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Movies:
10 Things I Hate About You (***) - [1998]  I rewatched this because it was available on Netflix instant and I was in the mood for something fun and light. [Netflix Instant]



Breaking Away
(****) - [1979] Cycling enthusiast Dave Stohler and his three best friends have no idea what they should do with their lives now that they've graduated high school. The local stone cutting work their fathers did has dried up but they aren't sure they fit into the new university world of  Bloomington, Indiana either. 

This had been on my mental list of movies to see since I was in junior high school, when my mom and several other people told me I'd love this movie.  Yeah, it was adorable and I loved it.  Also neat to see Dennis Quaid so young and skinny. [saw on DVD from Netfilx]

The Edukators (*** 1/2) - [2005] In this German film, a group that call themselves "The Educators" break into houses of the rich, rearrange their things, taking nothing, and leave only a note that warns the rich they won't have their wealth for long. Things get more serious when one of the group leaves her cell phone at a house they hit.  Now the group must decide how to save themselves and their mission and whether or not they can really do both.  I enjoyed the interaction between all the characters in this film and their longing to live their beliefs. [Parent Note: There is a bit of a vague sex scene and a bit of violence.]  [Netflix Instant]

El Juego de la Verdad (***) - [2004] A light Spanish film about two couples whose lives are changed when one of the group is unknowingly misdiagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given only 3 months to live.  During a truth-or-dare type game, Ernesto announces that his dying wish is to sleep with his friend's girlfriend, who he is secretly in love with.  Despite the setup, this movie was very PG-rated and tame for a European film.  There was nothing really special about the story but it was a fun way to practice my Spanish. [Netflix Instant]

Sin Nombre (*** 1/2) - [2009] In this Mexican film, three young people -- living harsh lives in Central America--  are changed forever by a robbery on the top of a train headed for the U.S. 12-year old Smiley is recruited into a Mexican gang by his teen-aged friend Casper.  Teen-aged Sayra is traveling with her uncle and her recently deported father to the new family her father was forced to leave in New Jersey.  This is a straightforward depiction of both gang life in Mexico and the difficult journey many make to start a new life across the border in the U.S. It's an eye-opening view into a world I knew little about. [Parent Note: Good film for older teens. Though be prepared for a good deal of graphic violence, some of it sexual.] [Netflix Instant]

Show Me Love (***) [1998] A sweet low budget Swedish film about two teen girls living in a small town.  Brainy shy Agnes has a crush on the most popular girl in the school.  Beautiful popular Elin is bored and afraid she's going to end up like her mother, trapped in this small town raising two children alone.  When Agnes' parents encourage her to invite kids from school to her birthday party, Elin decides to show up as a joke and things turn out differently than either girl has planned. It was interesting to see how similar small-town life in Sweden seems compared to the US.  [Netflix Instant Viewing]

Speak (*** 1/2) - [2004] Ninth grade Melinda starts out high school with a reputation as the nark who called the cops on a popular summer party. Everyone in her life is preoccupied. Her friends are upset about  siblings who got arrested at the party, her unemployed dad is looking for work, and her overworked mother trying to support the family.  So no one notices that Melinda has virtually stopped talking in response to something that happened at that party.

Speak is one of my favorite YA books, so I was pleased that the movie was just as good as the book it's based on. Kristen Stewart -- just 14 at the time and pre-Twilight-- does a fabulous job of showing Melinda's pain and journey of healing though mostly facial expressions and body language.  I especially liked how realistic high school was portrayed in this movie.  [Watched on DVD through Netflix]

Sequins (***) - [2004]  A slice-of-life French film about a 17-year old girl who is coming to terms with the fact that she's five months pregnant. When she hears the local seamstress's son was killed in an accident, she decides to take a chance at a job she's uniquely qualified for. The two women slowly start bonding as they both adapt to the changes in their lives. [Netflix Instant]

Toi et Moi (*** 1/2) - [2006] For some reason I really liked this simple chick-lit romance film.  There's not a lot to this story about two sisters who are with the wrong men.  One of the sisters works for a romance magazine and one is a cellist. The classical music and their simple French lifestyles appealed to me though. [Netflix Instant]