STARDUST (2007)

Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Written By: Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman
Based on the Novel By: Neil Gaiman
Cinematography By: Ben Davis
Editor: Jon Harris

Cast: Ben Barnes, Robert Deniro, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Henry Cavill, Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Peter O’Toole, Ian McKellan, Ricky Gervais

In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he’ll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.


For the grand adventure that the film is. It lacks an epic feel or grandiose locations and sights. Half the time it feels like the surroundings are sets. The film does end up better then you’d imagine though.

The lead Ben Barnes seems to be miscast. He feels weak and in effect unbelievably when he eventually becomes heroic. Especially when all the supporting characters are much richer and entertaining than the lead. Who lacks charisma and never comes close to being dashing. Though they try to make him so. Maybe that was the intention to go against type but it ends up not working at all.

What I really appreciate about the film is it’s macabre sense of humor and a mean streak to go with all this fantasy. While keeping the film fu adds a general sense of danger rather than films like THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Which while funny feels almost childlike and storybook clean. Whereas this film is a storybook and fantasy fairytale but with a bit of an edge. so that the film plays more for teens and adults.

Words like cute and fun come to mind while watching the film. Though it’s not what I would expect a director like Matthew Vaughn to make especially after his debut film LAYER CAKE a gangster film. He went to make this a full-fledged fantasy adaptation which is a wise choice showing he has range. In his talents though so far all of his films are adaptations. He is showing a diverse resume as he hasn’t made a truly bad film yet. So he has shown his talent which I would expect as a former producer of Guy Ritchie films.

The film is a fun little fantasy that you can get lost into the universe of and enjoy yourself. Which is rare these days. At least without it seeming processed and set up to sell toys.

It’s better than I personally thought it would be. The world they live in is never clearly defined. We never get to know the characters some of whom just seem like ideas more than developed characters integral to the story, Almost like distractions to pad out the story and have us not realize how thin the main story is but letting us get caught up in the situations, though the film is quite likable. The film stays within the fantasy limits but also tries to come off as smarter or more winking to the audience then most films of it’s type.

Though disappointingly another fantasy world that lacks minorities. It’s not a huge point but one I’d like to note probably not entirely the filmmaker’s fault but more could try. Minorities are underrepresented or not represented in most Fantasy Sci-Fi leaving you to wonder are they afterthoughts or in these so-called fantasy worlds are they Aryan wonderlands. Sorry to go off on a rant just a point that needed to be expressed.

Terry Gilliam Also almost directed the film which is a perfect example of the right director with the right material, but after directing THE BROTHERS GRIMM he was wiped out creatively. This would have been actually better for him to make.

GRADE: B

FLOWER (2017)

Directed by: Max Winkler
Story by: Alex McAuley
Written By: Max Winkler, Alex McAuley & Matt Spicer
Cinematography: Carolina Costa
Editor: Jeff Seiben & Sarah Beth Shapiro

Cast: Zoey Deutch, Joey Morgan, Kathryn Hahn, Tim Heidecker, Adam Scott, Dylan Gelula, Maya Eshat, Eric Edelstein

A sexually curious teen forms an unorthodox kinship with her mentally unstable stepbrother.


Though the story focuses on a teenage girl. This still reeks of a kind of romantic fantasy that throws in some quirks but then some hard-hitting subject matter and scenes, but then tries to get off on a certain crude charm and edge.

As we are supposed to follow the teen characters more and be compelled yet the fil keeps wanting to remind us though they are doing serious actions. They don’t know any better or think about the consequences they are just kids.

While the ending is sweet, it also feels more like wish fulfillment. Which goes against the whole vibe the film seems headed towards. Even with its quirky quality realism.

Especially when it asks you to believe that it ends up as a love story after all of a sudden between two characters you wouldn’t expect.

We never fully understand somewhat, what makes the main character work. Though she still comes off as a kind of fantasy. quirky, cute, with daddy issues, and overtly sexual as she likes giving oral sex and seems to constantly offer it. As even the first scene we see her in the middle of it. Yet dresses like a tomboy. She is a teenage manic pixie dream girl only here the protagonist. She is the main character who doesn’t know any better that she needs to be saved. She thinks she is the one who is helping.

Luckily she is played by Zoey Deutch who shines in the role and always feels believable. One of her first leading roles and she goes through it with flying colors as she stays believable. While being relatable and a comedic character of sorts.

Adam Scott provides great shades to his character where you find him charming and angry enough to believe he is an innocent man railroaded but at other times white devious looking enough to believe maybe he is guilty. So a nice guy bad boy charm. Who should know better than to be hanging around with a teenage girl after what he has been accused of. At first, he seems like a viable inappropriate love interest as they bond but a nice guy none the less, but at every turn, there is a question as his shifting behavior doesn’t help. 

The movie was filmed for half a million and filmed In 17 days. This is impressive in fact a return for writer/Director Max Winkler his first since 2010’s CEREMONY. His films are usually

Dramatic and fun comedically quirky with some artistic merit. As they are inventive only wish he made more of them. When not being a successful television director. Didn’t even know he had made it until the end credits.

The film is smart in having a vision and matching it with a laid back California vibe. Definitely a geek fantasy of sorts.

GRADE: B-

SUBMARINE (2010)

Directed By: Richard Ayoade
Written By: Richard Ayoade & Joe Dunthorne
Based on a Novel By: Joe Dunthorne
Cinematography: Erik Alexander Wilson 
Editor: Chris Dickens & Nick Fenton

Cast: Craig Roberts, Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine, Yasmin Page, Gemma Chan 

Precocious Oliver struggles with being popular in school but when a dark-haired beauty takes interest in him, he’s determined to become the best boyfriend in the world. Meanwhile, his parents’ already rocky relationship is threatened when his mother’s ex-boyfriend moves in next door. Oliver makes some unorthodox plans to ensure that his parents stay together and that Jordana still likes him.
Now, this film is another one where I read the book first and greatly enjoyed the book and wished that they could incorporate most of the book into the film. It is smart and fun.

It takes what it can from the book to make a coherent story. It doesn’t fail to entertain to stand back and marvel at. It’s a film that will be criticized for copying or emulating the style of Wes Anderson.

Let’s face it any movie that has visual camera tricks. A Minuit style, colorful sets and contains a certain innocence in a cynical world, will be accused of copying the style. Wes Anderson didn’t create it. He liked and revels in it as an artistic choice. As it was there before so if another chooses to use a similar style as ling as it is its own story. Which is what director Richard Ayoade does here. One doesn’t see the problem to do the book justice. You would need that style.

The visuals in The film can be distracting but they are so abstract and creative. They never fail to amaze though after a while you tend to get used to them, but you are glad they are to really get to the heart of the scene.

I can admit story-wise there isn’t much at stake. There will be no great tragedy. No one will not be able to recover from, but just as it always will be when you are a teenager. Your emotions are so on edge. Everything even the small moments and decisions feels magnified and the wrong one feels like the beginning of the apocalypse.

It’s a quality film. The only weak spots I felt were the believability if our main Characters’ parents played by Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins. Who are both good and heartbreaking but they feel in the movie more like characters instead of human beings.

Sally Hawkins seems too unemotional. While Noah Taylor is over the top emotional and you wonder how their characters even Fell in love, but that relationship of what could have been lies in perfect contrast to the main characters Oliver’s relationship with Jordan’s. What is supposed to be and where is this going as when he is romantic she doesn’t want to be close. When she wants to be close be is scared Away.

The film is directed and co-written by Richard Ayoade. Who is a British comedy writer, performer, and sitcom star. I gained an admiration for him. As he presents himself to be a thoughtful, witty, inventive, and talented filmmaker.

The film is magical it reminds you of the many off-kilter films about young outsiders. Over the years and I must admit, I am a sucker for stories about them. Which is what attracted me to the book in the first place.

The film Most reminds me of HAROLD AND MAUDE. Down to Craig Roberts resembling a young Bud Cort.

I believe this film to be a small gem worth seeking out. Definitely an addition to the film library. I only wish it was a criterion collection. Dvd. So one could know all about the production and the director’s choices. I’d even settle for an audio commentary

GRADE: B+

HURRICANE STREETS (1997)

Written & Directed By: Morgan J. Freeman
Cinematography: Enrique Chediak
Editor: Sabine Hoffman

Cast: Brendan Sexton III, Mtume Gant, Carlo Alban, Edie Falco, Lynn Cohen, Shawn Elliott, Adrian Grenier, L.M. Kit Carson, Isidra Vega, Jose Zuniga, Heather Matarazzo, David Moscow 

A teenage petty criminal dreams of escaping his increasingly unlawful lifestyle when he meets a sweet girl who hopes to one day travel to Alaska.


This film comes across like a well Made student thesis film. Made all the more gritty for a more realistic feel and street credibility and for the film’s reputation. It comes across simple enough.

The film Has a central love story that is what helped sell the film. That romance actually stays very sweet and innocent. Actually, it’s the only part of the film that feels pure and natural making the film more endearing.

The film starts off with a strong opening though slowly gets duller. As the main character seems to get continuously plain red into a corner and tries his best to get out.

The film’s mindset stays juvenile and onto wales up to stone-cold reality towards the end. Which might be understandable as most of the characters are teens kids really. So we follow them.

How else do you explain that the crew couldn’t tell they had a snake in their midst. As well as a snitch. Though by the end you do feel a certain sympathy for all involved.

The recurring theme of the darts game feels silly and only later it’s importance is revealed.

This seems like the typical Sundance film festival youth crime story that was popular at the time that promised to show the grit that was going down but comes off softer than expected.

The film has an ambiguous ending that is clearly is inspired by THE GRADUATE. As both characters are hopeful but have nowhere to go. Only she doesn’t know it yet. She also stays the only innocent character throughout the whole film As she has done Nothing to deserve her troubles.

She already has to deal with an overbearing father. Who starts out a villain and then turns into a victim.

I remember loving this film when it first came out. Even watching it twice in theaters. Watching it today it’s a film that is very of its time period and doesn’t necessarily age well. Like an embarrassing photo from your youth that brings back memories but also feels a little embarrassed of.

Unfortunately, after that strong opening, we see the rest of the scene play out towards the end that more comes across as a desperate comedy of errors.

The film achieved certain popularity at the time due to a hit song that was featured on the soundtrack SEX & CANDY by Marcy Playground.

I try not to bad mouth it put down any films especially independent ones that have a hard enough time trying to find an audience in the first place.

This is the type of film that was praised as strong and authentic at the time though does feel like a film made for teens made by one of them, again at the time

In the end, the film ties into a carefree youth whereas most of the characters are poorer so that they base their decisions and behavior more on that and have bigger repercussions but more are doing things to fun as well as survival.

Grade: C

THE HARD WAY (1991)

Directed By: John Badham 
Written By: Lem Dobbs & Daniel Pyne 
Story By: Lem Dobbs & Michael Kozoll 
Cinematography By: Don McAlpine & Robert Primes 
Editor: Tony Lombardo & Frank Morriss 

Cast: Michael J. Fox, James Woods, Stephen Lang, Annabella Sciorra, LL Cool J, Delroy Lindo, Luis Guzman, Penny Marshall, Mary Mara, Christina Ricci, Lewis Black, Kathy Najimy, Yasin Bey, Michael Badalucco 

Nick Lang is a famous Hollywood actor, well known for his action movies. For his next movie, he needs the proper motivation and inspiration for his role. Thus he teams up with the reluctant New York policeman Lt. John Moss. Not only does he have to put up with Nick, who is laborious and out of touch with realities, but he also has to catch a coldblooded murderer.


This is a film I remember being heavily promoted on the radio, television and talk shows and I was really looking forward to it. I am sure the buzz helped as this was LL Cool J’s first major film role and he had an album coming out around the same time with a hot single that was on the soundtrack for this film. The good old days of movie tie-ins and marketing that you just don’t see as much now. Especially when it comes to soundtracks.

LL was a big part of the marketing. It helped bring in a more youthful and urban audience as this was his major acting debut. Even if the role was smaller and supporting. Though he also gets to be the more streetwise detective who is more the joker of the crew.

Now it also helped that I am and was a huge Michael j fox fan. As at the time it seemed like while his movies not a sure thing when it came to success. He was always starring in something and I was more the. Willing usually to go see it. As I had been a huge fox fan from his films but beginning with the sitcom FAMILY TIES.

I believe I always liked up to him as he was funny, had great comedic timing, was short like I am, and still managed to be a heartthrob as well as being energetic and charismatic. Everything you looked for in a star and also what I had hoped to grow up to be. This is one of his most Beloved films for me. Where he had smaller roles like CLASS OF 1984 which was a totally different pace and MIDNIGHT MADNESS. As well as his starring TV-movie HIGH SCHOOL USA. In fact, one of the rare films he starred in that I haven’t seen is still Paul Schrader’s LIGHT OF DAY with Gena Rowland’s and Joan Jett

So obviously this film was kind of a big deal as it was more an action film that I had seen him before. It also had a hard grit and it seemed the first time he was trying something a bit more gritty and challenging though a comedy at heart since the films CASUALTIES OF WAR and BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY.

The film of course is instantly dated and makes fun of Hollywood to a degree and the image of a movie star. Though quickly turns into a more urban action buddy comedy.

It’s a high concept film that seems to be written by the marketing committee. As it is violent and a rated R film. It remains innocent enough to never qualify as a film to keep kids away from. In fact, it seems more aimed at teenagers.

It is certainly a film that couldn’t be made today and if it was. Never would it be such a random team-up of lead actors. It would also more be either cutest with more comedy if made today. Making it even more unbelievable or it would be a big-budget film where they have to take anything offensive out of the film and as this film aspires to have a steamy grittiness it wouldn’t work as well any other way.

Universal Studios originally wanted Kevin Kline and Gene Hackman to star. Which wouldn’t have had the same ring, nor the same kind of hard-edge the film seems to have and go for. Which makes it a perfect time capsule to ’80s/90’s new York and times square in particular where the final action set-piece takes place.

Shot on the streets of New York it seems like the filmmakers went overboard in making it look super dirty and dingy to match the toughness of the so-called reality of the films New York City. Whereas in the few scenes in Hollywood everything is clean and overly lit.

James Woods is good and believable in the lead and matches Fox comedically beat to beat, but can also be dangerous and touch when need be. Both characters teach each other lessons throughout that will help each of them to achieve what they seek to get ahead. There is a romantic subplot with James Woods dating Annabella sciorra and not being successful mainly because he can’t really talk to her or charm her daughter.

This is also the first movie I remember seeing Stephen Lang In a film and being quite impressed. As he seemed to be a one dimensional as far as his mission, but his performance was flamboyant enough that he seemed serious but also was making fun of it at the same time. He seemed to have a sense of humor about all of this. Though still stayed scary almost like an early iteration of the Joker from Batman.

The comedy sticks even if the action plays off as basic and the film seems to seek to have a more urban feel. The film has a very hazy look about it that makes most scenes seem filled with steam and making everything not look sharp but more moist and bland. Though truthfully it also looks like a film that is not quite as sharp or visually talented as director Tony Scott while trying to copy its style.

Though it does offer a look at the old New York before it became so polished and gentrified.

Director of photography Robert Primes was fired halfway through filming by director John Badham and replaced by Donald McAlpine. Badham thought Primes was working too slowly; he had similar complaints during the filming of BIRD ON A WIRE, their previous (and first) movie together.

The film seems to go for a hard edge in the action scenes that make it feel a bit excessive and like it is going over the top at times but quickly reigns it in with the aftermath. Not necessarily an adrenaline junkie movie but one that seems to make you want to feel the bones crunch. It wants to be a tough movie. Though still feels like Hollywood.

While reminding one of the grittiness of New York at the time, though not quite as bad as the movie makes it out to be. At least not in my experiences.

Like the character Michael J. Fox plays it wants to be smooth and likable, but like the character James woods plays is more gritty and tough. That it makes a Compromise but is never clearly defined in either way.

This film as directed by John Badham who seemed to be a go-to Director in the ’80s and 90’s for action films and who o noted every time he made a film. As I could never make a decision as he made some more gritty action films as far as the violence and action but they all seemed to have a heavy gloss that made them look too polished that and usually, their plots seemed so ridiculous that they were hard to believe, but with this film and the remake of LA FEMME NIKITA named POINT OF NO RETURN starring Bridget Fonda. Which I saw before LA FEMME NIKITA so to me point was so original and soulful. Now watching it. It obviously pales in comparison, but as is often you usually are more a fan of something we’re introduced to first even if not the original. So while I love LA FEMME, I have a soft spot for the remake. That I still find watchable despite its flaws.

The film is a hallmark of 90’s action comedies. While not a legendary one. For those who saw, it remains memorable as it follows and introduces a formula. While not rising to classic or great standards. It is good and a worthy watch even if you probably won’t end up adding it to your collection.

Grade: B-

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (2011)

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Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Written By: Richard LaGravenese
Based on the book by: Sara Gruen
Cinematography by: Rodrigo Prieto
Editor: Alan Edward Bell

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Resse Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz, Hal Holbrook, Paul Schneider, Ken Foree, James Frain, Tim Guinee

After his parents’ death, Jacob Jankoski is left penniless and homeless. Events lead him to joining the circus as their vet, working under their unstable boss August whose violent tendencies give everyone reason to be cautious around him, including his beautiful and quiet wife Marlena, whom August is very possessive of and who Jacob finds himself soon falling in love with.

Continue reading “WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (2011)”

A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN (2017)

prayer-before-dawn

 

Directed By: Jean-Stephane Suavarie
Written By: Jonathan Hirschbein & Nick Saltrese
Cinematography By: David Ungaro
Editor: Marc Boucrot 


Cast: Joe Cole 


Billy Moore, an English boxer, down on his luck, addicted to Ya Ba, and stuck in Thailand, ends up getting arrested and sent to Chiang Mai Prison, where he struggles to survive and eventually ends up fighting in Muay Tai boxing tournaments.

Continue reading “A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN (2017)”

THE HALF OF IT (2020)

Written & Directed By: Alice Wu  Cinematography: Greta Zozula 

Editor: Ian Blume & Lee Percy 

Cast: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemar, Alexxis Lemire, Wolfgang Novogratz, Collin Chou, Becky Ann Baker, Catherine Curtin 

A shy, introverted, Chinese-American, straight-A student finds herself helping the school jock woo the girl they both secretly love. In the process, each teaches the other about the nature of love as they find a connection in the most unlikely of places.


I can sometimes be a sucker for a coming of age story. even if it has a romance at the heart of it and they usually do.

This one isn’t as conventional but it is as sweet as any teen love story. Only here dealing more with confusion and revelation. An almost teen Cyrano story only with lgbtq romance and character. 

You’ll enjoy that the fil mHas the emotions but doesn’t overload the audience or story with it. It’s what brings the characters together but it’s not what the film Is all about. As the storylines never become so dire that it feels like life or death, not in the consequences.

This is an original unsuspecting love triangle tale with no true villains. It actually has more depth, drama, and humor than expected, but stays perfect for it’s intended audience. As the film is more character-driven by a few of them rather than Story or plot. As it actually feels layered.

While it has it’s Goofy moments it feels surprising down to earth and earnest. Even if it has the hallmarks of a more cute, quirky indie film. That with youth brings an amount of energy but also a still calmness. 

Which I applaud Netflix for presenting such a film Showing a balance as it has it’s More conventional teen films and then a film like this that actually approaches it’s Material respectfully and treats the audience the same way

This is an LGBT crush’s story that creeps up on you more like a romance and then a romantic comedy before becoming a love story and a surprisingly minor character study.

What can be really appreciative other than that the film and characters are more open-minded then you would expect is that the more all the characters get to know each other they like them for the qualities they notice and learn about them and appreciate that other then just looks. Just as the characters are more than their looks and have talents and know-how.

This film shows the beauty in the plain and makes small-town loving look luxurious itself in its own little hidden nooks, crannies, stories, and mysteries.

Grade: B

SMOOTH TALK (1985)

Directed by: Joyce Chopra 

Written By: Tom Cole

Based on the short story “Where are you going, Where have you been” By: Joyce Carol Oates 

Cinematography: James Glennon 

Editor: Patrick Dodd 

Cast: Laura Dern, Treat Williams, Mary Kay Place, Levon Helm, Elizabeth Berridge, Margaret Welsh, William Ragsdale 

A free-spirited 15-year-old girl flirts with a dangerous stranger in the Northern California suburbs and must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences.


Most of the movie is built up around the third act or really a scene. The lead up to it that helps bail itself out. Though it seems the filmmakers used the scene to help fill in the blanks as far as characters.

I remember seeing the poster for this movie in video stores in my youth. Never knew what it was about and also got it confused with a few films Laura Dern was in including SMOOTH OPERATOR and BLUE VELVET. As at the time it seemed like she was always playing the same types of roles. Only wish I knew about this film early before. As it probably would have enjoyed it more and been a nostalgic classic for me. 

As the film seems more to lead up to the finale. That doesn’t exactly match the rest of the film. As before it the film More wanders and stays with the main character. Where it seems like a modern-day teen’s life more coming of age in the times of mall culture. 

That is what the final scene is based on the short story by Joyce Carol Oates and the rest of the film built around it. Using little details to fill in the character and actions that lead to the final situation. 

As this offers a smaller Realistic look at female teen sexuality and how it affects others and a coming of age story that doesn’t have a sunny and rosy outlook.

He wants her to give herself to him but Is not above taking it by Force. As he is all Machismo and Tries to be charming and poetic but is full-on sleazy, Creepy predator trying to intimidate her. 

Has it’s 1980’s music cue moments of accompaniment that feels more of the time but laughable now and almost takes you out of the dynamics. 

A teen film whose appeal seems more aimed at adults. While the main character deals with shifting friendships as one friend who is more innocent fades into the background who doesn’t Want to join in on her adventures and her other friend who does and she gets closer. As another friend is also more aggressive and wild.

Her different difficulties with family and friends, her hostile mother, and her constant war. A father who is barely there and an older sister who has moved back home. 

The third act becomes very theatrical like a stage show almost. A dance that each character do around each other. Wanting different things but in a rhythm with one another. He seems like the big bad wolf. Hinted at earlier in the movie but then he makes his way to her and then the film

Becomes tension-filled. As he seems determined to take her innocence that she has been flirting with losing lately.

The film doesn’t offer any answers and leaves the ending to be ambiguous. Where we wonder so many things like. Where did he come from? Was any of this real? If so did she bring this on to herself because of her behavior? Did she attract this trouble? Was it a worst-case scenario? Is this a kind of punishment or as she says she doesn’t Know. Was this a warning as to what could happen?

As the film tries to depict a teen’s life on the brink of adulthood. Who makes decisions that affect her and her life growing up too fast. This was why in the end she resorts to old routines and memories wanting to bathe into them and be around family as their problems seem to disappear. We are not sure what happened but it is suggested 

Grade: B

WELCOME HOME, ROXY CARMICHAEL (1990)

Directed By: Jim Abrahms

Written By: Karen Leigh Hopkins Cinematography: Paul Elliott

Editor: Bruce Green

Cast: Winona Ryder, Jeff Daniels, Laila Robins, Frances Fisher, Dinah Manoff, Thomas Wilson Brown, Graham Beckel, Stephen Tobolowsky, Robin Thomas, Beth Grant, Heidi Swedberg, Carla Gugino, Ava Fabian

 Although Roxy left town more than fifteen years ago, her memory has never faded. Her expected return starts to impact a number of lives, including that of her former partner Denton Webb. But it is Dinky, the adopted daughter of the Bossettis and ignored by most of her classmates as a strange loner, who may be most changed. She is convinced she is Roxie’s secret child.


I saw this movie in a sneak preview when I was around 12 years old. I was very excited to watch it. As at the time I was still nursing a heavy cinematic crush on Winona Ryder after the 1, 2 punch of HEATHERS and BEETLEJUICE. She was my type of lady.

Unfortunately at the time while I thought the movie was ok on the end i found it disappointing, so disappointing I avoided it over the years and considered it a minor failure. She came back later that year with the far better (to me at least) MERMAIDS. starring with Cher and a young Christina Ricci. 

I decided to watch this film once again recently and while it’s still not a favorite. It is more understandable to me now more so then when I was younger. I seemed to miss quite a few things.

Like the lesbian relationship between two characters. That watching it now seems brave for that kind of material at the time. It also explains why the character of Dinah Manoff is so obsessed with Roxy Carmichael’s return. At first thought it was a rivalry and jealousy thing. Now realize it went much deeper than that.

While it follows a similar tread of Jeff Daniels character. His is more understandable as they had a relationship and Carmichael’s relationship with Manoff’s character seems more like a friendship that had a fling. Though both are felt deep and fell hard by this woman and hurt by her leaving. 

At least Daniels character seems to try to get over her by getting married and having children but can’t seem to let her go. So her return makes him kind of obsessed and slowly eats at his wife. Who knows she can never be number one in his heart. 

The film’s clear star is Winona Ryder as even as an ensemble she is in the middle of it all and the film is built around her upcoming stardom

The movie breaks down more into a small town ensemble film. Where we meet many characters and see how their intermix and mingle in this town. As the big event is the return of hometown hero Roxy Carmichael. 

The feelings and situations this creates that ultimately by the end comes to a head but also ends up almost much ado about nothing.

While Ryder’s character is one of many she makes the impression the most as she is an outsider in this town and looking to escape. As she Is adopted she latches onto the legend that Roxy Carmichael has a daughter she gave up for adoption. That she must be her as she is so different from everyone in the town. Even as a boy in town is falling for her but is embarrassed by his attraction because of what his friends might think. Add to it her adoptive parents where only the father seems to get along and care about her. Also the only friend the girl seems to have is a teacher who tries to defend her against bullying. Whereas other teachers turn a blind eye.

Another aspect I never realized was that all of Roxy Carmichael’s songs are sung by Singer/Songwriter Melissa Ethridge who was a rising singer-songwriter at the time and whose music i didn’t notice or become a big fan of until she did the soundtrack for the Movie WHERE THE DAY TAKES YOU. 

Directed By Jim Abrahms who usually directs spoofs and occasionally directs dramas. He gives the film heart and a few laughable scenes.

This film feels more like a novel brought to life. That is entertaining enough even if it Never feels quite like it comes alive. Not does there seem to be a point to it all. Just a slice of life. That tries to be filling but comes off sweeter than anything.

Grade: C+