James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
Sibling rivalry is a real part of life that can lead to some serious counseling and hope for the chance of personal growth. However, in the case of this week’s featured #tbt, HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR, it basically just looks to be all out carnage.
Feuding siblings has stretched the test of time and is a relatable yet diverse subject for films of all types. One does have to think about the filmmaker in question, who could be working out some past traumas in their own lives via the big-screen characters. Rivalries can be a healthy experience to learn and grow together, but it’s more fun to watch an epic prank war, or in the case of this week’s film watch: the bitterness play out by flexing some righteous wintery powers.
This week, we’re focusing on some of the funniest and most competitive cases of sibling rivalry to hit the big screen in recent memory.
1. 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (1999)
In the 90s, William Shakespeare saw his hey-day hit a fever pitch in multiplexes around the world. Teens who lived throughout the (now) nostalgia-heavy decade all knew the this adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Taming of The Shrew” by heart.
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU is not necessarily a subtle adaptation in the least. The critical and commercially successful romantic comedy shows the popular and younger Bianca (Larissa Oleynik) feuding with her feminist/rebellious older sister Kat (Julia) due to their father’s strict dating laws. Bianca can’t date until Kat does, which poses a problem with the big dance coming up soon.
It’s a cheesy premise, but this film has an undeniable charm and wit that is so rare in teen-comedies these days. There’s no guy humping a pie or some douche bragging about his sexual conquests– It’s about finding yourself and learning how to love. And let’s just say that Heath Ledger singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” is a little slice of heaven. – James Cole Clay
2. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)
Penny Marshall’s classic crowd-pleaser about the All-American Girls Baseball League. However, at its core, it’s a story of two sisters: Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) is a gifted athlete who wants nothing to do with AAGBL, but goes in order for her sister Kit (Lori Petty) to have the chance to tryout. They both become members of the Rockford Peaches, and as Dottie’s natural talents and charisma propel her to superstardom, Kit grows to be jealous of her success.
The rift, which has always been somewhat passive aggressive, becomes a full-blown rivalry as Kit gets traded to Racine. This tension comes to boiling point in the climactic AAGBL World Series between Rockford and Racine, one trying to put the other in their place.
While the movie is known primarily as a sports comedy, it holds greater value in terms of women coming into their own. The men saw it as spectacle as the MLB players were fighting in WWII, but women saw it as a chance to be individuals. This is further evident in the relationship between Dottie and Kit, who seem to represent the transition of the female perspective.
Dottie is a picture of domesticism, playing the game until her husband comes back home and they can start a family, and her natural beauty used as a marketing tool. Kit is more of a burgeoning feminist, who has her own interests and carves her own path. Dottie tries to inject her maternal needs, which gets Kit traded and causes her to rebel, shedding the domestic relationship.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN is a great sports movie, but also a great feminist film set against the backdrop of sports and sibling rivalry. – Jared McMillan
3. FROZEN (2013)
This is the largest rivalry between siblings in Disney history (just eclipsing THE LION KING). Grossing in a staggering $1.2 billion dollars back in 2013, there was something about the music that resonated with audiences in the winter wonderland.
Elsa, The Ice Queen (Idina Menzel), and her younger sister Ana (Kristen Bell) are beefing about who the latter should marry. This not exactly appropriate for six-year-olds, but a talking snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) made it easy to forget these strange happenings in a film. Nonetheless, FROZEN is a family instant classic with beautiful visuals and songs like “Let It Go” being perma-fried into your brain. – JCC
4. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962)
There can’t really be a discussion about sisterly animosity without bringing up this classic psychological thriller. Bette Davis stars as Baby Jane Hudson, a former child star who would grow to be upstaged by her younger, more talented sister Blanche (Joan Crawford). After Blanche becomes paralyzed from being hit by a car, Jane looks after her sister as they are holed up in an ever-decaying mansion. However, after years of manipulation, Jane starts to go mad and ups the tormenting on her unwitting sister.
If you haven’t seen WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, go rent this wherever you can and enjoy the ride. There is little that can be said without giving anything away. Davis and Crawford are synced as their sisterly bond morphs into a tormentor/victim relationship. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards, it was truly disturbing for its time, and still holds up as a great horror movie shocker. Also, it is probably the worst case of sibling jealousy in movie history. – JM
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR opens nationwide tomorrow.