Tuesday, November 27, 2007


"The First Casualty of War is Innocence"

This movie is a real classic and winner of 4 Academy Awards. Platoon is written and directed by Oliver Stone and stars young Charlie Sheen known as Chris Taylor in the movie. The movie shows what it is like in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Platoon is extremely tense and keeps you on the edge of your seat during the whole movie.

Throughout the movie Charlie Sheen gives you mini monologues or little journal entries letting you know what day it is and how he feels about the whole situation over in Vietnam. This technique makes it a lot easier to know what the troops are about to do and where they are headed.

Oliver Stone does a great job filming this movie by making it very realistic. He does a great job showing the types of problems and difficult situations are troops and the Viennese were put in while this war was going on. The movie includes a little of everything from the killing and raping of innocent girls to extremely exciting ambushes and firefights, to even friendly fire of our own troops due to an argument. The movie really shows all the extreme events our troops had to go through and after watching this movie it is easy for me to understand why so many of our soldiers had a hard time adjusting back to life in the United States.

This is a great action movie that really keeps your attention from the opening scene to the very last scene. This movie definitely deserved all 4 Academy Awards it was given!


Scarface (1983) Brian De Palma

Scarface is a mob film that has become an instant classic. The movie follows the story of Tony Montana, an immigrant from Cuba. Tony learns that life in a capitalistic country is not as easy as he thought. When the opportunity arises for him to make more money doing drug deals than the backbreaking low paying job he is working as a dishwasher, he takes it. Pretty soon Tony learns about the world of drugs in Miami in the 1980’s and the more he learns, the greedier he becomes. Although his boss, Frank Lopez, warns him of the pitfalls of greed, Tony doesn’t listen. He falls in love with his boss’s girlfriend and begins to resent Frank even more. When visiting Bolivia, he meets Alexander Sosa who offers him a chance to become a huge dealer and bring in millions of dollars. When Frank hears about the business Tony set up without his permission he is furious. Tony decides to venture out on his business by himself bringing his best friend Manny with him. Tony also proposes to Frank’s girlfriend, Elvira. Frank sets up assassins to try and kill Tony, but after the shootout Tony escapes and instead kills Frank. Once Frank is dead, Elvira finally decides to marry Tony and his business starts flourishing. Soon he is making more money that he can handle, but with this his cocaine habit gets worse. Tony and Elvira’s life together becomes a miserable mix of just getting high and being greedy. This movie is a 80s movie because of the themes it covers and because the mob and gangster genre became extremely popular during this time period. The film has stood the test of time with everyone still recognizing the line “say hello to my little friend!” Although this movie may be a bit violent and graphic for some, I would recommend it to anyone who likes films like Goodfellas or The Untouchables. Brian De Palma’s work is brilliant with a story about greediness and its consequences.

Top Gun

Top Gun (1986) Tony Scott

The man of the 80’s, Tom Cruise, stars in the action packed film about fighter pilots. When Cougar bails on Top Gun, Stinger must send another team of his top pilots. Maverick and Goose head over to US Navy Fighter Weapons School; also known as Top Gun amongst the pilots. The competition is fierce as everyone is competing for the top spot. Maverick’s biggest rival is Iceman. Maverick decides to do as he wishes on the first day flying and in turn breaks many rules even though he ends up getting the teacher. When he’s at a bar with Goose, he sees a woman and sings to her in an attempt to get with her. She turns him down and also tells him that he is a horrible singer. Later, Maverick discovers that the woman he hit on is actually one of his instructors. When he tells her that he flew a plane into an inverted dive and then flipped the other plane off, she becomes intrigued by him. Maverick pursues her and she ends up falling in love with him. When a mission goes wrong, Goose’s seat ejects and he hits the canopy and dies. This leads Maverick to doubt himself although the accident was not his fault. The movie ends with Maverick saving Iceman’s back. This movie is a classic 80’s movie that has stood the test of time. People still consider it one of the best action movies and it is well known all throughout the world. The film influenced many trends of the 80’s such as the aviators that became popular thanks to Tom Cruise. This movie has influenced generations and I’m sure will continue to influence generations to come.

Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society (1989) Peter Weir

Dead Poets Society is unlike any 80s movie I’ve seen before. Movies that come to mind when I think of it include American Beauty and Crash. The movie follows seven boys who attend a strict New England prep school. The boys have gotten used to their monotonous planned out lives trying to please their parents and take the path that has been laid out for them. The boys find this life dull and unfulfilling as they are just doing as their parent’s wish they would out of obligation instead of pursuing their passions. When the boys meet their new English teacher, Mr. Keating, their lives are forever changed. Mr. Keating teaches the boys in unconventional ways; influencing them to be more creative, passionate and to seize the day. He teaches them the importance of Carpe Diem, viewing the world differently, and to be passionate. When the boys find Mr. Keating’s old yearbook picture, they ask him about the Dead Poets Society. He tells the boys about it, and how he would go to the woods and recite poetry with his friends. The students decide to start their own Dead Poets Society. The influence it has on them is tremendous; they grow and start to become their own person. Neil joins a play, Knox pursues a girl that he just can’t have, Todd finally gets over his fear of public speaking, and Dalton speaks out against the headmaster. Because of Mr. Keating the boys learn more about themselves, life, and the world than they ever would have from any other teacher. He pushes and inspires them to be better people and to think outside the box. When Neil does not quit the play he is in, his father is furious with him. His parents plan had been for him to become a doctor, but his new passion is acting which he wants to pursue. Neil’s father threatens to withdraw him from Welton to attend a military school. The movie ends tragically, but it inspires and makes the audience think. It is an excellent movie and has definitely stood the test of time. I would recommend it to anyone because it is a movie everyone should see.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

In 1989 directors Ron Clements and John Musker joined forces to create the cinematic masterpiece that is “The Little Mermaid”. The film “The Little Mermaid” is the story based off the fairy tale written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1836. In the first part of the film we are introduced to several key characters who serve meaningful roles throughout the film. Ariel, the actual mermaid herself is a teenage girl who wants to escape her underwater life and be a real human. The ballad “Part of Your World” gives viewers a good summarization of what she wants to be a part of. We also meet Ariel’s friends Flounder, a fish and Sebastian, a sea crab. We are introduced to King Triton, Ariel’s father who warns her to stay away from contact with the humans. In the shadows of the sea lives Ursula, an evil sea witch who watches Ariel and sees her as a way to take revenge on King Triton and rule the sea. We also meet Eric, a sea man from the world above who ends up being Ariel’s romantic interest throughout the film. Through the story of Ariel and Eric we see a predicament commonly found in modern society, a fathers trouble with letting his daughter grow up and fall in love with another man. Ursula grants Ariel the exchange of human legs for her voice and Ariel is given human legs. The film takes us on a journey from way under the sea to the land world in which we live in, with constant twists and turns but as always a classic Disney happy ending. This film was the revival of the musical format of Disney films with classic hits like “Under the Sea”, “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl”. The music in this film is phenomenal, and never misses a note. “The Little Mermaid” shows little to no evidence of the time period in which it was released; this may be due to the fact that the film is an animated film. I would recommend this film to any lover of Disney films, or any young child. I will also give recommendation to any adult who wants to go into a film with an open mind. I went into this film feeling this way and thoroughly enjoyed the entire film.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

“Aloha Mr. Hand” is the line that I will always think about when summing up the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Writer and producer Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) along with director Amy Heckerling bring us this film about high school in California in 1982. Fast Times at Ridgemont High brings us the story of what high school really is like. With lots of topics that may be touchy such as drugs and sex, this film gives viewers the best feel for the awkward years that make up high school. After all, this film was based off Cameron Crowe’s book where he actually went to a Califoniria High School and went undercover as a student. The film shows us a very proper feel for high school when it shows us the different social groups hanging out, something that was very similar to what went on at the high school, which I attended. My personal favorite character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was Jeff Spicoli. Spicoli played by actor Sean Penn is the classic California “stoner” who just sits around, surfs, smokes pot and drives a VW Bus without a care for a thing in the world. The film’s main plot surrounds Characters Stacey and Mark; these two give us a great summarization of what high school romance is really about. I thought that this film showed lots of 80’s signifiers, from the way the cars looked to the way that the students were dressed, this film was totally 80’s. I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to sit and watch a film that would thoroughly entertain him or her while teaching them a lesson of romance at the same time.