What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993) Film Review


Small town America. When Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) is not working at the small grocery store, he is taking care of his severely obese mother, Bonnie (Darlene Cates) and his mentally disabled younger brother, Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio). But when Becky (Juliette Lewis) comes into his life, things seem to change.

I think this has to go down as one of my favourite films. Certainly, I have had a crush on Johnny Depp since 21 Jump Street days (the TV show, not the film), and perhaps this was one of the main reasons I loved the film when I was a teenager. But seeing it again recently, I recalled just how good it is. Strong story, excellent performances, some humour and a lot of emotion. The sense of a small town, of people who are very set in their ways, of being trapped by circumstance is strong in many of the characters, but none more than Gilbert. He has no sense of futre; only a claustrophobic present.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Back to the Future – the trilogy (1985) (1989) (1990) Film Review

It’s been years since I watched any of these films, and I have such fond memories. The first film was awesome, the second even better and the third just brought them all home. I’m totally pleased I watched them again, although the middle film perhaps should have remained a memory.


Back to the Future

It’s a pretty creepy plot when you look it. Marty McFly (Michael J Fox), a teenager in 1985, hangs out with Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), an eccentric old scientist, and doesn’t think twice when arranging to meet him in a parking lot in the middle of the night. Instead of it turning creepier immediately, Marty is accidentally sent back to 1955 where his mother falls in love with him and he has to plot to set her up with his dad. That’s where it sounds pretty creepy – but provided you can get past that, it’s an awesome film. For me, this is one of the best films of my childhood that really stands up.

Back to the Future 2

Back to the Future Part II

The first film was a huge success and had the setup for a sequel. So, of course it was going to get made. It seems, though, that in the scripting for the second film, they tried to add in too much new stuff. The key thing I have a problem with is the whole ‘What, you chicken?’ character trait. Suddenly, Marty cannot walk away from a dare if he gets called a chicken. Now, if that had happened in the first film, I probably would have bought it. But to suddenly introduce it made it feel like a really weak plot device.

If you haven’t seen it, this one has Doc taking Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to 2015 to sort out a problem with Marty’s son. However Biff, the longtime rival of Marty’s father, steals a sporting almanac and takes it back to his younger self in 1955. This changes the future in a horrific way, so Marty has to go back to 1955 again, not change anything that happened in the first film, and solve the problem.

The key problems with this film are that, whilst the overall arc works, the individual scenes are often quite weak, and don’t get me started on the terrible make-up. At least the hover board is awesome. And Michael J Fox playing the daughter is hilarious.


Back to the Future Part III

Thank goodness this film makes everything good again. Perhaps I have a deep-seated love of cowboys or was having a lot of flashbacks to The Three Amigos (I need to watch that again. I love that film), but I just loved seeing Marty and Doc in the Wild West.

At the end of the second film, Doc ends up sent back to 1885. He sends a note to Marty through a confused delivery guy that he is happy and not to come back. When Marty discovers in local history books that Doc is killed only a few days after he wrote the letter, he feels he has no choice.

It’s great – it has romance for Doc, steam trains and crashes and all kinds of fun.

Although it is a bit creepy that Marty’s ancestor, Seamus, is married to a woman who looks exactly like Marty’s mum, but then again, all of these films have some element of creepiness that you just have to embrace or ignore to get through.

See them. But don’t give prime viewing time to the second film. It’s bound to disappoint. And definately watch the trailers – especially the first one – it’s fantastic!