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 We Didn't Start The 80s 
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Post Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

You're missing out. Diary of a Madman and Blizzard of Oz are great albums. Can't say much for solo Ozzy live. The one time I saw him Metallica blew him out of the water.


Sun May 06, 2018 11:38 am
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ski petrol wrote:
You're missing out. Diary of a Madman and Blizzard of Oz are great albums.


*shrugs*


Sun May 06, 2018 11:41 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

Outside of Diary of a Madman (I've never been much interested in solo Ozzy, just not my thing) everything here is tops.

His first two albums are helped tremendously by Randy Rhoads, but I think Ozzy, despite his extremely limited singing ability, can imbue genuine emotion into material you wouldn't think would inspire said emotion. There's a level of conviction in his voice that gives his music actual weight.

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Sun May 06, 2018 11:50 am
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The Tribute to Randy Rhoads album is the way to go for early Ozzy.


Sun May 06, 2018 12:31 pm
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Rock wrote:
I'll give this album thing a shot.

Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
Black Flag - Damaged
Devo - Freedom of Choice
Misfits - Walk Among Us
Motorhead - Ace of Spades
Napalm Death - Scum
N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman
Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Slayer - Reign in Blood
Paul's Boutique is awesome. Damaged is good, as is the Devo. The NWA and Public Enemy both rule. I forgot to add Making Movies from Dire Straits on my list. I heart that album so much.

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Sun May 06, 2018 5:12 pm
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Ozzy once sang on Crazy Train "We have to learn how to love, and forget how to hate." I will be damned if that is not profound on some level.

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Sun May 06, 2018 5:14 pm
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I only did not include Tears For Fears because I am torn between The Hurting and Songs For The Big Chair.

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Sun May 06, 2018 5:36 pm
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Doing some cleaning, and I thought I'd run down some of my favorite artifacts of the decade - Prince bootlegs. (Disclaimer: I'm omitting The Black Album, because not only was it the best selling bootleg of the decade, it has been officially available for so long now that it feels more accurate to regard it as a delayed release rather than unreleased.)


The Jewel Box

This is more of a nostalgic choice than anything, as there are many other, more comprehensive collections which have surpassed it by now. But in the early 90s, this was the choicest collection of unreleased studio material from Prince's 80s peak across 3 CDs, from the notorious Dirty Mind outtake "Lisa" to debris from the abandoned Joy Fantastic and Computer World projects. The set was so influential that it became the blueprint for his self-released Crystal Box, although sharply diverting with more recent and even brand new material.


City Lights

Originally, a 4 CD set which collects the best of the early Revolution live sets, in particular Atlanta (Mar. 6, '80) and The Ritz (Mar. 22, '81) as well as a few arcane bits (American Bandstand, SNL, a bad audience tape of the Revolution getting booed off the stage opening for the Stones, etc). The early Revolution was tight as cork, with Dez Dickerson and Andre Cymone more-than-aptly filling in for Prince's self-recorded LPs. We all know Prince's albums are classic, so it seems strange to suggest that they could have been even better had he allowed his band to record them, but these shows make a compelling case. City Lights would later expand to 18 more CDs covering virtually every Revolution concert you could hope to hear in excellent quality up through the final night of the Purple Rain tour at the Orange Bowl in Miami 1985 (which also includes Sheila E's opening set).


The Avenue

Before Prince had built his Paisley Park studio, his preferred choice of rehearsal hall was the legendary Minneapolis club First Avenue. On August 3, 1983, the Revolution performed a set intended to lay the groundwork for their upcoming Purple Rain, which would feature footage of the club extensively. Although this night's recordings of "Let's Go Crazy", "I Would Die 4 U", "Baby I'm a Star" and "Purple Rain" would be used on the soundtrack, they would be later overdubbed and doctored to a nearly unrecognizable degree (with "Baby I'm a Star" receiving the least amount of tampering), and "Purple Rain" including several additional extra minutes of a rabid awestruck crowd who must have been aware of the history they were witnessing. Unfortunately, the available boots are sourced from a VHS tape rather than the multi-tracks. But many forms of this boot also include the afternoon rehearsal and/or The Time's set that night, from which "The Bird" was recorded for their Ice Cream Castles.


The 1984 Birthday Show

It would become a custom for Prince to stage elaborate shows for his birthday (June 7) celebrations, consisting of lots of deep cuts, covers and other rarities that Prince just feels like playing. The shows from '84 and '85 are most commonly booted. The informal appeal of these shows would later also reflect in his many aftershow appearances, which, by the 90s, fans knew were frequently hotter than the main event. In addition to First Avenue, Prince would use the club's annex, called 7th Street Entry, for many surprise shows. A boot of an Oct. 22 1984 appearance (usually strictly named 7th Street Entry) is also legendary, but unfortunately short, barely a half hour.


First Avenue '86

My rather generically titled boot has come in a variety of similarly generically titled names, so you can take your pick, but it's a rehearsal concert on March 3, 1986 for what would become the final Revolution tour. The band was expanded to include a horn and back-up singer/dancer sections and would play throughout the summer of 1986. For a true live show, I would recommend An American in Paris, an FM broadcast from August 25th. But I've always preferred this performance, which is a little looser and with Prince in a generally better mood. (He would eventually end the tour by firing the entire group.) Most memorably, Prince takes an extended routine to crack on Morris Day's dancing skills, calling out Day's patented "oak tree" footwork: "We're gonna have to chop that down tonight!" The recording is from an audience mic, but one of those miraculously sounding ones that seems to have more balance and presence than many board recordings. And it's a great time.


Dream Factory/Camille

Whether it was ego, frustration, the terrible Cherry Moon reviews, whatever. Prince abruptly decided to call it quits on the Revolution, sacking even Wendy & Lisa who had become his closest collaborators, and cancelling the release of the double-album Dream Factory, which bore both women's heavy influence. As commonly chronicled, the debris of this album would eventually form the basis for the eventual Sign O' The Times early the following year. Dream Factory, as it existed prior to the final Revolution tour, and freely passed around WB as a demo tape, is widely available as a bootleg, and the most astonishing fact that we can gleen from it is just how much Wendy & Lisa remains intact (but grossly uncredited) on the official Sign O' The Times release. Some of the songs were rerecorded, but many merely remixed and a few practically untouched. The drama behind the split between Prince and W&L is one of the more fascinating chapters in his career, and for a lot of reasons that aren't necessarily flattering to the genius. All that aside, DF would still have been a fascinating album to drop in late '86.

Weirder would have been Camille, where Prince decided to bend his gender using pitch-shifted vocals in order to fake release a new protege. I mean, why bother with Vanity or Appollonia or Sheena Easton if you can just do it yourself, right P? But DIY was always and forever his precious motto. The material, however, is sharp, with "If I Was Your Girlfriend" appearing on Sign, "Rock Hard in a Funky Place" on Black Album and early versions of "Housequake" and "Shockadelica" (given to Jesse Johnson).


Sign O' The Times (soundtrack)

Maybe due to the bad vibes of the admittedly classic album, some fans prefer the concert film soundtrack versions that were later recorded with his new working band much later in '87. Whether or not you do, it hasn't always been easy to find out, as the VHS has gone out of print for years at a time, resulting in booted versions. Personally, I see them as different beasts, but there are at least some clear moments where the live performances take the cake. The European tour over the same summer has also produced a number of quality takes, especially two from Paris, June 15th and 17th (usually available as Wonderboy), as well as both aftershows from those dates.


The Flesh/Jazz Dwarf

Prince has long teased a full-on jazz release (and had actually recorded one in 1977, the Horley's Loring Park session, which wouldn't be discovered until much later), and by 1986, he had publicly named the project The Flesh, consisting of a handful of long-form instrumentals recorded shortly after Parade. He may have pulled it because he felt trepidatious over stepping out of his lane, but he didn't stop working at it. In December 1987, he took Eric Leeds and Shelia E into a small jazz club to record Jazz Dwarf, a poorly recorded (the boot is from an audience source) but exciting performance. And with The Black Album on the shelf, just another unreleased opportunity to cap off two years of an exceptional amount of recorded work.


New Year's Eve 1987

Known primarially for featuring guest star Miles Davis, which is one of those dream collaborations that make it essential on paper alone. Thankfully, the performance merits the reputation, with Prince laying a funk medley around "Housequake" which gets deep on James Brown ("Cold Sweat", "Mother Popcorn) and stax-soul ("Chain of Fools", "Land of 1000 Dances"). Comes off much better than the notorious congregation of Prince, Michael Jackson and James Brown so famous on youtube. And Prince doesn't even hurt himself.


The Trojan Horse

Available, like most boots, under a variety of names, this is an aftershow from Rotterdam, August 18, 1988 on the Lovesexy tour. It is frequently considered the very best of his aftershows, as he again goes full JB with "Cold Sweat", the Temps "Just My Imagination" (a Prince favorite) and an early look at "Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic", then the centerpiece of his planned follow-up before deciding to do Batman instead. The song would later be resurrected to lead an identically titled album in 1999, unfortunately one of the worst in his career.


Tue May 22, 2018 6:57 am
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In case anyone has yet to see the clip of James Brown inviting both Michael Jackson and Prince onstage, then I might as well post it here, because it rarely gets more 80s than this, folks. This clip cleans up the first couple of minutes before reverting back to the crude, work footage that had originally been posted. Prince might have been embarrassed or something. I don't know.

Also, this performance was mentioned recently in the infamous Quincy Jones interviews, where he said that Michael was convinced that, after the show, Prince tried to have him and his mother both run down with a limousine. While that's hilarious, I think I'm going to chalk that up to MJ's paranoia, which would later lead him to believe that Prince was using telethapy to cause Bubbles the chimp to throw temper tantrums at Neverland.




Tue May 22, 2018 7:14 am
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Thanks for waking this up.
I have been cajoled into doing the 10 Days/10 Albums thing on facebook by a few friends, and 1999 is up next (after London Calling by The Clash, Rejuvenation by The Meters, and Pure Gold from Elvis Presley).
1999 is so formative for me in so many ways and is still an album I love. True story, I played it at a party where most of the guests were 20 years younger than me, and the girls got up and danced on my (rather large) coffee table.


Tue May 22, 2018 12:49 pm
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Wooley wrote:
Thanks for waking this up.
I have been cajoled into doing the 10 Days/10 Albums thing on facebook by a few friends, and 1999 is up next (after London Calling by The Clash, Rejuvenation by The Meters, and Pure Gold from Elvis Presley).
1999 is so formative for me in so many ways and is still an album I love. True story, I played it at a party where most of the guests were 20 years younger than me, and the girls got up and danced on my (rather large) coffee table.


How does this 10 Days/10 Albums thing work? I was about to make a thread asking for album recommendations to force me to listen to new things.

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Tue May 22, 2018 10:58 pm
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Thief wrote:

How does this 10 Days/10 Albums thing work? I was about to make a thread asking for album recommendations to force me to listen to new things.


Basically somebody on Facebook calls you out and for 10 days you're supposed to list and album each day that impacted you and you still listen to. How you interpret that is up to you.
It's a fairly cool little exercise once you get into it, I refused for a while cause I just didn't feel like doing the work, but now that I'm doing it, I enjoy it.
I'll give you an example here:

Elvis - Pure Gold

Day 3/10.
"Before Elvis, there was nothing". - John Lennon
My parents were a little older than a lot of my friends', and they didn't grow up on The Beatles or go see Fleetwood Mac on their 21st birthday or whatever. My mom, the music-lover in the family, came up on Elvis Presley. She was at the Louisiana Hayride when Elvis performed in 1956. Her dad took her. He played "Don't Be Cruel" and Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman", both of which appear on this album. There were several Elvis records in her collection, but this is the one I really wore out, the one I actually stole from her as soon as I got a record player (which they got me at an absurdly young age because I was always on hers and she never got to listen to anything). I could sing every song on this record by the time I was maybe 8 years old, even if I didn't really understand the words I was singing, and she would trot me out for guests and have me sing entire Elvis songs without stopping. Turns out, Mom and I were not the only ones who grew up on Elvis. So did John Lennon, who also said, "If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been a Beatles." Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin later said basically the same thing of his band and recounts one of the great moments of his life when he met Elvis and the two sang "Love Me" back and forth at each other in the back hallway of The Forum in Los Angeles. This may be genesis of my love for music, still my greatest passion.
And I still have this record today.


Tue May 22, 2018 11:49 pm
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Wooley wrote:

Basically somebody on Facebook calls you out and for 10 days you're supposed to list and album each day that impacted you and you still listen to. How you interpret that is up to you.
It's a fairly cool little exercise once you get into it, I refused for a while cause I just didn't feel like doing the work, but now that I'm doing it, I enjoy it.
I'll give you an example here:

Elvis - Pure Gold

Day 3/10.
"Before Elvis, there was nothing". - John Lennon
My parents were a little older than a lot of my friends', and they didn't grow up on The Beatles or go see Fleetwood Mac on their 21st birthday or whatever. My mom, the music-lover in the family, came up on Elvis Presley. She was at the Louisiana Hayride when Elvis performed in 1956. Her dad took her. He played "Don't Be Cruel" and Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman", both of which appear on this album. There were several Elvis records in her collection, but this is the one I really wore out, the one I actually stole from her as soon as I got a record player (which they got me at an absurdly young age because I was always on hers and she never got to listen to anything). I could sing every song on this record by the time I was maybe 8 years old, even if I didn't really understand the words I was singing, and she would trot me out for guests and have me sing entire Elvis songs without stopping. Turns out, Mom and I were not the only ones who grew up on Elvis. So did John Lennon, who also said, "If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been a Beatles." Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin later said basically the same thing of his band and recounts one of the great moments of his life when he met Elvis and the two sang "Love Me" back and forth at each other in the back hallway of The Forum in Los Angeles. This may be genesis of my love for music, still my greatest passion.
And I still have this record today.


That's cool. Thanks for sharing! Elvis is one of those artists I would like to get more into.

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Wed May 23, 2018 12:00 am
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Wooley wrote:
My mom, the music-lover in the family, came up on Elvis Presley. She was at the Louisiana Hayride when Elvis performed in 1956.

Holy crap! I always thought my mom was cool because she saw the Beatles at City Park but this is next-level stuff. Sweet.

Also, if footage exists of Lil' Wooley singing Elvis songs, please share. :P

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Wed May 23, 2018 4:11 am
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DRAGONSLAYER (1981)

Having had success with a recent rewatch of Beastmaster, I decided to revisit this childhood favorite and was pleased to find that it's pretty great. Not as badass as Beastmaster, but this one went to some dark places that I didn't remember...
...like the Princess' body being eaten by baby dragons.

The plot is standard fare for this sort of movie but not in a way that felt stale or anything. The love interest was allowed to participate in the dragon-slaying, instead of just being rescued from it. And although I was prepared to find MacNicol annoying, he was actually fine.
But mostly the film just looked great and if the modern viewer can ignore an occasional obvious blue-screen effect, he/she will find the dragon design is terrific as is the animation/puppet work. I was really impressed with that, and then noticed the names Muren and Tippet in the credits so, duh. (At the risk of sounding like an old guy, I miss the days when Effects guys were famous.)
Hard to believe this came out the same year as Clash of the Titans. I must've been one happy geek boy that year.

So I'm 2 for 2 on 80s Fantasy revisits. Don't let me down, Krull!

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Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:50 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
DRAGONSLAYER (1981)

Having had success with a recent rewatch of Beastmaster, I decided to revisit this childhood favorite and was pleased to find that it's pretty great. Not as badass as Beastmaster, but this one went to some dark places that I didn't remember...
...like the Princess' body being eaten by baby dragons.

The plot is standard fare for this sort of movie but not in a way that felt stale or anything. The love interest was allowed to participate in the dragon-slaying, instead of just being rescued from it. And although I was prepared to find MacNicol annoying, he was actually fine.
But mostly the film just looked great and if the modern viewer can ignore an occasional obvious blue-screen effect, he/she will find the dragon design is terrific as is the animation/puppet work. I was really impressed with that, and then noticed the names Muren and Tippet in the credits so, duh. (At the risk of sounding like an old guy, I miss the days when Effects guys were famous.)
Hard to believe this came out the same year as Clash of the Titans. I must've been one happy geek boy that year.

So I'm 2 for 2 on 80s Fantasy revisits. Don't let me down, Krull!

You could not have nailed this more succinctly. Everything you've said is true. I would also mention the ending with the king as yet another nice touch in a movie that does not treat the audience like they're stupid. Loved Ralph Richardson too. And you could not be more right about both MacNIcol or the dragon, both could have been problematic and both delivered.
I think you'll enjoy Krull, it makes no bones about being outlandish fantasy fun and as long as your heart and head are in the right place going in, you should have a smile coming out. The Widow Of The Web is my favorite part (I'll say no more) but there's a lot of cool parts.


Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:22 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
I must've been one happy geek boy that year.

I certainly was. I also caught Time Bandits at a matinee. And, I guess, at least four Raiders. At least.


Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:29 pm
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Wooley wrote:
I would also mention the ending with the king as yet another nice touch in a movie that does not treat the audience like they're stupid.

Correct! The cliched version of this movie ends with the hero being carried through the village to an orchestral fanfare. Not that I have anything against happy endings, I just like that this wasn't so predictable. Again,
not only is the princess not rescued, she's eaten on-screen. DAMN.

Wooley wrote:
I think you'll enjoy Krull, it makes no bones about being outlandish fantasy fun and as long as your heart and head are in the right place going in, you should have a smile coming out. The Widow Of The Web is my favorite part (I'll say no more) but there's a lot of cool parts.

Krull is one that I watched repeatedly in the early days of cable, but like Dragonslayer I've retained very little of it since. I remember the cyclops and the blade/boomerang thingy and that's about it. (Also I seem to recall that the Web sequence was the most frustrating part of the Atari game.) Looking forward to seeing this one again.

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Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:04 pm
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*batteries not included (1987)

First time watch for me. I was 16 when this came out, so a bit old for such nonsense, and honestly I could've lived without seeing this one. I have nothing bad to say about Cronyn and Tandy, but this one just reeked of Spielberg top to bottom. yeesh. (from the director of Dragonslayer and Corvette Summer, incidentally)

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Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:12 pm
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THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN (1985)
(first-time watch)

Thoroughly absurd, but I admit I got caught up in it. I'm a sucker for bully revenge stories. My only complaint is that the bullies' retribution wasn't harsher. Still, I got three groin kicks out of the deal.
Is there anything more 80s than Helen Slater being chased through a mall to the tune of Billy Idol's Rebel Yell?

Thus concludes my Matthew Robbins Film Festival:

Corvette Summer - OK
Dragonslayer - Great
Legend of Billie Jean - Fair is Fair!
*batteries not included - Ugh

I trust I'll be forgiven for not including Bingo? I'm not a masochist.
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Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:33 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Correct! The cliched version of this movie ends with the hero being carried through the village to an orchestral fanfare. Not that I have anything against happy endings, I just like that this wasn't so predictable. Again,
not only is the princess not rescued, she's eaten on-screen. DAMN.


Krull is one that I watched repeatedly in the early days of cable, but like Dragonslayer I've retained very little of it since. I remember the cyclops and the blade/boomerang thingy and that's about it. (Also I seem to recall that the Web sequence was the most frustrating part of the Atari game.) Looking forward to seeing this one again.

I did go back and revisit it, expecting it to be awful as critics seemed to claim it was, but I found it to be just as I remembered it, no worse than my 10 year-old self thought it was.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:37 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN (1985)
(first-time watch)

Thoroughly absurd, but I admit I got caught up in it. I'm a sucker for bully revenge stories. My only complaint is that the bullies' retribution wasn't harsher. Still, I got three groin kicks out of the deal.
Is there anything more 80s than Helen Slater being chased through a mall to the tune of Billy Idol's Rebel Yell?

Thus concludes my Matthew Robbins Film Festival:

Corvette Summer - OK
Dragonslayer - Great
Legend of Billie Jean - Fair is Fair!
*batteries not included - Ugh

I trust I'll be forgiven for not including Bingo? I'm not a masochist.
Image


I was interested in going back and revisiting this, your non-scorching review will put it in my queue.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:38 am
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I have a confession to make. I've never seen any of the Karate Kid movies, the '80s Rocky movies, the '80s Jaws movies or Poltergeist. Please forgive me.

Now that I've got that off my chest, which should I watch first?

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Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:47 am
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Wooley wrote:

I was interested in going back and revisiting this, your non-scorching review will put it in my queue.


Yeah, it was fun. Not one second of it is plausible but that's beside the point. One thing I liked is that it avoided the 80s tendency toward obnoxious teens. I was a "good kid" so I didn't always identify with kids in movies back then. I've said before I thought Ferris Bueller was an insufferable person, for example, and I hated the Goonies. So I appreciated that the teenagers were not awful people, even though they were technically breaking laws. I predict that I would not have hated this had I seen it at age 14, which is quite a compliment.

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Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:04 am
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Torgo wrote:
which should I watch first?

Poltergeist, man.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:45 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Poltergeist, man.


Yeah, this.

And then Rocky IV, with a quickness.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:01 am
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Torgo wrote:
I have a confession to make. I've never seen any of the Karate Kid movies, the '80s Rocky movies, the '80s Jaws movies or Poltergeist. Please forgive me.

Now that I've got that off my chest, which should I watch first?

Poltergeist. No doubt.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:37 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:

Yeah, it was fun. Not one second of it is plausible but that's beside the point. One thing I liked is that it avoided the 80s tendency toward obnoxious teens. I was a "good kid" so I didn't always identify with kids in movies back then. I've said before I thought Ferris Bueller was an insufferable person, for example, and I hated the Goonies. So I appreciated that the teenagers were not awful people, even though they were technically breaking laws. I predict that I would not have hated this had I seen it at age 14, which is quite a compliment.

Never liked Bueller or Goonies (especially not the fuckin' Goonies... fuck the Goonies).
I was more of a James Spader in Tuff Turf kinda kid.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:40 pm
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Torgo wrote:
I have a confession to make. I've never seen any of the Karate Kid movies, the '80s Rocky movies, the '80s Jaws movies or Poltergeist. Please forgive me.

Now that I've got that off my chest, which should I watch first?


Yeah, Poltergeist is a great start, like others have stated. Then the first Karate Kid and after that, your choice.

But for me nothing screams '80s more than, with the fall of the wall, doomsday films were at its zenith. Go with Testament, The Day After and Threads.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:24 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:

Yeah, this.

And then Rocky IV, with a quickness.


Rocky IV is the worst and the awesomest 80's film, both at the same time.


"Everybody can change!!"

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Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:54 pm
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Check out They Live - Carpenter's brilliant response to Reagan's America. (and still relevant today, sadly)


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Also check out this album from The Divinyls:


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Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:20 pm
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Speaking of Carpenter, who else has been following his documentary on the art of sci-fi? Fascinating poop right there.


Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:12 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

Yeah, this.

And then Rocky IV, with a quickness.

Gotta say, I strongly, strongly prefer Rocky III.


Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:31 am
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John Dumbear wrote:
Speaking of Carpenter, who else has been following his documentary on the art of sci-fi? Fascinating poop right there.



Link?

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Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 am
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Death Proof wrote:


Link?


Not really a youtube per se. But follow here...

http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/the-real-history-of-science-fiction/


Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:13 pm
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John Dumbear wrote:

Not really a youtube per se. But follow here...

http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/the-real-history-of-science-fiction/



Saved - thanks, babe.

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Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:05 pm
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John Dumbear wrote:

Not really a youtube per se. But follow here...

http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/the-real-history-of-science-fiction/

I will definitely check this out.


Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:49 pm
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Making my way through the Paul Verhoeven filmography, all first-time watches:

FLESH + BLOOD 1985
Thoroughly unpleasant, but intentionally so. I read a review that called it a Medieval Wild Bunch, and I guess that works somewhat. The message seemed to be that man is only concerned with his own self-interest, which I sort of agree with but it doesn't make for a fun watch. This is a movie that can make a rape victim seem like sort of an a-hole. Thought about the film for the rest of the week though, so I'm not dismissing it. Unpleasant doesn't equal bad. This is just one that I won't be revisiting any time soon.

ROBOCOP 1987
A glaring hole in my film-watching resume has finally been filled. Without the benefit of decades of rewatches, I'm not quite prepared to give it the perfect 5/5 rating that my Letterboxd friends have, but I liked it a lot. My original reaction was slightly underwhelmed (expectations will do that), but I was still thinking about it days later, so I bumped my rating up an extra star. Good stuff, and I have a special place in my heart for films that were still using stop-motion animation this late in the game. The rest of the world has seen this one, so there's no need for me to add anything.

TOTAL RECALL 1990 (but still an 80s movie, right?)
I was really looking forward to this one, somehow convinced that I'd love it but alas that was not the case. I found the Dark City-ish false memory thing very intriguing so I was disappointed when the back half of the film abandoned that and became "try to turn on the turbine thingy". I was also unprepared for how much screentime would be devoted to Arnold with a wet towel on his head. I gave this one an extra star for Rob Bottin.

Side rant--
we need to talk about Arnold. I spent the decade ignoring and sometimes actively avoiding Schwarzenegger films, so I have no built-in fondness or nostalgia for the guy. It's not my intention to poop on anyone's 80s party but I don't know why we tried so hard to make Arnold a thing. If the role does not require muscles (and Total Recall definitely didn't) what does he add to a film? This was 1990 and he's still stumbling over his lines and I've never found him to have enough charisma to overcome that. (My dirty secret is that I don't even like him as Conan. Visually, he's gorgeous in the role but I can't take anything he says seriously.) Now he's made 100 films so yeah there's a good one here and there, but in films like TR he's a definite liability. I'm dogging Arnold in an 80s thread so I don't expect anyone to agree, nor am I itching for an argument. Just the two cents of someone watching his films with a fresh pair of eyes 30 years later.

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Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:04 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I found the Dark City-ish false memory thing very intriguing so I was disappointed when the back half of the film abandoned that and became "try to turn on the turbine thingy".
This reading assumes
the simulation stopped at some point, right? There's a completely valid reading of the film (valid because Verhoeven is on record saying the movie is intentionally built to support two readings) that Quaid never leaves Rekall and that everything we see after he appears to exit the simulation is just the simulation further tricking him into thinking he's experiencing something real. In other words, the false memory stuff is never abandoned because once it's introduced, it's impossible to definitively say what is the "real" layer of the story. Is Quaid really out of the machine, or is he living out exactly the scenario he signed up for, as a spy on Mars?
Captain Terror wrote:
Side rant--
we need to talk about Arnold. I spent the decade ignoring and sometimes actively avoiding Schwarzenegger films, so I have no built-in fondness or nostalgia for the guy. It's not my intention to poop on anyone's 80s party but I don't know why we tried so hard to make Arnold a thing. If the role does not require muscles (and Total Recall definitely didn't) what does he add to a film? This was 1990 and he's still stumbling over his lines and I've never found him to have enough charisma to overcome that. (My dirty secret is that I don't even like him as Conan. Visually, he's gorgeous in the role but I can't take anything he says seriously.) Now he's made 100 films so yeah there's a good one here and there, but in films like TR he's a definite liability. I'm dogging Arnold in an 80s thread so I don't expect anyone to agree, nor am I itching for an argument. Just the two cents of someone watching his films with a fresh pair of eyes 30 years later.
Arnold can be a big old hunk of cheese, but I think Total Recall intentionally leans into that aspect of his persona. He is a bit of a human special effect. But this is also a movie where this happens:

Image

And this:

Image

And this:

Image

There's some degree of camp to all of Verhoeven's Hollywood movies (and that statement undersells Showgirls), and I don't think Arnold is out of place amid such camp. Accepting Arnold in a role means accepting some level of goofiness; it's all a question of whether his goofiness is pitched at the same level of the overall picture, and I think those gifs attest to how well they meet each other. It certainly hands him one of his great one-liners in "Consider that a divorce." And I don't care how Method Daniel Day-Lewis goes; I'm not buying him yanking a giant glowing marble out of his nose. With Arnold, I might.

EDIT: And I'd also say that, due to a large part of his previous work, Arnold's presence in the movie suggests just the kind of "turn off your brain" entertainment that Verhoeven is toying with in terms of what is and isn't real. It's not so much a question of whether Arnold is plausible as a man firing a machine gun on Mars as whether a man firing a machine gun on Mars could plausibly fit into an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie (and the latter is a resounding "yes").

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Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:34 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
ROBOCOP 1987
A glaring hole in my film-watching resume has finally been filled. Without the benefit of decades of rewatches, I'm not quite prepared to give it the perfect 5/5 rating that my Letterboxd friends have, but I liked it a lot. My original reaction was slightly underwhelmed (expectations will do that), but I was still thinking about it days later, so I bumped my rating up an extra star. Good stuff, and I have a special place in my heart for films that were still using stop-motion animation this late in the game. The rest of the world has seen this one, so there's no need for me to add anything.

TOTAL RECALL 1990 (but still an 80s movie, right?)
I was really looking forward to this one, somehow convinced that I'd love it but alas that was not the case. I found the Dark City-ish false memory thing very intriguing so I was disappointed when the back half of the film abandoned that and became "try to turn on the turbine thingy". I was also unprepared for how much screentime would be devoted to Arnold with a wet towel on his head. I gave this one an extra star for Rob Bottin.

Side rant--
we need to talk about Arnold. I spent the decade ignoring and sometimes actively avoiding Schwarzenegger films, so I have no built-in fondness or nostalgia for the guy. It's not my intention to poop on anyone's 80s party but I don't know why we tried so hard to make Arnold a thing. If the role does not require muscles (and Total Recall definitely didn't) what does he add to a film? This was 1990 and he's still stumbling over his lines and I've never found him to have enough charisma to overcome that. (My dirty secret is that I don't even like him as Conan. Visually, he's gorgeous in the role but I can't take anything he says seriously.) Now he's made 100 films so yeah there's a good one here and there, but in films like TR he's a definite liability. I'm dogging Arnold in an 80s thread so I don't expect anyone to agree, nor am I itching for an argument. Just the two cents of someone watching his films with a fresh pair of eyes 30 years later.




"They'll fix it. They fix everything."


Robocop and Total Recall are two of my favorites. Great action flicks, but there's so much more to them than action...

You have Robocop H. Christ, plus one of the best screen villains of all time in R̶e̶d̶ ̶F̶o̶r̶e̶m̶a̶n̶ Clarence Boddiker. Beautifully stop-motioned ED-209, and infinitely quotable. "I'll buy THAT for a dollar!"

And Total Recall with its triple mindfuck twists, another great villain in Michael Ironside, plus master villain (in BOTH movies, mind you) Ronny Cox. Also, Ironside's sidekick who gets stabbed in the dick by a midget hooker is a minor actor and musician named Michael Champion - I did a writeup on him in my character actor thread on RT. Very interesting guy, had a several year long career after getting out of music, and then basically just disappeared. Also, the woman who played the midget hooker just passed away a couple of months ago.


That's ALWAYS been Arnold's thing. Amazing to look at, but talks like he's chewing on a hot pineapple.

Have you seen his other two big 80's flicks, Predator and Commando? Commando is much sillier and over-the-top while Predator is a wonderful cat-and-mouse chase.

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Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:39 am
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Speaking of the 80s my friends went and saw Cyndi Lauper the other night open for Rod Stewart.


Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:57 am
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BL wrote:
This reading assumes
the simulation stopped at some point, right? There's a completely valid reading of the film (valid because Verhoeven is on record saying the movie is intentionally built to support two readings) that Quaid never leaves Rekall and that everything we see after he appears to exit the simulation is just the simulation further tricking him into thinking he's experiencing something real. In other words, the false memory stuff is never abandoned because once it's introduced, it's impossible to definitively say what is the "real" layer of the story. Is Quaid really out of the machine, or is he living out exactly the scenario he signed up for, as a spy on Mars?

You could see it that way but my point is that it's never really addressed again on-screen so to apply that in hindsight kind of seems like cheating to me. At a certain point the focus of the film is clearly "let's get the big machine started". So even if I choose to believe its all a simulation, that doesn't make it more interesting than the other questions the film raised earlier. (Like does the love of your life actually exist, etc.) It's devolved into an empty action segment, imagined or otherwise. Again, those of you who've been rewatching this for decades are going to have a different take than I. Also, I haven't read the Dick story.

More on Arnold later.

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Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:45 am
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We can't talk about the 1980s without talking about Arnold. It's just not possible.


Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:02 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
It's not my intention to poop on anyone's 80s party but I don't know why we tried so hard to make Arnold a thing. If the role does not require muscles (and Total Recall definitely didn't) what does he add to a film? This was 1990 and he's still stumbling over his lines and I've never found him to have enough charisma to overcome that.


Well, the short answer is money. Obviously, the "muscles" were his way in, starting with Hercules in New York but when he hit it with Conan and Terminator, studios found a way to bank on that and for the most part, it worked. Just look at what his 80's and 90's films made. But they also banked on his accent to put him in numerous "fish-out-of-the-water" films (i.e. Red Heat, Twins, Kindergarten Cop), which also worked.

I wouldn't necessarily know why, but we were paying to see him, so studios were willing to put him on films, even if the role didn't require "muscles" or if he stumbled over his lines. I suppose that earning all that money gave him some leeway in terms of what roles to demand and what to choose, and being in such killer roles as Terminator, Predator, and even True Lies gave us motivation enough to check his next film.

From the mid-to-late 90's, he started losing that star power, but his films were still making considerable money. Then he went into politics, so I guess he was smart enough to know when to step away.

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Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:22 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
[You could see it that way but my point is that it's never really addressed again on-screen so to apply that in hindsight kind of seems like cheating to me.
Well, yes it is addressed again on screen. Very explicitly. The movie literally ends with these lines:

"I just had a terrible thought... what if this is a dream?"

"Well, then, kiss me quick before you wake up!"

It's a glib curtain line, but I'd argue it throws everything back into question regarding what came before it. As to what purpose this serves:

Captain Terror wrote:
At a certain point the focus of the film is clearly "let's get the big machine started". So even if I choose to believe its all a simulation, that doesn't make it more interesting than the other questions the film raised earlier. (Like does the love of your life actually exist, etc.) It's devolved into an empty action segment, imagined or otherwise.
It develops into an action flick in pursuit of a McGuffin along those lines, but that doesn't mean it isn't still teasing out moral and ethical questions. Keeping in mind that this all might be a scenario in a machine, what does it mean that this manufactured stimulus turns Quaid from a mild-mannered construction worker into a gun-toting insurgent who has a quip for everyone he mows down, whether its scores of security personnel or his own wife? And how does that relate to the entertainment environment that Total Recall was released in? This is, again, why Arnold's casting is crucial. There's a level of commentary and self-parody about the '80s/early '90s action movie and the male id that you're just not going to get if you write him off as some dumb Austrian who can't read his lines. By 1990, nobody was, in your words, "trying" to make Arnold a thing. He was very firmly established at the box office with a very specific type of carnage-filled action movie. Total Recall is probably the one movie of his that best, and most critically, interrogates why that was in terms of appeal to the average male moviegoer.

Rekall does what it does to provide escapism, and the same is true of the action movie of that era. I think it's critical that the movie stops questioning the reality of the scenario about halfway through only to throw it back into question at the very end, because it needs to carry the audience through the action sequences at face value before recontextualizing them. It's a movie that's very much interested in why we're entertained by violence, and why in particular at that moment in history we were entertained by a very specific type of heavily armed, musclebound, post-Vietnam, violent action movie. I think at some level, all of Verhoeven's post-Flesh + Bone Hollywood films are satires in this way. They can look very dumb on the surface, but that's because they're scrutinizing some of the dumber aspects of American culture of that era in a way that doesn't always hold your hand and isn't particularly didactic. If you're just there for the blood and bullets, Robocop and Total Recall will get the job done. But they both offer a lot more food for thought, if that's what you're looking for.

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Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:26 am
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Arnold's post political film career comeback was mostly miss except for Escape Plan.


Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:26 am
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ski petrol wrote:
Arnold's post political film career comeback was mostly miss except for Escape Plan.


I slightly disagree. I've more or less enjoyed the ones that I've seen to some extent. Sure, they're not masterpieces, but there hasn't been one I actively disliked. I would put the ones I've seen within the B or B- realm, maybe some on the C+.

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Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:48 am
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I'm not really much of a fan of Schwarzenegger but I've grown to find him a pleasantly idiosyncratic film presence now that the glut of 80's actions films have passed. I think it is not giving him enough credit to just call him a physical presence, even if his acting was never much to talk about. BL gets to this point best though, so I need not elaborate.

That said, Commando is my Schwarzenegger jam, bar none. Sure, Predator is better, but Arnold has Commando all to himself. It lives or dies upon his stupidly broad shoulders.


Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:04 am
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Death Proof wrote:
Have you seen his other two big 80's flicks, Predator and Commando? Commando is much sillier and over-the-top while Predator is a wonderful cat-and-mouse chase.

I have not, indeed this thread was created because I mentioned elsewhere that the 80s are a giant blind spot for me. To put things in perspective the only Schwarzenegger film I saw while the 80s were still in progress was Conan the Destroyer. It was well into the 2000s before I got around to Terminator. So that's the level of ignorance I'm working with when I discuss this stuff.

Thief wrote:
Well, the short answer is money. Obviously, the "muscles" were his way in, starting with Hercules in New York but when he hit it with Conan and Terminator, studios found a way to bank on that and for the most part, it worked.

BL wrote:
By 1990, nobody was, in your words, "trying" to make Arnold a thing. He was very firmly established at the box office with a very specific type of carnage-filled action movie.

Right, this part I get. I wasn't referring to Total Recall so much as just his career in general. Clearly by 90 he was a giant star so I understand how he won the role, my question was how did we let it get that far? Like what did he offer that Dolph Lundgren didn't? Ferrigno had a deafness-related speech impediment and was hardly worse than Arnold at delivering lines. I think Thief is onto something. He found success with two early roles that didn't require much of him and from there name recognition took over. I'm comfortable with that interpretation of events.

Again, don't take any of this in an antagonistic way. I don't deny there's something there that people responded to. Just noting that from my detached, 30-years-removed perspective his stardom is sort of baffling.

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Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:10 am
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BL wrote:
I think at some level, all of Verhoeven's post-Flesh + Bone Hollywood films are satires in this way. They can look very dumb on the surface, but that's because they're scrutinizing some of the dumber aspects of American culture of that era in a way that doesn't always hold your hand and isn't particularly didactic. If you're just there for the blood and bullets, Robocop and Total Recall will get the job done. But they both offer a lot more food for thought, if that's what you're looking for.

That's what I've been enjoying about his films so far, but I thought F+B and Robocop were more successful at it than TR. Don't forget I've seen all of them a grand total of ONCE so go easy on me. :)

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