Category: Is It Still

Is It Still Fun?: Gremlins

Just this past August, I participated in Forgotten Films’ 1984-themed blog-a-thon, and I couldn’t resist picking Gremlins as a forgotten favorite of mine to write about. It’s a weird, quirky gem of a film that shouldn’t be as deviously fun as it is. For letting its freak flag fly, it goes down in pop culture history as a weird genre mash-up of creature-horror and crazy-comedy and defies easily definable demographics. In fact, it helped give rise to the PG-13 rating. But is it still as fun as it used to be? Before I answer that, I have to bring up one...

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Is It Still Horrible?: Daredevil

With the release of the highly anticipated Netflix series Daredevil this Friday, I decided to take a look back at the last live-action incarnation of the “Man Without Fear”. I was only a kid when I first watched this film on DVD. I thought nothing of it; Daredevil was a blind superhero who fought crime. I was way more interested in the more popular heroes of that age such as the billionaire vigilante Batman and the teenage superhero Spider-Man. It would only be years later that I’d discover that this was a universally panned film and it would prevent the character from being used on the big screen for more than a decade. I revisited the film with more knowledge on the character of Daredevil and a better understanding of film to see if it really is still as bad as people proclaimed it to be. Criticisms towards Daredevil mostly revolve around its campiness and real lack of understanding of the characters and source material, and I can certainly attest to that. While the film does everything it can to exactly transfer elements from the comic to the film, everything from naming all its extras after Daredevil writers to having shot-for-shot adaptation of certain scenes, it does so without any knowledge of how or why those worked so well in the original to begin with. Matt Murdock being blinded...

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Is It Still Good/Okay? – Independence Day

I first saw Independence Day opening night in 1997 with my friends, Nick and Matty. It was probably the most excited I had ever been to see a film up to that point. Obviously we loved it and went and saw it a few more times. It was funny and exciting and had mind-blowing special effects and a rousing battle speech in it. What more could any self-respecting 12-year-old want? There was a big gap in viewings and then I saw it on TV when I was in my early twenties. And it was okay. It was cheesy and overwrought,...

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Is It Still Good?: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  To start, I’m going to establish an acronym. From this point forward, because I feel ridiculous typing it out, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will be “CCBB.” I think the story goes that when I was very young and had the chicken pox, one of my mother’s friends gave us a few movies to watch to take my mind off my itchiness, and these movies included a Care Bears special and CCBB.  Neither, I know now, were favorites with my mom, but while I completely understood that about the Care Bears, I couldn’t remember much not to like about...

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Is it Still Badass?: Bloodsport

When I was six, my preferred fighting style was bouncing around on all fours, emulating Ricardo Morra, the smallest, most agile, and probably most offensive entrant in the fictionalized Kumite tournament from Bloodsport.  I’d gallop crawl ape-style into the living room, leap from one piece of furniture to the next, hop as high as I could in the air and slap my dad on the chest with the side of my hand… before he’d swat me like a fly and ask my mom if I’d met with the school counselor yet. That changed over the years.  By the time...

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Is It Still Beating?: Romeo + Juliet

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I decided it was time to revisit the sensational tale of two young romantics and the terrible decisions they make in the name of love. No, I’m not talking about 50 Shades of Grey (the internet will surely give you your fill of that this week). I’m talking about the teenage hit of 1996: William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. I was in high-school the first time I watched Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, and by then the “modern” adaptation was already a decade old. The fact that Romeo and Juliet was never one of...

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Are They Still Letdowns?: The Matrix Sequels

  When The Matrix was released in 1999, it was met with a resounding rush of enthusiasm. It was the kind of cool that only the advent of a new millennium could create. While Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace brought new interest (and heaps of criticism) to the franchise that had started a science fiction revolution two decades earlier, the Wachowskis pushed science-fiction forward, blending the excitement and fear of the internet age, anime, black leather, and sunglasses into something refreshing and mind-bending. At the start of the millennium, there was nothing more current than discussing bullet...

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Is It Still Great?: 10 Things I Hate About You

I know there are some classic teen movies from the 1980s (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982) and certainly from the early 2000s (Mean Girls, 2004) but I still say the 1990s were the peak of the high school set subgenre, at least in terms of prevalence. My favorite of this decade, and possibly of the entire subgenre, was always 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). When “Is It Still…” became a feature here, I realized that it would be the perfect opportunity for me to step back and ask myself why I’d loved this movie so much—...

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Is It Still Awesome?: Little Giants

When this new feature (Is it Still..?) launched, I immediately felt compelled to revisit Little Giants. It’s the best idea that I’ve had in a long time. Sibling rivalry, a collection of underdogs, the sweet center part in Dev0n Sawa’s overgrown bowl cut. But here’s the real kicker for me: This is a film about two brothers hashing out a sibling rivalry on the football field and, at the time of its release, I played football with my brother. At the time, I felt this might be a glimpse into my future. I’m so happy I didn’t grow up to be Rick Moranis. For the uninitiated (sorry you missed out): The story follows a young girl, Becky O’Shea (Shawna Waldron), trying to play football for the team coached by her uncle, Kevin O’Shea. When she is cut from the team, her supportive father, Danny O’Shea (Rick Moranis), who has always lived under Kevin’s shadow, takes it personal. He decides to build a team to beat them. Which sounds good in theory, except all of the actual good football players in the area already play for Kevin. But, as there can only be one team per count, they are ultimately pitted against each other for the right to be the team. Now, let’s talk about Becky “Icebox” O’Shea for a minute. How I remembered her: Icebox was the first crush...

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Tremors Turns 25 and It’s Still Just Fun

According to his recent interview with the Telegraph, Kevin Bacon was distraught and anxious during his time filming Tremors. He saw the film as a career low. And it’s hard to consider this an unreasonable reaction. On paper, it still seems a tough sell, a hard movie to pitch as having any value. Tremors was released 25 years ago on this date, and even today, the film is just as identifiable by what it lacks as by what it offers. Tremors is a standard horror film, the sort in which characters are isolated and killed one by one, but...

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Is It Still Good?: Home Alone

Welcome to Is It Still? where we look at movies from years gone by and ask, is it still good? Is it still bad? Is it still funny? Is it still scary? Is It Still Good? Home Alone Home Alone was the biggest movie when it was released in 1990, retaining its popularity by becoming a Christmas season staple. It was a wonderful childhood fantasy: being left alone in the house with no siblings or parents, and no rules. No door locked, no BB gun out of reach, and no one to tell you what to do. I watched it eight million times when it came out. I thought it was funny, ingenious, a little scary, clever, quotable, and all my friends agreed. Flash forward to Christmas 2013. My wife and I were choosing our annual Christmas movie and decided that we wanted some nostalgia. The year before we had watched my family’s favourite Christmas movie (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), so we decided that year we would watch hers, which of course was Home Alone. And it was awful. It was an annoying, cheesy, predictable mess of a movie with grating performances, treacly emotions, and enraging scenes. The first hint that this wasn’t going to be a merry sleigh ride down memory lane was the pizza scene. Near the beginning of the movie, the McAllister house is full with the...

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