Saturday, August 30, 2008

Welcome to the Party, Pal

Monday is September first and it also happens to be Labor Day. Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer as you may have heard, so I'm taking that as my cue to wrap up the 80s movies posts. I meant to post more often than I did this summer, but you know what they say: best laid plans of mice and men, blah blah blah, something about rabbits and a big retarded guy.

Anyhow, I had three movies left that I considered posting about. One was Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The only problem there was I only remember snippets of it (Jennifer Jason Leigh screwing that oily guy in the pool house and getting an abortion and Phoebe Cates' boobs being my most notable memories. And Mr. Hand, I loved Mr. Hand) and I didn't feel like watching it again. I think the blog header is sufficient.

Another choice was E.T. but I just wasn't feeling it. I loved E.T. and I remember it vividly, but my heart just isn't in it right now. I'd get to talking about it, start thinking of that damn flower dying and coming back to life at the end and I'd cry and then I'd get a headache and it's my birthday for christ's sake, I don't need that crap.

So I went with my third choice, which incidentally is my favorite out of the three movies. Matter of fact, it's probably my favorite action movie of all time, which isn't saying much because I don't really like action movies as a rule. I don't dislike the genre, but it's not my favorite. But this one I love. "This" being...

'Die Hard' from 1988

Featuring the acting talents of: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, William Atherton, Alexander Godunov and Clarence Gilyard Jr.

Genre: I done told you it was an action movie.

Plot: Cop goes to the worst Christmas party EVAR. Cuz there's terrorists there and stuff. Just wanted to be clear.

Yippee ki-what??: To fully appreciate Die Hard you have to consider the state of action films in the 1980s. Things took a downturn after the renegade film making of the late 60s and the 70s. The bulk of the first half of the 80s was spent in fear of the Russians, so we got stuff like 'Red Dawn'. You can cry "WOLVERINES!" at the top of your lungs as much as you like, it doesn't change the fact that 'Red Dawn' was a piece of doodoo. Then towards the mid-80s, America's emerging hate-on for the Middle East began and we were presented with stuff like 'Delta Force'. 'Delta Force' was fronted by Chuck Norris, whom I cannot stand, so the less I say there the better.

In both films (just to use them as examples indicative of the genre as a whole. My, that's a snooty sentence), the villains were just flat-out evil, with no character development to speak of. The heroes were boring and white bread with zero personality. We were supposed to accept that the foreigners were bad and the white folks were good, and we had to root for the good guy, even if he was kind of twatty.

Then in 1988, we were presented with that fuzzy haired guy from 'Moonlighting' as a hero for the modern age and quite frankly, he was pretty good. John McClane was funny, reasonably intelligent and bless his heart, a major smart ass. He didn't want to fight terrorists on his vacation, he just wanted to make up with his estranged wife and see his kids during the holidays. But hey, a bunch of Germans take your wife and her coworkers hostage during a party, you gotta do something, I guess.

Yes, Germans. You might think that making the bad guys German might be kind of a big throwback (although, "No one who speaks German could be an evil man"), but WAIT! Could it be that the head bad guy German was kinda not so bad? Admittedly, the rest of his henchman were kinda meh, but I could not bring myself to hate Alan Rickman's character. It might have to do with the fact that he was massively hot in this, but that's not the main reason. He too, was smart and kind of snarky, albeit evil as hell (you know how the bad guy says he's gonna count to three and then shoot the guy and never does? He did). So the smart and snarky thing coupled with the hot and evil thing, yeah, I liked Alan Rickman in this a WHOLE LOT. Like REALLY a LOT. Like I kinda wanna watch it right NOW a lot...

In short: Die Hard=s'good. Alan Rickman=s'hot.

Where they at?:

Bruce Willis has about 5 movies in the works, including a possible role in a remake of the "A-Team". Jesus wept.

Bonnie Bedelia stars in the upcoming "Sordid Lives: The Series". I totally need to see the movie that's based on. Remind me to hit Netflix when I get done here.

Reginald VelJohnson has 2 films in post-production. Of course he will forever be remembered as Carl WInslow on 'Family Matters', which I lapped up like chocolate covered crack back in the day. God, I was a stupid teenager.

William Atherton will appear in the fall tv series "Strokes" and just finished a voice-over for the new 'Ghostbusters' video game. He, of course, will be remembered as the asshole from "Real Genius".

Alan Rickman has 4 movies in the works, two of which are Harry Potter movies. Nice work if you can get it.

Alexander Godunov passed away in 1995.

Clarence Gilyard Jr. used to be on "Walker Texas Ranger", but hasn't been in much since it went off the air. His role in Die Hard was fairly minor, I just include him because I saw him once when I was in Dallas. Harper was in the hospital there and I was eating lunch in the cafeteria. I looked up as he was walking by and I went "Hey, it's the guy from that shitty Chuck Norris show". I don't think he heard me, but I felt kinda bad because he seemed like a nice guy, talking and shaking hands with everyone that came up to him. So, Clarence, if you heard me, I apologize. In my defense, I was giddy because I found out Harper was being released that day. Besides, it's not your fault the show sucked, it's Chuck Norris's, who as I may have mentioned, I cannot stand.

You know the drill

The Frogman

This isn't what I had intended when I said I'd make a new post, but whatareyagonnado, ya know? I think it's best not to explain this so just Click. It's worth it, I swear.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Do You Wanna Die...

I may or may not post this afternoon or tomorrow, depending on a number of factors. I'd try to be more vague than that, but I don't know if I can. To tide you over until then, you can listen to this. I woke up with this in my head, which may or may not mean something.


(It doesn't.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Goodbye Boss Man. It's Quittin' Time

Harper goes back to school in approximately four hours and I'm starting to feel sane again (and wide awake. But sane) so we now return to your scheduled program already in progress.

Today's movie is:

1980's "Nine to Five"

Starring: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Dabney Coleman.

Genre: Comedy

Plot: A godless hippie (so sayeth my dad), a country singer and a comedienne kidnap their crummy boss so's they can get some work done.

Sisters are doin' it for themselves: Oh I just adore this movie. It's hilarious and it's one of my favorite movies from when I was a kid. I re-watched it a month or so ago for the first time in years and it hit me that women still have a long way to go in the workplace (I knew that already, it just hit me AGAIN is what I mean to say). It's depressing that the changes they made in the office after they kidnapped the old bastard are still fairly uncommon today, 28 years later. A lot of women still slave away for long hours and pay astronomical daycare fees, so in a lot of ways for a lot of people, 9 to 5 is practically a science fiction movie.


I reckon the thing that stood out to me the most in this movie was the fantasy sequence. At one point Lily Tomlin's character scores a joint from her son (the 80s were a different time, you see) and she and Jane and Dolly get baked and talk about how they've daydreamed of disposing of the boss. Dolly's fantasy is sort of a cowgirl-type deal. Jane's has a safari motif and Lily's...Well, I liked Lily's the best:

I think the cartoons were what put it over the top for me.

Where are they now?:

Jane Fonda came out of retirement in 2005 and has been in 2 films since then. She's also a total floozy. You get up offa my man, Jane Fonda!

Lily Tomlin has a movie in the works called "Sweet Baby Jesus" which intrigues me.

Dolly Parton is still singing her little heart out and will soon appear in-GASP-the Hannah Montana movie.

Dabney Coleman still pops up in various movies and tv shows, none of which will ever live up to the creepy badness of This. If any of you ever find that on DVD, I want-nay-I NEED to have it. Nevermind. Woo-hoo!

You can spend your hard-earned cash on 9 to 5 Here

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You Guys Got crabs! That's What They Called Them in My Day. You Young People.

Quick one today because Harper is gone and I want to enjoy the silence (all I ever wanted, all I ever needed):

"The Last American Virgin" from 1982

Starring: Lawrence Monoson, Diane Franklin and Steve Antin.

Genre: Comedy

Plot: Goofy teen sex comedy about a guy who wants to lose his virginity. At least it starts out that way...

So now I come to you, with open aaaaarms: I saw this movie once over 20 years ago. My brother was babysitting me and I conned him into letting me watch this because I felt like if I watched it, I'd be getting away with something-ah to be a kid in the 80s with cable tv. Only time I've seen it, yet it stayed with me because it took a huge turn halfway and the ending was such a bummer. I'm relying on my increasingly decrepit memory here, but I'll try to sum it up. Spoilers? On my blog? It's more likely than you think.

The first hour of the movie is fairly generic teens-trying-to-get-laid stuff. It's a nice nerdy guy and his cool buddies and the coolest of the buddies knocks up his girlfriend. Cool buddy doesn't want a pregnant girlfriend so he dumps her. Nice nerdy guy really likes pregnant girl so he's all supportive and takes care of her after she gets an abortion. He ends up falling head over heels for her and tells her so and it's all so sweet and there's Journey playing in the background. It's lovely.

But then...

Nice nerdy guy buys her a bracelet (I think it was a bracelet, not totally sure). He's going to give her this bracelet at a party and it's going to be wonderful and they'll live happily ever after or some such. No. Nice nerdy guy spots formerly pregnant girl making out with cool buddy at the party. They're back together and he's standing there with a bracelet in his hand like an asshole. The end.

WHAT THE HELL?! That's not funny! I don't think the guy even got laid so as far as I know, he's STILL the last virgin in America.

Holy christ.

Where are they now?:

Who cares? I'm too depressed to look it up.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And Confront Him You Will

Today's movie:

1983's "Return of the Jedi"

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, and Alec Guinness.

Genre: Science Fiction

Plot: There's this fat blobby bad guy and some teddy bear things and a little old short dude dies and a chick in a gold bikini and a guy who hates his dad like a whole LOT...

It's a trap!: It feels weird posting about this movie alone since it's part of a trilogy (1-3 don't exist to me). I should post about Empire Strikes Back first, but RotJ feels more like an 80s movie to me than ESB does. Anyway.

I saw Star Wars for the first time about a year before this came out. I was about 6 or 7 and it blew my little butt away. It's rare when a person can actually pinpoint the moment in time when they made the transformation from normal person to nerd, but I can. After that, I set about acquiring every piece of Star Wars related crap I could get my hands on and when RotJ came out, there were a few days where this was the only thing out of my mouth: "MomcanIgoseeReturnoftheJedi? MomcanIgoseeReturnoftheJedi?"

I ended up seeing it twice in the theater, which believe me, even at that age was a big deal because I hate going to the movies. At that time, I liked it even more than Star Wars, despite the Ewoks. I knew my mind wasn't right at a young age because the girls in my class who had been forced to see it lost their shit over the cute little bastards. Me, I was crazy about the first act, the one with Jabba the Hutt.

It was SO COOL to me and I didn't know why. Some obese slimy creature and his mutant pals and a half-naked woman that I cared nothing about-why did the whole thing appeal to me so much? It took me a long time to figure it out and now I know-I liked it because it was like a PG-rated Caligula. It was all so sordid and gross and forbidden. People being eaten, shady deals going on in the shadows, captive women, revenge-not only was a I nerd at a young age, I was apparently well on my way to becoming a pervert because I wanted to MOVE there and live with the mutants and the freaks and the criminals. Ewoks? Screw cute, give me ugly any day.

My Star Wars junk is long gone and I'm not as big a fan of it as I once was, but I'll always have a place for it in my heart. My dark, twisted, perverted heart.

Where are they now?:

Mark Hamill does voice-over work, most notably as the Joker on "Batman: The Animated Series".

Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford. He's a little aged, but he was still pretty hot in the last Indiana Jones movie.

Carrie Fisher writes and still acts. She has 2 movies in various stages of completion.

Billy Dee Williams has two movies in post-production.

Ian McDiarmid is currently filming a tv movie where he plays the husband of former British PM Margaret Thatcher.

Alec Guinness became more powerful than you could possibly imagine in August of 2000. RIP.

You can get it Here. That includes both the good version and the "WTF was George Lucas thinking?!" version from a few years back.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Soul singer and arranger Isaac Hayes, who won Grammy awards and an Oscar for the theme from the 1971 action film "Shaft," has died, sheriff's officials in Memphis, Tennessee, reported Sunday.

Relatives found Hayes, 65, unconscious in his home next to a still-running treadmill, said Steve Shular, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Paramedics attempted to revive him and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 2 p.m., the sheriff's department said.

No foul play is suspected, the agency said in a written statement.

Hayes was a longtime songwriter and arranger for Stax Records in Memphis, playing in the studio's backup band and crafting tunes for artists such as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave in the 1960s.

He released his first solo album in 1967, and his 1969 follow-up, "Hot Buttered Soul," became a platinum hit.

In 1971, the theme from "Shaft" topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks and won an Academy Award for best original theme song. The song and the movie score also won Grammy awards for best original score and movie theme.

Hayes won a third Grammy for pop instrumental performance with the title track to his 1972 "Black Moses" album.

From the late 1990s through 2006, Hayes provided the voice of "Chef" for Comedy Central's raunchy animated series "South Park," as well as numerous songs.

The role introduced him to a new generation of fans, but he left after the show lampooned his own religion, the Church of Scientology.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.


Ah heck why not:

Saturday, August 09, 2008


CHICAGO (AP) — A publicist says Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor and comedian Bernie Mac has died at age 50.

Publicist Danica Smith says Bernie Mac died early Saturday at a hospital in the Chicago area of complications due to pneumonia.

The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but he had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently had been hospitalized and treated for pneumonia.

Mac had starring roles in "Ocean's Eleven," "Bad Santa," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "Transformers."

The comedian drew critical and popular acclaim with his Fox television series "The Bernie Mac Show," which aired more than 100 episodes from 2001 to 2006.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Praise Marty Moose! Holy Sh*t!

Today's movie is:

1983's "Vacation"

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Imogene Coca, Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Eddie Bracken and John Candy.

Genre: Comedy

Plot: Hapless family man takes his brood on a cross country road trip. Hijinks be ensuin'.

Best laid plans: Vacation is an hilarious movie. You've got the dead aunt on the top of the car, the dog pissing all over the food, the hick cousins (including a young Jane Krakowski as French kissing, pot growing Vicki), the dad strong-arming his way into Wally World with a bb gun. And those white shoes. Goddamn those shoes. But it's really kinda sweet too...

The Griswolds weren't the only family that took a trip in '83. That was the year that my family went on our first official vacation, which consisted of one week in Galveston, Tx. It was me, my parents and my older brother, Shane.

The car ride lasted about twelve hours and was fairly quiet, save for the periodic screams of "Mom! Shane wiped a booger on me!". Or "Mom! Make her move over! She's touching me again!". My mom chain smoked the whole twelve hours, creating a kind of Cheech and Chong cloud around the car. Her smoking increased to an astronomical rate when we got to Houston (during rush hour no less) while my 15-year-old, freshly-learners-permitted brother was driving and we couldn't pull over.

The actual vacation itself was fairly mundane. The most notable thing that happened was when my cop father tried to break up a dispute between some thuggy redneck and his woman while we were on our way to see 'Return of the Jedi'. Otherwise we visited the beach and various tourist traps while my mom nursed the sunburn from hell. Really, my vacation in '83 had jack all in common with the movie. Except for one thing, which brings me back to my original point.

The Griswolds would have never made it to Wally World if Clark hadn't been an insane, stubborn, loving maniac, nor would OUR vacation have been possible had my mother not been a headstrong, determined, loving maniac. The trip put her and my dad in the hole for quite some time and the sunburn she got on the trip made her sick as a dog, but she saw it through to the end and we had a blast. And by the time we went home, my brother and I even managed to stop trying to kill each other. For a while anyway.

So my point is, while 'Vacation' is funny as hell, if you can stop laughing long enough to notice, there's also a little something something in there about the lengths you'll go to for family. If you're a maniac.

Where are they now?:

Chevy Chase has a couple of movies in the works. He and Beverly D'Angelo recently re-prised their roles as Clark and Ellen on the Star Wars episode of Family Guy.

Beverly D'Angelo has three movies in the can and appeared in 'Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay'. Can I just take this opportunity to say how terrific she was as Patsy Cline in 'Coal Miner's Daughter'? I can? Cool.

Imogene Coca, Eddie Bracken and John Candy left for that big Wally World in the sky in 2001, 2002 and 1994, respectively.

Randy Quaid's most recent notable role was in 'Brokeback Mountain'. He's also been known to rock the Maude Findlay look on occasion. All bound for muu muu land...

I said this in another post recently, but it could stand to be repeated: Anthony Michael Hall is in 'The Dark Knight'. Swear to god, I saw him with my own two eyes.

Dana Barron recently completed 'The Invited' a horror movie that stars Pam Grier.

You can purchase Vacation Here.

Monday, August 04, 2008


I wish I could find the clip of the Billy and Mandy episode, but the YouTubes have failed me.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Why Don't You Call Me Some Time When You Have No Class?

Today's movie is:

1986' "Back To School"

Starring-Rodney Dangerfield, Sally Kellerman, Burt Young, Keith Gordon, Robert Downey Jr., Paxton Whitehead, Terry Farrell and William Zabka.


Plot-Crazy old guy goes to college so he can help his nerdy student son.

That'll learn ya-I never cared for Rodney Dangerfield, but I've always liked this movie. When I was younger, it was because I had a crush on Keith Gordon (the first in a long line of nerd crushes) and I was transfixed by Robert Downey Jr.'s Hair. Plus it was just really stupid and funny and it had William Zabka in it, the gold standard in 80s film douchebags.

As I've gotten older, I still appreciate the sames things I liked about it as a child. Of course now when I watch it, my favorite thing is something that went over my head back then:

Excuse me while I have a massive nerdgasm.

Where are they now?:

Rodney Dangerfield is now lacking respect in the afterlife, since 2004.

Sally Kellerman occasionally acts, but mostly seems to do voice-over work, which she's really suited to. God, I wish I had her voice.

Burt Young has a couple of movies in the works. I used to like him until he played a rapist on a particularly grisly Law and Order episode. I don't care that he's not actually a rapist himself, I can't get past it and he totally creeps me out now. Sorry Burt.

Keith Gordon is directing these days. He's also bald, which I didn't know til today.

Robert Downey Jr. seems to be doing allright for himself. Two movies in post-production and "Tropic Thunder" (you know, the one where he's black) comes out on the 13th.

Paxton Whitehead sometimes pops up on the teevee, but apparently has a very healthy career on the stage.

Terry Farrell retired from acting in 2003 and is now a full-time stay at home mother.

William Zabka still acts and was nominated for an Oscar a few years back for a short film he wrote and produced. Whatevs. "SWEEP THE LEG, JOHNNY!"

You can get it Here