Sky High

[Amazon Link] [3.5 stars] [IMDb Link]

This movie is much better than it has any right to be, because it is completely and utterly predictable. From the point all the characters are introduced, you or I could have written the remainder of the movie. Will the high school losers triumph? Will the beautiful senior inexplicably attracted to the semi-nerd hero turn out to be not so nice? Will the semi-nerd hero become a jerk, but then see the error of his ways? Will the school's bad kid be redeemed? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

But the script is (actually) clever: the idea is to mash-up high school teen movie clichés with superhero movie clichés, and, on that level, it works just fine. And the acting is really good. Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston play the superhero parents exactly right: decent, clueless, a tad egotistical. Cloris Leachman, Bruce Campbell, Kevin McDonald, Dave Foley, and Lynda Carter(!) have smaller roles, and they're all hilarious. (At one point, Lynda has the line: "I'm not Wonder Woman, you know." And millions of middle-aged guys go: "Heh")

Last Modified 2022-10-15 8:58 PM EDT


[Amazon Link] [4.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

This is kind of a "chick flick" but I liked it quite a bit anyway. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Catherine, who is beset on all sides by (a) her crazy, brilliant, recently dead math professor father; (b) her well-meaning manipulative sister; (c) one of her father's ex-students, who's going through the great man's notebooks, hoping to tease out some publishable mathematics from all the insane rambling; (d) her own self, because she's desperately afraid that she's as nutty as her dad, and that her brilliant talents might be as delusional as pop's.

That all sounds kind of dreary, but the movie has quite a bit of humor. Much of the script involves University faculty and students, and displays not one whiff of reverence toward them, so that's good too. In addition to Gwynnie, the first-rate cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hope Davis.

Last Modified 2022-10-15 8:58 PM EDT