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