John Singleton's (R.I.P.) ABDUCTION (2011, 106 min.) on The Roku Channel for the first time.Singleton's last theatrical feature was this 'PG-13' Taylor Lautner action vehicle designed to cash-in on his fame from the "Twilight" saga (#TEAMJACOB-SPLOITATION!). It takes four minutes for Lautner's Nathan character to get his shirt off (I know, what took them so long? :-P), and about 30 minutes worth of set-up before some action finally happens. Basically Nathan is the son of a Jason Bourne-type deep cover CIA agent, and the apple didn't fall far back from the tree. Some bad guys show up at not-his-real-parents' home (Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs), and Nathan barely escapes with would-be-girlfriend Karen (Lily Collins) tagging along. CIA underling Burton (Alfred Molina) and Serbian cyberterrorist Kozlow (Michael Nyqvist) chase after the runaway teens from Pittsburgh to Maryland... and then all the way back to Pittsburgh, because tax incentives. No, seriously, the entire town apparently turns out to (a) watch Lautner do parkour at a Pittsburgh Pirates' baseball game and (b) for Singleton to subvert the classic Chekov trope about the gun under the VIP section baseball seat. Lautner (18 at the time "Abducted" was made) and Collins (21) make an appealing young couple, even if the alleged sexy make-out kissing on an Amtrak train gave me awkward "Fair Game" vibes. Sigourney Weaver shows up to collect a paycheck as Nathan's psychiatrist/protector, and utters my personal favorite line of the movie: 'I hate balloons. :-D In the parlay of F This Movie, "Abduction" is a fine but undistinguished teen flick for me to end Junesploitation! 2019 with a whimper. Oh well, better luck next year.
SEE YOU YESTERDAY (2019), dir. Stefan BristolStarts off as kids hanging out and doing science-y things. Then it leans into some classic Disney/Amblin kill off a family member thing. Then it combines the family grief thing with the science thing... time travel! It kind of loses momentum the longer it goes on and then it just... stops. The ending probably keys into the larger social commentary that underpins the movie - but it feels empty when you’re so attached to the main character. But like I said, maybe the hopelessness is the point.POWER RANGERS (2017), dir. Dean Israelite Struggled to finish this the last time I tried it. Still not entirely won over by this, Something about the way these characters talk to each other really grates me. I still like the action - though that’s probably my nostalgia talking.
I really liked Power Rangers, but at 140 minutes, it's way too long
YOUR NAME (2016), dir. Makoto ShinkaiI love this movie. It’s a real mood. That palpable sense of connection between the two lead characters - despite the fact that they are animated creations - gets me hook, line and sinker. The music, the colours and all the feels. I’m swooning all over again.
Freeway (1996)I honestly did not remember Little Red Riding getting arrested for shooting the wolf in the face. But I like this version. This is a very strange movie, in terms of tone, cast, score and well everything else. I am not surpried Oliver Stone's hands are some where near this movie. I adore Reese Witherspoon in this, it's a brilliant over the top performance. I did not expect anything that happened in this movie, nothing, and I loved it.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (1992) – About a cheerleading Valley Girl who becomes a ruthless vampire hunter all while dealing with the pressures of high school. Most of you probably know that already, though. Not being a big 1990s movies fan, and with high school films in particular, I was surprised by how delighted I was with Buffy. It manages to be light-hearted and tense at the same time. The cast is the main reason for that. Kristy Swanson carries the film. The main villains, Rutger Hauer and Paul Reubens, are immensely amusing. Donald Sutherland also gets a great role, and it was interesting to see a young Hilary Swank among Buffy’s friends.
Boyz N The Hood (1991)Still great and completely heartbreaking. I miss John Singleton.
DETENTION (2011), dir. Joseph Kahn.This is so aggressively odd. Sometimes I watch this and its youthful energy is way too extra for me. Nonetheless, what always works for me is the chemistry between Shanley Caswell and Josh Hutcherson. That, and the joyous rendition of Hanson’s mmmBop at the end.
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"Joysticks" 1983, Dir. Greydon Clark. All together now: Keen eyes, quick handsDick jokes, naked folksGreydon Clark, what a lark!
Cry-Baby (1989)I was delighted that a character said "teenagers" about every 3 minutes. Way funnier than I remembered. Iggy Pop gets a sweet introduction. Thanks for a fun Junesploitation! I wish I'd finished more movies. Loved reading all the reviews!
The Sinister Urge - MST3K cut (1960, dir. EDWARD D WOOD)Morality play about the dangers of pornography, hard boiled detective drama, or explainer for getting your foot into the biz? With Ed Wood behind the camera, it could be all three, or neither. Just remember kids, knives and pinups don't mix. And as I said to my s.o., "what a shame these porn actresses had to debase themselves by being in an Ed Wood film."The MSTies also started with an unreasonably long news reel about showering children, with all the same care given to mocking it. 'Ed Wood really agonized over this scene,' 'And so are we!'
The Principal (1987, dir. Christopher Cain, First Time Viewing)It's like Dangerous Minds, but instead of Michelle Pfeiffer it's Jim Belushi, and instead of helping the troubled teens Belushi battles them (with the help of a pretty awesome Louis Gossett Jr.) Soo... it was great!
Little Darlings (1980)Kristy McNichol and Tatum O’Neal are two fifteen-year-olds from opposite sides of the tracks (aren’t they always?) who make a bet to see which one will lose their virginity first. This is a movie at war with itself, not sure if it wants to be a silly sex comedy or a tender coming-of-age drama, and it never really settles on a consistent tone. That being said the performances are good and feel more real and lived-in than the movie around them, which makes it work. It’s far from perfect, but it’s got charm and a little charm goes a long way. That’s another Junesploitation in the books and I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who participated. I loved reading everyone’s reviews and seeing what movies everybody picked for each category. This is the first year that I managed to make every movie I saw a first-time watch and I found a few gems along the way that I’ll definitely be revisiting. Thank you to all who participated, and I’m excited to see what you’ll all be watching next year!
Teenage Cocktail (2016, dir. John Carchietta)The first half of the movie is a breezy little story about the friendship and budding love affair between two teenage girls (Nichole Bloom and Fabianne Therese), the second half is a thriller that's much less interesting. I would've happily just hung out with those two characters for 90 minutes. Even though the second half does include a lot more of Pat Healy, which is never bad.Hell's Ground (Zibahkhana) (2007, dir. Omar Khan)A Pakistani horror movie where a group of teens take a road trip and encounter first zombies, then a crazy, murderous backwoods family. Basically it's cramming as many horror clichés it can into 78 minutes. The Hooper and Romero influences especially are strong with this one.
I totally agree on Teenage Cocktail.
Red Dawn (1984) - first watchAfter watching, I was surprised to read how everyone viewed this movie through purely political lens. Well, I'm not American, so forgive me if I don't care to wade in.This was a fun Junesploitation! I missed many days to start, but managed to watch most days during the later half of the month. The days I was busy, I still looked forward to participating vicariously through reading the reviews of others. Thanks, everyone!
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)"Party All Night! Haha! Teenage Wasteland! Hahaha!"This is such a weird series. The quips and one liners from Angela in this one are so terrible they become amusing. This feels like such a cynical slasher.-good mix of teens-loads of nudity-campy dialog-quips from the slasher before and after most kills-pervy and neglectful adults/counselors-set at a summer camp-"inventive" and varied killsIt goes through the whole checklist for a teen slasher movie while bringing nothing to the formula that feels original or inspired. It's dumb. But I had fun watching it, so I guess that's something.I had a great Junesploitation this year. I was able to participate more than in past years. 67 movies throughout the month! That rivals some of my more successful Scary Movie Month counts. Only 18 of my choices I didn't particularly care for. Which is a much higher win rate than I usually fair in June or October. This was a great month, and I'm sad that it's coming to a close. Only a few more months til Scary Movie Month though!I hope everyone else had a good month and discovered some new favorites. I look forward to catching up with some of the movies I read about in your reviews!
To end this Junesploitation, I decided to take a look back at the beginning of teenage exploitation, the 1950s. There is plenty of fast cars and rock ‘n roll in this drive-in double feature courtesy of Prime.HOT ROD GIRL (1956) – These teenagers and their hot rods! Something has got to be done about it. Maybe building a drag strip will help tame the wild youth. Hot Rod Girl is an earnest slice of exploitation about the dangers of street racing. While the story is an excuse to show some fun car action, there is an important lessen to be learned. Films of this era always had to defer to the morality and social standards of the day by the conclusion. Frank Gorshin, best remembered as The Riddler in the original Batman television series, is one of the racers doing a great James Cagney impression. HOT ROD GANG (1958) – More of a rock ‘n roll musical than a car film, Hot Rod Gang was a showcase for American International Pictures’ star John Ashley. He sings, drives, and loves as an heir to a fortune trying to keep his wild activities secret from his conservative family. All of this is accompanied by the goofy scenarios and supporting characters of AIP’s films from this period. At a concise 72 minutes, Hot Rod Gang is a time capsule of drive-in culture.It has been a fun month of watching movies and reading about what all you have watched. As always happens with Junesploitation, my list of films to watch grew longer. It seems like the more movies that you watch, the more you realize how many there are to see.
SURF NINJAS (1991) A surfer kid learns he’s the ninjas’ chosen one, and so it’s up to him to save an island nation from an evil cyborg. Or something. This is a checklist movie, where producers had a list of things they thought kids might like, and put them all in the script, one by one. In addition to surfing and ninjas, there’s rock music, video games, Leslie Nielsen doing shtick, and Rob Schneider being obnoxious. It’s hokey early-‘90s nostalgia, but that works if that’s what you want. Bonus #Godzillasploitation: GODZILLA: PLANET OF THE MONSTERS (2017) GODZILLA: CITY ON THE EDGE OF BATTLE (2018) GODZILLA: THE PLANET EATER (2018) Really one long movie divided into three 90-minute chunks. It’s the distant future, and human-like aliens are returning to Earth after Godzilla defeated them centuries earlier. Future Earth is inhabited only by monsters, with all the humans dead (or are they?). On the plus side, the animation is gorgeous. The spaceflights and the monsters look truly spectacular. However, the movie follows the 2014 Godzilla formula by barely showing Godzilla at all. All three movies/chapters don’t show the big G until the end, wasting the rest of the runtime with a lot of technobabble and philosophical musings that end up not having to do a lot with anything. I honestly wouldn’t mind a “phantom edit” of these. Thanks again to Patrick and co. for creating this safe space where we can talk movies and be silly. With another #Junesploitation in the books, there’s only one thing left to say: BA-BA-BA, BA-BA-BA-RAN! BA-BA-BA, BA-BA-BA-RAN!
How great has this #Junesploitation been? I've seen so many recommendations from people from all over the world and it warms my cold, undead, gratuitously nude heart to read everyone's reviews and opinions of movies that I would never have heard of if it wasn't for F This Movie. Thank you Patrick, Erika and the entire F This Movie cabal.
Tragedy Girls (2017)I liked it, but it disturbed the hell out of me. I see the Heathers, Mean Girls and Scream influences, but this movie keeps the pressure on the muscle for a little to long and it begins to hurt. This might have to do with the Jack Quaid character. And the fact that both Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp are so freaken good. They are these teenagers who are growing into adults, learning where they want to fit in. This movie walks this line of acknowledging the true horror of the situation, but also embracing Sadie and McKayla's independence, friendship and sociopathy, as well as the troupes of a coming of age highschool movie. It was a great way for me to close out #Junespolitation2019.As usual, I had a complete blast reading everyone's reviews and Twitters. I have a huge list of movies I need to seek out.Thanks again to Patrick for keeping this up. It's a wonderful space for, well Movie Love for Movie Lovers. And happy up coming 500 episode, it's a huge achievement. You have truely created something special. Can't wait for #ScaryMovieMonth
The Last American Virgin (1982)I was ready for this film to be another 80s teen sex comedy that I could get a few cheap laughs from, brush off after five minutes, and then forget about completely. What I wasn't ready for was the emotional ride that it would take me on, nor for the all too painfully accurate slice of life the final half becomes. It takes the overall structure of many sex comedies of the time where many scenes are set pieces which don't have much to do with the rest of the film, but here each one manages to build on who the characters are, make you love or hate them, and still give you some laughs here and there. Without giving away too much, I couldn't believe this film had the balls to end the way it did, but it's an ending that I would rank right up there with the finale of the The Graduate for its ability to tear your heart apart. I came away knowing everything was going to be ok, but couldn't help but feel for the character. I normally wouldn't believe Cannon had it in them to make a great coming of age story, but they proved me wrong. Good for them.Fear (1996)Fear doesn't give you much that you can't get from most crazy ex-girl/boyfriend movies, but it's entertaining enough. It's worth watching for the home invasion scene alone.
Slaughterhouse Rulez (2018)Not great, but better than expected. Love the cast and had some genuinely funny moments.
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019, dir. Katt Shea)So fun and charming! My wife and I had a great time with this one. I don’t know if another installment is in the works, but I’m really hoping for it. I especially loved the relationship between Nancy and Helen.Fun Junesploitation! I definitely had to participate less this year, but still had a blast with you crazies.
Shag (1989, dir. Zelda Barron)I dig it the most.