Posts Tagged ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

Readers:  CAUTION – this LONG post is a review of three movies which are not very good.  Unless you are really interested in the movies (or my writing skills enthrall you), I would just skip this post and come back some other time…  You’ve been warned!
Today’s review is for the three movies in the Cruel Intentions series: Cruel Intentions (1999), Cruel Intentions 2 (2000) and Cruel Intentions 3 (2004).  Of the three films, only CI:1 had a theatrical release.  Both CI:2 and CI:3 were straight to DVD.  (And, yes, there was a reason for this.)
First a little background…  I haven’t seen any these movies before.  I like Reese Witherspoon.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a “fan” as I can only recall seeing her in “Legally Blonde” and “Sweet Home Alabama“.  I did see her in “Walk The Line“, but, to be honest, although I am a Johnny Cash fan, I didn’t think much of the movie and didn’t even remember Witherspoon being in it until I looked her up for this review.  To tell the truth, I used to get her confused with Meg Ryan.  Anyway, Witherspoon was showing as one of the main characters in the CI:1, and the series was on sale on Vudu bundled three for a tenner, so I thought I’d check them out.  After all, how bad could they be?
Cruel Intentions — movie review
The first (chronologically) in the series, this movie stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kathryn Merteuil (the rich bad girl), Ryan Phillippe as Sebastian Valmont (the rich evil step-brother), Reese Witherspoon as Annette Hargrove (the nice girl), and Selma Blair (the dumb rich girl).  Anyway, the rich sister and brother just like to spend their time ruining other peoples lives, so they set out to ruin Annette’s and Selma’s.
Blah, blah, blah, the evil brother ends up falling in love with the nice girl and dies saving her from being hit by a car.  He gets hit instead.  Annette and Selma then get back at Kathryn by publishing Sebastian’s diary with all of its stories about Kathryn.
Is this any good?  No.  Not really.  It’s kind of interesting to see Geller and Witherspoon in early roles, but other than that, there is not much to recommend this film.  It is supposed to be a “dark comedy”.  I guess it’s dark, if you call teenagers being sadistic towards one another “dark”, but it’s NOT funny.  The movie is rated “R” for language, drugs and suggestive sexual activity (straight and gay).  The movie received numerous MTV awards (back in the day), for whatever that is worth.  I gather it is / was popular with teens and I guess you could also say that Geller’s character is a strong female lead role – if you are into defining “strong” as cruel, evil and manipulative.
Final recommendation:  weak.  I really don’t think today’s 18+ teens will think watching mid-twenty-somethings play high-schoolers, will appeal to many folks these days.  Having said that, it is the best of the three.
Cruel Intentions 2 — movie review
Although this movie was the actual sequel, it is meant to be the prequel which introduces Kathryn and Sebastian as step-relations and kind of kicks them off as sophomores in their “la-de-da” high school.
This time Kathryn is played by Amy Adams and Sebastian is played by Robin Dunne.  This time the two nice girls are played by Sarah Thompson and Keri Lynn Pratt.  There is a twist at then end where one of the “nice” girls ends up being a bad girl working with Kathryn to humiliate Sebastian.
Is this any good?  No.  Not really.  Amy Adams is the only actor I know from this movie.  That’s not to say the others haven’t done well.  I just never watched their TV roles and I’m not aware if they’ve made it in movies.
Anyway, another “R” rated movie.  Again, language, drugs and sexual themes (including some nudity).  The production quality is not as good as the original.  If there is one saving grace, it is this movie actually has brief scenes which have humor.  I didn’t find them “Ha-Ha” funny, but they were “smile a bit” funny – which is more than can be said for the original.
Final recommendation:  weak.  Again, other than seeing Adams in an early role, there is very little to recommend this film.
Cruel Intentions 3 — movie review
This is an “un-sequel” sequel.  The characters are rich, but they are in California, not New York City, and they are in college, not in high school.  So, as a “teen drama” it’s not very “teen”.  The only relation to the to other movies is there is a “Merteuil” in the movie:  in this case cousin Cassidy, who I guess is Kathryn’s cousin.
Kristina Anapau plays Cassidy Merteuil (still a rich bad girl), Kerr Smith plays Jason Argyle (another rich kid from the same NYC high school, but apparently no relation), and, Nathan Wetherington plays Patrick Bates (another rich bad boy) a random rich kid who gets assigned to room with Jason.
Again, another “R” movie with language, drugs and sexual themes and scenes.  In this case, there is an actual (though brief) sexual scene.  They are not pornographic, but this is probably just a shade from being “X” rated.
So, is there any plot?  Three rich college students are bored with casual sexual relationships, so they set up schemes to ruin the lives and relationships of other students – just to prove they can.  Yeah, basically the same plot as CI:1 and CI:2, but at college.  Blah, blah, blah, twist at the end to punish Patrick for being a rapist, before Cassidy and Jason both go back to being jerks – on their own and together.
Final recommendation:  very weak / skip it.  The acting is slightly better than CI:2, but there is none of the humor of CI:2.  The actual camera work is better than CI:1 or CI:2, but just having a sharper picture, doesn’t make for a better movie.  This is the least interesting of the three in the series.
Series final recommendation:  given ’em all a miss.  I guess bored rich kids being manipulative jerks is (or was) the definition of “teen drama” at the turn of the millennium.  I would compare this series to the “teen horor / slasher” series from the ’90’s, but (again being honest), I tended to only watch one “I Know What You Did” or “Jason” or “Holloween” movie and never went back.  I probably should have followed my better instincts at the end of CI:1.  The better part of six hours of my life wasted when there are so many good movies out there to watch (or re-watch).  Oh, well…  Someday, I’ll learn.
If any of you who’ve suffered through this post were teens (or twenty-somethings) twenty years ago (when these came out) AND you watched these films, I’d be interested to know what you thought of them at the time.  Please do NOT feel the need to re-watch them to update / refresh your opinion on my behalf.
On This Day In:
2018 United States
2017 Out Of Luck
2016 Wavelengths Of The Earth
2015 God Said What To You?
2014 Not Saying
2013 Ears And Tongue
2012 The Story Of Joe (Middle-Class Republican)
2011 Happy Birthday, Diana
Depending On Kindness

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