Category Archives: 1980’s

Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi

James and I watched this in two parts, finishing the second part tonight.

Ewoks, damn frickin’ Ewoks.

The rest was pretty decent really, Georgie did a pretty good job on the main story, but he seemed to just take too many happy pills at some point, and dreamed up the Ewok horror which almost borked the whole thing.

Thank goodness for Disney.

Date watched: December 1st
Score (not including Ewoks): 7.5/10
Score (including Ewoks): 3/10
Film count 2017: 136

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years

This is a 1988 documentary about metal, and mostly about glam metal or hair metal.

While I do like a bit of metal, I cannot stand those old hair metal bands, most of them are fake and play terrible music, some still continuing to do so today somehow. However, this documentary was well made and told, and some of the interviews (some were faked or staged according to Wikipedia) were quite funny. The bassist of W.A.S.P. was interviewed lying on a pool floaty thing, clothed in his metal garb and swigging from a Smirnoff bottle. He was quite blotto, and to make it even more cringe-worthy his mother was sitting poolside. Read this article about the interview, funny stuff.

There were interviews with bands like Odin and Seduce which at the time were convinced they were going to be the next Guns ‘n’ Roses or Ratt, but didn’t get anywhere. There were interviews with Aerosmith (they mostly talked about their drug and alcohol addiction), Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley of Kiss (lying on a large bed with scantily clad ladies around him), Dave Mustaine, and good ol’ Lemmy from Motorhead who was the most sensible one of all. The best though was Ozzy Osbourne (interviewed while cooking bacon in a kitchen, all staged it turns out), who was just plain funny, and while comprehensible (unlike these days) was probably on something at the time.

So, despite being about hair metal it was quite fun to watch, kind of an enjoyable train wreck as you knew most the the bands in this were soon to disappear. Here is an article about the main protagonists in the film.

Date watched: November 4th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 124

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

James and I decided yesterday we wanted to watch a Star Wars film with his first choice being Episode 7, which I don’t have, so his second choice was Episode 5. This is now the fifth review for this film on MBMS, but I have also seen it several times before as well.

There is no real need to review this, and I would say this is my fave Star Wars film of all of them, although Episode 7 follows in a close second.

It is not a perfect film, there are a few head-scratching scenes which Georgie could have handled better, but compared to Episodes 1, 2, and 3 they are nothing to worry about. Luke’s whining and impetuousness still grates.

Here is a video of some cut scenes. The video starts at a scene that was thankfully cut out, Georgie had a bit more control over himself back then…

Today James and I are going to watch Episode 7 if we can get TV time, I got it out on DVD last night.

Date watched: October 21st
Score: 9.5/10 (previously 10, but those minor niggles got the better of me)
Film count 2017: 118

Tokyo Ga

For my 100th film this year I chose this documentary by Wim Wenders. I remember seeing this on the shelf at the world’s best video rental joint a very long time ago, so long ago in fact that it was on video. So, when browsing for something to watch I thought this would be a worthy 100th. I mostly chose this because I thought it would be great to see 1983 Tokyo.

Unfortunately it was a disappointment. This is described as a documentary, but Wim introduced it as a “diary on film” at the beginning. It is supposed to be about Yasujiro Ozu, a famous Japanese film director who has been voted in the past to be the world’s greatest director by other directors. His film Tokyo Story is an excellent watch. But, Wim spends most of the time just filming random things in Tokyo, sometimes just long boring shots with no narration. One such scene was a small factory where fake food is made, or another scene of people shootin’ golf at a golf range.

There was an interview with Werner Herzog in the film, but the whole thing was completely in German with no subtitles, even though the entire film was narrated in English by Wim. Very frustrating.

There are a couple of interesting interviews with an actor and cameraman who worked with Ozu, and some of the footage of Tokyo was good to see, such as the rockabilly dudes twisting and shouting in the park. The rest though was could have been better.

I am glad I watched it though, but I should have stuck to my original plan for my 100th film: either a Monty Python or Star Wars classic.

Date watched: September 2nd
Score: 4/10
Film count 2017: 100

The Breakfast Club

Following yesterday’s coming-of-age flick, I watched what is widely considered to be the best high school film of all time, directed by John Hughes.

Five of the eight Brat Pack members starred in this 1985 film, namely Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson (26 years old at the time), Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy (the other Brat Pack members were Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, and Demi Moore). They were all fantastic in their roles.

There was no real story to speak of, it just followed the group of students being held in detention on a Saturday for eight hours (I read on the interwebs that some schools in the U.S. have Saturday detention… harsh. I am not sure about eight hours part though, seems excessive). They get up to trouble of course, but as the film goes on they start to get all philosophical and start talking about their private problems to each other, and about how they hate their parents. Of course they were all different kinds of student. There was a rich girl (Molly Ringwald), a sports dude (Emilio Estevez), a science geek (Anthony Michael Hall), a troubled and kooky student (Ally Sheedy), and the obnoxious rebel (Judd Nelson).

Most of the film was shot in an actual school that had been closed since 1981, and was also used to shoot some scenes of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which John Hughes was also filming at the same time to save money. The school is now a cop shop.

The poster for this was quite an important one. From Wikipedia: The film’s poster, featuring the five characters huddled together, was photographed by Annie Leibovitz toward the end of shooting. The shot of five actors gazing at the camera influenced the way teen films were marketed from that point on. The poster refers to the five “types” of the story using slightly different terms than those used in the film, and in a different sequence, stating “They were five total strangers with nothing in common, meeting for the first time. A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse.” The poster itself was so influential, it was parodied in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 a year later.

I rather enjoyed this film, mostly because of the fine acting, the great dialogue, and the warm-fuzzies it leaves you with.

Tonight though I feel like a dumb action flick.

Date watched: August 31st
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2017: 98

Ashik Kerib

I am trying to get my money’s worth out of my Mubi subscription, so I watched this 1986 Soviet Union film.

This was actually made in what is now Georgia and Azerbaijan, with the story based on Azerbaijan folklore. It also appears to have two audio tracks, one in Georgian and the other in Azerbaijani. The main track is probably Azerbaijani, with the Georgian track being narrated by one guy, and the problem is both are playing at the same time! So, along with reading English subtitles, things get messy.

The Minstrel

It all starts out with a simple story:

Poor Ashik Kerib plays the Bağlama at weddings and other celebrations. He falls in love with Magul-Megeri who is a daughter of a rich man but her father opposes since Ashik Kerib is poor and he expects rich prospects for his ‘daughter from heaven’. Ashik Kerib vows to wander for seven years to get rich or die. (from Wikipedia).

The story is obviously based on folklore, and gets pretty wiggy with all kinds of weird stuff happening, which is what I like. In one scene some women are holding submachine guns (even though this is set in ye olden times).

The Machine Gun Harem

One thing going on throughout the film is the use of fake moustaches and beards with even some women wearing them for some reason. Monobrows also seem to be important in folklore.

The villain of the story, the rich father-in-law-to-be.

It feels more like a play than a film, with lots of dramatic over-acting, dancing and prancing around, and groups of actors all together facing the camera.

“Play dat funky lute!”

Eric Idle?

The director, Sergei Parajanov, is actually well respected in film circles, but was somewhat mistreated by the Soviets and was imprisoned for five years in Siberia, partly because he was homosexual. The film ended with a tribute to the great Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, a friend of his who had died two years previous.

Wonderful stuff, quite inventive and entertaining. I must seek out more Soviet era films.

Date watched: April 15th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2017: 59

The Color Of Money

I watched The Hustler back in 2015, which was a most excellent film. So, I had to watch this.

What I completely forgot was that Martin Scorcese directed this, so when I saw his name in the opening credits my expectations rose. And it was a classic Marty film with it’s sweeping, snappy, and busy shots. It never really felt like a Marty film though.

Paul Newman was great as usual, he carried most of the film, and deservedly won an Academy Award for best actor. The Cruiser was his usual self, and he had made Top Gun in the same year, so he was on a buzz. His performance was actually quite good, although he was basically playing the nine ball player version of his role in Top Gun. He did a lot of the pool shots himself, just leaving the tricky shots to a pool stuntman. Did you know that before deciding to become a famous actor he had aspirations to be a Catholic priest? Yep.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio played Tom’s girlfriend, and she was equally fabulous, she held her own well against Paul and Tommo. She hasn’t acted in a film since 2004 which is a shame, although she continues to work in television and on stage.

So this was good stuff to watch. The cast was great, and the story engaging but not overly thrilling. Marty did his thing well, but this can’t be included in a top ten of the best films made by him.

Date watched: February 2nd
Score: 8/10
Film count 2017: 25


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