two Weeks Notice. Fortis Films 2002.

Before watching the movie:

Despite both of them having a good track record in romantic comedies, I would never have thought to pair Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. However, it makes perfect sense to set up a chalk and cheese couple, which are in fact a staple of romantic comedies.

It’s interesting that this movie appears to start from a position of realizing their relationship needs to either improve or end, which is usually the crisis point of the plot. I’m picturing something close to a plot where the bad boyfriend who’s usually there to get dumped in favor of the love interest, tries to reform into the love interest.

After watching the movie:

Lucy Kelson is an activist lawyer, as likely to organize a protest rally as file a suit in her fight against injustices. While crusading to save a historic Coney Island community center, planned to be demolished as an eyesore for a planned luxury condo tower nearby, she charges up to George Wade of the Wade Corporation development group, one of the bidders for the building contract, to make her argument, which among other things, includes a guarantee that she can get Wade the job in exchange for an agreement to spare the community center. Her eloquence and skill impress George, whose brother and senior partner Howard has demanded he get a real legal counsel this time and not another mistress to payroll. George offers Lucy the position, noting that not only will he spare and work around the community center in return, but the job also comes with full control over Wade Corporation’s pro bono legal budget. After some handwringing over this deal with the devil, Lucy accepts. Unfortunately, George quickly comes to rely upon her for every decision except legal matters, at all times of day and night, and after several months of this, Lucy resigns, which George reluctantly accepts, only on the condition she locate and train her own replacement. Only now that the process of separation has begun, they find that perhaps neither one of them can stand to see the other go.

I thought this story was going to avoid the stable, boring current partner that needs to be dumped for the romantic interest, but interestingly, Lucy does have a current partner that exits in the third act. Only he never actually appears because he’s always on a boat somewhere in another part of the world, and we only hear of their breakup after the fact.

I came into the story expecting her resignation to be the inciting action, but it’s actually more of the turn into the second act. I probably could’ve enjoyed an entire movie of the misadventures of falling in love with a clueless and needy boss, but they only really start to notice each other as people when they begin to disentangle as coworkers. Which is also enjoyable, just in a way that leaves an obvious joint.

Despite doing some unusual turns on tropes, this is a fairly standard romantic comedy. Witty things get said, arguments are had, feelings get developed, hidden, and revealed, and ultimately, the formula plays out in the manner the audience is accustomed to, and an hour and a half is passed in fun but not very distinctive storytelling.

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Monkeybone. 1492 Pictures 2001.

Before watching the movie:

I always conflated this movie with Cool World because of the idea of an artist interacting with a cartoon reality. Until I reread my review of Cool World, I still thought it was also about creator and creation, but the artist only based his work on the already-existing alternate reality.

Also, this is definitely actually aimed at a PG-13 rating. And the animation is claymation, or CG pretending to be claymation, rather than Ralph Bakshi rotoscoped xeroxes. Continue reading