Archive for category The 80’s

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off [1986]


If there ever was a case of truancy, this is it.  “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, from director John Hughes (“16 Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”) and starring Matthew Broderick, is probably the best “teen” film ever made. I first watched it some 10 years ago, but looking back at it today, I think it has lost none of its charm. And though essentially a comedy, the film cleverly shows the essence of life as a teenager, a time when you’re not too old to have a day off. Broderick plays Bueller, the most popular guy in school who decides to skip school one morning and spend the day touring around Chicago with his girlfriend, and best pal Cameron. You might think this is just another routine comedy, but truth be told, it’s much more than that. Cameron is probably the character most people identify with: uptight, confused, afraid to stand up to his parents. I think eveyone has a part of Cameron in them, while no one is ever really Ferris; he’s the guy that the Camerons of the world have to put up with: he gets away with everything (even the principal can’t seem to put his hands on him), has perfect grades, perfect family, and he’s always in a good mood. The best thing about him though is that he knows all of that, and he’s taking the day off to make it up to his best friend. As he so famously puts it: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

With a great cast, memorable soundtrack, John Hughes’ wonderful script and direction, and impressive cinematography, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the greatest movies of the 80’s. It’s almost timeless, and I honestly can’t see too many things that would have prevented this from appearing fresh, even after all these years. A caller ID maybe?

Save Ferris!

Rating: 3.5/4

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Ferris Bueller's Day Off [1986]


If there ever was a case of truancy, this is it.  “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, from director John Hughes (“16 Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”) and starring Matthew Broderick, is probably the best “teen” film ever made. I first watched it some 10 years ago, but looking back at it today, I think it has lost none of its charm. And though essentially a comedy, the film cleverly shows the essence of life as a teenager, a time when you’re not too old to have a day off. Broderick plays Bueller, the most popular guy in school who decides to skip school one morning and spend the day touring around Chicago with his girlfriend, and best pal Cameron. You might think this is just another routine comedy, but truth be told, it’s much more than that. Cameron is probably the character most people identify with: uptight, confused, afraid to stand up to his parents. I think eveyone has a part of Cameron in them, while no one is ever really Ferris; he’s the guy that the Camerons of the world have to put up with: he gets away with everything (even the principal can’t seem to put his hands on him), has perfect grades, perfect family, and he’s always in a good mood. The best thing about him though is that he knows all of that, and he’s taking the day off to make it up to his best friend. As he so famously puts it: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

With a great cast, memorable soundtrack, John Hughes’ wonderful script and direction, and impressive cinematography, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the greatest movies of the 80’s. It’s almost timeless, and I honestly can’t see too many things that would have prevented this from appearing fresh, even after all these years. A caller ID maybe?

Save Ferris!

Rating: 3.5/4

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An American Werewolf In London [1981]


Director John Landis was just 19 years old when he wrote this imaginative and deliciously creepy horror film starring David Naughton and Griffin Dunne as two young American backpackers who venture onto the Yorkshire Moors one night despite being warned by the suspicious people of the Slaughtered Lamb not to. Soon enough, they find out why they should have listened when they are pursued by a hungry werewolf. Dunne meets a horrific end, while Naughton discovers the bite he has received has turned him into a half-wolf when he wakes up in a London Zoo one morning with the taste of human flesh in his mouth. You can bet the rest of the film is as terrific as its premise, thanks to a clever script, and some wonderful special effects (the transformation scene still packs a  jolt even after all these years) by Rick Baker, who was hired by Michael Jackson soon after the movie’s release to work on his classic video, “Thriller”. To be completely honest though, “Werewolf In London” is a very rewarding film, not for its gory sequences, but for its freshness, suspense and winning comic approach. And of course, London.

 For anyone who has enjoyed the old Universal’s classic version of “The Wolf Man” saga, this modern tale of horror doesn’t violate any tradition. And in case you’re not familiar with any of the above, no worries; “An American Werewolf In London” is a movie that easily stands on its own. It’s definitely one of the best of its genre.

Rating: 3/4

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Videodrome [1983]


A landmark film of the commercial/independent movement of the 1980’s, David Cronenberg’s story of violence and television still rings true today. Max Renn (James Woods) is a cable station operator who begins to see his life spin out of control when his abdomen suddenly grows a vagina-like opening into which, among other objects, audiocassettes can be inserted. The film, in which sado-masochistic fantasies play key roles, is truly a surreal experience. If you are familiar with most of Cronenberg’s work, then you may have an idea of what you’re in for. “Videodrome” can drive one to the brink of insanity, but you won’t complain, because it’s great at the same time. It’s one of the most unusual Hollywood movies ever made, too shocking and too good to be called anything but a failure. Of course it won’t be everyone’s cup of coffee, but I feel it’s my duty to highly recommend it and think you should watch it with an open mind, because it’s visually rich and thought provoking, making it one of the most important movies of its era. Fun fact: Andy Warhol called the movie the “A Clockwork Orange of the 1980s”.

Rating: 3.5/4

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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back [1980]


Also known as the best sequel of all time, this chapter has more excitement and more dazzling special effects than any other “Star Wars” movie. The rebels are still pursued by Darth Vader, but the story focuses more on Luke Skywalker, who receives a posthumous command from Obi Wan Kenobi, ordering him to travel to the Dagoba system to find the mystical Yoda (voiced by an amazing Frank Ozz) who will eventually train him to become a real jedi warrior. The movie ends with a startling revelation from Darth Vader (and quite shocking if you’re a first time viewer), in one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history. Everyone is in fine form, but it’s Harrison Ford who steals the show yet again as Han Solo. Die hard fans might argue which “Star Wars” movie is the best, I’ll go with this one; it’s one the most entertaining films I’ve ever seen. It can’t get any better than this! Special edition runs 3 minutes longer.

Rating: 4/4

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Airplane! [1980]


Remembering funny man Leslie Nielsen who died at the age of 84 on sunday.

 “Airplane!” is probably the funniest movie Nielsen has ever starred in (unless you’re a die hard fan of his “Naked Gun” trilogy). His role in the film may have been a supporting one, but I can’t remember the last time he made me laugh so hard. The movie spoofs all airport type pictures, and it’s about an ex-fighter pilot who is forced to take over the controls of a plane when the flight crew succumbs to food poisoning. And that’s just the beginning! Full of gags, laughs and an all star cast,”Airplane” was one of the most succesful comedies in the early 80’s, and it’s easy to see why. It’s also the movie that introduced Nielsen as a funny actor, which lead him to star in such hilarious movies as “Dracula: Dead and Loving it”, “The Naked Gun” trilogy, “Wrongfully Accused”, and more recently “Scary movie 4”. He will surely be missed.

 

Rating: 3/4

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The Evil Dead [1981]


Five friends travel to a cabin in the mountains where they find evil spirits lurking around in the forest. One by one, they become possessed by the demon and develop the ability to chop each other to death! With only one of them still standing, it’s up to him to survive the night and defeat the evil dead. Made by college students, this ultra cheap but chilling horror movie has got to be the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. It was made on a budget of just $ 375,000, but still manages to provide a violent and gruesome  roller coaster ride for those with strong stomachs. Director Sam Raimi succeeds in creating a claustrophobic atmosphere for everyone watching; he wants us to think about a situation where we’re trapped with nothing but blood and death surrounding us, and I loved that about it. “The Evil Dead” never tries to be original or anything (in fact it borrows a lot from “Night Of The Living Dead” and “The Exorcist”), but still succeeds in being scary as hell (and that’s all I was asking for). One of the best of its genre.

Rating: 3/4

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