Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Princess Bride (1987)

A classic in and of itself, is there anyone who actually hasn't seen The Princess Bride? I grew up watching this 1987 film, and I have to say that it probably affected my vision of true love more than any of the Disney fairy tales.

What makes this film so great? Westley's undying love for Buttercup? Inigo's unfaltering allegiance to his father's memory? Miracle Max and Fezzik's (not together like the clip might suggest, for the rare one's that haven't seen it, that scene is between Inigo and Fezzik) great sense of humor? I'm not sure, but I do know that I could watch this movie back to back and not get tired of it.

The one thing that I don't like about this movie though, is how ditsy Buttercup is. I mean, when you first meet Buttercup and Westley and they're still on the farm you think "oh, they're probably both just daft because of the intensity of this new love or something." I mean, we've all been there. But after Westley goes off and makes his way in the world, you start to realize that he's actually a pretty smart and courageous guy. But Buttercup, she does nothing to prove that she has even the minutest amount of intelligence. I'm not talking about how she doesn't recognize her "one true love's" chin, either. Because you know, that's a willing suspension of disbelief and all. Come on though, seriously, when he's fighting the ROUS in the Fire Swamp she just STANDS THERE! Doesn't kick him his sword, nothing. Not to mention that she doesn't figure out Prince Humperdink's scam until the movie is practically over. How dumb do you have to be to be fooled by that jerk?

Believe it or not, as nerdy as this sounds, I actually named my car after Westley. Hey, when I was in high school, my car was the ultimate hero.

P.S. As great as the movie is, the book is like fifty times better.

St. Elmo's Fire (1985)

Okay, so, truth. A really good friend of mine bought me this movie like five years ago on a random midnight run to WalMart. It was in the $5.99 bin, and I told him that I'd never seen it before, so he picked it up for me. It has sat on my shelf since then, still wrapped in celophane, waiting to be watched. So I finally yanked it out and was pleasantly surprised.

St. Elmo's Fire is the story of seven friends who graduated from college just a few months before the film is set. It's about the trials and tribulations that these kids meet as they enter into the world of adulthood. Growing up all the while, Billy (Rob Lowe) learns that life isn't all fun and games just in time to save Jules (Demi Moore) from a coked out loss of reality. Kirby (Emilio Estevez) doesn't get the girl he's looking for, but realizes that maybe there's more to life--following your own dreams and not someone else's. Leslie (Ally Sheedy) is torn between her first love, Alec (Judd Nelson) and his best friend, Kevin (Andrew McCarthy). And Wendy learns that all of life does not revolve around Billy. In the end, they all realize that as long as they still have each other's friendship, it doesn't matter what happens in life.

Plus, who would want to miss Rob Lowe rocking out on a saxophone? An all star eighties teen flick cast, makes this film a must see.

On a personal note, I hate that Ally Sheedy and Andrew McCarthy don't end up together. He loves her, he's always loved her, and that stupid ass Judd Nelson cheated on her. Why does she have to think about it? Why does she need time without miracles when that great guy has been right under her nose for so long. Her relationship with Judd definitely didn't seem like a miracle to me. Couldn't that have been considered a time without miracles? My best friend, Aubrey, tells me that it isn't supposed to be about love and happily ever afters, that the film is supposed to be about friendship and making friendship last. I get that, really, I do, but seriously! It wouldn't hurt to have one couple end up together and Judd Nelson should just have to choke it down because his character, Alec, was a douche. (rant over)

The Blues Brothers

Joliet and Elwood Blues (John Belushi and Dan Akroyd) are on a mission from God. As the Blues Brothers, two white orphans who grew up in the inner city of Chicago and were raised on the blues, they must raise the money to save the orphanage that raised them from going bankrupt due to back taxes.

The movie starts with Joliet ,John Belushi, being let out of jail and picked up in an old cop car, the Bluesmobile, by his brother Elwood, Dan Akroyd. They learn of the orphanage's plight and set out on their mission from God to form their old band and play a charity concert to raise the money to pay the taxes. They get in a fight with a country and western band, they cross cops and wives, they cause a riot in fancy restaurant, and even get a price on their head by Illinois Nazis. And who doesn't hate Illinois Nazis?

The final scene of this movie is the greatest car chase of all time.

This movie is full of huge names in music, such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, and plenty of classic blues studio musicians.

The Blues Brothers is one of my favorite movies from all time, and it has an amazing soundtrack that I own and listen to often. It's pretty much my dream to put giant speakers on the roof of my car. A sequel came out in 2000, but John Belushi is dead so I have no want to see it.


Porky’s (1982) is essentially a 1980’s American Pie, paving the way for that genre along with Animal House and others. The story is told through the eyes of high school boys, filled with testosterone and slight perversion. It is filled with the boys peeking into the girl’s locker room shower (as featured in the movie poster), going to the strip club Porky’s, and playing pranks on each other. While the humor is extremely juvenile and raunchy, the film is quite entertaining, especially if you are a teen. My favorite part is when Pee Wee, an extremely horny virgin boy, goes out on a date a little over ambitiously, already wearing a condom upon arrival. Also, more sexual humor includes the boys encounter with “Cherry Forever” a stripper, and a gym teacher out to find the culprit by hiring a sketch artist to draw a penis. On of the boy’s then jokingly remarks, “Have you seen this prick?” I truly believe that this film strongly influences films of today, and had a major impact on the teen sex film genre. It is not distinctly 80’s, as the subject matter of teen sexuality and confusion transcends the decades. I stated earlier, I would recommend this movie to teens (especially boys) but however not to adults. Adults seem to not appreciate this type humor. For example, I wouldn’t recommend this movie to my grandmother. So as long as your not watching with your parents, grandmother, or anyone over the age of 30, this is a classic 80’s movie which is an absolute essential for any American Pie fan.


Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman will always be looked at as the start to an era of films. Since Burton’s film in 1989, four films about the dark night have come out with another on the way. Batman is centered on Bruce Wayne, a wealthy businessman and alter character Batman, a dark crusader who fights crime in the hellish city of Gotham. Actor Michael Keaton plays batman. Batman’s main enemy is the psychopathic clown The Joker, played by Jack Nicholson. Bruce Wayne and Batman’s main love interest in the film is Vicki Vale, a reporter/photographer who comes to Gotham City to find out more about the mystery that is Batman. The story takes us on a true adventure, giving us the feeling that we are actually right inside a comic book. The film however is not your average action film; it is rather dark and gothic. Batman is a true thrill ride and a film that inspired the string of superhero movies that we see making a popular genre today. The Washington Post said that batman is “Dark, haunting and poetic. Tim Burton’s Batman is a magnificent living comic book. From its opening shots, as the camera descends into the grim teeming streets of Gotham City, the movie fixes you in it’s gravitational pull.” This quote gives a good summarization of the film. The film shows little to no elements from the 1980’s, with amazing special effects and all star acting, I would recommend Batman to anyone who wants to watch a truly amazing film.

A Fish Called Wanda

A Fish Called Wanda is a 1988 classic dark comedy featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese and Kevin Kline. Wanda (Curtis) is a sexually empowered woman (to say the least) with a lust for wealth, specifically diamonds. She plans to steal a large diamond from a London museum along with her boyfriend Otto (Kline) and two others. When plans go awry, each of the four begin a downfall of backstabbing in attempt to get the diamond for themselves. My favorite part is when Wanda and Otto need to talk their way out of a sticky situation when the lawyer’s wife comes home while Wanda is seducing him. In another hilarious part, Wanda continues her seduction with this lawyer at luxurious flat. This, however, is also interrupted, this time by an entire family walking in the door. The film stands up over time because it has you laughing out loud at the absurdity of the extremely well developed characters. Also, it is somewhat distinctly 80’s because it has a more modern view on women in society, having a sexually empowered female as the main character. Wanda is a woman who gets what she wants however necessary, including using men through seduction. You find yourself rooting for Wanda and other characters, even though they are not exactly moral people by any standard. I would recommend this movie to any comedy fan, and would actually go as far to say I would guarantee you would laugh. Also, who doesn’t love watching people try to pull off a heist? This is an 80’s film not to be missed.

The Fox and the Hound

“Forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things.”

This is the touching story of a hunting dog and its friend who is supposed to be his enemy. A fox, Todd, and a hound, Copper, become friends, not knowing that they are supposed to be mortal enemies. They meet as young pups and their friendship simply expands as they grow older. That is until Copper realizes that his job, what he has been raised to do is to kill Todd. Copper tells Todd that their relationship is over and he and his fellow hounds chase the fox. Todd escapes while one of Copper’s friends is injured. From then on Copper swears to get revenge on the fox. After running hiding and moving around there is a showdown between the hunter, his hounds and the fox. During their chase the hounds disturb a bear, however, despite now being enemies Todd turns back and saves his former friend. The fox and the hound then go their separate ways, but knowing their friendship is intact.

This is probably one of Disney’s most under-rated movies. It is a story of friendship and persevering through the even the hardest times with those friends help. In this movie two things that were bred and told to be enemies survive because they went against the norms and were friends. I would recommend this for people watching movies with a young audience.

Big - 1988

A 13 year old kid named Josh goes to school, has a best friend and a crush in his suburban dream childhood. After being humiliated by a carny in front of the girl he likes and her sideways ponytail, he mopes off into the distance where he encounters the Zoltair machine. Unplugged, it's eyes alit in a red glow, it's mouth opens and closes like a fish desperate for water on its gills, the Zoltair offers young Josh the chance to make a wish. "I wanna be big".

The next morning young Josh awakes to find he is quite big. Something closing in on 40. Also he has become Tom Hanks. He runs off to the city of New York after his mom flips out about Tom Hanks breaking into her house and stealing her child.

Tom Hanks and Billy, his child friend, try to find the Zoltair machine and also get Tom Hanks a job while they wait the 6 weeks for the city to supply them the location. Tom Hanks shoots up the ranks of a toy company, and some woman named Susan falls in love him and lets him touch her tit, which officially makes this 13 year old man-child more sexually experienced than me. The boss loves Josh's toy ideas, his rival coworkers become jealous of him, and Susan becomes his girlfriend. But then Josh decides he wants to be a kid again and so Susan drives him to a Zoltair machine and he goes and makes a wish and while he walks away he shrinks back into a 13 year old in a man's suit and then Susan cries and it's really creepy because she's like 40 and he's like 13 and she still clearly loves him. Then he goes in his house and his mom starts yelling, the end.

This movie has cute moments and really obvious color symbolism but for the most part is just a really bad kids movie with the fuck word in it which strikes me as odd because this movie is rated PG. It doesn't have any moral really because no matter how awesome Tom Hanks life becomes he just wants to be a kid again which is stupid because he has, like, an awesome life, and because the most convincing argument the filmmaker can make for him wanting to go back is Tom Hanks watching some kids get their picture taken and playing stickball.

Also it's a really creepy movie. Elizabeth Perkins is in love with a 13 year old. He has sex with her. Maybe that just weird to me I don't know.

I like watching this movie but it really is just awful.

The Karate Kid is a 1984 John G. Avildsen film starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. It is a martial arts movie and an "underdog" story much in the model of a previous Avildsen smash, the 1976 boxing picture Rocky.

Danny LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is desperately eager to learn karate because bullies are tormenting him at his new high school. Unfortunately, these bullies happen to be students at the local dojo, where the philosophy is “strike hard, strike fast, no mercy.” Mr. Miyagi, Danny’s kindly neighbor, agrees to teach the boy karate himself after witnessing a particularly brutal episode of harassment. The elderly Japanese handyman convinces the dojo to leave Danny alone until the upcoming karate tournament, where they will settle their differences once and for all.
Throughout the movie Danny is constantly being challenged whether it be by himself or karate students who bully him. Once he meets Mr. Miyagi, he immediately begins to learn valuable life lessons such as discipline, respect, and courage. This movie is all about conquering your fears and how conquering fears can be a truly rewarding experience. This is a great movie for kids of all ages to watch, as they will learn that anything is possible with the right attitude and dedication. There are no dull moments in this movie. The film is balanced with funny and emotional scenes. This movie will definitely leave you with a good feeling inside.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Look Who's Talking

Look Who’s Talking debuted in 1989, it starred Kristie Alley, John Travolta, and had the voice talents of Bruce Willis. One of the most fascinating things about this movie is the opening scene in which the audience watches the sperm travel through the woman’s body and finally to the egg which it fertilizes, interestingly enough the sperm and the egg each have voices and the audience can hear the sperm’s determination to make it and the egg’s attempted protests. All this leads to a pregnant Kristie Alley, playing Molly, who’s boyfriend does not react very well to the news of her pregnancy and winds up going back to his wife. Molly is left to deal with her pregnancy alone, until the day she goes into labor. To get to the hospital she hires a cab, driven by James (John Travolta), who freaks out when he realizes his client is in labor and drives like a madman (even by NY standards) to get her to the hospital quickly; once there he is mistaken for the father and is quickly pushed into the delivery room, where Mikey is born. Later James call on Molly at her apartment as she forgot her purse in his cab, and he leaves as Mikey’s new babysitter. After a lot of strange circumstances including Molly getting back together with her ex, dumping him after he is not acting like a good father to Mikey, Mikey and James bonding, Molly’s parents pressuring her to get married, flight lessons, and James using Molly’s address to get his father into a nursing home the movie culminates in toddler Mikey high jacking a car with a breadstick at the nursing home. After that Molly and James realize, through their common love for Mikey, that they truly belong together and Mikey finally gets his perfect family . . . or at least until his sister is born in the sequel.

What makes this movie truly special, and more than your average romantic comedy, is that the audience can hear Mikey (and all the other babies) talk, even though the adults in the film can’t. The movie is truly from his perspective as he gives us witty commentary as to what the baby’s point of view on the events in the film, including begging to be put back in after birth. Mikey fails to understand why his mother calls a stranger his father when James is the one he hangs around all the time, he jokes, he’s sarcastic, and he gives the audience an innocent point of view on the romantic plight of his mother and his frustration at her inability to understand him. Look Who’s Talking is truly a fun movie to watch and is (in my opinion) one of the best films made. It’s a unique movie that has spanned a couple of sequels; Look Who’s Talking Too (in which Mikey gets a sister), and Look Who’s Talking Now (Mikey and his sister get dogs).

This film was directed by Joe Johnston and it stars Rick Moranis.
The absurd tale revolves around a nutty scientist & dad named Wayne Szalinski who is working on a machine to miniaturize objects. When his two kids plus their two neighboring friends wander into his lab, Wayne inadvertently shrinks the four of them. The kids then go through a series of crazy adventures that have to with them being so small. There were some pretty cool effects in the movie that really made me feel like I was as small as they were. Killer bees attack, a lawn mower almost runs them over, ants are gigantic, and the son almost drowns in a giant bowl of cereal. It was fun to see all the objects that look humongous from their point of view. The story has plenty of adventure and danger as the tiny kids brave the perils of the jungle, which is actually their lawn. I was never bored in this movie because once the kids were shrunken they were constantly facing a new adventure. I also liked the sense of camaraderie and teamwork between the kids.

Although this film is pretty cheesy, it is definitely fun to watch. The special effects are pretty cool but their not incredible. I definitely would recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it. I think it’s a movie that one you see it once you probably don’t need to watch again. The acting was not bad and the goofy dad was entertaining to watch. It’s definitely a great movie to watch with the family. I would stick two the original, the sequels are not as good.

Earth Girls Are Easy (1989)

"An out-of-this-world, down-to-earth comedy adventure."

This kooky comedy directed by Julien Temple, and written by Julie Brown and Charlie Coffey, stars Geena Davis as Valerie, writer Julie Brown as Candy, and Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans as Mac, Wiploc, and Zeebo the aliens.

The film revolves around the life of Valerie Gail (Geena Davis) and her best friend Candy Pink (Julie Brown) and their "Valley Girl" lifestyle in California, including Valerie's job as a manicurist at the "Curl Up and Dye." In an attempt to make her fiancee more excited about their wedding, Valerie gets a makeover into a bleach-blonde, that proves to be futile when she walks in on her financee with another woman, causing them to break up.

Soon after this, Valerie is laying out by her pool, and suddenly a spaceship shaped like a blow-dryer crashes into it containing three furry aliens named Mac, Wiploc, and Zeebo. She and Candy decide to give the aliens a makeover, and when they shave all their fur off, they actually end up becoming three really hot guys, but three really hot guys that know absolutely nothing about how to act on Earth.

In order for the aliens to return home, Valerie's pool must be drained, which will take about a day, and until then, Valerie is in charge of taking care of the aliens. To kill time, Valerie and Candy take the aliens out to a nightclub called Deca Dance. In the meantime, a romance sparks between Valerie and Mac, and Wiploc and Zeebo almost get killed by Valerie's ex-fiancee and accidently rob a liquor store.

Like most fairy-tale stories, everything turns out for the best, and Valerie and Mac end up riding off in his blow-dryer shaped spaceship at the end of the movie. This one's a little "out there," but it's fun and I would definitely recommend it.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Fast Times At Ridgemont High, is the ultimate teen movie. It is the most stereotypical depiction of teens in high school. All in all, the movie seems to dumb down teenagers, yet all teens can relate at the same time. Stacy Hamilton, is your typical high school freshman. She is "curious" about sex being she is a virgin. She is involved in the typical "Hit it and quit it" scenario with the home stereo salesman. He sleeps with her, and then dumps her. But atleast she has Mark Ratner, who is in her biology class, and asks her out. On their date, she seems to move a little too fast for him, seeing as he is not as experienced, and he chickens out. Way to go Mark. But let's move on to Spicoli. Typical screwup. He drinks beer, smokes, and takes out friend, Charles Jefferson's Camaro for a ride. And what do you know, he wrecks it. What will he do to fix it? Graffiti it and blame on the rivals of course! Jefferson's anger is released during that night's football game, and off goes the quarterback on a stretcher.

Spicoli's antics continue in class with Mr. Hand. Over the year he annoys the teacher to the point where he is in danger of failing. As he grins vacantly, orders pizza in class, and generally drives his teacher, Mr. Hand, nuts with his heavy-duty stupidity.

Not much more can be said about Spicoli, so back to Stacy. She finally discovers sex and winds up getting pregnant the second time out. The guilty party, hustler Mike Damone, welshes on her by refusing to pay half the cost of an abortion. How embarrassing, her brother has to take her, and like a good friend, Linda spreads rumors about Mike's manhood. Perfect revenge.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a classic. Each character conveys a different stereotype of high school kids. Spicoli is friends with everyone. Stacy is a innocent turned slutty girl. Brad is the older brother looking after his sexified younger sister. Mark is the nerdy guy who in the end gets the girl. I recommend everyone who has yet to watch this classic film, to get on that immediately. You will not be disappointed.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

"Yule Crack Up"

I thought National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was an appropriate film from the 1980's, it being so near to, well, Christmas vacation and everything. Written by John Hughes, directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik, and starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki as Clark, Ellen, Audrey, and Rusty Griswold, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is another of the hilarious National Lampoon adventures, just this time of the Christmas variation.

This unconventional Christmas story begins with Clark Griswold taking his family on an expedition into the wilderness to find the perfect Christmas tree that included pissing off some passing motorcyclists, driving between the axles of a semi-truck, and walking for what seems to be miles in woods, his daughter even exclaiming that she can't feel her hips. Once they find what Clark deems to be the perfect tree, although it may look good, it is far from causing him problems. After Clark realizes that they have no saw with which to cut down the tree, you see them comically driving home with the tree on the roof of their car, roots still in tact. Then once they actually get the tree into their house it is way too big and breaks one of the windows.

Later, while Christmas shopping at a department store, Clark meets an attractive salesperson and while talking to her accidentally slips up and says some inappropriate things to her such as, "It's a bit nipply outside." He then goes on to fantasize about her in the pool he is planning on building with his Christmas bonus.

As it gets closer to Christmas, more and more of the Griswold's extended family begins arriving to stay with them, including Clark and Ellen's parents, and Ellen's cousin and his family who park their RV in the front lawn and explain that they are staying for a month.

Throughout the rest of the time leading up until Christmas, Clark does a series of things, such as putting up 25,000 Christmas lights, so that his family will have a traditional American family Christmas, but also in order to one-up his snooty neighbors who aren't really into the Christmas spirit. Clark not only has trouble getting the Christmas lights to work, but also the turkey is cooked too long, a cat is electrocuted, the Christmas tree burns down, one of the relative's cigar ignites the sewage from Ellen's cousin's RV on fire, and a squirrel jumps out of the replacement tree and begins running rampant through the house. Also, to add insult to injury, Clark never receives his much-need Christmas bonus.

In the end, because of its quirkiness, Clark's family's Christmas does end up being the perfect Christmas. Because of this, I wholeheartedly reccomend this to anyone who wants to really get into the Christmas spirit.

To watch the trailer go to:


“I wanna be big.”

A young boy, Josh (David Moscow) is tired of being babied by his mother and father. He is constantly being told how to act and what to do. He is embarrassed by the fact that his parents will not leave him alone and he feels they treat him like a baby. At a carnival he finds a Zoltair machine and wishes to be “big.” His wish is granted and he wakes up the next morning as a 30 year old man (Tom Hanks). He runs around desperately trying avoid his mom while trying to figure out has happened to him. He eventually gets a job working at a toy company and his playful, child-in-a-grown-man persona earns him the respect of his boss. He works his way up the company and becomes very influential. However, Josh’s desire to be a little kid again outweighs the successful, independent lifestyle he developed as an adult. He finds another Zoltair and wish to be a kid again, and he goes back to his old lifestyle.

This movie is a great family film that touches those that watch it with both its plot and its almost corny humor. The jokes appeal to both kids senses of humor and the kids inside of adults. I would suggest this movie to those looking for light, humor. Someone looking for a movie that is amusing but not stupidly funny will enjoy this. This movie teaches the lesson of enjoying one’s youth with a cute, comical undertone.


The mean girls of the 80's. Heathers is about a trendy clique which all high schools seem to have. They are stylish, intimidating, and use sex appeal to get what they want. Veronica Sawyer is the main character. She is part of the most popular group in her high school, the other in the group(all named Heather) are very pretty and wealthy. These girls are all very mean-spirited, typical of the popular group in high school. Its hard to notice that Veronica isn't exactly like these girls. She admits these girls aren't really her friends. But her so-called "job" is to be popular. Therefore, she must pretend to be a replica of the "Heathers". It is only obvious that she would go on to kills these girls right? Maybe, we should have seen this coming after she begins to date J.D. After all, he did pull a gun on school bullies. But Veronica isn't all that bad. She meant to give her just a glass of Milk and orange juice planning on making Heather Chandler vomit. But J.D came along, and distracted her, and look what happened, the glass was filled with drain cleaner instead. And poor Heather Chandler dies right then and there. What else was Veronica to do besides forge a suicide note. After all, only she and her boyfriend knew of the murder. That only gave oppertunity for another Heather, this time Heather Duke, to be the ring leader of their clique. J.D is not good for Veronica, but it is hard when Christian Slater tried to lure you into playing these types of pranks on people. Who could say no to him? Next they move onto the bullies of the school. J.D. had to take care of them after they spread a rumor about his girlfriend. Clearly, it is a boyfriends duty to go on and kill whoever spread the rumor, right? Too bad Veronica doesn't realize that Ich Luge means I'm lying!!! Soon Veronica comes to her senses realizing the harm she is doing to her school. The new trends seems to be suicide all sue to her actions. But how can she confront the mastermind behind these killings, especially when it's her boyfriend? And when she does, obviously he will want to kill her, first and foremost. At least she can fake her own death to break his heart. Now the whole school is in jeopardy of being killed, the dummies signed a petition, which we find out is actually a school-wide suicide note. What is with these teens and suicide in the 80s? She learned from the best and attempts to kill her love, J.D. But he is already strapped with a bomb. And we are told there is a "New sheriff in town". And at last she wears the red hair bow.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the fairytale of the Little Mermaid came alive through the imagination of Hans Christian Andersen and the movie was written by John Musker in 1989. This animated Disney film is about a teen mermaid named Ariel who wants to get out of the ocean and see the rest of the world. He father however, King Triton, would not have her talk of anything that related to humans. She had a treasure cove of human gadgets where she sings a song “Part of your World” which embodies her feelings as a mermaid who wants more than the cards she is dealt. Ariel would do anything to walk on land so she makes the deal with the devil of the ocean. Ursula, an ugly, plump, female octopus, takes Ariel’s voice as collateral in exchange for Ariel to have new legs. She only has a few days however to get a human to fall in love with her so she could have her first kiss. If she does not get kissed by her true love however, then she becomes a pitiful sea creature that is a slave to Ursula and Ursula will become Queen of the ocean with her new voice and power. Despite Ursula’s attempts to prevent Ariel from marrying her love Prince Eric, with the help of her friends Flounder, Sabastian, and Scuttle Ariel was able to conquer Ursula and stay human with her love.

This movie was symbolic in the sense that many teens want to get out and explore more than their natural surroundings. In our society it is natural to want to move away from out families and reach for the stars. Ariel wanted to achieve the impossible--- to walk on land. Just like many of us want to achieve so called impossible things, we reach our goals by taking risks. Ariel took a risk for her life and for love and it proved to be beneficial. Good lesson learned. Here is my favorite song from the Little Mermaid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXmLRHnoSAs

And a remix of this song by Ashley Tisdale which I actually like better!


Sixteen Candles (1984)

Directed and written by John Hughes, Sixteen Candles was a staple movie for the 80s. The brat pack is back with Molly Ringwald being the leader of the lot as Samantha Baker. This movie depicts a newly turned sixteen year old girl named Samantha whose parents forgot her birthday. Samantha is a gangly redhead, awkward and mortally embarrassed by anything that can be considered uncool. Her family, although very loving, don’t seem to notice her for she is easily outshined, in her case by her older sister who is about to get married. At school Samantha’s popularity is no different. Samantha is “nothing special” as one jock declared to her heart throb crush Jake Ryan. While Samantha is having a horrible birthday, she meets a geek who is nicknamed Farmer Ted and at the school dance she bonds with him. Ted then becomes friendly with Jake Ryan who has a girlfriend but is interested in Samantha. Because Samantha helped Ted out with his “cool status” Ted put in a good word for Samantha. After a long drunken night, Ted ends up having sex with Jake’s girlfriend, but that doesn’t matter because Samantha is what Jake wants. Jake picks up Samantha from her sisters wedding. He asked her if she had to go to the reception, and she said defiantly that she did not have to go to the reception, symbolically standing up for herself and going after what she wanted most. The end scene is her and Jake standing over a birthday cake and her telling Jake that her birthday wish already came true. They then lean in and kiss.

Directed and written by John Hughes, Sixteen Candles was a staple movie for the 80s. The brat pack is back with Molly Ringwald being the leader of the lot as Samantha Baker. This movie depicts a newly turned sixteen year old girl named Samantha whose parents forgot her birthday. Samantha is a gangly redhead, awkward and mortally embarrassed by anything that can be considered uncool. Her family, although very loving, don’t seem to notice her for she is easily outshined, in her case by her older sister who is about to get married. At school Samantha’s popularity is no different. Samantha is “nothing special” as one jock declared to her heart throb crush Jake Ryan. While Samantha is having a horrible birthday, she meets a geek who is nicknamed Farmer Ted and at the school dance she bonds with him. Ted then becomes friendly with Jake Ryan who has a girlfriend but is interested in Samantha. Because Samantha helped Ted out with his “cool status” Ted put in a good word for Samantha. After a long drunken night, Ted ends up having sex with Jake’s girlfriend, but that doesn’t matter because Samantha is what Jake wants. Jake picks up Samantha from her sisters wedding. He asked her if she had to go to the reception, and she said defiantly that she did not have to go to the reception, symbolically standing up for herself and going after what she wanted most. The end scene is her and Jake standing over a birthday cake and her telling Jake that her birthday wish already came true. They then lean in and kiss.

I liked this movie because it was about the imperfect teen that is not gorgeous, doesn’t have an amazing personality---nothing special. It gave hope to us mere mortals who don’t stand out in a crowd. Everyone has a Jake Ryan in their lives at one point or another, and this movie, although unrealistic, makes a fantasy real for all of us Joe Schmos out there. Never saw the movie? Here is my favorite clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJMIDuD9RGw


"Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count"

This movie is a long way off from the 80s high school movies I've seen from the earlier part of the decade. Made in '89, this isn't your typical teen angst movie, because for once drastic action is taken against the cruel rulers of the school. With a talented young cast including Winonna Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannon Doherty this is an extremely dark comedy, which is disturbingly good.

Ryder is Veronica, a newer member of the in crowd known as "The Heathers", because the other three members happen to share that name. Already the dark horse because of her different name, she doesn't completely fit into the group. She doesn't want to be a cruel bitch to the rest of the school, but goes along to remain in the popular group. Her life is shook up when she meets new bad-boy J.D., played by Slater. At first she takes him to be a harmless rebel with whom she is able to stop pretending to like her so called "friends". Harmless she learns is not the word to describe J.D. She unknowingly helps him to poison the head Heather, and then assists him in writing a note to make it look like a suicide. While she on one level wanted Heather dead, this action shows the contrast between wanting something to happen and actually having it happen. While Veronica is upset by the event, she is able to forgive J.D. and continues to date him. J.D. proves to be out for vengeance, though and next plots a plan to take out two asshole jocks. At this point Veronica says no, but gives in when J.D. feeds her a bullshit story about how they will use "special bullets" which will only tranquilize the jocks. Veronica falls for it and the school has two more "suicides" to deal with. She now realizes that J.D. can't be stopped and breaks up with him. A break-up can't stop him either and he threatens to kill her when she reuses his advances, knowing this she fakes her own suicide and when he finds her he reveals his plan to blow up the school to her seemingly dead body. The next day, to his surprise, she is there to stop him. While the school doesn't blow up the ending is certainly explosive.

This movie was extremely well made, and even though the material was dark and twisted there were some cleverly funny moments. One of my favorite scenes is the football players funeral. Through the suicide note they were made out to have been gay and killed themselves because they couldn't reveal their true feelings There is a very funny moment where one of their dad's is coming to terms with this and says, "I love my dead gay son", to which J.D. responds to Veronica, "Wonder how he'd react if his son had a limp wrist with a pulse?" While awful, it's funny.

I definitely recommend this movie to everyone. It's a different kind of comedy that looks at the social hierarchy of high schools in a dangerous way.

click here for a link to a video which pretty much sums up the entire movie

The Color Purple

"All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men, but I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house! " ~ Oprah as Sophia

This ultimately heartwarming film follows the troubled life of Celie, an African American woman, as she struggles to stand up for herself and regain the family she has lost. This film has an incredibly talented cast including Oprah as the strong willed Sophia, Danny Glover as the cruel Albert, and Whoopi Goldberg in her breakout performance as Celie Dana Ivey, who will be starring on our own Annie Russel Theater in The Importance of Being Ernest, also has a role in the film as the clueless Miss Millie. Although it didn't win, it was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Leading Actress - Goldberg, and Best Supporting Actress - Oprah. This movie is still great today, as long as you have the patience to sit through it's over two hour running time. I highly recommend it as it is just as powerful a story now as it was upon its release in 1985.

This film, based on the book by Alice Walker, tells the story of a young black woman and the troubles she endures and the incredible women she meets who help her to discover her own strength. Taking place in the south in the early 1900's the film opens with a young teenage Celie giving birth. Her child is taken from her directly after and we later learn that it was her second child and that both had been adopted by a couple in town. These children had been fathered by her own father. Even at a young age she had been abused and pushed around by men. When an older man requests Celie's younger sister Nettie's hand in marriage their father refuses, instead giving the man Celie. Celie knows this man only as Mister, although she later learns that his name is Albert. Albert already has children whom Celie must now care for, she is unhappy there and is beaten and abused by Mister. She finds temporary happiness when Nettie comes to stay with them, having escaped from their father's abuse, but this is short-lived because when Nettie refuses Misters advances she is forced to leave.

With no family of her own, her sister unheard from and not knowing where her children are, Celie is fortunate to find new family in two special women who come into her life. One is Sophia. Sophia is a woman who will fight and won't be pushed around by anyone. This attitude; however, makes her enemies and leads to her downfall in the film. The second woman is Shug Avery, a jazz and blues singer, who was Mister's lover, and is the only woman he has loved. Shug developes a strong friendship with Celie, and is the one who is finally able to help her leave Mister. After she leaves him she is able to set up her own store, and at the death of her father she inherits her old house and the knowledge that he was her step-father and not her real one. The movie ends with a return of Nettie, who we learned earlier had been continually writing letters to Celie which had been intercepted and hid away by Mister. Nettie had been living with a minister and his wife and caring for their children, who were Celie's own kids. Nettie returns to Celie with the children and they are all joined together as a family in the conclusion of this brilliant tale.

Cocktail (1988)

Coughlin’s Diet: Cocktails & Dreams

When you think of the 80s, you think of Tom Cruise. There are films that won awards and brought him fame and fortune. However, Cocktail wasn’t one of those. Tom Cruise even won a Razzie Award for worst actor thanks to his part in this film. If you are a true Cruise fan, though, Cocktail is a lot of fun!
The young Brian Flanagan (Cruise) leaves the army in search of fortune in the big apple. He enrolls in business school and finds a job bartending for the very wise and witty Doug Coughlin (Brian Brown). Everything changes for Brian as Doug teaches him the ropes about women, drinking, and bartending. There are some really cool scenes with Doug and Brian performing “flair bartending.” Doug has an opinion on everything—Coughlin’s Law. Brian ends up ditching school to take on bartending full-time in hopes of opening his own bar in the near future. (Doug shares this goal as well.) Both Doug and Brian are money-driven. Brian’s dream bar is Cocktails and Dreams. An upscale club owner sees the show and hires the guys away to work for him. Brian falls for a sexy photographer (Gina Gershon), who ends up breaking up the team. Afterwards, Brian moves to Jamaica in order to earn enough money to open his bar.
Brian meets and falls in love with a beautiful tourist Jordan (Elisabeth Shue)—great chemistry between Cruise and Shue. Shaking things up, the newly married Doug shows up and bets Flanagan that he can’t get a rich tourist, who visits the bar, to sleep with him. The competition begins again. Brian sleeps with her, and of course, Jordan sees him leave the bar. The rest of the film is focused on Brian’s attempts to win back Jordan.
There are parts of the film which are dark and depressing, especially in the final scenes with Doug. There is an unexpected, creepy death scene. Brian Brown does an excellent job in this film. Brian and Doug have great chemistry and their troubled relationship is as important as Brian’s romance with Jordan. Cool soundtrack and great cast.

Less Than Zero (1987)

It only looks like the good life.

Less Than Zero is my favorite 80s film. Four of the best actors of that time come together in this dark and raw film based on the book by the great Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho and Rules of Attraction).
College freshman Clay (Andrew McCarthy, Pretty in Pink and Weekend at Bernie’s) comes home to LA during the Christmas holidays, because his ex-girlfriend, Blair (the beautiful Jamie Gertz, Lost Boys) calls him. Clay assumes that Blair wants to rekindle their love affair but instead finds their best friend Julian (Robert Downey, Jr., Back to School and Weird Science) spiraling out of control with drug addiction. Julian needs money to pay off his sleazy drug dealer/pimp (yes, I said pimp) Rip (played by a ruthless James Spader). This film explores the dark side of the wealthy LA youth culture that Ellis knew so well.
Robert Downey, Jr. was made to play the role of the lost cause—Julian. Blair and Clay do everything they can to save him, but in the end it’s a losing battle. Love for their childhood friend brings Blair and Clay back together. Even though Blair initially decided to stay in LA modeling and snorting coke, she changes her mind after witnessing the effects of drug abuse.
The soundtrack is wonderful—The Bangles A Hazy Shade of Winter is the theme song. Today you can’t hear that song on the radio and not think of Less Than Zero. Even though the clothes and some of the themes are completely 80s, the film stands the test of time. It's still an important film that can apply to the youth of today.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

It won four Oscars and was nominated for four more, one of Steven Spielberg’s most memorable movies, it is Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. In this movie audiences are first introduced to the character of Indiana Jones, an archeology professor who happens to have a more interesting night life than most. He typically spends his free time chasing down ancient artifacts from heavily guarded ancient structures, and usually barely making it out with his life. Everyone knows who Indiana Jones is, he is one of the most memorable fictional characters in film and he also has his own show at Disney. In this film Indiana Jones heads off to Egypt to find the lost ark (which supposedly contains the power of God) and also to prevent the Nazis from finding this treasure. Along the way he meets up with an ex-girlfriend, the daughter of his mentor – Marion, and an old friend from Egypt, Sallah; while Marion was mostly there to provide a clue and to be saved, Sallah was Indy’s guide around Egypt. The plot was outlined in the beginning of the movie when Indiana is talking to army officials about what the Nazi’s could want with the archeological site in Egypt, he explains that they want to find the headpiece of staff of Ra because they want to use it to open the Well of Souls, located in the lost city of Tanis, which supposedly contains the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Of course in order to get into the Well of Souls one would have to figure out exactly how high the staff would need to be, attach the headpiece to it, figure out exactly what time of day the light would shine on the headpiece so that it would show one where the well of souls would be (it shines conveniently on a map that is on the ground in the “Map Room”).

All together Raiders of the Lost Ark has all the trappings of a great American film, it has a larger than life main character who is as strong as he is intelligent, a complex plot that leaves plenty of room for outrageous stunts, and a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. Although it should be said that Indiana Jones is humanized a bit when it is revealed that he is afraid of snakes (so of course the Well of Souls is covered with them) and the movie isn’t pure mindless action, there are some snide comments made about the current culture. Most notably bureaucracy – when the Lost Ark is placed in a wooden crate, marked top secret, and placed in a giant warehouse full of identical crates. Raiders is a fun watch and perfect for a rainy Friday night in.