Tag Archives: david arquette

Scream 3 and Scream 4 – Review

20 Dec

In my last post, I made it quite clear that the first Scream film is a contemporary horror classic, and its follow up, Scream 2, wasn’t quite on the same level but worthy all the same. After these first two entries, the series was done with the nineties, but returned in 2000 with Scream 3, and then again 11 years later with Scream 4. One of the main reasons the first two Scream films are great is because the intelligent, sometimes scathing, satire that went along with the traditional horror fare. Unfortunately, these next two entries don’t live up to their predecessors and disappoint on many levels.

Wes Craven was back, but Kevin Williamson was out. Already a rough start for Scream 3.

Scream3_ver2

 

Life has been rough on Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell). In order to feel safe, she has secluded herself from society and rarely sees anyone other than her father. When a series of murders begin occurring, with the killer donning the Ghostface costume, and inquiring Sydney’s whereabout, she is brought out of seclusion and goes to Hollywood where the newest Stab movie is being shot. She isn’t alone in this, however, with Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courtney Cox) returning to aid and protect her. As it is said in the film, the rules all change here, and a big reveal that changes everything we thought we knew is the only way to truly end a trilogy.

If you to make a line graph showing all the Scream movies and their quality, this is where you would see a sharp decline. Like…sharp. Everything feels different, and not in a good way. First of all, Sydney gets little screen time, especially since she’s the main protagonist and was onscreen most of the time in the other films. But the biggest problem is the new screenwriter, Ehren Kruger. Kevin Williamson wrote a draft for Scream 3 as a point of reference, but Kruger dismissed pretty much everything Williamson wrote, and did his own thing. The result is not very good at all. Instead of taking shots at the horror genre and the ins and outs of a generation, all of the satire focuses on Hollywood, and turning it into this cartoonish hellhole that is populated by idiots and corruption. Sure, that does sound like Hollywood, but this is way too over the top.

Scream3

 

Bottom line is this: Scream 3 is silly in that stupid kind of way. It isn’t a complete disaster, and the twists at the end are cool, but this is a weak entry with a screenplay that seems like it was written by a high schooler who’s a big fan of the movies. The jokes are too direct and cheesy, the satire is misdirected, and the heroine that we’ve come to root for is in the movie for too little a time. Scream 3 should be seen if you’re serious about this series, but if you’re just looking for something to watch and aren’t really a fan of the others, than this can be skipped easily.

Cut to 11 years later. In a world of reboots, it only seemed fair that Scream comes back to the silver screen and make self referential jokes about what kind of movie it is, and make a comment on the next generation of film goers. The result is… meh.

Scream4Poster

 

15 years after the Woodsboro Massacre, Sydney makes her return to her old hometown to promote her book. As luck would have it, Ghostface also has returned, threatens Sydney, kills some people, and sparks up a new investigation to see who is behind the mask. Dewey and Gale, who are now married, return to help Sydney, and Sydney’s cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) is caught in the middle of all of the violence that is engulfing her family and friends. As bodies begin piling up in a brutal fashion, the people of Woodsboro begin to realize that the rules of the game are all different, and anything goes this time.

If this were any other horror franchise, I’d be annoyed to see it again thinking that there really is no need to bring it back. With Scream 4, I felt pretty comfortable with its return. Williamson is back as screenwriter and only does an OK job. That’s right. Scream 4 isn’t really anything special, but it’s a big improvement over Scream 3. The witty  banter is back and it’s pretty funny hearing the characters talk about the rules of reboots. Hollywood is in an age where every other movie seems to be a reboot or a remake of some sort, so it was interesting hearing a movie produced in Hollywood make such blatant jokes about it. The film’s biggest failing is when it tries too hard. There are moments where the satire is so in your face and over the top that it falls flat and just comes off as annoying. We all get it. You’re making fun of reboots and the film industry clichés. This movie also seems to go nowhere fast for awhile then picks up the pace dramatically in the third half.

B33E2567.CR2

 

Scream 4 is a huge improvement over Scream 3, but still just doesn’t reach the same heights as the first two movies. I appreciate what it’s trying to say about the state of the film industry and this generation of film buffs, but it’s a bit too big for its britches and comes off as pretentious and annoying at times. That’s not what the Scream films are all about. They’re about laughing and fear, and then laughing at ourselves for being scared. Scream 4 is a good time and if you’re a fan of the series, give it a watch.

I grew up with the original Scream trilogy, and these movies are a few that really helped get me begin to love movies to the degree that I do today. In that way, these movies are very special to me, and it was good to finally get around to seeing Scream 4. Despite the weaknesses that creep up in the last two movies, I can’t say that I could ever truly hate a Scream movie. Disappointed, yes, but hate is a strong word.

Advertisements

Scream and Scream 2 – Review

15 Dec

It can be debated that Wes Craven is the king of modern horror. I strongly believe that he is, but that’s just my opinion that borders on fact. With films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Last House on the Left, it’s clear that he’s left his mark on the horror genre. In 1996, with the help of writer Kevin Williamson, he left an even more distinct map with the Scream franchise. These much talked about horror/satire/mystery films take horror to a meta level that wasn’t explored in the horror genre before, making these films truly unique.

Scream hit the scene in 1996.

Scream_movie_poster

When Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) is brutally murdered, the small town of Woodsboro is thrown into a frenzy. Local high school student Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is having an especially rough time considering that all this is happening so close to the one year anniversary of her mother’s murder. As the body count begins rising, the different players are all put in danger including local policeman Deputy Dewey Riley (David Arquette), Sydney’s best friend Tatum (Rose McGowan), and film nut Randy (Jamie Kennedy). Pressure also builds further around Sydney when her boyfriend Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) becomes suspect number 1 and media hound Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) interferes with the investigation and Sydney’s past.

What puts Scream on such a higher level than other slasher films is the writing and characterization that can, in part, be accredited to Craven, but I put most of my praise on writer Kevin Williamson. Every time I watch this movie, I care for the characters just a little bit more. Their witty banter that revolves around horror films is relatable to me, and they’re just much more believable than the cliched victims in films like Friday the 13th and even the original Halloween.

scream

Along with the writing, it both satirizes and terrifies in perfect unison. After Scream came out in 1996, there was a significant rise in caller ID purchases. That’s a fact, and also hilarious. The opening scene in this film is something straight out of my worst childhood nightmares, and the bloody climax is so god damn cool. In terms of comedy, it works just as well as horror. Horror buffs will appreciate all the little in-jokes, but even newcomers to the genre will still find something to laugh at. Throw in the mystery, and you got yourself a multi-genred masterpiece.

Agree with me or not, I firmly believe Scream is destined to be a horror classic. In my eyes, it already is. Not only did it capture a generation that overwhelmed the mid-90s, but it also succeeds at spoofing and honoring the horror genre. It’s bloody brilliance from the combined minds of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. Need I say more?

But, as with pretty much every horror film, a sequel seemed to be just predestination. Hitting the theaters just one year later, Scream 2 reunited characters and audiences in 1997.

184256.1020.A

Having survived the killing spree that took place in Scream, Sydney is trying to get on with her life. Now in college, she has remained close with Randy, lives with her friend Hallie (Elise Neal), and has found love with Derek (Jerry O’Connell). Things are shaken when a murder happens at the premiere of Stab, a film within a film based off of the events of the original, and the media invades Sydney’s school, putting her face to face again with Gale, and reuniting her with Dewey. More students begin dropping and it’s only a matter of time before Sydney herself is at the other end of the knife, unless she can figure out who is behind the mask and why they crave the bloodshed.

As far as sequels go, Scream 2 is as worthy as they come. Being reunited with the survivors of the first film feels just as good every time I put the movie on. All of the new characters work pretty well too. Derek and Hallie have god chemistry with Sydney and are good counter balances to her paranoia, and Timothy Olyphant’s Mickey is just what Randy needs to create fun and memorable film banter, especially about sequels.

573707754

 

Wes Craven is back directing and Kevin Williamson still penned the movie, so the characters and dialogue are as rich as ever. The screams and the laughs are just about on par with its predecessor, but the sense of mystery doesn’t quite live up to the expectations presented in the first film. In Scream, it’s hard to really figure out who the killer is because of all of the twists and turns the plot takes. In Scream 2, it isn’t really that difficult because a main character pretty much just disappears right in the middle. Then they show back up again, just in time for the climax. There is another twist that is pretty cool, but the whole unmasking thing just doesn’t feel as exciting.

Scream 2 isn’t as great as Scream, but it holds its own with other sequels that are worthy of their predecessors. The film isn’t perfect, nor will it be considered a classic like the first film, but it’s still one of the better modern horror films, even with its satirical elements.

My next review will be covering Scream 3 and Scream 4. Was a trilogy enough, or maybe a fourth was a necessary addition. Check back for my second part of the series. 

Roadracers – Review

5 Mar

I don’t think that I’ve talked about Robert Rodriguez on this blog yet, which is strange because he is one of the biggest inspirations to my style of writing and, hopefully, directing. He enjoys all things over the top, as you can see in his films such as DesperadoPlanet Terror, and Machete. Before all of this insanity was El Mariachi, the little indie film that put him on the map. What I’m sure many people don’t know about was a little TV movie he made for Showtime, Roadracers, which was made right before Desperado.

roadracers-movie-poster-1994-1020210995

 

Dude (David Arquette) is a 1950s greaser who spends his days cruising through town with his girlfriend Donna (Salma Hayek), getting into fights with his rival Teddy (Jason Wiles), and making trouble for the local sheriff (William Sadler). His entire life has been spent this way: moving fast but going nowhere. Now that Dude is beginning to grow up, he’s beginning to realize that he needs to get his act together and possibly follow up on a very possible music career, or get left in the dust and remain in the town. The pulling between the two factors pull Dude harder than he can handle, leading to a violent climax that will decide where Dude’s life will take him.

The first thing I noticed about this movie was the use of the character name “Dude.” Does that ring a bell for anyone? The Big Lebowski anyone? Funny thing is that Roadracers came first. I think that’s pretty interesting since The Dude from Lebowski is thought of as such a goofy and original character name. I mean no disrespect to the Coen Brothers, I enjoy their work and consider them two heroes of mine, but Rodriguez was first! This isn’t what I want to talk about though. After El Mariachi, Rodriguez made this film for Showtime which was doing a series of made for TV movies called Rebel Highway, that were homages to 1950s B-movies. The series featured big name directors like William Friedkin, but Rodriguez was, at the time, unknown.

roadracers-1994

Like Quentin Tarantino, Rodriguez has made his career off of making films that hearken back to the days of video stores and all of the strange genres that lurk in their darkest corners. In that respect, Rodriguez is the perfect choice to be a part of this series. Strangely enough, this was before he made his stylistic mark. It seems like he was born for this style of film making. Still, this was before he really found his niche, and it shows. The plot begins to jumble and ramble in the second act leaving me thinking that it could’ve have realistically been an hour long or maybe a little over. And hour and a half felt like a stretch.

I will say that the movie was better than I expected, but I wasn’t really expecting much. I laughed a lot in the beginning and I really liked how cheesy all of the ’50s style is played. It’s all over the top and romanticized while being satirized at the same time. Let’s compare it to one of my favorite films, Rebel Without a Cause. James Dean plays a character who is also beginning to grow up and learn that he needs to start making adult decisions without relying on adults. This is played very seriously, and almost tragically. Dude in Roadracers also needs to make these decisions, but they are played so over the top and comedically. Rebel Without a Cause  and Roadracers both critique the society of the time and the fact that cliques and classes are so separated, it made life for these young people difficult.

roadracers 5

Roadracers is an alright attempt by Rodriguez, although it is nowhere near as great as his next film, Desperado. By that point, he’s found his style and locked onto his ability and made a great film. This one, however, is pretty sloppy and got pretty boring by the midway point. It’s pretty silly, made me laugh, and the ending is abrupt, yet awesome. It still could’ve been a lot shorter and the narrative much cleaner. Unless you’re really a die hard fan of Rodriguez, skip this one. If you’re a huge fan and interested in all of his work, lower your standards and give it a quick watch. It’s very mediocre.