I went to my high school class' ten-year reunion, and I probably won't go back to the next one. That's all I'll say. Too many memories I don't want to relive were relived. I like the idealized version of high school in my head way better. Anyway, few subjects lend themselves to great comedy like the high school reunion. (If mine had been filmed, you would certainly have laughed.) And there are so many to choose from.
I struggled last week. This week, I'm flush with picks. I just made a list off the top of my head of about 10 movies. I had to work to whittle this down, and I still left out one of my favorites...that I'll mention now...the 1997 John Cusack comedy Grosse Pointe Blank. I freakin' love it! But it doesn't have the WOW! factor of my other picks. And the connections between by three picks are weird. Just saying...
So, it's Thursday. Another one as part of Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. This week, we're going back to high school as adults...sort of.
Here are my picks:
Peggy Sue Got Married
dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1986
Peggy Sue Got Married is one of those movies my Mom used to nurture my budding fascination with movies as a kid. This is one, according her, that I had to see. And it was great. And it has lasted. And I really want to re-watch it now. It's been years. The title character, played by Kathleen Turner, attends her 25th reunion on the heels of recent separation from her husband (and high school sweetheart) Charlie (Nicolas Cage). When it all comes down on her that fateful night, she passes out and finds herself transported to 1960, her senior year, where she gets a chance to try it all again. Just a genius comedy with a lot to say about aging and the choices we made getting there.
dir. Jonathan Demme, 1986
Released less than a month after my first pick, Jonathan Demme's Something Wild is easily one of the coolest road movies ever made. That soundtrack is fucking unreal! When you run Talking Heads over the titles, you've got a hit as far as I'm concerned. Jeff Daniels plays Charlie, a stuffed shirt type recently dumped by his wife. Melanie Griffith plays the brunette Lulu (among other names and hairstyles), a free-spirit who catches Charlie running out on his check at a diner. The start a journey together that will lead to Lulu's high school reunion, where her ex (Ray Liotta), an unsavory type, comes to get her back. It's a truly unconventional romantic comedy and is now on a beautifully restored Criterion Collection Blu-Ray.
dir. Ted Demme, 1996
Made by the nephew of Jonathan Demme, here is the magnum opus of high school reunion movies. It is in my Top Ten Movies of All-Time...for real. I could watch it every single day and never tire of it. Tim Hutton plays Willy, a lounge pianist living in New York who returns home to small town Massachusetts for a wintry reunion with his graduating class. Most of the film plays out like every single holiday visit I made home during college. My old friends from high school and I just drinking...a lot, making grand statements on life and especially the beautiful women in our lives. The script, written by Scott Rosenberg, feels overwritten sometimes, but the dialogue is so fun to listen to. Matt Dillon, Noah Emmerich, and Michael Rapaport all know how to sell it, especially Rapaport, who delivers a monologue about models that is one of the greatest things ever written in the English language...period. The cast is rounded out by the title characters themselves, other than the Rapaport's models, of course, and are played by Mira Sorvino, Martha Plimpton, Lauren Holly, Uma Thurman, Rosie O'Donnell, and a young Natalie Portman, who is incredible as a wise 13-year-old who casts a certain spell on Hutton's Willy.
I think I picked this one for something else last year, so I'll retire it now from these picks. But, please, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD, SEE THIS MOVIE!!
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
dir. Kevin Smith, 2008
This movie is not about a high school reunion (see: title), but there is one particular scene at a ten-year reunion, one of the more surprising cameo scenes maybe ever. It features the under-appreciated Justin Long as a gay porn star with a voice that could melt butter. Seriously...hilarious.