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[The Vast of Night] Indeed it is! I was absolutely gobsmacked by it. Actually the more I think about this film, the higher the rating I want to give it.
Yeah, that was a phenomenal shot. I have no idea how they did that.

As I recall the film got a little disrespect when it came out, but I thought it was very well done: a nice small town feel almost in the mode of Shadow of a Doubt. A simple sci-fi film with absorbing insinuations.



Old School (2003):
Todd Phillips masterpiece. A tribute to frat comedies but with a twist. Will Ferrell became a star because do this.
9.5/10
Love seeing people give comedies high scores they absolutely deserve to be. And this is up there with the best. Drooling to give this another watch now.





Chosen Survivors, 1974

A group of drugged, disoriented people are thrown into an elevator in the middle of the desert. After a seemingly endless descent, they stumble into a strange underground chamber where a pre-recorded message informs them that the country is in the midst of some sort of nuclear fallout and they have been sequestered in a bunker for years as a way to preserve the human race. But just one night in to their nightmarish new life, things go awry.

There are two genuinely good minutes in this film, and they are the first two minutes. I know that sounds incredibly snarky, but I really loved the way that the eternal elevator descent was filmed. The characters stare at each other, uncomprehending, as the camera lolls and pitches at disorienting angles.

And then . . . sigh.

This movie feels like two entirely different horror movies that were inexplicably mashed up together. One of those films is a psychological thriller/horror about a group of people slowly going mad and turning on each other in an apocalyptic bunker. The other movie is about bats.

Yes, bats.

As the residents are *SIGH* besieged by an apparently infinite number of vampire bats, they must find a way to persevere through their interpersonal conflicts in order to survive. The movie is basically on a downhill slide after about the first 15 minutes. The whole bat thing means that the main job of the female characters is to cower and shriek until a male character comes over to do something sensible. There's an upsetting little tangent where one of the women in the bunker is raped by one of the men and it's just. . . never mentioned again? Because . . . bats? The film swings into KILLER BATS mode so quickly that there's no real chance to get to know the characters at any depth. And what starts as an interesting premise devolves into a halting creature feature. You can only imagine my disappointment when the bats
WARNING: spoilers below
failed to eat the rapist, but did eat two of the three non-white characters
.

Two good minutes out of 99 obviously aren't enough to recommend it. Richard Jaeckel's performance as an army engineer in charge of maintaining the bunker was strong, but everyone else is pretty middling.






Dirty Dancing, 1987

Despite a slew of pop culture saturated imagery and lines of dialogue, I've never had a strong interest in Dirty Dancing. I think that part of that comes from being frequently let down by the 80s comedies I'm "supposed" to enjoy (things like Sixteen Candles).

Then a few months ago I read a review of the film (HERE) that really got me interested. In particular it was this quote from the woman who wrote the film's script: "Itís a love story but itís also about honor. If you reach out your hand and behave with honor, at some point the world will turn on its axis.Ē

I am quite happy to say that the film not only lived up to my interest, it exceeded it.

Baby (Jennifer Grey) is on vacation in the early 60s with her family (including her father, played by Jerry Orbach) to an upscale resort. On the eve of heading off to college, Baby wants to change the world but lacks much real world experience. Enter Johnny (Patrick Swayze), a dance instructor at the resort. As Baby gets to know not only Johnny but several of the other staff members, she begins to rethink her understanding of the world and the people she knows.

The best decision that the film makes is in choosing a single compelling dynamic: have and have-not. While the film delivers glancing lines and nods at other issues (the Civil Rights movement, women's rights), it centers the concept of power. And I liked this a lot because the nature of power shifts over time, but the way that those with power treat those who don't doesn't change. Those with more money and resources will always demand a degree of servility, compliance, and emotional labor from those with less. Making Baby a character who cares about doing the right thing (as opposed to having a single pet issue) gives the film a timeless element. This movie could, with very little difference, have taken place now.

I guess Gray and Swayze notoriously had a tumultuous relationship during filming, but this is one of those magical times that the energy translates into chemistry that easily trips into passion. Maybe it helps that for every dance lesson montage there is a deep conversation between the characters.

I was also very taken by the film's treatment of its female characters. A lesser film would have made Penny (Johnny's gorgeous dance partner) Baby's rival. Instead, the two fall into a cautious friendship when Baby learns that Penny needs an abortion. Baby's sister, Lisa, is a source of comedy, but she is not cruel and the film itself does not treat her cruelly. In fact, the film reserves its ire for those who would abuse or mistreat others: the wealthy woman who pressures Johnny into sex, the handsome waiter who refuses to help pay for Penny's abortion. (Sidenote: was there ever a better shorthand for a character than the moment when Robbie hands Baby a well-worn copy of [i]The Fountainhead[i] and tells her that he expects her to return after reading because he has notes in the margin?). And while the film is not focused on women's rights, it effortlessly nails the kind of patronizing attitude that some people take toward women, and especially young women.

(I should note that the portrayal of characters who are respectful extends beyond the female characters. For example, the way that Johnny's cousin Billy--who initially likes Baby--level-headedly accepts that she likes Johnny instead and he and Baby are able to stay friends. The way that the film shows the development of a friend group is really great. The film is able to show that not all relationships have to be about romance or sex. Likewise, despite having to do some growing of his own, Baby's father is seen as a caring father and man, including very kind treatment of Penny after her abortion goes wrong.)

And the dance scenes themselves? Yes, there is some cheese. But the filmmakers' decision to include footage of Swayze and Gray warming up (the notorious crawling toward each other moment), messing around, or messing up adds a playfulness and genuine sexiness that is often absent from overly-choreographed dance sequences. The film manages to make a compelling case for dancing as both a means of sexual awakening and self-expression. It is a real credit to Gray the way that she can make a single shoulder shrug or arm flutter convey so much inner emotion.

I have nothing critical to say about this film. I think that it both operates within and moves beyond the boundaries of a romantic comedy. Its IMDb score of 7/10 is absurd (and, ugh, of course a bunch of dudes are dragging its score down). Of all the 80s coming-of-age films that have been sold to me over the years, this one is definitely the keeper. If you haven't seen this film, get on it stat.




Youíre the disease, and Iím the cure.
Love seeing people give comedies high scores they absolutely deserve to be. And this is up there with the best. Drooling to give this another watch now.
They are very much under appreciated nowadays, you probably should. Think itís still on Netflix.
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ďI really have to feel that I could make a difference in the movie, or I shouldn't be doing it.ď
Joe Dante



to any TPB reference. Every time I see Bubbles holding a puppet I think of Conky calling Ricky "Reveen". I love that show .



That's one of the first classic films I fell in love with. Glad you also loved it!
I watched this for the first time recently too, very glad I made that decision, terrific movie. About as dialogue driven a movie as Iíve probably ever seen, Henry Fonda at his very best great to see Jack Klugman as one of the jurors as well, the chap who played Quincy.

Need to watch more Sidney Lumet Ďprince of the cityí is next.
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Dawn of the Dead (1978, George A. Romero)


Night of the Living Dead is still my favorite of the trilogy but Dawn is a stone cold classic as well (I was never a big fan of Day of the Dead).
Dawn may not be perfect, and the zombies may look silly, but this movie is just so damn enjoyable I really don't care.



I agree that without the cancer diagnosis she probably wouldn't change. But I think it's significant that we don't see her before she gets her diagnosis. In other words, I think that some of her "brattiness" is due to her trying to lean into her old way of life as part of her coping process. In behavior management we call this an "extinction burst"---it's when someone knows they are being forced to change and they actually act worse than they did before. I think that the first third of the film is her flirting with a kind of denial, but finding that she can't do it and she's really put off when others are flippant in much the same way she probably has been in the past. I think that in running to her old habits for comfort, she discovers how shallow they are.
I think I can go along with that.



Professional horse shoe straightener
Do you want to say more about it? I was fine with the look of it and the performances, but I just couldn't make myself care all that much about either of the characters.
I think that's the difference. I really cared for Mark Duplass' character and his love for Sarah Paulson's character. I could feel his pain and heartbreak and regret at what happenned.





Dirty Dancing, 1987

Despite a slew of pop culture saturated imagery and lines of dialogue, I've never had a strong interest in Dirty Dancing. I think that part of that comes from being frequently let down by the 80s comedies I'm "supposed" to enjoy (things like Sixteen Candles).

Then a few months ago I read a review of the film (HERE) that really got me interested. In particular it was this quote from the woman who wrote the film's script: "Itís a love story but itís also about honor. If you reach out your hand and behave with honor, at some point the world will turn on its axis.Ē

I am quite happy to say that the film not only lived up to my interest, it exceeded it.

Baby (Jennifer Grey) is on vacation in the early 60s with her family (including her father, played by Jerry Orbach) to an upscale resort. On the eve of heading off to college, Baby wants to change the world but lacks much real world experience. Enter Johnny (Patrick Swayze), a dance instructor at the resort. As Baby gets to know not only Johnny but several of the other staff members, she begins to rethink her understanding of the world and the people she knows.

The best decision that the film makes is in choosing a single compelling dynamic: have and have-not. While the film delivers glancing lines and nods at other issues (the Civil Rights movement, women's rights), it centers the concept of power. And I liked this a lot because the nature of power shifts over time, but the way that those with power treat those who don't doesn't change. Those with more money and resources will always demand a degree of servility, compliance, and emotional labor from those with less. Making Baby a character who cares about doing the right thing (as opposed to having a single pet issue) gives the film a timeless element. This movie could, with very little difference, have taken place now.

I guess Gray and Swayze notoriously had a tumultuous relationship during filming, but this is one of those magical times that the energy translates into chemistry that easily trips into passion. Maybe it helps that for every dance lesson montage there is a deep conversation between the characters.

I was also very taken by the film's treatment of its female characters. A lesser film would have made Penny (Johnny's gorgeous dance partner) Baby's rival. Instead, the two fall into a cautious friendship when Baby learns that Penny needs an abortion. Baby's sister, Lisa, is a source of comedy, but she is not cruel and the film itself does not treat her cruelly. In fact, the film reserves its ire for those who would abuse or mistreat others: the wealthy woman who pressures Johnny into sex, the handsome waiter who refuses to help pay for Penny's abortion. (Sidenote: was there ever a better shorthand for a character than the moment when Robbie hands Baby a well-worn copy of [i]The Fountainhead[i] and tells her that he expects her to return after reading because he has notes in the margin?). And while the film is not focused on women's rights, it effortlessly nails the kind of patronizing attitude that some people take toward women, and especially young women.

(I should note that the portrayal of characters who are respectful extends beyond the female characters. For example, the way that Johnny's cousin Billy--who initially likes Baby--level-headedly accepts that she likes Johnny instead and he and Baby are able to stay friends. The way that the film shows the development of a friend group is really great. The film is able to show that not all relationships have to be about romance or sex. Likewise, despite having to do some growing of his own, Baby's father is seen as a caring father and man, including very kind treatment of Penny after her abortion goes wrong.)

And the dance scenes themselves? Yes, there is some cheese. But the filmmakers' decision to include footage of Swayze and Gray warming up (the notorious crawling toward each other moment), messing around, or messing up adds a playfulness and genuine sexiness that is often absent from overly-choreographed dance sequences. The film manages to make a compelling case for dancing as both a means of sexual awakening and self-expression. It is a real credit to Gray the way that she can make a single shoulder shrug or arm flutter convey so much inner emotion.

I have nothing critical to say about this film. I think that it both operates within and moves beyond the boundaries of a romantic comedy. Its IMDb score of 7/10 is absurd (and, ugh, of course a bunch of dudes are dragging its score down). Of all the 80s coming-of-age films that have been sold to me over the years, this one is definitely the keeper. If you haven't seen this film, get on it stat.

ahh one of my fav 80s movie



12 Angry Men




First time.
Great film. I love George C. Scott's performance.
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Dawn of the Dead (1978, George A. Romero)


Night of the Living Dead is still my favorite of the trilogy but Dawn is a stone cold classic as well (I was never a big fan of Day of the Dead).
Dawn may not be perfect, and the zombies may look silly, but this movie is just so damn enjoyable I really don't care.
Agree. Like with Night, Romero finds ways and settings to make his socio-political commentary while also feeling organic and logical within the film's universe (seeking shelter in a shopping mall while making his statement about consumerism). I think Day also achieves this, although to a slightly lesser extent.