Showing posts with label 1980's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1980's. Show all posts

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Watch Party Watch: Working Girl (1988)




Watched:  11/27/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second, I think
Decade:  so, so 1980's
Director:  Mike Nichols (checks notes) huh.

When Working Girl hit theaters in 1989, I remember it was one of those movies everyone saw - both parents and kids.  A lot of kids with their parents.  It had the gloss on New York City business and the glamour that suggested in the late 1980's as being a part of the high stakes world of business at the heart of American capitalism after eight years of Reaganomics was the pinnacle of success - and a lot of pop culture flowed forth from that.  Right up to and including movies like this, Gremlins 2 and the novel of American Psycho.*

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

HOLIDAY PODCAST: "3615 code Père Noël"/"Deadly Games"/"Game Over" or even "Dial Code: Santa Claus" (1989) - A Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020 episode w/ JAL & Ryan

 


Watched:  11/07/2020
Format:  Shudder Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Rene Manzor


It's French. It's Christmas. It's got a deranged Santa and a kid who has seen a lot of 80's action films. It's like "what if 'Home Alone' were infinitely @#$%ed up?" Justin and Ryan take a deep dive into a movie that feels like it's about to break as a cult classic, and features a very Bonnie Tyler Christmas song. You may know it as "3615 code Père Noël", "Deadly Games", "Game Over" or even "Dial Code: Santa Claus". But it's a frikkin' delight, this thing. 
Merry Christmas - Bonnie Tyler

Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020:

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Watch Party Watch: Masters of the Universe (1987)




Watched: 11/20/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Gary Goddard

I should start by saying:  I didn't ever really like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe as toyline, cartoon, what-have-you.  Maybe because a lot of the material behind the franchise is simply bad.  The Filmation cartoon was goofily animated and the voice actors always sounded like they were recording out of context and in a well-tiled bathroom.  It featured a handful of wildly annoying characters and artists who really wanted to work in a few rotoscoped shots as often as possible.  (I will say - it DID blend American comic book style art very well, and should have shown Marvel how to do this instead of what they did in the 1990's.)  But mostly, He-Man was a lot of nonsense to sell toys, and that's great.  I support that idea.  I just wasn't into their particular gumbo of elements that made up their cartoon and toys (and found the original line of toys frankly grotesque, and not in a fun way).

Monday, November 16, 2020

Interaction watch - RoboCop (1987)




Watched:  11/03/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  let's not talk about it
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Paul Verhoeven

I think we'll be podcasting this at some point in 2021, so we're gonna take a pass on writing it up.

But it was fun to watch as a Prime Party, as some hadn't seen it or hadn't seen it in a while.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Amazon Watch Party Watch: Escape From New York (1981)

 


Watched:  11/06/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  John Carpenter

I'm not writing this up.  If you've not seen it, you're all the poorer for it - but it's a fine but of early 80's cinema.  And, of course, established Kurt Russell as a non-Disney star.



Sunday, October 4, 2020

Not That Spooky Watch: Little Shop of Horrors (1986)




Watched:  10/03/2020
Format:  Amazon Prime?  Jamie put it on
Viewing:  ha ha ha... I have no idea
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Frank Oz

I think SimonUK and I are going to podcast this movie after Christmas, so I'm not going to write it up. Weirdly, despite the fact I do watch this movie fairly often - somehow I've never written it up on this site, which is kinda odd.  There's a few mentions of the movie on Melbotis.com, but the format over there was kinda all-over the place. 

Here's a post from back when I did DITMTLOD posts where I talk about Ellen Greene as Audrey.

Anyway, this seems like good incentive to actually cover it on the podcast this winter.




Saturday, October 3, 2020

Mel Brooks Watch: Spaceballs (1987)

 


Watched:  09/26/2020
Format:  Streaming?  Jamie was playing it.
Viewing:  oh, lord, I have no idea
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Mel Brooks

I really enjoyed this movie in 1987 when I saw it in the theater, and despite the fact I've seen it a couple of dozen times, I continue to enjoy this movie.  

Also - every time I'm waiting to see if something at work is going to work, I mutter "come on, Schwartz".  No one ever knows what I'm talking about.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Muppet Watch: Great Muppet Caper (1981)

 


Watched:  09/12/2020
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Jim Henson

The Muppet Movie is a beautifully constructed film on many levels, is gorgeous, has an amazing message, and we should all own at least one copy.  The Great Muppet Caper is just @#$%ing funny.

Leaning on the tropes of movies, movie-making, and doing occasional spoofs (Piggy's Esther Williams tribute), The Great Muppet Caper sings about what it's going to be, and is that - a pretty thin mystery plot as an excuse for Muppet mayhem.  And, along the way, makes it fun for them and for all of us, with terrific sight gags, 4th wall-breaking jokes, improvised moments (there's a scene with Kermit and Piggy in the park that cannot possibly have been in the script), and the patented Muppet formula of running jokes that just get funnier as they go along.

The cast includes the recently departed Diana Rigg (we didn't set out to watch a Diana Rigg film, but she's hilarious in this) and Charles Grodin in a star turn as Nicky, Rigg's ne'er-do-well brother.  But there's also UK-friendly cameos as well as those for an American audience.   John Cleese and Joan Sanderson's bit feels imported from another movie entirely, and I remember thinking it was very funny when I was 6, but now I find it hysterical.  

Anyway, this is an ideal one to watch with the kids.  Listen to everything the Muppets are saying, especially in throw-away lines.  It's like two separate movies for kids and adults, but I think everyone will still like it.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Watch Party Watch: Girls Just Want to have Fun (1985)




Watched:  09/04/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  so, so 1980's
Director:

Sort of like Teen Witch from roughly the same era, Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985) feels a bit like the people putting it together didn't really know how to make a movie.  Or else they didn't have the money to do what they intended to do, which is probably evidenced by the lack of ability to license the Cindy Lauper version of the titular song of the movie.  

A very young Sarah Jessica Parker plays a Catholic High School girl who has just moved to Chicago.  She's moved around a lot, but is excited by this move as Chicago is the home of a very famous dance show she watches religiously, and she wants to try out to be ON the show as a regular featured dancer.  She immediately becomes besties with Helen Hunt, who is struggling to play rebellious and daffy and maybe punk?  But who dreams of being the "music news" portion of the show.

Anyway - there's a rich girl who is mean, a dopey looking biker guy who just wants to DANCE, and nuns.  Oh, and Jonathan Silverman playing an 80's-excess-loving entrepreneurial teen/ a dork.  

This is why 80's kids gravitated to John Hughes movies.  Even when they were maybe problematic or kind of hand-wavy when it came to stories, they felt competent, and the teens weren't just shrieking and running from place to place.  Parents were occasionally more than cardboard cut outs.  Kids have recognizable issues, like "I just want someone to like me" or "see me".  

But this movie has weird issues like being unsure if the main character lives in an apartment or house.  Her dad is so blandly written he feels like a goddamn monster, cowing daughter and wife.  And Helen Hunt is acting mostly through hair clippies.  

I dunno.  I am not a 10 year old girl in 1985, and that's who this was meant for.  

Monday, August 24, 2020

Watch Party Watch: Elvira - Mistress of the Dark (1988)



Watched:  08/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  certainly not the first
Decade:  1980's
Director:  James Signorelli

I've both watched and discussed Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) numerous times here on Ye Olde Internets.

I noticed it's currently streaming on Amazon Prime, and so - breaking with tradition where we watch a less-than-amazing movie and discuss in real time, knowing that most people dismiss the movie out of hand, I decided to foist it upon those who joined us.

Frankly, I enjoyed watching a not-bad movie!  In fact, one people seemed to enjoy!

Anyway, I forgot to mention while we were doing the Watch Party I actually have an Elvira sticker on my current laptop, but I think - after Jenifer and I kept dropping Elvira trivia on them left and right - they got the idea that we happen to like Elvira.

further evidence
I will be able to identify my laptop in case of theft

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Regret Watch: Vibes (1988)



Watched:  08/23/2020
Format:  TCM Underground
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Ken Kwapis


Ostensibly movies are there to be a popular entertainment enjoyed by many people, which will earn the filmmakers, collaborators and investors some money. 

I am reminded of the comedian Amber Ruffin and her series, Amber Says Why?

Who was Vibes made for, and why did they think people would enjoy it?  Why?  Was it made on a dare?  And if it was a dare, who was daring whom?  And was this the winner or loser of that dare?  Why did they choose to make this, and what is the this that they made?  Is it a comedy, and if so, what part of it is funny?  How did they get to the point where they had a camera and a set and people there to make the movie, and how did they think this was a good script?  And if they thought it was good, why did they think it was good?  Did they want to make money or did they hate money and try not to earn it, and if they thought it would make money, who did they think would pay for watching this movie?  Why did Jeff Goldblum chose to do this movie? And did he know he'd be cast with Cindy Lauper?  Did they cast them because he is tall and she is short? Why did they think psychics and Ecuador were a good fit? And why did they go to Ecaudor for real and a soundstage other times with terrible props?  Was that Elizabeth Pena? Why was she in the movie for five minutes?

WHY?

First - I always thought this was a Manhattan-based comedy about psychics running a scam with other psychics.  Second - this is like a no-budget version of Romancing the Stone but furious at the idea you should like the leads.  Third - wow, clearly Lauper and Goldblum had absolutely no chemistry.  And - Fourth - what could have maybe partially redeemed the film with FX and character moments in the end is just a plastic prop that must have looked so bad they avoid showing it, and Cyndi Lauper telling us something that happened off screen.

But, I am still mostly mad this had Elizabeth Pena and then immediately took her away.  Like, what is wrong with you, movie?

WHY?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Comedy Watch: Stir Crazy (1980)



Watched:  08/15/2020
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  I'm calling it a first
Decade:  1980
Director:   Sidney Poitier

I think I saw this in part on HBO when I was a kid, but I don't remember anything but a few glimpses.  It's a Richard Pryor/ Gene Wilder comedy, and for whatever reason these were just never much on my radar.

I think what really struck me was not just how well Wilder and Pryor's sensibilities mesh, but that with Poitier as director, this movie has a certain POV that I'm not sure another, whiter director would have given it.

Crazy casting in this movie.  JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Barry Corbin, Joel Brooks, Jonathan Banks...

Anyway, it was a lot of fun! Glad to catch it at long last.


Saturday, August 15, 2020

Amazon Watch Party Watch: Grease 2 (1982)


Watched:  08/14/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Patricia Birch

Well.  I didn't pick this movie because I thought it was good.  Lately Grease 2 has had a resurgence with people of a certain age thinking because they watched it as kids and liked it, it is a good movie.  That is the Space Jam Fallacy talking.  Grease 2 is not good.  And unnecessary.

Highlights:


  • Michelle Pfeiffer exists/ "dances"
  • Tab Hunter having a good time
  • Connie Stevens
  • the *other* movie I've seen featuring Maureen Teefy
  • Gave young me some very wrong ideas about how high school was going to work
  • Pool water disintegrates tuffs and their motorcycles


Anyway, we watched this thing.  A good time was had.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Greatest Movie Ever Made Watch: Airplane! (1980)



Watched:  08/07/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  Man, who knows?
Decade:  1980's
Directors: 
Jim Abrahams
David Zucker
Jerry Zucker

I have never not enjoyed watching Airplane!  (1980).  Yes, it's jokes are dated, there's a flavor of what would now be considered low-key racism and punching down at some people.  But, goddammit, Airplane! is, minute by minute, *trying*.  It doesn't have some message that drives the movie off cliff as it gives us some low-rent stakes (thanks, Jud Apatow, for giving us two decades of movies about guys all learning the same lessons over and over).  The only stakes in Airplane are dumb and don't matter - the plot there so we have a reason to do the gags.

Heck, the movie doesn't really care if the leads are "likeable" - it's beside the point.  But they are, and Julie Haggerty doesn't get the credit she deserves.  A lot of the humor isn't "gentle".  Personally, I find the line-up of people waiting to calm the passenger in hysterics to be a nigh-perfect visual.

And, of course, Leslie Nielsen is at his best here.

Anyway.  Airplane! is the finest in film comedy and I won't tolerate dissent on this subject.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Monday, August 3, 2020

PODCAST: 113 - "A Fish Called Wanda" (1988) w/ SimonUK, Jamie and yours truly


Watched:  08/23/2020
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Charles CrichtonJohn Cleese

For more ways to listen

Jamie, SimonUK and yours truly revisit the 1988 favorite about a barrister, an animal lover, a moron, and Jamie Lee Curtis - all caught up in the fallout from a heist. Simon and Jamie can quote it, Ryan quite likes it, and we do our best not to talk about what makes something funny. And Ryan insists on further discussing JLC.




Music:
A Fish Called Wanda Suite - John Du Prez


Playlist:


Don't Judge Me Watch: Making Mr. Right (1987)




Watched:  08/02/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  Unknown.  At least second.
Decade:  late 80's
Director:  Susan Seidelman


I had only vague memories of Making Mr. Right (1987), a movie I watched on cable as a kid.  And this is the part where I talk about women and their appearance and probably get in trouble.  But I essentially had two memories of Making Mr. Right, aside from very, very broad strokes of the plot of a woman getting mixed up with a scientist and the robot who looks just like him and the robot/doctor is John Malkovich in a role you'll be like "what? why?"

Thursday, July 9, 2020

PODCAST: 110 - "King Kong" 1933, 1976, 2005 & "KIng Kong Lives" (1985) and "Kong: Skull Island" (2017)



King Kong  (1976)
watched:  06/03/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing: No idea
Director:  John Guillermin

Kong Lives (1985)
watched 06/08/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  third?
Director: John Guillermin

Kong: Skull Island (2017)
watched: 06/12/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  second?
Director:  Jordan Vogt-Roberts

King Kong (2005)
watched:  06/13/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  third
Director:  Peter Jackson

King Kong (1933)
Watched:  06/23/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  no idea
Director:  Merian C. Cooper


For more ways to listen



It's King Kong-a-Palooza as we take on 5 movies about one big monkey. Stuart joins in as we talk about the modern mythology of King Kong, what the story tells us, and what it tells us about ourselves that we retell the story every few decades. We reflect on man, ape, mysterious islands, mystery in general, and fame as we ponder the various takes. Join us as we discuss 1933, 1976, 2005 "King Kong" installments, as well as "King Kong Lives" and the recent entry "Kong: Skull Island".





Music:
King Kong Main Theme (1933) - by Max Steiner
King Kong Opening Theme (1976) - by John Barry



Monday, June 29, 2020

80's Watch: Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)





Watched:  06/29/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  John Hughes

There's no point in talking much about Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), one of the most discussed movies of two generations.  And, of course, Josh Gad's web series Reunited Apart recently brought a gaggle of cast members back to discuss the film.  On this note, Jamie suggested we give it a watch - which we hadn't done in a few years, at least not in pieces, edited, on cable. 

I have no idea what today's kids see when they look at the movie.  The idea of wealthy, white kids running around Chicago without consequence, with a suggestion of sex between the leads, would surely get a social media tsking, and a shocked look from kids who can't understand teens not getting a ride from mom or just spending the day online playing Fortnite.  I don't know. 

It holds up, in its way - at least for those of us who for whom it was a staple and cultural touchstone. 

In 1986 I saw the movie with my parents (I would have been 11), who gave me some surprising insight into what they thought of me at the time by repeatedly saying "Ryan, don't get any ideas".  It is fine - I did not.  They really underestimated my form of laziness where it was easier to just go to school than make up the work.  I don't think I cut class til college. 

It really is an amazingly well put together comedy with an outstanding cast.  I mean: Edie McClurg, people.  But naming names - you all know who is in here and what they do.  The funny thing is, the older I get, the funnier I find Jennifer Grey.  She was always funny - but that seething, misdirected rage is just... amazing, as is her turn at the end.

And how can you not like a movie where they watch The Cubs play?

Anyway - yeah.  You know the movie. 


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Doc Watch: Thelonius Monk - Straight, No Chaser (1988)



Watched:  06/27/2020
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Charlotte Zwerin

I am not a jazz aficionado - that's NathanC's gig.  I honestly haven't put on a Thelonius Monk album in a while - maybe years.  I did go through my jazz phase twenty years ago, so, yeah, I still have those albums. 

TCM has been doing a series called "Jazz in the Movies", which I haven't watched much of, but decided to record a couple of films one night, and had heard that Thelonius Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988) was an exemplary doc.  This reputation was earned, and I am sure jazz fans all know it.

For folks like myself who are only vaguely aware of Monk, it's a fascinating crash course to get you past simply enjoying the music and understand the man who made it.  Shocker of all shockers - a pre-eminent jazz artist has a complicated life and personal issues.  Unlike Miles Davis, the wounds aren't as self-inflicted, but they do weigh on him. 

Culled from footage shot on a late career tour and post-death interviews with colleagues, the doc paints a portrait of a complicated man who was *loved* by the people who knew him and couldn't help but stand in awe of his genius.  And, yeah, I don't use the word genius a lot - but the names tied to Be-Bop sure seem like they deserve it.

It wasn't hurt at all by the intro and outro conversations on TCM by Eddie Muller (who knew he knew jazz?) and his majesty Wynton Marsalis (and, yes, I've see Marsalis play live once and it was worth every penny). 

The doc gives the music room to breathe, and reminded me how and why I went through that jazz era.  And what I'll be listening to after Jamie turns in tonight.