Posts tagged “Evan Rachel Wood

Thirteen / Back to the Dentist (Part XXXVII or Something)


Thirteen - Front DVD Cover - UK ReleaseAnxiously trying to fit into the peer-pressure cooker environment of junior high, thirteen-year-old Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) goes to shocking lengths in order to befriend Evie (Co-writer, Nikki Reed), the most popular girl in school.  Now the two are inseparable – and incorrigible – leaving Tracy’s desperate mother (Academy Award Winner Holly Hunter) powerless to rescue her from a whirlwind of drugs, sex and crime.

2003.  Certificate: 18. American Film.  Rating Details: very strong language and drugs use.  8.0 out of 10

Spent two hours with the dentist yesterday.  I thought I was only going for a filling to replace a temporary one she put in last spring, after trying unsuccessfully to unblock some root canals in one of my teeth.  However, she decided instead to have another go at the latter, but two hours later and we were still no further forward.  It would probably be easier to get into Fort Knox than the bottom of my tooth.  Two hours is a long time to lay back in a not-that-comfortable chair, looking at a very boring light fitting, listening to rather moribund, classical music.  As the minutes ticked past, as I could think of was “please don’t let the anaesthetic wear off, please don’t let the anaesthetic wear off.”  At one point some metal clamp around my tooth broke, which certainly woke me up.  She even tried a new weapon I’ve not come across before, which heated up and made sizzling noises in my tooth, accompanied by little clouds of smoke!  That’s okay in a frying pan but in my mouth? No, I don’t think so.  I’m going back on Thursday for a regular ‘check-up’.  I’m fully expecting to see some sort of army explosives expert waiting for me, to blast his way in with some high tech munitions. 

I’m crap at being an adult*.  Today I commented to one of the people I manage that coming to work sometimes felt a bit like a game; I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but it doesn’t sound like a very adult viewpoint.  Films like this make me feel I was a crap teenager* too.  It’s not that I was perfect or anything, but all I can remember doing is sitting in my room every night, listening to punk music very loud and trying to do my homework.  Well sure I do have other memories, but that one seems to be the overriding one.  The homework was rarely that great, but the soundtrack was fab!  Strangely enough, I’m still listening to the same songs these days too, although the “homework” has mutated very slightly into what adults call “taking work home”.  This movie is about how to be a teenager; well a girl-version anyway.  Except these days few western teenagers rebel against anything. I heartedly recommended this movie to any young teenage girls who want to know how to rebel in an appropriately nihilistic and adult-seriously-pissing-off-way.  It’s actually a great film with a bit of an interesting story behind it too.  If it has a fault it sometimes introduces elements and people that don’t really go anywhere and just muddy the plot a bit, but beyond that it’s a great opportunity to watch peer pressure and allure of popularity in action.  (The self-harming sub-plot was very underexplored, whereas it could have been highlighted far more.)  The acting is great and it’s fun in a technical sense too, as the colour slowly gets leached out of the scenes until we’re left with little more than black and white.  Being a miserable sod that loves nothing better than to see everyone die, the ending was a bit of a disappointment too, but that’s just me.  Strangely enough, it’s not a depressing film; the makers seemed to have remembered that part of the role of a movie is to entertain.  Holly Hunter is always great too.  Well worth watching.

There’s plenty of music in this film, both a soundtrack and a lot of real songs from mostly pretty anonymous rock and hip-hip acts. However the opening shots with a track by Mark Mothersbaugh (from Devo) is great.  Visually the film makes a great start and this track is a big part of that.  I had to go and get hold of a copy afterwards.

The trailer’s okay.  Not bad, not good; very middle of the road stuff.  The whole movie is better.

Movie Weather forecast.  Warm and sunny throughout.

Recommended for teenage girls, hairdressers and recovering alcoholics.

No cats, chainsaw or decapitations.

Top badass moment? A surprisingly tough question in this case.  It’s a total cop out I know, but I may as well go for flawed mum Melanie.  Considering everything, she really didn’t do too badly in the end.  Sorry, I’ve just noticed this is so boring; please, seriously, don’t read anymore.  I think I just crossed the line between ‘sort of okay’ and ‘crappy drivel’.

*These were the first pictures that came up when I Googled on Bing (can you even do that?) for “teenagers” and “adults”.  The later is especially uncomfortable. 

Thirteen on IMDB (6.9 / 10)
Thirteen on Wikipedia
Thirteen on Roger Ebert (3.5 / 4.0)
Thirteen trailer on YouTube

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Digging To China / My New Printer


Digging to China  -  Front DVD Cover (Canadian Release)Ten year-old Harriet (Evan Rachel Wood) dreams of escaping her colourless existence.  She lives with her alcoholic mother (Cathy Moriarty) and promiscuous older sister (Mary Stuart Masterson), the proprietors of a rural Pennsylvania motel.  Frequently misunderstood by classmates and family, Harriet prefers her time alone, free of ridicule and abuse.  For Harriet, fate arrives in the form of Ricky (Kevin Bacon), a mentally challenged young man who is passing through town with his mother.  Their common bond as misfits draws Harriet and Ricky to one another.  Together, they happily hatch a plan to alter their destinies.  In the face of bitter resistance, Harriet and Ricky cling to their friendship even as their families try blindly to separate them.

1997  –  Certificate PG  –  USA
6 out of 10

I’ve had to buy a new printer.  My trusty, seven-year-old HP Deskjet 5652 stopped working last week; I guess the two bits of metal that fell out of it a few months ago were important after all.  So off I went to Argos for a new one.  Doesn’t anyone these days make printers that just, well, print?  Most of the ones I looked at faxed, scanned, made tea, looked after small children and developed countermeasures based on home alien invasion scenarios.  I just wanted a printer to print stuff.  In the end, having decided that I’d been satisfied by my old printer, I decided to get another HP, this time a Deskjet 3000; £50, including delivery.   To say the new one doesn’t feel exactly robust would be a bit of an understatement.  I’m quite worried that if I open a window in the summer, the first gust of wind and it’s going to be flying away into the great beyond.  I guess it’s all those high-tech, space-age materials it’s probably made of.  My old printer would have made an effective close combat weapon, for anyone with the strength to pick it up.  A similar thing goes for the noises it makes when it prints.  The old one made a satisfyingly expensive and comforting sound whenever it printed anything.  The new one makes all my fillings want to fall out.  I now know what ‘cheap’ sounds like.  It said on the box it takes four minutes to set up.  Bollocks!  It took me four hours over two evenings.  Those bastards that write instructions and installation software, do they ever actually try out what they throw together?  Do they ever actually speak to the people who market the things they write for?  No! No, they don’t!  They just write trash to palm off on the technically inept public they sell stuff to and their IT-illiterate bosses who are too stupid to know how to check it; I image the consumer printer software and instruction writing department at HP is rather like that featured in “The IT Crowd”.  Trying to get it to talk to my network at home was harder than (inset politicians from your ‘favourite’ Middle Eastern conflict here) in the same room to actually talk about things like grown-ups.  In the end I totally ignored the instructions and the software and did it ‘my way’.  Result?  I can now print wirelessly from both my home computer and my work laptop.

This was another of those frustrating movies that could have been so much better than it actually was.  At its best it’s a sad and touching film about life and friendship; at its worst its, well it’s just a bit rubbishy.  Given the plot, it should have had a lot more emotional ups and downs, but it felt a bit flat to me.  I suppose what bought the film down most was some of the script, which at times didn’t seem very realistic.  The reactions of the characters to many of the sad or unexpected things that happened felt understated too.  It also had the misfortune to host yet another overly grown-up youngster; are all young kids in America either precocious, drug-dealing thugs, misfits or would-be superheroes?  They’re the only ones ever featured in the movies anyway; I guess the rest must be very boring or something.  In this particular case, Harriet was also just a bit too much of a little horror to gain much of my sympathy.  Brat.  It was strange to see Kevin Bacon not playing a shady character for a change.  His portrayal of Ricky, a man with learning difficulties, was generally really well done.  The depressing thing about the film was that I was sort of waiting for the ‘inevitable scene’ of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ that it seemed to be setting up between its two main characters.

Set in the late 1960s, the film features a nice selection of music, including some originals from the period.  One of its better features.  It’s always good to hear “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf; as well as containing one of rock’s greatest guitar riffs, it is of course the song that was played when humans first broke the light barrier in 2063.  (It’s a Star Trek thing.)

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Recommended for those who want to watch a decent little film that glosses over the worst bits of life.

Top badass moment?  The friendship that develops between Harriet and Ricky, as well as being the heart of the story, was also its best element.  A friendship forged in the heat of battle, at a time when whole civilisations rose and fell at the whim of the undead; two ordinary people rise up as heroes, to fight for good and the future of the human race, defeating overwhelming odds and overcoming personal tragedies for the good of mankind!  Okay, so I made that last part up.  Sounds good though…

Digging to China at IMDB (6.7/10)