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Camp Cucamonga (1990)
Cute TV-comedy on a summercamp
I'm probably the only one in Sweden who has seen this, although I bought it on a British VHS PAL copy actually. I think I found out about it when I searched for Jennifer Aniston movies on Imdb. I always look for funny, low budget camp movies and this one, I have to say, is the best one I've seen yet. Or maybe second after "Meatballs".
Anyway, horrible clothes, bad lines, bad acting, embarrassing music, famous actors before they got famous, what more could you look for in a camp movie!?
The big plus for this flick is that Jennifer Aniston is in it, looking very cute. Unfortunately she has a very boring part, being the polite daughter of the camp owner. And Danica McKellar and Josh Saviano took some time off from "Wonder Years" to star as the, dare I say, main characters of the movie. Danica is some sort of a tough girl who is somewhat weak below the surface, and Josh is trying to date her. He is very much like Paul Pfeiffer in the Wonder Years here, only more energetic. Also, watch for Breckin Meyer and Jaleel White (who raps brilliantly in the Cucamonga video!).
The Danica and Josh "romance" (she isn't interested in him at all) is one of the main stories in the movie. A second one is where the camp is visited by a camp supervisor and a caretaker, and the camp owner mixes them up. Then there is a minor fling between Jennifer and one of the male camp leaders, and this story could have been developed more. But then again, Danica, Josh and Jaleel were probably bigger stars then than Jennifer so I can partly understand the filmmakers move.
Altogether this is a fun and lighthearted movie who mixes comedy and drama perfectly. It doesn't try to be something it isn't. Watch it if you get the chance! I also understand it is something of a nostalgia trip for some people in the States, however I am a little too young for it and grew up on the wrong side of the world. I don't think that this film has been released on DVD and I don't believe it's ever going to be screened on European television, so if you want to see it, and you don't live in the States, you will have to go through the same procedure I did.
Pretty in Pink (1986)
I have seen all John Hughes movies from the 80s starring Molly Ringwald and you can't really watch them without comparing them. "Sixteen candles" is more of a "pure" teen-comedy with a big house party followed by a "hangover"-morning, and "Breakfast Club" is the most serious one and, as far as I'm concerned, the most distinctive of the "Brat-pack" movies.
Breakfast Club is the one I like the most, but "Pretty in pink" is also a very good movie. Molly plays (as always) a very unusual girl who lives with her lazy but very caring father (Harry Dean Stanton). She has only two real friends and one of them is a guy called "Duckie". Duckie is kind of a geek and Jon Cryer does this part so good you don't even miss Anthony Michael Hall a bit. Molly also works in a record store owned by her other friend played by Annie Potts.
Molly falls in love with a rich and popular guy (McCarthey) who has mutual feelings. The story is very cliché with a rich guy and a poor girl from two opposite sides of society who falls in love, causing disappointments among their old friends. Duckie is really hurt and McCarthey's best friend tells him to drop Molly, mostly caused by jealousy in this case. This jealous friend is played by James Spader and he is very good at playing bad. The cliché's are told with charm and intelligence though (like "Mischief") and some scenes almost brings tears to the eyes. (I wonder if the movie would have been even better if Hughes had directed it himself!?)
Anyway, it's a sweet story with many wonderful actors typical of the 80s. Remember to look for a very young and very gorgeous Gina Gershon as a High School girl.
The only thing I miss is a great song or two, like the ones in Sixteen candles and Breakfast club. Otherwise if you're crazy like me about the movies from the 80s I see no reason to skip this one.
This movie also has one of the most clever titles ever.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
A good history lesson, however.......
Saturday Night Fever may indeed be the one movie from the seventies which had the greatest influence on people. This doesn't keep it from being a very bad movie.
It's not altogether bad though. The cinematography is great, especially the interior scenes from the nightclub where Travolta is dancing. And of course there isn't words enough to congratulate the choreography for the dancing scenes. The props, the haircuts and the clothing is so in keeping with the time, and at the same time it created the fashion for the time to come. The music is simply outstanding with the soundtrack being the best selling for many years. They even manage to fit the music in with the movie.
These are the good things about this movie and neither of them are a good reason to watch it today. It's simply out of time and not just from a fashion point of view. The characters are bad developed and every one of them, except for Travolta occasionally and his brother, is either a lame unpleasant prick or just plain stupid. The language the characters use speaks for itself.
In the beginning of the film, Travolta is one of those "pricks" but he goes through some level of growth and you can actually manage to discern some sort of intelligence and humanity in him. This is, as I said before, more than you can say about the rest of the characters in this mess. If people in the seventies were like the gang which Travolta hangs out with, I'm glad that I was spared from that age (being born in 1979).
The story is about Tony (and NO, he does not look like Al Pacino!); a dreaming young man who lives in Brooklyn. Daytime he is working in a paint store and at night he is driving around with his "cool" gang, fighting with (and sometimes tries to kill!!) another gang and hanging out at a disco called "2001". Here Tony is the king of the dancefloor. Actually he is so good that the dancing crowd disperses and makes a space in the middle for him to "shake his thing" while they stand around and watch him. Then there is a dance contest and Tony teams up with a girl who he falls in love with and they start to practice together. This leads up to a number of circumstances and situations around which the movie circulates.
In spite of all the terrible things Tony do throughout the movie, you actually care for him in the end (and that's quite an achievement).
However, this movie is just sad. It's vulgar, sexistic and even boring at some parts. Don't watch it! Unless you are about my age and want to see what it looked like when your parents were young and went out dancing. Also, Travolta does a fine job and was indeed very well casted. So if you have a small budget and have to choose between the movie or the soundtrack......Well, you know what my choice would be.
** 1/2 out of *****
That Thing You Do! (1996)
a movie with a heart that makes you happy!
Surprisingly fresh and funny directing debut from Hanks.
This is the story about "the Wonders", a local band in Erie (PA) who gets a major hit nationwide called "TTYD". The movie starts with the band entering a sort of music amateur competition. Since the drummer injures himself they replace him with the jazz-inspired Guy Patterson (Scott) who is so much better. They win this and begin an incredible journey up to the top ten of the chart. I think you see the whole plot now, and what happens. Pretty obvious actually.
Tom Hanks also wrote the movie (and some of the songs!!!), and I wonder where he got the idea. Does he have a musical past? Anyway, he does a wonderful job. The script and the dialogue are fantastic. I really like the way he ends one scene to begin with another. There is always a clever line here, most of them uttered by Steve Zahn.
I don't know if this story is based on a real band but frankly, I don't care. This movie is funny, warm and with a heart, it is very entertaining and it puts you in a good mood. Mostly because of delightful characters, who fits well with the colors of the film and the great setting. And of course, the music is fantastic. Keep in mind that this movie is kind of a /musical. So, even if you aren't that nostalgic you have to somewhat envy those growing up in the sixties, after seeing this movie.
The actors aren't Oscar material, but they are casted very good and they are credible. I think Tom Everett Scott (the smart one) does a very charming performance and of all the movies I have seen; the only performance. Hanks himself plays Mr.White, owner of Playtone Records and manager of the Wonders. Jimmy, played by Jonathan with the last name that I can't even pronounce, is the singer and songwriter (the talented one), and the "bad guy" of the band. Liv Tyler is his girlfriend and she is the kind of actress who you really seriously can fall in love with. (Good for her she doesn't look like her father!). Charlize Theron has a small part as Guy's girlfriend. Unfortunately, she rather dates dentists than musicians. Steve Zahn plays Lenny (the funny one). Hank's wife Rita Wilson plays a waitress and I have never seen her this good looking. Also starring Chris Isaac and Kevin Pollack. And Jonathan Demme as the director of a superb musical number with "Captain Geech and the shrimp shack shooters".
I would call this a "Sunday" kind of a movie. When you are tired after the weekend's escapades and you want to get that "depression kind of feeling caused by the fact that it is Monday tomorrow" out of you head. Pick this up at your local blockbuster and enjoy! Grade: **** out of *****
The Doors (1991)
changed my life
My eyes were closed until autumn 1995, when channel 5 in Sweden showed The Doors. I taped it and didn't think too much of it in the beginning. The only thing I knew about The Doors was their song "Light my fire".
A friend of mine, who borrowed the film from me, told me he liked the "cave" scene and the music in it. I myself liked the scene where Jim climbs up to Pam's balcony. That was pretty much it. But then I noticed the song "love street" which is played in the beginning, and then I realized that the guitar intro to "The end" wasn't that bad. After that I bought the soundtrack and now I was pretty much hooked. I put my eurodisco records on a shelf and became a "rock'n roller", and Jim was my role model. My relationship to Jim Morrison is actually the closest to being a gay that I will ever be.
The best part of the film are the opening thirty minutes, where Jim "quits" his film class on UCLA, follows Pam home from the beach and takes her out on a night walk, rehearses with the band and "Light my fire" is introduced. Too bad we never get to see the band being formed. I love that story, when Jim meets Ray on the beach and that conversation leads up to Jim singing "Moonlight drive". This scene is also one of few which shows the real Jim Morrison, but I will get back to that later. Around this time, Jim meets his girlfriend with whom he stayed until he died.
After half an hour, the movie takes on in a different direction. It is from now on, a very dark movie. This is for a reason, and the reason is that Oliver wants the audience to see everything through Jim's eyes. The result is that some scenes are very surreal and after a while you may think that Oliver Stone himself took some acid before shooting them.
The negative side of the film, which have made many people upset, is the way Jim Morrison is presented. Jim is high or/and drunk in nearly every scene he appears in, and since the movie is shown through his angle the result is the surrealism and spaced-out scenes. "Jimbo" has unfortunately a bigger part than Jim. (See the movie and you'll know what I mean.)
I have read practically every book there is to read about The Doors, including the one named "light my fire", written by the organist Ray Manzarek. This guy isn't too happy with the movie. I see his point but at the same time, he confirms in the book that most of the things in the movie has actually happened; the back against the audience, the Ed Sullivan sequence where Jim sings the word "higher" on national television, the TV-throwing in the studio. Other things could never happen or are just simply wrong; the Andy Warhole-party where Jim is abandoned by the rest of the band (something that true friends would never do to one another), Jim's student project (his movie didn't look like that at all), Jim's red mustang (Jim had a blue mustang which he actually called "the blue lady").
Oliver Stone focuses the movie on the wrong things. Sure, Jim Morrison was a pothead, but he was also a very intelligent, sensitive, friendly and funny person. This is far from the picture most people have of him after seeing the movie. But if you know this, and just want some Rock'n roll in your life you will like the movie anyway. Another strange thing is that Oliver Stone has said that he loved Jim and wanted the movie to be a sort of homage to him!? Some homage. So the film is great, however it is not the real story of Jim Morrison. The only time we see the sensitive side of Jim is when he turns down an early offer from a record company man who tells him to "drop those guys".
The music numbers are the scenes that impresses me the most. The choreography, the lighting of the stage, and, above all, the fact that Val Kilmer actually sings all the songs by himself. Look at the "Not to touch the earth" sequence and you'll know what I mean.
And now we come to the best thing with this movie. The ONE thing that made me buy it and watch it about 30 times after that. That thing is Val Kilmer. An actor who hadn't made anything spectacular before this and haven't really done anything after it. He was born to do this part. It isn't the real Jim, but an alternative Jim who you kind of love to hate. But now I'm only talking about the personality. Kilmer walks like, talks like, sings like, and above all looks like Jim. And some looks. What wouldn't I give to have that hair or that wardrobe.
Besides Kilmer, there are many more great and well-known actors in this movie; Mimi Rogers, Michael Wincott, Josie Bissett, Crispin Glover, Kathleen Quinlan (who plays the very true character Patricia Keneally), and one of the few actors that I can't stand; Michael Madsen. Also, some artists gone acting; Billy Idol, Swedens own Eagle-Eye Cherry (whose scene were cut out from the final film), and if my eyes aren't lying to me; Billy Vera. And oh yeah, I almost forgot: MEG RYAN (arrr).
Also, do not forget to check out the cool end credits, with fast speeding pictures of night time L.A, being played to "L.A woman".
I now see that channel four is showing "Wall Street". Very appropriate way to spend the rest of this evening, don't you think? Of course, it can't be compared to The Doors but nevertheless!
one "chick flick" for the history books
I saw at the bottom of the page, that "if you like this title we also recommend American Graffiti". So true, so true. Of course, it can't be compared to "graffiti", but it's a movie with many laughs and adorable characters.
I saw this movie last night, maybe for the tenth time or something. I had a good time as always. Then of course, I am a very nostalgic person and if your favorite movie is "Matrix" or "Minority report" you might not like it.
The title is a little confusing since there aren't that many dance scenes, but I honestly don't care. I'm just looking for a temporary time machine with the course aimed for 1963. Besides, the dancing moments of the movie are quite enough.
Shag takes off with four friends going away to Myrtle beach for a weekend of total fun. Luanne is the proper one who is almost always upset or embarrassed, and she kind of takes the "leader" role, since they are all going in her car and staying at her fathers (the senator's) house, (where you can't sit on the furniture's, use the phone or drink the senator's bourbon). Pudge is a nice girl who has held everything back all her life, but no more! She is also the one who is responsible for the most "shagging" in the movie. Melaina (Fonda) is the wild one who dreams of a career in Hollywood since she is "neither marrying Harvey nor going to college". Carson (Cates) is the sweet and unexperienced girl who IS marrying Harvey. Also, when the movie begins, she thinks that they are going someplace else. But the girls have other plans and they are determined to take Carson for a weekend that she will never forget. One last fling together. A plot like this CAN'T go wrong.
Anyway, by the end of the movie they are all different people, and they have learned that things are not always as they seem. You have control of your own destiny. Carson meets Buzz (the lines that these two people have are unbeatable), Luanne gives the audience a real "necking-surprise" and Melaina finally meets Jimmy Valentine who she considers to be her key to a life of luxury in Hollywood. ( I laugh every time Jimmy does his "move"). The story which I like the best though, is the love that develops between Pudge and the "navy" boy Chip. They are just so good people and the conversations between them so sweet and innocent. You really feel happy for them. It would be a crime not making them a couple.
This movie has a great ending. The kind which makes you wonder what happens to the people in the film. You actually care about them.
The acting is terrific. Bridget Fonda gets a lot of room and maybe it's because her character is the most interesting one. This was before she became a star. I think Phoebe Cates is one of the most underrated actresses ever. Just think about it, how she effects an audience. When she opens her mouth you can't look away. It's like she is born to make these parts. She isn't acting. She IS her characters. " Yes, I am wild. I guess I've been wild all of my life, without even knowing it". One of many great lines in this movie.
The one thing that always impresses me in these movies is the setting. They actually make it look like in 1963. The cars, the clothes, the colors, the buildings. It's incredible.
If you like these kind of movies, and haven't seen this one, you should be ashamed of yourself! Grade: 8/10
A View to a Kill (1985)
one of the best 007
Just like "From Russia with love" was Sean Connery's best bond- movie, "A view to a kill " is definitely the peak of the Roger Moore era. Unfortunately, this was Moore's last interpretation of Bond.
This movie is filled with great action scenes, wonderful locations, and beautiful women. In other words; it's a perfect bond-movie.
Christopher Walken and Grace Jones (wow, I would really like to shake the hands of the casting people for that), are the bad guys who are determined to destroy Silicon valley, well to drown it actually. I don't really remember why, but it's obviously to increase the value of Walken's own company "Zorin Industries". I don't think I have to give any spoilers about the result of this attempt.
Walken does a very good performance, and it's a shame that such a talented actor still is only remembered for the part he did in "deer hunter". Moore is also accompanied by the not so bright but really good looking Tanya Roberts(that 70s show), and it has never been more obvious that the girl exclusively is put in the story to look good next to 007.
And, since I am from Sweden, I have to point out the appearance of Dolph Lundgren in one scene. If I am not mistaking, he was dating Grace Jones at the time.
I have always liked Roger Moore as Bond. He gave the character a more amusing and charming personality. I would have to say it's a tie between him and Connery.
Anyway, this film is a real delight to watch. Especially the fighting finale set at the top of the Golden Gate bridge. One of the most original ideas for a fighting scene ever. You can feel it in your stomach.
If you are one of those (young) people who would like to catch up with the James Bond history, I would strongly suggest that you check out the Sean Connery movies first. But don't let this one pass you by. It is two hours of total reality escape. Also has a great title song by Duran Duran.
Regular grade ***1/2 out of ***** Bond grade ***** out of *****
I love this movie. I think it's the best Swedish movie ever. What does that say about Swedish movies? Not too much actually.
If you appreciate the "Sällskapresan" movies you will definitely enjoy this film. Note that I am mainly talking to people living in Sweden. Not only is the film hard to obtain in other countries, but I don't think that foreigners will appreciate the jokes. (But if you like "Stripes" you probably will enjoy it!) Actually, there aren't that many jokes. The film itself is so humorous and sarcastic, and the characters are so happy and down to earth.
I love Lasse Åberg's image in these movies. You simply CAN'T dislike the man. "Too bad, he was a nice guy. But the fight for peace and freedom must go on!"
So take a chance. Rent "Repmånad" and join Löwgren, Gurkan, Tallroth, Jonsson and the other lovely guys as they make the lives of Commandant Larsson and Captain Nils "Beethoven" Jönsson miserable.
One good reason to watch this movie: You will know at least three new names for liquor! And always remember: There are two T:s in Tvetaberg. Take care
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Great music and a lot of fun!
What a great movie, if you like blues and really appreciate the good old days.
Blues Brothers is one big tribute to the old blues, soul, and r&b school. And what a tribute! Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, James Brown and Cab Calloway, all agreed to contribute to the films music numbers. The Blues Brothers themselves are not that bad either. (Who knew that John Belushi had such a powerful blues voice?)
The story is very simple. Jake (John Belushi) is released from jail and picked up by his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd). Immediately they visit the old orphanage where they were brought up. This place is in big debt and if someone doesn't come up with $5000 soon it has to be shut down. So Jake and Elwood decide to put their old blues band back together, to raise money for the orphanage. Now we follow them while they track down the members of the band, get their first gig, their second (big) gig, and are being chased by the police, military and Illinois Nazis all over Chicago in the incredible final. This sequence MUST contain the biggest destruction of police vehicles in movie history. (Still can't figure out though how they shot the "car falling" scene.?)
As a matter of fact, Blues Brothers is also the film which contains the biggest number of mutes (actors)I have ever seen. I wonder what the budget was for actor wages!?
Oh yes, the actors. Besides Aykroyd and Belushi, we have Charles Napier (lead singer of "the good ole boys"), Frank Oz in a small part, Steven Spielberg in one of his few parts where he doesn't play himself, Henry Gibson as the nazi leader, John Candy as the police chief, and Carrie Fisher. What can you say about her? She was at her peak here. My god, she is absolutely gorgeous!
The film is filled with memorable moments. I especially love the "Minnie the Moocher" sequence, where Cab Calloway's suit suddenly changes from black to fancy white and the whole band also. While he is singing it (with perfection)we see Jake and Elwood (sneeking around) moving to the music. When the song is over Calloways suit is back to black. "Hideho", that's all I say.
The movie was directed by John Landis. Now I have noticed that three of my reviews have been on Landis movies. His flicks must have a big influence on me!
So, of course, I urge you to see Blues Brothers. A film with first class actors and first class music. You will definetely have two very enjoyable hours.
This is by far the dullest and most boring movie I have ever seen.
I'm just so tired of all these movies that has come out of Hollywood in the last years, trying to be so fancy. It seems like the filmmakers forget that there is a story that has to be told. And this story has to be at least a little entertaining. It's like, in the old days (up until 1995-96) the inside of the movie was the most interesting target, now it is the outside. If "Ghostbusters" had been made these days, the biggest effort would probably had been to create the fanciest ghosts, and that wonderful story that was developed in 1984 had never existed at all.
It also p***es me off to see Bruce Willis (of all people) in these "serious" movies. Gone are the charm, and all those quick lines. Bruce Willis is a character actor with a big sense of humor. The last good movie he made was "the sixth element".
Unbreakable is about two people who are destined to meet, and they do. One of them is unbreakable (Willis), and the other one is VERY breakable (Samuel L. Jackson). This has something to do with a train crash. I don't even remember. That's about it. Now I don't mind a lame story, but there has to be something else in the movie then, that excites me or make me laugh, cry or scream. But this movie goes on for two hours with no action whatsoever. And I think it is supposed to be an action movie. One of these hours is dedicated to a bench pressing- scene where Bruce finds out how strong he is. "Put another weight on, and another, and another. I don't think the audience will mind".
Nothing happens, NOTHING. No charachter laughs, or even smile. Now there are other movies where nothing happens. Take "a few good men" for instance. That movie has other things that catches your interest, including some shouting and yelling in the end. Charachters actually reacting to something. Thank good for that. When I watched "unbreakable", all I thought about was how badly I wanted to see some other movie, anyone.
So Bruce, please, get in touch with John McTiernan or Tony Scott, or any other of your fellow companions. Everything is forgiven!
My final grade is -10 out of 100. Go see Blind date, or one of the Die hard-movies instead. Or even "the sixth sense" (I hate that one too). But this movie is the most breakable movie I have ever seen!