I never keep this damn things up, but that ain’t gonna stop me starting again. No sirree. Alright, films I saw this weekend.
High School Musical 2 (Kenny Ortega, 2007)
Hilarious, but for all the wrong reasons. Terrible acting, predictable plot, contrived characters… it was neither a step up nor a step down from its predecessor. Actually, one thing it did lack was catchy songs. HSM had “We’re All in This Together” which I’ll never forget because we sang it because we sang it in our Sixth Form Revue, as well as “Getcha Head in the Game” and “Stick to the Status Quo”. Only “Bet on it” from HSM2 will linger in my memory, and that was for Zac Efron’s dodgy dancing as much as anything. One thing that really brought the lolls, however, was how that girl was always conveniently around to play the piano whenever Troy and Gabriela needed it. Ffs.
Never Been Kissed (Raja Gosnell, 1999)
Oh, ♥. It may be because I’m feeling amorous because of the season, or me feeling soppy because I believe I’m in love, or pure nostalgia for my secondary school (cringey days and all), but practically everything about this film pushed my buttons. Firstly, you’ve got Drew Barrymore at her loveliest, as newspaper copyright editor Josie. In order to make it as a reporter, she needs to go undercover in a high school. She, like most of us, had a pretty torrid time at high school, and after some initial failures in trying to be cool, her brother (played by David Arquette) helps her make it with the cool crowd. There’s a great supporting cast (including the ever-lovable John C. Reilly), some hilarious moments (the bananas…lol) a cute soundtrack, but what I loved most about this film was the chemistry between Barrymore and her teacher Michael Vartan. The ending, though morally rather dubious considering he thought she was a student the whole time, was still lovely, and I was so happy for Josie.
Ballad of a Soldier (Grigori Chukhrai, 1959)
Continuing with my “watching a film ‘cos it’s Russian”, I went for this minor masterpiece. Ballad of a Soldier points out how single minded and silly it would be to beef on the Russians and the beauty that an individual is capable of. Like Turtles Can Fly, Ballad of a Soldier captures the detrimental effect of war toward the country and the individual. It’s about one soldier, who possesses all the attributes that a good person should have, and is granted 6 days to go on leave: 2 to get there, 2 to spend with his mother (wherein he plans to fix her roof) and two days to return. However, in his journey, he comes across a range of people that need help, and in helping them, delay his arrival. He also develops a romance in the film, but we’re not even treated to a kiss… :( We’re told from the off that he doesn’t survive the war, but that didn’t stop me crying my eyes out at the end. Completely moving and heart-breakingly beautiful, this is highly recommended.