So it had taken me a month between posting my first review to posting the next. Apparently, in order to make up for the deficit, I posted two film reviews on one day. I don’t know what it was about the 25th October 2011 but clearly I was feeling quite motivated that day. Right after I uploaded my review of Fantastic Mr Fox, I also posted a review of that year’s The Three Musketeers remake. I vividly remember going to see that film with some friends because I almost got into an argument with one of them on the way home. I had criticised the film for being bad whilst she tried to give it a positive spin. I had no time for her suggestion that it didn’t matter how good it was if it was fun. Especially as, years later, she took the opposite stance by proclaiming Now You See Me was utterly terrible because it was too stupid. But, we know how bitter and petty I am so let’s leave that for another time. Back to the film in hand. I can’t say I was desperate to see this film but went along to try it out. It turned out to be such a mistake that I couldn’t wait to rant about it online. I would have been happy to never watch this film again but, at the same time, was interested to see if I’d mellowed over the years. After all, I’ve watched some absolutely shocking films last year. Surely, my bar has moved a little lower?
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?
Let’s look back to the end of 2017 when I foolishly decided that I would reread Murder on the Orient Express before I watched Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation. Unfortunately, I started reading Autumn by Ali Smith and it took me all fucking month to get through it. So, I decided that this was the year when I would finally do it. And, today, nearly a whole month later, I closed the final page. I should just realise that December isn’t my reading month but, if I start doing that, I’d then have to admit that no month is my reading month. It’s why I can’t ever set myself a reading challenge unless it’s read 1 book. But, let’s not get too bogged down with 2019. We’re still in 2018 and, unless I miraculously gain the ability to read super quickly, this will be the last book I finish this year. So, let’s make this review a good ‘un.
We’ve reached the penultimate episode of Throwback Thirty so I’ve decided to watch one of my favourite Christmas films. Whilst it didn’t quite make it into my Top 11 Essential Christmas films, it is certainly something I enjoy watching this time of year. Really, I like films that play with Charles Dickens’ story in different ways. I understand the fact that, as a Victorian novel, it feels as though you should stay true to the time period. But there are only so many times you can see an angry old man in a nightgown following ghosts around until it gets boring, so changing it up a bit is always welcome. Whilst I will always see The Muppets Christmas Carol as the ultimate adaptation of the tale, Scrooged, at least, tries to bring it into the modern age. And, as it was released in 1988, it was made during Bill Murray’s glory days. And, let’s be honest, who better to play a mean, slightly unhinged, and haunted TV executive than the great Murray? Who better to star in the classic festive tale? When Bill’s around it’ll always be a Murrary Christmas. Continue reading
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?
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.
Today’s TBT post got off to a bad start because I got a lot of contradictory information about when this film was released. Most places displayed the release date as 1988 but every so often I would see it described as a 1989 film. So, despite being pretty set upon watching Heathers this week, I decided to just go for it. According to Wikipedia, which is, despite what my university said, a reliable source, it was released in Italy in 1988 before being released in the US in 1989. So, I’m taking that. After all, people have been telling me to watch Heathers for years. There’s something about this that, apparently, I’ve been missing for 30 years. Now was the time to find out what I was missing.
Last week the world lost a true icon. It was announced on 16th August that Aretha Franklin had died due to pancreatic cancer. Franklin was an undeniably sensational singer but she was so much more than that. She was the true Queen of Soul and defined soul in the Sixties. She was also an influential and powerful figure in history. Her songs became anthems for social change as women and African-Americans adopted them for their own. Just look at what she did to Otis Redding’s ‘Respect”: she made that song her own and gave women a rousing call for themselves. She was incredible. And I could easily go on and on talking about the massive impact that the singer made upon the world. I won’t, however, as there are bound to be better people out there doing just that right now. All I really know is, I loved Aretha Franklin. I think the first song I heard her sing was ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ and I adored it. She made it seem so effortless but, no matter how hard I tried (and believe me I tried) I could never replicate her skills. I just couldn’t believe how fantastic and powerful a singer she was. Everything else I heard just got better. But, no matter how much I love listening to her sing, there is one part of her career that sticks with me more than anything: her performances in the two Blues Brothers films.