Saturday, February 13, 2010
Flashdance is an awesome 80s film; it is provocative, sexy, sad, lonely, inspiring, and rebellious, not to mention it has a phenomenal soundtrack (which I downloaded right after I watched the movie). The film is about an 18 year old girl named Alex (Jennifer Beals) who works during the day as a welder for a construction company but works at night as a dancer at a strip club. We first see Alex at her construction job decked out in baggy work clothes, helmet and goggles and can hardly tell she’s a woman. Then when we see her dancing, we come to find that this welder is actually an amazing dancer with a hot bod.
As the movie goes on and we get deeper into the story we see that Alex is struggling to get by and make ends meet, yet she has this huge dream of one day becoming a great ballerina. The only problem is she is scared of auditioning because she feels disadvantaged due to her lack of ‘proper’ study but luckily, she has an inspiring grandmother to giver her hope. Soon Alex also meets a guy, her boss actually, who she reluctantly falls in love with. He also tries to help her achieve her dream of becoming a ballerina but Alex feels patronized when he calls in a favor from a friend to get her an audition at ballet school and pushes him away. When she turns to grandmother for help, she finds out that she died a day before and is heartbroken. The death of her grandmother, I believe, made Alex realize that this was her only chance of ever accomplishing her dream to become a ballerina and decides to audition. At the audition, we can see her fear as she hesitated to put on the record but she starts confidently then falls at the beginning of her routine. After a moments pause she asks to start again, then puts on an incredible performance that completely reflects her character as it is graceful and technical yet eccentric and fun. Overall this is a great 80s film and a must-see.
I wasn’t sure what to expect about the movie Heathers, but was pleasantly surprised and it has easily made its way to the top of my favorites list. I loved Mean Girls, but I have to say I loved Heathers even more. Winona Rider does an incredible job of playing the tender hearted beauty Veronica who has trouble being as cruel as the other girls. The Heathers adorable posh outfits and high class ways of living are what set them aside from Mean Girls. The mean girls are hot, but look like every other hot girl in high school and have more of a slutty look. While the Heathers have such class and style and an air of superiority that they seem more like princesses or duchesses or something. Veronica and JD make a beautiful dangerous couple, and the drama between her love for him and her disapproval of his actions is intense. Although I felt that secretly she knew what he intended all along, because it was so easy to see what he was scheming, but chose to ignore it until it was too late. It was interesting to see how JD could shoot a blank gun shot in the cafeteria in the boys’ faces and only receive minimal repercussions. It says a lot about the 80’s and their school systems and their sense of security. If someone were to do that today, they’d probably be in juvie or at the very least expelled. It makes me a little sad because I think that today we treat children like their criminals because we fear they will become criminals, and children tend to live up to the expectations people have of them.
Friday, February 12, 2010
In this 1987 comedy, funny man Steve Martin stars as a modern day Cyrano de Bergerac, this time named Charlie, or C.D., Bales.
Charlie is the fire chief of a small town and is everything a girl could want. He’s funny, charming, poetic and intelligent. Charlie has just one problem: he happens to have a larger-than-average nose (an understatement, of course). Charlie becomes quite smitten with Roxanne (Daryl Hannah), the beautiful astronomer who comes to town for its clear skies. Of course, Roxanne prefers the company of the handsome but inept-around-women Chris, played by Rick Rossovich. Charlie starts writing daily love letters to Roxanne, but Roxanne believes they are from Chris and consequently falls in love with Charlie’s personality and Chris’s good looks. Now all Charlie needs is the confidence to believe that someone like Roxanne could ever love someone like him.
The PG rating and Martin’s all-around lovable character make Roxanne not only suitable for children but also a film that can stand the test of time. It is refreshing because the film centers on a love based on more than just physical appearance. Besides, Charlie’s plight is one that we can all relate to; all of us have that one feature we are afraid of showing the world and being ridiculed for. Another aspect of the movie that makes it timeless is that it doesn’t seem like a typical 80’s film. Maybe because it is based on “Cyrano de Bergerac,” but Martin’s screenplay could be set in any small town in the 80’s, 90’s or today.
Though unlike most of his other works, Martin gives an excellent and realistic performance in Roxanne and supporting roles by actors like Fred Willard take the comedic aspects of the film to a higher level. One of the most memorable scenes remains the one where Charlie is hassled by a jerk at a bar and embarrasses him by improvising 20 “big nose” jokes better than the one he tells Charlie.
However, Roxanne still follows a seemingly typical Hollywood storyline: unusual boy meets beautiful, unreachable girl. Boy falls in love; girl falls in love with someone else. Uncomfortable moments ensue and viewers anticipate a fairytale ending. Luckily, unconventional takes on conventional humor save the film from the depths of Textbook Hollywood Boulevard.
Funny and touching, I would recommend Roxanne to lovers and loathers of Steve Martin alike. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be familiar with the story of Cyrano de Bergerac to enjoy the film. Watch the movie here.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The Last Crusade was the last Indiana Jones movie made before the series’ rebirth in 2008. In the movie Indy searches for his father, a Holy Grail scholar, who was kidnapped in his search for the Grail. In order to find his father, Indy has to retrace his father’s footsteps on his quest for the Grail, and actually discovered new clues that his father couldn’t find and which tell the location of the Grail. After Indiana rescues his father from the Nazis, the duo goes on to find the hiding place of the Holy Grail only to discover that the greedy Nazis had found it first. The Nazis, however, did not know the secrets of how to pass the booby traps guarding the Grail and, knowing Indiana did, the Nazis shot Indy’s father so that Indy would have to find the grail to save him. After passing the three treacherous obstacles separating Indy from the Grail, he uses its divine power to save his father’s life. Once his father was healed and the group was leaving the Grail’s hiding place, there was an earthquake that caused the Grail to be dropped and swallowed up by a crevice in the earth. Indy and his father were not that disappointed though because they had accomplished their lifelong dream of finding the Holy mystic religious symbol.
This movie of the original Indiana Jones trilogy was unique because it provides much of the back story that is not explained in the first two films such as Indy’s fear of snakes, the cause of a scar on his chin, his use of bullwhips and his hat. It also shows a different side of Jones, which makes him seem more human, by paring him with his father and showing us their rocky relationship. We also get a glimpse of how Indy grew into the man he was in the film through his initial attempts at recovering a mystic cross from treasure robbers.
Although this film is not a typical 80s film with bright colored clothing and synthesized music, it gives us an idea of the political climate of the time. We see the nazi regime portrayed in a very negative way indicating the scars of the Second World War to still be quite raw. We also can see the development of treasure seeking which became a very large sport in the 80s with the invention of diving and the ease of travel. Overall the Indiana Jones trilogy seems to spark a childlike passion for adventure and treasure in all of us.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Being a big fan of Winona Ryder’s, I was excited to watch “Heathers” because I knew it to be a cult classic that she starred in with bad boy Christian Slater. I can definitely see why the film is such a cult class being completely different than any other typical 80’s high school movie. The plot was insane with many twists and surprises that never made you bored or able to predict what was going to happen next. I think that dark comedies are a hard genre to make because it’s hard to make things like teenage suicide and murder, which is the case in this movie, as amusing as they did. A lot of the credit not only goes to the script but the great cast especially of Winona Ryder and Christian Slater who had strong chemistry together as a modern (for the 80’s) day and more messed up version of Bonnie and Clyde. Ryder’s character of Veronica was interesting because she wasn’t the typical popular mean girl but had more of a heart, brain and an edge than most. Slater’s character of J.D. was a great leading man role because throughout the movie, you know you shouldn’t be rooting for this psychotic homicidal high school boy yet at the same time you can’t help but find his crazy-ness exciting and see how devilishly charming he is. The Heathers themselves were also great and even more conniving and bitchy than our “Mean Girls’ we have today yet I didn’t expect any less knowing that the ultimate queen bitch Shannon Doherty was going to be playing a Heather. This movie to me was definitely 80’s with the life altering high school drama, big hair, obsession with material things and money and the message about teenager’s lives being hell in high school until they rise up and do something to shake up the norms. Yet, I really like the Heathers because Veronica and J.D. rebelled in a more twisted way than most while still keeping the audience on their side, at least with Veronica. Even the ending, with J.D. being blown to pieces and Veronica taking back running the school, from another mean Heather, was really well done because it wrapped it up sort of happily but still kept the dark and shocking aspects of the film going right up to the end. Even though this film was made in 1989 it can definitely hold up in time and be a classic because everyone feels the rebellion or that angst in their life at one time and Heathers presents it in an exhilarating and unusual way.
This 1989 black comedy film was one that I would highly recommend to everyone as I found that it did not follow the typical 80’s style movie trend. Rather than including excessive dancing and singing this film had an original plot with new twists occurring. This was the first time I had ever seen this movie and did not know what to expect although I have seen Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands and therefore had somewhat of an idea as to what kind of character she would play. To be honest, I had never heard about this film but after watching it I can understand how it is a cult classic as it has a fantastic cast and innovative style to the script. Many contemporary movies such as Mean Girls followed the same sort of story line in terms of popularity and what girls will do to gain that title. “Que Sera Sera” was the song that played at the beginning and end of the film both being different versions. I believe that this was successfully used seeing as how it is a song that most people know and heard in their youth and because the film used repetition which added to the black comedic mood. I felt that Christian Slater did a remarkable job of being in character. Specifically, his voice caught my attention as it had a certain air to it that gave him a conniving, cynical and devious vibe. Through Veronica’s (Ryder) and J.D’s (Slater) devious ways they use teenage suicide as a means of alleviating suffering by making others suffer more. I think this aspect of the film is what draws audience members in as well as how the director was able to add comedy to this dark film in order to make it easier to watch.
The following clip includes the line "Fuck me with a chainsaw" which is one of the more prominent quotes from the movie. It also shows popularity and how people act as well as react to it.
One of the versions played in the movie of "Que Sera Sera"