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Live Forever (2003)
Not quite a Rip van Winkle feeling, but...
...it's odd how this story about the best of 90s Britpop (although it claims to be about more than just music) starts at about the time I'd pretty well lost interest in pop. It wasn't a feeling of 'the music was better in my day' - I was in my early-to-mid 30s in the early to early-to-mid-1990s - just that I'd grown up. It was a strange feeling when one day I realized I'd heard a lot about Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, but had no idea what it sounded like.
But, having seen Live Forever, I now can't stop thinking about the song Live Forever (which I'd never heard before), Wonderwall, and Blur's Parklife (which I'd also never heard before). And some internet research has revealed that the song I'd heard just once, years ago, and never been able to get out of my mind, was Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy (sic).
I did have some contact with the music - indeed, virtually the only pop album I bought during the period was the Trainspotting soundtrack, which features in this film. (Pulp, Blur and Sleeper are on it, and all their lead singers are interviewed here.) But my knowledge of Oasis was limited to Wonderwall (including the Mike Flowers easy listening version, which I appropriately first heard on supermarket muzak) and Don't Look Back in Anger. I could take them or leave them. And the Oasis/Blur Battle of the Bands? Never heard of it. See what I mean about Rip van Winkle? Noel Gallagher's (and others') comments that 'Britain was dead in the 80s', musically as well as politically, are of course nonsense. But I can't get too worked up over that: they're par for the course for any British pop act over the last 40 years that takes itself oh-so-seriously. 'Yeah, well, there was nothing happening, know-what-I-mean?' Nevertheless, the best of their music does still stand up.
By the way, Noel Gallagher is not interviewed sitting in his Georgian mansion - the director's commentary on the DVD reveals he's actually at Knebworth Castle.
(Personal postscript - during 1990 Trafalgar Square Poll Tax Riot that features at the start of the film, I was just a few blocks away at Leicester Square. I saw smoke in the distance, and people coming into the Tube station carrying anti-poll tax placards, but didn't put the two together till I got home and saw them on the news. Damn, missed A Defining Moment in the History of Modern Britain.)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
John Hughes at his best.
*Warning - contains spoilers.*
Someone at Network 10 (Australia) must be a secret John Hughes fan, because in recent months they've shown The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science (a guilty pleasure) and now PIP.
PIP has some holes. Much is made of Andie being (literally as well as figuratively) from the 'wrong side of the tracks'. Yet you get the impression that her family must once have had some money, before her mother walked out three years ago. Andie dresses well - she makes her own clothes and her look is arty-bohemian, not K-Mart. (And in real life there are a lot of rich kids who adopt that look too, but the 'richies' in PIP all look like Miami Vice clones.) Her house looks fairly comfortable, and they have two cars - her father has an old Volvo, while Andie has a pink (and admittedly beat-up) Karmann-Ghia. I also can't help wondering why her usual good taste deserts her when she makes that prom dress.
Yet in spite of such holes (the biggest being Andrew McCarthy - what *does* she see in him?) many things make PIP worth seeing:
* Andie's relationship with Duckie - unlike others who've posted here, I think it actually does make sense for them not to end up together, as they've known each other since the age of 8. They really are friends.
* Andie's relationship with her father - the father/daughter relationship has turned, quite believably, into a mother/son one.
* Iona's outfits - she looked great in the 40's one.
* Best moment of all - Andie's scream of delight when she comes home after Blane invites her to the prom.
And there's an eerie parallel with Pretty Woman (which only went to Julia Roberts after Molly Ringwald turned it down) in the scene where Andie goes into a posh store in search of a prom dress, and is made to feel unwelcome. The makers of PW must have had this scene in mind when they offered Molly that role.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
A 'Brat Pack' movie from just before 'Brat Pack' became an insult.
I can't separate this film from how I first saw it - in a cinema in San Francisco in 1985, after a 14 hour flight from Sydney. I mainly went there to keep myself awake and get over jet lag. Well, it kept me awake all right: I liked it so much that 4 weeks later, the night before flying back to Australia, I saw it again in the same cinema.
I was 23 when I saw it: no longer a teen (though the same age as some of the stars!) but my memories of being a teen were still fresh. Few teenagers are that articulate, but so what? It's true to what teenagers experience.
Apparently Ally Sheedy was originally going to play the Molly Ringwald role. The one thing that could have improved TBC would have been Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez swapping roles.