We Didn't Start The 80s

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Wooley
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:21 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:25 am
Krull is random AF. And now we need... ...fire horses! Also, the Glave has got to be on the same list of of OHSA violations as the Death Star. I love it. Don't get me wrong. But there is now way you're catching that thing without losing finger. One of the most 80s fantasy weapons imaginable, basically a shuriken had a baby with Mjølnir.
Hahaha! :D
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Torgo » Mon Apr 13, 2020 1:08 pm

Tango & Cash defies criticism. Like a hair metal song or a rum cocktail, it bypasses the analytical part of your brain and goes straight for the pleasure center. It does, however, tell a story: an evil businessman frames the titular vice cops and frenemies for murder so he can continue to do whatever he wants. Since that is the state of the world today, it resonated deeper than I thought it would. Really, though, the plot is an excuse to stage the best kinds of scenes found in movies like this one - the phony trial, the prison break, the storming of the bad guy's compound, the manhood-measuring contests, etc. - and string them together with witty banter. Thankfully, these scenes are fun and exciting and the banter is more funny than not. It helps that watching Russell and Stallone trade barbs is just as amusing as watching them beat up bad guys. That blasted analytical part of my brain could not ignore that some of the banter is awkward, clunky and/or has not aged well, and as for that big, explosive finale, it seemed to go by too quickly. However, maybe that just means I was really enjoying it.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:16 pm

Torgo wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 1:08 pm
Tango & Cash defies criticism. Like a hair metal song or a rum cocktail, it bypasses the analytical part of your brain and goes straight for the pleasure center. It does, however, tell a story: an evil businessman frames the titular vice cops and frenemies for murder so he can continue to do whatever he wants. Since that is the state of the world today, it resonated deeper than I thought it would. Really, though, the plot is an excuse to stage the best kinds of scenes found in movies like this one - the phony trial, the prison break, the storming of the bad guy's compound, the manhood-measuring contests, etc. - and string them together with witty banter. Thankfully, these scenes are fun and exciting and the banter is more funny than not. It helps that watching Russell and Stallone trade barbs is just as amusing as watching them beat up bad guys. That blasted analytical part of my brain could not ignore that some of the banter is awkward, clunky and/or has not aged well, and as for that big, explosive finale, it seemed to go by too quickly. However, maybe that just means I was really enjoying it.
Rambo is a pussy.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Torgo » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:29 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:16 pm
Rambo is a pussy.
I bet Rambo wouldn't shoot an oil tanker.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:49 pm

Hey, can we get this back up and running, please?

I may have to cross-post here to get this moving again. Actually, I'm gonna re-post two write-ups here.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:51 pm

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Ahhh... the story of a man losing his Cherry. And going to absurd, dystopian-future, low-budget, Mad Max-knockoff lengths to get it back.
Sam Treadwell is a well-off yuppie in the not-too-distant future, living a simple, comfortable life with his beautiful, doting wife, Cherry, truly the perfect girl.
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And she oughta be, considering she was built that way.
Cherry is a rare, high-end gynoid wife, practically perfect in every way, beautiful, efficient, and totally devoted to her man. Until a romantic incident leads to her circuits all burning out and Cherry is beyond repair, lost forever to the grief-stricken Sam, who is left with nothing but her personality-chip.
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Sam wallows in his grief and has no interest in any human female, as there is simply no one as perfect as a Cherry 2000, a model that was, tragically, discontinued. Sam decides there's nothing left to do but embark on a quest to find a Cherry 2000 "chassis" he can reunite with the chip of his beloved wife and bring his Cherry home. But to do so, he must leave the safety of the big city and venture into the highly dangerous Zone 7, a post-apocalyptic-style wasteland ruled by the ideological villain, Lester. To navigate this lawless territory, he'll need the help of an expert "tracker" which he finds in the guise of Melanie Griffith's sly and skillful E. (Edith) Johnson.
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While at first reluctant to hire this pretty woman as his wasteland guide, he soon learns that no matter how deadly the situation, E. Johnson is all business, always at ease, and always has a way out. Together they set off into the wasteland in Edith's afterburner-fitted '65 Mustang to find Sam's precious Cherry with Lester and his henchmen hot on their heels.

To be honest, this is not a great movie. I'm sure that will come as a shock to many.
However, this movie has a number of charms to offer the open-minded viewer.
For one thing, the 1980s version of the future was just so much cooler than what we actually got. I mean, like, worlds cooler. What we got is so fucking lame, it's like way more boring than things already were, like everything cool actually somehow got filtered out and we were just left with the lame. Here is what the future was supposed to look like:
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Which is just a lot cooler than any of the bars I go to, that's for sure.
And Larry Fishburne never show up dressed like this at the places I frequent:
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And you can see that all this design really permeates the film and, on the budget, gives it a decent sense of world-building. I mean, I can actually kind of imagine that this is what people should be living in now instead of just like lame apartments and condos.
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So you can see that there is actually decent design, cool lighting, just a general overall aesthetic that does a nice job of making you believe that this could have been the future... and it's fun to look at. While the wasteland where we spend most of our time is pretty typical Mad Max, there are still outposts of fascinating degraded futurism like The Glory Hole and Lester's 1950s Motel oasis in the middle of the desert.
Speaking of Lester, Tim Thomerson does his best to steal this show, as usual, with what he's given to do. It is pretty fun, his villain is certainly unique and very amusing, but I think they could have let him go even more and this movie would have been even more fun. As it is, he's absurd and enjoyable... but still not quite able to steal the movie from Melanie Griffith.
I'll say this about Melanie Griffith: it's never really clear whether or not she can actually act at all, and yet there is something magnetic and certainly photogenic about her that makes you not really care so much. I think she was perfect for this and I can't imagine who else I would want for this if it was remade. She brings this strange combination of innocence and guile, poorly-hidden beauty and sexuality with a good coat of desert dust, a diamond somewhere deep in the rough, and it is exactly what this movie needs. She rides the hood of a car being carried across a chasm by a crane while trading rocket-launcher fire with dozens of henchmen as if it were afternoon tea, yet not with a hint of glibness to her. It's really pretty enjoyable.
I'd also want to comment on the obvious meta-commentary that comes with a main character who chooses to live with and be in love with a perfect robot rather than an imperfect woman. There's a lot of meat on that bone and the movie doesn't exactly go into it, but hints at it just enough to make you smile that they know that you know that they know, etc.
Ultimately, a fun flick, a very small hidden-gem maybe as this movie is no great shake and there is a reason it's largely forgotten, but it's a good movie for a Sunday matinee.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:01 am

Rump wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:18 pm
Watching this for the first time tonight...

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This is a favorite from my teenage years, a movie about a cool guy among douches, which, naturally, is how I saw myself, or how I wished myself. Regardless, I identified with these types of characters. Rebellious, charming smartasses. That's who I aspired to be.
And Judd Nelson is no slouch in this department. This is pre-Breakfast Club and he absolutely delivers, he's required to carry much of the load in this film and he is up to the challenge.
But I get ahead of myself, let's have a brief synopsis:
I would say Making The Grade is the story of two young men, one of high privilege and one hustling the street, who find they each have problems the other can help them with. Palmer (Dana Olsen), a pretty useless rich-kid who has managed to stay in boarding school into early adulthood rather than face the real world, is given the ultimatum to finally graduate or be disowned. Meanwhile, Eddie (Judd Nelson), a lone young petty hustler, owes a lot of money to higher-level hustler "Dice", played by Andrew "Dice" Clay, who is fed up and ready to break some bones. When their paths cross, an arrangement is made where everyone gets what they need, Palmer a diploma and Eddie the money he needs to pay off "Dice".
But how does it play when this guy:
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has to become a "preppy" and fit in with the rich kids?
And what will happen when "Dice" finally finds Eddie at the prep-school?
And how will he fare in his pursuit of a high-society lady-fair and his battle against the Chads...
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Well, rest assured, Judd Nelson has the game to make it work.
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Or they wouldn't have spent the money to make this movie.
And they should have. You get your money's worth in this film. It is exactly what you think it's gonna be, but it succeeds at being that. Nelson can do the job, Olsen is actually pretty damn funny himself, the supporting cast supports them both just fine (including Gordon Jump, Mr. Carlson from WKRP in Cincinnati), and, no joke, Andrew "Dice" Clay makes his case for why he should have had a much better career if his humor wasn't so extremely misogynistic (and I know that was his schtick but, while it got him fame, it also buried him). When he's in a scene, it's automatically better AND he shows a great sense of humor about himself.

So, honestly, if you have 104 minutes to kill and you're in the mood for one of these "vs. the Preppies" high-school movies from the 80s, you could really spend your time a lot worse than watching this.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:14 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:49 pm
Hey, can we get this back up and running, please?

I may have to cross-post here to get this moving again. Actually, I'm gonna re-post two write-ups here.
Please feel free to cross-pollinate the threads. I just haven't been doing a lot of writing about films lately. Still watching, but since I've been piggy-backing on a friend's streaming accounts, I've felt obliged to spending a lot of attention on providing recommendations and doing rewatches of those.


I suppose I could do a quick mention of one such rewatch, since it fits the criteria. Speaking of Cherry 2000, there's a lot of quality Melanie Griffith films from the era (and apologies to Pamela Gidley, but what could I write-up? Thrashin'? Dudes?!?!?). I think we're all aware of great cult items like Body Double and Something Wild, or Griffith's mainstream breakout in Working Girl, which is carried by her mix of sweet and sultry purring. Of the rest, there's the overlooked British gangster film Stormy Monday that has some solid blonde posturing between Sting and Sean Bean and a classy jazz-blues soundtrack from a young Mike Figgis, a director known for his musical taste. And also Abel Ferrera's Fear City....

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This film, frankly, should be trash. It has all of the hallmarks of puriently tossed garbage, a mix of slasher-porn and sleazy crime drama that was tailor-made for the type of direct-to-video release that people used to rent from gas stations (proto-reboxes, if you will).

Ferrara, then in his "professional" phase, directs his NYC in complete sincerity however, but what really elevates the material are the completely unnecessarily strong performances. Tom Berenger has always been a finer actor than his resume suggests. Sure, he's Oscar-nominated for Platoon (a defining role), but he's also the only actor that no one talks about from Big Chill, acted circles around Michael Pare in Eddie & the Cruisers and had a number of other crucial 80s roles that deserve to be sought out - Dogs of War, Someone to Watch Over Me, Betrayed. Here, you see a classic example of his brand of wounded machismo, the strong and silent guilt-ridden hood that is both smarter and more tender than he can afford to let on. It's also an example of how he wasn't content to just take a paycheck for material that's clearly beneath his talents. Griffith is also excellent in her cliched role as stripper/junkie, again refusing to sleepwalk through a thankless role by shading her own particular grace notes onto a barely defined character. Billy Dee is bad cop extraordinaire, with a special disliking for "greasers". And under it all, because it's still essentially a slasher flick, you have some nunchuck Chad with mother/whore issues who's watched Enter the Ninja way too many times.

So this melange of mafioso, stripclub, slasher, malt liquor cops and wanna-be ninjas makes it about the perfect gutter-resin of 80s titilation, but it's also not too bad and way more enjoyable than it has a right to be. Don't be afraid by that poster.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm

I've got The Running Man queued up for the weekend. Thoughts?
Will this be the film that converts me into an Ahnold fan? It's directed by Starsky so how can I lose?
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:30 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm
I've got The Running Man queued up for the weekend. Thoughts?
Will this be the film that converts me into an Ahnold fan? It's directed by Starsky so how can I lose?
It's fun, but if I were trying to make Arnold fans, I would go with Terminator, Predator or Total Recall first. Running Man is second-tier to those, but there's also a lot of Arnold fans who prefer the cheese more than the meat, so it might be more closer to what they want.

It's also worth noting that Lucio Fulci's New Gladiators (Warriors of the Year 2072) is almost identical in plot, only a fraction of the budget, a much cooler soundtrack and appeared 4 years earlier.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Rock » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:01 pm

As far as Starsky-directed efforts go, Band of the Hand is a good time. It's like an afterschool special with a lot more firepower.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:03 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:30 pm
but if I were trying to make Arnold fans, I would go with Terminator, Predator or Total Recall first. Running Man is second-tier to those
Well, having seen those three I guess Running Man's chances aren't looking so good. There will no doubt be a semi-annoyed rant-y post in yall's future. :)

I don't hear Running Man mentioned very often, but from what I've seen it looks like an 80s-gasm so I'm surprised it's not more popular just on that level.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Rock » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:11 pm

Have you seen Conan the Barbarian? IIRC you like your actioners to be less jokey so that one might do the trick. It's not my favourite Arnie role but he is very well cast.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:18 pm

It wasn't my intention to restart the Arnold conversation/argument, I was only pointing out that I'm still giving him a chance to win me over. Running Man looks fun at the very least so I'm going in with an optimistic outlook.
Rock wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:11 pm
Have you seen Conan the Barbarian? IIRC you like your actioners to be less jokey so that one might do the trick. It's not my favourite Arnie role but he is very well cast.
From the 80s + 90s I've now seen
Terminator 1 & 2
Conan 1 & 2 & Sonja
Predator
Total Recall
Last Action Hero
True Lies


I like many of those films and love two of them, but I'm still not convinced that any of them are better because Arnold was in them. As far as I can tell, after I've seen The Running Man the only glaring omission will be Commando. So unless his work in that is transcendent enough to change my mind I think it's safe to say that Arnie and I just don't have a Love Connection. :(
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm
I've got The Running Man queued up for the weekend. Thoughts?
Will this be the film that converts me into an Ahnold fan? It's directed by Starsky so how can I lose?
You haven't seen this?
Alright, well look, if you've read the book, don't expect it to be much like that. But I think the movie is pretty effective if kind of "of its time). Richard Dawson nearly steals the show as Killian.
It does actually contain a good bit of meta-commentary, though.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:54 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:30 pm
It's fun, but if I were trying to make Arnold fans, I would go with Terminator, Predator or Total Recall first. Running Man is second-tier to those, but there's also a lot of Arnold fans who prefer the cheese more than the meat, so it might be more closer to what they want.
I think that sounds about right.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:38 pm

Rock wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:01 pm
As far as Starsky-directed efforts go, Band of the Hand is a good time. It's like an afterschool special with a lot more firepower.
Ha- he also did Kazaam. Nice.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by crumbsroom » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:39 pm

Running Man and Commando are probably my two favorite Schwarzeneggers, next to Predator
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Rock » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:48 pm

Thanks to the Running Man, anytime someone says "I'll be back", I respond "Only in a rerun".

One of these days someone will get it.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:09 am

What film is better: Running Man or Rambling Man?
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:59 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:09 am
What film is better: Running Man or Rambling Man?
There are no Andrew Dice Clay impersonations in Running Man. The answer is clear.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:43 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:59 am
There are no Andrew Dice Clay impersonations in Running Man. The answer is clear.
"I'm a better director than Starsky. Too bad my only film is 'lost' so I can't prove this outlandish claim." #SAD!
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:27 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:14 pm
...And also Abel Ferrera's Fear City....

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I vaguely remember liking this a good bit back in the day, because I always loved that gritty-New York aesthetic that Ferrera used in Ms. .45 and Driller Killer, on display again here. I can't remember too much of the story, but I was a fan of Tom Berenger back in the day, seeing all the movies you mentioned (I'm a huge fan of The Big Chill and I agree he gets a bit of short-shrift for what is a good and meaningful performance and I watched Someone To Watch Over Me I don't know how many times, Major League is a favorite comedy of mine, I agree he's the better actor in Eddie and the Cruisers, and I thought he had a great, surprising turn in Looking For Mr. Goodbar).
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:57 pm

Ok, I've now seen The Running Man.
Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:30 pm
Running Man is second-tier
Agreed.
Wooley wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 pm
Richard Dawson nearly steals the show as Killian.
There's no "nearly" about it. He was the star as far as I was concerned.

Based on the lukewarm ratings of my Letterboxd friends, I'd say I enjoyed this about as much as I was supposed to. As an action film it's no Predator, not that anyone ever said it would be. The bits of humor weren't funny enough to make up for that. Arnold's line delivery is as amateurish as ever. MC Alonso was ok but didn't make much of an impression on me. Surrounded by Arnold, Dweezil, Jesse the Body, etc, Richard Dawson was like freakin' Olivier in comparison. I felt like he was giving more than the movie asked of him.

The first 45 minutes weren't really pressing my buttons, but I assumed things would get more fun once the game started. They did somewhat, but that wasn't the balls-out insanity I was hoping it would be. Jim Brown with a flamethrower should have been the greatest thing ever. I guess we can blame PM Glaser for that. On paper it was all fun and weird but it just wasn't presented with any flair. (Imagine George Miller's version of The Running Man)

Honestly the most interesting part for me was the "fake news / deep fake" element, but the film can hardly take credit for the fact that I watched this in 2020.

And I know cheesy Yamaha synth scores is a favorite among 80s fetishists but they always cheapen a movie for me. And a Harold Faltermeyer/John Parr collab is pretty much my worst 80s nightmare. Somebody could've warned me about that last song. :)

So-- Didn't hate it but will not likely ever watch it again.


Disclaimer: Midway through the film I learned that I'm going to be hit by a hurricane in three days which isn't exactly conducive for a fun movie-watching experience. So maybe I'm just in a bad mood.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:42 pm

Does this mean I'm going to be hit by a hurricane in 3 days?
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:48 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:42 pm
Does this mean I'm going to be hit by a hurricane in 3 days?
Yes, but the mayor will let you park on the neutral ground so it's fine. Everything's fine.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:03 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:48 pm
Yes, but the mayor will let you park on the neutral ground so it's fine. Everything's fine.
Shit, I'm supposed fly out Wednesday morning for my only vacation this year that hasn't been cancelled by COVID.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Torgo » Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:57 pm

Guys, I have to make a controversial admission: I enjoyed The Beastmaster more than Conan the Barbarian. I like both, but I've always felt that the latter, like the typical MCU origin story, is more of a primer for the franchise than a fully-fledged movie, which is what The Beastmaster feels like. I also prefer Singer's performance to Ahnuld's and the movie has a more robust and emotionally involving story. Oh, and you've gotta love the cute little ferrets.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:05 pm

The preceding comment has my full support
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Torgo » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:15 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:05 pm
The preceding comment has my full support
:up:
It's also ever so slightly less misogynistic.
Then again, Dar's first encounter with Kiri is probably so cringey because he has likely never met a woman before, but I could just be lying to myself.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Death Proof » Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:07 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:05 pm
The preceding comment has my full support
And he has my sword.
Ain't no grave gonna hold this body down
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Death Proof » Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:08 pm

Torgo wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:15 pm
:up:
It's also ever so slightly misogynistic.
Then again, Dar's first encounter with Kiri is probably so cringey because he has likely never met a woman before, but I could just be lying to myself.
Her bathing scene helped me get through puberty.

Hell, her bathing scene probably started my puberty.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Rock » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19 am

Been itching for a Conan rewatch after I saw it pop up again on Netflix (might squeeze one in before next month), but The Beastmaster is a quality fantasy adventure. I remember Conan not always feeling as big as it should thanks to Milius' preference for medium shots, while The Beastmaster always felt like Coscarelli was getting the most bang for his buck when working with a smaller budget.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:12 am

I see. First, Commando is better than Terminator. And now this.

Your lamentations are not worthy of my Sandahl.


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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:06 pm

A word about Arnold as Conan:

I was actually going to address this a couple of weeks ago but I don't enjoy being the A-hole that dumps on Arnold 24/7 in an 80s thread, so I deleted it. But since I have an ally in Torgo, here goes:

Disclaimer: I didn't see Conan the B until I was well into adulthood. (Conan the D wasn't rated R so I got to see that one at the theater but we won't discuss that now). Point is, there's no nostalgia involved in my opinion.

First of all, I did indeed enjoy the film. As a Frazetta painting come to life it is, as the kids say, Amaze-ballz. Arnold is a gorgeous man.
The problem is that by the time I watched the film I had already become a fan of RE Howard's Conan stories, and Arnold is NOT a good fit for the character in my opinion. Howard often describes him as "panther-like" while Arnold is more of a rhinoceros. If Arnold swings an axe at your head you're a goner, but he is not going to outrun anybody, or nimbly climb a tree, or do anything remotely athletic that doesn't involve sheer strength. In this way, a physique like Singer's in Beastmaster or, dare I say it, Momoa's in the recent Conan, is more in line with the way the character is described. Now I'm not such a nerd that this is a deal-breaker for me; I'm willing to roll with that but I just disagree with the previous poster that said Arnold was "perfectly cast" as Conan.
More important (at the risk of beating a dead horse) is Arnold's delivery. Even in a movie such as this where "acting" is not of prime concern, he still manages to seem out of his depth. On my most recent viewing I remarked that Arnold's Conan had a stoner/surfer quality to his speech which made him hard to take seriously. I'd have to rewatch to determine if I was being unfair.

So yeah, fun movie that I like a lot but not beyond criticism either. Back in the RT days, I once got a lot of people angry for suggesting that Arnold "wasn't my Conan" but I stand by it. I acknowledge that those of us who grew up with it feel more strongly about it than I.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:23 pm

Torgo wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:57 pm
Guys, I have to make a controversial admission: I enjoyed The Beastmaster more than Conan the Barbarian. I like both, but I've always felt that the latter, like the typical MCU origin story, is more of a primer for the franchise than a fully-fledged movie, which is what The Beastmaster feels like. I also prefer Singer's performance to Ahnuld's and the movie has a more robust and emotionally involving story. Oh, and you've gotta love the cute little ferrets.
I disagree with you about Conan but not about liking Beastmaster more. I personally love both films but in different ways, but I would never, as Captain Terror knows, fault anyone for any love of The Beastmaster.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:25 pm

Rock wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19 am
Been itching for a Conan rewatch after I saw it pop up again on Netflix (might squeeze one in before next month), but The Beastmaster is a quality fantasy adventure. I remember Conan not always feeling as big as it should thanks to Milius' preference for medium shots, while The Beastmaster always felt like Coscarelli was getting the most bang for his buck when working with a smaller budget.
He does.
There is one shot, with the "city" in the background behind the characters that is achieved with miniature and forced-perspective and it's pretty obvious but it's so fucking charming how he was going for as much as he could with what he had that I actually love the shot and it just makes me love the movie more.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Torgo » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:56 pm

Death Proof wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:08 pm
Her bathing scene helped me get through puberty.

Hell, her bathing scene probably started my puberty.
My scene like that was Jennifer Connelly in her white dress in The Rocketeer, but I'm sure I would have had a similar reaction if I saw the movie at that age.
Unless Rumpled 4 Skin beats us to it, I smell a new Baker's Dozen topic.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:09 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:06 pm
A word about Arnold as Conan:

I was actually going to address this a couple of weeks ago but I don't enjoy being the A-hole that dumps on Arnold 24/7 in an 80s thread, so I deleted it. But since I have an ally in Torgo, here goes:

Disclaimer: I didn't see Conan the B until I was well into adulthood. (Conan the D wasn't rated R so I got to see that one at the theater but we won't discuss that now). Point is, there's no nostalgia involved in my opinion.

First of all, I did indeed enjoy the film. As a Frazetta painting come to life it is, as the kids say, Amaze-ballz. Arnold is a gorgeous man.
The problem is that by the time I watched the film I had already become a fan of RE Howard's Conan stories, and Arnold is NOT a good fit for the character in my opinion. Howard often describes him as "panther-like" while Arnold is more of a rhinoceros. If Arnold swings an axe at your head you're a goner, but he is not going to outrun anybody, or nimbly climb a tree, or do anything remotely athletic that doesn't involve sheer strength. In this way, a physique like Singer's in Beastmaster or, dare I say it, Momoa's in the recent Conan, is more in line with the way the character is described. Now I'm not such a nerd that this is a deal-breaker for me; I'm willing to roll with that but I just disagree with the previous poster that said Arnold was "perfectly cast" as Conan.
More important (at the risk of beating a dead horse) is Arnold's delivery. Even in a movie such as this where "acting" is not of prime concern, he still manages to seem out of his depth. On my most recent viewing I remarked that Arnold's Conan had a stoner/surfer quality to his speech which made him hard to take seriously. I'd have to rewatch to determine if I was being unfair.

So yeah, fun movie that I like a lot but not beyond criticism either. Back in the RT days, I once got a lot of people angry for suggesting that Arnold "wasn't my Conan" but I stand by it. I acknowledge that those of us who grew up with it feel more strongly about it than I.
Alright, I'll field this as I am just about to finish all of the Robert E. Howard Conan stories myself and I understand what you're saying.
So I've thought a lot about Arnold's casting for this role and a little about Jason Momoa's and I've come to some sorts of conclusions.
First, even in the age of HGH and CGI, I think it is impossible to cast Conan exactly right because Howard made him something that maybe one in a million humans could be, and on purpose, obviously. Just re-reading some of the descriptions of him, especially as I am in that really pulpy period of Conan right now where he's very descriptive of Conan's might, the foil's curves, and exactly how much brains and blood, he describes Conan as not anomalously large but almost always the biggest person in any room. There is only one story I've come across where there has been a character physically bigger than Conan. And it's described as being something that catches the eye immediately, even when he's covered in mail and a cape. He's very much like a large modern-day strongman, someone who can credibly fight, strength-wise, an actual fucking gorilla.
But you're also right in that he is described as incredibly athletic, "panther-like" as you pointed out. Quick, smooth, extremely agile despite his enormous size. And that athleticism is what serves him as much as the strength. There are things he does because he is simply stronger than a man should be (like defeat a goddamn gorilla) but also things he does because of his incredible animal-grace (like sword-fight a large group of lesser warriors, eviscerating them all with hardly a scratch on himself, as his ability to dodge and riposte multiple opponents at once is unlike any other man).
So, the problem you then run into with casting, aside from the actual look (Momoa is maybe closer to Howard's description from the shoulders up but he is simply too small), is how do you get an actor who is noticeably bigger than most other warriors and convincingly stronger than almost any man but is also almost cat-like in agility and athleticism? Where do you find such a person? In 1981 when they were casting this?
The interesting answer is that Arnold actually got on a different training regimen for this where he worked a lot on cardio and running and smoothing out his physique a bit while improving his athleticism. Obviously, with his massive frame he never got to Howard's "cat-like" agility, but he tried to get closer to it and then you just have to make a choice: Do you go with a smaller actor who is not nearly as imposing and compromise that whole size-strength aspect of the character or do you take the big man and accept that some of the battle stuff will be a little less dynamic than you'd want?
Another thing that's maybe more compelling though is Conan's intelligence. In the stories, Conan is actually quite smart and fairly worldly. He understands battle and strategy and is a better field-general (in one story) than an actual field-general. He suspects traps, does not often fall prey to ruses, and generally gets his way. Obviously Milius/Arnold's Conan is nothing like this as he is sort of a blunt instrument, all force and no guile. But I think this actually works in the first film because we are seeing something Howard did not give us, the formation of Conan into what he would be in Howard's stories. In The Barbarian he is still naive to many things and has an almost child-like understanding of the world, which is perhaps not actually inappropriate considering where we are in this character's development. In The Destroyer, we see a much smarter and more savvy version of the character now that he has spent time in the world and his quest for vengeance (on Thulsa Doom) is in his past.

All in all, I love Howard's stories and I would love to see them take another legitimate stab at them with someone more like Milius, a real director, at the helm with a real script rather than a studio-project actioner with as much CGI and silliness as the celluloid will hold (which the Momoa version appeared to be from what little I could even tolerate).
But I am more than satisfied with the early-version of Conan that Milius and Arnold put on the screen, even if they weren't able to capture everything the character should be.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Rock » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:12 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:06 pm
A word about Arnold as Conan:

I was actually going to address this a couple of weeks ago but I don't enjoy being the A-hole that dumps on Arnold 24/7 in an 80s thread, so I deleted it. But since I have an ally in Torgo, here goes:

Disclaimer: I didn't see Conan the B until I was well into adulthood. (Conan the D wasn't rated R so I got to see that one at the theater but we won't discuss that now). Point is, there's no nostalgia involved in my opinion.

First of all, I did indeed enjoy the film. As a Frazetta painting come to life it is, as the kids say, Amaze-ballz. Arnold is a gorgeous man.
The problem is that by the time I watched the film I had already become a fan of RE Howard's Conan stories, and Arnold is NOT a good fit for the character in my opinion. Howard often describes him as "panther-like" while Arnold is more of a rhinoceros. If Arnold swings an axe at your head you're a goner, but he is not going to outrun anybody, or nimbly climb a tree, or do anything remotely athletic that doesn't involve sheer strength. In this way, a physique like Singer's in Beastmaster or, dare I say it, Momoa's in the recent Conan, is more in line with the way the character is described. Now I'm not such a nerd that this is a deal-breaker for me; I'm willing to roll with that but I just disagree with the previous poster that said Arnold was "perfectly cast" as Conan.
More important (at the risk of beating a dead horse) is Arnold's delivery. Even in a movie such as this where "acting" is not of prime concern, he still manages to seem out of his depth. On my most recent viewing I remarked that Arnold's Conan had a stoner/surfer quality to his speech which made him hard to take seriously. I'd have to rewatch to determine if I was being unfair.

So yeah, fun movie that I like a lot but not beyond criticism either. Back in the RT days, I once got a lot of people angry for suggesting that Arnold "wasn't my Conan" but I stand by it. I acknowledge that those of us who grew up with it feel more strongly about it than I.
That might have been me, haha.

I am not actually that familiar with the source material, but I think Arnold is cast perfectly for what the movie is going for, if you catch my drift. Whether or not that's a net positive depends on if you gel with Milius' vision (although I do have some issues with his execution).
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:16 pm

That's fine if he isn't your Conan but criticism of him not matching the source material, while valid, mean about as much to me as Connery being wrong for Bond because he's Scottish.

Rather than Howard's Conan, this is Milius' Conan, to which Arnold is perfectly matched. The manner in which he sculpted his body to fit his conception of each character (while always big, there's definite differences between him here than Terminator, Predator, Commando) is an element of Arnie's performance and dedication that rarely gets credit but it lends itself greatly to his commanding presence. And that's what this version of the story called for: a commanding presence. Arnold delivers that ten fold.

Also, Thulsa Doom is a magnificent villain in conception and performance.

It's easily among Arnold's best films and is my standard bearer for "mature fantasy" cinema.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:19 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:09 pm
But I am more than satisfied with the early-version of Conan that Milius and Arnold put on the screen, even if they weren't able to capture everything the character should be.
Right, I hope I made it clear that I enjoy the film for what it is, despite all the things it isn't. I think Arnold was perfectly cast as Frazetta's Conan if not Howard's. And I'm certainly not one to turn up my nose at that. I've watched Fire And Ice way more times than it deserves to be watched.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:24 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:16 pm
That's fine if he isn't your Conan but criticism of him not matching the source material, while valid, mean about as much to me as Connery being wrong for Bond because he's Scottish.
Right, that's why I threw in this bit--
Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:06 pm
Now I'm not such a nerd that this is a deal-breaker for me; I'm willing to roll with that


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:16 pm
It's easily among Arnold's best films and is my standard bearer for "mature fantasy" cinema.
No argument here. Having seen most of his important 80s/90s films now, the two that I like enough to own would be Terminator '84 and Conan the B.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Rock » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:26 pm

On a side note, I rewatched a Raw Deal last night and enjoyed it a lot more this time around. In a way it's the flipside of Commando in that the material seems ill-suited to Arnie's strengths and seems to call for a lower key presence but I think the movie around him is well made enough to be enjoyable. Having Robert Davi and Paul Shenar in supporting roles definitely helps.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:36 pm

Rock wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:12 pm
That might have been me, haha.

I am not actually that familiar with the source material, but I think Arnold is cast perfectly for what the movie is going for, if you catch my drift. Whether or not that's a net positive depends on if you gel with Milius' vision (although I do have some issues with his execution).
I agree. And as a fan of both, I got no problem with the way they brought Conan to the screen for a first outing. I think if the subsequent outing(s) had been a little better (and I think The Destroyer is good enough fun but they just had to Spielbergize it) it really could have come together as a pretty good representation of the character and that world.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:38 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:16 pm
That's fine if he isn't your Conan but criticism of him not matching the source material, while valid, mean about as much to me as Connery being wrong for Bond because he's Scottish.

Rather than Howard's Conan, this is Milius' Conan, to which Arnold is perfectly matched. The manner in which he sculpted his body to fit his conception of each character (while always big, there's definite differences between him here than Terminator, Predator, Commando) is an element of Arnie's performance and dedication that rarely gets credit but it lends itself greatly to his commanding presence. And that's what this version of the story called for: a commanding presence. Arnold delivers that ten fold.

Also, Thulsa Doom is a magnificent villain in conception and performance.

It's easily among Arnold's best films and is my standard bearer for "mature fantasy" cinema.
Agree with all.
I watched a video about his casting for this and some of his other work and you're absolutely right, he adjusted his training in each case to fit what the directors wanted for their films, just another level of his extreme dedication (talk about a self-made man).

And Thulsa Doom is one of my favorite film villains, making James Earl Jones possibly the only man to be in my villain pantheon twice.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:46 pm

Can we all agree that Brigitte Nielsen is nobody's Red Sonja? :P
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:48 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:19 pm
Right, I hope I made it clear that I enjoy the film for what it is, despite all the things it isn't. I think Arnold was perfectly cast as Frazetta's Conan if not Howard's. And I'm certainly not one to turn up my nose at that. I've watched Fire And Ice way more times than it deserves to be watched.
Well, this gets to my point, as I am just reading the Conan works right now (I'm now 14 stories into the 21) and his actual description is fresh in my mind, I think Frazetta's Conan is pretty much exactly Howard's Conan and I think if Howard had lived to see Frazetta's work he would have been fucking thrilled. Again, I've paid a lot of attention to the descriptions of Conan, physically, in physique and movement, as well as mentally, and the cover-paintings of the time do not come anywhere near the descriptions in the stories, while Frazetta's Conan not only appears physically the way Howard describes (minus the armor), but usually has the facial expression that conveys that grim, edgy, yet clever mind that Conan possessed. The Conan historian that edited the collection I have actually kind of mocks the art-work from the Weird Tales covers as conveying Conan as an athletic bank-teller with a receding hairline.

Of course, there is no limit on the number of times Fire And Ice should be watched.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:49 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:46 pm
Can we all agree that Brigitte Nielsen is nobody's Red Sonja? :P
That we can agree on my friend. Unfortunately, you can't really make that movie anymore.
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Re: We Didn't Start The 80s

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:42 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:48 pm
Well, this gets to my point, as I am just reading the Conan works right now (I'm now 14 stories into the 21) and his actual description is fresh in my mind, I think Frazetta's Conan is pretty much exactly Howard's Conan and I think if Howard had lived to see Frazetta's work he would have been fucking thrilled. Again, I've paid a lot of attention to the descriptions of Conan, physically, in physique and movement, as well as mentally, and the cover-paintings of the time do not come anywhere near the descriptions in the stories, while Frazetta's Conan not only appears physically the way Howard describes (minus the armor), but usually has the facial expression that conveys that grim, edgy, yet clever mind that Conan possessed. The Conan historian that edited the collection I have actually kind of mocks the art-work from the Weird Tales covers as conveying Conan as an athletic bank-teller with a receding hairline.
Glad to find another Howard fan. His writing has a certain energy to it that I've seldom encountered. When someone gets stabbed or sliced in battle, you feel it. Have you read the Solomon Kane stories? I like those a lot (although they can get a bit racist at times.)
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