Monday, July 18, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge - Day 1

In the grand, epic, life changing history of this blog, my dear friend Andrew (Diversion 2.0has ripped off several of my series. And now, stuck in small town America, friendless with flickering Internet connection, this is my chance to rip him off. As of today, Andrew has kicked off a new series: The 30 Day Movie Challenge.This run of blog posts will work much like the 30 Day Song Challenge, only this one deals with (you guessed it) cinema. And this time, Andrew is calling the categories. The fate of this blog is entirely in his hands, so if it gets boring, please feel free to leave him aggravated, snide comments.

Day 1 – One of Your Favorite Movies (But Not Your Favorite Favorite)
Get Over It! (2001)

If you are a long time reader of Popped Density (or one of my close, personal friends) you know all about Jordyn's Official Canonized List of Favorite Movies. As of July 18, 2011, there are 73 lucky films on this list. Honestly, any of the 73 (other than my Favorite Favorite, of course) would have worked. The challenge here was to find a movie that I doubt could be used later in the 30 Day Movie Challenge. So, I decided on Get Over It!, an unassuming rom-com from the Silver Age of teen movies.

It is the story of Berke Landers (Ben Foster) who, in the first five minutes of the film, is dumped by his long time, Pretty & Popular girlfriend Allison McAllister (Melissa Sagemiller). Now a free woman, Allison hooks up with Bentley "Striker" Scrumfeld (Shane West) the lead singer of Britain's latest boy band smash, Swing Town Lads. Despite Allison's former distaste for theatre, she finds herself auditioning for a musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream along with her new boo. Berke decides if he's going to win her back, he needs to get into the play too, so he enlists the help of his best friend's little sister, Sweet & Simple aspiring songwriter Kelly Woods (Kirsten Dunst). To complicate matters, Allison, Striker, Berke and Kelly are cast as the four romantic leads. And I bet you'll never figure out what happens.

Many believe Get Over It! falls in with other teen flicks that borrowed from classical literature. It started with 1995's Clueless which transplanted Jane Austen's Emma to Beverly Hills 90210. Then came Baz Luhrman's ultra-chic Romeo + Juliet. By late 90's, the sub-genre exploded: 
  • Great Expectations (1998) 
  • She's All That (1999) = Pygmalion 
  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) = The Taming of the Shrew 
  • Cruel Intentions (1999) = Dangerous Liaisons 
  • Whatever It Takes (2000) = Cyrano de Bergerac (sort of) 
  • Hamlet (2000) (the one with Ethan Hawke, remember?) 
  • O (2001) = Othello 
  • She's the Man (2006) = Twelfth Night 
  • Easy A (2010) = The Scarlet Letter (sort of) 
  • From Prada to Nada (2011) = Sense and Sensibility 
Oh, and let's not forget that little MTV version of Wuthering Heights (2003).

While these films are more or less "accurate" reworkings of their source material, it's not really fair to put Get Over It! in this camp. Yes, there are similarities between Lysander/Hermia/Demetrius/Helena and Berke/Allison/Striker/Kelly, but it is so muddled that Shakespeare purists (or anyone who's actually read the original text) would scoff at the damn thing.

Truly, it's a "play within a movie". That play is A Midsummer Night's Rockin' Eve, ("classical Shakespeare with a contemporary musical twist") the brainchild of failed Broadway hopeful, Dr. Desmond Forrest-Oates (Martin Short). He was most likely inspired by Kiss Me, Kate and West Side Story or perhaps, by the millennial trend of Shakespeare "gettin' jiggy wit it".

This film is such a beautiful mess of 2001. It tries so hard to please with its cameos from Carmen Electra, Coolio (oh, Lord), and one hit wonder Vitamin C (as we go on, we remember, all the times we had together...). Sisqo (yes, "Thong Song" Sisqo) plays Dennis, a basketball player who "saves the play" with his secret stellar dance moves. Then there's the teen comedy tropes we all know and love: oversexed parents, oversexed friends, a hormonally imbalanced dog that humps everything in sight...But perhaps best of all is Dr. Forrest-Oates, the domineering drama teacher. He sports a sad little soul patch and spouts references to TRL (remember when, kids?) all in an effort to remain relevant to the youth.

Get Over It! is not destined to become a cult classic. It's already ten years old and I'm certain everyone but a handful of people have gladly forgotten its existence. But, it still remains a favorite movie of mine, not my favorite favorite, but its place on Jordyn's Canonized List of Favorite Movies is pretty well cemented.

I wanted to post the trailer, but the only available version on Youtube is in French, so here's one of the many awesomely bad musical numbers:


Andrew Testerman said...

A thought just occurred to me: since you own a good chunk of the Silver Age Teen Movies, you could always do a series on them, and how the Silver Age differs from the Golden Age (which I'm going to assume was the 80's). Not that you don't already have 27.2 other series going on right now, but just throwing out ideas, like so many shot puts.

Jordyn said...

Maybe one day, Andrew. Maybe one day...