Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Home Crap Home!" The Money Pit

The Money Pit (1986), starring Tom Hanks and Shelly Long is a silly movie that centers on the story of Walter and Anna. The couple has just decided to purchase a home together and get what seems like a steal on a great looking house that turns out to be "a lemon." As the home falls apart around them, piece-by-piece, so does the relationship of the couple. However, they realize that they can't be without each other and decide to stick it out; fixing both the house and their problems. The movie is honestly kind of corny and not one of Spielberg's greatest creations. However, the film is very relatable to any relationship and stands up over time. Hanks and Long do a great job depicting a couple on the edge and the difficulty of any relationship. One scene that I think truly captures this dynamic is when the bathtub falls through the floor of the second story. Because of all that has happened to the couple, Hanks just starts laughing hysterically, showing that sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.

The movie's soundtrack, featuring Stephen Bishop and White Lion, along with the wardrobe are what make The Money Pit an 80's film, however I think that the film can relate to any generation. Though styles and music may change, one thing that will always be the same are the trials and tribulations of love. I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good laugh and a minor lesson in romantics. The comedy is borderline slapstick and can be appreciated by all ages, but the underlying love story hits home to anyone who has been in a serious relationship.

I guess the real lesson is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The Bathtub Scene

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Kill her Mommy, kill her" Friday the 13th

My immediate first reaction after watching “Friday the 13th” is OMG! Even though I do tend to get somewhat jumpy during scary movies, few rarely impress me and I definitely wasn’t expecting this one to scare me at all, especially since it was made in 1980 and lacked the special effects we have today. Yet, I was completely wrong and found myself screaming out loud and finding this as one of the greatest scary movies ever made, up there with my favorites of the original “Halloween” and “The Shining”. The fact that it was based in an isolated creepy camp that has an eeriness about it and watching it now knowing there weren’t any cell phones or for them in the film, working phones or power during a storm, makes it all the more scary even without a psycho killer there. Yet, right away things were made scary especially with the camera angle from the view of the killer. It seemed as if they used a hand held camera a lot because it moved around and viewed things as the killer would see them or made you feel like you were in the room with the counselors scared yourself. I also thought it was a nice touch how the camera would zoom in and out to feel the victim’s tension and to let the audience know the killer was near without giving away the surprise attack that makes you scream. The music was also really fun in a scary movie “danger is approaching” way while feeling more classic than cheesy. Even though the audience is given an idea through the music and camera that the killer is coming, you still somehow don’t exactly know when or how he/she will kill the victim or who it will be. The actual killings were also surprisingly really gory and cringe worthy, the way you saw the throats being sliced or the ax or arrows through the body were very impressive and disgustingly realistic. The more different and bloody the killings are, the scarier the movie is because it gets your imagination going instead of just one stab or shot. Yet, it’s also the tension the film created that makes it a good horror film. While watching each counselor walk alone or hear noises, it’s that few moments before that really keep your attention because you’re not sure where the killer is going to come out of. With Alice knowing she might die, her scenes had a “Shining” affect because she was isolated in the middle of nowhere alone and her scenes were slow yet creepy slowly building fear and giving the audience a little hope that she might escape. Yet, instead of the typical the sweet virgin girl lives ending because the psycho man let her beat him, the killer in “Friday the 13th” really leaves you screaming WTF! I don’t know if I should give it away but the whole time I’m thinking it’s Jason Voorhees yet when finding out it’s not him, even though he’s famous for “Friday the 13th”, really surprised me because the film didn’t have your average killer. The film gave you a similar Michael Myers like background of why this was going on except this time focusing on the mother of the famous scary killer being Mrs. Voorhees who I find may indeed be creepier than Jason. The actress who played her really got into character the way she played a crazed revengeful mother. Her line “kill her Mommy, kill her” has just as a scary ring as “red rum red rum” does. And even when you think everything is okay in the end, the filmmakers know how to get in that one last scream. I definitely am now interested in watching the different “Friday the 13th” movies to see if it holds up to this original.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"She's a Maniac"- Flashdance

After watching the film “Flashdance”, I’m still uncertain if I actually liked it or not. I didn’t go into the movie with many expectations because all I knew of it was the famous pouring water striptease scene, but for being a big 80’s movie, I was expecting a little more. First, the plot was a little extreme, but it was the 80’s so extreme was popular, yet it’s hard to believe that an eighteen year old girl would somehow find herself in the sketchy part of the city working as a welder by day and somewhat of an exotic dancer, except of course more tasteful, by night, especially with such a caring grandmother. Another thing that seemed strange to me was her older man boyfriend who was charming yet gave me a weird vibe and I’m still not sure why since he really did help her out in accomplishing her dreams. While on the subject of dreams, was it absolutely necessary that every time someone tried to help her she had to throw a hissy fit or lie or do something stupid because she wanted to do it on her own even though she was the one holding herself back? Yes, I get the message there that only you can accomplish your dreams if you really work at something but did she have to get out of the car in the tunnel highway? Yet, there were some aspects of “Flashdance” that I thought were awesome. Specifically, the dance scenes were amazing whether it was at the club or in her apartment, the film found some really talented dancers with different and difficult moves that they made look so smooth and easy. Even with TV shows today like “America’s Next Best Dance Crew” showing off some crazy moves, the dancers in “Flashdance” seemed to have paved the way, showing that yes, the body can really move like that. The club scenes especially were filmed in almost a trippy, music video type way with cool angles and lighting that made the movie fun to watch and a nice break when you were searching through the plot. The music that accompanied these scenes too were also what really got my attention with the famous “What A Feeling” and “She’s a Maniac”, which would have anyone get up from the couch watching that movie to dance with Miss Alex Owens. Even though ballet might have been what she was aiming for, Alex seems made for MTV or what MTV was in the 80’s which was all about new cool music and modern dancing. I must also mention the clothes worn in this film which were never dull but something Keri Bradshaw might consider fabulous even today. The tuxedo halter top outfit Alex wore when out to dinner with Nick and the cut up off the shoulder sweatshirt really captured the fun that the 80s were able to have with fashion. The workout clothes too were eye catching and colorful and yet again came back in style today especially with the colorful leggings and tights. All the scenes in the flashy club or her darkly and sensually lit apartment, even the gym while working out with the girls against the all the white background or the back alley break dancing, all made this more of an amazing music video than a quality film.

Flashdance - a movie where nothing makes sense...


Flashdance was definitely… not what I expected. The movie seemed to be various clips of music videos strung together in one colorful musical mosaic. The film was essentially a visual piece, and created some really interesting pictures using different lights and clothing and silhouettes. However, the plot was absolutely terrible. And not only because of its eccentric twists, (I generally love movies with eccentric twists) but because the plot was completely unrealistic and unbelievable. First of all, a welder is an extremely physically demanding job. The frail thin frame of a dancer’s body could not endure such demands. And a welder is such an obscure position of employment, how in the world did she end up there? It also requires skill and training, as well as connections with construction companies. Now I would like to know how this little girl is already a well-established well-trained welder by the age of 18. Her age is one of my biggest complaints. She’s only 18 but she has already converted that warehouse into her own mansion and filled it with all those nice things? Where did all that come from? And how did she acquire a warehouse? I’d love to know how, I could use a warehouse myself. And finally, she dances all night in that shady bar in front of all those drunk gross men. The bar closes, everyone leaves and typically has no where to go but home, and she just gets on her bike and leisurely pedals home through the ghetto? To a random warehouse where she lives alone? In the real world, she would’ve been raped/kidnapped/killed if not on her first night then surely the second. Now I have a great imagination, but the claims they tried to make in this movie were so farfetched it was impossible for me to connect with the movie and I spent most of the time making fun of it and pointing out the inconsistencies.


Airplane! is a 1980 satirical comedy. Once again, I am embarassed to admit that I have never seen this 80s classic. Several pop-culture references have been derived from this film, such as "and don't call me Shirley."

The film takes place in an airliner travelling to Chicago in which several passengers, including the navigator, pilot, and co-pilot, have been striken ill by food poisoning. Ex-fighter pilot Ted Striker, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is then forced to fly and safely land the aircraft, but due to his war time experience he has developed a fear of flying and a "drinking problem" (which is actually him missing his mouth and splashing liquid on himself). His intent was to board the plan and win back the love of Elaine, a stewardess onboard.

Once the navigator, pilot, and co-pilot sucumb to their illness Elaine is forced to activate the auto-pilot which is an inflatible captain who, sometimes, comes alive and makes obscene jestures. The plane continues to face impossible situations but, naturally, Striker lands the plane safely, wins back the girl, and the auto-pilot takes off with the plane and an inflatible stewardess.

This film is considered classically 80s because of it's cheesy content, costumes, sound effects, and special effects. It's one of the great 80s classics; it's hilarious and witty. Anyone who considers themself an expert on the 80s must watch this film.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Say Anything...

It is slightly embarrassing to admit that I have not seen this film before. I've attempted watch it several times, but never succeeded in watching it all the way through.

The story takes place in Seattle, Washington in which Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack) has just graduated High School and has set his eyes on the valedictorian, Diane Court (played by Ione Skye). The two differ in so many ways that, naturally, everyone around them question their budding romance. For example, Diane has won a fellowship to study in England and Lloyd's only aspiration is to become a kick boxer; Diane is highly intelligent and scholarly while Lloyd is a somewhat mediocre student. But Lloyd's curiosity and kindness towards Diane convince her to take a chance on him.

Turmoil erupts within Diane's family life when the Internal Revenues Service accuses her father, Jim, of stealing money from deceased patients of his nursing home. This predicament creates tension between Diane and Lloyd because she feels that she should spend more time with her father.

Once her father finds out that she spent the night with Jim he attempts to force a break up. HIs actions eventually lead to Diane dumping Lloyd despite the fact that she loves him. But in the end, as we all expected, Lloyd wins Diane's heart once again when she finds out that her father is guilty of tax fraud and has kept it a secret from her.

This film is quintessentially 80s- the fashion, the music, the hair, the cast (John Cusak is a big 80s star). I mean, Lloyd's four year old nephew sports a mullet, you can't get much more 80s than that. One aspect of it that comes through in more modern films is the dependency of the female character on men. Diane has blind faith when it comes to her father, but once his image is ruined she runs back to Lloyd for emotional support.

All in all I greatly enjoyed this film. It's one of those classic 80s movie that everyone should see.

Valley Girl

Julie: Yeah, but Tommy can be such a dork, ya know? Like he's got the bod, but his brains are bad news.
Suzi: But he is bitchin'. You really are so lucky, Julie.
Julie: I know, but we've been going together so long now. Like I'm beginning to think I'm a piece of furniture or something... like an old chair!
Loryn: Oh, bad news!
Julie: [glancing at Brad] I definitely need something new.

Valley Girl: the title says it all.

This quintessential 80s film is full of the captivating drama you can expect from a movie about high school California "valley girls." The opening scenes are where else but the mall, as the audience watches mildly vapid Julie (Deborah Foreman) and her posse try on now-vintage pieces of 80s clothing. Julie breaks up with popular jock Tommy in the mall, despite the fact he'll be at posse-member Loryn's rad party that night. The girls discuss the party at the beach a few hours later, where they are overheard by a boy who decides to crash the party later. This party crasher, Fred Bailey, drags best friend Randy (Nicholas Cage) with him that night, where Randy and Julie meet. They hit it off immediately, despite their big differences.

These differences are enough to cause Julie's friends to pressure her into dumping Randy. Mostly, the trouble originates from their locales; Julie is a valley girl, Randy is from Hollywood. Julie wears soft pink and purple clothes, Randy wears red and black leather. She goes to house parties, he "slums it" in dive bars. Julie is prep, Randy is punk.

Despite these differences, they are happily together for about two months, until Julie's friends pressure her into dumping Randy so she can start dating Tommy again. Julie considers it a very hard decision, and ultimately yields to the pressure. The audience knows Tommy is a tool because he A) hooks up with July's slutty friend at the party, and B) pops his collar. We also know that while Randy looks like a bad ass, in reality he's a sap, and pursues Julie lovelorn and relentless after she breaks up with him.

This movie only further emphasizes the stereotype of valley girl, with Julie spineless against her friends' opinions and consumed with the responsibility of being popular. Likable enough, the audience cheers for Randy as he tries to get her back, because what's this classic Romeo and Juliet tale without a happy ending?

Monday, February 22, 2010

St. Elmo's Fire

St. Elmo’s Fire is a coming of age film about seven recent college graduates of Georgetown. Though it has many of the same cast members as The Breakfast Club, the issues addressed in the film are very different from those encountered by high school misfits.

I enjoyed this movie. The issues that the main characters deal with seem to be problems most recent college graduates will encounter. Minus the cocaine usage, issues such as keeping a job, learning to be responsible, relationships, unrequited love, and finding a way to bring what you love into your career are common tribulations in life as well as film.

This movie stands the test of time because of the relatable nature of the characters and the challenges they face. However, I think the movie only truly hits home with people either in college or recently graduated. The issues addressed by St. Elmo’s Fire relate to the challenges and inexperience of youth. While everyone will probably be able to understand or recall those sensations, the self-centered nature of the characters may not appeal to people in all walks of life.

This movie is essentially 80’s because of the cast. This Brat Pack filled film was directed by Joel Schumacher. It is amusing to see the cast of the Breakfast Club playing such different roles. The freak is now the girl with whom two men are in love. The outcast is now the guy everyone wants to be. I enjoyed seeing the actors I had associated with certain personalities in such different roles.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sixteen Candles

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I had never seen Sixteen Candles before last week. However, I now understand why it holds strong as a classic teenage film and has remained culturally relevant through the decades. The Film tells the story of Samantha Baker, the typical and relatable American high school student who is plagued by such hardships as her parents forgetting her birthday, her crush not knowing of her existence, and a geeky freshman vying for her attention.

            The success of the film can most likely be contributed to its familiar story, relatable nature, and fairytale-like ending. Samantha awakes on the morning of her sixteenth birthday to find her mother scolding her for her teenage attitude, her younger brother tormenting her, and the attention of the family turned on her sister’s wedding, which is scheduled for the next day. After a harsh day at school and learning that a secret note containing her wishes for senior Jake Ryan has been seen by some unknown person, Samantha comes home to find her grandparents in her room for the coming wedding, while all the while they forget her birthday too. She later attends the school dance, along with the eccentric foreign exchange student that her grandparents bring from out of town. After attempts to lose the annoying geek freshman, who has made a bet to bed her, Samantha ends up confessing her love for Jake to him. The freshman later tells the popular senior, who has been intrigued with Samantha ever since finding her note earlier in the day. Jake then offers the geek his blonde, inebriated girlfriend in exchange for Samantha’s underwear, which she had given him earlier to satisfy his bet with the other geeks.

            Samantha reconciles with her parents after they realize that they forgot her birthday and the family attends the unique wedding the following day. Jake drives up in his shiny car to rescue Samantha and takes her to celebrate her birthday in a romantic and picturesque closing scene in which the teenage ideals of innocent love and granted wishes are fulfilled by the glow of sixteen burning birthday candles.

Sixteen Candles is a quintessential 80’s film because of its distinct style and cultural references. However, it also a timeless coming of age high school story, as well as a Cinderella story. With it’s distinctly exaggerated portrayal of the American high school student, it remains relatable and entertaining, while its sweet and unlikely love story between the seemingly unknown Samantha Baker and the popular and prince-like Jake Ryan make the film intriguing and endearing. Sixteen Candles proves not only to be a distinct 80’s film, but an immortal embodiment of the age-old concept of teenage life and love.