The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) -vs- The Breakfast Club (1985)

September 20, 2012 Caroline Levich

Just in time for fall, we are reminded, thanks to Hollywood, of everything we loved and hated about high school. Twenty-seven years after The Breakfast Club, the coming-of-age story of five students locked together in high school detention, The Perks of Being a Wallflower introduces us to Charlie, a freshman boy in dire need of friends. Both films use humor to examine the pain of being a high school misfit, an immutable movie (and real-life) trope since before James Dean played chicken in Rebel Without a Cause.

Charlie’s group, like the various Breakfast Club miscreants before them, break through seemingly impossible barriers to get to know each other and themselves, without even having to worry so much about being dateless for prom or being given a “swirly” — having their heads shoved into a flushing toilet — by the school bully. What is this madness! […]

Reign Over Me (2007) -vs- Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

September 6, 2011 Mark Sanchez

Many of us now mark time pre-9/11 and post-9/11. Horrific events that day took nearly 3000 lives and altered history. It’s been 10 years. Americans and others now regard their sense of national identity and personal security much differently. Films have stepped up to reinterpret that moment when everything changed. Dozens of movies, large and small, offer stylized reminders of events and their effects on people. Most tell us something important about a seismic shift we’ll never forget.

This Smackdown revisits 9/11 films sitting at either end of the heartbreak spectrum: One contender focuses on the big picture for all of us. The other dramatizes how those weighty events affect one person. […]

Remember Me (2010) -vs- She’s Out Of My League (2010)

March 15, 2010 Sherry Coben

Twilighters aside, there’s precious little to recommend the largely forgettable “Remember Me,” a pretentious romantic exploitation film that uses recent real life history to hype its otherwise tepid dramatic stakes. Director Allen Coulter (of “The Sopranos” renown) knows his New York tough guy patois better than this venture might indicate; poor Pierce Brosnan gets hung out to dry with the least convincing New York accent in movies since the arrival of talkies. Pattinson plays at-sea and moody, indicating the depths of his grief and misery by smoking cigarettes (unconvincingly) and guzzling beer (equally unconvincingly). His roommate is probably the most annoying little shitheel ever to make it to the silver screen, the unnatural spawn of Hal Sparks and Satan.
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