This may seem like history repeating itself because I’ve already reviewed Die Hard on this blog. But, considering it was the inspiration for the title of my blog, there was no real alternative to end my Throwback Thirty series. Not only is it one of the best films of 1988 but it is one of the most loved films of all time. Seriously, you mention Die Hard to pretty much everyone and they’ll respond positively. Plus, it’s kind of timely considering this year the whole “is Die Hard a Christmas film?” debate started raging again. “And is it?” I hear you cry? I don’t really care. Officially, I did put it on my list of ‘Essential Christmas films’ but I’d watch this film at any time of year and be happy. That’s not something I could say about the majority of other films on that list. In my heart, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I’ve watched Bruce Willis run around in a dirty tank top but it’s only real link to Christmas is the setting. But, I say again, who gives a shit?
As I was reminded today, there are only 19 more sleeps until Christmas. This means that Christmas shopping is in full swing. I like to think I’m doing well with the amount of gifts I’ve already bought but, when I really think about it, I still have loads to buy. And I’m starting to get desperate for ideas. When I read something on Twitter about the 30th anniversary box set of My Neighbour Totoro I decided it was the perfect present for a friend… until I saw the price and almost died. I mean, I love her but no. Sorry. On the plus side, it reminded me that I’ve been putting off doing a TBT post about this film. I don’t know why it took me so long as I really love this film. In terms of Studio Ghibli films, it is one of the all time classics and Totoro has become a massive part of Japanese pop culture. By this point, he’s essentially the Japanese Winnie the Pooh, right? If I was going to be sharing my 30th birthday year with anyone then I’m really glad it’s Totoro.
This is last TBT post of November. A fact that can only mean one thing: we’re only 4 posts away from the end of this whole series. In just four weeks time I never have to watch a film from 1988 ever again if I don’t want to. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid watching any of the “decent” films that I had intended to watch. I kind of feel like I need to at least watch Cinema Paradiso as it was the Oscar winner from that year. But, then again, when there are still so many shitty films out there it’s impossible to imagine sitting down to watch something good. I know that I’m watching both Scrooged and Die Hard in December so it just begs the question, what are the other two going to be? But, let’s not think about that now. Not when we have a film all about female empowerment. It’s all feeling very progressive but is it as predictable as I think it’s going to be?
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.
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.
I first saw this film during the peak of my Dan Aykroyd obsession. I’d been slowly making my way through his greatest hits and I stumbled across this on TV late one night. I sat down to watch it for a few minutes and almost made my way through the entire thing. As in love with Aykroyd as I was at the time, I decided to hunt down the DVD and get the whole experience. I can’t say it landed anywhere near my top 5 of his performances. So much so that I got rid of the DVD a few years ago and thought nothing of it. In fact, so little had I thought about this film since then that I didn’t even put it as an option for TBT film jar. I hadn’t bothered to suggest it as a film that also celebrates its 30th birthday this year. Perhaps this say something about my underlying thoughts on the film but I don’t remember hating it. And why would I? Aykroyd aside, I adore Walter Matthau. I hope someday to be Max from Grumpy Old Men but, you know, not a man. So I decided it was time to revisit the film. Just to make sure. And to appease that soft spot I have for late 80s Dan Aykroyd’s face… and talent I guess.
I’ve got one more day of work before I head off on my holiday and I can’t wait. I’ve almost go ahead with next week’s posts. I just need to quickly write up next week’s TBT post tomorrow before I start packing. God, I hate packing. It’s days like this that make me wish I was still a kid. Remember how great it was when you went away and your mother packed all of your clothes for you? All you had to do was pack books and stuff. That was the bit I always looked forward to the most, obviously. Picking which books you take away is serious business. You want to take enough incase you get through them all but you can’t use up all of your space by taking too many. It’s such a difficult decision. And one that deserves more time than I’m going to be able to give it. Thanks to my bloody packing nightmare. God, being an adult is the worst… cut to shameless link to today’s TBT film. A film about a man who has a hard time dealing with growing up. Throughout his films John Hughes has explored the life of Chicago teenagers and She’s Having a Baby feels like the logical next step. We’ve seen them work their way through high school and now we get a picture of them trying to settle down. Starring Kevin Bacon. The darling of the 80s… as I’ve just dubbed him.
I’ve been off work is week and it’s been so nice. A week without stress and being able to do whatever I wanted. Unfortunately, I have to go back tomorrow and am really not looking forward to it. I had every intention of getting an early night but, naturally, I put off writing this ’til the last-minute. But, hey, the way I’ve been this week the fact that I’m writing this on the right day is something to be praised. And, as TBT films go, I’m super excited about this one. I don’t think I really have a favourite genre of film but, if pushed, I’d definitely say that terrible sports movies are up there. Emphasis on the “terrible”. Good sports films are all well and good but they take themselves a bit too seriously. I like the dreadful ones like Mighty Ducks 3 and Little Giants where the acting is horrible, the storyline is full of clichés, and the sport is an after thought. So, taking this into account, my pick for this week’s TBT film is an absolute doozy. I mean not only is it all about a full contact underground martial arts competition but it stars Jean-Claude Van Dame in a role that almost netted him a Golden Raspberry award. What could be better than that?
What is it you imagine when you think about the 80s? Is it the hair? The clothes? The music? Or is it the dynamic acting duo that was the two Coreys? Coreys Haim and Feldman only appeared in 3 films together in the 80s but they were quite the pair. They were household names. Lost Boys was one of my all time favourite films as a teenager so I have a definite soft-spot for them. Obviously, as we know now, there was a lot of shit going on behind the scenes as they were growing up in Hollywood but there can be no denial that they were important pop culture figures in the 80s and 90s. So, statistically, I was bound to come across at least one of them in my quest to revisit the films of that came out the same year that I did. As it turned out, I got two for the price of one with this teen comedy starring both Coreys. It’s not something I’ve seen before so I was excited to see my favourite pair reunited on-screen. Even if it is about learning to drive. After all, despite being 30 years old now, I still haven’t passed my driving test. It’s something that seems to bother more people than it does me and wasn’t a move I intended. However, it’s the way things are. Maybe this film would show me what I was missing?