Matthew Broderick

The Stepford Wives

Year: 2004
Directed By: Frank Oz
Written By: Ira Levin (book), Paul Rudnick (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This film has sat on our shelf for over ten years and I don’t think I have watched it since we were in college. The film made it into the collection as a gift for Amber on some anniversary or holiday along the way. We’re only minutes into the movie now and I’m already wondering what I was thinking. We own so many movies that there’s bound to be a dud here and there and we’ve stumbled across one it seems. I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation for why it’s part of our collection but that memory has been lost along the way.

In one of the very first scenes the dialogue was clearly changed because it doesn’t match up with the lips of the actors. That’s frustrating but it was the plight of this movie. It’s one that’s been disowned by everybody involved including several actors and even the director. Not only did things not go well during filming but it suffered greatly in post production as several things were changed and some even re shot altogether. I have never seen the original film but perhaps I should seek it out now because I do like the idea behind this movie. It won’t be the first mistake I have made watching a remake of something that was much better before.

I’m thinking specifically of The Manchurian Candidate. Coincidentally that very film was advertised on this DVD. I learned a lesson when I watched the original and the very same thing could happen here. I’d really like to test that out but I don’t think it’s going to happen. A quick search shows the original film must be out of print because the DVD cost almost $70. That’s outrageous and I don’t want to see it that bad just to test out a theory. I can settle for the book but I’d have to invest too much time and I’m not really that interested.

Glenn Close is a gem and it’s sad to see her talent wasted in a movie like this. She so exaggerated in the scene where they are “working out” that you can’t help but laugh. She’s just so deftly delightful and her hand motions are fantastic. She shines in this film where everyone else is cloudy.

I have never been a big fan of Nicole Kidman but I do respect her talent. I can’t say that it’s on display in this movie though, her heart clearly wasn’t in it. I like Ferris Bueller as much as everyone else but there is rarely ever a role when I think ‘Matthew Broderick would have been great for this.’ On the other hand I can’t imagine a performance given by Christopher Walken that isn’t awesome but he’s just going through the motions in this movie and that’s a shame.

This movie was directed by Frank Oz and he has never really been a favorite of mine. He hasn’t gotten behind camera in ten years but still serves as the voice of Yoda when called upon. I don’t generally like his movies, however his final film Death at a Funeral was hilarious and needs to be added to the collection now that I think about it. Amber and I watched both the white and the black version of it years ago and enjoyed both.

Aside from Glenn Close, and that one awesome joke about Connecticut, there really isn’t much going on with this movie. It’s a really cool story but it wasn’t delivered properly at all. I wish I could watch the original to see how it measures up and maybe I’ll get that chance at some point. If anybody who has read the book is reading this let me know if it’s worth it and I’ll probably check it out. I can’t say this movie is actually worth your time to see though. It’s short and that’s a plus but even with a short running time it’s just not worth it.

NEXT MOVIE: Stir of Echoes (1999)

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Year: 1986
Directed By: John Hughes
Written By: John Hughes

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have spent my entire life watching and loving this movie, but suddenly it changed for me a couple of years ago. I was student teaching as a final requirement to graduate from college and I caught this movie on TV one night.  When the movie reached the first scenes with Ben Stein lecturing about economics suddenly everything was all wrong.  I had watched this movie countless times and always found that scene to be so funny.  I spent my days like that in high school, staring blankly at a teacher that was up there walking about….something.  Suddenly I found myself on the other side of that classroom and it was weird. I was no longer that dazed off daydreamer but the guy up front talking about….something.  What I found to be most interesting is how the film so accurately portrays that classroom from both sides of the room.  We all remember being that student, bored out of our mind, no clue what that guy up there is talking about, and the clock is moving slower by the second.  I now know what it is like to be that teacher. Standing in front of a bunch of kids talking about something that you find interesting, but no matter what you say there is just a room full of zombies staring back at you, and the clock is moving slower by the second for you too. I had a second period class just like these kids in the movie.  A bolt of lightening could have blasted through the ceiling and into the room and I don’t think they would have noticed.  It was watching this movie that night and suddenly seeing the scene through the eyes of the teacher and not the student that I suddenly realized I was officially an adult.  That realization sucked because nobody is in a hurry to step into the real world and become a real grown up.  I’m glad that it was this film that led me to the realization though, it’s a great movie and I love having another reason to like it.

John Hughes made several great films that will live on forever and this movie is right up there with the best of them.  This movie has been popular for almost thirty years now and I don’t think there is any reason to think that will change any time soon. A parody of this movie featuring Matthew Broderick was this past year’s big time Super Bowl ad and it met really favorable reviews. While Hughes has written many many great films, this was the best of all that he directed.  Although I do really like The Breakfast Club as well, and I have never been able to get into Sixteen Candles but I know many people love it.  There is something different about this film that sets it against the norm for most high school films.  The way that Ferris Bueller stop and talks to directly to the viewer makes him so much more likable and unique. This movie basically is a high school film, but you will find no other high school film like it and that is part of what makes it so exceptional.

Matthew Broderick was iconic in the lead role, and if nothing else he will always be remembered for it.  His career went pretty much down hill for the most part after this film but it doesn’t really matter because he will be Ferris Bueller forever in my mind.  He is so funny and so confident in the role, I really couldn’t imagine anybody else playing the part. He got so much older as his career went on that I think this movie kind of hurt his future career a little bit. In the role that most of us remember him from he is so young and vigorous.  I just don’t think we saw that from him again as his career progressed.  Jeffrey Jones was also iconic in his role as principal Rooney and I think Jones was great in several other films as well but I will not speak fondly of him.  While I may have always liked him he did turn out to be a pedophile so I can say nothing in support of him.  Mia Sara was awesome in this movie, she was so beautiful and seductive in the role.  I don’t know that her career went anywhere after this really but I will never forget her awesome sex scene in Timecop (I was a teenager when it came out, it meant something to me then).  Alan Ruck made this movie special almost as much as Broderick did but he wouldn’t be this good ever again.  Like Broderick too though, he will always be Cameron from this movie. The only other thing he did that comes to mind that I saw was his small role in Speed, but he was in several different TV shows that I didn’t watch.

In supporting roles there are a few people that must be mentioned as well.  Ben Stein once said that when he dies he won’t be remembered for all the books he has written or any of his other accomplishments but for his small role in this film.  When he got to set he didn’t really have any scripted lines, John Hughes just had him stand in the front of the class and start lecturing about economics off the top of his head.  He thought he was being really interesting when he had everyone’s attention but in fact they were all just so thrilled with how perfect it would all work for the movie.  Stein was great in this movie, and he is probably right about how he will be remembered.  “Bueller….Bueller….Bueller…” will be written on his tombstone one day. After all, we own the “Bueller….Bueller…Edition” of this movie.  Stein has always spoken openly about how great this movie is and has many interesting opinions about it.  Jennifer Grey is fantastic as Ferris’s jealous sister Jeannie. I have always like Grey, but I liked her better the way she looked in the 80s.  She appears to look completely different now and I imagine she has had a lot of work done, and I do not think it was necessary.  Also worth mentioning is Charlie Sheen‘s small cameo in the film.  I read that Sheen stayed awake for 48 hours in order to appear like a drug addict but who the hell is he kidding? Sheen only had to show up to work to appear like a drug addict, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he had snorted a few lines right before the camera started rolling.

This isn’t a movie I have to talk you into and it has no need for my validation at all.  I have yet to meet anybody that doesn’t love this movie and that is because it is so great.  This is a movie we can all relate to and we can all admire.  It is fun, funny, and it leaves you in a good mood. If you have somehow managed to not see this movie over the last twenty eight years then drop what you are doing and go after it. I doubt there are many who haven’t seen it though because it is such an awesome movie.  It is more than worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.

AMBER’S REVIEW

“He’ll keep calling me, he’ll keep calling me until I come over. He’ll make me feel guilty. This is uh… This is ridiculous, ok I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go. What – I’LL GO. Shit.”

AWESOME, classic. I would be utterly surprised if you haven’t seen it, but definitely go for it if you haven’t. One of the best teenager high school movies out there.

NEXT MOVIE: The Fifth Element (1997)