I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the pitch meeting for “Red Dawn.” Let’s take some of the most popular all-American teen stars, some of whom are from the Brat Pack and pit them against foreign invaders trying to take over America. Imagine! The All-American brat pack fighting terrorism! No one would dare fuck with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen! People will come in droves! That said, “Red Dawn” is a childhood favorite and one my brother and I watched over and over whenever it was on television. Yes, it’s goofy, and violent, and a jingoistic fantasy, but it’s also a fun, action packed, and interesting concept with its “Rah Rah America!” patriotism heavily steeped in a “What If?” narrative.
If you’re still convinced that you’ve read everything to do with “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” then tune in to “Never Sleep Again,” and you might find a surprise or two. As a jaded horror geek convinced he’d heard it all, “Never Sleep Again” spared many a shocking anecdote about the making of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and its entire legacy. From its sequels, spin off, and misguided but notable cultural influence, “Never Sleep Again” never misses a beat and promises something entirely new for the horror fan interested in a refresher course in Freddy Krueger. After being on DVD since 2010, Image Entertainment releases the acclaimed and award winning documentary on Blu-Ray for folks anxious to indulge in Krueger on Blu.
Krites! I love them, I adore them. I even think they’re cooler than the Gremlins. What am I saying? They’d swallow those gremlins up whole. Can the Gremlins get in to one huge gang bang of a ball and swallow up a man with a few bites? I think not. Granted, you have to love Gizmo, but the Krites are tops with us.
Director John Milius’s 1984 war action film “Red Dawn” is probably one of the best guilty pleasures the eighties ever doled out for audiences. It’s certainly one of my childhood favorites, a film I recall re-watching time and time again and cheering on the likes of Charlie Sheen and Patrick Swayze. The film as a whole is absurd and incredibly silly, with everything in the film being drawn as inexplicably convenient for the good guys, and incredibly bad for the bad guys. Trained mercenaries can’t possibly outwit and outgun a bunch of high school students whose only training is hunting in the woods? Seriously?
In the right format, the Ninja Turtles are pretty damn incredible. There’s just something about anthropomorphic human sized mutant turtles that are ninjas and know Ninjitsu that is just so darn appealing. What’s more is that there’s just something about the concept that is just so entertaining. Even when Eastman and Laird never intended for the series to be for kids, the Ninja Turtles always seemed destined to become icons for childhood superheroes who fought bad guys while entertaining tweens and all audiences alike. The eighties was the golden age of the Ninja Turtles where they were household names. There was just nothing but an avalanche of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles merchandise and clothing that you couldn’t fit it all in one giant warehouse.
THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
What with the remake and retread craze at an all time high, I can definitely picture some halfwit second rate comic actor taking up the mantle for William Katt as the next “Greatest American Hero” in a big budget mediocre action comedy. Almost like a lame version of Superman, “Greatest American Hero” is never quite sure what it wants to be. Sometimes it’s an honest to goodness tale of a humble man being given an amazing power allowing him to fight crime and save the world. Sometimes it just takes a step back and laughs at itself for all the right reasons. William Katt gives a surprisingly dignified performance as a local school teacher Ralph Hinckley tasked with teaching a very rowdy and violent special education class.
As fate would have it, Katt and his class happen across a reckless FBI agent Bill Maxwell who almost runs him down in the middle of a field trip during the night when they’re stranded on the road. Hinckley and Maxwell are witness to a major event as a UFO beams down… a suit to them. Not just any suit, but a super suit! They ask Hinckley to take the suit and save the world or it will disintegrate. Why? Who knows? Lacking any apparent fashion sense, Katt dons the alien super suit forced to team with the Maxwell and the result is wacky and ridiculous.
I’m in the minority opinion that about most of what came out of the eighties was utter dreck. Movies, music, fashion, and television, a good portion of it is dreck that has remained in the public consciousness based solely around nostalgia and people still muddled by their own fond memories of the decade. Since I’m in an eighties mood I thought I’d finally settle our top ten movies of the 80’s, a decade that gave us mind rotting MTV, and Mr. T only to name a few of its crimes, of course. Rounding out our top ten of the decade was not an easy task since it was a decade consisting primarily of disposable fare in the way of comedies and horror films, while the dramas were basically mostly middling fare.
I was, however, up to the challenge. I did set some guidelines of course. Since the 80’s were all about the slasher film, about every slasher film made in the decade is off the table since this list would be filled with them and ruin the purpose. I’m a heavy fan of the “Friday the 13th” series and the like, so it wouldn’t be an interesting list. We also left out most of the Nightmare on Elm Street films, Critters, Gremlins, and most horror films from the decade altogether. We give enough respect to them, here are ten films from the ten years that I thought were the absolute best.
“Take Me Home Tonight” operates on the basis that we still give a squat about the eighties and thanks to the financial failure that was this film in early 2011, it’s great to hear America isn’t budging in their resounding boredom with the decade. This was only further remedied by “MacGruber” and its eighties crapola that touted the same sentiment “Take Me Home Tonight” does. Director Michael Dowse’s film doesn’t so much want to be a coming of age film from the eighties so much as it wants to be an eighties film. It takes every chance to define itself as the decade love letter that it almost convinces itself that it’s a movie ripped from that decade.