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Little Women (1994)
Arguably the best adaptation of the beloved classic!
This has to be my favorite adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel. Gillian Armstrong does such an amazing job at directing, and Colleen Atwood's costume design is exquisite (very true to the individual characters and the time period in America of that time).
The actors are also perfectly cast in their roles! Winona Ryder is a real standout as Jo, likewise Kirsten Dunst really embodies Amy (at age 12) in the start of the film. Even Trini Alvarado and Claire Danes are excellent in the roles of Meg and Beth March. However, Samantha Mathis is rather unmemorable as Amy March (at age 16) in the second half of the film, and lacks the vivacity that Dunst showed int he first half of the film.
Even though some people criticized some of the anachronistic aspects of the film, I personally liked the cute scene of Jo, Beth, and Amy playing in the snow with Laurie, since I felt that it really brought a lot of life in the film. Plus while Susan Sarandon's Marmee may have been slightly different from the other versions of said character (if not a bit too liberal for the Victorian era), she still embodied the kind motherly spirit that Marmee always had.
My favorite film of the "Prequel Trilogy," which holds sentimental value
I realize that it may not have been everybody's favorite "Star Wars" film, but it is one of my favorites (along with "the Empire Strikes Back")! The visual and sound effects in the film weren't bad at all, plus Liam Neeson is excellent as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Also unlike most "Star Wars" fans, I actually kind of liked Jar Jar. Sure Jar Jar may be a bit too silly at times, but he still made my father and I laugh.
As a child, I remember dressing up on Hallowwen of 1999 as Queen Amidala (long before I knew anything about "Star Wars"). The costume design in this film (especially the Queen's) was very exquisite as well, and I think that it's a real shame that Trisha Bigar wasn't even Oscar-Nominated for her designs! I remember when this film's merchandise was all the rage when I was in the first grade.
Last but not least, Jake Lloyd's acting really wasn't that bad in this film, considering that he was only 9 at the time, and he certainly did not deserve all of the harsh critical backlash from those of the "Star Wars" fanbase.
Where the Heart Is (2000)
Well acted, and faithful to the novel!
In spite of what may critics believed, I found this film very faithful to Billie Letts' novel in many ways, compete with wonderful performances by Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd and Stockard Channing. While Portman and Judd may have been more physically attractive than their novel counterparts, I couldn't imagine anybody else in those roles. I also liked the addition of the final scene in which Novalee and Forney get married at Wal-Mart (which doesn't happen in the book), and thought it really ended the story on a very heartfelt note!
Bye Bye Birdie (1995)
Closely based on the original Broadway version, but could have been better.
While this version is more based on the original Broadway production than the 1963 version (with Ann-Margret), it still isn't without it's flaws.
Vanessa Williams is exquisite as Rosie Alvarez (even more than Janet Leigh was in the old version), likewise Marc Kudisch makes a credible Conrad Birdie, plus Tyne Daley is spot on as Mae Peterson. However, Jason Alexander is woefully miscast as Albert Peterson! I don't know why they actually chose to cast him in a role that was originated by Dick Van Dyke, especially since he is neither handsome nor half as charming as Van Dyke.
I also wish that the ending could have also emphasized Kim and Hugo's rekindling romance, along with Albert and Rosie's. Plus it would have been nicer if they had it so that Conrad Birdie's fangirls arrive at the train station to bid him goodbye at the end (just like in the original Broadway version), which would have ended it even more on a slightly happier note.
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)
A true underrated Disney gem!
It's such a shame that this film doesn't get half the recognition it deserves, especially in an age where Disney princesses and those atrocious Disney Channel stars are the popular archetype. When I first saw this film, I was surprised to see such an interesting and tough tomboy character, who is a true survivor with a heart of gold.
The film also paints an exquisite picture of how arduous it was to live during The Great Depression, and how work was vital like water (which is what prompts Natty's father to leave for work across the country). The cinematography is also breathtaking with its glorious scenes set in nature, and the animal actor Jed does a wonderful job at playing a believable wolf, considering that he was in fact an Alaskan Malamute in real life!
More American Graffiti (1979)
Not the greatest sequel, but still a very powerful film.
While it wasn't a necessary sequel to the beloved coming-of-age classic, it's still a very powerful and haunting film, which really does an amazing job at expressing the turbulence of the 1960's.
For instance, the scenes that really got to me the most were those of Terry "The Toad" Fields in Vietnam, which were very frightening and sad (especially since his story has an incredibly depressing ending). I thought it was clever how the filmmakers used 16mm to film those scenes (just like it were newsreel footage), and it really got me interested in learning more about that period in history. Likewise the protest scenes were equally horrifying and intense to watch, with all the brutal violence that the police inflicted on those who spoke out against the Vietnam War, especially with Laurie and Steve getting caught up in the midst of all of it, when she is out to support the Women's Liberation Movement.
Last but not least, the film had a great soundtrack of 1960's tunes, ranging from Simon and Garfunkel, The Doors, Jan and Dean, and The Capitols.
Fantasia 2000 (1999)
Such an underrated Disney flick!
I don't understand why so many people disliked this film, as it still retained the beautiful and exquisite feel as the original "Fantasia" from the 1940's, especially since they used a lot of classical, romantic, and 20th Century pieces that weren't in the original film.
Some of the best segments in the film include the "Rhapsody In Blue" city segment (originally composed by the Gershwin Brothers), the Noah's Ark segment with Donald and Daisy- set to "Pomp and Circumstance," the "Tin Soldier" segment, plus the any nature segments with the whales, flamingos, and the nature sprite!
The Wild (2006)
Not very original, but still a lot of fun!
While it may not be the most memorable or original animated feature (with elements from "Finding Nemo," "Madagascar," and "The Lion King!"), it's still a very cute and heartwarming family film. Hearing Kiefer Sutherland as the voice of Samson the lion is a real treat (especially since this was the second film of his that I watched shortly after watching him as the bully in "Stand By Me!"), and Greg Cipes is incredibly adorable as the voice Samson's adolescent lion cub Ryan. Plus, the CGI animation isn't half bad either!
Mozart and the Whale (2005)
The worst, and most offensive piece of excrement ever!
Never in my whole life have I been offended by any film, until I saw this one. As a person with Asperger's Syndrome, I found this to be very cringeworthy and ignorant on so many levels! Both of the title characters (especially Isabelle) were distasteful caricatures of people like myself, and was it in any sense necessary for the filmmakers to be light-hearted about the subject of rape?!
On top of it, the tagline of this film ("They don't fit in, except together!") is total bullshit! People with Asperger's Syndrome DO fit in to society, and are NOT freaks of nature as this rubbish portrays!
Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992)
One of my cherished childhood Favorites!
While far from being perfect, this animated film was a huge part of my early childhood! I always liked seeing the title characters in a radically different light- and teaming together to save a little girl (very much like another childhood favorite of mine; "The Rescuers")! Plus, I've always loved the songs in this film, even if they may not have necessarily been memorable (especially "I Miss You," which I grew up listening in the French language- and know the lyrics by heart)!On a side note, while most people associate Richard Kind as the voice of Bing-Bong in "Inside Out," I mostly remember him as the voice of Tom in this movie!