a decade of zanity

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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