I really am getting to the point know where a lot of the 1988 films that I only have the more serious films left to pick out of my TBT jar. Mississippi Burning, Cinema Paradiso, Colors, Gorillas in the Mist are films I am sure will be worth watching but I’ve kind of got used to watching the sillier ones. I normally end up watching these films on my day off when I’m not really in the mood for an intense 2 hour plus watching experience. I’ve come to enjoy the fact that there are so many films from the 80s that don’t make it too far past the 90 minute mark and many that don’t even make it that far. And, really, that’s a good thing. I’m not suggesting that all films need to be shorter but I’m a busy girl. Okay, nobody believes that. I’m a lazy girl. I just need highly concentrated bursts of cinema. Preferably with dodgy special effects or weird narratives. Oh, and a whole bunch of actors who make me sit there with my head to one side thinking ‘where do I know them from’. I can’t even start to work out how much of this film I spent madly searching IMDb to find the movies I’d seen certain people in.
Ever since I watched this week’s Throwback Thirty film I’ve had the song ‘You’ll Be In My Heart’ in my head. You know the one. The Phil Collins song from Disney’s Tarzan movie. I’ve only seen about half of that film but I fucking love that song. It must have been on a Disney compilation album I had when I was younger. It was probably the first time I was aware of Phil Collins as a person. I’d no doubt heard more of his stuff but never known who it was. But I knew it with this song. So, that song has become so intrinsically linked with Phil Collins that I can’t hear his name without it spending days in my head. And those drum beats are bloody memorable. And then there’s the fact that the film’s soundtrack is full of classic Phil Collins songs. So, it’s been a pretty Collins heavy week for me. I definitely need to go and listen to something else as soon as I’ve written this review. And forget this ever happened.
Some weeks I plan ahead what I’m going to watch for this throwback post so I know what I’m going to be in for. Other weeks I just randomly search for a 1988 film and pick the most ridiculous. This week was the latter. I’ve just not been in the mood this week. I’m in a massive funk right now thanks to various things so I just wanted to watch something simple and easy. And if it involves Tommy Lee Jones then all the better in my opinion. I’ve always kind of love his blunt and no-nonsense attitude. I love the fact that the man I probably first became aware of in Men in Black actually has no time for jokes. Just remember what he was like at the 2013 Golden Globes with his stony-faced reaction to every joke. It’s iconic. As someone who often just has no time for people, Tommy Lee Jones is kind of my idol. So, a random made for TV movie where he falls in love with a ghost? How the hell could I not?
Sherlock Holmes is quite the character. According to certain statistics, he’s the most portrayed human literary character. Way back in 2012, the Guinness Book of World Records awarded him the title after it decided the sleuth had been depicted a whopping 254 times on-screen. A number that beat Hamlet by 48. All in all, the great detective has, according to the numbers, been played by over 75 different actors so, by this point we’re definitely starting to get that sense of déjà vu. Which is probably why so many TV and film executives keep trying to find new and interesting ways to reinvent the character. We’ve seen him with deerstalker, without deerstalker, with a coke habit, without a coke habit, with emotions, without emotions. He’s been played by American actors, by British actors, by Grand Moff Tarkin, and by Dr Strange. So many options. It’s amazing anyone even keeps trying when there have been so many options! But, apparently, people will never stop trying to make it new again. Something director Thom Eberhardt took to a new level in 1988 when he turned the traditional premise on its head starring two of our finest actors.
If I were to ask you what your favourite 80s horror film starring small furry monsters then you’d probably, and quite rightly say, Gremlins. Unfortunately that film was released in 1984 so I had to find the next best thing. Thankfully, in 1988 the film Hobgoblins came out and that’s essentially just a carbon copy. Hobgoblins didn’t exactly make a name for itself when it was released but has since become something of a cult classic. Mostly down to the fact that it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 where it was described by Paul Chaplin as heading “right to the top of the list of the worst movies we’ve ever done.” A fantastic legacy that was only helped by the fact that Rick Sloane (writer, director, producer) submitted the show himself and loved the episode. Whatever else you can say about the film, it certainly had earned its place in the annals of Hollywood history. Continue reading
So, I couldn’t find an appropriate film with the word “Return” in the title to review this week but, as I’m still on this October high, I have picked another great horror film. Last week I watched a parody of a classic B movie from the 50s. This week we’re celebrating a remake of one of them. The Blob was first released in 1958 starring Steve McQueen. 30 years later it was remade with Kevin Dillon. The original was a low-budget, independent film that went on to become a surprise hit. It helped that McQueen, appearing in one of his earliest roles, stood out as the star he would go on to be. The original film is everything that the science-fiction films of the 50s were known for. It became a classic horror film and it’s obvious to see why it would be on the cards to be remade. As we have seen, the 80s was a big era for horror films. The zombie uprising was still in full swing and cinema audiences were keen to be scared. It makes sense that one of the granddaddies of the genre would be near the top of the list for a remake utilising the improved special effects of the time… and that guy from Entourage.
Continuing with my apparent comedy horror theme for this month, I’m reviewing another sequel to a cult classic. This time it’s the film that followed up 1978’s Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. The first film is a ridiculous and terrible horror parody of those 1950s B movies about huge monsters rampaging through a quiet American town. It flipped it on its head and, though a lot of the jokes don’t land or are incredibly desperate, there is a lot of fun to be had. It’s so fucking random and weird that it’s impossible not to enjoy it on some level. From the moment you hear the title song at the start of the film you know you’re in for a ride. Then it’s a roller coaster of bad acting and poor people being paid to roll around with actual tomatoes. It’s perfect. The ultimate “so bad it’s good film”. As for the sequel, it’s something that I’ve only seen bits of many years ago. Sticking in my mind only because it stars a young George Clooney. So, in the spirit of last, I decided it was worth rewatching the orignal and follow it up with the sequel. Of course, I was slightly worried that the whole process would put me off eating tomato soup or pizza for the next few weeks but I’m willing to sacrifice these types of things for this blog I guess.
It’s October, which means that the shops have quickly been filled up with everything Halloween related. It’s been that way since the middle of September in most places so it’s no wonder I’m starting to think that it’s closer than it actually is. It’s no doubt the reason that I was really excited for this week’s TBT film. In order to get into the spirit of the whole thing I decided to marathon the first and second films in the Return of the Living Dead series. I’ve never seen the second one before but the first is such an iconic comedy horror film that I figured it probably had some positives. After all, Return of the Living Dead was the first film to introduce audiences to the idea of zombies looking for tasty tasty “BRAAAAIIINS” instead of just eating the whole human. It was a funny, silly, and utterly camp horror film full of slightly dodgy special effects that has, rightly, become a classic. So, you’d expect there to be a little something to get excited about with a sequel. Although, let’s be honest, horror sequels aren’t exactly the greatest of films. With the exception of the Leprechaun series which only got better with every films, most horror franchises rapidly decline after the first one.
Movie titles are a funny old thing aren’t they. Sometimes you hear them and have no interest in watching the film. I know that, if I hadn’t known all about Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver I would have assumed it would have been a shitty family comedy or animation. Meaning I would have dismissed it and lost out on one of the most fun film experiences of last year. On the other hand, some films have the kind of titles that you can’t ignore. Snakes on a Plane is an obvious example and I still can’t believe some stupid executive attempted to change it. Thank god for Samuel L, eh? Of course, there are more than enough times that these unmissable titles are the best thing about a film. It’s something I’ve come across a lot when researching which 1988 films to watch for this series. There are a lot of random but amazing titles out there but the films don’t sound like they’ll measure up. This was something I definitely suspected from today’s pick. A classic B movie with no budget, bad acting, but a lot of aspiration. But I couldn’t deny that I was instantly hooked by the title.
This week I decided to let fate decide which 1988 film I was going to watch. It happened to be shown on TV last Saturday so, for the sake of convenience and laziness, I just watched it then. I can’t say that I was really relishing the idea of having to watch the third film in the Rambo series. It’s hardly a franchise that has ever regained the height it reached with its first film. First Blood is a classic action movie and, though it falls apart when you think about it too much, is carried well thanks to it’s main star. I can’t say that I’m a massive Stallone fan but I defy anyone not to find him a little intriguing. He’s had some great and career defining roles. Yes, I can’t say I’ve been queuing up to see his films from the past decade or so but there’ll always be a place for him in the annals of film history. We know that, deep down, I have the same taste in films as a 12-year old boy, so his films do speak to me on some level. Anything with enough guns and explosions is going to keep me somewhat happy. However, I also need there to be something deeper. Something I’m not sure Stallone has always been capable of.