Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Warner Bros. 1985.

Before watching the movie:

I watched an episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse once and I didn’t get it. I wasn’t repelled by it, it just didn’t make sense. Everything seemed random for the sake of being random, and it was like an educational children’s show without a lesson, a story, or a point.

So why am I getting ready to watch the Pee-wee Herman movie? Because it looks like it’s got a story and possibly a point. It’s a vehicle for Paul Reubens, and vehicles go places.

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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 Commitments

The Commitments. Dirty Hands Productions 1991.

Before watching the movie:

I’ll be honest, a screencap with Colm Meaney was what attracted my attention, though it looks like he has a pretty minor role. And really, an Irish movie in the 90s would be remiss not to include him in some way.

The actual point of this movie seems to be a bunch of wannabe musicians being put together in a band by a wannabe manager. Which could go several different ways, and since it’s billed as a dramedy, probably goes many of them.

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The Mighty Ducks

The Mighty Ducks. Walt Disney Pictures 1992.

Before watching the movie:

I’m not exactly sure how I missed the Mighty Ducks phenomenon of the 90s. I knew it was a thing, but not only was I not interested (it’s a sports movie, and there aren’t any real ducks), it was never foisted upon me. I do recall noticing it (or one of the sequels) on a muted TV across the room once in the orthodontist’s office, but that’s it.

The spinoffs this movie had were ridiculous though. Two sequels is one thing, an in-name-only animated adaptation about superpowered hockey-playing cartoon ducks is another, and creating an actual NHL hockey team off the success of a movie is bizarre.

I didn’t intend to do two Disney movies concerning ducks in a row, it just happened. They’re so far apart in time and subject that I didn’t realize until I was set on this movie.

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Million Dollar Duck

Million Dollar Duck. Walt Disney Productions 1971.

Before watching the movie:

There’s a tendency for the family comedies Disney made in the 50s-70s to blend together, unless they reached you early enough to trigger nostalgia. At this point, it’s hard to say if that’s the classics rising to the top, or one generation passing their nostalgia to the next.

This is not one of the well-known ones. At least, I only learned about it by finding it on a shelf. It stars Dean Jones, but so does almost every movie Disney made back then. Disney’s stable of reliable actors reminds me these days of the contract system of the Golden Age of Cinema, where actors contracted to do so many movies of whatever kind they were assigned to with the same studio before they were free to leave or renew their contract, which also created a kind of repertory effect.

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The Money Pit

The Money Pit. U-Drive Productions 1986.

Before watching the movie:

So a young couple makes a real estate investment to live their dream, and then everything that could possibly go wrong with that choice does. That sounds a lot like The Long, Long Trailer to me. Only this time it’s Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, and the house doesn’t roll. (Probably.)

Unlike that movie, a lot of the problems turn out to be disastrous unexpected costs, rather than just ruining their marriage, which probably happens too, because money is the top reason couples fight.

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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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