Friday, October 15, 2010

For the Weekend: Netflix the 90s

There are so many great films available for instant viewing on Netflix right now.  So, for your weekend suggestions this time, I thought I'd go through the list of Netflix instant films, and pick out some gems for you.  And since I'm in a bit of a nostalgic mood these days, they're all early 90s favs.

First up is "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the 1992 film, not the television show of the same name (though you can watch all the seasons of the TV show on Netflix as well).  Starring Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens, Rutger Hauer, and Luke Perry, it is the story of a high school cheerleader who finds out she is the only one who can save the world against vampires.  The original screenplay was written by Joss Whedon, the creator of the television series, but the studio took it and rewrote a lot of it to lighten the story up (which of course, did not please Whedon at all).  Therefore, the spinoff TV series is more of a continuation of his original script and not this film.  But I still love this movie too.  It's so fun to watch.  (Joss, I hope you don't mind that I love them both.)

Next up is "Hook" from 1991, starring Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan, Dustin Hoffman as the infamous Captain Hook, and Julia Roberts as sprightly Tinkerbell.  Directed by Steven Spielberg, it tells the tale of Peter Pan after he leaves Neverland and grows up, only to have his children kidnapped by Hook, forcing him to go back to his past.  Screenwriter James V. Hart was inspired with the idea for "Hook" after his son asked him one day what would have happened if Peter Pan actually grew up.  Even though the film didn't turn out as well as Spielberg was hoping, he did (because he's Spielberg) get quite a few big names to make cameos.  Glenn Close plays a pirate who gets locked in a box with scorpions.  The band Genesis makes an appearance as inspectors in London.  Even George Lucas and Carrie Fisher make an appearance as a couple kissing on a bridge.  (Fisher also did some uncredited rewrites of the script.)  It'll bring out the child in you, for sure.

Finally, the romantic drama "Legends of the Fall" (1994).  The film is about a father and his three sons and the woman who changes each of their lives as the battle many different wars in changing times.  It stars Brad Pitt,  Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, and Julia Ormond, but, truly, it's Pitt whom most everyone remembers in this film, for it came out right when his heartthrob fame was beginning.  Pitt almost didn't play the part of Tristan.  It was originally offered to Johnny Depp, but he turned it down.  The story was at one time designed as a starring vehicle for Sean Connery and Tom Cruise, but since it took Edward Zwick over 10 years to get the project up and running, they were no longer available.  This film is true epic melodrama and brings me back to my teenage crushes.  Remember your crushes too with it this weekend.

So, I hope you enjoy these 90s gems on Netflix this weekend, or explore the vast list of other instant streamers available.  You're sure to find something you like.  Have a great weekend, everyone!  Until next week.

(Post-tidbit:  A couple of Oscar winners got their starts in these films.  "Buffy" was future two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank's first film.  And "Hook" was Gwyneth Paltrow's film debut.  Paltrow even went on to audition for the role of Susannah in "Legends of the Fall.")

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