November 18, 2020 — The last time I watched Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, I was probably 14-years-old. As an adult, I chose never to revisit the film because I did not want to ruin the perfect memories I had of it; I knew it would not stand up to my teenaged perspective. Though I abstained for so long, when duty called, I answered, and my fears were correct — Ace Ventura did not age well at all.
November 11, 2020 — As with so much in director Sam Raimi’s canon, The Quick and The Dead had the dumb luck of coming out at just the wrong time. While the Western had been ascending in terms of appeal at the start of the 90s, by ’95 the tides had shifted so that major Hollywood productions were in decline. There was enough uncertainty that producers were not confident for much of the film’s production history. From casting a very early career DiCaprio (coming just before Titanic and international stardom, DiCaprio would ultimately be paid out of co-star Sharon Stone’s salary), to bringing in a fresh-faced Russell Crowe, and script rewrites still ongoing just weeks before shooting, producers were still trying to steer the ship long after it left port. Spoilers Follow
November 4, 2020 — Before we dive into one of the most notable action films of all time, we need to clear something up. The title of the first movie about John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is simply First Blood. The name comes from a line in the film — Rambo says, “They drew first blood, not me!” It was not until later that the Rambo franchise, and every film in it, became mistakenly synonymous with the main character’s surname.
October 28, 2020 — A movie is rarely perfect, but most eighties kids will tell you that Labyrinth is as close as it gets. The film is a perfect storm of creativity combining the brilliant minds of Jim Henson (Muppets, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal) and singer David Bowie, along with the talents of Jennifer Connelly and a myriad of voice actors and puppeteers. These talents combined to create a world of magic and imagination that wowed young audiences and continues to find generations of new fans.
October 21, 2020 — If you have never heard of Red Heat, do not feel bad. Even eighties action movie super-fans have probably forgotten about this Schwarzenegger outing. It is such a strange film in so many ways I am surprised it is not more well known. So, it deserves a thorough examination to evaluate its past and how it plays in the present.
October 14, 2020 — When Braveheart hit theaters, it wasn’t easy to understand the appeal. A nearly three-hour period-piece seemed more like a school assignment than an enjoyable movie. It turned out to be a smash hit and won Mel Gibson an Oscar for best director. People loved this intense interpretation of the life of William Wallace, but the world has changed since 1996, so it was questionable whether the movie could still stand on its own. Times have changed, but history has not.
October 7, 2020 — The 80s were a time of legwarmers and headbands. Hair was perched as tall as it would stand, and everyone was enjoying the sounds of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Guns ‘n Roses, and an unending list of other industry greats. Most remarkably, though, was what was happening in movie theaters. Audiences were being transported to lands full of fantastical beings and perilous adventures. Sure, the 70s took us into deep space with Star Wars, but it was the fantasy films of the 80s that helped imaginations run wild. Chief among them was Willow, a dark fantasy film that, despite a cold reception, is worth a viewing just for the nostalgia of 80s cinema.
September 30, 2020 — Writing a review for The NeverEnding Story is no easy task. This film exists outside of all conventions, and if you believe the content of the movie, we are all just part of the story. Most Millennials will tell you that they have mixed feelings about this film. When you talk about it, it simultaneously drums up fond memories with a sprinkling of childhood trauma. If you have never seen this movie, you probably wouldn’t understand why a film can have such a polarizing air but still be beloved by so many of the generation. I’ll do my best to explain why The NeverEnding Story is such an enigma.
September 23, 2020 — In 1981, American author Thomas Harris introduced readers to Will Graham, a former FBI profiler who’s called upon to crack the case of “The Tooth Fairy.” The grizzly serial killer and Graham shared a fascinating dynamic that unraveled at a steady pace throughout Red Dragon, but it was neither of these characters that went on to become icons of theatrical history. Seven years later, Harris released Red Dragon’s sequel, The Silence of the Lambs, this time putting the cannibalistic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the spotlight.
September 15, 2020 — If you follow the paralleled careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, there is one thing you may notice that sets the two apart. Stallone’s action roles in the ‘80s were distinctively cornier than Schwarzenegger’s. While Cobra is far from a comedy film, the aura of this movie is cheesier than it should be. Still, it is a cult classic. And when you look past terrible dialogue, which includes gems like “You’re a disease, and I’m the cure,” this film is a whole lot of fun.
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