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Livvy's disco disaster
Oh my my, where to start? Xanadu was released in 1980 when the "disco sucks" brigade was in full cry. One strike against it just out of the gate. Olivia Newton-John most likely had the worst sophomore slump of one's career (I'm not counting her British film "Toomorrow"). I sat though the movie when it played on cable and just wondered "why?". The film was Livvy's disco disaster. The "dueling bands" concept was like trying to mix oil and water (it doesn't work). Michael Beck is quite the limp actor and seeing Gene Kelly on roller skates was a hoot (I hope he didn't break a hip during filming). I don't have official figures on this, but I think the soundtrack made more money than the film itself did. Anyway, if you want the Xanadu experience; buy the soundtrack CD and avoid the "I've seen better film on teeth" film.

My Bodyguard

Outstanding teen movie
When My Bodyguard was released in the summer of 1980, the teen movie genre was in its infancy. We would soon be assaulted with countless flicks about horny teens and their libidos. This film stands above that pack. Anyone attending high school during this period (as I was) will feel for Clifford Peache. An outstanding teen movie, it launched the careers of Joan Cusack, Adam Baldwin, and in a tiny and unfortunately uncredited role, Jennifer Beals. The adults also shine in their roles (especially Ruth Gordon, in one of her last screen appearances). The story holds up and is believable. The one small complaint I have is the film somehow feels like one of those ABC Afterschool Specials. Anyway, if you want to see a teen movie before the genre imploded with vulgarity, rent My Bodyguard. You won't be disappointed.

Nine to Five

Fine office comedy
"9 to 5" is a fine (but woefully dated) office comedy with a slight feminist edge. The person that let me down the most in this film was Jane Fonda. After larger than life roles (like Bree Daniels in Klute) this role as Judy Bernly was a disappointment. Ms. Fonda is so mousy and meek in this. Ironically, the person who is most at ease in her role is the rookie of the bunch, Dolly Parton. The first half of the film is fine, with superb dialogue (Peggy Pope is perfect as the office drunk). The second half (when they keep the boss captive in that bedroom) is when the plot unravels (just a bit). We are transported from realism to cartoonland (literally, in Tomlin's case). The film was shot in Toronto. One scene that gives it away is the Dominion Bank sign in the background when a vehicle is driving up the street.


What a feeling
If a movie representing the 80's could be put in a time capsule, it would have to be Flashdance. Sure, the plot is wafer thin. It was obvious that a double did most of the dancing, especially the final scene (the camera could have been pulled back more, it's pretty certain your not seeing Ms. Beals). But the overall heart of the story is good. Go for your passion, make it happen, what a feeling, etc. This movie makes you feel good and want to pursue your goals in life. The title song by Irene Cara is one of the most infectious theme songs of film. The fashions, hairstyles, and mannerisms all scream "80's!" One of the first movies styled from MTV.

Mrs. Doubtfire

One of Mr. Williams' better films
When this movie was released around the holidays in 1993, it was a beautiful gift. This gem is one of Robin Williams' better films. one can really feel his strong desire to remain with his kids. The scenes where he portrays various interested applicants is a riot. Whoever did the casting accomplished a brilliant job. Robin Williams was made for this part, Sally Field is perfect as the wife & the kids were wonderful (especially the 2 older ones- it's quite rare for non-relatives to portray brother and sister and actually resemble each other). My favorite scene however is when Sally Field is at the restaurant and realizes that Mrs. Doubtfire is actually her ex-husband. Her reactions are point-on (Daniel!--the whole time, THE WHOLE TIME!!--don't touch me!!--we gotta go!). Definitely recommended, Robin Williams does drag just as well as Dustin Hoffman ("Tootsie").

Oh, God!

Wholesome comedy
John Denver made his film debut with this wonderful wholesome comedy. He plays an ordinary supermarket worker who is honest and straightforward. He has a loving wife and 2 kids. God, out of the blue, picks him to spread the Word. Everyone is sceptical as Jerry Landers (Denver) tries to make believers out of them. George Burns was a perfect choice to play the Almighty. John Denver doesn't sing in this film, but still comes off as an honest (if somewhat naive) person. The car he drives is definitely a 70's relic (the Pacer, I miss those!). Watching the scenes with just Burns and Denver strikes me as sad because they are no longer with us. The film is not too preachy (a plus in my book) and puts just a hint of humor in it all (like the courtroom scene).


Sad swan song
This is probably the most bizarre "B" movie I've seen. The "trog" is captured and experiments are conducted. It throws a tantrum and goes wild. What a sad swan song for one of the most talented actresses, Joan Crawford. If they held a contest for worst final film of one's career, Ms. Crawford would win it hands down. The "trog" was pathetic (Planet of the Apes did it better) and everyone's acting (except Crawford) was laughable. If you want to see a bottom of the barrel, cheesy, must be seen to be believed movie, pop this one in the VCR and enjoy.


Twilight of career sludge
It's circus time, folks. See Joan Crawford oversee a circus while the performers get killed one by one. See Ty Hardin get attracted by a woman well into her sixties. Yeech! This twilight-of-career sludge was a waste of Joan Crawford's time and talent. She delivers her lines like she's coming off a bender. That ridiculous blonde bouffant wig has got to go and her makeup was applied too heavily. The murder scenes were ludicrous (specifically the spike through the head one). Reportedly, Ms. Crawford's adopted daughter wanted to play Judy Geeson's role, but at her late twenties was a tad too old. Speaking of Geeson, she fell precipitously with this role (To Sir, With Love was only the year before). This film isn't even a good time waster.

The Exorcist

The king of horror films
After 30 some odd years, this movie still has the power to shock. I consider it to be the king of horror films. Just watching Ellen Burstyn trying to come to grips with what is happening to her daughter is spellbinding. This movie has aged well (almost all of it; the clothes and hairstyles are atrocious). Linda Blair's performance is splendid; unfortunately for her "The Exorcist" was her only hit movie. Jason Miller (may he rest in peace) portrays Father Karras with sincerity. Max Von Sydow's makeup was outstanding (some people probably thought he was that old).

This film however is not for the faint of heart. It contains graphic scenes (the brain test, the crucifix masturbation) and plenty of blue language. The 2000 "souped-up" version was unnecessary (the only worthwhile addition was the spider walk). I'm just happy that when this came out on DVD, both versions were made available; I stuck with the original.

Pink Flamingos

Definitely not for the squeamish
I've read about this film for years and rented the video a while back. One's take on this film depends upon your tolerance for absolutely vile and sick scenes. This baby is definitely not for the squeamish. It has a so-so plot, but this isn't the film's "raison-etre". The main purpose is to pack as many obscene images as possible. This movie is rated NC-17 for a reason, folks. Wonderful things like making love using a live chicken, see a man's anus up close, & let's not forget the last scene (here's a hint: don't ingest any chocolate items while viewing it). If you just want to wallow in disgusting filth, here's the movie for you. I felt like taking a shower after seeing it. Recommended, but only for those with an appreciation for outlandish film making and bad taste.

Skin Deep

Good film for John Ritter fans
I rented this video about a year ago & enjoyed this very much. John Ritter plays the character Zack with his trademark physical comedy in full form. Two scenes stand out for me. One is the drop-dead hilarious bit after the therapy session when he goes spastic; and yes, the other is the overrated (but still good) glow-in-the-dark condom fight scene. This is one of Blake Edwards' better films (certainly miles better than "10"). A good film for fans of John Ritter also, especially if all one knows of his acting is the sitcom "Three's Company".

What's Up, Doc?

Babs at her zany best
This is the funniest "G" rated movie I've seen! Screwball comedy at its best. Streisand delivers her lines with slightly demented zaniness & O'Neal plays the part of straight man with a shred of humor. Classic lines abound in this film, from : "Between me & Hugh You & me? No, me & Hugh. I am Hugh. You are me? No, I am Hugh. Stop saying that!" to "That's a woman called Eunice?" and "Don't you know the meaning of propriety?". If this film doesn't make you chuckle, nothing will. Unfortunately, Streisand herself has dismissed this movie as a piece of fluff. I'd say this "fluff" is one of her better films.

Grease 2

Pale follow-up of original
Where, oh where do I begin? Grease 2 must rank as one of the most awful sequels in film history. Stars from the original (Didi Conn, Eve Arden) must have been desperate for money to appear in this. The song sequences were painful to watch. During the horrendous "Reproduction" song, one person sings "Oh, I think I'm gonna throw up!" (my sentiments exactly). This movie was wisely wiped off Michelle Pfeiffer's resume, she barely mentions this film when discussing her career. If you want "Grease" as the word, watch the original & leave this pale follow-up on the video shelf.

The Times of Harvey Milk

Documentary well-deserved of Oscar
This documentary richly deserved the Oscar awarded to it. One would have to be made of stone not to cry at least once. Poignant & powerful, it weaves through the story of this remarkable man with grace and dignity. Even if you are blase about the issue of gay rights, see this movie. I first saw it by renting the video, then purchased it. The events took place when I was a freshman in high school & can recall reading about the tragedy in civics class.

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