Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the Harry Potter prequel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the coming-of-age story “Edge of Seventeen” and Miles Teller as real life boxer Vinny Paz in “Bleed for This.”
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the Harry Potter prequel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the coming-of-age story “Edge of Seventeen,” Miles Teller as real life boxer Vinny Paz in “Bleed for This” and “Nocturnal Animals” with Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal.
“The Edge of Seventeen” is a contemporary coming of age story that feels like a throw back to the John Hughes films of the 1980s. Think “Sixteen Candles” and “Pretty in Pink” with an updated soundtrack and you get the idea.
Hailee Steinfeld is Nadine, a dramatic seventeen-year-old who thinks the world is divided into two camps, those who are winners and exude confidence in those who want to blow those people up. Her handsome brother Darian (Blake Jenner) falls into the former camp, she into the latter. Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), Nadine’s oldest (and only) friend is her emotional support and sounding board until one drunken night when something unspeakable happens—Krista and Darian hook up. The relationship drives a wedge between the two BFFs—“ You can’t have both. Its me or him. Pick,” Nadine demands.—and Nadine finds herself on the outside at school and at home. With more time on her hands the teenager finds new ways to vex her self-absorbed mother (Kyra Sedgwick), pine over her Facebook crush (Alexander Calvert) and bond with her sardonic teacher (Woody Harrelson). In the background, trying to be seen and heard, is Erwin (Hayden Szeto), an awkward and sweet classmate with eyes for Nadine.
The story sounds like something we’ve seen before but Steinfeld’s performance makes it seem fresh and new. In Nadine we have a composite of what it is to be a teenager, all the confusion, the fun, the rage, the melancholy, everything. It’s tremendous work that grounds the movie and gives equal weight to the comedy and the drama of her teenage life. The look on her face as the realization sinks in that her former best has left her behind for a boy and a game of Beer Pong is almost Shakespearean in its portrayal of teen angst.
Surrounding Steinfeld are Harrelson whose laid-back performance is a delicate mix of sarcasm and compassion, Szeto, who oozes awkward charm and Sedgwick who brings new meaning to the word frazzled. Strong work from all, but all orbit in Steinfeld’s universe.
Thanks to a great central performance “The Edge of Seventeen” is funny, heartbreaking and melancholic, sometimes all at once.
Richard Linklater’s new film Everybody Wants Some!! is set in that sweet spot between Saturday Night Fever and the Reagan Years. Ripe with feathered hair, bell bottom pants and milk crates used as LP storage, it’s the story of college life over the course of one weekend in 1980 set to the throbbing beat of disco and new wave music.
“It was a raunchy time,” says Linklater. “It was pretty hedonistic. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. I had to impose that back on my cast. Disco was sex. Dancing was foreplay. You were hoping to keep it going and that it would get personal. The humour was really raunchy. It was not innocent but there was a certain kind of playfulness to it.”
The fifty-five year old director calls the 1980s “a good time for me. A good time to be in your twenties. I was that guy who took his album collection and his music and his speakers off to college. My entire net worth at that age was in music.”
“You do a movie to examine your feelings or what you think,” he says. “I thought a lot about my own life at that time and also the culture. It’s my little anthropological look [at 1980]. I came out of it thinking that was the end of something. The eighties got much more serious. There was the AIDS epidemic but also there was the cultural backlash. There was the Reagan administration, Pat Robertson, [Jerry] Falwell and it kind of a war and not only a war on drugs. They were trying to move the culture back to the fifties or some mythical past before all this corruption, i.e. the freedoms of the sixties, women’s liberation. That was really in full gear by 82, 83 so I look at this and think, this was the last time there was that unabashed, raunchy hedonistic pure fun. I look at it and go, that was a good time to be young because that was all going to change.”
The Texas born filmmaker says he spent his 80s college years underground, immersed in punk rock. “It was getting kind of ugly in accepted culture so I zoned out a lot of it.” Since then he has made a career chronicling contemporary suburban culture in films like Slacker, Dazed and Confused and most recently in the twelve-years-in-the-making Boyhood. Along the way he’s learned a thing or two about how society is changing.
“I think the culture has actually changed less and less,” he says. “I observed that on Boyhood. I thought the world would look a lot different in those twelve years. If you take 1969 to 1981 you got a lot of different looks, cars, everything. In Boyhood nothing changed. The phones changed but the cars all looked the same, the hairstyles. I think we’ve hit a wall. Technology is so quick moving that it satisfies that desire in us for change. Punk comes out of [the idea] that I want something new. I don’t think humans don’t feel that deep need for demonstrable rejection of the old and embracing of the new because they feel there is so much being satisfied technologically. Whatever urge that was to stick a safety pin in your cheek and go create a new dance, you don’t see that anymore.”
Director Richard Linklater’s last film, the Oscar wining “Boyhood,” was a slice of life that showcased twelve years in the life of a growing boy. His new movie is also a slice of life but in a much-condensed form, spanning just three days in the life of a college baseball player.
It’s 1980 and when we first meet Jake (Blake Jenner) driving toward the next phase of his life, college. In the backseat are a small bag of clothes and a milk carton filled with his favourite LPs. Arriving just three days before classes start, he bonds with his teammates over KISS pinball machines, longneck Lone Star beers and boings filled with Maui Waui. They party, talk baseball, play a more violent version of Rock! Paper! Scissors! called “knuckles” and try and meet girls as the clock ticks down to the first day of classes.
Largely conflict free, this isn’t a story so much as it is a snapshot of a time and place. It’s a transport back to the time of waterbeds, “My Sharona,” fashionable mullets and trippy Carl Sagan cosmology. Linklater recreates the freewheeling feel of the era and the last blast of childhood before the responsibilities of adulthood. The temptation will be to label this a more innocent time, but that isn’t exactly accurate. These guys are just as interested in scoring with girls as they are soring runs on the field so innocent they are not. At most this is an affectionately nostalgic glimpse back into our recent past.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” is a charming reminiscence. Linklater gets the details right—including a crude warning against the pleasures of waterbed sex—but more importantly populates the film with characters that feel like real people and not stereotypes conjured up by a 1980s way-back machine. It’s troubling that the female characters are given little to do—perhaps Linklater’s next could be from the point of view of the woman’s experience—but the men are entertaining and compelling sorts whose conversations are occasionally inane, occasionally philosophical, just like real life.
In the last shot of “Everybody Wants Some!!”Jake watches his professor scrawl “Frontiers Are Where You Find Them” on the blackboard. The film doesn’t bother with its character’s boundaries, choosing instead to introduce to them as they are beginning the searching for their frontiers. The movie and its characters live in the moment, and that’s a pretty fun place to be.