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Snowy weekends with Under-rated movies on DVD February 23, 2009

Posted by ronannarbor in Uncategorized.

Bad weather weekends are always great for Netflix and watching bad movies on tv….and this weekend brought a couple films that are a lot better than they should be….


First – ABC Family ran Grease 2 all weekend….and this has always been one of my guilty pleasures…by the time “A Girl For All Seasons” rolls around, I’m hooked every time…and every viewing makes me appreciate some of the subtler things that Patricia Birch did with the direction and choreography. Compare this to other schlock that came out about the same time (1982) and this one totally bristles with some movie-making gusto. And my all-time favorite actor, Peter Frechette is hilarious (Louis)– he’s in character every second he’s on screen, and it proceeds his subsequent intense performances on stage and tv and regular guest appearances on ThirtySomething. And it’s one of the few movies in which the very out Frechette plays straight, rather than his normal gay roles. 

And the “pool of enchantment” kills me every time. 

Patricia Birch infuses the entire production with all the early-80’s Broadway musical theatre talent she can stuff into the film. Watching the chorus numbers is like watching a who’s who of Broadway-gypsy performers of the early 80’s, before AIDS started to make its deadly journey through New York and Los Angeles alike.

When you compare Grease 2 to the absolutely awful “High School Musical” trilogy, you really come to realize what good film-making this is. HSM pales by comparison. This one is gracefully aging in a good way that deserves to be seen. As the famous quotation goes, this is the “best sequel to a Stockard Channing movie starring Adrian Zmed ever made.”

agle Eye 1-shtI missed GhostTown in the theatres this past year, but watched it twice from Netflix this weekend. It’s charming and sweet, and it has a big heart. Ricky Gervais is wonderful here, but so is Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear. This is another movie stuffed full of Broadway musical theatre performers circa 2007…look for Brian D’Arcy James as “Irish Boy”…Highly recommended and I am not sure how I missed this in the movie theatres.



Dan in Real Life is another underrated film from 2007….I had seen it before, but decided to watch it again after a friend mentioned it the other day. Steve Carell turns in his most nuanced performance here, and it’s a terrific and under-rated little romance. I like the way they get the family patter right in this film. Listen to all the stuff in the background, and the way the people talk to each other. Families really DO sound like this. 

And that’s the view from Ann Arbor today…

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