Tuesday, October 20, 2015

FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGHT (1982), BLADE RUNNER (1982)

1982
"Am I hallucinating here?" Sean Penn and Ray Walston in
Fast Times at Ridgemont High

I was in the last stages of being a teenager when Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out. Maybe that's why I have such an affection for it. This comedy about some urban teenagers trying to live and get through high school is still fun to watch. Most of the characters have their flaws, but are pretty likable for the most part. And we also have characters that we recognize from high school: The unobtainable pretty girl (Linda), the schemer (Damone), and of course, Sean Penn as Spicoli, the stoner. The scenes between Penn and Ray Walston as Mr. Hand are my probably my favorite ones in the film. Character I see relate to the most? Why, the nerdy and socially challenged Mark Ratner, of course!

Stu Nahan appreciation society: Stu Nahan is probably best know to moviegoers as the play-by-play announcer in the Rocky movies. But he is also the guy who interviews Spicoli on the beach in Fast Times

Stu, Sean and friends..."Hey, bud let's party!"

And those nude scenes: Yes, any male who watched this movie back in the day certainly remembers when Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) takes of her clothes and seduces Damone (Robert Romanus). Not to mention the fantasy scene of Brad (Judge Reinhold), where Linda (Phoebe Cates) emerges from the pool and takes off her top (Hello...Brad!). But on sober reflection, the first scene ends up with Damone ejaculating immediately, getting Stacy pregnant and going out of his way to avoid paying for her abortion. The second scene ends up with Linda catching Brad in the bathroom masturbating while thinking of  her...Ah, nothing like a little male humiliation upon sober reflection.

Hello, Brad!...Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High


Blade Runner

Blade Runner
Blade Runner is based on the sci-fi novel by Phillip K. Dick about a Blade Runner named Deckard that is reluctantly hired to hunt down some refugee replicants that are almost indistinguishable from humans. The entire plot synopsis is put forth in the opening crawl, but the plot isn't the main reason to watch Blade Runner. The main reason to watch it is for the stunning visuals. The sets, the design, the make-up, the costumes, the lighting...all these elements took me to another place like few films have. Absolutely in my book.

The original book asks Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, a query that is irrelevant to the film Blade Runner as the electric animals of the book play pretty much no part here. But at least they changed they di change the title for the film.
Blade Runner

Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Blade Runner made the 1001 list, but here are some other films released in 1982 that didn't make the 1001 cut.

1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Still the gold standard of Star Trek movies for me, not to mention having one of the all-time great movie villains.


The Wrath of Khan
For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee!
2. Airplane II
The precise type of humor that the Zuckers and Abrams brought to Airplane! mostly fall flat in this sequel without them.

3. The Verdict
Tailor-made role for Paul Newman as an aging, over-the-hill, alcoholic lawyer who finally gets a shot at a big case.

4. Author Author
I mostly remember this comedy with Al Pacino as being a little on the bland side. Might be worthy of a revisit, though.

5. Liquid Sky
When I first got a VCR, I wanted to check out some off-beat things that you couldn't see easily elsewhere. This movie about space aliens, lesbians and heroin addiction certainly fit the bill and should definitely be at the top of any 80's cult movie list.
Liquid Sky
Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n Roll and aliens. What better way
to break in your new VCR?
6. Cat People
Remake of the 40's classic does have a sexy Natassia Kinski, a plot that can be much more adult than the original and the David Bowie theme song which is really the first thing I think of when I think of Cat People.
"Puttin' out fire...with GAS-O-LEENE!"

7. Creepshow
You don't see too many horror feature films anymore that are just a section of vignettes. If I ever did watch this one again, it would mostly be for the section that we get to see Stephen King act!

8. Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
Black and White film noir comedy with Steve Martin I'm sure is still fun to watch, though I'll bet the then groundbreaking special effects of putting 40's movie stars in the scenes with Steve are officially no longer state of the art. Damn CGI!

9. Deathtrap
Remake of Sleuth, but with Christopher Reeve sort of in the Michael Caine role and Michael Caine in the Laurence Olivier role. Or something like that.

10. The World According to Garp
One of my favorite parts of John Irving's book is T. S. Garp's stories within the main story. You can't really show that in a movie adaptation, but I always have liked what George Roy Hill did with the movie version anyway. I honestly think this is Robin Williams's signature role, though I may be in the minority on that one.

Mr. and Mrs. Garp
11. Lookin’ to Get Out
Before my first trip to Las Vegas, I wanted to watch some movies set in Las Vegas. So I picked this Hal Ashby comedy with Jon Voight and Ann-Margaret...which was universally panned, but not as bad as all that if I remember correctly. Or maybe I was just excited about my Vegas trip and want to go easy on it?

12. My Favorite Year
I liked the depiction in this film of the early years of television and how could you not love Peter O'Toole as an egocentric slumming movie star?

13. Missing
I'm a little surprised this critically acclaimed Costa-Gavras political thriller isn't in the 1001 movie book.

14. A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy
Woody Allen denied that this film was based on Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night, but I can't watch Woody's film without thinking about the Bergman film.

15. Pink Floyd-The Wall
The music of Pink Floyd + Alan Parker + Imagination run wild=One of my favorite midnight movie experiences of that year.
Bob Geldorf does some rearranging
Pink Floyd-The Wall

16. The Man from Snowy River
One day in 1982 I just decided to go see a movie at the theater and picked The Man from Snowy River for no reason in particular. Australian Western with Kirk Douglas was enjoyable enough from what I remember. Or maybe I just felt a need to balance out my midnight movie excursion with The Wall with a more family film.

17. An Officer and a Gentleman
I liked this movie when I saw it. Then I took a college film class the next year and realized how An Officer and a Gentleman had so sneakily manipulated my emotions! I still don't know what to think about it, though the final scene will always remind me of the similar scene of Homer and Marge in one of the early episodes of The Simpsons.

18. Night Shift
Lighthearted, but not a bad start to Ron Howard's post Happy Days feature film directing career. He also directed a high school TV movie in the 70's called Cotton Candy. I wonder if anyone else remembers that one?

19. Porky’s
This may have been the breaking point where I was getting less enthused about slob sex comedies. It did have some funny moments, but wasn't inspired enough to see Porky's II when it came out.

20. Swamp Thing
Is this the one with Adrienne Barbeau or Heather Locklear? I'm trying to get them straight in my mind.

That's Adrienne Barbeau with
Swamp Thing.

21. Rocky III
Probably the III'rd best Rocky film.

22. The Seduction
Morgan Farichild was never going to be a big movie star. But her poster shall remain on my wall (hypothetically) forever!

23. Personal Best
I went to see this movie for the great reviews it got, not all the buzz about nude scenes and Mariel Hemingway Playboy spreads and such. Well...maybe a little of all of the above. I do remember during the steambath scene, the guy sitting in the seat ahead of me leaned over to his date and whispered, "subtle breasts" when speaking of Ms. Hemingway.

A more "subtle" scene from Personal Best

24. The Atomic Café
Why my dating life wasn't so hot in 1982...

Me: Hey, would you like to go see a movie?

Potential date: Oh, how about Officer and a Gentleman? Or maybe you would prefer to see First Blood?

Me: I was thinking about this movie called The Atomic Cafe. It has all this archival footage from the 50's about military manuevers and how to duck and cover all put together in a narrative whole for a new generation to look back in a historical context at our post nuclear-age paranoia!

Potential date: I think I'm busy tonight (I went to see it by anyway...alone)

And finally...

One Movie I Must See Before I Die Because My Wife Told Me I Needed To:

25. First Blood

I may have seen An Officer and a Gentleman and The Atomic Cafe, but I never got around to seeing First Blood. I never saw any subsequent Rambo movie either (Son of Rambow doesn't count). I"m not much of a fan of Sylvester Stallone action movies in general, but I guess this is one I should see once and I'll try to go into it with an open mind.

The movie starts off promisingly with a Vietnam veteran named John Rambo (Stallone) finding out the last man in his unit has died before drifting aimlessly into a town where he is treated with hostility by local law enforcement. They take him in for no real reason, treat him badly before he escapes and the film quickly turns into a action movie that seems to forget about the roots of Rambo's psychological issues and basically just falls into him just blowing stuff up and causing mayhem as he is being chased into the woods by Brian Dennehy and the rest of the "Jerkwater, USA town" sheriff's department. He's a one man wrecking machine, or so says his former Vietnam Commander (Richard Crenna) who comes along to see if he can save the authorities from Rambo (and not the other way around, as he puts it). At this point, some local reserves presumably kill Rambo, but of course he isn't really dead and decides to make sure everyone knows this by stealing a truck and blowing lots more stuff up! Rambo finally has some dialogue at the end of the movie when he tells us about how he was never able to fit in since returning from the 'Nam (I liked Stallone in this scene, got to give him credit). He is then talked into turning himself in by his old commander and the end credits roll.

The movie does have overtones of Billy Jack., which also had a soft spoken Vietnam Vet who had a tendency to be provoked into violence.

Well I'm glad to have finished that short movie list of one.
October, 2015-finally saw a Rambo movie.

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