Slums of Beverly Hills

Slums of Beverly Hills. Wildwood Enterprises 1998.

Before watching the movie:

This is clearly some kind of culture clash movie, but I’m not sure what kind. My best guess is that the family is trying to continue living in Beverly Hills even as the money is gone. It’s mainly about quirky family dysfunction. Maybe there’s an element of “this is what rich people think rock bottom is”.

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Practical Magic

Practical Magic. Stargate Studios 1998.
Practical Magic. Stargate Studios 1998.

Before watching the movie:

I really like modern-day spellcaster stories. I even found a fondness for Teen Witch. So all that I really need to be interested in this movie is that there are modern-day witch sisters. Their conflict has something to do with a curse upon their love lives, which sets up a romantic comedy apparently, and I’m further intrigued. I also like Sandra Bullock in pretty much anything, so that’s a plus as well. Continue reading

How Stella Got Her Groove Back

How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Twentieth Century Fox 1998.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Twentieth Century Fox 1998.

Before watching the movie:

So maybe this will be the lighter film I was hoping for last week. This is definitely sold as a feel-good movie and I think a romantic comedy? It can’t be too serious with Whoopi Goldberg playing the best friend.

I always have this movie’s plot conflated in my head with Peggy Sue Got Married, for no other reason than the vaguest of similarities in the title (“past-tense complete sentence that refers to the female protagonist by name”). Obviously they are very different movies.

So anyway, this is the story of a 40-something (who looks like she’s in her early 30s) having a fling with a 20-something on a vacation and… embarking on  a journey of self-discovery? Rediscovering a youthful spirit she’s lost in the rat race? Telling her boytoy to stay the hell away from her daughter? I’m not entirely clear on what this groove is, but it’s obviously a good thing, not something to beware.

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YesterMovies Rewind: Simon Birch

rewind

Five years ago this month, Yesterday’s Movies officially began. To celebrate half a decade of movie reviews, I’m rewatching some of the highlights and giving them second-look reviews. I’m closing out this series with the very first movie reviewed here, Simon Birch.

I know I originally chose this one because I’d just read the book it was based on, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I recall it ended up not having much to do with the book.

I also think I remember Christmas being a major part of the movie, being a major episode somewhere in the middle of a story told over about a year or so. I’m not sure if I said something about it in the original review, but I’m recalling a feeling very similar to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. oddly. That and the bus scene are all I really remember.

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Paulie

Paulie. Dreamworks 1998.
Paulie. Dreamworks 1998.

Before watching the movie:

I think I heard this was terrible. But then I might have conflated it too much with Pauly Shore. I had in mind that the bird was voiced by Pauly Shore in the “falling out of favor” part of his career. So I have no idea what to expect besides “talking animal road movie”. It has Tony Shaloub, so it can’t be too bad.

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You’ve Got Mail

You've Got Mail. Warner Bros. 1998.
You’ve Got Mail. Warner Bros. 1998.

Before watching the movie: The late 90s, a time when the internet was just beginning to be a thing normal people used, when it was beginning to be treated like the post office or telephone and nobody had a business interest in controlling access to it.

PSA aside, a time when the internet was new but probably safe enough, not something fearful. A time when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan could be Hollywood’s most bankably romantic couple yet again by somehow meeting online without knowing each other’s real identity, and this is a good thing. Yay technology. Continue reading

Small Soldiers

Small Soldiers. Dreamworks 1998.
Small Soldiers. Dreamworks Pictures 1998.

Before watching the movie:

So. Toys come to life. War toys are violent. This sounds familiar. But it has a cult following, it’s been praised for its writing, it has some familiar names I like, and I’m in the mood for a violent comedy right now.

The marketing is entirely focused on the living toys, so I actually have no idea what the overall aesthetic of the movie is. I really want it to be stop-motion style toys in a live-action environment, but I expect I will be disappointed. For one thing, I want them to be in 12 frames per second, but that would clash with the live action as stupidly as the ED-209 did in RoboCop.

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