Monday, April 30, 2012

The Lost Boys (1987)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (7.0).

It's hard not to like this film: it's the sort of Goonies-with-vampires movie that could only have been made in the 80s.  The film modernized the vampire concept, directly paving the way for later fare like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it's also good cheesy fun with 80's icons Corey Feldman and Corey Haim as they raid vampire lairs and steal holy water for their squirt guns.  One noteworthy fact about the film is that it was filmed in Santa Cruz with the numbers filed off, which is very apparent if you've ever been there in person.  The film has also acquired... attention... for its (unintentional?) homoerotic undertones.  As if the ambiguous tensions between Michael and David weren't enough (the latter played by a disturbingly young Kiefer Sutherland), we also get Sam (Haim) singing "I Ain't Got a Man" while a shirtless Rob Lowe poster hangs in his bedroom closet.  Did we just not pay attention to those things in the 80s?  Score: 3 stars out of 4.

P.S.: In lieu of the traditional drinking game, I present an alternative for Cry Little Sister:
Zippy the Lighter will shield you from this and other power ballads.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dreamscape (1984)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (6.3).

I was rather unimpressed by this 80s sci-fi "action" schlock.  The plot is thin and tortured, the acting performances are flat all around, the handful of effects are pretty awful even by the standards of the day, it has an impressively unimpressive 80s synthesizer soundtrack, and there's enough "take that!" at Reagan-era warmongering to distract from the movie (note that '84 was the year of the Reagan vs. Mondale election).  Beyond those problems, the film also assigns psychic powers to the main character, yet they're an informed ability that doesn't even have any plot relevance.  I have no idea how this ended up in the Rotten Tomatoes Journey Through Sci-Fi list (supposedly the 100 best-rated sci-fi films).  The film is not painful to watch or even bad, but it's unrelentingly bland and mediocre and the "sci" is pure fluff.  Score: 1 star out of 4.

P.S.: Oh, and is it me, or is the movie's poster trying to trick people into thinking it's similar to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which came out 3 months earlier?  Because it's pretty much the opposite of that.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Heathers (1989)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (7.3).

“Children of the so-called Baby Boomers, Generation X has been characterized as a group unable to speak about anything unironically, while also possessing a mistrust of authority and a longing to have sex with Winona Ryder. According to Ryder, this demographic deserves to have "at least one" of its thwarted hopes and dreams for itself actually come true.” 
— "Winona Ryder Finally Agrees To Sleep With Generation X", The Onion

Heathers is a pitch-black comedic satire of 80's teen comedy/drama films.  In terms of tone, it's sort of the forbidden love child of John Hughes and Tim Burton, culturally seeing out the 80s and propping the door open for the 90s to meander in.  I sadly never saw this in its own era, but it was impossible not to immediately notice how this one film both predicted and shaped the decade to follow: the goth look, Winona Ryder, grunge and Nirvana, the early 90s pop-cultural opinion on gays changing from punchlines to people, the sarcasm and cynical humor, Clueless, Daria (with tiny hints of Beavis and Butthead too), wangsty self-harm, and... well, let's be honest here, Columbine is the elephant in the room.  Beyond cultural significance, the film itself is great up through the Burtonesque dream sequence (yay Glenn Shadix!), but then the ending falls apart because the film can't quite decide how surreal it's supposed to be.  Score: 3 stars out of 4.