Young Love

by Alan Rapp on February 9, 2011

in Theme Week, Top Tens & Lists

Is love ever so sweet as when we were young?  Here’s a few films that beg the question…

The Virgin Suicides

virgin-suicides-sm-pic-1Okay normally a film with the word suicides wouldn’t get placed in a list like this but Sofia Coppola’s first film deserves its spot.  The film is a lingering love story about a group of young boys (Josh Hartnett, Lee Kagan, Jonathan Tucker, Robert Schwartzman) who remember the Lisbon girls (Kirsten Dunst, A.J. Cook, Leslie Hayman, Chelse Swain, Hanna Hall) with a strange fascination and obsession.  They are in many ways the loves of their lives and the tragedy of their deaths doesn’t deminish the memories but instead makes them all the more vivid.  Morbid yes, but hopelessly and hauntingly romantic.  Good supporting performances including narration by Giovanni Ribisi, James Woods and Kathleen Turner as the Lisbons, and Michael Paré in a really good cameo performance. Read the full review.

Can’t Hardly Wait

cant-hardly-wait-picSorry, but I can’t help but like this film.  The most popular girl (Jennifer Love Hewitt) has just broken up with her high school boyfriend just before the graduation party.  Our hero (Ethan Embry) who has carried a torch for her for years now believes it’s his chance.  Along for the ride are his best friend (Lauren Ambrose), and Seth Green playing one of those annoying white guys who thinks he’s black.  A touching story about teen angst and unrequited love.  Is it a little too cliche?  Sure, but it’s also got some great moments like the cameo from Jenna Elfman about her heartfelt love for Scott Baio, Seth Green’s awkward but sweet bathroom encounter with Ambrose, and of course the final scene.

Pump Up the Volume

pump-up-the-volume-picTalk Hard!  Christian Slater has never been better than as high school outsider Mark who has been transplanted west due to his father’s new job and his only hobby is a pirate radio show taking on all subjects from music to masturbation.  Samantha Mathis plays the love interest Nora who falls first for the radio personality and then for the shy off-air personality behind the persona of “Happy Harry Hardon.”  A great film that has something to say not only about love but about life, individuality, freedom, and the need to rebel from time to time.  Though Happy Harry is eventually shut down by the FCC his message gets through to the disaffected youth of the town who take his cause as their own.

The Secret of My Success

secret-of-my-successBrantley Foster (Michael J. Fox) has just graduated from Kansas State with a business degree and shows up in New York for his first day at work only to find out that the company has gone under.  He finagels his way into the mailroom of a company owned by his (far-removed) uncle (Richard Jordan).  Taking initiative one day he starts taking over the work of an empty office becoming a suit as well as a mail grunt.  He also falls hard for a co-worker (Helen Slater) who has been sleeping with the boss (his uncle) and has to deflect the amorous feelings of his aunt Vera (Margaret Whitton).  Funny stuff and Helen “Supergirl” Slater has never looked better on screen.  A nice romantic comedy including a pretty good soundtrack as well.

Playing by Heart

playing-by-heart-jolie-phillipeI’m going to cheat a little to get this one on the list.  This movie follows threads of different couples of different ages that it weaves together in the final act.  To be fair though by far my favorite of the stories is the relationship between young lovers Angelina Jolie and Ryan Phillipe.  Jolie has never been this subdued and open on screen and her performance is breathtaking; Phillipe does well as a guy who doesn’t want to fall in love again.  Other stories include the couples of Sean Connery and Gena Rowlands, John Stewart and Gillian Anderson.  Not all the stories work as well but each one provides strong performances including Dennis Quaid, Anthony Edwards, Jay Mohr and Ellen Burstyn and a great cameo by Natassja Kinski.

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