Heartbreak Ridge

I watched this one over a month ago but forgot to include it here. It’s good in the way that army training movies tend to be (it’s an easy conceit to build something around), and it doesn’t break any new grounds or anything, and other movies have done it better (ahem, Full Metal Jacket), but I still enjoyed it. Some of the homophobic language used is hard to take now — and in fact it’s something that you often come across as you watch a lot of moveis from that era — but you have to imagine also that that’s probably the type of language that was used in that environment/context. Not the best of Eastwood’s movies, and it has its share of 80s cheesiness, but it’s not bad either.

Rad

I think I sorta remember hearing about this movie back then, but I don’t think I had watched it, and it wasn’t something I was planning on watching during my 1986 movie marathon, but it got suggested by a friend of mine, and I’m glad I followed his recommendation. Look, this is not a good movie, but more importantly, it’s a joyful expression of what the 80s were like, and for that alone it’s worth watching. Cheesy scene after cheesy scene, it all feels so innocent, in a way that you just don’t see anymore (sadly). I had a BMX like those kids, and we had a BMX track in our neighborhood that was sort of like the one you see in the movie, and so I could totally see myself in that world again.

Manhunter

Juste like The Name of the Rose, this is another movie from 1986 that has aged very well. It always gets unfairly compared to The Silence of the Lambs (or later Red Dragon, from which it is an actual adaptation of), and Silence certainly is a classic in its own right, but this is great too. Brian Cox plays a fantastic Lecter, and Michael Mann is already showing what a great director he is (and would continue to be). Some of the soundtrack hasn’t aged so well maybe, but I still quite enjoyed re-watching this.

The Name of the Rose

I loved this movie back then (although I’m not sure if I really watched in when it was released in ’86 or a few years later), and it’s still great. It’s an interesting mystery (even if you already know the solution) and I always thought that the setting (medieval monastery) was such a great one. Definitely a movie that has aged quite well.

The Wraith

I quite enjoyed watching this. Although I remembered the title, I didn’t really remember watching it back in the day — which I find pretty surprising — and when I started it I was completely surprised to see a young (and very lovely) pre-Twin Peaks Sherilyn Fenn in this, and didn’t remember that it starred Charlie Sheen (and funny enough, that night I did a double bill with Maximum Overdrive, starring his brother). This movie is one of the most 80s things I’ve watched in my current 1986 movie marathon, and I mean this in a good way, with a soundtrack that really puts you in that era. Sure, it’s cheesy as all hell, but it was really fun to watch.

The Lego Batman Movie

I thought this was pretty fun. I definitely laughed a bunch of times, and just like the Lego Movie, it’s neat to see all of these Lego constructs in action — and it’s interesting that instead of doing smooth animation, they again used CG and made it feel more like a stop-motion animated film. I liked Batman in the original Lego Movie, and although I wasn’t especially excited about seeing another Lego movie just about him, I gotta say that I ended up having a good time watching it.

Life

I really didn’t know much about this movie other than it was set in a space station, with astronauts dealing with some sort of dangerous life form, but that was pretty much enough to get me to watch it (and I like Jake Gyllenhaal). Having watched it, I can’t say that it was really that great a film, but I did find myself getting into it at times, especially during the second half. And I like how they ended the film. I guess I’d just recommend this if you tend to like sci-fi Alien-type stuff.

Kong: Skull Island

I have mixed feelings for this film. I went in not caring that much about it — not many expectations, but hoping for a fun adventure movie. I liked that it wasn’t a modern setting (first the 40s, then the 70s), and so things started pretty good, but then I kept getting annoyed by a lot of the editing (music video type sequences, slo-mo cut in a staccato manner) as well as extreme color-correction, which I don’t necessarily mind if it fits a mood (especially for night sequences), but I hate it when it makes a day sky look too yellow-y. It did get pretty fun during the action sequences, especially the monster-on-monster stuff. It looks like they’re planning on bringing in more monsters for the sequels (Godzilla, Mothra, etc.) which could end up being pretty fun, especially if they get a different director.

Maximum Overdrive

I didn’t have great memories about this movie — in fact, I remember thinking it was pretty lousy. Watching it again now, it’s just as ridiculous as I remembered it being, but there was a bit of fun to be had re-watching all of this ridiculousness. Yeardley Smith is pretty entertaining. And the AC/DC soundtrack is good, and I love the riff-heavy sound effect they use a few times when a machine is about to kill someone.

Mulholland Drive

The second part of my Lynch double bill was Mulholland Drive, a movie I’ve grown to love over the years. I remember not hugely liking it when it first came out. Knowing the story that it was a failed TV pilot that was later reworked and turned into a feature film, I disliked the way it suddenly shifted towards the end, at a point that made it obvious what was done when the decision was made to make it a film. But over time, I’ve come to appreciate not only what I imagine the original pilot “episode” was like, but also how Lynch decided to play around with it, and basically completely fuck with what he had, and just turn it on its head. I truly love it now, although when I rewatch it I alway feel sad at the thought that we were robbed of the chance of seeing another Lynch TV series. And like Lost Highway, immediately after watching it I was online, reading theories about the narrative and its meaning.