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

Friday, June 9, 2023

Ghibli Watch: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Watched:  06/09/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  First
Director:  Miyazaki

So, aside from a movie or two, I had never really delved into the Studio Ghibli output.  Sue me.  I love animation, but I love a lot of things, and I always thought someone would foist it upon me, and that hasn't happened.  Thus, in 2023, I finally decided to start making my way through the Ghibli output.  

It does seem silly, however, to try to add to the conversation on these much-watched, well-loved films with millions and millions of fans, and plenty of ink spilled over them.  All I'll really say is:  what an absolute delight of a movie.  I felt like I got the full Miyazaki experience on this one.

Monday, June 5, 2023

80's Watch: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Watched:  06/02/2023
Format:  Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  George Miller

In memory of the great Tina Turner, this week we put on Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) for our group watch party.  This is also the last one for the summer (or longer).  Life is resuming, and while I enjoy the experience, my own life and those of the folks who participated, has changed once again.  

Anyway, this was a movie I saw at age 10 and in the theater.  Subsequently, it played interminably on HBO, I believe, during one of the periods where my parents would pay for premium cable, and I'd seen it a lot during a crucial window in my life.  I'm well aware that it's not a patch on The Road Warrior, and in its way, not as fresh as the first Mad Max.  And, it's just not as good as Fury Road, which feels like the real distillation of the concepts and final word on the idea of Mad Max - until George Miller does it again.

But it's still a watchable movie and has more ideas per minute than a season of most sci-fi TV.  And like all sci-fi that works, it feels plausible and comments back to us about who we are.  

This Mad Max film sees Max wander into a town where capitalism has met with the apocalypse and you can't enter unless you have something to trade.  Having recently been relieved of his camels(!) and car, Max is recruited to kill the muscle of a brains/ muscle combo by the person who founded Bartertown but has lost control of it to an engineer who is turning pig shit into methane.  

Like I say: lots of ideas.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Watch Party Watch: Reform School Girls (1986)

I'm sure this movie had a poster, but mostly existed as a worn out VHS

Watched:  04/28/2023
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Tom DeSimone

So, first:  Apologies.  It's probably best that I actually remember the movies we're going to watch more than a few key scenes.  This movie turned out to be a bit much more than I recalled it being, and I find it insane I was watching this on cable when I was like, 13.  

Ah, the 1980's.

I was a bit surprised that no one had seen this, and many never heard of it.  It's a cult-classic of the 1980's, and a lot of what made it so has faded in the ensuing 37 years.

This is a movie that, as Jenifer put it, covers all the tropes of the "women in prison movie" and then cranks up the exploitation (this is New World Pictures, one of the Roger Corman brands).  So, it's assuming an audience that has grown up on slew of "women in prison" pictures that started showing up post WWII as earnest socially conscious filmmaking paired with, you know, ladies kicking each other, which was a novelty.  Plus a host of other sketchy activities, some explicit, many implied.  

1983's Chained Heat - which stars Sybil Danning but as a prisoner -  is a pretty good indicator of what was going on at this point. It has legit actors (Henry Silva, John Vernon) but is clearly an exploitation picture.  Mostly I remember 1980's-me wandering the aisles of the video store and being acutely aware there was more than one movie about women in jail, and some vague promise of sexiness.  But since my Mom was paying, I was not asking to see these films.

Reform School Girls is loosely based on the 1957 film Reform School Girl, which I have not seen.  But also familiar if you've seen other pictures. It's mostly been forgotten, but 1980's hip young adults were very into reflecting back the absurdities of the 1950's American monoculture.  If you go back and watch other 1980's movies, usually lower budget stuff, but you can see the Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, etc...  But also much as folks like myself born in the 70's grew up with 4 or 5 channels, most of which was reruns of stuff from decades prior.  So, yeah, I imagine replays of those old movies were part of all that.*

The movie itself follows a teen girl who gets in trouble with the law, which lands her in court and on to "reform school" (but good luck pointing out when anyone is in class in this movie).  The movie hits all the notes of prison and women in prison films, starting with the "you don't know what you're in for" messaging to the lead and therefore us.  And then cue the humiliations of entering prison, paired with the exploitation of a 1980's Corman flick.  And that's when I realized "oh yeah.  This is probably full of nudity", which is an awkward moment with a chat full of people.  

The movie's stars are Sybil Danning (who many dudes of a certain age has a passing knowledge), Pat Ast (whom you should Google), and Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics, who is 37 and playing... 45?  and 17?  I dunno, but I've thought she was great since I was 13 or 14.  And then actually stars a supposedly 16 year old Linda Carol (I am suspicious of her listed birth year) as our POV character hero.

I *do* think the movie is funnier than was taken by the group.  Everything is at 11.  It's all absurd, including the atrocities of the film, and that's kind of the point.  But maybe that's just not where we're at these days.  We kind of are more aware of actual exploitation in a way the 1980's was not.  But the movie could have leaned into the absurdity more and had fun with it instead of saying "no, the joke is how woefully dark this is going to get, and we're going to refuse to take it seriously".  

All in all, I wish I'd revisited it solo, but here we are.  

*it's funny.  Growing up in Austin, we really didn't have much in the way of TV on local channels after 10:30 PM except SNL.  I read  lot of references to latenight movies playing on local TV, but by the late 1980's, I was watching Reform School Girls on cable, not the movies that inspired it.  I don't remember what would have been playing on our UHF channel, if, in fact, they hadn't signed off.  I suspect the larger cities of the 1970s had more of this, but we just didn't.  

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Watch Party Watch: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Watched:  04/21/2023
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Sidney J Furie

I won't get into why we did this, but we did do it as a watch party, and I think folks enjoyed the experience if not the film. 

But here at The Signal Watch we also recently podcasted the film, so if you didn't listen to the episode then (and it's pretty good, if I say so myself), now is a great opportunity to hear three dudes who know a lot about Superman stuff talk about the movie.  



Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Tarzan Watch: Greystoke - the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)

this is the most pretentious possible Tarzan poster

Watched:  04/10/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Director:  Hugh Hudson

I can only imagine what the pitch meeting was for this movie, and I can totally see how it happened.  

In 1981, Hugh Hudson had directed Chariots of Fire, a movie that was a smash hit about pasty British guys running foot races and worrying about religion.  Like, you couldn't escape the movie, which I watched on TV once when I was sick as a kid and immediately erased from my memory.  But it was a big @#$%ing deal when adults went to the cinema.  

I'm sure it's great.  But it was an unlikely hit, and won Best Picture.  Career made for somebody.

So when the director of the footrace movie comes to you and says "we're gonna do Tarzan.  But now it's a prestige costume drama about how Tarzan is, in fact, a very sad ape man.  He is not a super-human living among men, continually pursued by hot women and fighting weird alien threats and large animals.  Instead, he's a kind of skinny French guy who does stuff you've seen apes do at the zoo.  But, you know, it's quite sad" I guess you trust and give that guy a sack of cash to give it a go.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Watch Party Watch: Big Trouble In Little China (1986)

Watched:  04/07/2023
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  John Carpenter

I framed this watch party as a "birthday surprise" as my birthday is next week.  So, until folks clicked on the watch party link, they had no idea what we were watching, so rather than me receiving a birthday surprise, I delivered one in the form of ol' Jack Burton.

To be fair, Big Trouble in Little China (1986) is a tough sell.  It's an action comedy that looks more or less like a straight action movie of the mid-80's and only occasionally winks to say "we're kidding here".  Also, by this point, 80's action movies were almost beyond parody, so having a lead hero who is all unsupportable braggadocio and a female lead who is an exposition-dumping, hard-headed crusader - you kind of have to listen to what and how people are delivering their lines to get "this is a joke".  

Explaining why something is funny, of course, makes it immediately not-funny.  And so Big Trouble in Little China is not a movie I've often shared with people.  But, you turn 48 once.  And why not enjoy a movie again you liked when you were 11?

It's just not to everyone's taste, or in alignment with everyone's expectations, and that's okay.  I would say that if you haven't seen it since you were a kid, it may be a very different movie than what you thought it was at age 12 or whatever.  

Also, we're still crushing on Gracie Law.

Prior discussion here.  

One of our first podcasts included discussion of Big Trouble in Little China.  

Saturday, April 1, 2023

JLC Watch: Prom Night (1980)

Watched:  03/30/2023
Format:  Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  Paul Lynch

We decided to watch another Jamie Lee Curtis movie for a Friday party watch.  This one is a post-Halloween JLC, when I guess folks pegged her as a scream queen.  But this is JLC, so she never really screams, she just kind of kicks ass when she's drawn into the action.

I'd not previously seen Prom Night.  When Prom Night II was meme-ing a while back, I tried to watch it first, even though the two are utterly unrelated. At that time, the movie wasn't available for some reason, but now it is, and while a career retrospective of an actor like JLC who is constantly working is difficult, why not try to check off the boxes?  

The actual plot of the movie, if you break down what it is, is really good.  I liked it.  But, man, the execution was all over the place.  Some parts were really solid, and some just dragged on when the outcome of, say, a girl chased by a killer, is never in doubt.  At this point in the slasher cycle, I assume the audiences would know that?  I dunno.  I was 5.  

The set up is that a bunch of kids are playing in an empty building in 1972 and one of the little kids, while playing a tag-like game, falls from a window to her death.  Because kids are all sociopaths, they make a pact to never tell anyone they were there and the death is supposed to be tied to a child molester who escapes.

So, there's a lot going on in the first ten minutes.  

Flash forward to 8 years later as the kids are getting ready for prom, the death of the girl remembered on the anniversary - and maybe that molester guy has returned?  

Anyway - all of that is gold, and possibly culled from the story the movie is based on.  But, man, the movie itself is kind of weird and draggy from the set up to the last 30 minutes or so, which is really pretty good.  Consequently, there's 45 minutes of the world's boringest 20-somethings posing as teens, romantic rivalries that only kinda work, a Carrie-ish riff from a meangirl, and maybe too many characters who only ever raise up to the mark of mildly interesting.  

What you can see is that JLC kind of shines in the middle of all this without doing a lot.  She's just got star power, and is projecting waves of energy, which culminates in a dance sequence at the prom (JLC can dance, apparently!) and then when she takes on the killer.  

Leslie Nielsen is in this playing a straight role as JLC's dad and the principal of the school.  I have literally no idea why he is in this.  He only seems to have been there for a few days of shooting and gets top billing.  

If the movie could have been as consistently good as the beginning and end, I'd recommend it.  I can see why they went daffy with the sequel.  This movie is, in many ways, a tragedy dressed up as a horror film, and it makes everything kind of a bummer as the thing wraps.  But it's also not a police procedural, so I can see why it works as it does with high school kids at the center and cops at the periphery.


Friday, March 31, 2023

The Play's The Thing Watch: Deathtrap (1982)

Watched:  03/28/2023
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Director:  Sidney Lumet

We watched Deathtrap (1982) in 2 parts, watching the first 30 minutes or so the night before we wrapped it up, finishing the last hour.  In between, I made comment to some pals that you don't see many movies about plays and the theatre, especially based on plays.  There are some, but not a lot.  There's a gulf in many folk's knowledge of Broadway other than that the tickets are pretty expensive when Spamelot! comes to town, but you pay it.  I expect this is a bit different for New Yorkers or Londoners, which an overwhelmingly vast majority of us are not, so movies have to be careful and ensure folks living in the suburbs know wtf they're talking about.

Still, you can do it and get away with it.  I can't name one of the movies we kicked around that I'd seen (Noises Off!, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, Chorus Line) that I don't like.  Probably should have squeezed in Cabaret for good measure.  

And, of course, I'm a Michael Caine stan, and the co-star is Christopher Reeve.  Plus: Dyan Cannon!  

It's a movie with a small cast, with Caine on screen > 75% of the time.  Sticking to the stageplay, it mostly takes place inside a single location of an East Hamptons house - something I assume means something to people from NYC and only marginally something to folks from Austin, TX.  

It's Caine as a failing playwright of comedic thrillers, his wealthy wife Dyan Cannon, and Christopher Reeve, who has written a brilliant play on his first go.  Caine realizes he can steal the play if he bumps off Reeve and takes it, putting his own name on it.

The set-up and set allows for amazing staging with props left over from Caine's prior shows scattered around, also his vintage collection of weapons, etc... 

For a play about plays, it doesn't get too in the weeds, I think, even as it probably was making jokes I wasn't quite getting referring to the theater scene.  It also has a very tight grip on the mechanics of thrillers - as it both is a thriller and talks about thrillers, and sometimes passes through the looking glass in a single scene where it becomes clear the action is mounting even as the characters discuss mechanics as they perform them.

That is really the astounding bit.  Loved it.

It's a sort of light-chuckle comedy for the most part - that's part of the mix when you're also writing a script with the fairly serious business of murder for personal gain.  Cannon's character is a Simon character with daffy quirks you know aren't just set dressing, and tossing in a psychic with an accent is a lot, but in it's better moments the thing works splendidly.


But the last scene was... not great.  Already it's hard to deal with a thriller that requires a wacky character to have what seems to be functioning ESP.  You've just entered magic into your thriller, plus a complete lack of boundaries from a stranger in a way that feels dishonest.  

Ha ha.  Got it.  She used her abilities to suss out the situation and made a buck off the two guys bumping each other off...  it's just not narratively very satisfying.  But it also feels very much like something in 1980 people would have found cute.  And cute is a weird f'ing turn for this movie to pursue in the final minutes of run time.  

Overall, I liked the movie, but it's really weird to watch something and feel like the movie absolutely fumbled on the one yard line.  Maybe a re-watch would get me to reconsider, but I don't know how inclined I am to a re-watch.

That said, Caine is typically phenomenal Caine, Reeve is fucking great, and Dyan Cannon is an absolute delight.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Watch Party Watch: A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Watched:  03/24/2023
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Charles Crichton

Well, this week is Jamie's birthday and this is one of her favorite movies, and it's also still adjacent to Jamie Lee Curtis winning an Oscar, so it seemed like a great chance to celebrate Jamies, so our Jamie picked this film to watch.

It was funny - we generally watch a certain grade of film for watch parties because we're all chatting, but the chat was pretty quiet as everyone was engrossed with the film.  In general I knew it would be a challenge as (a) it was a movie someone genuinely loved (b) it's a comedy, which is hard to comment on and (c) it's actually good, so what does one say?  

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) is hysterical.  And as followers of this blog and podcast will note, we love JLC here.  But, also, a while back, we recorded a whole podcast on the film.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Brooks Watch: History of the World - Part 1(1981)

Watched:  03/15/2023
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Mel Brooks

Hulu now has a series running called History of the World - Part II, which has participation from the 96-year-old Mel Brooks.  Jamie mentioned she'd never seen the movie, and I said "well, we can't have that" - even though I hadn't seen it since college - and so I put it on.

Right out of the gate, it's amazing how much this movie would not be made today.  I know that's something you see in every post or article about a movie made during a certain window, but the self-censorship (not enforced by a code or Breen office) that's crept in during the past 10-15 years is somewhat shocking to some of us who lived in the long, long ago.  That's not to say every joke can or does still land the way it would have 42 years ago, there's some that were not great in 1981, and there's some that just haven't stood the test of time.*  

That said, as a satirist, Brooks' "ain't I a stinker?" delivery still cuts remarkably well.  Whether you're taking the piss out of the self-seriousness of historical epics, actual history and historical figures, the folly of humanity through the ages from stone-age to French Revolution...  Brooks' eye for the absurd still works.  

My favorite bit remains the Spanish Inquisition, which - for a period of absolutely horror - has really managed to capture the imagination and create not one but TWO bits of classic comedy between the stunning musical sequence here and, of course, Monty Python.

I mean, there's so much to unpack here in commentary and the general "fuck you" baked into every moment is incredible, robbing the Catholic Church of its power and reminding people that Jews survived this bullshit, too.  Maybe I grew up on too much Bugs Bunny, but this kind of thing is a 1000x more effective in communicating truth to power than yet another shame-troll reminding you "actually" something is bad.

It's also a delight to see Gregory Hines having a grand time in this movie, Dom Deluise, the beloved Madeline Kahn at the top of her game, Sid Caesar, Cloris Leachman, Ron Carey, Harvey Korman, Pamela Stephenson (of Superman III fame), the voice of Orson Welles and @#$%ing Shecky Greene.

No one is going to accuse Brooks of not playing for cheap laughs, but it's the cumulative affect of what he chooses to cover and how that 

It doesn't work as well as some of his other films.  But it works on that High Anxiety level, which is "enjoyable, insightful, but not as sublime as Young Frankenstein".  

Anyway, the new series is on Hulu.  I watched the pilot.  It was hysterical.

*it's also depressingly necessary to note that showing a character (especially one who isn't our hero) engaging in bad behavior is not the same as endorsing that behavior. But that doesn't mean that the jokes don't feel a bit tired or still work

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Watch Party Watch: In the Line of Duty 2 - Super Cops (AKA: Yes, Madam!) (1985)

Watched:  02/24/2023
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Corey Yuen

This movie was very bad.  Well, this is actually two different movies stapled together, neither of which was thought out terribly well or given an ending.  I have no idea what was lost in translation, or if this was an edit.  But, woof.

We watched the movie for (a) a pre-fame Michelle Yeoh and (b) Cynthia Rothrock kicking the shit out of people.  And we got those!  And I liked that part.  Plus, really seeing how from 1985, Michelle Yeoh was obviously a star, from her martial arts prowess to her grace on screen to being able to rock some rad 1985 looks (what *can't* she do?).  

But Yeoh and Rothrock are only in maybe 3/7ths of the film.  The rest is handed over to three dum-dums who seem like they're in a kid's film minus the extraordinary amount of foul language the voice-over saddled them with.  

The basic story is that Yeoh's maybe boyfriend? from England is assassinated because he has evidence on film of forged documents from the world's jolliest badguy.  Two dum-dum's accidentally steal the evidence, and hand it over to a dipsit named Fingers who outfits crooks.  Rothrock - who is ADR'd by Lady Matt Barry - is made sort of cruel?  And I think we're supposed to get a good cop/ bad cop pairing between she and Yeoh, but there's so little time spent on it in favor of watching the three dumb-asses mug, it's just bizarre.

The film also just... ends.  Like, there's a lot to unpack after the 90 minutes you just spent with the characters, and a pivot to one of the dummies picking up a gun and committing cold blooded murder was a twist, certainly.  But our heroes are all going to jail at the end.  

I dunno.  It feels like they just forgot to write an ending and were like "oh, Dave.  We ran out of money to finish the third act, so we're going to just have you grab this gun and murder Barry.  Okay?"  And everyone wanted to go home, so they agreed.

I don't hate the movie  but I can't think of anything I enjoyed that wasn't Yeoh or Rothrock related.  (edit:  not true.  I enjoyed the mirthfulness of the chief baddie and the facial hair of his henchman, Wolf.)

Monday, February 20, 2023

PodCast 233: "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" (1987) - A KTB PodCast w/ Danny, Stuart and Ryan

Watched: 02/10/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Sidney J Furie

For Danny's Superheroes Every Day blog

Well. It's time to talk about the final, and possibly flawed installment of the Christopher Reeve movies about the Big Blue Boy Scout. Join three fellows who have spent way too much time pondering Superman, Superman movies, and the cinema of the 1980's as they consider topics such as "should this story have been told?", "what could have been?" and "who cooks a duck in someone else's hotel suite?" It's a Kryptonian Thought Beast episode for the ages!



Superman Main Titles (8 Bit Version) - 8 Bit Universe 

DC Movies and Television

Superheroes Every Day PodCast Episodes

Sunday, February 5, 2023

80's Watch: Action Jackson (1988)

Watched:  02/04/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Director:  Craig R Baxley

Well, 13-year-old-me that wanted to see this, we did it.  We finally got around to watching Action Jackson (1988).  And what a strange, strange movie this is.  

There are moments where you think "this movie had a $5 budget" and then you think "well, there are lots of explosions and stuff."  But you also know the star here was Carl Weathers, who is charismatic and cool, but he hadn't carried a ton of stuff or big action movies.  The director is the stunt coordinator from Predator, and the film includes not just Weathers but Bill Duke as the cranky captain calling Jackson into his office and a brief appearance by Sonny Landham (Billy in Predator).  

But that's not all!  Craig T. Nelson plays the Mr. Big corporate villain, a fresh-faced Sharon Stone is his dumb-as-a-bag-of-rocks wife, Vanity is our deeply complicated love interest/ MacGuffin, Tom Wilson (Biff from BTTF) is a cop,  Robert Davi gets five minutes.  But most remarkable, it's just full of "that guy!" character actors in almost every scene.  

Friday, February 3, 2023

I Guess I Watched That Watch: Mannequin (1987)

Photoshop is hard, y'all

Watched:  02/02/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Michael Gottleib

Well.  I somehow watched Mannequin (1987) Thursday evening.  

As the day drew to a close and we were figuring out life after our ice storm here, I sat down to do some things and was like "ha ha!  Mannequin is on HBOmax!" and the next thing I knew, I was watching department store art director and bon vivant, Hollywood, knock over bumbling security guards with a firehose (that's the end of the movie, gang).


1)  this movie recognizes the reality and divinity of the Egyptian pantheon, and I was wondering how that would play a role for the characters, but it's just not a factor except when their fulfilling wishes.  What does it mean to realize that Osiris is out there granting boons?

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

PodCast 230: "Jaws 3-D" (1983) - An Angry Animal Movie w/ Jamie, SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  01/22/2023
Format:  AMazon
Viewing: First
Decade:  1980s
Director:  Joe Alves

Jamie, SimonUK and Ryan go back in the water - at Sea World! It's been 40 years since this 3D film hit theaters, so what better way to watch it than in 2D with 1/10th the excitement of the original, and 2x the co-contributors?!! It's a sequel that doesn't care what made the first one work, but it raises the stakes, finds a sunnier locale, adds sharks, half-heartedly continues the saga of the Brody family, and defies biology and physics to bring you excitement and terror!



Jaws 3 Main Title Theme - Alan Parker 

Angry Animals Playlist

Thursday, January 19, 2023

80's Watch: Running Scared (1986)

Watched:  01/17/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Peter Hyams

Running Scared (1986) was a movie I remember watching a bunch during the window when we had whatever movie channel carried it in the late 1980's, which is the last time I watched the film.   I haven't really missed it, but it kept coming up thanks to the power of Michael McDonald's "Sweet Freedom".  And, Jamie had never seen it and got tired of me saying "yeah, we could watch that some time."  So, we did.

I have no idea how the movie was considered when I was a kid.  I'm not looking up reviews or box office now.  As a middle-schooler, of course I loved loose cannon, wise-cracking cops who get to shoot guns, get into shenanigans and are repeatedly shown to be right.  As an adult, this is a movie about wise-cracking cops repeatedly abusing their authority, engaging in police brutality, tampering with evidence, getting witnesses and stoolies killed, stealing from the evidence locker, refusing to follow basic procedure, and never having to explain major shoot outs and acts of violence.  It is wiiiiiild.  This was what we wanted to watch in the 1980's.

The film is also constantly asking "so, this isn't racist, right?"  But, man, we sure had no problem showing the only Latinos in a movie as crooks or aiding crooks.  

To say it hasn't aged well is an understatement.

The basic plot is that Chicago's loosest of loose cannon cops are made to take vacation after stepping on the toes of a different vice sting (and establishing our villain in Jimmy Smits).   They've always been "shoot first and ask questions later" guys about their own safety and that of the the greater Chicagoland area.   But while in Key West, apparently landing women way out of their league, they impulsively buy a bar and plan to retire in 30 days.  As short-timers, they suddenly realize they could get shot and die.  Thus the title.  But it doesn't really effect the plot more than, like, twice.      

The movie is pitched as an action-comedy, but is short on both.  It's a long movie, and it didn't really need to be because it's a movie that doesn't really have anything interesting to say, and is a basic "cops catch drug kingpin" film that was being churned out every week back in the 1980's.*  

It's not that it's not funny at all.  It's sorta funny, but it basically feels like bits of improv more than any focused effort to be a comedy.  The violence is sporadic and feels out of whack from the mugging Crystal and Hines are up to, so when they get super serious at the end of the film, you're kinda-like "you two dipshits have been yukking it up and putting the entire city of Chicago in danger every twenty minutes this whole movie, and now you're concerned?"

Crystal does his familiar stuff from the era, Hines is charming.  We're told both are more physically appealing than I would guess they are.  And it's a reminder that roles for women in 1986 were mostly to stand around and shake heads at the antics of our heroes.  It also has Joe Pantoliano, Dan Hedaya (of course), Jon Gries, Larry Hankin, and probably other 80's and 90's faces you might enjoy.

I didn't hate it, but it's more interesting as a dated artifact of a bygone era than as a good movie.  I dunno.  Maybe I'll watch it again in another 33 years.

But, hey, it's fun to see the Chicago of the 1980's that isn't in the Hughes-filmed mini-mansion North Side suburbs.

*I always found it peculiar that coked-up producers were making so many movies about stopping cocaine.  That would be like me making a movie about stopping a cheese-monger.  

Monday, January 16, 2023

Shatner Watch: Star Trek II and Shatner in Austin


O Captain!  My Captain!

Watched:  01/15/2023
Format:  uhhhh....  we watched the movie on a screen and then Shatner was there!  Right in front of us!
Viewing:  Movie - 1,000th, Shatner - First
Director:  Nicholas Meyer/ No one tells Bill what to do

I won't comment too much on the actual movie of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982).  It was watching the movie with a 1000 people in an symphony hall.  Correction - watching it with 1000 Trekkies and Trekkers.  Both you and I have seen this movie dozens of times.  I will say this - it's easy to forget what Kirstie Alley was like on the big screen, but she certainly was a presence (RIP and good golly).  And, of course, seeing the ship-to-ship combat on the big screen is always a pleasure and needs to be more of what Star Trek does when it's not Strange New Worlds-ing.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

PodCast 227: "The Sea Wolves" (1980) - A SimonUK Cinema Selection - w/ Ryan

Watched:  12/27/2022
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing: First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Andrew V. McClagen

Simon and Ryan return for one last mission.... AGAIN! It's a based-on-a-true-story adventure of old dudes leaping into action for King and Country and to protect the sea-ways of the Indian Ocean from duplicitous Germans in WWII! Join our band of adventurers and let's blow some @#$% up!



The Sea Wolves Opening Titles - Roy Budd
Precious Moments - Matt Monro 

SimonUK Cinema Series

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Christmas Watch: A Christmas Story (1983)

Watched:  12/24/2022
Format:  TNT, baby
Viewing:  ha ha ha ha
Director:  Bob Clark

No real need to write this up.  Annual watch of Christmas Story (1983) as we wound down from Christmas Eve festivities.  

Way, way back at episode 34, Laura and I talked about this movie as our very first Christmas episode ever!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

PodCast 225: "Gremlins" (1984)- a Holiday 2022 PodCast w/ Stuart and Ryan


Watched:  12/10/2022  
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Joe Dante

What's more festive than a pack of insane asexually reproducing hyper-intelligent chaos monsters on Christmas Eve? Nothing. We get stuck in the chimney of good cheer as we talk this 1980's favorite which has become an unlikely holiday staple. So, dunk yourself in water, grab a bite after 12, and turn off the lights. It's time to talk The Best Movie Audience Ever.



Gremlins Rag - Jerry Goldsmith

Holiday Selections 2022