Franchise Weekend – Urban Legend (1998)

Director: Jamie Blanks

Writer: Silvio Horta (Screenplay)

Starring: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Loretta Devine, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Robert Englund

 

Plot: A college student suspects a series of bizarre deaths are connected to certain urban legends.


Tagline – Never Talk To Strangers, Never Answer The Phone, Never Flash Your Lights, Never Leave The Car, And Always Believe, What You’re Told

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Slasher

 

Story: Urban Legend starts as we meet our college students Natalie (Witt) Paul (Leto), Brenda (Gayheart), Parker (Rosenbaum), Damon (Jackson) and Sasha (Reid) who are all studying in a class where Professor William Wexler (Englund) teaches them about the origins of urban legends.

When Natalie sees Damon killed in the myth of an urban legend she starts to believe there is a serial killer on campus and it is up to campus security officer Reese Wilson (Devine) to keep everyone safe, while Natalie tries to get to the bottom of everything.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legend

 

Characters – Natalie is our leading student, it is her old friend that is the first victim with the next couple of killings are people close to her, she is determined to learn the truth believing there is an Urban Legend serial killer taking advantage of the anniversary of a tragedy on campus. Paul works for the campus newspaper and with the murders starting on campus he gets big stories even if the Dean is trying to spin them into nothing, he helps Natalie investigate the truth even though he knows each murder could have an answer. Brenda is the best friend of Natalie’s who helps her through her time of need being the most frightened about the Urban Legends. Reese is the head of security that idolises Pam Grier and wants to keep the student safe no matter what.

PerformancesThis cast is filled with young actors that only went onto bigger projects, Alicia Witt in the leading role is good throughout, the innocent slasher style final girl figure. Jared Leto shows us that he is mostly likely the best performer of the students, Rebecca Gayheart is good at the typical best friend figure which again helps fill the generic roles the film painfully uses. Loretta Devine is the potential show stealer here with her character getting the best lines while trying to solve the crime. As I was saying most of the characters are generic with each performer getting their parts done very well.

StoryThe story here brings us to a slasher horror movie which makes the killer select different Urban Legends to kill their victims. This does bring an original twist to how the kills are being completed, until things just turn into a slasher generic movie for the later kills, lets all be honest, we know slasher movies don’t need the most intense stories and you generally will follow the traits of the genre. One big plus point for this movie is that we get plenty of suspects, just when you think it is one person, things take a twist a throw another suspect in the prime position, this happens plenty of times which is a huge plus for any movie.

Horror/MysteryFor a horror movie this gives us the generic characters, mistakes that we know too, the kills start being unique with the urban legend style behind them and the mystery comes from just who is behind the murders with plenty of different characters with motivations.

SettingsThe film takes place on a college campus, this give our characters reason to not be able to just run with the Dead believing things are pranks and good reasons behind other deaths. The one negative about this location is that these kids are all stupid enough to believe urban legends are real in the first place.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the kills which are simple and never needing to be over the top either.


Scene of the Movie –
Urban Legends kills.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Understanding American laws, partial spoiler, but how did the girls not get prison time?

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable and original slasher movies, it has a unique idea that makes it standout with a wonderfully talent young cast.

 

Overall: Slasher that stands out.

Rating

 

 

Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

This time Rob picked this classic story of one man and his dream that he achieved in a way he never though he could.

rob challengenr hollandDirector: Stephen Herek

Writer: Patrick Sheane Duncan (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas, Olympia Dukakis, William H Macy, Alicia Witt, Terrence Howard, Damon Whitaker, Jean Louise Kelly

Plot: A frustrated composer finds fulfilment as a high school music teacher.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Touching Drama

Story: Mr Holland’s Opus starts with Glenn Holland (Dreyfuss) performing his dream conducting performance from his living room. Glenn is starting his new job as a music teacher where he gets to meet the Principal Jacobs (Dukakis) and Vice Principal Wolters (Macy) where he starts with uncomfortable beginning.

When Mr Holland struggles with the teaching commitments as he doesn’t seem to be getting through to his students he gets a shock from his wife Iris (Headly) who announces she is pregnant. Mr Holland tries to change his approach to try and reach his students on a new level.

What starts out as a short four year plan with the summers to compose his masterpiece soon becomes a long term commitment as he starts to love moulding the new minds in music class, all while raising a deaf son.

Mr Holland’s Opus is one of those classic stories that focuses a teacher touching the lives of multiply students through the years. The class doesn’t focus too much how he teaches them but in the end we focus on the few students didn’t get the full attention they could have. When we see how Mr Holland touches these few lives is really touching and see how much he gets out of it all is beautifully done. In the end it all ends up being very touching but on a serious side of the story we see how he struggles to cope with raising a deaf son. I think this is a good story that could easily be watched by all. (8/10)

Actor Review

Richard Dreyfuss: Glenn Holland is the aspiring composer who has to turn to teaching in what was going to be a short term plan, but once his life changes he learns to love teaching and we see how he connects with different teachers through the many decades he ends up teaching, but this only happens due to the trouble he has communicating with his own son. Richard gives a brilliant performance in this role which could easily be his best. (10/10)

Glenne Headly: Iris Holland is the wife of Glenn, who supports his every move but struggles with raising their deaf son in a life where they grow up in music. Glenne gives a good supporting performance. (7/10)

Jay Thomas: Coach Bill Meister is the first teacher who comes to Mr Holland to support him, they help each other along the way supporting each other through the difficult times. Jay gives good supporting performance. (7/10)

Olympia Dukakis: Principal Jacobs is the lady who hired Glenn giving him the chance to teach, at first they don’t see eye to eye but over time she respects his methods as he connects with the students. Olympia does a good job in this supporting role. (7/10)

William H Macy: Vice Principal Wolters doesn’t like Mr Holland style from day one he takes an instant questioning of what he is teaching and is on man who goes against anything he choices. William gives a good performance that shows he isn’t just a comic actor but a serious actor that should be noticed. (7/10)

Support Cast: Mr Holland’s Opus has a brilliant supporting cast that includes the students he inspires and the grown up versions who come back into his life to show him how far he helped them come. We have early roles for Terrence Howard and Alicia Witt in here too.

Director Review: Stephen HerekStephen was one of the best directors in the 90’s and his list of films is amazing and this could easily be the top of that pile. (9/10)

Drama: Mr Holland’s Opus is a beautiful placed drama that shows all the work through teaching. (9/10)

Music: Mr Holland’s Opus has good use a music that also works to explain the year the film is currently set in. (8/10)

Settings: Mr Holland’s Opus keeps the settings all look good for the time setting each story is being set in. (9/10)

Suggestion: Mr Holland’s Opus is one to be watched by all at least once. (Watch)

Best Part: Farewell.

Worst Part: Difficult to have one.

Believability: Teachers would inspire the students to that level but the ending is slightly too much. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: You might have a few in the final scenes. (4/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Dead Poet’s Society

Oscar Chances: Nominated for an Oscar

Runtime: 2 Hour 23 Minutes

Tagline: It’s not about the direction you take. It’s about the direction you give.

Overall: Brilliant Drama that can be watched by all.

Rating 90