Monday, July 11, 2011


Did I write recently about re-watching "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and what a grand disappointment it was? Lesson: don't take a movie you loved when you were nine and watch it when you are twenty-nine. In all likelihood, it won't stand up.

However, what about taking a movie you loved at fourteen? It's a risk, I tell ya, but sometimes, it pays off.

In this case, Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Run out and re-watch it! Or, use Netflix streaming on whim, as I did.

It absolutely stands up - the Nurse, Mercutio and Father Lawrence (yup, renamed in this version) are especially wonderful with both Elizabethan language and modern filmmaking. It breathes life into the bawdy jokes and it still pretty hip, 15 years on.

But upon re-viewing it, you get the true added bonus -- now you know who Leonardo DiCaprio is going to become. And so you get to see the very last traces of boyhood, the last bits of baby fat in his cheeks, and the end of adolescent angst right in front of you. If they shot this movie even two months later, he'd have been too old. But he was dead-on-perfect. And Claire Danes is all soft innocence, except for how perfectly she captures the singular obsession with sex - and sex with love, let's be fair - that Juliet and, ahem, some, teenage girls have.

The music is still good, the sets still interesting, and the angel wings/fireworks/watery kisses/morning bedsheets are as sexy as they were when I watched it in 10th grade on a date with Brandon at the Campus Square 8 in my hometown - twice!

I'll be on the hunt for more of these film gems that shine - and movie duds that stink, because frankly, they are probably more fun to write about.

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