We Love… Summer: 'Stand by Me'

We Love: Summer

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

 

Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summer’s past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of We Love… Summer. Gemma Creagh Stand by Me.

We’ll be adding to the list throughout July – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now lash on the sunblock…


Stand by Me

(1986)


Gemma Creagh

In my many years of consuming films, I had somehow managed to avoid watching Stand By Me. This ‘We Love… Summer’ was the perfect excuse to catch the iconic classic, so one lazy hungover Saturday, I strolled down to my local Xtravision and rented their dusty copy. Laden with Ben and Jerry’s and relatively low expectations, I popped the DVD in the player and let Rob Reiner’s beautiful film unfold on front of me.

My aforementioned low expectations were because I had been burned recently; the other evening I caught Terminator 2, and although good, it just didn’t hold up to how I remembered it. Also I had caught Rob Reiner’s latest film Flipped, and dear god, what a horrendous piece of cinema that was.

But I was very pleasantly surprised; Stand By Me is simply gorgeous, and – apart from the horrendous computer at the end – hasn’t dated an iota. This coming-of-age story of friendship and adventure sits nicely in the aesthetically stunning, small-town America of the 1950s. The themes, tone and performances hold up as strong today as they did in 1986, in fact much more so, as we are currently living in the era of bland, unimaginative Hollywood drivel.

River Phoenix is an actor so talented, he brings depth and charisma to scenes as basic as crossing the road, wordlessly eating a sandwich or casually picking his nose. Stand By Me also features a host of young and familiar faces, John Cusack and Kiefer Sutherland but the very best is Jerry O’Connell as Vernon ‘Vern’ Tessio – if you don’t know who he is, go IMDB him; he’s not so chubby and nerdy now.

Along with a long line of other films, Stand By Me proves undeniably, that films based on Stephen King’s stories can be exceptionally better than his writing in the first place. Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans did great work in creating a rich, well-structured and gripping story, which touches on dark and adult themes, such as social class and child abuse, in a sensitive and authentic way. So kudos Rayce(or Brunald?).

So as the credits rolled and I tearfully shoveled that last spoon of chocolate fudge brownie into my mouth, I swore to call every last one of my old school chums from my younger years – and also to give Jack Bauer a swift kick in the cojones the next time I saw him.

 

Share

We Love… Summer: 'X-Men'

We Love... Summer

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summer’s past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of We Love… Summer. Roxane J. Ray sunbathes watching X-Men.


X-Men

(2000)


Roxane J. Ray

When one thinks of summer movies, one arguably tends to think of action movies, or comedies. Summer is about entertainment and light-hearted stories, not a time for psychological drama. But summer is also a time of self-discovery and empowerment, which is why I suggest X-Men as a summer movie choice.

This is not just because the X-Men prequel that has just been released, which naturally perhaps associates this franchise with summer. The theme of X Men is about normal people who develop extraordinary powers; people who journey away from their home to find a place where they belong.

The first X-Men film is where this theme is most prominently illustrated. It centres around Rogue, a mutant who is unable to touch anyone without assimilating their powers, memories, and potentially even killing them. She daydreams about taking a road trip, just before she finally does, after an unfortunate incident involving touching a boy who then ended up in a coma.

Granted, it’s winter when she takes a road trip with another fellow traveller, Wolverine, but the idea of travel away from one’s comfort zone and the escape from daily life is something that we can all associate with summer.

Rogue gets more than she bargained for; not just a trip away from home but a new home, and a chance to attain what she always wanted for herself: a normal life. Summer is not just about discovering new sides to ourselves but also rediscovering what we thought we had lost, such as our dreams.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZrQC5QEmJE

Share

We Love… Summer: 'Some Like It Hot'

We Love… Summer

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

 

Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summer’s past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of ‘We Love… Summer’. Emma O’Donoghue joins the band for Some Like It Hot.

We’ll be adding to the list throughout July – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now lash on the sunblock…

Some Like It Hot

(1959)

Emma O’Donoghue

As we all know, the Irish summer is a fickle mistress, frequently throwing tantrums and enforcing indoor barbeques, squelchy shoes and the need for five layers of clothing. So if your plans for a sophisticated (i.e. gin-soaked) garden party are washed out at any stage this summer, to hell with it – open a bottle of your finest cheap Merlot and let Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon carry you off to a sunnier place.

Although it traditionally seems to pop up on television screens across the country around Christmas, Some Like It Hot has all the vivacity and charisma of a summer movie. This is a production that achieves that most rare and delectable feat: withstanding the ravages and judgement of time. Despite being over fifty years old it effortlessly continues to look fresh and dazzling and remains one of the finest comedies of all time.

It’s 1929, and in a cold Chicago parking lot, two struggling musicians – smooth-talking sax player Joe (Tony Curtis) and jittery bass player Jerry (Jack Lemmon) inadvertently witness a brutal mob massacre. Things go from bad to worse as the financially challenged friends suddenly find themselves fleeing for their lives. In their desperation to make a speedy escape from the city they take a job with a band travelling to sunny Florida to play in a hotel…but wait, there’s a catch – it’s an all-girl band. It’s a simple premise really: two manly men are forced to dress up as women – hilarity ensues.

Deriving entertainment from the discomfort of men who aren’t accustomed to being in drag is a common ploy in movies, but this isn’t your typical mindless slapstick (i.e. The Wayans Brothers in the abysmal White Chicks). Comedy genius permeates Joe and Jerry’s struggle to maintain their disguises and avoid suspicion. Their predicament serves as a springboard for the comedic talent of Lemmon in particular, as Jerry’s female alter-ego ‘Daphne’ tries desperately to evade the advances of the ageing millionaire Osgood, while Joe resorts to a further farcical disguise in order to seduce the beautiful but naïve singer and ukulele player Sugar (Marilyn Monroe). However, it’s not all fun and frolics on the beach as the seedy mobsters from the Chicago parking lot just so happen to be attending a conference in the same hotel the band is staying in…

There isn’t much about Some Like It Hot that hasn’t already been said – quite simply, it’s a classic and is absolutely guaranteed to get you in the summer mood (particularly after that bottle of Merlot). It’s flawlessly scripted and hysterical, not to mention it has one of the best closing lines in movie history. If nothing else, you can’t help being impressed by the skill with which these guys negotiate high heels and one-piece bathing suits… they just don’t make men like that anymore.

 

Share

We Love… Summer: 'Weekend at Bernie's'

We Love... Summer

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

 

Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summer’s past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of We Love… Summer. Charlene Lydon spends the Weekend at Bernie’s.

We’ll be adding to the list throughout July – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now lash on the sunblock…

 

Weekend at Bernie’s

(1989)

 

Charlene Lydon

The beauty of summer movies is that they don’t have to be classy, they don’t have to be clever, they just need to be fun! For me at least, Weekend at Bernie’s has a lot to offer those in need of some summer madness. For those of you who have not had the pleasure, here’s the plot in a nutshell. Larry and Richard, two down on their luck office workers uncover an anomaly which suggests someone is ripping off the insurance corporation they work for. Their shady boss Bernie, the real culprit, invites them to his place in The Hamptons during a massive New York heatwave where he plans to have them ‘silenced’. The plot thickens when the dodgy characters Bernie is involved with decide to ‘silence’ him instead, killing him and leaving him propped up at his desk with sunglasses on. When Larry and Richard arrive for their well-deserved weekend of fun, they realise what has happened but fate (and the prospect of ‘getting laid’) intervenes to ensure that they can’t quite find the time to phone the cops.

In the true spirit of ’80s comedy, a lot of over-the-top nonsense ensues whereby Larry and Richard must pretend to everyone, from party to party that Bernie is alive, just kind of ‘wasted’. This is easier than you imagine when everyone’s an airhead, a floozy or just completely hammered for the whole weekend. This is 1980’s New York we’re talking about here, hedonism is rampant for the well-heeled. Weekend at Bernie’s feels like Some Like it Hot crossed with a Bret Easton Ellis novel, completely ridiculous, over the top and slyly commenting on the hollow lifestyles of the rich and famous. Is that a stretch? Maybe it is.

At the heart of Weekend at Bernie’s is the desperate hunger to get out of the heat of Manhattan. The director does a good job of painting a picture of the unpleasantness of New York City in the sticky heatwave. It looks like the last place you’d ever want to be and therefore somewhat believably gives the guys an incentive to want to stay in The Hamptons at all cost. Disbelief must be suspended tremendously if you are to have any fun watching this film, but if you can just roll with it, it’s very funny and has an unjustly ignored fantastic central performance from Terry Kiser as Bernie. For two thirds of the film, he is dead. He has no lines. But the physicality of his performance is more than admirable, it’s downright brilliant!

With a premise like this, you’ll either love the film or hate the film, but it’s difficult not to crack a guilty smile here and there at the sheer absurdity and hideous lack of morality displayed by pretty much everyone in the film. Necrophilia, grave-robbing, desecration of a corpse via staple-gun, if it weren’t so damn sunny and nonchalant this would be a dark, dark piece of cinema. We’d all be shifting uncomfortably in our seats, unable to stay on board with these horribly selfish characters. But if you can allow yourself the indulgence Weekend at Bernies will evoke that feeling of desperately trying to enjoy the perfect summer weekend when you know it’s fleeting, even if you have to cart a corpse around with you to do it.

Sun, sand, women in bikinis, speedboats, creepy kids armed with a bucket and spade and of course a dead guy with his shoelaces tied to your shoelaces as you cruise the beach… that’s the recipe for a great summer movie!

 

Share

We Love… Summer: 'Last Summer'

We Love… Summer

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summers past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of We Love… Summer. William O’Keefe returns to a ‘Last Summer’ of innocence.

We’ll be adding to the list throughout July – check it out here.

As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now lash on the sunblock…

 

Last Summer

(1969)


William O’Keeffe

 

Robbie Williams and probably someone more learned before him said that youth is wasted on the young, but I wasted an awful amount of time very well, by filling my summers with movies and TV. ‘Last Summer’ came to me one night after The Late Late Show, shown as part of a RTE segment called ‘The Last Picture Show’ which I have since uncovered was a take on a BBC innovation. A man whose name I somehow remember, Brian Reddin, introduced a classic movie, or an unknown but still revered movie, gave us a shopping list of key points or scenes to watch out for while viewing as well as trivia on the movies production.

This little late night segment introduction helped form this writer’s tastes – introducing me to the enigma of Hitchcock, explaining film noir and the allure of the femme fatale amongst many other things. Reddin explained to me that Last Summer was a deep tale of burgeoning hormones and uncertainty and in my then unwillingness to disagree with someone I presumed more knowledgeable, I watched it and indeed watched these movies most Friday nights, holding them in high regard. An impressionable teenager, watching it as it happens during one of my own aimless summers, the movie initially terrified me that my own life should match the drama on show, but thankfully time convinces you to aspire to a much quieter life.

The impact of Last Summer is undoubted; it is a movie to dwell on. It is charged with tension and quiet drama; teenagers caught up in a dysfunctional comraderie as they spend a summer at the beach as they try to weather a storm of urges, personalities and conflicts with endless blue skies overhead. The movie doesn’t open lightly and darken from therein, there is an unsettling ambivalence about the three characters we meet on the white sanded beach in the opening scene; a strong willed knowing girl (Barbara Hershey) and the two boys (Richard Thomas and Bruce Davison) come upon her tending to an injured seagull. A friendship of sorts grows from here and this rapport is itself unfurled when a second girl (Rhoda played by Catherine Burns in an Oscar nominated role) joins the group later in the film. The movie is dripping in summer heat, set on the wonderfully titled Fire Island. Scantily clad teens lounge around restlessly, free from authority, dissecting each others characters in a way that makes the cast of Dawsons Creek seem like toddlers.

There are no stock characters, the boys leer after the beautiful Sandy in conflicted union, lead by her strong character, which is of course copper fastened by the power she knows she has over them. Burns, plays a sort of tragic Lisa Simpson to the rest of the group and her mixed maturity and sheepishness make her a prime target for their aggravating. There are power shifts and moments of pure darkness and in a sense the title becomes more telling as this summer spent at the beach proves to be a last summer of childhood and innocence for these teens.

I don’t know now the full impression Last Summer made on me that night, or that I had the faculty to understand it, but I know the movie spoke to my underdeveloped identity and was numbing in its portrayal of bullying, cliques and growing up.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm_KbPatQeo

Share

We Love… Summer: Jurassic Park

We Love... Summer

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summers past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of We Love… Summer. Ciara O’Brien wanders into ‘Jurassic Park’.

We’ll be adding to the list throughout July – check it out here.

As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now lash on the sunblock…


Jurassic Park

 

Ciara O’Brien

There is something about the beginning of the summer blockbuster season that gets my heart all a-flutter. There are times when the summertime really sneaks up on me (rainy summer days anyone?) and the first moment I realise that it is, in fact summer is the onslaught of trailers and posters for long-awaited movie treats. The problem with summer blockbusters is that there is so much hype, so much build-up, that there is an inevitable level of disappointment. That superhero turns out to be kind of a jerk and that alien turns out to be a creepy little mess who will haunt your dreams forevermore. When I was asked to write about summer movies, there was only one which came to mind. The one which lived up to the summer blockbuster hype, the first real summer blockbuster that got the adrenaline going as I shuffled into the darkened room, delighted to be allowed to have my own tub of popcorn. Jurassic Park.

For me, Jurassic Park is the original summer blockbuster. Released in July of 1993 it heralded the beginning of a lifelong love of the Blockbuster, and remains one of few not to disappoint. I was lucky enough to be too young at six years old to associate movies with their respective directors, as if I had known then that Spielberg had also directed the E.T. of my nightmares, I may not have been so quick through the cinema doors. As it was, life as a six year old was hard, having just graduated to ‘big sister’ territory, I needed something to take my mind off the harsh realities of life, and enormous dinosaurs were the only thing for it. Within minutes of entering Richard Attenborough’s unique world, Spielberg and I became firm friends again (the same cannot be said for a certain extra terrestrial).

Jurassic Park was a place where reality need not apply, new scientific rules were set out from the beginning and here was my first experience of suspending disbelief. There was no doubt in my mind that they would reopen the park at a later date when they had cleared off all of the corpses and hosed down the blood, and on that day I would pay a visit. Sam Neill was the lovable grump who would rescue me from danger and Attenborough was my grandfather, much to my actual family’s dismay. It remains a near-perfect blockbuster, covering every necessary angle from sci-fi to comedy thanks to Goldblum’s dry wit. To this day I find it difficult to find fault with this movie for entertainment factor.

Jurassic Park had a profound impact on my interaction with the big screen. Each time the first flutters of the summer movie season make their way to the screen, I am excited regardless of how the movie itself looks. The hopes of the perfection of my original blockbuster experience remain intact. It is however unfortunate for my parents that their little girl turned into a tree-climbing, plastic dinosaur toting tomboy overnight.

Share

We Love … Summer: Jaws

We Love... Summer

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summers past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of We Love… Summer. Rory Cashin heads to Amity to come face to face with ‘Jaws’.

We’ll be adding to the list throughout July – check it out here.

As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now lash on the sunblock…

 

Jaws

 

Rory Cashin

Jaws is the greatest summer movie of all time for two reasons: Firstly, it basically invented the Summer Blockbuster. It was the first movie to employ the ‘wide-release’ strategy. It was the first movie to make more than $100 million in the box office. Before its release on June 20th 1975, there was no such thing as a big summer tent-pole release. Quite frankly, going to the cinema wasn’t as much FUN before Jaws, and without it, there’d probably be no Independence Day or Jurassic Park.

Secondly, very few movies have managed to match Jaws’ capturing of the essence of summer. The sweltering heat, the seemingly endless days, the star-filled nights, the new found sense of freedom that comes from knowing school is out, and the new found sense of fear that parents feel from not knowing where their kids are every minute of the day. The opening skinny-dipping scene represents the increased sense of sexualisation that comes with summer thanks to the heat, people looking great with their tans and wearing less clothes so they can show it off. Even the increased commercialisation of the season is represented by the Mayor of the town. Amity looks like a perfect summer vacation spot, and the Mayor is looking forward to all of the income the town is set to receive on the July 4th weekend, and he’s not going to let some pesky man-eating shark ruin his financial run.

After Jaws, if any other summer movie wanted to get noticed, it was going to need a bigger boat.

Share