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Video Picks

This year for Christmas, I was the recipient of several movies in the VHS format. The giver of these fine features is allegedly a good friend.

Over the break I was lucky enough to see several good if not great movies; including “The Royal Tenenbaums,” which I found to be fabulous and not a replica of “Rushmore.” My gift-giving friend was on hand for most, if not all, of my movie jaunts over break. This would make a person think that my personal tastes would be evident. Evidently they were not.

“I have a Christmas present for you,” he said excitedly.

“Excellent, what is it?” I asked.

“I’ll bring it over,” he replied.

Bring it over he did. The films that my dear friend thought would be right up my alley were “Dream a Little Dream,” starring those icons of the late ’80s, the Coreys H and M; “Mad Love,” with the talentless but exceedingly attractive Drew Barrymore and Chris O’Donnell and the John Hughes opus “Some kind of Wonderful.” What the hell? Have I shown a side of myself to this dear friend that does not exist? In any event, to show my gratitude I suffered through these films and am a changed person for it.

“Dream a Little Dream” is one big mess. Corey F. plays a guy who thinks his life stinks and dreams about dating a foxy girl played by Meredith Salenger. He has a best friend played by Corey H., who it seems has very little use in this film so we won’t speak of him again. In some otherworldly, but very scientific mix-up, Corey F. ends up changing bodies with his elderly neighbor Jason Robards, and dream woman switches with Robards’ wife. What follows is a hilarious film if ever there was one.

“Mad Love” is the touching story of a boy named Matt who falls in love with the new girl in school, Casey. What Matt doesn’t know about his new amour is that she has bi-polar disorder and can get a little “mad” at times. Casey starts to lose it because she won’t take her meds and winds up in a mental hospital. When faced with the thought of losing each other the two decide to run away. Matt busts Casey out and they “go where the wind takes them.”

Barrymore does her best to portray the troubled Casey while O’Donnell turns in a fair performance as Matt. The film itself is mediocre but manages to pull it off. I can’t trash Barrymore because she is so sweet and tries so hard. I can, however, say that I think “Scream” alum Matthew Lillard, who plays Matt’s best friend, is annoying as hell. This particular actor has no business working.

“Some Kind of Wonderful” is actually one of my favorite John Hughes flicks so I will concede that my friend was right on with this choice. Dreamy Eric Stoltz plays Keith, a wrong-side-of-the-tracks gas station employee with a crush on the beautiful Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson). His best friend is a tomboy named Watts who is played by the always great Mary Stuart Masterson.

When Amanda and her cheating, asshole boyfriend Hardy break up, Keith asks her out and to everyone’s surprise she says yes. Keith’s sister puts it best at the breakfast table when she asks, “What did you do, threaten her life?” Watts is of course supremely jealous because under her faux lesbian fa퀌_ade she is in love with him. The movie is pure late ’80s and should not be missed.

I guess I should stop kidding myself and admit that maybe my friend has me partially figured out, so thanks for the gift.