Some movies I’ve had a chance to watch or re-watch recently

It’s always fun to watch some movies you haven’t seen in a while, so I thought I’d share my thoughts about some of them, plus a few movies I’ve never seen before!

This past Monday, my lovely wife and younger daughter went to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico (known to mouth-breathing gringos as Rocky Point), for a short vacation during Fall Break. I stayed home because it’s very hard to travel with my older daughter, and she wouldn’t have enjoyed it too much anyway. With the wife away, I had plenty of time to watch a bunch of movies I have recorded over several months on our DVR that I figured she wouldn’t want to see because she’s either seen them and doesn’t want to see them again or has no interest in seeing. Plus, recently we watched a few movies that we thought my younger daughter would dig. So let’s see how some movies from my adolescence stand up!

1. Predator. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Predator completely unedited (which is why I’ve been DVRing a lot of movies I’ve already seen – I usually end up seeing them on basic cable, where a lot gets edited). Man, I love 1980s action movies. A while back I watched Commando unedited, and that’s amazing, and recently I watched Beverly Hills Cops I and II, also unedited. I mentioned in a post not too long ago that my daughter was reaching the age where she didn’t want to have anything to do with me, which includes watching movies I recommend, and Predator was one that I kept telling her she should watch with me but she kept saying she didn’t want to. So I just started watching it. About halfway through (right after Jesse Ventura gets killed, if I recall correctly), she came downstairs and watched the rest and LOVED it. The wife and I always tell her that we actually do know a thing or two about what we’re doing, so maybe she should listen to us a bit. I know she won’t, but it’s fun to think “I told you so” without saying it (because that would piss her off). Damn, this is a fun movie. The 1980s were full of almost perfect action movies, and this is in the top tier of those.

2. Stand By Me. I’d never seen this before last weekend. Why, you ask? Beats me. Everyone has things that fall through the cracks in their pop culture knowledge, and this is one of mine. Anyway, this was not a good movie, and I’m not sure why everyone thinks it is. It’s fairly boring, and it feels too short. Wesley Crusher’s parents are laughingly one-dimensional, cartoon characters who even feel out of place in this movie’s version of 1959, and it makes Wesley’s arc feel unreal, and as it’s the heart of the movie, the movie suffers for it. Corey Feldman’s craziness is also ridiculous, so his character becomes a cartoon as well. The boys cry at the drop of a hat, which is a bit bizarre for 1959, during the era of the “tough guy,” but even if we accept them crying, they seem to cry at weird moments, which rob them of any emotion. The scene with Wesley feeling bad because John Cusack is dead when he sees the body is well done, though, but not enough to rescue the movie. And even at such a young age, River Phoenix acts circles around the other boys, highlighting their deficiencies. Man, River Phoenix was a good actor. (Yeah, he’s crying in the scene below, but damn, he’s good.)

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. We thought my daughter would like this, and she did. I always forget how this is almost the perfect movie (and no, I don’t believe that everything is in Cameron’s head – stop overthinking things, people!). The script is hilarious, the situations are great, the cast is perfect (even down to some random teen like Kristy Swanson, who nails her part as Simone wonderfully in the few seconds she gets), and Cameron’s speech at the end about standing up to his father is magnificent. I DVRed it from VH1, which inexplicably cut a few odd seconds (like the extreme close-up of the Seurat painting, which was disappointing). WHY?!?!?! This is one of those movies, like Casablanca (yes, I just compared this to Casablanca), that anyone would be foolish to remake (unlike the next movies, which is ripe for a remake), because it relies so much on the perfection of the cast. Some movies can get remade because they’re dependent on the story, and the actors don’t matter quite as much. This movie’s cast is so amazing that it would absolutely suck if they tried to remake it.

Damn, Mia Sara

3. Highlander. Another movie that I often forget how good it is. I also forgot about the totally gratuitous nude scene in this (it’s an Eighties movie – of course there’s a totally gratuitous nude scene!), because it’s been so long since I’ve seen it unedited. I know it’s not a big surprise that I like this, because a ton of people my age love this movie, but it’s worth seeing after some years of not seeing it, because it’s impressive how good it is. The sword fighting isn’t great, but it’s pretty good. Russell Mulcahy, working on his second feature-length movie (after Razorback!), shows his music video roots, as the entire movie (at least the present-day parts) is incredibly stylish. Connery does a nice job, of course, as he’s far and away the best actor in the cast, and the love story between Connor and Heather is remarkably effective despite not taking up much of the running time. Clancy Brown is terrific, too, and while Christopher Lambert will never be accused of being that great an actor, he plays “mysterious foreigner” quite well (he barely knew any English when he took the part, apparently, so that helps his weird accent, too). Plus, of course, Queen’s soundtrack is amazing. (I read that my favorite band, Marillion, was in talks to do the soundtrack, which would have been very cool, but they turned it down because they were on tour, something their guitarist says was a stupid move). This is a movie I think could be remade really well today. The story, not the cast, is the hook, and the story is darned neat. Connery might be hard to replace, but they could do it, and no one else in the cast is that remarkable – Brown is terrific, as I noted, but there are a lot of good actors who would love to play the villain, and Lambert and Roxanne Hart are easily replaceable (I like Lambert’s magnetism, but still). The special effects would be a lot better, and while the run time is slightly under two hours and is probably fine, there are some weird things in the movie that could be dropped or re-arranged to make the main characters (especially Brenda, who is kind of a thankless character) a bit better. Still, the original is great, and probably has one of the biggest gaps between an original and a sequel in terms of quality in movie history, as the second movie is one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

4. Revenge of the Nerds. Once again, it’s been years since I’ve seen the unedited version of this movie, so I had to watch it! It’s certainly not a great movie, and the creepy rape-y scene in the Fun House is still creepy and rape-y (plus the implication that Betty falls for the dude who is best at sex is wildly juvenile, too), but I was struck again by how little the movie cares the Lamar is gay – yes, he’s a ridiculous stereotype, but everyone is a ridiculous stereotype, and nobody singles out Lamar for special ridicule, which I thought was weirdly … progressive? of the movie. He’s picked on because he’s a nerd, not because he’s gay. Anyway, this is a dumb, fun, movie, and like Stand By Me, it’s almost embarrassing to watch Anthony Edwards act circles around Robert Carradine. It’s like they’re in two different movies. And even in a wildly insulting movie like this, I challenge you not to get a bit choked up at Gilbert’s speech at the end.

5. Black Rain. I’d never seen this Ridley Scott movie, so why not now? It’s all right – it’s a standard “fish-out-of-water” cop story, with Michael Douglas as the quasi-dirty New York cop (hey, his kids need braces!) heading to Osaka to escort a prisoner back to Japan, where all hell breaks loose. It’s perfectly fine. The most fun is wondering when exactly Andy Garcia, as Douglas’s partner, is going to die, because from the moment he appears on screen, he might as well have a big target painted on his fancy suit. He lasted a lot longer than I thought he would. Also, Kate Capshaw is in this movie. For some reason, I thought she married Spielberg much earlier than she did (they got hitched in 1991) and basically quit acting because why the hell would you when you’re married to Spielberg. But I guess she didn’t!

6. Sucker Punch. This is by far my favorite Zack Snyder movie, because it’s not an adaptation or a remake and it’s just so, so stupid that it becomes genius art (to be fair, I haven’t seen Dawn of the Dead and I haven’t seen all of 300 – most of it, but not all of it – and I know he made some weird owl movie, but yeah, I haven’t seen that either). It’s idiotic and glorious, from the ridiculous action scenes that might as well be video games to the attempts by Emily Browning to make us care about her character (Browning isn’t a bad actor – see this year’s excellent American Gods television series – but she is pretty lousy in this movie). But Poe Dameron is in it, so that’s all right. What I love about this movie is it’s pure style, and Snyder actually has a decent eye for stylish movies, when he’s not drenching them in darkness so we can’t see anything. Snyder is the spiritual successor to Adrian Lyne, and if Lyne can make one great movie (the brilliant Jacob’s Ladder), maybe Snyder can, too!

7. Stripes. Here’s yet another movie I haven’t seen unedited in years, which basically means you miss out on a few seconds of Bill Murray’s girlfriend’s boobs, mud-covered boobs, and what John Larroquette sees through his telescope, and that’s about it (those are crucial seconds, though!!!!!). This is another classic, a movie that should not be remade because the story is kind of weak, but the cast is perfect. Murray and Ramis are fine, but their fellow soldiers, from John Candy to Judge Reinhold to John Diehl to “Francis,” could not be replicated, and Warren Oates is the living embodiment of a drill sergeant (sure, R. Lee Ermey could play the role in his sleep, but the dude’s kind of old), John Larroquette (so young!) is amazing as the unctuous captain, and even though Sean Young and P.J. Soles don’t have a ton to do (although it’s certainly nice that a movie made in 1981 shows women as completely capable at their jobs, far more so than the male leads), they have amazing chemistry with Ramis and Murray (Murray apparently hated Young, so it’s probably good they weren’t paired up) and Young, especially, always has that weird “I’m slightly crazy vibe” that came out during her Batman Returns audition, which gives the movie a tiny edge whenever she’s on-screen. Plus, Timothy Busfield (who shows up as Poindexter in Revenge of the Nerds) made his film debut in this movie, as the dude who fires the mortar that takes Hulka out of action. Go, Timothy Busfield!

8. All the Right Moves. I’m not entirely sure why I DVRed this movie, but what the heck. It’s not very good, but you can just see how magnetic Cruise is in this movie and why he became one of the biggest stars in the world. He is a bit whiny in this movie, though, and I noticed that even when he became a bigger star, he had a tendency to whine a bit more than you’d expect. So it’s not a very good movie, but it does have Terry O’Quinn in a cameo before he lost all his hair, Chris Penn looking more baby-faced than he usually does (because he’s closer in age to a baby, of course), the worst coaching decision in movie history that somehow got Craig T. Nelson a better job (take the safety, you moron!), and Lea Thompson gets naked, which is nice.

Damn, Lea Thompson

9. Suicide Squad. I was thinking about seeing this in the theater last year, but I rarely go to movies in the theater anymore, and I never got around to it. I knew it would show up on HBO or Starz or Showtime eventually, and so it did! Here’s the thing: I really liked this movie. Yes, it was still a bit too dark (in terms of lighting, not in terms of tone), but it’s a DC movie, so it’s in the contract you sign with Satan – I mean Dan DiDio – that the movie has to be dark. Yes, the Enchantress was kind of a boring villain, but she wasn’t in the movie as much as I thought she’d be, so there was that. I really liked the characters – I thought Will Smith and Margot Robbie were very good, Joel Kinnaman isn’t going to remind anyone of Robert DeNiro but he was fine, Jai Courtney’s craven Captain Boomerang was decent, Viola Davis was very good as someone who’s pretty much as bad as the villains but because she’s in the government she gets away with it, and the rest of the cast was pretty good, too. The story, until the final showdown, was a neat, gritty war story, almost, and I was surprised by how down-to-earth it was for most of the run time. I believed the bonding between the team, and I thought they pushed Will Smith toward redemption a bit too quickly, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. Finally, I know this is heretical, but I think I like Jared Leto’s Joker more than Heath Ledger’s. I wrote about Heath Ledger’s Joker at the old blog almost ten years ago (sheesh, tempus fugit) and how it was a flawed character played wonderfully by Ledger, but Jared Leto’s Joker is just a better character. He’s crazy, sure, but not completely unhinged like Ledger’s Joker, and his plans are clever but not beyond the realm of reality like Ledger’s (which, if you think about for more than a second, fall apart). He’s amazingly stylish, which I always like in the Joker (the Joker should not look like a bum, which is what he looks like in The Dark Knight), and he doesn’t kill haphazardly, which is probably the worst thing Frank Miller ever did to a character. Plus, his twisted romance with Harley is actually pretty well done – I don’t buy the Joker ever really loving anyone, which is why Harley never made sense to me, but if he did love someone, it would probably be the way he loves her in this movie. So, yeah – Jared Leto, better than Heath Ledger? I say … probably? (Yes, I’m taking an ambivalent stand!!!!)

Now it’s Thursday, and the wife is coming home today, so I can’t cram-watch some of the other movies I have DVRed because she won’t want to. We have to go back to watching the Vietnam documentary (we’ve only watched the first chapter so far, but it’s riveting) and the other new shows of the season (Lethal Weapon, Lucifer, Speechless, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and saving Outlander for some binge-watching when the entire season is done. Yeah, we watch a lot of television. But those are just some of the movies I’ve watched in the past few days. Isn’t the modern world wonderful?!?!?!? And if you want to pick some of these up on DVD or Blu-Ray, click the link below. Even if you don’t get the movie below (Highlander), if you use that link and buy something, I get a teeny-tiny bit of it!


  1. M-Wolverine

    Glad they’re making it back OK from Mexico. I don’t know that I’d be sending my wife and daughter down there right now.

    I just can’t watch edited movies. Even ones I don’t care about. I finally thought to try and watch the last Transformers movie since the new one was coming out, and I wouldn’t pay for it, so I tried it On Demand, but it was the TV version, and the very first line in the movie is a curse word, and badly edited out, and I just couldn’t. Shut if off. Probably for the best. The edited for time and reconfigured for your TV thing bothers me too.

    Stand by Me was a short story, wasn’t it? So it’s probably a good thing it was short. Great appropriated song though.

    I’m trying to think, but Mia Sara might have been my favorite movie girlfriend ever. The movie is perfect. The best thing is to not remake it, but just have fun references to it, like Spider-Man: Homecoming, or the commercials with the dude from Stranger Things.

    Highlander was a pretty successful TV series, so I think it already has been kinda remade/continued. But it definitely shows it can work.

    We got bush! I’m not sure what movie gave us more nudity for that age at that time. Not the first, but high quantity. (Though that’s about all I remember about DC Cab).

    Was it Supergirl that just made a joke about a character being an 80’s Michael Douglas movie? I think it was Morgan Edge. And that was a super Michael Douglas-y movie.

    Poe Dameron SINGS! Well before he was getting Oscar nominations for it. I think Sucker Punch is the best video game cinematic scenes ever. I just don’t know if it’s much of a movie. But it’s fun if you don’t try and think about it. Still can’t believe Real World girl is in every genre thing out there now, but she probably was the cutest Real Worlder.

    Stripes wasn’t much of a movie, but just scenes with some of the most quotable dialogue of all time. Which was probably true for any Bill Murray movie back then. Caddyshack, Ghostbusters. It’s up there with Fletch.

    Lea Thompson gets naked? Why don’t I remember this? She still looks good.

    Suicide Squad wasn’t as bad as the pile on was, but it’s not really good either. They get the characters pretty well, other than Flag, but they got really kicked in the nuts when Tom Hardy couldn’t do it. And Enchantress makes Ares look like the most original villain ever. Don’t love modern over sexualized Harley, but thought she did a great job with it, accent aside. Which came and went. Joker not sure I agree with at much. Still can’t get over how ridiculous he looked.

    Vietnam War has been good, but is loooonnnnnggg. And Mondays at 8 is a giant pain to DVR right now.

    1. Greg Burgas

      M-Wolverine: Well, I didn’t have anything to do with her decision to go, but it’s usually fine. Rocky Point is something like 60 miles south of the Arizona border, so it’s not like they went into the jungles of the Yucatan or anything!

      For years, the only way I could watch a lot of movies was edited, so I got used to it. Now I really don’t like it, so I see your point.

      Was the Highlander series a continuation, like the sequels? I thought it was just a different dude doing his thing, but yeah, I guess they’ve “remade” it a bit. I just meant as a standalone movie (please, no sequels!!!!!) with the original premise.

      Dang, DC Cab. It’s been a long time since I even thought of that movie. Someone should do a study about how much nudity we get in 1980s movies, the golden age of on-screen nudity.

      I haven’t watched the new season of Supergirl yet, so I’ll keep an ear out for that joke.

      Jamie Chung was decent as Mulan in Once Upon a Time. Yes, we watch Once Upon a Time. Don’t judge us!

      I like Caddyshack more than Stripes, but yeah, it’s really good. Fletch was better not because Chase is better than Murray but because it’s actually a real story.

      Thompson gets naked near the end of the movie, when she finally decides to bang Tom Cruise. While looking for that picture, I saw an interview with her in 2011 where she says that both she and Cruise were fully nude, although I guess there is some stunt nudity in there, as well.

      Hardy as Flag would have been awesome. And yes, Robbie’s accent is utterly bizarre.

          1. Greg Burgas

            frasersherman: The past few seasons, we’ve watched it because our daughter likes it. We haven’t watched the first episode of this season yet, but I asked her if we could stop watching it, and she wants to give it a chance before she makes up her mind. We probably would have dropped it a few years ago if not for her.

  2. frasersherman

    I love Stand By Me. I hate Ferris Bueller’s Day Offβ€”in fact, being forced to watch two hours of blank screen would be better. Broderick is the most annoying smug teen of all time and Mia Sara is … Mia Sara (I think the only time she approached good was in Birds of Prey). Not that I have strong feelings about the movie or anything.

    Suicide Squad was good enough I wanted it to be better. I think the big problem I had was that they should have gone for the kind of dirty jobs they did a lot in the comic, not an adventure like this β€” it’s not like the government needs a team it can wash its hands off when the mission is to save New York from getting sucked into the Dark Dimension. Plus all the guys with the scruffy chin beards looked alike.

    No argument on Robbie. Will Smith was okay. Leto was … well, I didn’t like Ledger (the last thing the Joker should ever be is glum) but I can’t say Leto grabbed me (I’d love to see a Joker with Cesar Romero’s manic energy). Though I do agree about the Joker having some style, and not killing randomly. Well, not by his own logic, anyway.

    1. Greg Burgas

      frashersherman: You hate Ferris Bueller? YOU’RE DEAD TO ME!!!!!! πŸ™‚

      That’s why I like the middle section of Suicide Squad – yes, they’re fighting undead minions, but it feels like a gritty war story that I think the Squad should do, and then they went and made it all cosmic, which was kind of dumb, mainly because they took out giant ancient evil dude with a bomb, which seemed easy. So I agree with you, but I don’t think the ending ruined the good stuff that came before it.

      DEAD TO ME!!!!!!

  3. frasersherman

    I also agree about the odd progressive elements in Revenge of the Nerds. When I first watched it I was struck by most of the guys pairing off with nerd girls, when the usual way they “prove” their worth is to get a hot cheerleader type.
    Similarly there’s a dreadful time-loop film, Premature, where in the middle of the film the jocks picking on the protagonist call him out for using gay slurs (“Dave just came out to us, and we do not appreciate your language.”). It was welcome, although it didn’t help the rest of the film.

    1. Greg Burgas

      frasersherman: Yeah, I forgot to mention the nerd party, where the guys and girls just have a good old time being nerdy (and horny) together. The movie didn’t treat the women as bizarre – sure, they were nerds, but they were fun ladies who accepted the male nerds for what they were, and everyone got laid.

  4. Edo Bosnar

    Nice list of movies to watch.
    Predator is arguably peak Arnold. If you haven’t already, you should listen to the Podcasta La Vista, Baby episode about it, very good breakdown of the finer aspects of this masterpiece of ’80s cinematic violence, and just a damn amusing discussion all around.
    I agree with everything you said about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, especially the view that it should never be remade.
    And that’s pretty much the only thing I disagree with in your overview of Highlander. No remake: just let that movie stand as it is, with the cast, photography, production, etc. from the mid-80s. It’s perfect. In fact, I wish that movie had been it, i.e., no sequels, no series (with a MacLeod that isn’t even Connor, are you kidding me?!), No. F-ing. Franchise. Just that one, odd, brilliant ’80s SF/action gem, with a French dude playing a Scotsman, and a Scotsman playing an Egyptian with a Spanish name.

    And Stripes. I’m very fond of that movie, possibly due to sentimental reasons, as it was the first R-rated movie I saw in the theater – my older brother took me with him to see it, when I was frankly probably too young (13). But honestly, it’s a flawed movie, because it really should have ended with that graduation scene (you know, Razzle Dazzle and ‘That’s a fact, Jack!’). That whole second act was just a middling action movie tacked onto a brilliant military satire. And yeah, it should never be remade. And man, you shouldn’t have called Pvt. Soyer ‘Francis.’ He’s gonna kill ya…

    1. Greg Burgas

      Edo: Oh, I don’t want them to remake Highlander, mainly because I very rarely want movies to be remade, unless the original is really obscure or it was adapted from a source material and the filmmakers go back to the source material and remake it differently from that. I agree that Highlander should stand on its own (although I’ve never seen the series, so I don’t know how good or bad that is, and the third movie wasn’t terrible, although it was completely unnecessary). I’m just saying that if they have to remake a movie, it’s not a bad choice.

      The second act of Stripes is kind of weird – according to IMDb, they kind of tacked it on because they felt they needed some action. I don’t hate it, because it’s still funny, but it does feel a bit weird. Kind of like Full Metal Jacket feeling like two completely different movies. They probably could have done a bit more with the basic training in Stripes to make it 90 minutes and put the kibosh on the second act, but such is life!

      1. Edo Bosnar

        On Highlander: saw that execrable second film, in the theater, so I never had any desire to watch any of the other sequels. As to the series, Jeff explains it below, but he’s more charitable in his assessment – I watched about 5-6 episodes of it (one of which had Roger Daltrey guest-starring as another immortal), not sure which season, and just kind of hated the whole concept.

        On Stripes: yep, my thoughts exactly – they should have found a way to stretch basic to fill the whole 90 minutes…

  5. Jeff Nettleton

    Never watched Stand By Me, nor All the Right Moves. just never really felt an attraction to watch them and never came across them on cable. Absolutely no desire to watch anything from Zack Snyder, no matter what. The trailer for Sucker Punch made me want to head for the hills screaming.

    Highlander is just one of those films that was meant for the home video/cable age. It did so-so in theaters; but, it was a popular rental. The main reason is that it is a good story and is a better film than it has a right to be, though you can tell it was done on the cheap. however, the money is there on the screen. The soundtrack is magnificent and Queen was the perfect choice. The film is kind of operatic, mixed with heavy guitar riffs and if that isn’t Queen, I don’t know what is. The tv series featured Connor’s kinsman Duncan and Connor showed up in the pilot, but they went their separate ways. They pretty much ignored Highlander 2 (doesn’t everyone) and are never clear if it is supposed to be before, after or an alternate world from the original. The tv series was kind of weak at the start; but it improved greatly with its second season and was certainly better than the film sequels. I still recall watching Highlander for the first time, ticking off everyone of Mulcahy’s video tricks. You could spot his videos on MTV, without the credits: blowing curtains, shattering glass, long shots with tracking cameras, fast push-ins and outs. It’s all there and in The Shadow (which is also better than it should be).

    Ferris is near-perfect, though it is hard to watch Jeffrey Jones without thinking about his later scandal. Kind of the same for Star Trek TMP and Tales of the Gold Monkey (or 7th Heaven), with Stephen Collins; or, anything with Bill Cosby. Coming from Illinois, though, Ferris has a special place, though not quite as special as The Blues Brothers. Ferris is great; but, it needed more ridicule of Illinois Nazis and more smashing of state police cars (that got cheers in theaters, here).

    Predator is one of the best testosterone-filled movies, ever. It’s also a really good sci-fi/monster film. The strength lies in John McTiernan, whose got a pretty darn good track record, in Hollywood (the Rollerball remake and Last Action hero notwithstanding). Watching Predator, you wish he had been able to realize his version of John Carter (and I really like the one we finally got), as I think he could have captured the spirit of Burroughs, while delivering a tighter story ad something that mass audiences might have attended, to give us more Barsoom. His Thomas Crown Affair is actually one of the rare instances where the remake is as good as the original (and it doesn’t have that grating “Windmills of You Mind” song). Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo aren’t quite Steve MCQueen and Faye Dunaway; but, McTiernan plays to their strengths and crafts a great caper. Plus, Dennis Leary was really good.

    Stripes is an old favorite, which I quote often, on the internet. On more than one message board thread I have used the line, “Lighten up Francis!” Just a great bunch of actors, many with an improv background, taking a good script and making it great.

    Revenge of the Nerds and Lamarr isn’t that surprising. If you think about it, the nerds are pretty accepting of everyone and try to get along. They are all about the brain and there is no logical reason to fear a homosexual, so they don’t. They would know it occurs naturally in other species so it would be no big deal. Plus, these guys are all misfits and outcasts, beyond the mental skills; so, they all recognize that they are outcasts and misfits. Really, that is kind of the deliberate point that the nerds were accepting of everyone. What’s really wild about that film, though, is Michelle Meyrink, who plays Gilbert’s girlfriend, Judy. She is also the love interest in the other seminal nerd movie, Real Genius, with Val Kilmer. There, she plays Jordan, the mega-hyper young woman who Mitch falls for (and vice versa). She had a relatively short career of mainly teen comedies, especially with director Martha Coolidge, who cast her in Valley Girl, The Joy of Sex (the first sex comedy I saw, in a theater, when I was 17) and Real Genius.

    I have to know, though, how you missed the ultimate dumb 80s movie, Red Dawn? Come on, you have to include high school kids whooping combat-experienced Commies! Nothing so sums up the Reagan era as that movie.

    1. M-Wolverine

      Actually, I don’t think Last Action Hero is a bad movie; it was just marketed horribly. It was sold as Arnold next big end all action movie, when it was really a spoof. If it had been sold more as an action comedy, and along the lines of Kindergarten Cop, it probably wouldn’t have bombed.

      1. frasersherman

        I thought it was a bad spoof, mostly because it just throws in random elements like the animated anthropomorphic cat, which don’t really make sense in “universe that looks like our action movies.” And it ran too long and sank under its own weight. A shame since some of the touches (even the retail salesclerks are all hot) worked well.

    2. Greg Burgas

      Jeff: Yeah, Mulcahy is a very stylish director, and it works quite well in Highlander. I don’t think it works quite as well in The Shadow, although I agree it’s not a terrible movie, just because I don’t think Alec Baldwin took the movie very seriously, so the tone is a bit wonky. But I haven’t seen it in a while; some day I’ll watch it again!

      We didn’t mention Jeffrey Jones’s ickiness to my daughter; she’s 12 and doesn’t really need to know about it right now. You’re right, though, although I do try to ignore it as best as I can.

      I’m with M-Wolverine. I actually love Last Action Hero. It’s a terrific satire. McTiernan is fairly underrated, I agree. While trying to find that clip, I saw a short video about the making of the movie and how McTiernan didn’t direct the gun fight with the rebels, and it’s clear when you’re watching it that he didn’t, because he knew how to stage an action scene, and that part of the movie is just things blowing up.

      I’m not terribly surprised that the nerds themselves are accepting of Lamar, I’m just surprised the filmmakers didn’t throw in some homophobia, because it was still the 1980s, even if the movie is sympathetic to outcasts. I actually appreciated that when I rewatched it.

      I knew that about Meyrink, even though she looks different in Real Genius and I didn’t know it was the same actor for years. That’s such a great movie!

      Of course I’ve seen Red Dawn more times than I can count, but I haven’t seen it on pay cable recently, so I haven’t DVRed it. If I see it, I’ll probably DVR it, because it’s another movie I haven’t seen unedited in a long time (although I don’t think there’s any nudity in it, so it’s just the cursing that gets cut).

      1. Edo Bosnar

        Count me as another guy who likes Last Action Hero.
        As for Red Dawn, I can’t even watch that movie ironically to laugh at it. It just grates on my nerves – I grew up in a pretty rural area, where there were not a few people who took movies like that seriously, as in “that shit can happen, man…”

        1. frasersherman

          I rewatched Red Dawn a few years ago (I was working on a film reference book that included it) and it’s really amazing how much a product of its time it is. I think a millennial would be baffled why Russia needed support from El Salvador and Nicaragua to make the attack.

    1. Greg Burgas

      M-Wolverine: Okay, so that New Mutants trailer is pretty cool. I’m totally down with superhero horror movies.

      But then they go add a children’s choir singing a slowed-down version of a classic song. Two awful trends (children’s choirs, slowing down) that go terribly together! πŸ™‚

      1. M-Wolverine

        Hmmm…slowed down spooky versions of songs does seem to be the in over-played thing now; but the lyrics pretty much fit. And didn’t the original have children singing? So you can’t fault it for that. The arrangement is certainly up for debate, but not the kids! πŸ™‚

        And yes, I don’t know if they’re running with different genres after the success of Deadpool and Logan, or just copying the superheroes in different genres thing, but I can’t help but think Marvel is probably ok with this production from Fox.

        1. Greg Burgas

          Yeah, the original had kids. I don’t mind kids singing in songs, but it’s a bit overdone, and it wasn’t back in 1979 or whenever the heck The Wall came out (1979, right?). So it’s more that I’m over it these days, not that I hate it all the time. I’m very contradictory that way!

    2. Nia Peeples! We went to the same high school. Okay, she started there after I graduated, but still. Her family moved into the house my best friend moved out of after his parents divorced. And I did see her perform in a couple of high school choir competitions hosted at the community college where I was attending. Kid had charisma and talent.

      1. M-Wolverine

        You bastard! I’m so jealous. I was madly in love with Nia Peeples from, like, 13 to my early 20’s. I may have been the only one in the Nia Peeples Fan Club. She still looks fantastic. Seems sweet too. Though maybe a bit nutty since she just finished with husband 4 or something.

        1. frasersherman

          My dad went through four wives, it’s not necessarily a sign of insanity.
          Avery Brooks went to my college though years before I was there. Alison Bechdel (Dykes to Watch Out For, Fun Home) was a year behind me but I don’t remember ever meeting her (a shame, as I love her work).

  6. Eric van Schaik

    Good to have some free time from the wive πŸ™‚

    I’m surprised with editing movies on tv. Is this still happening or is it just old movies that were edited? If it’s still happening then certain movies will be very short when there on tv i guess. Strange that you can find any kind of disturbing stuff on the intenet but on tv you can’t show a naughty word. Perhaps it’s because I’m european.

    Predator, Commando and Last Action Hero are terrific Arnold movies. True lies is also a good one that I miss in the discussion.
    I read the short Stephen King story (yes, there was a time I read book without pictures) but never saw the movie.
    TOTALLY AGREE ABOUT FERRIS. Even my kids love the movie.
    There should have been only 1 Highlander movie, and I thought it was a so so movie.
    Revenge of the Nerds and Black Rain were not great movies. I found Porky’s more fun (at the time).
    Sucker Punch. A little too stupid I’m afraid. Saw it in the cinema and thought afterwards what it was that I had just seen.
    Stripes, saw that ones years a ago on tv.
    LEA THOMPSON RULES!!! I’m probably a minority but I liked Howard the Duck, because of Lea and Jeffrey Jones. I have to look at the scandel. I’m not familiar about it.
    Suicide Squad had some ok scenes but apart from that Meh. WonderWoman was so much better in my opinion.

    Greg don’t you own blurays or dvd’s? In Holland I don’t watch movies on tv anymore because of commercials every 20/25 minutes. ARGHHH
    When I have time I put a movie in my PS3, sound via the amplifier and loud and enjoy it.

    Are you a person who streams his music or do you go to the record store?
    I want to have something in my hands. A comic, a cd or a movie. Maybe old fashioned but what the hell.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Eric: Oh, it still happens all the time. Network television is still the worst, but basic cable gets rid of any “fuck” (although some shows are allowed one or two a season) and absolutely any nipples. NIPPLES ARE EVIL!!!!! Some more gross violence is edited, but it’s usually the sex stuff.

      True Lies is very good, too. The last good movie James Cameron ever made!

      I’ve never seen Howard the Duck. I kind of want to, though.

      I own a lot of DVDs and Blu-Rays. I just DVR a lot of stuff, too! I think in the new year I’m going to try to write more about other pop culture than just comics, and I’m thinking of going through my DVD collection and writing thoughts about every movie I own. It will take a while, but it sounds like fun!

      I don’t stream music at all. I buy some stuff on iTunes, but generally I still buy CDs. I love me some CDs! Because yes, I like to have physical copies of things. I’m just old-fashioned that way.

      1. M-Wolverine

        I had to look up the Cameron filmography, because I was like, damn, I think he’s right. And I don’t think True Lies is actually that great. For all Cameron’s faux feminist attacks on Wonder Woman, that movie is kinda icky the way it treats the women. And I’m hardly overly sensitive. And for some reason Tom Arnold was still famous then.

        Still, it had Bill Paxton at his most Paxton-y, showed the future talents of Eliza Dushku, and had some good villains in Art Malik and Tia Carerre in her prime. Yum. So definitely not great, but his last good movie? Yup.

        1. frasersherman

          I rewatched it a few years ago and it really didn’t age well. Spectacular as the action was, it didn’t hold me the way Terminator or Die Hard did when rewatched. And yes, the trick he pulls on Curtis is creepy.
          Plus even on first viewing, handwaving the effects of an a-bomb exploding near to Miami because nobody was caught in the blast is beyond stupid.

          1. Greg Burgas

            It hasn’t aged particularly well, but even when it first came out, a lot of people objected to the Curtis subplot. I didn’t love it, but mainly because it made the movie longer, which it didn’t need. True Lies wasn’t the first time an action movie became bloated, but it’s not a bad example – that’s a terrific 90-minute action movie with an extra hour of bloat, no matter how funny Bill Paxton is.

            And I don’t want to live in a world where you can’t handwave away the effect of an atomic bomb going off near the Florida Keys, because that was cool. It’s all about the coolness! πŸ™‚

      2. Eric van Schaik

        @Greg. Funny to see that were both old fashioned bastards. If only you had a better taste in music πŸ™‚

        Next time when I’m with my kids (every other week I stay at my moms place) I want to see me some movies. Fifth Element is high on my list. Edge of Tomorrow too. Even for Tom Cruise haters a great movie.

        The last two weeks were hectic. My mom fell 3 times in 1 week and had to go to the hospital. She stayed there for almost 2 weeks. She had a low blood pressure and forgot to eat, with a little help of her dementia. Now see gets visited 3 times a day to check her taking her pills and food.

        Another great Arnold movie I forgot about: Total Recall from our great dutch director Paul Verhoeven, with a TERRIBLE REMAKE. It should be forbidden to make remakes within a few generations. If they do it over 50 years it’s okay, I won’t see it then. The movie makes me laugh everytime when he says GEEF THIES PEOPLE SOME EER.

        1. Greg Burgas

          Dang, Eric, things aren’t going well for you at all. I’m sorry to hear about your mother.

          Total Recall is terrific, mainly (but not completely) because of Arnold. The remake wouldn’t have been too bad if they hadn’t called it “Total Recall,” because of course then you compare it to the original. I think that if filmmakers want to remake movies, they should go back to the source material and try to do something like that, because maybe then people wouldn’t compare it so closely to the original movie. The Total Recall remake wasn’t a good movie by any means, but I don’t think it was awful, just awful because it didn’t have the pure pulp goofiness of Arnold’s version.

          I’ve always liked Verhoeven, and I really need to see his late 1970s/early 1980s Dutch movies with Hauer. I hear they’re excellent.

          1. Eric van Schaik

            Thanks for the kind words. 2017 just isn’t my years unfortunately.
            Today my ex and my son have a party. She became 50 earlier this year, and my son turns 18 today. We still see each other because of the children, so it will be a nice day today. Let’s see how long my mom wants to stay. She still lives on her own (with me being there every other week) but I don’t know how long that will be possible.

            You should defenately try Turks Fruit (Turkish Delight) and Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange, about WW2), and maybe De vierde man (the forth man, thriller). Spetters has Hauer in a small role. They made one movie together in your country: Flesh and Blood.

            We both live in country’s with bad soccer players who won’t go to the world cup.

            My most recent purchases: comic : Hell in Hell Library Edition, bluray : Kong – Skull Island and cd’s : Queens of the Stone Age – Villains and Radiohead – A moon shaped pool.

          2. Greg Burgas

            Eric: I really like Flesh and Blood. I know it’s kind of junky, but I still dig it!

            Yeah, the American team didn’t exactly cover themselves with glory, did they?

  7. My problem with Sucker Punch is that it pretends to be a female empowerment movie while telling a story that is so anti-female it’s staggering. SPOILER: all that “empowerment” (and for some reason, women can only be empowered while wearing mini-skirts or lingerie, but whatever) is merely a fantasy played out in the mind of a girl on her way to be lobotomized so that the attendants at the asylum can continually rape her more easily for the rest of her life. Some empowerment. And Snyder is a creep, aside from being a Randian.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Jim: Oh, totally. You definitely don’t want to think about the movie too much, because it’s certainly creepy. I don’t want to give the impression that it’s a good movie at all, because underlying it is some pretty awful stuff. I do like it more than the rest of Snyder’s movies, but that’s a low bar! If I turn my brain off for it, I appreciate the gloriously stupid action scenes, but if I think about it even for a little bit, I get seriously icked out.

  8. Rantel

    In my opinion, not only was Viola Davis one of the best things about Suicide Squad, but giving her the “exposition” role was a brilliant move because she has enough gravitas to actually SELL it. She can spoit off all kinds of insane comic book mumbo jumbo about interdimensional sorcerors and crocodile men and it all sounds totally plausible.

    To bring the conversation back to people acting circles around other people, Joel Kinnaman does not have anywhere close to her ability to make you believe in the impossible, so when Katana shows up and Flagg starts talking about how her sword traps the souls of her vanquished foes, my thought was “What? That’s ridiculous!”, a thought that I never had during any of Waller’s scenes.

    Davis is great, is basically the point I’m making here. I’d love to see more of her character in the future.

  9. Simon

    Should you really gamble with the fond memories of your inner teen? And if you wanted Arnold, why not LAST ACTION HERO or TOTAL RECALL?

    Ubi sunt, sed memento mori, ergo carpe diem: have you seen Sheridan’s WIND RIVER? Almost CADAVER DOGS OF WINTER on film, you might dig it. (For other recent crime thrillers, there’s Sorogoyen’s MAY GOD SAVE US, and the remastered reissue of Bong’s masterpiece MEMORIES OF MURDER. Though you may prefer to relax with Katabuchi’s IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD.)

    1. Greg Burgas

      Simon: I love both of those Arnold movies, but I’m not Netflixing these – I’m at the mercy of what’s on cable at any given time! πŸ™‚ Some day I’ll get Netflix, but right now, I have so much on the DVR it would be ridiculous to get it when I have so much to watch!

      I haven’t heard of the latter two movies, but I would really like to see Wind River. I hardly ever get to movies in theaters, though, because by the time the weekend rolls around, my wife is usually exhausted from work, so we just chill on Fridays and Saturdays, or we go out with friends and talk, because as adults, we don’t get to do that enough! So I’ll probably wait until Wind River is on cable, because that’s how I roll! Yes, I’m old. πŸ™‚

      1. Simon

        @Greg: Basically, WIND RIVER is a little like SILENCE OF THE LAMBS in the cold of Wyoming snows (though filmed in Utah, heh), while MAY GOD SAVE US is not unlike SEVEN in the heat of a papal visit in Madrid, Spain.

        But MEMORIES OF MURDER is kinda the anti-SEVEN (and inspired Fincher for ZODIAC). Being based on the first modern serial killer in South Korea, it starts out almost farcical to reflect its then-dictature milieu, the better to crash into terror. It’s a film cousin to BolaΓ±o’s 2666, it doesn’t take any easy way out.



      1. Greg Burgas

        M-Wolverine: I re-watched Running Man several months ago, and I was struck by how prescient it was. I wrote on Facebook that even though Robocop (from the same year) gets all the accolades, we should save some for The Running Man, too. It takes place in 2017, after all! I like it quite a bit, even though Arnold’s “kill quips” are painfully bad in the movie.

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