idontneedyourjunk

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Reviews

True Lies
(1994)

Remake of a French comedy
Schwarzenegger stars as a spy with the cover of a married life, where his family don't know anything about his real job, his cover job being so boring, I can't even remember what it is. Paper? No, that was the spy with the cover of a married life in Heroes. Watch the first season. It's awesome.

It's a real mixture of serious terrorist action/wacky slapstick comedy spoof, sometimes swapping in the same scene. A reminder: don't take this seriously, we're going to take severe liberties with things like gravity, computer hacking and radiation. But at least his gun runs out of bullets and he has to reload, so hey, more realistic than most action movies already.

His bored, ignored wife tries to cheat on him with a used car salesman who is pretending to be a spy, which ends as a very quick throwaway gag after the terrorists capture the wife, and shortly after, the daughter.

The terrorists have smuggled in 4 nuclear MIRV warheads, one of which they detonate in Florida Keys, where the good guys stand around covering their eyes and the leads kiss. Sure, they're far enough away from immediate exposure, but a 30kt warhead (~1.5x the yield of Nagasaki's Fat Man) just detonated and there's no way they evacuated a 19km radius in 34 minutes. We also completely ignore the NEMP and radar blackout. It's still a comedy, after all.

We end with husband and wife now working as a spy duo. And they all lived happily ever after, unless you live anywhere near Florida's fallout zone.

Frank & Jesse
(1994)

3% fact, 97% Hollywood
A supposed biographical account of outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James. Really though, as with many western "biography" movies, when you try to cram decades of real life into a few hours, you're most likely going to come up short.

Luckily, the writer/director has a webinar (for the low, low price of US$79.99) where you can learn "where and when you can take poetic license and write creatively within the confines of your true story". There's taking poetic license and then there's robbing the laureate.

The movie begins with the brothers taking the Union oath, so presumably you're all familiar with US history, right? For the other 96% of the world, and apparently the South, the slave owners lost the civil war and those who fought on the losing side had to take oaths stating that they weren't going to be traitors any more. Well, apart from with England. Only two time traitors, not three.

They then go off to be farmers until the big bad corporation attacks them and force them into becoming outlaws. So 5 minutes in, and here comes that poetic license.

The Rock Central Railroad want to buy their family land, the guy who is sent to negotiate starts things off by shooting Jesse in the stomach ('tis only a scratch, he makes a full recovery in a few hours) and throws dynamite in the house. After they track him down and take revenge, they are wanted for murder so have to turn to robbery in order to survive, with their former army buddies as gang members.

After many stages, trains and banks robbed and even more gang members killed or captured, they split up and settle down with wives and families. Two old gang members make a deal with the governor of Missouri and assassinate Jesse, shooting him in the back. Three months later, James turned himself in. The end.

Interspersed with the few actual facts is a whole lot of nonsense, which makes it unbearable if you know the history. Jumping years between scenes to seemingly unrelated events makes it unbearable if you don't.

Monolith
(1993)

Spoiler: there is no monolith
If that's what you want, go watch 2001. This is a bit of Hill Street Blues, a bit of Moonlighting, a bit of The Thing, and a bit of Lethal Weapon.

This movie tries every trick in the book;
  • Two cops who argue and bicker is a tried and true formula, but they never seem to work up to the romantic twist.
  • A grizzled police captain who's too old for this, but turns out to have a heart of gold.
  • An evil, shady government department who prevent real cops from doing real work.
  • And an alien who seems hellbent of achieving it's nefarious goals.


So two cops who can't stand each other, team up to take down an alien who has escaped a government lab. The alien uses humans as a host and kills anyone it comes into contact with (also shoots fireballs out of it's eyes). Unless you're the protagonist, then being possessed is just like a bad cold, you'll get over it.

The government tries to clean up it's own mess by torturing it's own scientists. That goes as well as expected. When the cops bust into their highly secured base of operations by sweet-talking the security guard, instead of arresting them and burying them in a hole where no-one will ever find them, they let them go. Then somehow track them down to a penthouse apartment the cops have never been to before, and attack them with a minigun from a helicopter. Subtle.

Storming the government building is easy now, as the recaptured alien has pretty much killed everyone and it turns out the whole building is built on top of a crashed alien spaceship, which it seems to successfully escape in, despite being the ship being on fire! Didn't see that coming.

Starring:

Stan Yale - the bum of bums is back (last seen with Paxton in Terminator)

Eddie Allen - Bio-member team #2, his first acting gig was the lead voice in the accidentally hilarious cartoon 'Star Blazers' (1979) (English adaptation of the anime 'Space Battleship Yamato'). Set in the year 2199, Earth is a radiated hellzone, we're at war against an alien race, and we've only got 1 ship left in the spacefleet. Contains hilarity such as; radar works in deep space, spaceships are designed exactly like seaships including a round bilge hull, distance between Pluto and Mars is negligible, Americans still can't bring themselves to use kilometers so they use megameters instead and Mars is covered in ice. Still 20x better than Dragonball Z.

Steve Blackwood - Bio-member team #1, best known for his role of Bart Beiderbecke (Days Of Our Lives, 700+ episodes)

Alex Gaona - little boy at the beginning of the movie, gets possessed by the alien, then shot (age 8). Started as a stuntman at age 6, in 'Hook'. What?! Comes from a line of circus performers, started training at age 2.

Musetta Vander - Russian scientist who seemingly got taught her accent by watching American B-movies from the 80s. Actually a music video dancer, played Sindel in 'Mortal Kombat: Annihilation'.

Louis Gossett Jr. - grizzled police captain, voice of the vortigaunt in HL2 Ep.1, my favorite roles of his are in 'Enermy Mine' and 'Diggstown' (aka Midnight Sting). He will also be in the upcoming Watchmen series.

John Hurt - secret government bad guy, best known for everything except this lucklustre, underdeveloped character. Bakshi's LoTR, 1984, Alien, Harry Potter, Midnight Express, and most importantly, narration on the album 'Seduction of Claude Debussy' by the greatest band in the world, Art Of Noise.

Indian Summer
(1993)

Its a movie. People were in it. Things happened.
A mishmash of ideas. 20-somethings (played by 30/40-somethings) take one last trip to Camp Tamakwa, their favorite summer camp of their childhood, 20 years later.

Mostly a feel-good movie that doesn't delve too deeply into any problem, it also takes humor material from camp movies from the 80s (the childhood pranks, the early morning wake-up calls, almost getting laid).

Added are a whole slew of sub-plots, introduced and never fully concluded, such as;

  • the couple whose marriage is on the verge of breaking down
  • the single friend who's ready to cheat with her friend's husband
  • the playboy millionaire who is in love (for the first time) with his trophy girlfriend
  • the rebel returned who has learnt his lesson
  • the mentor who is taught a lesson by his prodigy
  • the businessman who finds his true calling


The other major (or minor) problem, is that there is no main plot. It's just a set of slightly connected vignettes that show everyone to be fairly shallow and stereotypical. Just when you think they might have some depth, it's time to cut to another set.

Speaking of the set, it's very pretty. Camp Tamakwa is a real summer camp in Canada. This movie is prominently mentioned on their website. Current prices are about CA$1500/week ($10k for the whole summer).

Amusingly, one of the sub-sub-plots is racism in the 60s and that a black guy isn't given a job because of his skin color. Looking at all the people who actually work there now in 2019, it's a complete whitewash. Even the group shot of some 60+ campers. As Public Enemy said, "there ain't no black in that flag".

If you're after a light-hearted drama, sometimes juvenile comedy, sometimes almost PG-13 romcom, that requires no thought and no emotional connection with a single character, this is the movie for you.

Starring:

Tom Boyd - it's our old friend and everyone's favorite and quite possibly the only oboist in Hollywood

James Thatcher - must have taken some pointers from Tom Boyd, 1200+ movies as French horn musician, only ~100 behind Boyd

Ashley Williams - hard to recognize her at 15 (in a non-speaking flashback), she played Jim's wife in the short-lived "Jim Gaffigan Show" and Victoria (Ted's girlfriend) in HIMYM

Kimberly Williams-Paisley - older sister to Ashley Williams, starred in the mini-series "The 10th Kingdom" and starred as Dana in Jim Belushi's sitcom "According to Jim"

Vincent Spano - starred in that movie where the rugby team had to eat each other to survive (Alive), and that's all he'll ever be remembered for

Sam Raimi - yes, that Sam Raimi. He went to the actual Tamakwa as a kid and was happy to have a small part (he's been doing cameos in his own movies since the 80s). Bizarrely, he plays a cringeworthy slapstick dimwit. My favorite part of the movie is the end credits where he sits watching a moose for 2.5 minutes, over the stylings of Allan Sherman's "Hello Muddah, Hello Fuddah".

Kevin Pollack - he's been doing 80s stand-up for 30 years, the only respectful work he's done was in "The Usual Suspects".

Elizabeth Perkins - best known as Celia Hodes from "Weeds". Was also in "Finding Nemo", you might not remember, she gets eaten by a barracuda right at the start.

Bill Paxton - much like everyone else, I haven't bothered mentioning what they do in this movie, they're all very forgettable. He's in it.

Diane Lane - she was in "Unfaithful", and I guess some other movies?

Alan Arkin - best known for his roles in "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Argo". He plays Lou Handler, who runs the camp, named after the actual Lou Handler who started the camp in the 1930s.

Mike Binder - writer/director, he went to Camp Tamakwa for 10 years. Either he really loved it or his parents really loved him not being at home during the holidays.

Dr Dale Garner - moose guide, he was in the middle of his dissertation, population ecology of moose, in Algonquin Provincial Park, when filming was happening. And they needed some shots of moose, so... after completing his doctorate, he became forest wildlife biologist in 1995, program coordinator in 2001, chief of the wildlife bureau in Iowa in 2004, head of the conservation division in 2017, and in 2019, he was finally listed on IMDB, when I noticed he wasn't there.

Boxing Helena
(1993)

Box it up and hide it in the attic for 20 years
Worst movie I've seen this year. I don't think that will change. If you don't want a rant, you can stop reading now.

The most interesting thing about the movie is who didn't star in it.

Madonna turned it down because of the script. Madonna. In 1993. Just after "A League Of Their Own". Her tour made $70 million, supporting her album, which went a meager 7x platinum.

All you had to do was add a tagline "Madonna is in this movie." Or rename it "Madonna's Box". Marketing. Job. Done. Just change whatever she wants. Instead, 1st-time director Jennifer Lynch, who has delusions of daddy's genius, lets her walk.

Contestant number 2, Kim Basinger. Just bought a Hollywood star and a town, nominated as 'most desirable female' by MTV 3 years running, oddly nominated for a Razzie for 9 1/2 Weeks, but Best Supporting Actress for Batman?

She agrees, verbally, finally realizes how awful the script is and tries to pull out, after, again, they refuse to change the script.

Kim loses in court and is sued $8.1 million. Instead of doing the movie, she believes a better choice is declaring bankruptcy (and selling her town), and settles out of court for $3.8 million. (This would be more than twice the movie would make at the box office).

So before we even have a lead female, this movie is already looking terrible.

So Helena slept with Dr. Nick Cavanaugh once (she might be a high-class prostitute) and he's been infatuated ever since, to the point that he dumps his fiance while trying to hit on Helena.

While in an argument, Helena storms out of his house and gets hit by a Ford Bronco. Being a surgeon, and with a script written by a 19 year old, he performs perfect surgery in his house, alone, and amputates both her legs. She's now a prisoner, as he unplugs the phone, quits his job and decides to tend to her 24/7. I know what you're thinking. Sounds like 'Misery', right? This is gonna be awesome!

We then spend a meandering 30 minutes of him failing to make her love him, when he just decides to cut her arms off, because why not? It's not even important enough to mention, just a scene change and now she doesn't have any arms. Okay. Super surgeon strikes again!

But she's in a box, so roll credits.

Nope, there's another 35 minutes of her hating him, until she hates herself more. Then her ex-boyfriend turns up (she's been missing for weeks/months by this point, but no-one has called the police) and beats Nick to a pulp.

He then wakes up in hospital, and surprise! It's all a dream! Helena was injured in the hit-and-run, but she still has all her limbs. (He's holding an empty pill bottle, so maybe he just crashed out?) His fiance is just a nurse he works with. He remembers what a loser he is and decides not to be with Helena. End movie.

Even the soundtrack is as blunt as someone hitting you over the head with your own arm that they just cut off. 'You're nobody 'til someone loves you', 'Woman in chains', 'I can't make you love me', 'Sadeness'. Even the classical excerpts, are nearly all from Puccini's La Boheme.

There's some minor nudity, which in 1993, is major nudity, so they cut it out of the theatrical release. It didn't help.

Starring:

Senia Phillips - Animal trainer (parrot). One early scene, they need the parrot to flap it's wings (while in it's cage), so the trainer, off-screen, blows on it. Marvellous. Thank goodness this scene was left in. The parrot is never seen again, presumably Nick cut all it's limbs off to make it fall in love with him.

Lonnie Smith - Stunt Coordinator. One crash scene with a car. He would go on to be coordinator for The Walking Dead, the Hunger Games series and Stranger Things.

Lisa Oz - Flower Shop Girl. Small part, only mentioned because this is the wife of Dr. Oz. They had been married for 8 years by this point, but he was still 8 years away from starting his TV career and 16 years away from his own show.

Art Garfunkel - Wait. What? In the 60s, Simon & Garfunkel were huge. They split, and Art was pretty much forgotten (despite still touring for 4+ decades). He plays a doctor who is looking for the top surgeon slot at the hospital, and agrees to a recommendation from Nick in return for not telling anyone about his kidnapping the girl he amputated. This sounds like a more interesting character to base a movie on.

Kurtwood Smith - slightly concerned doctor. Best known as Red on 'That 70's Show'

Bill Paxton - barely in this movie but he gets 3rd billing, the abusive ex-boyfriend who hides like a 6 year old (ie. in plain sight).

Sherilyn Fenn - still a star name at the time from Twin Peaks (Audrey Horne), she kills it. Unfortunately, this movie killed her career. She appeared, as did most of the cast, in the Twin Peaks comedy one-off special on Psych (it was awesome).

Julian Sands - the mental doctor, who fancies his mom, and is obsessed with a limbless Venus de Milo statue. The statue is presumed to be a depiction of Aphrodite, who gave Helen of Troy to Paris (which started the Trojan war. She's the cause of her downfall, which is begun when Paris (Nick) chooses Venus (Aphrodite) as the most beautiful woman (his mom). See? Not derivative at all). His portrayal of a weak, simpering coward is totally believable and totally unlikeable. Compare this with his roles in 'The Killing Fields' and 'A Room With a View'. Hell, even the lead in 'Warlock' and the cartoon character Velmont in 'Jackie Chan Adventures'. He's a talented actor, but this role is so bad. This movie dragged him down.

Not Kim Basinger - her career was over by this point, as it was considered she was too difficult to work with.

Not Jennifer Lynch - her career was also over after this disaster, it would be 15 years before she got another directorial chance. The break didn't help much.

Trespass
(1992)

Not all that glitters is gold. But in this case, it's gold.
2 firemen are rescuing people from a burning building. One of them is handed a piece of paper by an old man before the old man walks into the fire.

The firemen are like "eh, there's no saving him now" and leave him be.

The paper turns out to be a hidden treasure map to stolen gold. It was stolen from a church, so screw them, the church has enough stolen gold as it is. I got a mortgage and an ex-wife with alimony.

They head out of state to an old abandoned building where the gold is buried, kidnapping a homeless guy who is squatting there (they tie him up) and also a gang leader's young brother (they tie him up to the door as a human shield). Are you feeling empathy for these guys yet?

It gets better though, as the knowledge of the gold starts to spread. Everyone starts to turn on each other, friend against friend, brother against brother. The lure of wealth is enough to turn anyone, which is the whole premise.

It ends the same way as it began, with fire and death.

The Vagrant
(1992)

What a flop.
I don't know where to start.

Starts as a comedy with over-the-top not-really-that-funny acting, cascades into a slasher still-not-really-that-funny horror comedy, with pointless scene changes and a mega-sized block of Swiss cheese plotholes.

Krakowski is a financial analyst (throw in some jokes about Czechs, that's always funny, right?) who, after buying a house, finds himself stalked by a local homeless vagrant.

Several people get murdered and Krakowski is blamed, especially when body parts are found in his fridge.

The jury finds him innocent after his mother dies of a heart attack on the witness stand. Yes, this is still part of the 'comedy' version.

He then moves away and ends up in a trailer park, where the blind owner's seeing-eye dog is butchered and he has to escape when he's blamed for it. Are you laughing yet?

While escaping, he rolls his car down an embankment to a truck stop where the 2 out-of-state cops who were chasing him (from weeks ago) just happen to be. They chase him into a funhouse where he discovers the vagrant is an ex-psychiatrist who's been trying to make him insane as part of an experiment.

The cops shoot the vagrant, and Krakowski gets a reward for the wanted criminal.

Produced by Mel Brooks, but apart from funding, I doubt he had much to do with it.

Directed by Chris Walas. If you replied "Who?", that's because this was only the second, and last movie he was allowed to direct. The other being another flop, The Fly 2. He was actually a make-up and SFX expert.

It was released in 8 theaters for a single week.

Starring:

Mildred Brion, as heart-attack dying mom. Previously in Back To Back (1989) with Paxton.

Teddy Wilson, as the blind trailer park owner. He co-starred in the short-lived black 70s sitcom "That's My Mama". He died before this movie was released.

Marc McClure, as his best friend Chuck. Marc was Jimmy Olsen in all the Superman movies in the 80s and Marty's brother Dave McFly in the Back To The Future movies.

Patrika Darbo, as Doattie, the trailer park neighbour. She had a small run on 'Days Of Our Lives'. 125 episodes over 18 years, which is a short run, comparatively, for the 13k+ episodes it's been going (the current lead role has only been in 3k).

Mitzi Kapture, as the girlfriend, starred in Silk Stalkings but probably better known as Alex Ryker from Baywatch.

Marshal Bell, as the vagrant. A method actor, he tormented Paxton during the shoot offset. He's been a support actor in many big films, such as Midnight Sting, Starship Troopers and Capote.

One False Move
(1992)

Paxton is at home in Hickstown
I can't tell if Fantasia is a hooker or just a junkie. Either way, she sells out her LA 'friends' to her pimp/boyfriend, Ray.

Ray and Pluto (cellmates from San Quinton) are looking to make some easy money, and Fantasia knows some street dealers. They turn up at their place and torture them until they tell them where their supplier lives.

Then they murder them all. Pluto turns out to be a psychopath who gets turned on when he's stabbing people.

They go over to the supplier and rob them of their cocaine and $15k. And them murder them all. Well, nearly all. Fantasia finds a kid in a back room but pretends that she can't find him.

They get stopped by a state trooper while travelling out of town. Naturally, they kill him too, because that's the best way to stay off the radar. But by this time, they've already got a dedicated group of law enforcement hunting them down.

Fantasia takes a bus to Star City, her hometown, while the murder duo travel from LA to Texas to sell the drugs to a pusher known to Pluto. When the pusher tries to bargain down the price, Ray and Pluto kill them all. Are we noticing a trend of stupidity yet, from the so-called 150 IQ genius Pluto?

The LAPD get a tip that they might be heading to a small town in Arkansas, so they contact the sheriff there ("Hurricane" Dixon), who is very excited to be involved in a big city case, seeing as it might be his ticket for reassignment to the city force.

The reason they might be stopping there is that Ray has an uncle who lives there and Fantasia (real name Lila) grew up there and has a kid living with her family.

Dixon stakes out the house, and finds Lila who has come back to visit her son (turns out the father is Dixon, who was already married and has a child of his own). To keep that news to herself, Dixon promises if Lila calls in Ray and Pluto then he'll let her escape.

They arrive, and everyone dies in a shootout, except Dixon (wounded) and his illegitimate child. Lila gets a bullet to the back of the head from Pluto, which, to be fair, she totally deserves. Three of her friends were brutally tortured and murdered because of her. She also murdered a cop (when they were pulled over earlier). And she abandoned her son after birth to go live in Hollywood and ended up a total loser.

The Dark Backward
(1991)

Unfunny movie about an unfunny comic is unfunny
Unfunny comic grows a third arm for no reason.

He's still unfunny.

He loses his girlfriend.

Still unfunny.

He loses his best friend.

Still unfunny.

He loses his third arm for no reason and his shot at his Hollywood break.

Now he's funny.

The end.

The only funny thing is that this movie was ever made. Written by the director when he was 19, and desperately wanting to be cool by making a cult classic. But it takes more than poor shock tactics (such as licking the breast of a naked dead woman found in the dump) and a failed box office (it cost $700k, it made back $29k).

Director Adam Rifkin's main talent seems to be in getting actors in this movie (not including his own cameos, which he does on movies that he is directing/producing. He's a poor man's Hitchcock that has to give himself thanks in the credits).

Judd Nelson, A-lister who was coming off The Breakfast Club and St Elmo's Fire, somehow read the script and wanted the lead role, going so far as dressing in disguise, going to open mic nights and reading the unfunny jokes from the script.

Rifkin loved Bill Paxton so bugged him until he gave in. Ditto, James Caan.

He offered a cameo to Wayne Newton, who wanted a bigger part, he ended up as 3rd lead.

And he went to high school with Lara Flynn Boyle, who played the love interest.

The only thing that makes it even slightly bearable to watch, is Paxton's role of a egocentric manic psychotic accordian-player who doesn't have a thing for girls who are thicc. More like thicccc.

Navy Seals
(1990)

U!S!A! U!S!A!
Get into your underwear, grab a bud, and chant: "U! S! A! U! S! A!"

Now you're ready for one of the last of the 80s US military recruitment drive movies (needed since the end of the draft, which is still on the books should they need it again).

This was to be the navy's continuation to recruitment to Top Gun (which saw a 500% increase).

It had the Tom Cruise look-a-like, Charlie Sheen.

It had the Val Kilmer look-a-like, Cyril O'Reilly.

It had the Kelly McGillis look-a-like, Joanne Whalley. Actually, they look nothing alike. She wasn't even blonde. Although she was married to Val Kilmer at the time, so maybe that was close enough.

We begin with the USS Forrestal, deployed in the Mediterranean, receiving a mayday from a cargo ship, under attack from a gunboat, on fire and adrift. A rescue helicopter sent is shot down and the crew are taken hostage. They then call in the SEALs to rescue them.

So the SH-3 chopper sent is a perfect choice for retrieval, it's been used for this purpose since the Vietnam war, and though it's normally armed, it is usually with countermeasures vs submarines.

But we also have the USS Forestal, a fully manned and armed supercarrier (the first of it's kind back in 1955), which at this point, has served more than a dozen tours through the Mediterranean.

It has over 5,000 crew members, many guns bigger than the whole gunboat that attacked the cargo ship, and most importantly, it's a carrier. It carries over 80 aircraft.

How did a piddly little gunboat get away with the chopper crew?

We then cut to a drunken SEAL team on their way to a wedding, where the token black guy is getting married. Just as the bride is walking down the aisle, they get the call and leave. (He was probably going to retire, too.)

Cut to an unnamed seaport, Syria, where the pilots have been taken. The boss is furious that his men have not only attacked a US chopper but brought the prisoners to their hideout. He orders the trucks to be loaded and the prisoners eliminated. (We later learn that he's talking about US missiles.)

One is shot in the head before the SEALs burst through the window and save the other 3, using what can only be called Hollywood silencers, because nothing in the real world makes bullets quiet.

Hawkins (2nd in command) disobeys 2 direct orders, firstly, even though he has a supernaturally quiet MP5, he uses a shotgun to breach a locked door, bringing the whole camp of about 50 soldiers on them (of what was supposed to be a soft target, according to intelligence), where they find the leader who is pretending to be a prisoner (he is left alive). Secondly, when told not to move from position, moves out in the open, alerting guards to their position, getting one team member wounded.

He does, however, stumble across a cache of ground-to-air missiles and tries to blow them with a grenade (which fails). They call them Stingers, probably because the general public are more familiar with the term, but they are actually FIM-43 Redeyes.

After extraction, they are debriefed by command, and Hawkins, who has disobeyed orders twice, causing one team member to be wounded, is given a slightly stern talking to.

Turns out the bad guy they left alive, Shaheed, is the leader of a terrorist group called Al-Shuhada (a thinly veiled name for Al-Qaeda, which would make Shaheed the equivalent of Osama bin Laden), who was also responsible for the bombing of the marine barracks, Beirut, 1983. (IRL, the attack was made by parties unknown, best guess is Hezbollah, a Shi'ite terrorist group funded by Iran (with permission from Syria, who occupied Lebanon at the time) after Israel invaded, leaving Christian troops in charge of South Lebanon.)

Shaheed's speech in an interview is good enough to repeat verbatim: "You cannot invade our land and talk about security. "You cannot send soldiers into our homes and talk about peace. "You cannot kill a man's family and talk about human rights. "If America kills our people, then our people will kill Americans."

For centuries, they were ruled by the Ottomans.

After WW1, they were ruled by the French. That rule was loosened during WW2 before they gained independance. They had 30 years of peace and prosperity. Then the Americans arrived.

The American-driven UN had decided on the split-up of the land of Palestine, which Israel was having none of, which sparked the Arab-Israeli war, which drove out the Islamic Palestinians, while America, France and Czechoslovakia sold arms to the Israeli Jews.

Lebanon has been in the middle of a war zone since, which culminated with a civil war (1975-1990). The French had constructed a parliament that favored the Christians. When Palestinians were forced to flee their homeland after the American-backed Israelis invaded, they ended up in Lebanon. Now the Muslims far outnumbered the Christians.

Fights break out between the PLO and Christian militias. By this point in Beirut, the city is already divided into religious zones.

Israel, Iran, Syria and the US all back different groups at different times. By 1990, there are 16 major factions at war in Lebanon (some of them are combined from smaller groups, numbering in the hundreds).

Meanwhile, back in the movie, the SEAL team leader, Curran (Biehn), just wants another chance to destroy the missiles. While his team is on R&R, he reads a book written by the woman who interviewed Shaheed, a half-Lebanese reporter who has contacts in Beirut.

Intelligence finds the missiles on a ship bound for Lebanon, so off they go again, only to find nothing on board the boat but boxes full of sand.

So Curran has lunch with the reporter, Claire. She figures he's after the US missiles, and gets invited for a tour of SEAL training, trying to convince her to rat out her sources.

After a civilian plane carrying a negotiator is taken down by one of the missiles, she agrees to share her intel. Along with information from Intelligence, they find a middleman who is also a previous informant. They decide to make it look like a kidnapping so they can buy his info. And off we go again!

They take off from Northern Cyprus, which is the closest democratic state to the middle east. Again, these little tidbits just give real insight into whoever wrote this script. They stay on a commercial route (as they know they'll be on enemy radar) for a secret jump along the way, 9km up and swim in 19km.

As per usual, the sort-of bad guy is watching american TV, because as we all know, everyone secretly loves the US (in this case, it's Mr. Ed).

Again, Hawkins disobeys a direct order and this time gets a team mate killed. It's Chief, the black guy. Of course it's the black guy.

Hawkins the psychopath (he gets a rush every time he kills someone) is slightly upset for about a day before he gets over it.

The missiles are located, this time in Beirut. They take the USS Coral Sea (again, another real life ship that has seen action the world over), land on the beach and meet up with local Amal militia.

(The Amal were Shi'ite Muslims backed by Iran, Syria and Libya. They were a major force in the civil war, fighting against Hezbollah, or in this movie, against Al-Shuhada, for control of Beirut.)

Their contact turns out to be one of the irregulars, just a kid in his teens. The war is summed up nicely when he takes point up to the Green Line, and points to different blocks.

*points "Druze."

*points "Amal."

*points "Hezbollah."

*points "Al-Shuhada."

Plane flies overhead. *points "Israel."

The Green Line was a demarcation point between Muslims and Christians, Druze and Alewite, Sunni and Shia. Green foliage grew all along it because nobody lived there. It was common for checkpoints at safe crossings and snipers to camp out along it's length.

This is a live war zone. And your enemies live 2 blocks away.

They finally find the building, sneak in and wire the missiles with explosives. They take the whole building down, probably killing multiple civilians in nearby buildings. They commandeer a car, get lost on the return to the beach, drive through a checkpoint and end up with an armoured personnel carrier chasing them.

Dane (Paxton, codenamed 'God'), the team sniper, is killed. *tears*

Curran is wounded and is carried by pretty much everyone at some point. He makes a great face after he's given morphine.

Rexen is killed while driving, rolling the car. As they get out, Leary uses the missile to shoot the BTR-152.

A note on the Redeye;

Back in the 70s and 80s, the CIA sold weapons to pretty much everyone (their allies and the enemies of their enemies. And their enemies were pretty much everyone at some point).

They also sold weapons to Iran for release of American prisoners.

They also did weapon drops for the contras in Central America of 200 Redeye missiles, almost none were accounted for. They also did weapons deals between Israel and the PLO. It's not a stretch to imagine that they sold some of their excess Redeyes and they ended up in Beirut. (Some also went missing from Belgium in the 70s).

But the Redeyes are ground-to-air, designed to take out planes. After launch their boosters kick in and are guided by infra-red and tail-chasing hot exhaust. It is notably not suitable for ground-to-ground fire. So we'll just chalk up that shot by Leary to pure luck.

They race out into the water where they're chased by Shaheed and his men. Playing dead, they manage to blow up his boat and Hawkins drowns Shaheed by showing how good SEALs are at holding their breath (2-3 minutes).

While treading water, their submarine rises next to them. U! S! A! U! S! A!

Predator 2
(1990)

I'd rather have some candy
South Central LA seven years into the future has turned into even more of a cesspool than before. Luckily, there's angry/yelling-man Lieutenant Mike Harrigan to sort crap out.

He's angry/yelling at the lack of backup while he's breaking protocols, he's angry/yelling at his captain while he's disobeying orders. he's angry/yelling at the CIA while breaking jurisdiction and getting his officers killed.

This part was supposed to go to Schwarzenegger (who said no to the script and the director), so to compensate, Danny Glover did alot of steroids? No muscles, just the anger issues.

Director Stephen Hopkins, hot off directing Nightmare On Elm Street 5 (the 2nd worst performing in the series), just gave the following direction:

"Be angry. Like, you've just snorted a line that was cut with caffeine. Off your wife's back while she's screwing your boss. Here, hold still while I inject you with some more steroids. I just watched Born On The 4th Of July with Tom Cruise. You want to be good as Tom Cruise? Boy, that kid can run. You should run,too. Not fast, because you're too old for that crap. Just run angry. And can you yell a bit more?"

So it's Predator 1 in the city instead of the jungle. Only we're starting from scratch again, so it's mostly everyone running around clueless about what is hunting them, and the predator is using the cloaking device, and it's a big reveal! Only you already knew it was a predator and you've seen them before.

There's a minor subplot of drugwars, which is the Jamaicans vs Colombians that makes no sense and goes nowhere everyone dies], but mostly it's a secret CIA group hunting the predators they all die as well] with angry/yelling man getting in their way, until he chases one back to the spaceship, kills it, then gets a memento before they leave. End scene.

As per usual, alot of the blame can be laid at the feet of the executives. They forced multiple rewrites to cut the budget. They refused to hire the same director because he wanted more money than what he got for the first Predator movie (he had just finished directing Die Hard). By this stage, Arnold pulled out because of the bad script and bad director (also, he wasn't offered enough money). Turnaround for the entire movie was 8 weeks (4 shooting, 4 editing) on a shoestring budget with an inexperienced director, who in his own words, said "I'm pretty immature, really, so it was kind of a laugh".

The movie was only greenlit after the comic series were successful, which led directly to AVP, despite this awful mess.

Starring:

-Pretty much the SFX crew from the first movie, including the original costumes. The spear gets stolen at the end of shooting.

-Tom Boyd, everybody's favorite oboe soloist, whom we haven't heard from since 'An Early Frost'.

-About 5 dozen stuntmen who double as nearly every small part role. Seriously, you want small parts in big movies? Be a stuntman

-Totally not too many chiefs with 8 producers

-Hal Rayle, voice of the predator, was the voice of Raphael in the original TMNT TV series

-Teri Wiegel, Playmate November '86 (not a stretch to have her having sex in this movie). She tried doing legit movies, until shortly after Predator 2, she was in a car accident and couldn't work for months, forcing her and her husband to sell their house. A Playboy co-worker suggested adult films, and the rest is history, with 88 adult movies

-Elpidia Carrillo, Anna from the 1st movie, only one of two characters in more than one Predator movie. Her speaking part was cut, so she only has a background cameo in one scene. She is actually a serious actress in Hollywood and Mexico.

-Kent McCord as Captain Pilgrim. Sounds like a poorly thought-out superhero. He had previous experience on the beat as Officer Jim Reed from Adam-12 (60/70s cop comedy/drama)

-Adam Baldwin, whose one scene was to try and get angry/yelling man to not be so angry or yelling. No prizes for how that went

-Robert Davi, His role as captain was to tell off angry/yelling man every time he broke multiple laws, but let him keep his badge. Starred in the 90s TV series "Profiler"

-Bill Paxton, as a smartass, wise-cracking glory-hunter with incredibly bad lines and complete lack of chemistry with fellow actors. It's actually a relief when he gets killed, cementing his main-claim-to-fame, as the only person to have the triple death count from Alien-Terminator-Predator

-Gary Busey, as angry/yelling man no. 2, head of the FBI tracking the predators, but seemingly oblivious to everything about them

-Danny Glover, who's been too old for this crap for 31 years, has 8 movies coming out in 2018. He's angry and yelling and sometimes running.

-Kevin Peter Hall, who gets top billing, even though he's in a full body suit and someone else does his voice. Again. After Jean-Claude Van Damme was fired for being too short and too whiny (Kevin is 7'2" (2.18m))

The Last of the Finest
(1990)

Run of the mill 'cop-vigilante-reinstated cop' movie
Run-of-the-mill cop turns vigilante and beats the bad guy on his own terms. The only standout point being it's 4 cops, and they're against pretty much everyone up the foodchain.

A narcotics team that for some reason only consists of 4 cops, screw up a bust when they fail to wait for backup.

They get put on suspension, but like any good movie cop, they don't let that stop them, and force a pimp to use a hoe as bait to get intel. This backfires, the pimp gets killed, the hoe gets killed, and now they're down to 3 cops. (Hojo (Paxton) gets killed by an iron fence railing through the chest).

Their leader refuses to get fired and quits instead, and gets the other 2 to quit as well.

To fund their vigilantism, they raid a dope house by driving a dump truck through the wall (score ~$29k).

They then follow their one lead to where it gets most interesting, but it's a plot point that isn't explored any further: the drugs are obtained by selling weapons to overseas cartels under the guise of arming rebels against dictatorships, so the guns are backed by government agencies, so we find that the corruption goes all the way up. From the cops, the DEA, the FBI, the state department, to the senator who is not only organizing the shipments, but gaining funds from fundraisers.

They learn of the next shipment and head out to the docks, where again they screw up, but escape in a stolen truck which just happens to contain the payment for the next shipment of drugs: $22 million in untraceable small bills.

They decide to keep the money as they can't trust anyone to hand it over to, and hide the money in a septic tank in sealed plastic bags. But it turns out their ex-captain is in on it, so they hide their family (after saving them from a kidnapping/assassination) and agree to turn over the money in exchange for safety.

Obviously, both parties have no intention of keeping that promise, which leads to the final shootout, that they organize to be RIGHT WHERE THEY HID THE MONEY, the money that they weren't going to hand over? Yeah, then they tell the bad guys exactly where the money is, and it gets blown up with the bad guys.

They get reinstated even though they're incompetent and committed alot of felonies, and make an anonymous donation to their local baseball/football park (presumably they managed to keep some of it).

Starring:

Michael Hoenig - Music, best known for the music of all the Baldur's Gate PC games

James Gavin - Helicopter Pilot, played a helicopter pilot in 60 movies/TV shows. Was the first ever to do a loop-the-loop in a helicopter.

Larry Carrol - newsman in over 30 shows/movies. No surprise he's been typecast, he also had a tiny role of an extra in the football game in the beginning of the movie, where he glanced directly at the camera no less than three times, and all he was doing was walking off the field.

Xander Berkeley - pimp who gets brutally murdered, John Connor's stepdad in T2 who gets brutally murdered, George Mason from 24 who gets exposed to radiation then flies a plane with a bomb into the desert that explodes brutally self-murdering him, Percy from Nikita where she drops him off a ledge (not really brutally), and Gregory from The Walking Dead that I haven't watched, so I don't know what happens to him there

Henry Darrow - backstabbing Captain who murders an old friend, famous in the 60s for The High Chapparal, played Don Alejandro de la Vega in 3 different incarnations of Zorro in the 80s and 90s

Bill Paxton - Hojo Jones, doesn't do much in the movie, bit of a hothead, gets killed about 1/3 of the way in

Joe Pantoliano - lousy sniper, wasn't a very good shot in The Matrix either (Cypher)

Brain Dead
(1990)

A butterfly dreaming he's a man
Not to be confused with the much better splatter/horror/comedy movie Braindead (1992).

Neurosurgeon Rex Martin (Bill Pullman) has a shelf of live brains in jars, that he pulls down and pokes at with electric sticks. And this is before he goes crazy.

His old school friend Jim (Bill Paxton) is a slimy corporate salesman, who wants Rex to poke around in the head of a genius mathematician John Halsey (Bud Cort), to unlock the secret formula he was working on for the company before he went crazy.

With his research grant money gone, Rex agrees, but is involved in an accident with a madman's brain (paranoid/schizophrenic), which appears to have overlapped his own.

The rest of the movie is a slow fall into insanity. Did the accident cause their minds to fuse?

Is he Rex with memories of Halsey or Halsey with memories of Rex? What is reality, if not what we hold in your minds?

I actually studied the poems of Zhuangzi at Canterbury University, so what do you know, tertiary education in the arts is good for something.

The lives of both men blend into one, as Rex is committed to the same mental institute as where he first met Halsey.

Or is he? There is no payout by the end of the movie, draw your own conclusions.

Doctor Rex Martin attended Miskatonic University, the same location of the movie Reanimator (1985), both movies paying homage to HP Lovecraft.

Starring:

Rob & Barney Burman, makeup FX father and son team. Rob (son) was involved in makeup on the original The Thing (1982). Barney (dad) was head of makeup for TV series Grimm and won an Oscar for Star Trek (2009). He is also the experimental head in the first lab scene.

Kyle Gass, anesthetist. Better known as half of Tenacious D. This was his movie debut. 3 other actors from this movie would also appear in the Tenacious D videos

Ann & Dorothy Vincent. Twin sisters not stretching their acting skills very far by playing twin sisters (for the 2nd time)

John Paxton, board member, Bill Paxton's dad

Lee Aranberg, crazy homeless guy. His best line "That's my fucking brain!" was sampled by Delta 9 (My Brain). Best known as Pintel (Pirates Of The Caribbean) and Leroy (One Upon A Time)

Brian Brophy, Ellis. Starred in The Roommate with Bill Paxton

George Kennedy, Vance. Appeared in all 4 Airplane and all 3 Naked Gun comedies. Was still best remembered for one of his earliest and only award winning performance, as Dragline in Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Bud Cort, Jack Halsey, still best known as Maude in Harold & Maude (1971)

Bill Pullman, as the crazy (or is he?) doctor, I only ever remember him as the Independence Day (1996) speech guy

Next of Kin
(1989)

Hillbillies vs Goombahs
One hillbilly who is now a big city cop in Chicago, has his (least-loved) little brother hillbilly come to work in the city after the local mine closes. He gets killed by a goombah enforcer, who's teaching his cousin goombah (who is the son of the head goombah) the ropes.

Back at the hillbilly homestead, (most-loved) elder brother hillbilly comes to town to exact hillbilly justice. He dies.

Which sends hillbilly homestead into a hillbilly hornets nest, and every single male hillbilly that can wield a firearm (which is all of them) are given packed lunches by the womenfolk (yes, seriously), and set off for justice in the big city.

Meanwhile, goombah enforcer isn't happy that son-of-goombah is slowly taking over, since he's the head goombah's son. So he kills cousin goombah and frames elder brother hillbilly before he dies.

In the final standoff, head goombah shoots goombah enforcer for murdering head goombah's son.

This somehow pays back the blood debt for 2 dead hillbillies and a bunch of dead goombah no-names.

And by contract, Patrick Swayze reveals his most defining acting skill and takes off his shirt in at least 3 scenes.

Starring:

Robert Easton, dialect coach in over 50 movies, must've silently weeped during this one

Ted Levine, 3 minute part of a crazy drunk with a shot gun, his career peaked as Captain Stottlemeyer in 'Monk'

Ben Stiller, son-of-goombah-looking-to-take-over-the-family-business, pretty much still an unknown actor at this point. Plays a fairly convincing entitled asshole

Bill Paxton, little brother who gets killed as an example. His brother's wife in this movie, will be his wife in a later movie (Twister)

Andreas Katsulas, head goombah, will be future G'Kar in Babylon 5

Helen Hunt, apparently everybody's movie wife as some point

Adam Baldwin, Full Metal Jacket, The X-Files, Firefly/Serenity (including the fan-made Browncoats: Redemption), Chuck, the Captain of the ship in The Last Ship, 2 awesome guest appearances in Castle, and even voice acting in HL2:2. Here he plays the goombah enforcer who kills Paxton and Stiller

Liam Neeson, (Batman, the 1st good one, Star Wars, the 1st shitty one) most-loved elder hillbilly, he owns this movie. He is all about revenge/justice for murder in the most brutal of ways. He went on to play the same kickass character in many more movies, but with a slightly more Irish accent.

Patrick Swayze, a man of highs and lows. From Dirty Dancing and Roadhouse to this dreck (he was nominated a Razzie for worst actor) then immediately back to Ghost and Point Break. He can't act, he can't pull off a constant accent, he looks like he never shot a bow before, he can't even pretend to play the violin very well. But he can dance! (But he doesn't dance in this movie, so there you go)

Back to Back
(1989)

Just plain dumb
An armored car robbery in Superstition, Arizona goes wrong, and there is only one survivor, Hank Brand (one of the guards), but the car, along with $7 million, is never seen again (several of the hijackers were killed, the rest vanished).

After 27 years of living in poverty, the retarded townsfolk still think Hank had something to do with it, and knows where the money is.

He dies, and his two sons decide to make one final search to prove their father's innocence, before leaving hicksville forever.

Bo Brand (Bill Paxton), an LA-based lawyer who is looking to cut ties with his past, and his retarded-even-by-this-town's-standards brother Todd, supposedly 17, played by a 25 year old.

Todd has been collecting newspaper clippings about the heist, as well as keeping correspondence with any witnesses. They journey to talk to the witnesses, to see if they can find any new clues on a 27 year old cold case.

They are joined by a hitchhiker who Todd is smitten with and refuses to continue without her tagging along, and eventually she claims the money, as the daughter of one of the killed guards (turns out her father was the inside man who was planning to abandon his family).

They are also being followed by a cop who blamed Hank (the now deceased guard) and decides to take out his revenge on the sons (what?), but first follows them with some hired mercenaries to see if they find the money.

The witnesses all have perfect recollection of the events, and it is told via non-linear flashback to younger versions who are completely unrecognizable as being played by other people, so it's a case of 'guess who's who'.

Add to this mess some terrible sound editing, no overdubs, a lousy choice of rock music tracks, which are mostly played over a car stereo cassette deck, and this movie isn't worth listening to.

Add poorly shot locations (we need more obscuring dust in this scene!), cheap set designs, with Bo Brand whining that he wants to leave, Todd Brand acting comically retarded but without the humor, it's not a movie worth seeing either.

In the final showdown, they shoot several of the mercenaries and the sheriff is set on fire. Whilst on fire, he manages to shoot the two brothers with a bow and arrow, that manages to pierce both of them while they're back-to-back. Get it? Back to back? Because they are also brothers looking out for each other? Yes, that's about as clever as this gets.

They finally find the truck, with the bodies of the last hijackers who betrayed each other, the last accidentally blew himself up with dynamite while trying to hide the truck in a old mine shaft.

The mine shaft is owned by a super-retarded husband and wife who run a B&B and tours into their other unsuccessful mine.

But here's the clincher. They knew the truck was there the whole time, with $7 million in cash sitting in the back.

The reason they didn't tell anyone is because the shaft leads into Superstition's most famous real-life legend, the lost Dutchman's gold mine (people have been looking (and dying) for it for over 100 years).

But they haven't mined any of that either. So two sources of massive wealth (estimates put the gold mine anywhere up to $200 million), and they've been running a run-down B&B for 27 years.

What?

There is a tie-up for the main characters, but it's so stupid, I won't even bother mentioning them.

Starring

Bryn Pryor (aka Eli Cross) - as a guy complaining about the smell of fish. Alot. Now he makes porn movies. Very successful ones at that (with multiple awards and he was inducted into the AVN hall of fame in 2015)

Susan Anspach - old woman who doesn't want gold or cash. Starred in Montenegro (1981)

Ben Johnson - old man who doesn't want gold or cash. Appeared in over 100 movies, mostly westerns, from 1939 until his death in 1996. Was a steer roping champion like his father (where you get the gold belt buckle). Was a horse wrangler earning $1/day. His paycheck for his first Hollywood movie was $300 and he never went back

Apollonia Kotero - hitchhiker/daughter of inside man, co-starred with Prince in his movie Purple Rain

Todd Field - the retard's retard. Voiced Ol' Drippy in Aqua Teen Hunger Force, so he hasn't changed much

Bill Paxton - lead role as the older brother, a bit whiny, but totally overshadowed by the stupidity of everything in general

Slipstream
(1989)

Hamill is a better bad guy than Paxton is a good guy
Bill Paxton 20. Slipstream (1989).

One of 8 movies with the same title, this was the first scifi movie, coincidentally released the same year as the slipstream (scifi) genre was first coined.

Set in the not-so-distant-anymore-future, after a global environmental disaster causes most of the planet to be uninhabitable, there is a thin valley tunnel system, called the slipstream, where the winds haven't wiped the planet clean, where humanity ekes out a living following the downfall of technology. Many small groups have begun to worship the wind as a god. Others who were better prepared, simply party away the years, awaiting their eventual doom.

Traders and trackers fly the slipstream in small 1- or 2-man planes, presumably also with their own wind-powered generators, because no-one ever refuels.

Does the slipstream encompass the globe or is there a beginning and end? No-one knows.

2 cops (although who they report to is unknown, it's hinted that there's no-one left to even read the reports) capture a murderer, Byron, who in turn is kidnapped by petty thief/fence Matt Owens (Paxton), intending to turn Byron in himself for the reward. In their journey downstream, Byron befriends Owens, to the point that he no longer wants to turn him in.

Unfortunately for Owens, he was hit with a dart by the cops during his escape, containing a tracer (they catch up with him a few times) and a very slow-acting curare poison (takes days to take effect, rather than minutes).

But fortunately for Owens, the cops are also lovers who are slowly falling apart, and the female ends up falling for Owens, while Byron, who it turns out is an android, kills the male cop, who turns out to be Luke Skywalker. Yes, it's Mark Hamill. The number of times I yelled out "Use the force, Luke!" is quite embarrassing.

So Byron the android learns to be human and heads off for the promised land of androids, Owens ends up with Belitski, the female cop (who shoots him again, this time with the antidote), and they presumably start up a hot air balloon company, and Luke is one with the force. Or maybe just dead. Those movies probably aren't in the same universe. Although, it is produced by the same guy that produced A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. So you never know.

Starring

Elmer Bernstein - Composer/conducter since the 50s, died in 2004, but his music continues to be used, as recently as The Magnificent 7.

The London Symphony Orchestra - who are just awesome (Star Wars series, Harry Potter series)

Alan Polonsky - bit part in Aliens with Paxton as an insurance claimant, bit part here as a committee member (they're arguing that now these newcomers know about the place, they can never be allowed to leave. Then the cops bust in and start shooting everybody)

Bruce Boa - "Prepare for ground assault" - General Rieekan, Empire Strikes Back. Not this movie, but the only part you'll know him from

Richard Huggett - born in Brisbane, career highlight was 3 years on Neighbours as Glen Donnelly. Glen has an incestuous relationship with his half-sister. These scenes were cut from UK airing. When Richard decided not to renew his contract, his character fell off the roof and was paralyzed from the waist down.

Ben Kinsley - best known for Ghandi, Sexy Beast and Iron Man 3. But still mostly Ghandi. Certainly not for his death scene here, where he gets crushed by a stone prayer wheel.

Eleanor David - short-lived lover of the android, also wife of Pink in Pink Floyd: The Wall

Robbie Coltrane, aka Rubeus "You're in a hot spa, Harry" Hagrid. That's his whole scene. He sits in a giant bubbling bathtub with 5 other people and makes fun of Owens as a loser. To be fair, he hadn't really broken into TV or movies yet, although I was surprised to see him and Liam Neeson in Krull (1983)

Ricco Ross - left Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket to play Frost in Aliens. Never really made it big after that. Has 2 small scenes in this movie, where he's friends with Owens and helps him escape

Mark Hamill - after Star Wars, he didn't want to get typecast, so he started acting in small budget roles, which nobody saw, and everyone still only thinks of him as Luke. As a hardass cop, he's pretty good. When Gary Kurtz and George Lucas split up, Mark said it was "like Mom and Dad getting a divorce". Kutz didn't like where Lucas was taking the franchise, which was making more money in toy sales thatn the movie itself. Kurtz left, and we ended up with 'Ewoks dancing in the forest like a teddy-bear luau.'

Gary Kurtz - Assistant Director and Producer of Empire Strikes Back. He made 5% of net profit from the movie, but lost it all when he divorced his first wife (somewhere in the realm of $6m at the time). Same year, he's remarried, to a woman he met filming one year earlier. Coincidence? It was the divorce that sank this movie, as he was personally bankrolling it. He couldn't even afford to have it shown in theatres, so it went straight to VHS. He filed for bankruptcy, and this film is in the public domain, so go download it guilt-free (or watch it on Amazon for $3.99 or buy it 'new' for $12.99).

The Roommate
(1989)

The bad boy shines
One of three shorts (from 3 directors) that make up the movie 'Future Shock' (1994), though this short was released 1989. It centres on a doctor who specialises in VR mind scans to help his patients (loosely based on the comic book where he's a mad scientist).

The Roommate is about George, a morgue worker who has many issues (in short, he's a loser). He's bullied at work, ignored by women and about to lose his apartment because he's an habitual spender.

He posts an ad on the local college bulletin board for a flatmate (1989 is the birthyear of the World Wide Web), and gets Vincent (Paxton), his worst nightmare, who slowly drives George over the edge (as slow as 34 minutes allows). It's a well-written part and Paxton plays it well.

Vincent doesn't pay his rent, he takes George's bed, leaves dishes, invites prostitutes over, trashes his car after using it in a robbery, apparently murders the prostitute, and ultimately gets him shot by the police. Oh, spoilers.

After George dies, we see Vincent back at the college, where he targets another likely victim posting an ad. What an asshole.

Then George wakes up at the doctor's office, because it was all part of the VR treatment.

But this short stands alone quite well (if you ignore the ending). It has drama, comedy, action, thriller, and some fairly well acting that makes up for a very short runtime and a tight budget.

Starring

Scott Thompson, lead role as George, Kids In The Hall regular, CSI Jimmy Price in the short-lived Hannibal TV series

Rick Rossovich, frat boy who smashes up the car, movie #5 with Paxton (Terminator, Navy Seals, Streets Of Fire, Lords of Discipline)

James Karen, you don't know the name but you'll know the face. Always small parts in small movies, but he plays them so well

Martin Kove, the doctor, it's been more than 3 decades and 164 other parts, but I only know him as "Fear does not exist in this dojo, does it? Cobra Kai: No, Sensei! John Kreese: Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it? Cobra Kai: No, Sensei! John Kreese: Defeat does not exist in this dojo, does it? No, Sensei!"

Pass the Ammo
(1987)

Badly written, badly directed and badly edited
Bill Paxton 18. Pass The Ammo (1988)

Badly written, badly directed and badly edited.

This movie is a mess of stilted cuts, non-flowing storyline, with confused and one-dimensional characters.

Paxton is the boyfriend, whose girlfriend's mother has given all her inheritance away to a televangelist just before the mother dies. They plot an ill-conceived scheme to rob them while on air, because a church/TV studio is easiest to rob during live production.

For some reason, all phone donations arrive at the church in cash, even though cheques are still a hugely popular form of payment in the US (5% of adult Americans still don't have a bank account, instead they cash them at pawn shops and cheque cashing companies).

They end up taking everyone hostage live on TV, that is being broadcast by an unstoppable satellite signal, so the feed can't be cut.

Their getaway driver gets gunned down by the cops, but he didn't have any speaking parts, so he's quickly forgotten.

The movie is cut into muddled vignettes, seemingly at random, whereby they try to add some depth to the characters, but ultimately fail on all accounts.

The climax occurs when the crazy hillbillies (who have been watching on TV and decide to save the reverend) turn up with a small army of vigilantes and attack the church from one side and the church leaders who have called in the governer who has brought along the army (including a tank) who attack from the other side.

The church is destroyed, the 2 cousins who just got out of prison get arrested, the boyfriend and girlfriend (now married) escape and run off into the forest with a few small bags of cash.

Starring

Debra Sue Maffett, bit part for former Miss America 1983. Hosted many TV talk shows, and now works in the televangelist field as a media consultant. Brian Thompson, plays a shirtless Samson, has 17 on-screen deaths from his 103 roles, notably terminator fist through the stomach ("Wash day, nothing clean, right?") and twice by Buffy as 2 different characters.

Anthony Geary, as a hippie named Stonewall (riots), who helps their cause. Best known as Luke Spencer (900 episodes) on General Hospital, where he played a hitman, who later raped and then married his victim. The marriage (broadcast in 1981) is still the biggest rating hit for a daytime soap.

Annie Potts, crazed christian preacher, starred in 2 shows, Any Day Now and Designing Women, best known as Janine Melnitz from Ghostbusters and the Toy Story voice of Bo Peep (currently as Meemaw on Young Sheldon).

Tim Curry, as the Reverand. Famous for so much I can't list it all. Linda Kozlowski, the girlfriend who lost her money, best (and pretty much only) known as Sue Charlton from Crocodile Dundee, who would go on to marry Paul Hogan.

Near Dark
(1987)

On the stupid scale somewhere between Twilight and Blade
A 'cult classic', apparently, but in actuality, a very silly vampire movie.

Severen, the vampire brood leader, who must be at least 140 years old (he started the great Chicago fire and fought in the American civil war). He has turned a bunch of school dropout hillbillies and they roam the highways of the US, feeding on whomever they come across. That's the best he's managed in 140 years.

They think they're like wolves, top predators, but they're more like vultures, their victims are the weakest and most vulnerable. They live in whatever vehicle they've most recently stolen and hide from the sun each day in random locations.

Despite leaving a trail of bodies wherever they go (they never attempt to hide anything), and usually mass destruction, not to mention stealing a lot of cars, they evade the police easily. There is one shootout with the cops, which they escape by driving away in a panel van. The police are riddling their location with bullets, then they drive away, and the cops are like, eh, at least we tried. Time for donuts.

So they turn a new recruit (it seems to be a thing they do when one of them is bored), but he doesn't want to be a vampire. So his father, a wheat farmer, saves him and his new ex-vampire girlfriend, with a full blood transfusion. Wait, what?

On the stupid vampire movie scale, it falls somewhere between Twilight and Blade. A remake of this movie was put on indefinite hold when Twilight came out, because their basis was considered too similar. Near Dark came out the same year as the original 'The Lost Boys'. This was the last movie made by F/M Productions, who went belly-up shortly after. I'm not surprised.

Starring

Jenette Goldstein, vampire girlfriend of the leader, pretty sure she bit the kid so she could pretend they had a family. Formally Vasquez in Aliens, will be with Paxton again in Titanic

Lance Henriksen, the leader of this band of losers. Also in Aliens with Paxton. It was producer James Cameron (who would later marry the director) who suggested that these 3 Aliens actors be in this movie Jennie Wright, bored high school dropout vampire. Was the groupie in Pink Floyd: The Wall

Adrian Pasdar, human/vampire/human. Most famous as Nathan Petrelli from Heroes. Least famous as the voice of Iron Man in nearly every Marvel cartoon. Had a bit part in the Martini Ranch's music video 'Reach' (Paxton's short-lived rock band)

Not Starring

Johnny Depp, who failed the audition. He hadn't done much up to this point, but same year he would star in 21 Jump Street, which started his career. If he had gotten a role in this clunker of a movie, he might have remained forgotten like most of these actors

Michael Biehn, who would have been the 4th Aliens actor in this movie, but he didn't like the script.

Aliens
(1986)

Hudson's Big Adventure
It's a movie about Private First Class William L. Hudson, a combat technician in the United States Colonial Marine Corps, part of 2nd Battalion Bravo Team, leader of 1st squad. He's 4 weeks away from retiring. This is just one last mission and he feels good. He gets on well with his platoon, he even gets on well with the android.

He's briefed; it's just a rescue mission, it's a milk run, a bug hunt. No big deal, even if they have a new Lieutenant on this drop. It won't matter, there's no chance of a firefight. The planet is in the middle of nowhere, a rock being reformed.

But hey! Cute consultant, let's lay on the oil' Hudson charm, this last mission won't be such a bust (plus all those juicy colonist daughters).

Well, we found colonists all hiding under the main cooling towers, let's go check it out and movement its closing multiple signals cant lock in they're coming out of the gold armed walls lets book sarge is gone lets get the fork outta here! Hey Zeus, we just got our assets kicked! Over half the platoon is dead! The consultant says we should take off and nuke the site, forking A! I've got 4 weeks left, I'm not dying on this rock! 10 years to get this lousy pension, and only 4 weeks left, man! Oh sheet! They crashed the ship! That's just great. Now what the fork are we supposed to do? We're in some real pretty sheet now, man. Game over man, game over.

Let's back inside before more of those things turn up. They mostly come at night. Mostly.

But some good news! 4 gun turrets! Let's set these bad boys up! Man, no time to rest, they're coming in the tunnels. First 2 turrets run dry. The ship has overloaded the emergency cooling (which was ruptured by 10mm explosive-tipped case-less standard light armor piercing rounds), 4 hours before it blows, blast radius of 30km, equal to about 40Mt.

Oh man, and I was gonna buy a bar, retire, it's not fair! Hey, let's send the android to align the antenna! He's the only one qualified to remote pilot the ship, anyway. I mean, sure, I got the skills, but with those things running around? You can count me out.

Oh fork, they made it through the pressure door, and the last 2 gun turrets barely stopped them. Maybe we got them demoralized. I hope Bishop is fast with the 2nd drop-ship. This is forked up! 4 weeks, oh man.

Oh sheet! The suit just tried to kill the cute consultant and the kid, then he was going to kill us! I say we grease this rat fork son-of-a-bitch right now. He's dead. You're dog meat, pal! How'd they cut the power, man? They're animals! Movement. Signal's clean. Range 20m. 18. 17m. 15m. 13m. Man, this is a big forking signal.

Die mother Fokker's! C'Mon, come get it baby! C'Mon, you bastards! Yeah, you too! Oh, you want some of this? Fork you! Attacked from beneath! Fork you! Hicks! Hicks! Aaarrrrgh! The End.

17 weeks later, an S&R team from the 118th Battalion find Hudson's corpse. He was dragged into the sewers, cocooned, and killed by a Dustbuster.

He's now been officially killed by a Terminator and a Xenomorph.

An Early Frost
(1985)

When in doubt, oboe solo.
Michael, a big-shot lawyer, on a visit home to see the folks, is questioned about if he has a girlfriend yet. Back in New York, he has a cough he can't get rid of. He goes to the doctor who runs blood tests.

It's aids. He breaks up with his partner and returns home, to not only break the news of aids, but that he's gay.

This is 1985. His father, who runs a timber yard, is horrified (almost punching him out). His sister won't even touch him. His brother-in-law (Paxton), well, somehow after the news breaks, he's not in the movie any more.

This is 1985. You can get hiv/aids (it's the same thing) by a hug, by sharing utensils, possibly even by breathing the same air. Or not. It's only prostitutes, blacks and gays that get it.

This is 1985. The network were very scared about making this TV movie, the first of it's kind to deal with hiv. They had executives from standards and practices onset, to make sure that homosexuality didn't come across as acceptable. That the gay couple didn't kiss. Or hug too much. They wanted the boyfriend to have given hiv to Michael, to make him the bad guy. They were afraid that it wouldn't sell, even after 13 forced rewrites.

And it didn't. They lost $600,000 on it's 1st airing, ad executives didn't want to touch it, despite being number 1 in the Nielsen ratings. They tried again 6 months later and lost $1,000,000.

Paramedics refuse to pick him up to take to the hospital. Nurses refuse to enter his room to bring him food. This is what it was actually like. People thought only gays and blacks got this disease. Possibly druggies as well. He meets a very lively character in a group session, the most interesting person in the movie. Don't get too attached though. He dies.

Meanwhile, after attempting suicide and being saved by his father, daddy dearest realizes he wants his son alive, even if he is gay. Even the sister realizes her unborn child can't get aids from a hug, and he even gets back together with his cheating lover.

The end. (And hopefully you've forgotten that his doctor told his mother he's going to die horribly in a few years).

Won Golden Globe - Best Supporting Actress Won Peabody Award Won Director's Guild Award - Outstanding Director Nominated for 13 Emmy awards, won for Writing, Cinematography, Sound Mixing and Editing. Which I just have to ask, just how many people was the oboe player sleeping with?

Sad scene where your father hates you? Oboe solo.

Angry scene where you smash stuff? Oboe solo.

Break up with lover? Oboe solo.

Happy family reunion? Oboe solo.

New friend is dead? Oboe solo.

Emmy Nominee in Music Composition. Seriously?

Starring:

Tom Boyd - Oboe soloist and holy moley he 'gets around'. Over 1300 movies use his oboe work. Is there a shortage or does he just pucker up for cheap?

Terry O'Quinn - no-nonsense doctor, best known as John Locke (Man In Black) from Lost John Glover - most interesting person in the movie. Dies of AIDS. Was Riddler in several incarnations of Batman and Superman series, but ended up as Lionel Luther in Smallville.

Aidan Quinn - wasn't a big enough name to get starring role in a film that he stars in, he now stars in Elementary as Captain Thomas Gregson Ben Gazzara - homophobic dad, starred in his own series in the 60s, Run For Your Life, where he's told he only has 2 years to live, so he goes out and lives life to the fullest. Pretty much what he tells his son to do here.

Commando
(1985)

Coast Guard cutter Marauder shines
A retired black ops colonel has his daughter kidnapped by a former south American dictator who was overthrown years ago by the colonel and his team.

Now he is being forced to assassinate the president they put into power.

The ex-dictator has already taken revenge on all of the team except two: Colonel John Matrix, and discharged-soldier-turned-mercenary, Wez Bennett.

Kicked out of the force by Matrix, and by all accounts is pretty gay for Matrix, is taking revenge the only way he knows how: by dressing up as Freddy Mercury and getting excited by big knives, ifyouknowwhatimean.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Matrix is retired, living in the middle of nowhere.

Somehow, his whole team who have new identities, have been tracked down and killed (turns out it's Bennett with a new crew).

The way in which they find him, says the dictator, is by killing Matrix' old crew so they could follow General Kirby to where he was. But Kirby flies in on a chopper to the middle of nowhere and they're already setup for the ambush. Whatever.

After they get away with his daughter, they bundle him onto a plane to go assassinate the American-installed dictator. But he jumps out of the plane on takeoff, and so begins the ever so casual dismissal of real-world physics.

Okay, I can accept gun blasts that send people flying like they just got tackled by a 120kg linebacker. It looks dramatic.

And I can accept a car rolling downhill through forest, hitting trees and rocks that not only doesn't slow down but gets faster. It adds to the tension and action.

But when you jump out of a plane that's doing 220kph? Even into marsh water, you're dead.

The only explanation from here, is that he's actually dead. He's now gone to heaven, where he's playing out his greatest wish: to get revenge on those who took his daughter and to live happily ever after.

It explains why seconds after swimming out of the marsh, his clothes are completely dry. Anyway.

At the airport, he kidnaps a flight attendant (Cindy), ruins her car and follows Sully, one of the bad guys, to a mall. It just so happens to be the same mall that Arnie goes to in T2. I wonder if he had flashbacks? Cindy dobs him in to the mall cops, which ends up with 15 mall cops going to the hospital and 3 bodies to the morgue. In the ensuing 3:07, Cindy makes a new world record for Stockholm Syndrome, pushes a guy down the stairs and becomes Matrix' new bestest friend.

{car rant/} They then chase Sully as he drives away. The good guys are in a '65 Sunbeam Alpine IV. The bad guy is in a '69 Porsche 911 Targa.

With a 17 second headstart, and an extra passenger, they catch up. They. Catch. Up.

Now, I admit I have a bias for Porsche, but come on:

Car 0-100kph Top Speed

Sunbeam 13.5 160kph

Porsche 7.5 230kph

Against the 911, they might as well be driving a Princess electric iron. {/car rant}

All is forgiven when he hangs Sully over the edge of a cliff with one arm (the director wanted him to do it for real) and says

"Remember Sully, when I promised to kill you last?

"I lied."

*drops*

(Oh, spoilers?)

Skip ahead (he found a hotel key) to his fight against a green beret where he gets to say his other famous line, "fuck you, asshole" ("I'll be back" is in there too). During the fight, they break into an adjoining room where a couple are having sex. The guy is Mikul Robbins, previously in Weird Science.

Fun fact, Gene Simmons, then Nick Nolte were originally chosen for the lead role.

Can you imagine Nolte delivering the line "I eat green berets for breakfast". Of course we'd know he was talking about the hats and would be totally serious.

Matrix then finds a bill that leads them to a dock warehouse that contains map coordinates that lead them to the bad guy's island hideout. This is a pretty complicated setup for an action movie.

But before they fly off in a stolen plane, they go shopping for guns. All the guns.

He gets arrested by police but Cindy frees him from the paddy wagon by shooting it with a rocket launcher. Okay.

As they fly to the island, Paxton gets his mark, as Coast Guard cutter Marauder. I don't know what that means, but it sounds cool. They dip below radar ("We lost them, sir") and fly on to the island.

Matrix proceeds to 80's style kill everyone and blow everything up. He messes it up though, and runs from the explosion instead of casually walking away with the explosion in the background. -10 Cool Points.

The battle with the last boss is the Australian Bennett aka "Freddie Mercury on steroids" (his own words. Personally, I think it's mostly the moustache), who looks like he's wearing a chainmail vest, but it's actually woolen. His clothing is tight because they were for a previous actor who got fired. They didn't have time to alter anything.

They start with guns, move to knives, fists and anything they can get their hands on (pipes, a furnace door, fire, high voltage transformers, 1d4 damage my arse), with a very surprising number of puns. Only 1.

The good guy saves the daughter, gets the girl, and rides off into the sunset (in a '42 Grumman Goose, close enough) and somebody else has to clean up the mess.

Official body count: 81. A fairytale ending.

Weird Science
(1985)

No science. Paxton is a blob.
From John Hughes, the director/producer/writer of 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Pretty In Pink, comes this steaming mound of elephant excrement.

Two nerds plug electric wires into a Barbie doll, hack into a Pentagon supercomputer using a Memotech MTX512 (64KB of RAM) and use this extra computing power OVER DIALUP to create a 3D digital hardlight woman who also happens to have magic powers. If they had used NASA's computer, it would be a remake of 'I Dream Of Jeannie'.

The 25 year old computer genie then gets the two 15 year old guys drunk, offers to have sex with them and then throws a party for them to get laid. Typical hijinks for an 80s teen movie, sure. But the director wanted to film his sequel, which would see the sex roles reversed. A 25 year old guy gets two 15 year old girls drunk, offers to have sex with them... yeah, I don't think that's in the same genre.

Meanwhile, the nerds are too nerdy for sex, so she throws them a party instead, where the house gets trashed, she magically conjures up other people, and they stage a home invasion in order to trick two girls to fall for them.

Bill Paxton does his best as an army gungho brother who is a typical movie bully, but his part falls flat, as does the rest of this movie.

The movie ends with a Genius Ex Machina, where the house is completely restored, there are no repercussions, and the two girls are supposedly in love now after having dumped their previous boyfriends a few hours ago.

It somehow spawned a TV series that ran for 5 years.

Demi Moore (Ghost, A Few Good Men, GI Jane) and Robin Wright (Princess Bride, Forrest Gump, House of Cards, Blade Runner 2049) auditioned for the part of Lisa The Genie.

Starring: Robert Minkoff, 71 bit parts over 17 years. Wow. (A bit part is where you have some small dialogue with a supporting or lead character). He was never a lead or support, but averaged over 4 movies a year.

Kevin Thompson, one of the dwarfs who operates the suit (when Paxton gets turned into a blob), also played the bear toy in Bladerunner, and an ewok in Star Wars (including the god-awful TV movies).

Mikul Robins, random dancer at the party, will appear in another movie with Paxton, Commando.

Wallace Langham, from nobody in this movie, to David Hodges on CSI (only took 8 years to get on the opening credits).

Chino 'Fats' Willams, drove the front loader in Terminator, now a bar patron getting drunk with some very white 15 year olds trying to talk black. Cringeworthy.

Vernon Wells, bikie in Mad Max 2, then bikie leader here. Lead antagonist in Commando (Bennett).

Robert Downey Jr, as a pretentious jerk who is only concerned with his looks and getting the girl. So, he hasn't changed much.

Ilan Mitchell-Smith, lead nerd, now a professor of medieval literature, getting a cameo on The Goldbergs (Weird Science homage episode).

Kelly LeBrock, fashion model, starred in Woman In Red, her then-husband was the producer, divorced 2 years later. Starred in Hard To Kill, her then-husband was the other co-star, Steven Seagal. Divorced six years later.

Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone, Warehouse 13, The Breakfast Club, 16 Candles), one of the most annoying movie nerds, definitely the worst hairstyle (which he kept for like, a decade. Even through his 2 years where he became a unemployed drunk).

The Egyptian Princess, an Unfolding Fantasy
(1977)

Bill Paxton is the man. No, seriously.
His first producer credit, which he always wanted to do more than acting. B&w silent art noir.

Budget: "we can only afford one of the following. Lighting, a microphone, licensed music or a camera."

Bill Paxton, the man (actual credit), is in a loveless marriage with a wife who openly cheats on him.

Which is okay, because he cheats on her?

With a crazy woman who I cant decide if she has a bizarre form of Dory's amnesia (actual story) or more likely is bipolar delusional.

With no lighting, they make excellent use of shadow and ohmyfuckinggodthesplicing.

If you've ever spliced film, you'll appreciate this short film

Crazy Mama
(1975)

He's a cop.
Its a bit like blues brothers and a bit like thelma and louise.

Crazy woman goes on a whirlwind adventure, dragging her family and hangers-on with her.

Paxton only got a bit part, but it's an interesting movie with a great soundtrack.

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