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Pamela Sue Martin
Catherine Mary Stewart
Tommy Lee Jones
....to name a few
Sticky Fingers (1988)
One of the most 'rock'em, sock'em, roll on the ground, laugh 'til your face aches' films ever made!
"Our pockets are empty, our cupboards are bare, the bills keep coming, and the drugs are scarce. I need some money, I need some dough, for the things I want, for the things I own. I got Sticky Fingers!"
The title song says it all. "Sticky Fingers" is one of the most hilarious films ever made, and done so with such a style and even a type of elegance that has kept it fresh and funny for every viewing. Two roommates, and best friends Lolly and Hattie are struggling musicians, who can't pull in the attention of anyone past the civilians in Central Park, New York. One day, out of the blue, Diane, Hatties dope dealer, leaves them with a mysterious bag, with important contents inside. It is, yes, almost 1 million dollars. Eventually, everything is crazy, and all mixed up. These two women, who are honest, decent people in the Big Apple, are transformed by the green power slips, into petty, light-headed money grubbers. Soon the cash begins to run on, and the two have a lot of explaining to give Diane...and the mob men who have been watching their every move...
Helen Slater is the not so bright Hattie. She surely gives a new name to the word 'energy' in this one. With her quick and witty dialog, and sharp timing, she is amazing, and always turning on the laugh-machine. Melanie Mayron is the squeaky, nervous Lolly. Mayron is up to par with co-star Slater, giving off the same amount of energy and confusion. Needless to say, Christopher Guest is, as usual, a treat to watch as the love interest of Mayron. Other cast members include Loretta Divine, Eileen Brennan, Carol Kane, and an absolutely outrageous Danitra Vance, who steals the show with her every scene.
The comedy used in this gem is a bright blend of slapstick, and witty stand- up, with honesty as a key factor, bringing in solid goods. It is a shame that this one was never received as well as others in that time. The film is well representative of it's time,(1988) and it's pop-culture wackiness. I suppose it was the "different" factor that says just why the film was little known, if at all. This film does have a different tone, and even more so, it is very general. Sometimes, the smaller, more overlooked things are funny. Sexual lingo and politics are restricted, very restricted. This film is not "Majoy League" or a "National Lampoon" film, or even like any of the "Porkey's" movies either. It stands out completely on it's own, with ultimate originality and sharp comic texture and context, which make it a real riot to watch over and over again!
Beautiful People (2005)
Daphne Zuniga returns to a world of Beautiful People.
Naturally, I feel compelled to tell you about my love for an amazing actress named Daphne Zuniga, the main head-liner of this nice show. Years ago, try twelve or thirteen, Zuniga was a young photographer named JoBeth Reynolds on the critically acclaimed drama, "Melrose Place". She was, herself, beautiful, witty, tough, and deep, as well as surrounded by beautiful people all over. Now, in this new drama, "Beautiful People", she returns to the prime-time dial, but with a new breed of beautiful people.
With Jo Reynolds a fond memory, Daphne is now the lovely Lynn Kerr, a newly single mother, trying to provide a warm, sharing, and loving world for her two daughters, portrayed by Torry Devitto and Sarah Foret. Zuniga never fails to satisfy, and as Lynn Kerr, I see new depths to which she can dive into, especially now as other Melrose alumni are resurfacing as well. (Marcia Cross and Doug Savant in "Desperate Housewives"). The two new actresses Foret and Devitto are cute, and even amusing in this family based drama, but obviously, Zuniga helms the project with force and experience to which the younger stars are lucky to work with. The rest of the cast is okay too. Ricky Mabe takes the cake among the co-stars as a non-conformist, straight-forward, honest , but good-hearted outcast, stealing the scene as he spits his words about the truth concerning the "BP'S" (Beautiful People). The show has soft touch for familiar development, but just as the 'beautiful people' it introduces, looks are always deceiving.
I can also say, that this show is truly misplaced on the ABC-Family channel. It does deal with a mother, and her two daughters in their new life, and the concern for safety and love in the big apple, but there are some touchy situations this show touches base with. I have no problem with a single part of this show, but the surprise is the channel it airs. I know it would seem fairly normal on the normal ABC station, but Family is a bit risky, as Daphne even said in the beginning about the program. I didn't completely believe it myself, but it's true. The Kerr family meet people who take drugs, teenagers who have sex, in hot-tubs for that matter. An adult male, speaks his mind on the basis of his homosexuality, and other kinds of chaos ensues.
I am all for risk, and to that I can say I hope to see more of this show around. It's about time we see Daphne Zuniga in the spotlight again, and she is, without a doubt, having a great time like the rest of the cast. I know only as much as the next viewer about the eight episode run for an opening season, but I hope much more will come! A good Welcome Back to Daphne Zuniga, and an even bigger good luck to the show! It's a fun show to watch.
Not just a cult film, but a cult film with all the right moves!
On a dark, foggy night, two back-packers ignore the "no trespassing" sign, to engage themselves in a rest after a long while of mountain-climbing. They discover a pond, and instantly feel obliged to cool off. Before they can manage to enjoy this nice break, the most horrid feeling comes over them, and both become victims of a savage death, resulting in blood, only blood. Such an opening is familiar, yes, but also attention-getting, and enjoyable. This is "Piranha", the 1978 camp-classic horror film from acclaimed director Joe Dante and the production of Roger Corman. Given, the production values are some what less than "Jaws" and "Close Encounters.." but the heart and joy of film-making is also there, and thusly, the film is much more enjoyable than most Hollywood film of that era. The film is scripted by a then, young John Sayles, whom also makes a cameo! The two leads, Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies are perfect, and chemistry is dead-on making for a very fun time indeed! The writing is, perhaps, the best part of the film, seeing as Corman obviously wanted a real cultish feel, and as such, the film has so many noticeable , fun, and convenient in-jokes such as a swimmer reading acclaimed novel 'Moby Dick', and lazy workers watching old cartoons involving fish. The thrills are pretty good too, seeing as the situation involves genetically enhanced knowledge within the fish. Therefor, it is much harder for Dillman and Menzies as they attempt to over power the deadly fish while chasing them down stream a beautiful Texas river. Dillman and Menzies lead a cast of familiar faces seen in earlier Corman films such as Paul Bartel, Dick Miller, and Barbara Steele. The piranha themselves don't look too bad, and thusly, the effects are pretty good for a low budget film such as this. Other goodies are one-liners, and other dialogs that are so witty, they will either make you howl, or are just plain great to hear over and over again. Yes, this film has all the right moves, as well as many other to boot! It is comic when needed, and when the element of serious conflict is present, so is the presence of serious characters. This film was remade in '95, with the most wretched cast and concept ever! And the thought of another remake causes my blood to boil! You cannot re-create an original classic! That is what makes it original! In any case, this film is a great classic, and an always enjoyable film, every time viewed!
Freaky Friday (1976)
Back when we were grown-ups.
It is no secret, that, back when we were grown ups, Disney made films that were as delightful as the next Sidney Lumet film. "Freaky Friday" is one of those many films. When young Annabelle Andrews, and her mother Ellen Andrews switch bodies on Friday the 13th, one heck of a journey is on the rise! This great tale of learning and growing up has been mocked, or copied twice, in vain. There are many reasons why this film should have only been seen the way the company originally produced it. First off, the message is quite easy to figure, and keeping it simple, but meaningful was the great way to spread it. The age-old story of two people walking a mile in each others shoes. A funny mother-daughter story that never gets old, this one has just as much a tender side as it does a comic side.
About the film, the script is fresh and original, producing interesting narration by a game Foster. What makes this one almost a word for word act of the novel is because the author of the novel also wrote the screenplay. Some times, when the author also helps with the script, the outcome is less than amusing, but in this case, it was the best thing they could do. Mary Rodgers delivers the goods with this one, and the rich element of comedy is never wasted. The situations are almost too much. The incidents are made in ways to which an adult can laugh as much as a child can. In fact, most of the funny moments reflect more adult humor, such as Mrs. Schmauss and the liquor. Other moments such as typewriters going crazy, and one of the most hysterical ski sequences ever seem to be too much for children in todays times. Ergo, they remade this film twice. Once in '95 that was slow and dull, despite a good director and good cameos. And recently in '03 with a forced script. The two latter versions were made with more simple jokes to appeal more for kids.
Such subject matter was also toned down. The situation with Annabelle and Ben. Why does Annabelle hate him so much? Because there is nothing more annoying than a perfect kid with no messy qualities. Later, same question, but answer goes as "his sister doesn't "hate" him. he bugs her". What is wrong with the normal sibling rivalry using the word 'hate'? The film also shows how much better times were back then. As thirteen year-old teens were taught to be a whiz on the typewriter, and speak very well of American history. Those times are just not here anymore, not much anyhow. IN any case, this film is a great joy of a film. Modern film-making at it's best, and of course, Disney made films good back then. Not like the senseless contrived mush we see today.
Who's your daddy?
Spiders are just plain scary. Scary, ugly, and filthy creations, and why they have been put on this earth for as long a time as they have been, is anyones guess. In any case, "Arachnophobia" is a movie about these loathsome animals. The premise is on a father, or rather two fathers, the first one, being a smart doctor named Ross Jennings, played out well by an admirable Jeff Daniels, who has moved his nice family to a small town from the shaky city of San Fransisco. Unfortunately, or conveniently, a big mother of a spider from South America has arrived as well, and made do with a normal house spider from the Jennings' new home, and now he has a family too. As troubles begin to occur for the fresh Ross, the big, slimy and venomous bi+ch of an arachnid, has eased in with his new mate, as he creates a second queen, then the real trouble starts. One by one, the nicest people are dropping like flies, hhmmm, flies, a normal dinner for spiders... Anyhow, Ross has reason to believe there is more than just cardiac arrest at blame for this, and an investigation by he, along with the town sheriff, and a colleague set out to end the madness. A savory element is introduced when John Goodman is Delbert McClintock, a humorous bug exterminator. There is a dual storyline, of both fathers. The struggle to survive, and to keep their families safe. But there is only room for one daddy in this town, so one has to take a lift out of there! While trying not to jump around in fear as I watched this one for the first time, I was uneasy for days. Scary stuff, but Spielberg knows how to deliver.
Die unendliche Geschichte (1984)
Dark, if not surreal fantasy delivers a good message.
Finally, the truth about stories. The fact is, nothing ever really ends, and thusly, someone had to say so. That's what this movie does, and it does it ever so elegantly. A young boy, who knows so much about the "Lord Of The Rings", and "Beowulf" is about to find out something more real as he borrows a mystical book he finds enchanting. the even more powerful fact, is that once the book is opened, it will never close. Just as life never really ends on this earth, neither to stories. The book, titled "The Never Ending Story", is about Fantasia, a world that is dying, and an unbelievably horrifying substance known as "The Nothing", is enclosing it. A young warrior must face the danger of finding a cure. On earth, or in the book, life is intertwined to reach the ultimate answer to a young boys fears, and a young warriors quest. Film is full of some really lovable characters such as Falkor, the luck dragon, and the Rock Biter. Then, there is the Gmorg, whom I believe, is the most wretched creature in cinema. That thing is scary! In any case, film starts out as colorful and mystical, and grows dark and nightmarish with every scene, leading to a wonderful message about the substance that keeps Fantasia , and every other world out there, alive. Beautiful, just beautiful. A classic.
Alone in the Dark (1982)
"...but what is alone???" A question of psychosis
This film was actually a nice one to my eyes. Jack Palance, Donald Pleasance, and Martin Landau head a nice thriller about insanity and revenge, or misjustified revenge, but it's still revenge just the same, whatever kind it is. Nice family moves to a house that works for everyone, because Dad, or Dan Potter, has a new job at the The Haven, or "Hospital". Anyhow, this is a nasty turn for a couple of inmates who want their original doctor, and not some new, and fresh wimp. In any case, they feel a new doctor will end them all, so they seek justice, in their own way. The flick delivers a few scares, and actually makes a pretty decent movie as well. Can ya get any creepier than Martin Landau and the bicyclists' hat? I think not. Humor is also delivered, but looking at the films which were produced at the time, I suppose that was a common element that companies wanted. In any case, the title could address the victims, being alone in the dark, as psychotics run amok, or...it could pertain to the inmates themselves, as they feel alone, as they sit in the dark of the mental institution. What do you think?
Dear Frankie (2004)
A dear film about Dear Frankie.
Emily Mortimer and Gerard Butler shine in this touching story about the truth in our hearts, and the truth our lives. Little Jack McElhone is a darling actor as he narrates many moments of this film with the hopeful letters to his father, whom he has never seen. All though mother Mortimer promises to show him his father, some things are not possible for various reasons. Desperate to make her son happy, she hires a stranger to pretend for a day. Gerard Butler is smooth, suave, and mysterious as this man. Mary Riggans is almost too much as the chain- smoking grandmother who knows better. Shona Auerbach is very simple, but effective in style and presentation. This makes for a touching film. What really makes this one work so well is the continuity of the relations and the connection between the characters. Gerard Butler, Emily Motimer, and Jack McElhone are sweet and tender. Very good film indeed, and in todays times!!!
Intellectual thriller about sex used as a tool for power.
Michael Doulgas and Demi Moore head this fine piece of work based on Michael Crichtons' novel. Douglas is Tom Sanders, a typical business man working with a fairly normal company. He is dark horse in the running for promotion, until Meredith Johnson(Moore) arrives. Meredith is an old fling, and she hasn't forgotten the past. When a desperate attempt to open old wounds, or relive steamy times goes awry, Meredith is sickened by Toms' monogamy, and wants revenge! Director Barry Levinson creates a brilliant conflict, which seems to grow heavy with each scene. The entire cast is phenomenal. Moore and Douglas are perfect in their roles, but the main attraction for my eyes, was the quick, smart, catchy performance of Catherine Alvarez by Roma Maffia. Film keeps a strong interest for the whole time, only lacking in some possible slow moments. Part of why the film works so well is the fact that Levinson keeps it intellectual, dealing with adults, and the way they handle these situations. Sex is not a crutch to use for the main stars, who, at the time, were rather big. Instead, sex is portrayed as the key power in the situation. Catherine Alvarez states in the film "Sexual harassment is not about sex, it's about power. She has it, you don't". Pretty catchy way to portray sexual harassment. Technology is later brought in as a power to...but why should I say anything more? See the film for yourself.
Probably the ONLY version of this story that works, and works well.
From the director of the Charlie Brown and Peanuts movies, comes this funny, delightful little cartoon adaptation of the classic C.S. Lewis novel. Although made for television, it still holds a bright candle to the book itself. With such clever narration by the lead voices, and the expressions given to the characters, this one delivers a gold trophy. Every line, and action is directly from the book, and portrayed well. Beth Porter certainly supplies the most fun as the voice of the desperate white witch. All other character voices are pleasant and appropriate. The running time is not three hours, so they managed to fit an entire story into the cartoon. You are actually watching the novel, and all things that C.S. Lewis may have written in the novel, that cannot be stated by the characters, is well implied. This TV special is probably the only version that could possibly work as well as it did. The voices fit the actions as dead on as perfection, and the dark moments are not taken too seriously. This make for a good animated adaptation!