“You’re doing life in the friend zone.”
The Scoop: 1997 R, directed by Michael Davis and starring Keri Russell, Joshua Schaefer and R. D. Robb.
Tagline: He came. He sat. He conquered.
Summary Capsule: Dedicated loser decides to win hot chick by camping out in her front yard.
Kyle’s rating: Two out of two you-know-whats!
Kyle’s review: In the grand scheme of things, I should have never watched Eight Days a Week. I only became aware of it because I noticed it on the rental shelf and wondered if it was a Beatles video. Then I examined it and saw it starred Keri Russell, who I don’t really like. I believe she was somehow involved with something made by Walt Disney, and I also had a bad experience trying to watch an episode of Felicity (though the week-old pizza I was eating was probably to blame). So even though the few internet reviews I found said this movie might be cool, I decided against it. But then I wanted to rent one of the dollar movie at my local drugstore, and this was about it, so I got it. Wow, how fortuitous!
This film isn’t too bad, in fact it’s actually pretty funny! I mean, it’s almost the most sex-obsessed film I’ve ever seen, though I’ve seen worse. And Keri Russell isn’t too bad either! It’s not the smartest movie I’ve ever seen, but if you can find it for 99 cents to rent I say go for it!
Peter is a young dude, just graduated from high school, who isn’t sure of much but he’s sure of this: Erica (Keri Russell), the hot chick across the street, is meant to be his, and he is meant to be hers. Of course, Erica has no idea of this. Yet.
So on the advice of his wise and somewhat incontinent grandfather and omnipresent black-and-white ancestor (hard to explain), Peter decides the way to make her see the light and win her heart is to camp out in her yard under her balcony all the time, day and night, essentially eight days a week. Erica is going to leave for college at the end of the summer, so he’s got three months left before she’s gone. So with a small suitcase and one durable outfit, Peter crosses the street, finds a nice spot on Erica’s lawn, and sits down. And that’s the movie!
While he’s there, he bears witness to the daily and nightly shenanigans that occur on the street before him. Potential mass murderers, feuding kids and crazy women seem to populate his neighborhood, but as Peter will learn over the summer months, everything makes sense in the end it’s all just a matter of perception.
Will it work? Will her ultra-religious parents call the cops on the first day, or bring Peter some Jesus cookies? Will Peter’s parents condone his quest, or lock him out of the house and sell all his stuff? Will Peter’s best friend make good on his attempts to have a completely fulfilling one-person sex life? Is three months of summer long enough to totally win a girl’s heart? And isn’t Peter just a glorified stalker?
Don’t expect reality (where cops would come after the first hour and Peter spends eight days a week in lock-up) and be prepared for non-stop sexual innuendo and philosophizing about life and sex, including two important discussions: the difference between good guys and total bastards (it’s apparently genetics!) and the magical female body part that a simple glance of provides a map of her personality.
It’s nonstop insanity with a dash of intrigue, mystery, and a “who’s the better James Bond?” chat put together into a odd post-modern “dating” movie that I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who has pined for someone unattainable and wondered if a strict regimen of just being there would solve everything. Oh, and if you’ve wanted to see Keri Russell practically naked in long lingering sun-soaked close-ups, go to town, my friend!
Justin’s rating: I am not a crook… just a Mutant Reviewer
Justin’s review: I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, so bear with me as I attempt to explain. As I grew up, my perception of how the world worked was heavily influenced by books and TV and the movies. You’d see something in a movie or read something in a book and go, Ah, this explains how it works. And then a certain pattern of behavior would be repeated over and over again (this is essentially the entire run of Three’s Company), until it becomes something near Truth in your mind.
I say this because the entire tenant of romance in film, TV, and most books is that for a guy to woo a woman who has rejected his advances, he must essentially go to all lengths of desperation and humility to win her admiration. If she insults you, you show up on her rooftop with a full band playing her favorite song. If she spits on your face, you hijack a major television studio and broadcast love poems 24/7. If she murders your favorite dog, you offer your cat as a next-day sacrifice.
But in reality, acting like this would make you a disturbing stalker. Seriously! Watch any romantic film and ask yourself, “If a guy did this to win a girl over in real life, how long would it take for the cops to chuck him into Shawshank for life?” Of course, it all matters from the woman’s point of view: If she likes you, you couldn’t be more romantic for doing so; if she finds you creepy, then showing up under her window every night could be a wee setback in your relationship.
In Eight Days a Week (a title which has absolutely nothing to do with anything in the movie), Peter is the hopeless romantic/stalker, who has a plan to win over the girl of his dreams: to squat on her front lawn for an entire summer until she falls in love with him. Sure, this plan is inherently flawed. For instance, it doesn’t strike me as the best way to win a girl’s affections. Why not write a love sonnet? Publish a web site devoted to her every nuance? Videotape her constantly like that other creepy guy from American Beauty? Well, I suppose it isn’t too bad of an idea.
There are moments where this movie is charming, but it is rarely gut-busting funny. As a love story, I actually kind of detested Erica, as she’s yet another love interest stereotype who has done nothing to deserve the affection of the guy other than being somewhat pretty. I also kind of detested Peter, who idolizes her without actually knowing anything about her other than “girl pretty.”
Every year, Hollywood makes hundreds of absolutely forgettable movies — and this is one of them. Eight Days a Week should feel honored that I rescued it from that particular black hole to give it my time of day. And it should feel ashamed now that I’m putting it back and forgetting about it for the rest of my life.
Andie’s rating: I wish I had a balcony so a guy could come stand under it.
Andie’s review: I’m with Kyle up there, I think Eight Days a Week is a great little movie rental gem. It has comedy and romance and is just off-the-wall enough to make it stand out from most sappy romance/yucky teen movies that come along every 5 seconds nowadays.
First of all, I love the premise, which was borrowed from Cinema Paradiso, by the way. I think Peter’s attempt to win Erica over by professing his love for her and camping out in her front yard until she comes around is absolutely adorable. I would think it was so cute if a guy did that for me. It may not work, but it would still be cute.
And no, I would not call the cops on him. Not unless he was really creepy. Or old and gross. So if he was minus creepiness and wrinkles, he could camp on my lawn professing his love for me ’til his heart’s content.
I also love how Peter’s Grandfather tells him the story of his ancestor, Giuseppe Luigi Bandini, who won over a girl’s heart the exact same way. And how Giuseppe appears sometimes to give Peter advice, which are filmed in sepia tones. Very cute.
Secondly, I think the cast and characters of this movie are outstanding. Josh Schaeffer as Peter is the perfect combination of cute and dorky, funny and smart, sex-crazed and normal. He’s great. Keri Russell as Erica is fine, but all she really needs to do is look cute and wave her fluffy hair around and giggle, so that’s no big stretch of her acting muscles. The best friend, Matt, was a great foil for Peter because Peter is longing for love and Matt is longing for sex, but he got old after awhile. I could only take so much perversity before I started dreading his next appearance onscreen.
The neighbors that Peter watches whilst camping on Erica’s lawn are wonderfully kooky. I love how Peter watches the old man across the street take his sick wife out everyday for a walk and then one day she’s not with him anymore and Peter immediately thinks he killed her and is slowly disposing of the body in trash bags. Hilarious, great “Rear Window” subplot. And the actual explanation is great, but I’m not going to give it away.
I also get the biggest kick out of The Crazy Lady who mows the lawn at night, talks on the phone on the roof, and eats dinner in her car. It turns out that all her craziness actually makes sense when Peter takes the time to ask her about all those weird activities, she has a perfectly rational explanation for each and every one. I also crack up at Ms. Lewis, the late-30s woman just looking for love. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I’m single when I’m that age, I’m going to the woman in the neighborhood hitting on the teenaged boys. But I digress…..
My absolute favorite character, though, is Peter’s Grandfather Nonno (which means Grandfather in Italian, by the way). He is a perfectly “with it” gentleman, but he pulls the senile old man routine whenever he needs to get Peter out of trouble. When Peter is getting yelled at by his father, Nonno wets himself. When Nonno is trying to bring food across the street to Peter and the dad catches him, Nonno puts the food down, gets a running start, kicks the watering can, raises his fists in victory and yells, “GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!” to which the dad replies, “Honey, your father thinks he’s in the World Cup again.” Classic, so funny!!! That made me laugh so hard.
There are so many delightful little things about this movie I haven’t even scratched the surface. When Peter helps Erica sneak out, he discovers that if he “accidentally” loses his balance that Erica will fall on him and so every night he comes up with a new way to be close to her. It’s great, so cute. From Erica’s religion-crazed parents to her scary meathead boyfriend Nick to Peter’s dad to “Who was the best James Bond” argument, this movie is full of funny moments and I think it is a great example of a romantic comedy that isn’t too romantic. I love the ending, it is so fitting with the movie. So go check it out.
- The man who plays Erica’s father used to play Mr. Dewey on Saved by the Bell.
- Careful attention is paid to the little details in this film, like the respective urine streams of Peter and his grandfather (don’t ask me now, wait till you see it) and the destroyed fence after neighborhood kids use some firecrackers on it.
- Erica’s younger sister doesn’t mind her parents’ religious fervor, which means she plays with nun dolls and likes wearing a habit on Halloween.
- Peter’s Italian ancestor is apparently channeled the whole summer, working on how Peter can get Erica.
- Peter doesn’t change his clothes for three months.
- Don’t buy the soundtrack!!! No, I’m kidding. If there is one, get it, because the music chosen is just perfectly bland enough to make you focus on the movie, but just cool and vibrant enough to keep you interested. You dig?
[about his plan]
Peter: This is more retarded than when I stuck that gumball up my nose. Or the time I wanted to be the first white Harlem Globetrotter.
Giuseppe Luigi Bandini: Women are like breaking into a bank. It takes nerve, it takes daring. Sometimes it takes a little dynamite to blow the vault.
Peter: Erica looked more doable than Barbara Feldon in Get Smart.
Peter: My dad’s reaction to my plan when he heard about it from mom registered on the Richter Scale at Cal Tech.
Erica: Would you rather lose your eyesight or the use of both your legs.
Peter: ….probably I’d lose my eyesight. Your face is etched in my memory, I’ll always be able to see you. And with my legs I could still make love to you.
Peter: Erica was so sweet today you could’ve poured her over pancakes.
[posing as The Last Supper]
Erica’s dad: C’mon Phil, you make a great Judas.
Phil: What is that supposed to mean?
[to Erica’s dad]
Peter: Let Erica go or the Baby Jesus gets it.
Peter: We’re not that good of friends.
Matt: Are you kidding me? You’re doing life in the Friend Zone.
If you enjoyed this movie, try:
- Better Off Dead
- Cinema Paradiso
- American Pie