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

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

80's TV Movie Watch: The Spirit (1987)

Watched:  05/02/2022
Format:  DVD from Warner Archive
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Michael Schultz

Way back in the 1980's, I ordered a Bud Plant catalog so I could get an idea of what all was out there in the world of comics.  I remember two things that really stuck out - a Mike Kaluta image of The Shadow (the first time I'd heard of the character) - and an image for a collection of The Spirit strips with P'gell prominently featured.  You know the one.

I didn't know what the hell The Spirit was, but to my 11 year old brain, this seemed very sexy indeed, and I assumed The Spirit was some sort of soft-core comic.  

Flash forward probably only a matter of months, and I read in Comics Scene that someone was making a TV movie of The Spirit, learned more about it (not a softcore book!) and back in the days when we weren't having superhero media rained down upon us, I was very interested.  

Finally the movie was slated to air, and of course there was some scheduling conflict (we just missed TV in those days), but I could probably catch the last hour or so.  I don't remember where we were or what was up, but I do remember my mom ran into a friend and started talking.  And I just had to stand there while the clock spun and my 1980's chances with no DVR faded away of seeing any of the movie.  

I walked in the door, watched the last five minutes, and then went to do homework.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

PODCAST 193: "Chances Are" (1989) - a Birthday Exchange Movie Discussion w/ Jamie and Ryan

Watched:  04/10/2022
Format:  Amazon
Viewing: First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Emilie Ardolino

NSFW! In retaliation for his selection, Jamie busts out a mostly-forgotten late-80's magical-realism romantic comedy that really draws some interesting lines in the sand for what it thinks are totally fine ideas to put into a movie. Thrill to Jamie and Ryan pondering how this was a mainstream movie that went without comment at the time.



After All - Cher and Peter Cetera
Chances Are - Johnny Mathis

Jamie's Cinema Classics

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Watch Party Watch: Flash Gordon (1980)

Watched:  04/01/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Mike Hodges

In a lot of ways, Flash Gordon (1980) maybe came out at exactly the wrong time and set the tone for what would be a problem for comic-based material until X-Men in 2000.  

With Star Wars and Superman released to critical and financial success, Dino De Laurentiis began mining the properties that had influenced the creation of both properties and set the tone in Hollywood that Marvel and DC couldn't get anything green lit for years - but somehow pulp characters would get movies.*  As The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman disappeared from TV, Buck Rogers showed up on the small screen, and De Laurentiis went and tapped Lorenzo Semple, Jr., one of the main brains behind the 1960's Batman series, to bring Flash Gordon to the big screen.  

Saturday, April 2, 2022

PODCAST 191: "Hired To Kill" (1990) - Movies of Doom w/ SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  03/14/2022
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing: First    
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Nico Mastorakis

SimonUK and Ryan head into enemy territory with Movies of Doom, our first voyage into "wow, this looks terrible. Let's watch this immediately" cinema. This one has A Very 90's Actor, 7 actresses you'll never see again, and 3 legends of Hollywood cashing in for a vacation in Southern Europe. It's the Dirty Dozen meets every 80's action movie, meets astounding sexism!



I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred

Movies of Doom!

80's Watch: Jewel of the Nile (1985)

As Jamie asked:  What is the physics of what's happening here?

Watched:  04/02/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  third?
Director:  Lewis Teague


This movie is so bad it has a body count.  No, really.  The last thing in the credits is a "in memory of" and four names scroll by, including the name of Diane Thomas who created Romancing the Stone, of which this is a sequel.

Even as a kid, when I saw The Jewel of the Nile (1985) in the theater, I thought this movie was "not good".  I couldn't have told you why then.  Jamie informs me, when I said "this feels like a cash grab" that it was made incredibly quickly on the heels of Romancing the Stone, and that Kathleen Turner initially refused to do it because the script was so bad.  Y'all, Kathleen Turner is not wrong.  

A weirdly meandering film that just keeps happening, there's essentially a start and an end with no middle during which a bunch of stuff just sort of happens and when our leads are together, they seem like they absolutely *should* part ways as all they can do is argue, it makes the entire third-act rekindling of the romance of the movie make no sense.  But there are multiple scenes in the movie that make no sense but happen just so there's something happening on screen - maybe the greatest example of which is "the chief's son wants to fight Jack so he can court Joan" but the Chief's son is in a hut?  And they just showed up?  And why didn't they just say they were married or betrothed?  Like.  uggghhhhh.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

PodCast 189: "The Evil Dead" (1981) - a Horror Canon episode w/ JAL and Ryan

Watched:  03/13/2022
Format:  HBOMax+
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Sam Raimi

JAL returns to the PodCast to talk about a movie series that helped cement a friendship! Join us as we ponder the crazy early vision of a master of movie making, getting good results out of annoying everyone around you, and what you can do on a shoestring budget that can still provide genuine scares and have a bloody good time.



Introduction - Joseph LoDuca, The Evil Dead OST
Dawn of the Evil Dead - Joseph LoDuca, The Evil Dead OST

Horror Podcasts!

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984)

Watched:  02/25/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  W.D. Richter

A first viewing of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984) is not an easy task, I would assume.  

I saw Buckaroo Banzai on its release in the theater thanks to a dad who was not particularly nerdy and didn't care for nerd culture, but had certainly enjoyed serials and whatnot in his youth, and absolutely got what the movie was selling.  And I loved it.  Absolutely was into the movie.  I still love the idea of a team of folks with specialties standing between civilization and chaos.  And I got that the movie was funny and winky.  

But I also watched it over and over on cable and recorded on VHS for a bit through middle school.  What I didn't know was that the movie had flopped.  Horribly.  I mean, it made sense that my dad had to drive us across town to the one theater showing the movie, which was mostly empty.  But I also had seen Adventures in Babysitting in a theater so empty of anyone but me and my pals, the manager had come in before the movie to tell us "no monkeyshines", and that's an American classic.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Keep (1983)

Watched:  02/18/2022
Format:  Amazon 
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Michael Mann

This is not a good movie, but it is a fascinating movie.  If you hate Nazis (and I do!) it's not unappealing to see a supernatural force take them apart.  

I found out during this viewing that I had been given some wildly inaccurate information about the origins of the film - that it was based on a Richard Matheson novel (it is not) and that in the original novel, it's Dracula in the Keep, thus the Carpathian mountains (completely and utterly wrong).  Frankly, having read the description of the novel, I like the idea of Dracula cooling in a Keep in the Carpathians a whole lot more than the description of the novel, which sounds like a very matter-of-fact fantasy novel that would not be my jam. 

The appeal of the film is in watching early Michael Mann with a budget and - if you're so inclined - a Tangerine Dream score that matches the action.  It's a dreamy, music video of a movie with minimal dialog and falls squarely in a rare 20-year period where that was maybe fine in film.  Before, people would not have known what you were doing, and after, movies started filling in every crevice of a film with wall-to-wall exposition.  

I was pleased the assembled watch-partiers were more or less fine with the movie, all things considered.  I guess when Sheena was our last touch-base, this is like Citizen Kane.  

Anyway, there's some interesting dynamics at play as it's clear the main evil supernatural force is a big ol liar and the promise that he may just murder his way to Berlin and melt Hitler is a bit of bullshit to convince Ian McKellan to help him out, but for a brief moment, you think "well, maybe we can let this extradimensional being tear shit up.  Enemy of my enemy, etc..."  Also, the movie makes a fine point about how citizens can get caught up in the bullshit of their nation's leaders and become subordinate to the true believers, who generally are not the kind of folks who really want to have to answer to.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Regret Double Bill Watch: "Sheena" and "Bolero" - both (1984)


Watched:  02/11/2022
Format:  Amazon Prime/ HBOmax
Viewing:  First/ First
Director:   John Guillerman / John Derek

So, usually we announce an Amazon Watch Party well in advance, but when I wrapped work on Friday at 5:00, Jamie said "are we doing a Watch Party?" which roughly translates to "I know you hadn't planned a Watch Party, but we're doing one" so, as I generally DNGAF, I was like "yeah, fine."

After some looking, we landed on Sheena (1984), because if I was getting roped into a movie party, Tanya Roberts.  I think maybe I'd seen Sheena in middle-school, because I vaguely remembered bits.  And I was, even then, vaguely aware of Sheena as an old-school pulp/ comics character.  In fact, she debuted in 1938 - which is 3 years before Wondy.  I also remembered what I considered to be "too many flamingoes".  And, boy howdy, was that memory right.  

Of course in the era of Blockbuster and other video shops, Tanya Roberts looked back at you from the cover of many-a-sun-bleached box covers.  

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Finally Got to it Watch: Firestarter (1984)

Watched:  01/28/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  Mark L. Lester

Firestarter (1984) is a 90 minute movie that the studio inexplicably decided needed to be 2 full hours.  A taut 90 minutes would have not given me time to ponder "why is this happening?  Why is anyone doing what it is they are doing?  Why would anyone be this dumb?"

But the movie is 120 minutes, and so I did think these things.  

I don't blame director Mark L. Lester, who brought us Commando and Bobbi Jo and the Outlaw, because I think he did some stuff in this movie very well, but there's just too much movie here, which is an editing problem.  And, he didn't write the script.  I also don't blame Tangerine Dream, who provided the score and who are not at their best here.  

I don't blame Drew Barrymore, who is a child in this movie.  Nor do I blame Martin Sheen or George C. Scott, Louise Fletcher or Art Carney.  I might be blaming everyone else.  This movie is boring and makes no sense, and for a movie that's 120 minutes so they can explain stuff but that just keeps making things worse, that's a feat.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Thriller Watch: Dressed to Kill (1980)

Watched:  01/22/2022
Format:  BluRay - Criterion
Viewing:  Unknown.  Probably third all the way through
Director:  Brian De Palma

It's very hard to say "I love Dressed to Kill (1980)" with a straight face, but I do think De Palma's pivot to a more explicit eroticism from the staid suggestion of such in the Hitchockian thriller is worth at least looking at.  At this point in his career, De Palma's movies read a lot like film school theory classes come to life, but I can't really remember our courses ever highlighting De Palma.  Maybe he's too on the nose with some of this stuff.  Maybe he wasn't "classic" enough.  

But, yeah, what Hitch only hinted at, De Palma is pleased to put up on screen.  Your mileage may vary was to whether this works for you, but in an era where cinema was where adults went for entertainment, and with De Palma dealing neither with the Hayes Code nor Hitch's pre-War sense of decorum, just be aware the film is frank about illicit sex and sexual kinks, and there's no shortage of female nudity (that's an Angie Dickinson body double in those key shots there at the opening, btw).  

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Watch Party Watch: Who's That Girl? (1987)

Watched:   01/21/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  James Foley

I don't know what the opposite is of "catching lightning in a bottle", but Who's That Girl? (1987) is here to make me wonder what that might be, or if we're in need of a new phrase.  

Look.  If you were a straight dude coming of age in the 1980's, you might not have talked about it, but chances are you spent a lot of time thinking about Madonna.  Not as part of the cultural discourse that somehow always placed Madonna in the middle of the po-discourse Venn Diagram and which was mostly nonsense, but for other reasons.  There's twenty seconds of video here which will help you understand.  

So, yes.  Madonna.  By 1987 she was a marketing and musical force who decided to dabble in acting.  Warner Bros., who was in the Madonna business and made both music and movies, said "sure, whatever".  Madonna somehow landed on a script about a girl getting out of prison who has to prove she's innocent, and decided this would be the movie she'd make.  

If catching lightning in a bottle is an unique combination of factors that come together and create a very special film, this is a mix of predictable hackery paired with an unprepared celebrity who doesn't know the difference between fame and talent needed to pull off a project.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

PODCAST 177: "North Sea Hijack"/ "ffolkes" (1980) - w/ SimonUK Cinema Selection w/ Ryan

Watched:  12/28/2021
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980
Director:  Andrew V McLaglen

It's Roger Moore in a beard and playing with cats and fighting villains! What's not to like? SimonUK and Ryan get on board to bear witness as Anthony Perkins decides to make some quick cash by entering the petroleum industry! It's all hands on deck as James Mason and many other familiar faces mix it up in a high stakes chess match that no one in the US ever managed to watch!

Main Titles and Closing Titles - Michael J Lewis

SimonUK Cinema Series 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Muppety Watch: The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

Watched:  12/27/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Frank Oz

For old-skool Austinites, I saw this movie in the theater in 1984 at Northcross Mall.  That summer my dad was living in Austin and the family in Spring, TX as we worked to move everyone to Austin for my father's new job.  My thinking is that on one of our many trips to Austin to see The Admiral and check out the town and where we'd live, my folks took the evening and took me (9) and my brother (11) to see this movie.

Mostly I remember thinking the bits with Kermit in disguise as Hollywood and Broadway types were hysterical.  I recognized a good number of the cameos at that point (Dabney Coleman, Brooke Shields, Linda Lavin, etc...) and it was good to see my old muppety pals again on screen.

That year I also picked up the official Marvel Comics adaptation, but it was released as a few issues, and I didn't get one of them.  Still, they used exact dialog from scenes, went very cartoony, and so I know some very specific dialog from this movie from re-reading those comics over and over (the Penguins yelling "well, excuuuuuse me!", for example).  

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

PODCAST: "Die Hard" (1988) & "Die Hard 2" (1990) - Christmas 2021 w/ SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  11/22 and 11/24
Format:  Amazon
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1980's and 1990's
Director:  Jon McTiernan and Renny Harlin

Yippee ki-yay, y'all! It ain't Christmas til Nakatomi tower is smoldering, paper and glass are everywhere, several Europeans and a coke head are dead, Al has eaten a Twinkie and one Bonnie Bedelia has recognized her husband's handiwork. Yup, it's the one I've personally been refusing to do for years, paired with the (sigh) sequel.

Ode to Joy - Michael Kamen, Die Hard OST 
Let it Snow - Vaughn Moore, Die Hard OST 

Christmas 2021

Thursday, December 2, 2021

PODCAST 172: "Scrooged" (1988) - Christmas 2021 w/ MRSHL & Ryan

Watched:  11/12/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Richard Donner

Marshall delivers a visitation upon the podcast to impart the lesson he knew in life - everyone likes Bill Murray as Frank Cross. Join he and Ryan as they talk an 80's Christmas favorite, one of the best retellings of Dicken's immortal classic, and much is made of television then and now. It's a Christmas favorite here at Signal Watch HQ, and we're delighted to get to talk on it.

Scrooged Suite - Danny Elfman, Scrooged OST 
Put a Little Love in Your Heart - Al Green and Annie Lennox, Scrooged OST 

Christmas 2021 PodCasts

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Holiday Watch: Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Watched:  11/28/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  John Hughes

This may be a misperception, but it often seems to me that people discuss and possibly remember Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) differently from what the movie actually is (to me).  The film definitely has some large and broad comedic moments, but it's not really a slapsticky comedy.  And for long stretches, it's not actually funny.  

I wouldn't say I don't like it, but it's also not a movie I rush into rewatching - as evidenced by the fact that Jamie and I have been married 21 years and tonight she mentioned she'd never seen this film.  So, we put it on.

John Hughes wrote, directed and produced the film and it was part of his move away from the Ringwald teen movies and his move to not just be known as a director of those famous films.  What's curious is how odd it feels seeing the same flow of his teen comedies, that move from comedy to more serious beats in the third act where lessons are sincerely learned, is applied here as well.  And it works - I'm not saying it doesn't, but I think when I hear people discuss this movie, they always just laugh and say "those aren't pillows!", which, honestly is a gag that aged kinda badly and is nowhere near the funniest part of the movie (that's the car bursting into flames as they sit on the trunk on the side of the road).

Friday, October 29, 2021

HALLOWEEN PODCAST: "The Fly II" (1989) - Halloween 2021 - Horror Sequels w/ SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  09/12/2021
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  Second or third
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Chris Walas

SimonUK and Ryan see what all the buzz is about as they check out the sequel to the famous Cronenberg remake. This time, it's a wee baby insect man and Daphne Zuniga against the world and spooky corporate interests! Join us as we take a swat at a film that was one I think everyone saw on cable.

Fly II Main Theme - Christopher Young

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hallow-Dead Watch: Evil Dead II - Dead by Dawn (1987)

Watched:  10/27/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  ha
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Sam Raimi

One day I want to do a podcast on the Evil Dead movies, so I'll save some comments for that time.  But.  Evil Dead II (1987) never disappoints.  

Also - this was Jamie's Halloween watch selection.  So, you know, I feel I married well.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hallow-Spooky Watch: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

man, Bob Peak's art is never less than amazing

Watched:  10/25/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Jack Clayton

Further back, the Ray Bradbury book upon which the film is based was assigned reading for me in 7th grade.  I cannot imagine such a thing in schools now, but this was the go-go 1980's, and we were even given assignments to come up with a short story about how Mr. Dark would prey upon our insecurities.  I vaguely remember something about being turned into what I realize now is the Incredible Hulk.  

Special thanks to Stuart, who belongs to Disney Insiders and landed me a copy of this club-only release of Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) BluRay.  Lovely presentation.

Anyway, this is such a strange little movie, one that I don't recall getting any promotion at the time of its release, nor had I seen it on the shelf at the video store.  Possibly, because of the Disney label on the tape, it had been shelved with kiddie movies.  Which is an interesting problem, because it's not one the book has.  It just gets shelved with Ray Bradbury books.  But as a film...