The one thing I can’t really tell is whether the racing here is realistic or not, since I don’t understand much about NASCAR racing — but the way the cars bump and grind in this movie does feel farfetched. But hey, it’s still a pretty fun and silly ride, reeks of late 80s-style moviemaking (the machismo, the heavy Tony Scott color saturation), and all in all, I can’t say I disliked revisiting it — and I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I watched it since its original release.
Not only is this my favorite Schwarzenegger movie (at least, I’m pretty sure it is), but it was also one of my favorite movies from around that time. Even now, it’s still so much fun to watch, and it’s great to see that the practical effects still look so cool — sure, they don’t come off as realistic anymore, but there’s something really satisfying about them, that you just don’t get from the early days of CG (which I guess I’ll be hitting when I start re-watching films from later in the 90s). I’ll admit that I even liked the 2012 remake, but it’s definitely in no way better than the original.
I’ve always thought this was the weakest of the three. After the madcap thrills of all the time jumping we got in the second one, turning the last one into what ends up being a “comedy western” felt lazy. Re-watching it now — and maybe it’s because I was in the ideal mood to watch it — I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. The characters, the mood, the silly action, it all amounts to a plain ol’ good time.
My favorite thing about this movie is the presence of David Cronenberg in one of the main roles — sure, his acting isn’t all that great, but I just love seeing him on screen. The directing here is a bit weird — I’m pretty sure it was Clive Barker’s directorial debut — but I like this movie, with all its weirdness. I’ve generally always liked Barker’s brand of horror — the horror of the flesh that we know from Hellraiser — and it’s here, but weirdly with a more positive vibe. I wasn’t really sure if I was still going to like this or not, but I think I ended up enjoying it even more than expected. It’s not necessarily a great film, but there’s something very watchable about it.
I seem to remember this sequel being a pretty big disappointment at the time, that it just wasn’t really funny or interesting. Revisiting it now, maybe it’s because I went in with those low expectations, but I ended up having a pretty good time watching it. It just feels so end-of-the-80s (basically, they’ve got the 80s action-comedy formula to a tee), with all the visual style we’ve come to expect from Walter Hill films. And hey, there were some funny bits here and there, and the action is decent. Gotta love UZI shoot ups in night clubs.
I remember really liking Darkman back in the day. Watching it now, there’s still a lot to like in it — and for me it’s really all of the manic sequences that pop up throughout, my favorite being the one where he dances around with the tin hat, which feels so Evil Dead 2/Army of Darkness-ish. What I like are the Raimi-isms you get, and the rest is a bit of bore — the first 30 minutes or so of the movie are especially slowgoing, and it was really only in the second half that I was getting into it. It was fun to revisit though.
I decided to kick off my 1990 movie marathon with this for some reason. I seem to remember that it didn’t get a great reaction when it originally came out, mostly because of the lack of Arnie, but I think it was interesting to do something so different for the sequel, and to use a completely different setting (city instead of jungle). I didn’t remember the Robocop-like media parody though. The film came out in 1990, but it’s set in the far future of 1997, with everyone seemingly having a gun (and futuristic guns at that), and Morton Downey Jr. hosting an exploitive tabloid news show. As for the movie itself, it was alright, but I think it’s mostly let down by the direction — there’s an action sequence set in subway cars that’s especially annoying because it’s constantly strobing and you can’t tell what’s going on, and it lasts 5-10 minutes.
I’ve decided to fold out on my 1980 movie marathon at only five movies. I was planning on watching about a dozen, but considering that I watched the first one in February and it’s now August, I figure it’s time to move on. As with all of my other year-based marathons (1967, 1968, 1977, 1978, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989), I am glad I watched those movies, but for some reason I just haven’t been in the mood to watch more, even though I had stuff like Superman II, The Blues Brothers, and The Shining on my list (although for Shining, I did watch it fairly recently, so wasn’t particularly interested in revisiting it again so soon). So next up I move to 1990, which I’m actually quite excited about, and just quickly drawing up a list last night I already had about 40 films (I imagine I’ll end up watching 20-30). But here are my thoughts on the five films from 1980 I did watch, which you can also find under this tag.
Back in May I saw a friend of mine share on Twitter that he was starting something called the “30-day Film Challenge,” and so I decided to give it a go as well. You are basically to answer a question a day by highlighting a film, following the instructions below.
Below, a round-up of my 30 answers.
The first film I remember watching? I don’t really have a memory of it, but I’ve been told by my parents that Dumbo was the first movie I watched. I have vague memories of seeing the original Star Wars though.
Favorite movie that starts with the first letter of my name? That’s pretty easy, Jodorowsky’s Dune is one of my all-time favorite movies. A fascinating look at what could have been — and it’s maybe even for the best that it was never completed, because it later gave us The Incal.
A film with a title that’s over 5 words? Well, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a pretty good one at 9. This is also making me want to revisit this movie, haven’t watched it in decades.
A movie with a number in the title? I guess I’m cheating a bit by highlighting a trilogy, but I was absolutely obsessed with Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy, and can’t remember if I liked one more than another. I’d also add his terrific 10-part Decalogue series.
A film with a character that has a job I want? The September Issue is a fantastic documentary, and despite loving working in the games industry, I still sometimes dream of producing a magazine, from top to bottom.
My favorite animated film? That one’s too easy, Akira. I didn’t even have to think about it. It’s also one of my favorite films of all time, period — I even included in the list of “5 perfect films” I recently shared.
A film I never tire of? Outside of the Bond films, The Breakfast Club is the one film that I revisit regularly (probably every couple of years), and still enjoy it just as much as I first did every single time. Certainly a timeless film for me.
A film where I liked the soundtrack more? I can’t think of one, since for me soundtrack goes hand in hand with the movie. If I was to highlight one though, it would probably have to be Reservoir Dogs.
A film I hate that everyone likes? Hate is a strong word, but I’m pretty indifferent to the Harry Potter movies — I’ve seen them all, and don’t particularly care for any of them.
My favorite superhero movie? I could point to stuff like Logan, the first Deadpool movie, the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor Ragnarok, or Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but I don’t think anything has been as visually stunning and satisfying as Into the Spider-verse.
A movie I like from a genre I don’t like? I guess I don’t much care for rom coms in general, but I sure love Pretty in Pink.
A film I hate from my favorite genre? I don’t like highlighting things I hate, and fave genre is hard to define, but if I were to pick action/adventure as the genre, my most disappointing film would probably be Crystal Skull, since the Indy series is something I love so much.
A film that put me in deep thoughts? I still have fond memories of seeing Lost Highway in the theater with my roommates, and then going to a diner after to discuss what the hell we had just watched.
A film that depressed me? I don’t know if Grave of the Fireflies is a good answer, but even though I think it’s a very well made film, I’ve never rewatched this because of how sad it made me feel.
A film that makes me happy? I think there are many, but it’s hard to go wrong with Totoro, which is also still my favorite Ghibli film.
A film that’s personal to me? Not really sure how to approach this. I guess maybe Breakfast Club is a movie that really speaks to me, but I don’t want to repeat movies in this thing, so for some reason, Hal Hartley’s Flirt is popping into my head.
My favorite film sequel? I mean, can there be any other answer than Evil Dead 2? Groovy.
A film that stars my favorite actor? Not quite sure why, but when I think about who could be my favorite actor, Jake Gyllenhaal comes to mind. I really enjoy so many of his performances, and his role picks. Sure, Donnie Darko is a classic, but I’ll highlight Enemy.
A film by my favorite director? Currently my favorite director is probably Denis Villeneuve, but one name that comes to mind from my decades of movie watching is Zhang Yimou, and I’ll highlight Raise the Red Lantern.
A film that changed my life? After 2 years at university (studying math) I freaked out, not happy. Watching The Last Emperor got me to take a class in Chinese history the next semester, which led to a History Major, which led to Asian Studies, which sent me to China, and eventually Japan.
A film I dozed off while watching? It’s never happened, and until recently I’ve always been pretty adamant about finishing movies I start. But my stance on this has changed recently, and Detective Pikachu was a movie that I stopped watching after about 15 minutes because I was bored.
A film that made me angry? A Life Less Ordinary is what comes to mind. I was so excited to see it, being such a fan of Danny Boyle, and the whole time watching it I just couldn’t stand it. It’s the only time I remember really wanting to walk out of the theatre halfway through.
A film by a director who has passed away? I was going to highlight Satoshi Kon and Perfect Blue, but there’s no denying that Alfred Hitchcock is one of my favorite filmmakers, and there are so many films of his I love. I highlight Vertigo, but could have been many more.
A film I wish I saw in theaters? Having a hard time with this one as I don’t go to the theater much anymore (mostly prefer watching movies at home), but do go see special things like Bond and Star Wars movies. I would have said Akira, but used that already, so how about Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell.
A film I like not set in this current era? There are many movies I’ve already highlighted that would fit the bill, but let’s bring in the visual feast that is Ran.
A film I like that is adapted from somewhere? There are so many great films based on books, so I’ll just pick Fight Club, because why not.
A film that’s visually striking? I find In the Mood for Love to be one of the most beautiful and stylish things ever.
A film that made me feel uncomfortable? I’m sure there are many, but Irréversible is what immediately came to mind.
A film that makes me want to fall in love? Pretty easy answer for me. I do quite like the entire trilogy, but the first one, Before Sunrise, is absolutely the best.
A film with my favorite ending? Feels like it’s easier to remember the bad ones than the good ones. But if I was to highlight the most memorable one, it has to be Planet of the Apes (the original one).
Well, this is one of these revisits that I feel went against my fond memories of the film. Can’t say I really enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. I think the biggest offender is Chevy Chase, whose character here just annoyed me — nothing he does makes any sense, and even worse, it’s just not really funny. Murray is wacky, but it’s not all that funny either as it’s too cartoony. Sure, it has its moments here and there, but overall it was a disappointment.