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Kicking the Tweets
Monday
Jun062011

Titanic 2 (2010)

The Boat So Nice They Sank it Twice

Before you freak out, know that Titanic 2 is not a sequel to James Cameron's world-dominating 1997 blockbuster. That would be pretty cool though, wouldn't it? Imagine an expedition to the sunken ship in which scientists discover the zombified crew of the Titanic; a half-eaten-away Jack Dawson could fall in what passes for love among the undead with the sexy but vulnerable head diver--who would, of course, be Rose Dewitt Bukater's great-great-great-granddaughter. Zack Snyder could direct, with KNB working their Walking Dead magic on the practical makeup effects.

Think Resident Evil with bubbles.

That'll never happen. But at least we have this spectacularly ambitious, amazingly awful SyFy movie to cherish.  Shane Van Dyke plays millionaire playboy Hayden Walsh, a blonde airhead whose greatest triumph is to be the successful launch of Titanic 2. Unlike the original doomed vessel, his ship is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and plenty of lifeboats.  It's slick and unsinkable--never mind the clearly visible rust stains on the outside of the hull.

Hayden boards Titanic 2 minutes before departure with an entourage of FHM models. He runs into ex-girlfriend Amy (Marie Westbrook), who works as one of two (!) nurses on the ship, and their terse, awkward exchanges are so convincing that I was shocked to see them get back together when disaster strikes.

Sorry, should I have tagged those last items as spoilers? Yes, it's not long before Titanic 2 finds itself at the mercy of not one iceberg but a field of icebergs propelled by an 840-miles-per-hour mega-tsunami. Monitoring the storm from a helicopter are Coast Guard captain James Maine (Bruce Davison)--who happens to be Amy's father--and NOAA scientist Kim Patterson (Brooke Burns). They race against time to reach the doomed ship and keep Hayden and the sweaty captain (D.C. Douglas) from doing anything stupid.

It's a testament to Davison's fine acting abilities that Titanic 2 is intermittently gripping.  None of the ship stuff works, but the scenes aboard the helicopter are quite good--mostly because Davison is great at playing the Concerned Father while coaching his daughter and her idiot ex over the radio. His face is sufficiently scrunched and sad, and I wonder how much of that is a combination of sense-memory and Method acting versus a day-by-day realization that he's starring in Titanic 2.

But, hey, no one's coming to this movie for the acting, right?  It's all about the cool special effects and awesome body count!  Let me iterate that this movie debuted on the SyFy Channel, the same bastion of quality CG effects that brought us Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and Mansquito. There aren't any poorly compisited mutants in Titanic 2, but there are plenty of grade-school-project shots of the ship speeding through the ocean like cut-paper animation; not to mention the cracks forming on the face of the arctic ice shelves--which hilariously look like someone took a Sharpie marker and an animation camera to a still picture of an iceberg.

There are also a handful of scenes that are so dark that I couldn't tell what the hell was going on.  I watched this movie on both a laptop and a high-resolution monitor, and no amount of tilting the screen and squinting could help define most of the underwater and trapped-in-the-bowels-of-the-ship shots. Perhaps this was a deliberate choice on Van Dyke's part (did I mention he also directed and wrote this gem?), because the ship's interiors don't stand up to a lot of visual scrutiny.  Take, for example, the control panels on the high-tech escape vessels, which are clearly made of PVC pipe and papier-mâché.

I could spend hours picking apart all the wonderful little details that make Titanic 2 such a joy to watch. But I'm not one to deprive my readers of magic.  So here are a few teaser-ific highlights:

  • Amy's friend and fellow nurse, Kelly (Michelle Glavan) reads a book called The Original Titanic
  • After the first iceberg assault, the crew herd the passengers onto elevators to get them to safety
  • One passenger is a Mick Foley look alike who randomly beats up people during the panic
  • Van Dyke gets a lot of mileage out of victims-tripping-on-stairs shots
  • Amy uses a credit card and some tape to apply pressure to Kelly's gaping chest wound
  • A submarine captain--parts of whose face disappear into the green-screen background--utters the catch-phrase-worthy, "Let's get this cigar smokin'!"

I get the feeling that Van Dyke and his entire cast and crew honestly believed they were making a solid motion picture.  Similar to The Haunting of Winchester House, this film plays as if everyone involved (except for Davison) was making their first movie; the enthusiasm and incompetence overwhelm every frame like the most treasured Ed Wood classic. Titanic 2 fails on almost every measurable level, but the sincerity of the people behind it helps to make the movie a wholly satisfying entertainment experience. It's the best piece of shit I've seen in quite awhile. 

Sunday
Jun052011

Winter's Bone (2010)

The Grapes of Meth

Debra Granik's Winter's Bone is an odd movie. Light on plot and heavy on great performances, it unfolds at the same leisurely pace as its main character's week-long journey to find her father.  Ree Milton (Jennifer Lawrence) is a high-schooler living in the impoverished Ozarks. She raises her younger brother and sister and cares for their mother, who nearly became a vegetable after a mental breakdown. Ree's convict dad, Jessup, has gone missing, and unless she can turn him up before his bond hearing the family will lose the home that he put up as collateral.

Ree walks from house to house in her gray, wooded community asking everyone she knows if they've seen Jessup. Officially, no one knows anything, but they all warn her to stop asking around.  Everyone in town seems to be both a meth dealer and a relative of the Miltons. The drug trade has torn any semblance of family loyalty to shreds.  Indeed, Ree's uncle Teardrop (John Hawks) chokes her out, and her grandfather's wife, Merab (Dale Dickey), organizes a mob to beat her half to death. Ree presses on, determined to save the house and prevent her siblings from being orphaned.  She even considers joining the military, a highly popular way out of destitution at her high school--as well as a quick source of money.

Like Children of Men, Winter's Bone is a film in which much of the story is told by the set decoration. The audience is dropped into a bleak collective of forgotten Americans and forced to catch up with this secret redneck society, a sort of corn-cob Mafia.  Clues to the extended family's strained relationships can be found in every junk-strewn front yard and run-down kitchenette, as well as in the threat of violence that hangs over everyone's heads.

The key difference between these films, though, is that Children of Men actually went somewhere. Winter's Bone is almost all inferred back story and little actual Story story.  Which is fine; this is more a performance showcase than a movie, anyway, and it totally works on that level.  Everyone in the cast is superb.  Lawrence and Hawks deserved their Oscar nominations last year. She made me believe in Ree's desperation and determination and he really sold Teardrop as the quiet, menacing enforcer of the family business--a real threat to the legions of scumbags beneath him, but still subservient to the stoic and rarely seen patriarch, Thump Milton (Ronnie Hall).

While I appreciate everything the film delivers visually and acting-wise, I can't say it's a great movie. I wasn't surprised to learn that Granik and co-writer Anne Rosellini based their screenplay on Daniel Woodrell's novel because the story reminded me of a lot of books I was forced to read in high school--books where themes and motifs superseded action. Granted, I learned to love a lot of these kinds of stories later on (I still haven't given A Separate Peace a second chance, though. Ugh.), but when I come across them in movies it sometimes just turns me off. I expected more twists and turns in the story, but as it stands, the screenplay is just a flimsy hangar on which to rest the depressed visual splendor and dynamite performances.

Is that enough? It could have been, had the dialogue not been so atrocious. Seriously, this is one of the worst-written Oscar-nominated films I've seen in a long time. Aside from a couple of scenes, it felt like Winter's Bone had been written by Basil Exposition from the Austin Powers movies. There are other ways to tell an audience that characters are related to each other besides gems like:

"But he's your only brother!"

"Well, you know, as cousins, we should..."

"I know he's our grandfather, but..."

The film is packed with distractingly bad writing, and the actors deserve even more credit for transporting it out of the realm of hilarity.

Call this a mixed recommendation. I think everyone should see Winter's Bone for all of the things it gets right, but temper your expectations. Though the movie can be described as "A girl's search for her missing father in a town of crystal meth dealers", it's not as consistently thrilling as one might hope. It's interesting from start to finish, but "interesting" and "compelling" are two very different things. You can find just as much down-economy drama in the average episode of MTV's 16 and Pregant as you can in this film; sure, it's not as pretty or well-acted, but at least the dialogue is believable.

Saturday
Jun042011

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Finally, a Kick-Ass X-Men Movie!

Let's get this out of the way: Fuck continuity.  It's my policy not to read other critics' reviews of a film before I've had a chance to see it, but I love reading the comments sections of movie forums.  And the Internets are ablaze with angry fanboys decrying Matthew Vaughn's butchering of their beloved comic-book story lines in his exceptional prequel, X-Men: First Class.  Small details like Emma Frost (January Jones) debuting in the comics in 1979--making her an anachronism in First Class's 1963-set story--have caused nerds' heads to explode the world over.

I've got news for you, kids: Unless Fox and Marvel Studios can guarantee profits on a nineteen-picture, multi-billion-dollar, thirty-year franchise, there's no way to bring all of your precious, convoluted (and often contradictory) canon to the silver screen.  Summer blockbusters are designed for people who don't read, and who like for their picture stories to move. Let it go, and enjoy the show.

Since we're confessing sins here (I promise, an actual review is on its way), let me also say that I hold the minority opinion on the X-Men film series.  I think Bryan Singer followed his decent 2000 hit with a bloated, insular sequel;  X-Men Origins: Wolverine was just kind of sloppy, but not a total abomination; and Brett Ratner's X3: X-Men United was the best of the bunch.  I know, I know; that's blasphemy.  But in my opinion, X3 did two things that the previous two movies didn't: It told an epic story in under two-and-a-half hours and finally imbued the series with a global sense of scale.  Singer's movies, like the ain't-it-dead-yet Harry Potter franchise, both felt like they took place in two locations, and that the "world" that hated and feared its heroic mutants barely extended beyond Westchester, New York.

After more than a decade, Matthew Vaughn has finally gotten this series right.  I shouldn't be surprised that the guy who made what I consider to be the best comic-book movie ever has also made the second best.  With 2010's Kick-Ass, Vaughn brought Mark Millar's cracked-skulls-and-costumes miniseries to life in a film that both deconstructed the medium and plunged audiences into the ridiculous, four-color world that hooked many of us as kids.  First Class isn't as self-aware, but it feels more like a comic and successfully blends action, intrigue and political themes into what feels like two hours of a four-part story arc.

Vaughn and co-screenwriters Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, and Jane Goldman tell the story of how psychic millionaire genius Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) met metal-bending Holocaust survivor Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) in 1963.  Erik's hunt for former Nazi scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) lands him in the middle of Charles's burgeoning relationship with the CIA, who've recently discovered A) the existence of mutants and B) an apparent Russian plot to use Cuba as a launching pad for nuclear weapons. Shaw plans to initiate World War 3, emerging as leader of a new super race after mankind has blown itself up.

Unlike most big-cast superhero movies, First Class manages to stuff about twenty important characters into its story without sacrificing coherence or momentum. The creators do a marvelous job of establishing a few key relationships, stacking on a few more, and then closing out the film with a grand-scale, climactic battle in which everyone in the audience knows each of the characters well enough to care about what they're fighting for.  The main bond, of course, is that of Charles and Erik, which we've seen play out in other installments; but McAvoy and Fassbender bring such life to the roles that we could just as well watch them play chess for two hours as don costumes to save/destroy the world.

Charles acts as the older brother Erik never had, a steady hand who tries to temper his homicidal vengeance.  On the other side of that coin is Shaw, a complex, evil bastard who is at once Erik's sworn enemy and--in a tragic turn of events--his inspiration.  I haven't seen a villain this integral to both a comic-book movie's plot and its main characters' psyches since The Dark Knght's Joker.  The credit for this can be equally divided between the screenwriters and Kevin Bacon, who has never been this awesome in a movie, ever.  His Shaw is neither a fool nor a sniveling coward hiding behind other mutants. He's a genuine, vicious bad-ass with charisma and a master plan; and the actor's menacing grin looks like something straight out of a comic book, especially underneath his psychic-proof helmet (the helmet, by the way, is one of the coolest plot points I've seen in awhile; a real treat for fans of the series).

The third big relationship in First Class is between Charles and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), the blue-skinned, shape-shifting mutant who will eventually become villainess Mystique.  In a surprising twist, we learn that she and Charles grew up together as unofficial siblings.  Raven's sass and free-spirit inform Charles's character in ways we didn't see in the earlier (later?) films.  McAvoy's Charles is a boozy, over-confident womanizer who loves to party; there's no sign of the reserved Patrick-Stewart-in-waiting until the very end of the film.

One of the movie's greatest achievements is making Raven/Mystique interesting.  In other X-Men movies, we've seen glimpses of her insecurity, but as played by Rebecca Romijn, she was given little more to do than seduce and betray men and compel fanboys to look for seams in her nude-body makeup.  By casting Oscar-nominated wunderkind Lawrence, the filmmakers rocket Mystique from third-stringer to serious contender.  Lawrence embodies all the sex of Romijn, but more pathos and empathy than most characters who've appeared in the franchise.  Her relationship with government scientist Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult)--who wants to develop a serum that will eliminate all aesthetic evidence of mutanthood--drives the movie as much as the missile-crisis storyline.

With all this juicy drama unfolding, it's easy to forget that X-Men: First Class is also about training mutants to be heroes.  We get a new freak roster on both sides of the good/bad divide, and Vaughn excels at balancing the heavier tone of the main plot with the story's more whimsical aspects--like the training montage and 1960s-spy-movie antics of CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne).  Despite some downer themes, First Class is a tremendous amount of fun. We bounce from New York and Poland in the 40s to Moscow, Miami, and other exotic locales in the 60s. This film has a wider scope and more streamlined sense of intrigue than any of the previous X-films. I typically tune out while watching summer-action-movie climaxes, but by the end of First Class, I was heavily invested, entertained, and satisfied.

The movie isn't without its problems, though. There are two big ones: The first is Magneto's costume reveal at the end.  Michael Fassbender cut such a confident, imposing figure throughout the film that to see him in what looked like a dime-store Halloween helmet and bunched-up bolt of red fabric was a real let-down (I guess I should mention the inconsistent makeup job on both Raven and Beast, too; maybe Fox blew that portion of the practical-effects budget on airfare and catering).

This is small potatoes compared to January Jones's "performance" as Emma Frost. From what little I know of the comics, Frost is a brilliant, formidable mutant.  She can read minds and turn her skin into diamonds.  Jones plays her as a Victoria's Secret model shooting a prolonged camera test.  Her stare is as blank as her white costumes, and her line delivery makes my voice mail operator sound like Dame Judy Dench.  I get that she's both eye candy and a recognizable enough name to put on a poster, but did Vaughn and company not see her appalling missed-cues-and-cue-cards hosting gig on Saturday Night Live a couple years ago?

Setting aside these nitpicks, I have no complaints about First Class.  Matthew Vaughn has shot the bar for this brand of comic-book movie straight into the stratosphere.  For once, I can't wait to see another X-Men movie.

Note: For those skeptics who still think this film looks like kiddie stuff, I can assure you that Vaughn pushes the boundaries of his PG-13 rating.  From a fabulous F-bomb dropped by an even more fabulous cameo player, to the jolting violence of Nazi helmets imploding and G-men falling from the sky like bird shit, there's enough edge here to satisfy even the most jaded spandex-epic haters.

Thursday
Jun022011

American: The Bill Hicks Story (2011)

To Lower the Standards

I've quoted stand-up comic Bill Hicks many times in my reviews. He was the ultimate cultural critic, a master of vicious observational barbs that I can only aspire to. Even though his attacks on the mediocrity of news media and mass entertainment went far beyond bad taste, he was always sincere. He wanted people to demand more of themselves and of the people running the show. Hicks's words and point of view have heavily influenced my own.

Which is why critiquing the new documentary about his life, American: The Bill Hicks Story, is especially difficult. As much as I loved seeing rare footage from his career and listening to different takes on stories I've heard over fourteen years of being a fan, I have to judge the movie's success or failure as a documentary. Sadly, this movie will likely leave die-hards and newcomers a little cold.

The main problem is co-directors Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas's insular take on Hicks's life. The film is narrated by the comedian's friends, family, and some of the comics that got their start with him in Texas. They describe a rebelious, goofy teenager who snuck out of the house with his best friend, Dwight Slade, to perform stand-up comedy on schoolnights. We hear about an early trip to L.A. and a defeated return home; about the dark decade of drinking; the liberation of sobriety; and the consciousness-and-set-list-expanding wonders of psychedelic mushrooms. Finally, we hear about Hicks's brief battle with pancreatic cancer, which claimed his life at age 32. It's all very interesting, but American feels less like a documentary than a slickly produced tribute one might play at a funeral.

Looking at the numerous photo collages that the directors and animator Graham Smith manipulate (with varying degrees of success) into South-Park-style recreations of key moments in Hicks's life, we see Sam Kinison and the rest of the notorious "Outlaw Comics"; yet Kinison is never mentioned in the film. Neither is Denis Leary, who, depending on which version of history you choose to believe, acknowleged stealing much of Hicks's act. The movie also glosses over the comic's struggles with Jay Leno and David Letterman, both of whom advised Hicks at different points to clean up his material and make it less challenging for mainstream audiences.

These juicy, dramatic events swept under a rug of nostalgia in favor of unfounded hero worship. The documentary is rife with testimonials about how influential and groundbreaking Hicks was, but only from his inner circle. Like the far better Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, American mistakenly fails to back up claims about its "legendary" subject with stories from performers who were influenced by himm. It's the documentary equivalent of a mother boasting about her son's latest piece of refrigerator artwork.

As a Hicks fan, I wish the filmmakers had spent more time and money getting interviews and digging deeper into the comics' impact than wasting a lot of energy on cutesy kids-growing-up-in-the-70s motion graphics. In fact, this movie is pretty much a Cliff's Notes version of Cynthia True's excellent 2002 book, American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story. It's hard to say how much of that book was authorized or factual, but it was damned compelling--moreso than most of what you'll see in this film.

One of the reasons an outside perspective is so crucial is because, based solely on the footage presented here, it's unclear whether or not newcomers to Hicks's brand of humor would find him funny or eye-opening.  Indeed, the best versions of his act can be found on his comedy albums; the segments shown in the movie are unpolished variations that, at times, come across as just an angry, animated guy screaming at his "stupid" audience.  Without a greater social context or testimony from fellow comics who would go on to mainstream success, one could easily walk away from American thinking, "No wonder I never heard of this clown"--rather than, "Why didn't I ever hear about his guy?"

It would have also been nice to hear from comics or media titans who didn't like Hicks.  There's a reason he toured America and Europe for almost twenty years and died in relative obscurity. Much of this has been attributed to his refusal to sell out, but what of the people who did? What about the people Hicks criticized in his act, the ones throwing the levers of power? Did they respect him, or think him a fool?

Sorry. I've spent the last three paragraphs on wishful thinking, and not really reviewing the movie.  But as someone who's waited a long time for a documentary on one of his heroes, only to be presented with a well-put-together puff piece, there's not much else I can do. It's sad that I've learned more about the comic's troubled life by reading True's book and listening to Marc Maron's podcast than from watching a feature-length film. Bill Hicks spent much of his adult life demanding transparency on political and religious issues and ridiculing superficiality. I'm kind of glad he's not around to see what would have surely been his latest target.

Tuesday
May312011

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) Home Video Review

Who Re-wrote the Book of Love?

After having built a stellar career directing grim, critically acclaimed movies like Apocalypse Now and The Godfather, I can see why Francis Ford Coppola might want to switch things up a bit.  And what could be further from hacking into a bull with a machete than a remake of Back to the Future aimed squarely at Yuppies?

Peggy Sue Got Married is a strange film.  It's not really a time travel movie, and its not really a comedy, but it wears the skin of both.  All of the actors who appear as forty-something suburban squares in 1986 also play themselves as teenagers in a prolonged flashback to 1960, resulting in what I can only describe as a two-hour, Archie-themed AA mixer.  Kathleen Turner stars as Peggy Sue Kelcher, a soon-to-be-divorced mother of two who passes out during her twenty-five-year high school reunion and wakes up during her senior year of high school.

Unsure of whether or not she's dreaming or actually trapped in the past, Peggy Sue makes the most of her experience: drinking, telling off her algebra teacher, and sleeping with the Beat-poet classmate she'd always fantasized about.  She also confounds her best friends with adult wisdom and helps school nerd Richard (Barry Miller) become a famous inventor by cluing him into things like the Walkman and running shoes.

But Peggy Sue's whimsical trip down memory lane is overshadowed by memories of her future with wannabe-rock-star boyfriend, Charlie (Nicolas Cage), who's destined to become a philandering alcoholic. This relationship is the heart of the film, and Turner and Cage do their best to walk the thematically dubious tightrope of Jerry Leightling and Arlene Sarner's screenplay.  Peggy Sue falls in and out of love with Charlie a number of times, and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to root for them to wind up together or hope that they'd avoid getting married.

As played by Cage, Charlie is a confused, ambitious boy whose desire to do the right thing is hindered by his libido and desperation to be perfect.  These are potentially the seeds of a monster, but the filmmakers never really make their case.  Indeed, Peggy Sue's initial quest to stop herself from marrying Charlie seems driven by her own desire to live a more carefree and fulfilling life (which wouldn't bode well for her two grown children); Turner's melodramatic performance calls to mind not a woman of introspection but instead the showy, failed Broadway singer Kristen Wiig plays on SNL.

The movie's outcome, though kind of sweet, makes all of the Will-They/Won't-They drama irrelevant.  I'm not spoiling much by saying that the moral of the story is to appreciate your life choices, no matter how hard that may be.  It's a lovely message, but one that sucks all the air out of the characters' conflicts and paints Peggy Sue as a hypochondriacal whiner who blames other people for her own lack of courage and attentiveness.  It's as if the original eighteen-year-old Peggy Sue was such an airhead that she based all of her life choices on how she might feel in a given week; only when the hardened version of herself swoops onto the scene does she take stock of anything of consequence.  Yes, teenagers can be dumb and shortsighted, but we never see the "Aha!" moment when the doormat becomes Kathleen Turner.

It's a real problem when your main character isn't nearly as interesting as the supporting cast.  In particular, Cage steals the film with a big-toothed, husky performance that's so weirdly specific that it defies categorization.  Charlie is both king of the school and a total geek, and I wanted nothing more than to follow him from Fabian clone to washed-up appliance salesman.

The movie's real discovery, though, is Barry Miller.  His Richard is so nuanced, tragic and delightful that he could have also spun off into his own picture.  As the billionaire tech genius returning to the school that once rejected him, his cool, above-it-all venom is deliciously mean.  But as a teenager, we see an inquisitive, gentle soul become warped by years of wedgies and name-calling.  Sadly, he's the most fully realized character in the movie.

I don't mean to suggest that Peggy Sue Got Married is a bad film.  It's just okay.  In some scenes, it's pretty great.  And you can tell exactly which scenes those are by composer John Barry's score.  Though I normally hate intrusive, Tell-Me-How-to-Feel music, Barry's swelling heart-string-tuggers underscore the best moments; the ones where the film ditches comedy altogether and touches on universal themes of growing up.  I got a bit misty-eyed at times, 'cause I'm a sucker.  But not even a handful of really touching moments can salvage a clunker--especially when they pepper a minefield of strange choices and downright bad filmmaking.

It's widely accepted that Francis Ford Coppola is a cinematic genius.  But I have to question that, based solely on his willingness to sabotage his own films by casting his daughter, Sophia, in them.  Her harpooning of The Godfather Part 3 is legendary, but it's not like he didn't have warning.  Playing Peggy Sue's pre-teen sister, the younger Coppola delivers her lines as if being revived with smelling salts. She's flat, awful, and wholly unnecessary.

Compared to the film's climax, however, hiring her was a stroke of brilliance.  Out of nowhere, Peggy Sue says "goodbye" to all of her friends and heads to her grandparents' house.  Her grandfather (Leon Ames) takes her to his lodge meeting, which turns out to be a gathering place for a brotherhood of ancient wizards or something.  They attempt to send her back in time, but--

Forget it.  Coppola's screenwriters clearly didn't know how to handle the home stretch, so they threw this geriatric mumbo-jumbo at the wall.  Fortunately, the sub-par subplot only lasts for about five minutes before being discarded.  But, still, in a film of soft zigzags, the mystic lodge bit is a hard left turn into a brick wall, and I have to wonder if it was a last-minute addition to the faltering story.

This harmless, fluffy movie might be better known for bridging the Back to the Future phenomenon and the late-80s boom of body-switching movies like Vice Versa and Big (a tenuous but legit connection).  It also stars up-and-comers like Jim Carrey, Joan Allen and Catherine Hicks.  But these gems of retrospect do nothing to improve the film as a piece of entertainment.  If Coppola's filmography were a yearbook, Peggy Sue Got Married would not be pictured.