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

Monday, May 3, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Teen Witch (1989)




Watched:  04/30/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1980's
Director:  I don't care


We're wrapping up our Friday Night Watch Parties this coming week, and maybe that's all for the best.  For - I may never top Teen Witch (1989) as an offering.  It's all downhill from here.  

It's one thing when people make a movie and try and it doesn't live up to expectations.  It's another when you can tell someone was pushing out garbage to take advantage of a place in the market and literally seemed to not care how the movie turned out.  And that's being generous, because the alternative with Teen Witch is to accept that adults made this film and this was their moonshot, and then we have to wonder: do you know how movies work?

Monday, April 26, 2021

PODCAST: "Blade Runner" (1982) - a Signal Watch Canon episode w/ Ryan and SimonUK


Watched:  04/19/2021
Format:  BluRay - version - The Final Cut
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Ridley Scott


Description


Music:  
Blade Runner Main Theme - Vangelis, Blade Runner OST
Tears in Rain - Vangelis, Blade Runner OST


Signal Watch Canon:

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Hamilton Watch: Black Moon Rising (1986)




Watched:  04/23/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  very, very 1980's
Director:  Harley Cokeliss

When you're a kid, you kinda like everything you see, and then - one day - you admit "that... maybe was sort of boring, or not what I wanted to watch".  The excitement of "movie" fades away, and you're admitting to yourself - even if the poster contained a cool car, a cool dude and a pretty lady, maybe that movie was not as good as the poster promised.  

I don't remember anything about Black Moon Rising (1986) from when I watched it on cable or VHS as a kid except that I didn't much care for it.  Well, I'd totally forgotten that the movie had any other known actors other than a pre-fame Tommy Lee Jones, but I was looking at it for a Friday night watch party and realized "oh, wow, this has Linda Hamilton!"  And I like me some Linda Hamilton.

Anyway - Linda Hamilton is probably one of two reasons to watch this movie.  She's doing her best in a movie that flatly doesn't deserve it.  She's wearing a crazy wig in the first scenes, so don't freak out when you see her in a doofy haircut.  The other reason is to see the kooky car they cast as The Black Moon.*

A deeply NOT street legal vehicle that looks designed to murder pedestrians and corner poorly, The Black Moon has turbo-boost, something we'd all seen on Knight Rider for years by the time this movie came out.  

Really, aside from Linda Hamilton's briefly glimpsed self, it feels a bit like a network TV movie.  

What's most alarming is that the titular car of the film is barely in the movie - you see more of Jackie Chan's supercar in Cannonball Run II.  And, as I mentioned, the movie doesn't do much with the car being "super".  In the same era as Blue Thunder, Air Wolf, Knight Rider, Street Hawk, etc...  putting a car out there as the central conceit better have *some* hook.  But, really, this movie is about the car getting boosted by Robert Vaughn's apparently wildly profitable car theft ring - a business so profitable I think they're suggesting he's building two skyscrapers in LA on the profits.  

Jones plays a thief in the employ of the US government who has stolen some data from Lee Ving of punk band Fear and, stumbling across the team bringing The Black Moon to LA to show it to investors, hides the data in the car...

You know what?  This movie isn't really worth a synopsis.  I can't recommend it.  It's slow as a heist movie, Jones isn't even great.  I read he was boozing a bit during this time, and that may be it.  Hamilton is fine, but she can't save this wreck.  

But, yeah:  Robert Vaughn, Linda Hamilton, Tommy Lee Jones, Bubba Smith, Lee Ving, Richard Jaeckel, William Sanderson, Keenan Wynn, a baby Nick Cassavetes...  it's kind of wild seeing all the folks go by.  The movie has a writing credit by John Carpenter, and advertised itself as "from the mind of", but it's telling that imdb trivia states he'd never seen it.

Oh well.  We can all still like Linda Hamilton.



*the wacky looking car is actually a fake version of the 1980 Wingho Concordia II, a real and unique car.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Maniac Watch: Maniac (1980)




Watched:  04/16/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  William Lustig


One of the interesting things about horror is that it can be used to give an actor a showcase who might not otherwise get one.  Joe Spinell is not a name with which a ton of people are familiar, although he had appeared in two Rocky films. I knew him from his star turn as the villain in Starcrash.  

Spinell was in a ton of stuff, but mostly not in leading roles, and mostly played a heavy.  Maybe not the greatest way to stretch one's acting resume.  But in 1980 he was part of the creative team that wrote and created Maniac, the movie of which he is the star (but let's agree it's weird to call him a protagonist, even if he is, kinda sorta).  He created an opportunity, and he really made the most of it.

JAL recommended the film, and I'd been putting it off, but it seemed like good counter-programming to The Beautician and the Beast.  Anyhoo... I get why JAL suggested it, and I did, in fact "like" it, which is a curious thing to say about a movie where a guy kills a whole bunch of people over 90 minutes.

I'm going to recommend the movie as a terrific/ whacko character study, a truly grisly horror movie (I did not watch with Jamie), and having a hell of an ending.  

Plus, it briefly co-stars Signal Watch fave, Caroline Munro!  Just sorta being Caroline Munro - but as a photographer!  

see!  There she is!  



Anyway - no spoilers.  But if you like the grittiness of, say, Basketcase, this movie is for you.

Monday, April 12, 2021

PODCAST: "Withnail and I" (1987) - a Signal Watch Canon episode w/ SimonUK and Ryan




Watched:  March 30, 2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Bruce Robinson




We're discussing our personal canon when it comes to film - and what can two guys who talk endlessly at one another do better than discuss two guys who talk endlessly at one another? It's a British cult favorite, but not the best known movie here in the colonies - but maybe it should be? Join us for a sojourn in the country as we escape our normal routine!


Music:
Withnail's Theme - David Dundas and Rick Wentworth
All Along the Watchtower - Performed by Jimi Hendrix, Written by Bob Dylan

Signal Watch Canon:

Monday, April 5, 2021

Neo-Noir Watch: Body Heat (1981)




Watched:  04/03/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Lawrence Kasdan

I'll go ahead and put this out there:  this may be the best of the neo-noirs I've seen, and most akin to the original noir movement.  

Also: finally watching Body Heat (1981) gives me a big clue as to how neo-noir took a left turn by the late 80's and saw a divergent strain that became the "erotic thriller", which, itself, had several branches on the movie cladogram.

Despite the popular vision of noir, it wasn't always sexy stuff with classy dames showing up in the offices of PI's desperate for help.  The movement encompassed a lot of takes on how things can go badly, and how lust could turn things sideways remarkably fast was just one (if a popular) angle.  Body Heat delivers a 1980's spin on the Joseph M. Cain flavor of crime melodrama that gave us Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice.  No detectives here - just guys in over their head when they see a chance at romance with a woman out of their league (but aren't they all).

Saturday, March 27, 2021

80's Watch Party Watch: The Secret of My Success (1987)




Watched:  03/26/2021
Format: Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade: so, so 1980's
Director:  Herbert Ross

I have no affinity for The Secret of My Success (1987).  I saw it upon its theatrical release in 1987, where I was carded as a 12 year old entering a PG-13 movie.  My friend's dad had to come into the box office and tell them it was fine.  So, thanks, Mr. P.

I also remember both the seduction of "Brantley" and the immediate revelation he'd been seduced by a distant sorta relative.  And the use of Yello's "Oh Yeah".*

And, of course, Helen Slater, who I didn't realize was Helen Slater until college or so.  And - the ruse which is the core of the film, which I thought I understood but missed something.  But I am here to tell you here in 2021 AD, I do not understand what Brantley was doing.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

80's Watch - Watch Party: Footloose (1964)




Watched:  03/20/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Herbert Ross

Gee, why don't the young people want to stay in small towns?  How did we get to this divide between rural America and urban America?

I mean, Footloose (1984) is a story that seems ridiculous, about a town where "dancing" was made illegal (something that seems so slippery and un-First Amendment-y that it's breathtaking) and one not-even-rebellious teen who's mere existence as an "outsider" is so problematic adults are out to literally destroy him, that all of this seems absurd.  Except that this stuff was very real and happened.  Baylor University in Waco, 90 minutes up the road from my house, didn't allow dancing until the late 90's. 

So, yeah, small towns where no one was going to do much but stop to fill up with gas actually would and did have goofy rules.  This was Satanic Panic time that would culminate in the PMRC and Dee Snider of all people taking down a bunch of crusty representatives looking into literally regulating the music industry.  It was also the time of MTV, and I can just see a movie studio exec looking for a story that will appeal to a wide audience - but bring in those kids who like the MTV, and be very music-video-friendly.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

: The Black Stallion (1979)




Watched:  03/17/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  Unknown - at least third
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Carroll Ballard

This is a strangely perfect movie.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home (1986)




Watched:  03/15/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Leonard Nimoy

Until Lower Decks and a few one-off episodes, one of the few attempts at light comedy/action in the Trek franchise, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home  (1987) caps off the trilogy that started in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, bringing our crew finally back to Earth after giving us the thrill of seeing them wandering the streets of 1986 San Franciso as a slightly disheveled away team.

I am 85% sure I've written this one up before, so I won't do it again.  It's the one with the whales.  


Monday, March 15, 2021

PODCAST: "Superman III" (1983) - a Kryptonian Thought-Beast PodCast w/ SimonUK, Stuart and Ryan




Watched:  03/01/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Richard Lester

Other ways to listen

We assemble the finest trio possible to take on the third in the Salkind's Superman franchise - this one inexplicably very heavy on very adult comedian Richard Pryor. It's a future-shock story of the magic of computers and how they can make a Superman a grumpy gus. Join SimonUK, Stuart and Ryan as they get super excited over the sharp turn the franchise took into goofiness.


Music:
Main Title, The Streets of Metropolis - John Williams, Superman III OST
The Struggle Within/ Final Victory - John Williams, Superman III OST
 

Watch Party Watch: Staying Alive (1983)




Watched:  03/12/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  I dunno.  First?  I don't remember 95% of this if I saw it.
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Sylvester Stallone

Staying Alive (1983) is the un-asked-for sequel to the 70's cultural phenomenon, Saturday Night Fever.  If you've not seen Saturday Night Fever in a bit, it's not all about Travolta as king of the disco, it's also a story about directionless young people, misdirected energy, and generational schizms in a traditional family.  

Staying Alive picks up six years later and is terrible.  

Look, the point of the first movie was realizing the world was bigger and better than a disco on a Saturday night, but six years later, Tony has made maybe incremental progress and danced his way to a 0% bodyfat physique.  Stephanie from the first film is just... gone.  She has a surrogate character in Jackie, who is doing her best to look like a JJazzercised  Anne Murray.  Jackie is Tony's friend with benefits.  I thought she was supposed to be the female lead from the first movie, but she is not.  So, we basically know nothing about her aside from the fact that she's a doormat who Tony steps out on and then TELLS HER ABOUT IT.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

80's Watch: 48 Hours (1982)




Watched:  03/11/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  1st as an adult who could follow the movie
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Walter Hill!

D'aw, hell.  It's a Nick Nolte movie.

On the heels of Coming 2 America, Jamie began pondering what Eddie Murphy movies she hadn't seen, so she dialed up 48 Hours, the 1982 blockbuster starring Nick Nolte and a ready-for-stardom Eddie Murphy.   

Reviewing the movie about 40 years after the fact is a bit of a challenge.  This was in my lifetime, and I remember both the attitudes, the casual racism and names associated.  And, I did actually see this movie a couple of times as a kid, which... maybe wasn't great?  But in the 1980's, who was paying attention to what the kids were up to and we had easy access to HBO at our friends' houses.   

Sunday, February 21, 2021

RiffTrax Watch: Space Mutiny (1988)




Watched:  02/20/2021
Format:  Rifftrax on Amazon Prime
Viewing:  Oh, god... 4th?
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Let's let them live in peace

This movie isn't very good.  

Highly recommend checking out the RiffTrax version on Amazon Prime.  Watched primarily because JeniferSF had watched it, and it seemed like a good idea.  It was.


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Forget to Mention It Watch: Return of the Swamp Thing (1989)




Watched:  01/28/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second?
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Does it matter?

We did this one as a watch party, and I often forget to write up watch party movies.  But, yeah, this movie isn't very good.

I...  I don't really think it bears much discussion.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

PODCAST: "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982) - A Signal Watch Canon Episode w/ SimonUK and Ryan

 


Watched:  01/22/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade: 1980's
Director:  Nicholas Meyer


SimonUK and Ryan boldly get into a movie about aging, space pirates, sacrifice and making grown men cry when their space pal is taken out. We're tasked with talking about what a big deal this movie is for us, personally, as well as what it meant for Star Trek as a franchise. 
Music
Main Title - James Horner, Star Trek II OST
Epilogue, Closing Credits - James Horner, Star Trek II OST


Playlists

Signal Watch Canon

SimonUK Cinema Series

Monday, January 11, 2021

PODCAST: Aliens (1986) - a Signal Watch Canon episode w/ SimonUK and Ryan


Watched:  01/06/2021
Format:  DVD (Legacy Edition)
Viewing:  lol
Decade:  1980's
Director:  James Cameron


We're talking the movies in our personal canon - the movies that opened our minds, expanded our horizons and maybe helped inform who we are. And what better way to reflect upon oneself than with a rip-roaring sci-fi action horror yarn about motherhood, alienation, personal interconnectedness, unexpected surprises and who will stand by you when life really tears you apart.



Music: 
Bishop's Countdown - James Horner, Aliens OST

SimonUK Cinema Series

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Watch Party Watch: The Running Man (1987)




Watched:  01/08/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Paul Michael Glaser

The Running Man (1987) - for being a kinda goofy movie about a gameshow where the contestants are framed-up convincts and convicts with crimes like "not teaching the curriculum to school kids", this movie has some uncomfortably prescient stuff baked in as our janus-faced gameshow host plays to his base of folks who *won* in a prior civil conflict, and are joyfully taking part as people are killing each other for our entertainment.  Not surprisingly, such a dynamic show has cross-demographic appeal, and it's not just the folks who came out on top economically, it's also the folks on the streets who can't look away as desperate men run for their lives.  

Thursday, December 31, 2020

80's Watch: Romancing the Stone (1984)




Watched: 12/30/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Apparently, Robert Zemeckis

As a kid, I have two memories of this movie - 1) I think my parents thought itw as going to be risque, because the first time we watched Romacing the Stone (1984) it was with some family friends who had to tell them it was okay for 9 year old me, and 2) when I watched it again later - running on HBO or whatever, it just made me wish I'd rather be watching an Indiana Jones movie.  

I was, of course, not tuned in at all to what the movie was doing.  I had so clearly missed the point watching this as a kid, that five minutes into it this time (and I don't know if I'd seen this movie since I was 20), I turned to Jamie and said "I don't think I ever realized before that Kathleen Turner is supposed to be a nebbish.  I thought the idea was that she was a fancy lady from New York out of her element."  

So, yeah - TOTALLY missed the point as a kid.  

Sunday, December 27, 2020

That Was a Movie Watch: Salome's Last Dance (1988)




Watched:  12/26/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Ken Russell

So...  I'm always on the hunt for something new to watch with folks during Friday Night Watch Parties.  For some reason unknown to me, Salome's Last Dance (1988) popped up as a suggestion from Amazon, and after reading the description - roughly: Oscar Wilde attends a production of his banned play performed in a brothel - I was like "huh, no idea.  Let's look."  

I got maybe 45 seconds in and saw "Directed by Ken Russell", and know more about Russell's reputation than his actual work, which is always at least *interesting* if you've seen Altered States, Lair of the White Worm or even Tommy.  So - I gave it a whirl.