a decade of zanity

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

You know, Sir, I do admire you, and I sure would like to touch the gun that's gonna kill Billy the Kid.

TITLE: Young Guns (1988)

Cast of Young Guns pictureA fast paced modern Western with a twist of brat packing is how I can describe the Young Guns movie. It's an entertaining story of the Lincoln County War when Billy the Kid and his band of Regulators took on their adversaries.

The movie featured six up-and-comers who were determined to bring their own personality in their characters. The ones who stood out were Emilio Estevez (William H Bonney aka Billy the Kid), Casey Siemaszko (Charley), and Lou Diamond Philips (Chavez).

Young Guns Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid shootingEmilio Estevez played the wild and self-assured Billy the Kid. He became the leader of the Regulators when Dick (Charlie Sheen) died as they were being hunted down by Murphy (Jack Palance). Seemingly psychotic, Billy the Kid knew how to keep the Regulators from falling apart.

With his speech:

"See, you get yourself 3 or 4 good pals; then you've got yourself a tribe. And there ain't nothing stronger than that."

Billy the Kid spurred on the Regulators to keep fighting instead of giving up and running away.

Casey Siemaszko played Charley, the sympathy puppy of the crew. Maybe because Charley seemed slow witted that the "Pals" speech affected him the most.

Lou Diamond Phillips played Chavez, a Mexican-Indian among white cowboys. Chavez was on the receiving end of many rascists remarks coming from Dirty Steve, a Regulator, and others. He and Doc (Kiefer Sutherland) formed a strong bond.

What I like about Chavez was the mystic elements he brought by drawing from Indian philosophies. He was also an expert knife fighter and throwing knives looked so much cooler than shooting. Since he was shrouded with mysteries, he was the x-factor of the group. Somehow, when things were not going right for the Regulators, we knew that he was gonna do something unexpected to turn the tide. Chavez was the guy who snuck out of the house during the siege who managed to round up the horses for their get away.

Another thing I remembered about Young Guns was how surprised I was when Charlie Sheen died. At the time, I thought that major stars do not get killed in the movies. But when he just laid on the ground after getting shot by Buck Shot Roberts (Brian Keith), apparently they do.

Young Guns screen shot Casey Siemaszko, Dermot Mulroney, Kiefer Sutherland, Emilio Estevez, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen


"I'm not a pistoleer or a knifesmith like that greaser Chavez Chavez over there. I'm a pugilist."

"I could've killed ya Dick. I could've killed ya. But I don't wanna kill ya I wanna eat."

"Advices from Lincoln report that Jose Chavez Y Chavez moved to California where he changed his name and took work on a fruit ranch. Josiah 'Doc' Scurlock is reported to have left the West for the East, taking with him a celestial bride, her mother and fourteen brothers and sisters. Susan McSween went on to see both her husband's and John Tunstall's dreams to fruition, by becoming one of most prominent cattlewomen of all time. Governor Axtel was forced to resign by President Rutherford B. Hayes and both the Murphy-Dolan faction and the Santa Fe Ring collapsed. William H. Bonney, also known as 'Billy the Kid' continued to ride, never leaving New Mexico. He was caught in Fort Sumner by Sheriff Pat Garret and killed. Sources report that he was unarmed, and shot in the dark. He was buried with Charley Bowdre at Old Fort Sumner. Advices report that sometime later, an unidentified person snuck into the graveyard and chiseled an inscription. The epitaph read only one word... 'Pals'."

The Young Guns movie script is available at Movie Scripts On Line.

2008 is the 20th anniversary of Young Guns! Congrats. The Young Guns DVD can be purchased from Amazon.com.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

You'll never grow old, Michael, and you'll never die. But you must feed!

Title: The Lost Boys (1987)

There are vampire movies and there are 80's vampire movies. Many 80s movies broke grounds by mixing genres that create lasting experiences. The Lost Boys is such an example mixing primarily teen comedy and horror.

The Lost Boys picture vampires In The Lost Boys, the Emersons, two teenage brothers and their newly-divorced mom, moved-in with their grandpa at Santa Carla in Northern California only to become entangled with a gang of motorcycle-riding vampires. Unbeknownst to the family, the vampires conspired to assimilate them into vampire kin by first recruiting David, the older brother played by Jason Patric.

True to its teen appeal, The Lost Boys featured 80s teen icons, the two Coreys (Wikipedia), Haim and Feldman who were both age 16 at the time. Corey Feldman played Edgar Frog one half of the self-proclaimed ruthless vampire killers, the Frog Brothers. Jamison Newlander played Alan, the other half.

Frog Brothers Lost BoysThe Frog Brothers befriended Sam, the youngest Emerson played by Corey Haim. They cautioned him of vampires living in Santa Carla and eagerly jumped to assist when Sam solicited their help for David. The trio provided the movie's comedic relief with tough talks, spurts of cowardness in face of dangers, and over-the-top probing for vampirism (dinner scene at Sam's house with Edward Herrmann as Max).

The movie culminated in a last stand fight at Sam's house when the true intentions of the vampires to convert the Emersons were finally revealed. The last scenes also brought on speculation on whether or not Grandpa was a vampire himself.

Kiefer Sutherland and Jami Gertz in the Lost BoysThe rest of the cast include Keifer Sutherland as the leader of the biker gang, Jamie Gertz as Star the vampire vixen who was recruiting Michael, Dianne Weist as mommy Emerson, Bernard Hughes as Grandpa, Alex Winter as Marko, and Cody as Nanook.

What I like most about the movie is the rock-n-roll, summer appeal. The storyline took place in a beach town, probably over the summer since the kids didn't have school. Most vampire movies I've seen prior to The Lost Boys were gothic in nature. Joel Schumacher, the director, modernized the vampire genre by targetting young adults. They even have surf nazis (Fast-Rewind.com).

Currently, The-Top-Tens.com lists The Lost Boys as number 3 in the Top Vampire Movie.

The script for The Lost Boys can be found here: The Lost Boys Script by Jeffrey Boam

The Vampire Kiefer Sutherland Lost Boys make upLost Boys Best Movie Quotes

"If you try to stop us, or vamp out in any way, I'll stake you without even thinking twice about it!" -- Note: The Lost Boys has the distinction of first coining the term "vamp out". It's been used in other shows and films, including the CW TV show, Supernatural, i.e. vamped out Gordon.

"Second shelf is mine. That's where I keep my rootbeers and my double-thick Oreo cookies. Nobody touches the second shelf but me."

"Don't ever invite a vampire into your house, you silly boy. It renders you powerless."

"Holy shit! It's the attack of Eddie Munster!"

"The bloodsucking Brady Bunch!"

"You're a vampire Michael! My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait 'till mom finds out, buddy!"

"Death by stereo!"

The Lost Boys Soundtrack

Can't talk about The Lost Boys without acknowledging its soundtrack. The music perfectly captured the tone. And many songs remain in my head with some movie visuals, including:

  • Peoples Are Strange - Echo and the Bunnymen

  • Lost In The Shadows (The Lost Boys) - Lou Gramm

  • I Still Believe - Tim Cappello

UPDATE: The sequel, Lost Boys: The Tribe, is available for pre-order on Amazon. The release date is listed at July 29, 2008.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bright light. Bright light.

Gremlins poster originalTitle: Gremlins (1984)

When this movie came out, I thought it was unique because it featured violent puppets. As a fan of the benign and family-themed Muppets, the black humor of Gremlins movie was refreshing. In particular, I had a sense of awe from the fantastic adventure that Billy, Kate and their small town had to go through in a few scarce hours before sunrise.

For those who haven't seen Gremlins the movie yet, it is about the invasion of a fictional small American town by a horde of small feisty rat-like monsters who sought to take over one evening during the Christmas holidays. The monsters sprung, literally, from a mogwai named Gizmo, an exotic pet that required three fastidious rules for safe maintenance, otherwise all hell will (and did) break loose. The three rules I'm paraphrasing:

  • Keep away from bright light
  • Don't get them wet
  • And never feed them after midnight
Billy (Zach Galligan), who received the cute and loveable Gizmo as a gift from his inventor dad (Hoyt Axton), managed to break all three rules. By getting Gizmo wet, little furball chunks popped out of Gizmo's back and immediately grew into other mogwai's but with much more aggressive personalities. Then the little furries managed to get a hold of some snacks after midnight ...

Favorite Scene

Gremlins bar sceneKate (Phoebe Cates, also the linking actress from Fast Times) in the bar serving the Gremlins. Not since Star Wars cantina scene that we get an entertainingly unconventional cast of characters in a bar. The ones I recall were the group of Gremlins playing poker and smoking, a Gremlin flashing, and one swinging around from the ceiling fans. Please add more in the comments if you remember them. But I know the gags were funny.

Gremlins movie quotes

Bright light. Bright light.

They're watching Snow White. And they love it.

Rand Peltzer, Fantastic ideas for a Fantastic World, I make the illogical logical.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Hey, Bud, let's party!

Title: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Phoebe Cates Fast Times at Ridgemont High pool scene
Phoebe Cates Legendary Pool Scene on Fast Times at Ridgemont High
When I began this blog, this movie is one that I looked forward to in entering. There were so many funny moments and quotable quotes that it all comes to me as a large colorful montage. Hard to pick a place to begin. But let's try.

Let's attempt why Fast Times is an 80s gem:

1) Memorable scenes. To me, there are only three:
  • Phoebe Cates often cited as a top sexual fantasy or bikini scene
  • Pizza delivery scene in classroom
  • Jefferson's wrecked car and Spicoli's solution ("Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.")
2) Casts. A laundry of list of young, then-unknown casts and extras soaring to highly revered careers. Namely,
Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack album cover3) Music. This movie came at a time when FM rock stations were very popular. Hence, much of the songs from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack were rock n roll. And I can't complain about that. There are quite a few songs that I like from this soundtrack, including Goodbye, Goodbye by Oingo Boingo, Fast Times (The Best Years Of Our Lives) by Billy Squier, and Somebody's Baby by Jackson Browne. But my favorite is not in the soundtrack. Which is Moving in Stereo by the Cars during Phoebe Cates' scene. Two other excellent songs played in the movie but not in the soundtrack are We've Got the Beat by the Go-Go's and American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

4) Quotable quotes - Just my top picks of Fast Times at Ridgemont High quotes and a whole lot of Spicoli
  • Hey Bud, let's party!
  • All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine.
  • Make up your mind, dude, is he gonna shit or is he gonna kill us?
  • Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.
  • Learn it. Know it. Live it.
  • That was my skull! I'm so wasted!
  • What are you, people? On dope?
  • Awesome! Totally awesome!
Fast Times was not just the stepping stone for the talented casts. It was also the beginning for movie makers, Amy Heckerling (Clueless) and Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous).

Coach Bill of The Team Hendryx blog has a post about Fast Times at Ridgemont High movie as he caught it on a late night. Please visit his post when you get a chance.

Lastly, it's often debated in small circles which teen comedies influenced the thousands of others that were made from the 80's on. The discussions often boil down to two - Animal House (1978) and Fast Times. Both have great soundtracks, many quotable lines, and fronted by rising stars. Although Animal House was made first, Fast Times set the bar. Now, I can't gauge how much influence that Animal House had on Fast Times, but I do realize that the ending of Fast Times, e.g. the narratives on what happened to each character, follows that of Animal House.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can 800 million Chinamen be wrong?

Title: Vision Quest (1985)

This movie was very memorable for me. My best friend in high school was a wrestler. Although his wrestling career was nowhere near as dramatic as Louden Swain's (Matthew Modine), I couldn't help but refer to this movie whenever I try to motivate my buddy to do something.

In any case, Vision Quest is less about wrestling as a sport and more so as a coming of age for a high school wrestler (Swain) achieving the goal to win a big tournament before graduating. His life was made a bit more complicated when a beautiful drifter moved in to rent a room as a boarder in his house. The sultry Carla was played by a then-relatively new comer and perenially beautiful, Linda Fiorentino, who eventually became the only support that Swain could come to. Of course, he fell in love with her along the way. Linda Fiorentino is also the linking actress from "After Hours."

Linda Fiorentino and Matthew Modine on Vision QuestThe movie, just like many feel good 80s films that I'll likely be reviewing in this blog, culminated in a melodramatic showdown between Swain and his much-ballyhooed adversary. Cheezyness? Maybe. Swain won with a bleeding nose, if I recall correctly.Madonna in Vision Quest

Additionally, many of you probably remember that this movie was being billed back then as Madonna's big screen debut. She had a cameo as a club singer performing her song, The Gambler, from the soundtrack.

The Vision Quest soundtrack is excellent by the way. Still holds up today. Crazy for You is still widely played. I've always liked I'll Fall In Love Again by Sammy Hagar. I might even have the original cassette tape that I bought way back when.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rough night, Paul?

After Hours movie by Martin ScorseseTitle: After Hours (1985)

Ever had a bad night? How 'bout a bad night all night and all you're trying to do is get home, but you ended up running into your lifetime's worth of weirdos and you don't have enough money for a cab. In "After Hours", Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) has just that happen. He is an ordinary office worker who got entangled in mischievous events as he tried to clear his head one night after work.

This little known movie has some star powers behind it. After I had read about this movie in 2000'ish from IMDB, I was surprised that it was directed by none other than Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Departed). It's incredible how Scorsese brought out comedy in the middle of a nightmare that Paul had to endure. Perhaps the best review I've seen about the After Hours movie is in KD's blog. He explained how Scorsese constructed the turns and obstacles in details that pausing or second viewing is required, else you'll miss the full appreciation of key scenes. For his work, on "After Hours", Scorsese won best director at the Cannes Film Festival.

Although I haven't seen this movie in over 10 years, it remains in my memory as one of the gems that should be seen at least once. Armed with what to look for from online resources such as IMDB, next time I get a chance to see it, I'll be sure to pay more attention to details that I had missed (see KD's blog), but enjoyed overall.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

Title: Risky Business (1984)

The movie that made Tom Cruise into a superstar is now 25 years old.

In Risky Business, Joel Goodson (Tom Cruise) is a suburban teenager who was left behind by his parents to watch the house while they went on vacation for a week. So what's a teenage boy gonna do while he's alone? Naturally, he'll indulge in anything teenage boys will do - girls, parties, cars.

In Joel's case, he called hookers to come over. After screening out a few candidates, the beautiful Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) showed up and Joel's world spun out of control. From then on, "Risky Business" craftily drew us into intricate events that began when Joel was short of the $300 that Lana charged him for the night.

With all the events that occurred, did any of you wonder how Joel kept a straight face at the end when his parents came back from vacation and asked him how things went?

Rebecca De Mornay Tom Cruise Risky Business GlassesThe movie also established the relatively unknown casts into 80s and 90s mainstream. Curtis Armstrong (linking actor from Revenge of the Nerds) went on to become a popular character actor. Bronson Pinchot went on to star in his own TV sitcom, Perfect Strangers. Rebecca De Mornay became an A-list actress throughout the 80's. And Joe Pantoliano, already acting for close to a decade, continued his success in Hollywood.

Also, Bob Seger's Old Time Rock n Roll has been known as the Risky Business song ever since (see video).

And the Risky Business sunglasses became a fashion standard...even today.

Perhaps the reason why "Risky Business" stood out from other 80's teen romp movies is that it's a lot more than just teens romping around. Joel and his friends faced extra ordinary circumstances requiring extra ordinary patience and stroke of luck to survive. There was something poetic about how Joel presented his week-long plight. Maybe it's the narrations by Tom Cruise that were carefully placed.

Memorable Risky Business quotes

"Say 'what the fuck.'... If you can't say it, you can't do it."

"My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid? "

"Looks like University of Illinois!"

"I don't believe this! I've got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I'm being chased by Guido the killer pimp. " -- Miles while riding in the back seat of Joel's Porsche 928.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

We've got bush!

Title: Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

The zanyness (or zanity) continues. In "Revenge of the Nerds" a group of college outcasts banded together to form their own fraternity as they were rejected from every other fraternities on campus.

So what do we get? As a new chapter of Lambda Lambda Lambda, the fraternal brotherhood became a "safe haven" for nerdy students consisting of Louis (Robert Carradine), Gilbert (Anthony Edwards), Harold (Andrew Cassese), Lamar (Larry B. Scott), Toshiro (Brian Tochi), and Booger (Curtis Armstrong). They still, however, had to contend with the bullying jocks of Alpha Beta, led by Stan Gable (Ted McGinley, also the linking actor from "Young Doctors in Love") quarterback for the football team. It all had to happen in the annual Greek games.

If there's an underdog in you, you'll appreciate this movie.

Best Scene

There are quite a few worth the mention:
- belching contest between Ogre (Donald Gibb) and Booger
- the nerds infiltrating the sorority house on a panty raid
- the nerds spying on the sorority girls after the panty raid
- Booger meeting his master (see video)

Best Revenge of the Nerds quotes

"We've got bush!"

"I say we blow the fuckers up."

Julie Montgomery as Betty Childs in Revenge of the Nerd"You know, when you were a baby in your crib, your father looked down at you, he had but one hope - some day my son will grow to be a man. Well look at you now. You just got your asses whipped by a bunch of goddamn nerds."

One quick note. Those familiars with high school or college social dilemmas may have asked themselves one question: Why is Booger one of the nerds? He's not shown to be bookish. Kind of a slob. Drinks beer. And belches a lot.

Also, a little bit of a social commentary. Did Louis rape Betty Childs (Julia Montgomery)? You remember the scene. She fell for Louis after she found out who he was. But still, is it rape or simply a "Revenge of the Nerds"?

Attention: Starting Monday, all nurses must wear underwear.

Young Doctors in Love with Sean Young and Michael McKeanTitle: Young Doctors in Love (1982)

Some movies are so bad, they're forgettable. "Young Doctors in Love" is one of them. Once in awhile, you'll see it on late night cable. This movie is in here for one reason. For all the bad parts, I remember one scene that I would have easily dismissed had I not been a fan of the greatest comedy sitcom ever.

>Michael Richards as Cosmo KramerIt was a scene showing a silhouette of a man walking in one of the hospital room. Cannot see the face, but the man had a distinctive walk and a familiar hairdo. When the man eventually came into some lighting, we see Michael Richards in a minor role. But, the distinctive gawky walk and the hairdo eventually became the trademark of Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld.

I'm sure we all know what happened with Mr. Richards as of late. Here's a video as Michael Richards apologizes on Letterman.

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