Monday, 4 May 2015

My Guilty Pleasure Films

Honestly, most of the films I love qualify as 'guilty pleasures'. I am not, it's fair to say, a great cinephile. While some of my top watches - Before Sunset, Dazed & Confused, The Station Agent - might possibly appear on a critics best-of list, most of them are decidedly lower brow.

1. She's The Man
I mentioned this film on Friday but my love for it knows no bounds, hence I will bang on about it again! Based on Twelfth Night, high school soccer player Viola (played by Amanda Bynes) decides to disguise herself as brother Sebastian to infiltrate a rival team after her own school cuts the women's team. She's The Man passes the Bechdel Test many times over - the women talk about football a lot - plus it perfectly skewers a particular kind of performative masculinity. Amanda Bynes is the most wonderful physical comedian, making her present troubles all the more tragic for seeing what talent she has.

2. Get Over It
Another high school comedy loosely based on a Shakespeare play, this time A Midsummer Night's Dream, a performance of which the school is putting on. Features Sisqo (remember him?) playing at being a high school student when clearly well into his 20s, plus Kirsten Dunst at her finest.

3. Bring It On
And speaking of Dunst, Bring It On is just all kinds of wonderful. From the opening cheer scenes loaded with sexual innuendo to the spark and fizz of Eliza Dushku as the new girl on the cheerleading team, it's a true feel-good film. Commenting on racial inequalities within the school system and, again, acing the Bechdel Test, it's a guilty pleasure about which there's no need to feel guilty.

4. Pitch Perfect
Glee-esque musical numbers, Rebel Wilson's glorious comedic turn, Anna Kendrick luminous and brilliant as always. And, of course, it once again smashes the Bechdel Test. I love the story of competitive college acapella group the Barden Bellas. Yes, it's silly, yes, it has its gross-out moments, but it's guaranteed to put a huge smile on my face.

5. Saved
Another high school rom-com, this one executive produced by REM's Michael Stipe and featuring gay boyfriends, a wheelchair-bound Macauley Culkin in brilliantly sardonic form, teen pregnancy, and a 100ft statue of Jesus. Saved is an ace critique of the abstinence-promoting, gay-deprogramming kind of fundamentalist Christianity.