Friday Night Double Feature: Reliving The Past
I’ve said before my interest in 17 Again is completely irrational. The movie is clearly a vehicle to move Zac Efron away from the High School Muscial movies, something I’ve never had much interest in. To make matters worse, the movie plays on a plot device we’ve seen time and time again… or have we?
Most of the conversations I’ve seen regarding 17 Again that insist on drawing parallels to other movies mention Big (“only in reverse”). But there’s a huge difference about a movie that takes an adult and makes him a kid as opposed to Big, which puts a kid in an adult’s body. The mindset of the character and the experience and knowledge they carry make for a completely different story. The closest alternative are the body switching plots of movies like Freaky Friday, where you get both the kid and adult in different bodies.
Trying to find movies that do the “Big thing” is easier than trying to find movies that do what 17 Again is doing. In fact, off the top of my head, the best I could come up with were a couple of movies that give an adult the chance to go back to a point earlier in their adulthood and change their own lives. Still, one of my favorite movies gets a nod here, so if a loosely based 17 Again themed Double Feature gives me the opportunity to watch it again, I’ll take it.
Peggy Sue Got Married
More It’s a Wonderful Life mixed with Wizard of Oz than 17 Again or Big, you have to enjoy an excuse to watch the movie that put Nicolas Cage on the map (and includes an early appearance by Jim Carrey). The story: Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner) passes out at a high school reunion and wakes up in her past, shortly before high school graduation, with the opportunity to do things a little differently. While not a deep movie, it does give an interesting look at how much change we could actually employ if given the opportunity to do things again. Of course, that idea would have a little more merit if there was some explanation given for how Peggy Sue went back… nevermind, we’re clearly overthinking this one. Just one sound of Nicolas Cage’s voice is a good reminder of that.
Plot wise, this is a little closer to the new Zac Efron movie, although James Belushi doesn’t get to go back to his childhood as much as find out how his life would be different if a game winning goal had gone differently. Still, we get the angel figure that 17 Again uses, here played by the awesome Michael Caine, which is reason enough to enjoy a viewing of the film. Honestly, I didn’t expect much for a movie starring Belushi and Jon Lovitz, but this really is one of my favorite movies of the type, again, playing heavily on the theme that the grass really isn’t greener on the other side of the fence, or the alternate reality, or whatever is on the other side of the divide. (Side Note: Is that not the worst DVD cover ever? It looks like a Belushi bobble-head. Photoshop fail!).
Other jumps in time and space: Back to the Future (pick a part, any part), Never Been Kissed (okay, it doesn’t move in time or space, but she does learn you can’t go back again… or does she?), Click, and (okay, okay) Big, and 13 Going on 30
Enjoy our Double Feature suggestions? and maybe we’ll use them in a future column.