Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Louise Miller

One of my favourite things about exploring my top three genres (Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction) is that I get to celebrate the bad along with the good; not tolerate mind you, but celebrate. I will admit there are some pretty terrible things out there to watch if you are trying to be a genre completist (for example, I just inflicted the 2001 Canadian film Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter on some friends over the weekend and I’m not sure if it irreparably damaged our relationship), but just above the really horrible stuff is the stuff that is horrible and awesome, sort of horribl-awesome (Horriblossom?) if you will, which brings us to this week’s genre character, Louise Miller.

So back in 1985 there was this little film called Teen Wolf. In it, Canadian actor Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard, a high school kid who finds out that he (and his family) are actually werewolves. Being a werewolf makes him quite popular, but in the end he learns that he should like himself for who he really is rather than his other half(as a guy who identifies as half-white half-native, there are some interesting sub-texts to this film I could look at, but then we’d never get to Louise). Fast forward four years and the folks at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer decided, “Hey, if this works for guys, why don’t we make a similar story for women?” (Let’s ignore the fact that Val Lewton did this in the 1940s with Cat People and it had been remade three years before Teen Wolf came out) And so the film Teen Witch was created.

So how best to describe Louise? She isn’t very popular, she has a best friend, and oh yeah – She lovesBRAD POWELL – this guy at her school. Yup – pretty much everything that happens to her in the film is related to one of these three traits, unpopular, has a crush on BRAD (sorry for the bold font, but after you hear her lament over BRAD for the thirty-fifth time, it just seems natural to say his name in all capitals and with a bold font), and has a best friend (sometimes best friend is replaced by annoying little brother, and a few times with that tiny lady from Poltergeist).

Why exactly have I listed Louise here? Well – although the movie has many flaws (a lack of character arc, story arc, a satisfying ending, etc.) it does have the ability to entertain, and as I showed it to my children a few weeks ago they spent much of the film in laughter – and whether genuine or ironic, if a film can create that many chuckles you know you have something special.

Also Louise uses her witchy powers to make her friend win a rap-battle with a team of three rapping high school boys (also this sub-plot goes nowhere).

Oh right, Louise is a witch – well, by that I mean at age sixteen Louise comes into her witch-powers, which mean that she can wish whichever wishes she wishes. Also I'm pretty certain based on their reaction that my girls loved the song "I LIKE BOYS!!!"

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