About a month ago, my high school graduating class celebrated its 10 year reunion. I didn’t go, mostly because it seems like Facebook has made the whole practice a bit archaic, but it got me thinking about movies in which characters get together after time and relive their old memories and junk like that. We see it in movies like The World’s End, The Big Chill, and movies that literally take place at reunions, like American Reunion. So here’s what we think are the best of this subgenre.
Dan’s Pick – The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2
A lot of people think that JP2 is just another movie about Jeff Goldblum trying to warn us about the dangers of bringing extinct animals back to life and just being an overall annoyance. Half of that is true, but this movie is mainly a tale of a mother T-Rex spanning the globe to find her baby T-Rex. Why this plot wasn’t the main focal point of the movie is beyond me, but it was a good excuse to let a giant lizard wander around the streets of California causing all types of hilarity to ensue. And by hilarity I mean a good amount of people dying.
Mark’s Pick – 10 Years
The unrealistic thing about reunion movies is that group of friends or people that reconnect usually all hold a cliché role in the story, and are either trying to fight it or relive it. All of The Breakfast Club staples are represented – jock, nerd, queen b, class clown, and bad seed – even if the movie does not involve high school. After a while these films grow tiresome and become predictable, but every once in a while a film is made that surprising strikes a chord with the audience. It showcases the situations and emotions that you have felt or know that others have felt, and it resonates with you on a personal level. That is why 10 Years is my choice for No. 1 reunion movie. While it does have some of the things listed above, the story doesn’t play out as you would think. And I know for a fact that it is a movie that most of you reading this probably skipped over.
I will be first to admit that 10 Years is not a classic movie that will live on forever, but it is one that does fall into the category of ‘don’t judge a book by the cover’. Most people probably passed on renting or buying this film because its lead was Channing Tatum, which is completely unfair. Is Tatum the next Clark Gable or even Tom Hanks? No, but he’s not Vin Diesel, either.
What 10 Years does that helps off-set any wooden acting by the Magic Mike star is surround him with an outstanding supporting cast, which is the key to a successful low-budget film. Chris Pratt, Justin Long, and Kate Mara do wonderful job to bring their characters to life without falling into the trap of classic high school reunion characters. But the noticeable stars on the supporting side were Ari Graynor (who I’ve already wrote about here), Aubrey Plaza and an understated performance by the underrated Rosario Dawson. You could say Dawson was the second lead, but the story was mostly focused on Tatum’s character and she did more supporting than leading.
Maybe it’s because I was quickly approaching my own 10-year high school reunion when I watched it, but I highly recommend this film. Am I guaranteeing that you will enjoy the movie as much as I did? No, because we are not robots, but I hope that you at least give it a chance and not dismiss it because you think Tatum can’t act.
Anthony’s Pick – Ghostbusters 2
I nearly wrote about a more traditional reunion movie like Beautiful Girls, but let’s face it: Ghostbusters 2 is unfairly criticized and one of the very best instances of characters coming back together.
When we last met the four men in those badass tan jumpsuits, they were saving Midtown Manhattan from the likes of an evil gymnast and a mound of marshmallows the size of Macy’s. Fast-forward to 1989 and things aren’t going so well for the crew. Sued by just about every government agency in New York, their ghost-bustin’ days are over: Ray and Winston resort to attending children’s birthday parties while Dr. Venkman is off parlaying is gameshow host-style sleazy charisma into a bizarre talk show featuring lunatics. Their luck changes, though, when Dana Barrett is back with a whole new problem: some painting from the Middle Ages is pitching woo at her and will stop at nothing to possess Hollywood’s most funny looking baby.
Ghostbusters 2 is what you hope from a sequel: it’s familiar, it’s funny, and all the characters continue to act like they did in the first one. It may not come close to how great the original film was, but it’s still an entertaining watch. It’s possible that I overlook its shortcomings based merely on its nostalgia factor for me, but I can still watch it whenever it’s on television.
But please, Mr. Aykroyd, stop with the Ghostbusters 3 talk.
What do you think is the best reunion movie?