2019年6月18日 星期二

"Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life" by William Finnegan (2015)

"And so came that last wave.  The tide was dropping.  Bryan had already gone in.  The swell was also dropping.  The wind had clocked around and gone light northeast - onshore - making for messy conditions and a hard-looking, army-green surface that resembled Ventura more than it did the tropics."

William Finnegan is a staff writer at The New Yorker.  Aside from Barbarian Days he's also written several books on various socioeconomic topics.  He currently lives in New York.

In this memoir he recounts his years growing up in southern California, later years spent learning how to surf in Hawaii, and travels to several countries in search of the perfect wave.  All of this leads to the book's conclusion, which consists of his taking stock of previous travels, and the effect old age has had on his love of the sport.

This book is a lot longer than it needed to be, and the descriptions of surfing sessions grow incredibly repetitive.  I even went and asked various surfer friends about the book, and they shared my opinion.  After a certain point it dwells overmuch on the size of certain waves, the peril they represented, and the author's escapes from death.  This formula works in the beginning, but by the time he moves to Portugal it's tiresome in the extreme.

I can only assume that the author's clout as a staff writer for The New Yorker allowed him to avoid much of the editing process necessary to make this book much better.  His prose is at times pretentious, and the inclusion of every last surfing trip makes the book seem shallower (if you'll forgive the pun) than need be the case.

The highlight of this memoir is definitely the author's trip to Fiji, back before surfers were visiting it with any regularity.  In my opinion this trip should have taken up a much larger part of the book than it did, and descriptions of the cultures and individuals encountered there would have made for more interesting reading.  This approach would have been much better than listing off surfing trips in an encyclopedic fashion, and ending the book with the author's return from Fiji would have made for a more satisfying conclusion.  A little brooding on mortality would have been OK, but a little of that goes a long way.

If you surf, you'll find something to like in this book.  If you don't?  It's probably better not to bother with it.

Related Entries:

"April Fool's Day" by Bryce Courtenay (1993)
"Teacher Man" and "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt (2005 and 1996)
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson (1971)
"The Dharma Bums" by Jack Kerouac (1958)

2019年6月12日 星期三

Some Other Movies From 1983

In 1983 I turned eight.  I wonder if I would've liked the adult version of me, the one living in Taiwan now.  Maybe I would've been disappointed.  I hope not.

The biggest movies of 1983 were Return of the Jedi, Terms of Endearment, Flashdance, Trading Places and WarGames.  Of these movies WarGames remains my favorite, and not just because part of it's set in Seattle.  Octopussy, Mr. Mom and Risky Business were also hits that year, and I've seen those three movies more times than I can remember.

Critics in 1983 liked the above-mentioned Terms of Endearment, Tender Mercies, The Year of Living Dangerously and Educating Rita.  I've seen Terms of Endearment recently and it seemed pretty melodramatic to me.  I still like The Year of Living Dangerously, though I think Mel Gibson has been in way better films.

Other good movies of 1983 were Christine, The Dead Zone, The Keep, Krull, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, National Lampoon's Vacation, Never Cry Wolf, Never Say Never Again, Scarface, Star 80, Strange Brew, Superman III, Twilight Zone: The Movie and Videodrome.  To be sure, some of these qualify for "so bad it's good" status, but I was 8 at the time and didn't know any better.

The worst film of 1983?  The Golden Raspberry Awards would single out The Lonely Lady, which I have vague memories of watching on cable when I was little.  I'm not sure what movie I would pick, but I did see Liquid Sky not long ago and thought it was terrible.

Classic Early 80s Action

1. Blue Thunder

Seven things everyone needs to know about this movie:

a. Roy Scheider is awesome.  In his day he made so many average movies better.  Forget about Jaws, because that was all Spielberg.  I'm talking about movies like Jaws 2, 2010, and - to a lesser extent - this one.  If he hadn't been in Blue Thunder it would've only been half as good.

b. This movie is so manly it's invited itself into your living room, has its feet up on your living room table, and it's drinking your beer.  That's how manly it is.

c. Damn sexy, but that peeping Tom thing they do in the helicopter just wouldn't (if you'll excuse the pun) fly now.  They would be SO fired, so fast.

d. Malcolm McDowell, another actor who chews scenery like a m*&herfucker, is also in this.  Seeing him and Scheider trade insults is great.

e. This movie overtook Flashdance (see below) at the box office.  It's really hard not to view that development in sexual terms.  I'm even tempted to say "conquered" or "sexually dominated" in a cinematic context.

f. This movie followed Clint Eastwood's Firefox, another hit film featuring a unique piece of military hardware.  Blue Thunder is, however, much better than Firefox.

g. You should see this movie.  It'll make you happy.  For that matter watch Firefox, then watch Flashdance, and then watch Blue Thunder.  This threesome of films will be difficult not to view in sexual terms, but after your 4+ hour movie binge you'll understand the early 80s a lot better.

Classic Early 80s Horror

!. The Hunger

Not a big fan of the vampire genre, but this is probably the best vampire movie I've ever seen.  Tony Scott (brother of Ridley) directed this three years before Top Gun, and his frenetic style was well-suited to the story.  David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve (!) and Susan Sarandon starred.  Like Flashdance (see below) it's at times more music video than movie, and I half-expected Bowie to start singing "Let's Dance" during the opening credits.

Fun Fact #1: The last scene of this movie was added at the studios' insistence.  They were hoping for a hit, and Scott's original ending precluded the possibility of sequels.

Fun Fact #2: Susan Sarandon's ex-husband, Chris Sarandon, would appear as the villain in Fright Night two years later.

Some Good Ones

1. A Night in Heaven

Christopher Atkins (the guy from The Blue Lagoon) stars as a male stripper, with Lesley Ann Warren as a college professor in a troubled marriage.  Critics were not fond of this one, but I thought it was alright.  Sure, it meanders a bit, but it's not THAT bad.  It was directed by John G. Avildsen, the guy who did the first Rocky and the underrated Save the Tiger.

Fun Fact: Andy Garcia is in this movie.  It was his third.

2. Angst

German movie about a psychopath's weekend on the town after his release from prison.  It reminded me of a lot of movies: American Psycho, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and especially the 2012 Maniac remake.  The camerawork is experimental, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

3. The Day After

Nuclear holocaust comes to the Midwest.  The most famous people in it are probably Jason Robards, John Lithgow and Steve Guttenberg, who'd done Diner the year before, and who would do the first Police Academy the year after.  It was a made-for-TV production, but it's very well written and leads to a satisfying conclusion.

I think people nowadays forget what an omnipresent threat the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal was in the early 80s.  I can definitely remember it keeping me awake at night.  I suppose that in 2019 many of us worry more about terrorists or the ascendant Chinese, but back then we were more worried about the Soviets spoiling our party.

Heavy Metal Thunder: At the 55 minute mark mute the movie and put on Slayer's "Raining Blood."  I think you'll like the results.

4. Flashdance

Part extended music video, part feminine version of Rocky, part movie without an appreciable plot, Flashdance definitely hasn't aged as well as some of the other films in this entry.  You can tell they were trying their damnedest to work every damn "hit" they possibly could into the soundtrack, and the result seems incredibly forced at times.

But oh God Jennifer Beals is beautiful in this movie.  "Radiant" is the word.  She carries this entire movie on that fact alone.

Fun Fact #1: Director Adrian Lyne would go on to direct 9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, and Jacob's Ladder.  His years in the spotlight would end with 1993's Indecent Proposal, which was also reviewed here recently.

Fun Fact #2: Adrian Lyne was only offered the job of director after David Cronenberg (of all people) turned it down.  This was around the time he directed both Videodrome and The Dead Zone.

Fun Fact #3: Gene Simmons (of all people) was initially offered the role of Jennifer Beals' love interest.  Kevin Costner was also almost cast for the part.

5. Educating Rita

Michael Caine stars as a world-weary professor tutoring a lower class student.  The synth soundtrack is a bit overbearing at times, but it's well acted and well thought-out.

6. Silkwood

Meryl Streep stars as Karen Silkwood, union activist and worker in a plant that produces nuclear fuel rods.  The first half is excellent, but the second half gets bogged down in Karen Silkwood's backstory.  I think it deserved the attention it got from the Academy that year, but in my opinion 1979's Norma Rae covered similar ground much better.

7. Rumble Fish

A young man confronts the return of his older, self-destructive brother.  This is probably the most experimental of Francis Ford Coppola's films, and like Coppola's The Outsiders it was adapted from a novel by S.E. Hinton.  The Matt Dillon-led cast includes Mickey Rourke, Nicolas Cage, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Chris Penn and even Laurence Fishburne.  It's SLOW, but if you're in the right mood you'll like it.

Fun Fact: You might wonder what Nicolas Cage, at that time relatively unknown, was doing in a movie this big.  It may have helped his cause that he's Francis Ford Coppola's nephew.  The director's relationship with Cage's father, August Coppola, was also to some extent the inspiration for this movie.

Not Bad But Completely Forgettable

1. Valley Girl

A Hollywood boy (Nicolas Cage) falls in love with a girl from the valley.  You can probably guess how it ends.  There isn't much of a story to this one, but if you're a fan of 80s trivia you'll love it.  The soundtrack, the clothes, right down to the way people talk.  

"Techno Rock."  Was that really a thing?  Was it the same as New Wave?

Good?  Bad?  Can't Decide!

1. Project A

On the one hand it's great to see Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao in their prime, on the other hand I had a lot of trouble following the plot.  Something about catching pirates?  And Jackie Chan is in the navy, but then he's a cop?  And... grenades?

Some Bad Ones

1. Eddie and the Cruisers

Good time rock n' roll.  Except I hate good time rock n' roll.  To me good time rock n' roll sounds like repression, like everything the later 60s bands were rebelling against.  I know there's this tendency to wax nostalgic over car hops, greasers, and teenyboppers, but I think that if I'd been alive back then I would have preferred folk music or jazz.  Anything except good time rock n' roll.

So anyway, there's this band, Eddie and the Cruisers, and then Eddie dies or commits suicide.  Years later some reporter comes to the conclusion that Eddie faked his own death, and then there's some nonsense about a lost album that everyone's trying to track down.  Tom Berenger's in it, and also Ellen Barkin, and Michael Pare, but I had a difficult time caring about the lost album, or the reporter's story, or whether Eddie was still alive or not.  I'm fairly certain this movie has a cult following it doesn't deserve.

Fun Fact: Michael Pare would go on to tread similar waters in Streets of Fire, which was released the following year.

2. Psycho II

The sequel no one expected and nobody really wanted.  It even has the audacity to use the famous shower scene from the original.  This movie doesn't make a lot of sense from the outset, with several members of Norman Bates' community somehow unaware of what he's done, the proximity of his hotel to where they live, and the fact that he's just been released from a psychiatric facility.  If you've lived in any small town, you'll know that the people there would have been talking about this for decades.

This said, of course when you rip off Hitchcock you're ripping off the best.  The Australian guy who directed Psycho II clearly had a lot of love for the original, but when your meticulously constructed plot revolves around the implausible stupidity of one character (in this case the character played by Meg Tilly), then it doesn't matter how carefully you've avoided plot holes.

Low Budget Horror Goodness

1. Xtro

Gotta love that old New Line Cinema logo.  A whole lotta memories there.

The director of this movie, Harry Bromley Davenport, was apparently going for the John Carpenter triple crown.  He directed, wrote much of the screenplay, and also performed the soundtrack.  Does he succeed in classic John Carpenter fashion?  Nope, but there's more than enough going on to keep this movie interesting.

Oh, and by the way it's British.  An alien invades your average British family, gore ensues, and by the end you're still not quite sure what was going on.  What's more the director has - for whatever reason - a lifelong dedication to the concepts laid out in Xtro, and it's possible that one day we'll see an Xtro 4 - more than four decades after the original.

Fun Fact #1: Former Bond girl Maryam D'Abo appeared in this six years before The Living Daylights.  She has several nude scenes throughout the movie.

Suggestion: If you like this one you'll probably also like David Cronenberg's The Brood, which came out four years previous.  The two films have a lot in common.

So Bad Everyone Should See It

1. Deathstalker

Boobies & Swords & Sorcery.  Roger Corman produced this first of four movies about a dude and his ridiculously long sword.  It was filmed in Argentina and also features a lot of... puppetry?  Former Playboy model Barbi Benton appears as the princess, with some dude who doesn't even have his own Wikipedia entry as the Deathstalker.  It's wonderfully awful from start to finish.

Related Entries:

Superhero Movies From October 2018 Onward (7)
Some Other Movies From 1985
Some Other Movies From 1987
Some Other Movies From 1989

2019年6月8日 星期六

Superhero Movies From October 2018 Onward (7)

For reviews of older superhero movies click here and here.  It felt like time to get rid of the "baggage" those older entries carried, so I'm starting again from October 2018's Venom.

Oh and by the way, I think I'll stop reviewing these movies as a separate genre at the end of 2020.  Endgame has come and gone, the MCU is now an established brand, and to be honest I think most of the best superhero movies are behind us.  2020 seems like a good time to move on to movies as a whole, rather than focusing so much on whatever Marvel Studios, Warner Bros., or Sony are putting out.

Superhero Moves On The Way

Morbius, the Living Vampire (Taiwan Release Date Unknown, July 31, 2020 in the States)

Wonder Woman 1984 (Taiwan Release Date Unknown, June 5, 2020 in the States)

The New Mutants (Taiwan Release Date Unknown, April 3, 2020 in the States)

Birds of Prey (Taiwan Release Date Unknown, February 7, 2020 in the States)

Joker (Comes Out in Taiwan October 3, 2019)

Spider-Man: Far From Home (Comes Out in Taiwan July 3, 2019)

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Got bored and saw it the other day.  It was blazing hot outside, and there wasn't much else to do.

What I Liked: For one thing it wasn't nearly as bad as some of the reviews would lead you to believe.  It's definitely NOT great, but if you were able to sit through Apocalypse you'll be able to sit through this one.  It's actually not bad up until Jean visits the house, though after that point...

What I Didn't Like: At times this movie just doesn't make sense.  WHY do the cops show up after Jean visits that house?  And WHY do the two mutant factions fight in New York?  And WHY do the aliens insist on boarding the train from the other end, when they're clearly walking all along its length, thus making it incredibly easy for the X-Men to fight them off?  

To make things worse, Sophie Turner really can't carry a movie.  Watching her interact with some of the other, more talented cast members is truly cringeworthy.  As bad as this movie is, it's still better than X3, and yet I found myself missing Famke Janssen throughout the film.

Most inexplicable of all is Magneto.  First he says revenge is wrong and that he's given up on it.  Then someone gets killed and he's all about revenge again.  Then he learns about the Phoenix Force and he's all about saving Jean.  This, and that magnetism/telekinesis battle between him and Jean is the most unintentionally hilarious thing I've seen in a long time.

Future/Sequels: As far as anyone knows, The New Mutants is still coming out next year.  After that it'll be a long wait before we see Marvel Studios' take on the same set of characters.

Avengers: Endgame

What I Liked: Everything.  This movie is awesome from beginning to end.

What I Didn't Like: Only two (very small) complaints: 1) Bruce and Nebula's explanation for their "heist" probably isn't going to satisfy anyone who bothers to think it through, and 2) the part at the end where all the "Marvel superheroines" line up and go into battle seems a bit too much like checking off an item on a checklist.

Future/Sequels: The next MCU offering is Spider-Man: Far From Home later this summer.  No other films have been given a release date as yet.  I think it's fair to say that Marvel will make a big announcement soon.


Wasn't interested.  I suppose I'll download it at some point.  Not in any hurry though.


What I Liked: Zachary Levi and Asher Angel are both examples of great casting, the story is well thought out, and the battle at the end takes some interesting twists and turns.  I consider Shazam! a vast improvement over Aquaman, which was trying to do too much in too short a time, and also Captain Marvel, which was in my opinion one hot mess of a movie.  Shazam! is much smaller-scale compared to those other two films, but its smallness works to its advantage.  It's very focused and to the point.

Mark Strong, who was wasted on Martin Campbell's Green Lantern, has much more to do in Shazam!  Even if his reasons for being "evil" aren't that well thought out, he's still a good (bad) villain.

What I Didn't Like: The battle at the end goes on a bit too long.  I think shortening it would have made for a better movie.  The introduction of the rest of the Marvel Family feels a bit rushed, even if it was gratifying to see them onscreen together.

Future/Sequels: No definite plans for any sequels as yet, but one of Shazam's other villains is introduced in a post-credits scene.  It's early to say, but I think this movie will be well received and I'd be surprised if a sequel isn't announced soon.

Captain Marvel

What I Liked: There's a part about halfway through, when Carol Danvers is reunited with an old friend.  In that part you can see Brie Larson's skill as an actress.

The fight on the spaceship near the end is oddly satisfying, but some of my satisfaction may have to do with 90s soundtrack, and the fact that I was a much younger guy when those songs were everywhere.  Nostalgia, in other words.

What I Didn't Like: Going back to the comic books, I never found Carol Danvers especially interesting, and this movie did nothing to change my mind.  Really, what is her reason for doing anything in this film?  At what point does her character change or make any real kind of discovery?

She's also so much more powerful than anyone she comes up against in this movie.  There's no sense of threat when "danger" strikes.  Jude Law?  Nope.  The Skrulls?  Not really.  Ronan the Accuser?  Their confrontation is a non-event.

I've also got to say, the explanation given for Nick Fury losing his eye really bothered me.  It's always seemed like this event should be of crucial importance, but in the movie it's explained in such an offhand manner.  The randomness of this explanation diminished the entire film.

Future/Sequels: Strap yourself in because Avengers: Endgame is less than two months away.  After Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home Marvel has announced no other films, though if Captain Marvel does well I'm sure we'll see a sequel.  I've heard a lot of talk about an Eternals movie, but we'll see.

I think what's going to make or break a Captain Marvel sequel is the Asian market, especially China.  If it goes over big in Beijing and Shanghai (as Aquaman did) you can be sure there will be another one.  If, however, this movie fails to find an audience in such places, I imagine Kevin Feige will start vaguely alluding to "future adventures" without making any real commitment.

Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Does this one count?  Batman and the Justice League are in it.  It also features the newer and older versions of Aquaman.

What I Liked: It's a funny movie, though not as good as the first.  This said, it's not nearly as hyper as the first one, which might be a relief for those who found the first film slightly overwhelming.

What I Didn't Like: It does drag a bit toward the end.  It's weird to say, but I found myself having to really concentrate on Lego Movie 2.  There are SO many references, to so many things, that after the first hour my brain got tired.  

Future/Sequels: There might be a sequel to the Lego Batman movie, though there's no release date as yet.  There might also be The Billion Brick Race.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

What I Liked: Everything.  In my opinion this movie's awesome from start to finish.  The characters, the plot, the animation, the soundtrack, all of it's great.  I suppose it depends on how it does financially, but Spider-Verse could be a real game-changer for CBMs.

For me the best part of the film was the Bill Sienkiewicz-inspired sequence halfway through.  I've been a huge fan of that guy for years, and seeing his art animated almost brought tears to my eyes.  That version of the Kingpin?  That's all Bill Sienkiewicz.

What I Didn't Like: Small complaint: no Spider-Woman.  I've always liked Spider-Woman more than Spider-Man, and it would've been wonderful to see Jessica Drew (finally) show up in this movie.

Future/Sequels: There's talk that Spider-Woman could feature in the sequel alongside Spider-Gwen and Silk, but such plans are tentative of course.  It's entirely possible that a sequel would feature Spider-Man 2099 instead.


What I Liked: Atlantis looks cool.  Amber Heard is easy on the eyes.  The battle in the end - aside from a ridiculous pause in the action for a predictably romantic moment - looks amazing.

What I Didn't Like: Weird moments of exposition.  Instead of showing the audience what's happening/has happened, the characters in this movie often feel the need to stop whatever they're doing and explain things.  The only part of this movie where the action flows seamlessly is when Aquaman and Black Manta have their big showdown halfway through.

The part in the beginning about Aquaman's parents could have been removed entirely.  It adds absolutely nothing to the story, and starting the movie from the adult Aquaman's first appearance would have made a lot more sense.

This movie gets dumber as it goes along.  By the end I was laughing at certain scenes and bits of dialogue, and I wasn't the only one.  And before someone chimes in with "at least it doesn't take itself so seriously," let's remember there's a difference between laughing WITH a movie and laughing AT a movie.

The small ray of hope being that it's not as terrible as Justice League.  Not that this is saying much.

Future/SequelsShazam!, also set in the DCEU, will be out in a few months.  After that it's a long wait until Wonder Woman 1984.  Aquaman 2?  It's kind of early to tell, but the movie's been doing well in China, and those wanting a completely brainless superhero romp will be all over this one.


What I Liked: After a really clunky beginning there are some great action sequences.  Everything after Venom shows up is much better than the 15 minutes that try (and fail) to set up the story.  The fight between Venom and Riot near the end is very good.

What I Didn't Like: That beginning part.  It feels like they weren't sure what kind of movie they were making.  Horror?  Action?  Science fiction?  Going more for the "body horror" elements would have improved the film, and the spaceship/alien invasion subplot could have been dispensed with altogether.

As clunky as the beginning is, the dialogue throughout the movie is by far the worst part.  None of the actors seem at ease with what they're saying, and a couple of lines are unintentionally hilarious.

Future/Sequels: There are plans for a sequel with Woody Harrelson's Carnage in a bigger role.  I think that after setting up the general premise, a sequel is bound to be better.  Harrelson would also make a great villain.  Last I heard, Sony's next comic-based movie will be Morbius the Living Vampire, with Jared Leto as Morbius.  There may be some crossover between Venom and Morbius.

Related Entries:

Some Other Movies From 1985
Some Other Movies From 1987
Some Other Movies From 1989
The Other Movie Oscars: The 1990s

2019年6月3日 星期一

Some Other Movies From 1985

I turned ten years old in 1985.  I lived for arcade games, action figures, Japanese robots, cartoons, pizza, frosties at the local Wendy's, comic books, and who can remember what else.  Everyone I knew was happy... at least until we all grew up and started to overanalyze things.

Oh, and a word on this year and those even further back.  I think that as you go back to the pre-Internet days you'll find online movie reviews less and less reliable.  I've noticed this with the 80s.  The reviews you see on sites like Rotten Tomatoes or Wikipedia are often written by a generation of people who wouldn't have been able to see these movies in the theater, or view them with the kind of context those of us in our 40s have.  I'm not saying my opinions on these movies are "more correct," but there is a lot to be said for a knowledge of trends and daily life during that time.

This said, the top 5 movies of 1985 were Back to the Future, Rambo: First Blood Part II (possibly the most 80s movie ever), Rocky IV, The Color Purple and Out of Africa.  As you can see, it was a HUGE year for Stallone.

Out of Africa, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Cocoon and Prizzi's Honor were hits with the critics.  I'm not a huge fan of any of these movies, and I think Prizzi's Honor has aged especially badly.

Other good movies of 1985 were Brazil, Day of the Dead, Fright Night, The Last Dragon, Legend, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Mask, Pale Rider, Police Story, Ran, Re-Animator, To Live and Die in L.A., Weird Science and Witness.

Worst movie?  It's hard to say.  1985 was a long time ago, and I worry that I'm either forgetting a really terrible film or thinking that a terrible film was actually good because I was ten at the time and didn't know any better.  Just the same, I think Year of the Dragon was quite terrible, in that it caused me to reassess my feelings about both Michael Cimino and Mickey Rourke.

An Overlooked Gem

1. Runaway Train

Prison escape movie featuring Jon Voight and Eric Roberts.  Parts of the beginning look very low-budget, but after the train picks up stream (both literally and figuratively) it's excellent.  Jon Voight has been great in a lot of movies, and this might be my favorite of his many performances.

Fun Fact: Akira Kurosawa wrote the original screenplay, but was unable to line up financing for the film in Japan.

Some Good Ones

1. Clue

Murder mystery based on the board game.  I'm not a fan of this type of movie (they usually seem contrived), but a lot of thought was put into it and it doesn't take itself too seriously.  Tim Curry, Martin Mull, Eileen Brennan and many others star.

Fun Fact: A remake of this movie, starring Ryan Reynolds, is being discussed.

2. When Father Was Away On Business

Yugoslavian movie about life under Tito's regime.  It's very long, and certain parts are slow going, but if you break it into two sittings you'll probably like it.

Fun (?) Fact: After Tito's death in 1980 Yugoslavia experienced a steady decline, ending in its dissolution in 1992.  The "former Yugoslavia" is now more often referred to as the independent nations of Serbia and Montenegro.

3. The Breakfast Club

Yeah, I'd seen it already, but it was so long ago I couldn't remember anything about it.  I suppose you could call it John Hughes' Big Statement About High School, and how every high school kid is more than the role assigned to him or her by peers.  But then again we all figure that out anyway, given time.  This aside, The Breakfast Club is still a very watchable movie, even if it's a little obvious and less than believable.

Fun Fact: Robin Wright, Laura Dern and Jodie Foster were almost cast in Ally Sheedy's role.  Nicolas Cage and John Cusack were almost cast in Judd Nelson's role.

4. Sweet Dreams

Jessica Lange stars as Patsy Cline, with Ed Harris as her husband.  It's a movie that knows both its characters and what makes them interesting.  It also has A LOT in common with the earlier Coal Miner's Daughter, even beyond the fact that Patsy Cline appears in both movies.

Fun Fact: John Goodman's in this.  It was one of his earliest movies.

5. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (the fifth one)

Corey Feldman!  The same year he played Mouth in The Goonies!  He's only in this one for a few minutes, at the very beginning.

This installment in the long-running franchise is a surprisingly well photographed, well directed movie with enough "Is he?  Isn't he?" to keep the plot humming along up until the end.  I have no idea what Jason fans think of it, but in my opinion it's good.  Not great, mind you, but good.

6. Spies Like Us

John Landis directed Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd in this story of two lower-level intelligence agents tricked into working as decoys.  I'd seen it back in the day, but during a recent rewatch I was surprised by how funny it still is.  Sure, Chevy Chase does a lot of the same old gags, but this movie hits all the right notes regardless.  Critics at the time derided its lack of character development, but I think they were taking it way too seriously.

Fun Fact: One of the doctors in the tent is director Terry Gilliam.  If you look close you can also see Sam Raimi as a security guard.

A Rough Watch, But Worth It

1. Come and See

Russian film about Nazi atrocities in Belarus.  It gets DARK, but if you're in the right mood it's an excellent movie.  I'd heard about this one in a YouTube video on "disturbing movies," and I'd have to agree that yes, it's very disturbing.

Some Bad Ones

1. Creature

Low budget Alien(s) ripoff.  Klaus Kinski (!) shows up about halfway through.  There's a sprinkling of nudity and gore, but not enough to make it interesting.

Fun Fact: This movie is now in the public domain, so download away!

2. Krush Groove

The weirdest thing about this movie is that they somehow work a Sbarro commercial into the last fourth.  Aside from that, Run-D.M.C., Sheila E., Kurtis Blow and the Fat Boys do a lot of... whatever it is they were famous for doing.  Blair Underwood does his best to keep this story of a record label dramatic, but the script wasn't doing anyone any favors.  According to Wikipedia, Krush Groove is really the story of Def Jam Recordings, but that little factoid doesn't make the movie any better.

3. My Beautiful Laundrette

An ambitious young man tries to rise within London's Pakistani community with the help of his non-Pakistani boyfriend.  None of the characters are particularly interesting, and you can tell that director Stephen Frears was still finding his way at that early stage in his career.  I get why both Frears and Daniel Day-Lewis scored a hit with this in the mid 80s, but it hasn't aged well.

Cheddary Goodness

1. American Ninja

Michael "the Dude" Dudikoff stars as an American G.I. trained in the ancient art of ninjutsu.  He spends a lot of time sulking around, and occasionally doing ninja stuff like deflecting arrows and kicking people in the face.  It helps his cause that the evil ninjas pursuing him are all dumb as a bag of rocks.

Lest we forget, ninjas were HUGE in the 80s.  1985 was the same year that Sho Kosugi's Pray for Death hit theaters.

2. Death Wish 3

Charles Bronson does his vigilante thing (again) in New York.  It features wall-to-wall bad acting, and bad guys that can't aim for shit.  Don't bother questioning the police captain's morals; it'll give you a headache.

Fun Fact #1: Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page's soundtrack for Death Wish II was reused for this movie.

Fun Fact #2: Both Alex Winter (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) and Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation) are in this movie.  Sirtis, as it so happens, is raped to death by a group of thugs.

3. Red Sonja

Part Conan the Destroyer 2.0, part vehicle for Sylvester Stallone's then-girlfriend, Red Sonja owes more to the Marvel Comics character than the Robert E. Howard stories.  The director, Richard Fleischer, helmed a lot of important films in the 60s and 70s, but by the 80s his glory days were long behind him.

Fun Fact #1: The actress that plays the villain in this movie, Sandahl Bergman, was originally offered the lead.  She played Arnold Schwarzenegger's love interest in Conan the Barbarian, and also featured in (the excellent) All That Jazz.

Fun Fact #2: Ernie Reyes Jr., who plays Prince Tarn, was also the star of 1993's Surf Ninjas.


1. New Wave Hookers

Traci Lords is in this.  I was always intrigued by her, though this is the first of her movies I've seen.  I THINK she was of legal age at the time.  I'm not sure.

But yeah, it's porn.  Various people bang each other in various ways.  It's the 80s, so the guys haven't discovered electrolysis yet.  And the breast implants aren't as overwhelming as what you'd see in the 90s.  Above all it's GRAINY.  It would take serious willpower to beat off to something like this, but then again it was the 80s and no one had a choice.

Related Entries:

Some Other Movies From 1987
Some Other Movies From 1989
The Other Movie Oscars: The 1990s
Some Other Movies From 1991

2019年5月23日 星期四

Some Other Movies From 1987

In 1987 I was in the sixth grade and on my way to the seventh.  I remember that time fondly.  I have many good memories of riding my bike around the Seattle suburbs, and of getting into various forms of trouble with my friends.

The top 5 movies for 1987 were Beverly Hills Cop II, Platoon, Fatal Attraction, The Untouchables and Three Men and a Baby.  Even as a kid I failed to understand the popularity of the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, and I'm sure I'd have a lot of trouble sitting through Three Men and a Baby today.  The other three blockbusters of 1987 were all good.

Aside from Platoon, which actually didn't win any of the big awards that year, other critical favorites of 1987 were The Last Emperor, Wall Street, Moonstruck and Good Morning, Vietnam.  These are all still great movies that have stood the test of time.

Other good movies of 1987 included Angel Heart, Evil Dead II, Raising Arizona, Predator, Spaceballs, Innerspace, Full Metal Jacket, Robocop, Hamburger Hill, The Princess Bride, Prince of Darkness, The Running Man, Eddie Murphy's Raw and Empire of the Sun.  In terms of overall quality, I think the movies of that year were above average.

For worst movie I declare a tie between Masters of the Universe and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.  The former came out too late for its intended audience, and the latter was something nobody ever wanted.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: British Edition

1. Withnail and I

"Why trust one drug and not the other?  That's politics, innit?"

Occasionally you see movies that are such perfect inversions of other movies that you wonder whether or not the directors/producers of the more recent movie weren't aware of the other, earlier movie that their later movie seems to reflect.  In Withnail and I, two British guys suffer through a shared weekend, all the while unconsciously exploring the boundaries of their shared relationship.  In many ways this movie perfectly inverts Hunter S. Thompson's book (and possibly also the Bill Murray adaptation), all the while remaining essentially British, and also without apologizing for that fact.  If you ever want to see Acting with a capital "A," I highly recommend Richard A. Grant as seen in this movie.

Gay, but Not Hitting You Over the Head with It

1. Maurice

Homoeroticism in the English upper class.  Hugh Grant and James Wilby star in this Merchant Ivory production.  In this present age of CGI and spectacle I rather enjoy a good Merchant Ivory film.  Indeed, I do.

Fun Fact: both Julian Sands (remember him?) and John Malkovich almost secured the two leads in this movie.

Some Good Ones

1. Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children)

French movie about life in a boarding school during World War II.  The director, Louis Malle, also directed Atlantic City, a movie that I enjoyed very much.  If you've already seen and enjoyed Malle's American films, this one is worth seeking out.

2. Barfly

Mickey Rourke stars as an alcoholic working his way through another bender.  Charles Bukowski wrote the screenplay, and it's fairly autobiographical.  I liked it, but it didn't blow me away or anything.  Leaving Las Vegas covered similar territory much better.

Fun Fact: Frank Stallone, brother of Sylvester Stallone, plays one of the bartenders in this movie.

3. Batteries Not Included

"This is the 80s, Mason!  Nobody likes reality anymore!"

Seeing Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy together brought back memories of Cocoon, another movie in which they appeared together.  In this one they star as two residents of a derelict apartment building saved by tiny robotic aliens.  It's not awesome, but it's very watchable in that early 80s Spielberg/Amblin kind of way.

Fun Fact: When the residents run into Times Square you can see an advertisement for David Cronenberg's The Fly above the theater.

4. Hollywood Shuffle

I doubt few would argue that 1993's Meteor Man wasn't a dud, but Robert Townsend is much, much better in Hollywood Shuffle.  In this movie he basically plays himself: a black man trying to climb his way up through the Hollywood hierarchy.  It's a very good film that isn't afraid to look at the contradictions inherent in being an aspiring minority actor in Tinseltown.  I only wish Meteor Man had been as adventurous.

Fun Fact: A lot of the Living Color/I'm Gonna Git You Sucka crowd are in this too.  Keenan Ivory Wayans co-wrote the screenplay.

5. Wall Street

If you want to know exactly what kind of world Donald Trump comes from this movie's for you.  This, and to a lesser extent American Psycho.  Narcissism, my friend.  It's all about narcissism.  Or "greed is good," as the movie says.

And whatever happened to Charlie Sheen?  Stop, stop, I know the answer to that question, but really - what happened?  By the late 80s he was sitting on top of the world, right up there with the best of 'em.

Wall Street is a rock solid film from back when Oliver Stone was much more relevant.  Both Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas are at the top of their game in this one, ruining lives with a phone call and always hungry for more.  This movie has also aged very well, given that its subject matter - the relative goodness or badness of greed - is always going to be present in our lives to some extent.  It asks a lot of hard questions and doesn't answer all of them.  I like that.

Fun Fact: the realtor's "Sean and Madonna" comment is a reference to Sean Penn and Madonna, who were married and living in New York at the time.  Sean Penn and Charlie Sheen were also both students at Santa Monica High School, where they made short films together.

6. Some Kind of Wonderful

John Hughes wrote and produced, Lea Thompson is in it, late 80s - so you know what time it is.  It's also the usual love triangle/quadrangle sort of thing.  So yeah it's predictable, but everyone involved in it is so good you'll probably like it anyway.

Fun Fact: Tommy Lee's ex-wife Pamela Anderson is in this movie... somewhere.

7. The Believers

I guess when Martin Sheen wasn't filming his scenes for Wall Street he was doing this.  In The Believers he plays a therapist who crosses paths with a group of Santeria practitioners.  I'm not sure if I'd call this a horror movie; it's more like a thriller.  Whatever it is, it's well paced and is much better than most of the other "horror" movies from that year.

Her Vagina Has Teeth.  Really.

1. Wicked City

Anime concerning a world where humans and demons coexist.  The animation is primitive, but this one gets weird enough to be interesting.  In some ways it's not as explicit as you might think, but there's plenty of weird sex involving weird creatures.

Fun Fact: There was a live-action Hong Kong remake of this movie in 1992.  I doubt any fanged vaginas were to be found in the remake.

Some Bad Ones

1. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II

The ghost of prom's past returns to regain her crown.  It would be decent if it had more sex and more violence.  As it is, it borrows heavily from a number of other, better horror movies without offering the same kind of payoff.

Fun Fact: There were four films in the original Prom Night series, with a reboot of the first film in 2008.

2. Escape from Sobibor

Good times in a Nazi concentration camp.  Alan Arkin stars in this British made-for-TV movie, with Rutger Hauer costarring.  It starts out well, but after the big reveal involving the ovens this movie just crawls by.  Schindler's List it most definitely isn't.

3. Less Than Zero

So some guy pukes into a bucket and then a toilet for half a night.  Big deal.  That was one of my friend's twenty-first birthday party.  I've been there, and it's definitely NOT the worst that things can get.

The trouble with this movie is that if you're going to call a movie "Less Than Zero" then someone has to hit BOTTOM, and I mean a real low point, like the characters in the novel do.  As it is there's an unspoken morality at play here, rather than the nihilism present in Ellis' book.  Robert Downey Jr. gives it his all, but there's something missing from the beginning, and that something is the courage to go all the way into the rabbit hole, to a point where general audiences don't usually venture.

Fun Fact #1: Brad Pitt, Anthony Kiedis and Flea are all in this movie for a few seconds.

Fun Fact #2: Robert Downey Jr. and James Spader would later appear together (sort of) in Avengers: Age of Ultron, in 2015.  Spader and Andrew McCarthy, Downey Jr.'s costar in Less Than Zero, also appeared together in the hit movie Mannequin, also in 1987.

4. The Hidden

This one is pretty dumb.  Kyle MacLachlan stars as an FBI agent (sort of), with some other guy as his partner.  They chase an alien around in the most half-assed manner, and in the end - surprise! - the alien dies.  This movie has quite a cult following, but I'm just not seeing it.

5. The Red Spectacles

Arty Japanese movie about... I have no idea what.  All I know is it's set in the late 90s, and there's a guy who skulks around in a trench coat.  I got about 1/4 of the way through it and had to pull the plug.

Cheesy but in a Good Way

1. Steel Dawn

Patrick Swayze engages in swordplay with a dude who looks like he could be the bass player for Manowar.  Don't ask me about the plot.  I couldn't really tell you what's going on there.

Question: Was it necessary to travel all the way to Tunisia to film this?  Why not just do it in Death Valley?  I suspect money laundering!


1. Nuts

Barbra Streisand stars as a woman accused of murder, with Richard Dreyfuss as the lawyer charged with her defense.  It's a fairly by the numbers courtroom drama, and even though the details are convincing I'm just not buying Streisand as a high class prostitute.  I really have no idea why someone thought she could carry this film.

Related Entries:

Some Other Movies From 1989
The Other Movie Oscars: The 1990s
Some Other Movies From 1991
Superhero Movies from October 2018 Onward (6)

2019年5月14日 星期二

Some Other Movies From 1989

Back in the 80s!  I'm getting there...

As of this entry, I've watched about 510 movies.  Not sure how many hours that would be, but movies after 2000 tend to be 2 hours long, while movies before that year are usually 1.5 hours long.  Even if they were all 1.5 hours long, that would still be about 765 hours, or 32 days.  A month of movies - at least.

And what was I doing in 1989?  Well, half that year would have been my last semester of middle school, and the other half would have been my freshman year of high school.  Imagine if you will a shy, retiring kid with thick glasses.  He's obsessed with comic books and horror movies, and he doesn't know how to talk to girls.  He has friends, yes, but he spends way too much time playing video games and feeling alienated.  That kid you're imagining is me.

The top 5 movies of 1989 were Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman, Back to the Future Part II, Look Who's Talking (remember those?), and Dead Poets Society.  I always assumed that Batman was the biggest movie that year, but apparently Last Crusade somehow galloped to first place.  Of these movies I think Dead Poets Society is my favorite, and it's also one of Robin Williams' best films.

Some critical favorites of that year were Born on the Fourth of July, Driving Miss Daisy, the above-mentioned Dead Poets Society, The Fabulous Baker Boys and My Left Foot.  I still like all of these movies, though I think The Fabulous Baker Boys was a bit overrated.

Other good movies of 1989 were Lean On Me, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Leviathan, Heathers, Pet Sematary, Great Balls of Fire!, The Abyss, Casualties of War, Black Rain, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Tango and Cash.  My favorite of these is definitely The Abyss, which was definitely the best action /science fiction movie of that year.

1989 was also a big year for horror movie sequels.  This year saw the release of The Fly II, The Toxic Avenger Part II, Fright Night Part 2, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.  The most horrifying of these horror sequels, Police Academy 6: City Under Seige was, sadly, a critical and commercial flop.

My least favorite film of 1989 was definitely Dream a Little Dream, another Corey Haim/Corey Feldman production.  Even in 1989 Feldman's Michael Jackson impersonations were tired, and for both actors it was all downhill from there.

A Great One

1. My Left Foot

If you dropped Daniel Day-Lewis in some incredibly remote location and said "ACT your way back to civilization!" he could do it.  He would.  He'd probably even get there before you did.  You'd find him sitting in the local bar with a big smile on his face.

In My Left Foot he plays an artist with cerebral palsy.  He chews the scenery throughout, and one can only wonder how someone can have so many decades' worth of great performances in them.  He won the first of his three Oscars for Best Actor with this film, and the director of this movie, Jim Sheridan, is no slouch either.

Some Good Ones

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

In terms of practical visual effects, this is one of the most inventive movies I've ever seen.  In terms of creating tension, this movie fails miserably.  It was of course the fifth one, and by 1989 people were getting tired of Freddy, but given that this is the fifth entry in the franchise it's better than it has any right to be.

If you ask me, I think what this film series needed was a larger, more coherent mythos for Freddy to inhabit.  It's kind of the opposite problem from what hamstrings the Hellraiser movies, which have a great mythos but lack a single compelling character.  Combining the two franchises might have been a more interesting than simply crossing over the Nightmare on Elm Street movies with the Friday the 13th movies in Jason Vs. Freddy in 2003.

Actually, now that I think about it, the Friday the 13th franchise was already crossed over with the Evil Dead franchise in Jason Goes to Hell.  Using that as a point of entry, the Necronomicon from the Evil Dead movies could have also provided Freddy with a mythos to work from.  Of course the studio executives who greenlit Elm Street 5 into existence probably weren't thinking that hard, but maybe in the future a screenwriter and/or director with enough vision might do something like this.  Plenty of people still love Freddy, and it would be worth attempting.

Fun Fact: You might want to go back and watch A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.  There's "a frequent debate in gay pop culture circles" as to how "gay" that movie is.  The screenwriter says its "gayness" was intentional, while others dispute this claim.

2. Fat Man and Little Boy

Roland Joffe directed this movie about the development of the atomic bomb.  Paul Newman stars as the general in charge of the project, with Dwight Schultz as Robert Oppenheimer, and John Cusack as one of the scientists working under him.  It's one of the best performances of Newman's career, and even though it's a bit melodramatic it's still a well put together movie.  Critics were not fond of it, but I think it does a good job of telling a very complicated story.

Fun Fact: If you look REAL hard Clark Gregg (a.k.a. "Agent Coulson") is somewhere in this film.

1. An Innocent Man

You just know if Tom Selleck goes to prison he's gonna get them cheeks busted.

Selleck stars as an aircraft mechanic wrongly accused of dealing drugs.  An Innocent Man features some truly bad dialogue and feels very much like a TV movie, but it gets better after Selleck goes to prison.

Fun Fact: The guy that played Jigsaw in the Saw movies is in this for a few seconds.

2. The Package

It's not exactly The French Connection, but this political thriller steadily improves after Gene Hackman arrives in the States.  Hackman stars as a military man tasked with taking a prisoner (Tommy Lee Jones) back to a court martial on the eve of a big "nuclear deal" between the U.S. and Russia.  My biggest complaint is that the military details are unconvincing.  The weapons some of the characters choose, and the portrayal of military procedure, are obviously wrong in many respects.

3. Drugstore Cowboy

Matt Dillon stars as the leader of a gang that spends most of its time robbing pharmacies and hospitals.  It's good, but given the reputation preceding this Gus Van Sant-directed movie I thought it would be a lot better.  It shares a lot of the same themes as Van Sant's later My Own Private Idaho.

4. Steel Magnolias

I suppose there's something schizophrenic in the fact that I can genuinely enjoy both A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 and Steel Magnolias, but there you go.  If you're at all familiar with Hollywood tearjerkers, you'll see how this movie sets up its sacrificial lamb early on, but the cast is great and the performances are first-rate.  Julia Roberts starred in this the year before Pretty Woman, with Sally Field, Shirley Maclaine, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis and Daryl Hannah in supporting roles.

5. Scandal

Joanne Whalley-Kilmer.  Whew.  I totally get why Val Kilmer wanted to "Kilmerize" her.  No idea what she looks like now, but back in the late 80s that woman was stunning.

In Scandal Whalley-Kilmer stars as a woman who does some swinging in early 60s London.  John Hurt costars as her confidante and erstwhile pimp.  This movie was filmed the year after Willow, when Whalley-Kilmer's career was still on the upswing.

6. Roger & Me

If you find yourself wondering why the hell Michael Moore is still famous, I suggest going back and watching Roger & Me.  It's still a great documentary about life in a small town after the local corporation has left.  Moore, with all his grandstanding and love of confrontation, has definitely rubbed me the wrong way before, but this movie offers a fairly balanced portrait of what was going on in Flint, Michigan in 1989.

One That's Either Not Very Good or Ahead of Its Time

1. Society

Opinions vary on this movie.  Critics point to the "humor," though it's debatable as to whether the humor is intentional or if it's a kind of absurdity based on metaphor.  For my part I liked it, and it's worth watching for the ending alone.  I'd like to share some details regarding the plot, but it's hard to do this without giving the ending away.  Let's just say that all is not as it seems for a high school student in Beverly Hills.  Brian Yuzna directed, and this movie is in some ways similar to the Re-Animator films he produced.

Fun Fact: the star of this movie, Billy Warlock, might be familiar as one of the lifeguards in the Baywatch TV show.

Some Bad Ones

1. Blaze

Hey it's Paul Newman again.  In this one he's playing the governor of Louisiana, a man enraptured with Blaze Starr.

And whatever happened to Lolita Davidovich?  And for that matter Robert Wuhl?  Wikipedia tells me that Davidovich and Wuhl are doing TV these days, their 80s glory days long behind them.

This movie starts out good, but the relationship between Newman and Davidovich isn't enough to sustain the whole thing.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first half hour - and Davidovich is just as beautiful as I remembered - but after that first 30 minutes this movie is dead in the water.

2. Chances Are

One of the corniest, most contrived things I've seen in a while.  Robert Downey Jr. stars in this latter day version of Heaven Can Wait, with Cybil Shepherd and Ryan O'Neal in supporting roles.  Critics liked it, but I found it excruciating.

3. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

I'm a little hazy on the geography here.  Apparently Crystal Lake was much larger than the first seven movies in this franchise suggested?  And apparently it's possible to travel from Crystal Lake to New York via boat?

The biggest problem with this movie is that it's boring.  Honestly, who gives a fuck about these high school kids and their boat trip?  Who gives a shit about their personal dramas?  People watch the Friday the 13th movies to watch these people get fucked and killed, and in this film there's precious little of that.

And the soundtrack - straight from the darkest heart of the 80s.  It really kills the horror vibe.  Not sure what they were thinking there, but maybe someone owed someone else a favor.

Fun Fact #1: Kelly Hu, who played Lady Deathstrike in the second X-Men movie, is also in this film.  This was her first movie.

Fun Fact #2: According to this movie, the sewers of New York flood with toxic waste every night.  Who knew?

4. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Mostly a lot of screaming and running around.  There's a little girl with some kind of psychic link to Michael Myers, but no one listens to her because she's a little girl and she's mute for most of the movie.  Then there's Donald Pleasence, who no one listens to either because he's a crazy old man who likes endangering children.  Everyone else in this movie?  They die in predictable ways.

So Bad It's Good

1. No Holds Barred

Long before Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was starring in blockbusters, WWF superstars like Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan were trying to parlay their superstardom into movie careers.  I think Roddy Piper had a ton more onscreen charisma than Hogan, but you can't fault Hogan for trying.

In No Holds Barred Hogan stars as a wrestler courted by a big television network.  It was 89, so even though Hulkamania was on the wane Hogan was still a household name.  It made sense for "Shane Productions" (i.e. the WWF) to cast him as the lead in their first movie.

The strangest thing about this movie isn't Hogan's dialogue or the ridiculous action scenes (one in which Hogan takes on an armed robber with... pies), but rather the extreme behavior of the television executive who wants Hogan for his show.  Between The Emperor from the Star Wars films and this guy, I'm not sure who's more EVIL.

Related Entries:

The Other Movie Oscars: The 1990s
Some Other Movies From 1991
Superhero Movies From October 2018 Onward (6)
Some Other Movies From 1993