Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thumbs up for You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried (review roundup)

I recently finished a review copy of Susannah Gora's You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation. It's excellent, and I don't even like John Hughes movies, which I always found to be really sad. Here's two of my favorite anecdotes:

A scene in Some Kind of Wonderful called for Eric Stoltz's character to paint a picture of Lea Thompson's character. Director Howie Deutch rejected painting after painting (from seven different painters) as inadequate, before eventually settling on a painting as suitably depicting Thompson's beauty. Deutch and Thompson later married.

Hughes hired David Anderle of A&M Music to create the soundtrack for Ferris Beuller's Day Off. Anderle hired Robert Smith of The Cure to write a song to play during the museum scene. Meanwhile, Hughes asked Anderle, who had been the music supervisor on two of Hughes' previous movies, to arrange for A&M to work exclusively for him. When Anderle declined, explaining that A&M was a major record company, Hughes ended their working relationship and friendship. And so, the Robert Smith song was not used in the movie.

Highly recommended, and 34% off at Amazon.

And a few more reviews:

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: I finally watched this to see if it was too scary for my kids (yes). It failed even my very low expectations. Here's a few reasons: (1) It's a bad imitation of The Mummy, not an Indiana Jones movie; (2) Indy's behavior toward Ray Winston's Mac character made no sense, and indeed the character was entirely superfluous; (3) I'm immune to Shia LaBeouf's charms. The Star Wars prequels get a raw deal, and are superior to 4-6 in many ways. But this movie was entirely meritless.

2. Doctor 13: Architecture & Mortality by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang: Probably the worst-written comic I've ever tried to read. Cliff Chiang draws beautiful women, though.

3. BPRD: The Black Flame: Another great entry in the Hellboy/BPRD family. 32 % off at Amazon.

4. Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman for the Wii: Not quite as good as Lego Star Wars. The puzzles in Lego Batman are too similar, and the hub world is way too big. Controls in general, and especially during fighting, seem off in Indiana Jones. Still, my oldest is pretty happy playing them. Available for less than $20 at Amazon.

5. Wii Sports Resort: Filled with a huge variety of very fun games. My favorites are ping pong, archery, and sword fighting. But the controls on some of the games, especially the jetski don't work well. $3 off at Amazon.

*See more of my reviews here.