Monthly Archives: August 2011

Late to the Goon Docks! A review of The Goonies

Prologue by Whitney Mathews:

That’s what I said – booby twaps!

1985 was such a good year. The Royals won the World Series, the first-ever WrestleMania was held at Madison Square Garden and Steven Spielberg, Richard Donner and Chris Columbus gave us The Goonies.

The Goonies has everything cool: pirates, treasure, bad guys, secret passages, skeletons, water slides, love, murder, greed, the word “sh*t” and Corey Feldman. Despite its release coming just one year after I was born (my parents taped it onto VHS from HBO), it forever set my expectations for totally unrealistic, yet totally radical kid fantasies (other than discovering pirate treasure, those would include – but are not limited to – finding out you’re actually a princess and being locked in a toy/department store overnight).

Because of The Goonies, I still resent my parents for not storing a secret, old-timey treasure map in our attic. May I inquire, Mom and Dad, as to how the hell my besties and I are supposed to save our slice of Johnson County suburbia from the evil country club developers if we don’t have the old-timey treasure map?! YOU’RE SETTING ME UP TO FAIL!

Anyway, now that I’m old enough to understand inappropriate things, I’m semi-disturbed by Mikey’s obsession with a 17th century Spanish pirate named One-Eyed Willie, but nothing is perfect. Also, saying “One-Eyed Willie” makes me giggle just as much at age 27 as it did at age 10.

One-Eyed Willie.

Because it’s another way to say penis! Hehehehehehe.

On a “WHAT?! You haven’t seen ______???” scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest level of shock, disappointment and sad), The Goonies gets a 9. I don’t even remember the first time I saw The Goonies. It was just always there. I mean, Christ on a cracker, Laura, this movie is on cable about 358 times a week. Seeing as I’ve known her for over a decade, I partially blame myself for her not having seen it until now. I mostly blame her, though.


LTTM Review:

What word means the opposite of excited? (And don’t say unexcited, because that is boring.) Whatever that word is, THAT is how I was feeling about watching this damn movie.

Why? Because it is one of those movies that everyone LOVES, everyone OBSESSES over, it’s like a damn cult. And those movies never live up to my expectations. A few years ago I watched The Princess Bride for the first time and, quite frankly, I was bored out of my mind. After years of hearing people reference Inigo Montoya and saying “INCONCEIVABLE!” I thought it would be the greatest, most hilarious, most magical movie ever. And ZZZZZZzzzZZ, it totally wasn’t. That’s what I was afraid of when I decided it was time to FINALLY see The Goonies.

Unlike Princess Bride, The Goonies did not disappoint. Although I couldn’t help but think that that must have been the most annoying movie set of all time to work on, I thought it was a cute movie and a lot of fun. Magical, even. I wished I was young again, I wished I had a treasure map, I wished I could eat as much ice cream as Chunk. It reminded me a lot of being a kid and that’s a good feeling to have. I only wished I had seen it as a kid because I would have loved it, and it makes me a little sad that it is never going to mean to me what it means to my friends like Whitney. I can’t wait to watch this again one day when I actually have my own kids to show it to…or, you know, if I ever babysit someone else’s little brats (KIDS SUCK!).

Face palm moment: I think I pissed everyone who ever joined Twitter off by the questions I asked about the movie. But seriously. Why does Corey Feldman know so much Spanish? Can’t they just open up the gate? Why are the Fratellis so angry, and what on earth happens to them at the end? The relationship between Sloth and Chunk is a little creepy– and man, if Sloth was going to live with Chunk’s family who is going to pay for his food and medical expenses? And where does the boat go? Is it the boat that later mysteriously shows up on Lost for no sensible reason? I certainly hope so.

Also, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that there was only one Corey in the movie. I thought it was a two Corey movie deal I was getting into.

Favorite part: Any scene with cutie cute Josh Brolin in it. Especially when he’s riding the tricycle.

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment: The band who does the song the Chicago Blackhawks play when they score a goal (“Chelsea Dagger”) is called The Fratellis. Does that count? Also, I was thinking about Joe Pantoliano’s character on The Sopranos and how he gets killed and they are chopping up his body and they grab his head and it turns out that he’s been wearing a toupee this whole time… I’m just hoping that was a shout out to The Goonies.

Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): I really, really, really, really regret not seeing it as a little kid. Now? Now it’s not quite as magical and meaningful. I still really liked it but dammit I would have carved my own eye out to be like One-Eyed Willie if I had seen it as a kid. Maybe that’s why my parents didn’t show me the movie…

Late to the F word? A lazy review of Goodfellas

[Editor’s Note: This is how the story goes. I love Goodfellas and had only ever seen it on basic cable. I got yelled at.]

Prologue by Ryan Stites:

Now go home and get your fuckin’ freaking shinebox.

On the shortlist of “terrible movies to watch on basic cable”, Goodfellas is at the very least in the top 10. While not as violent as RoboCop or having one line that sticks out as an especially terrible edit (we’ll touch on that when Laura gets to Die Hard 2 in 2017, Mr. Falcon), the 300 (good for 2.06 uses per minute) times “fuck” is uttered makes it near unwatchable on TV. The violence is more or less intact except for a few quick cuts, but the dialogue just gets destroyed. I’m not one that needs Kevin Smith-levels of gratuitous swearing, but it just gets a little ridiculous with movies like this (FWIW- Casino clocks in with 398). Worse than badly dubbed edits are commercials breaking up the flow, especially in the “helicopter sequence”. Part of what makes that so great is the frantic paranoia and rapid pace.

On a “WHAT? You haven’t seen _____?!?” scale of 1-10, (10 being the highest level of shock, disappointment and sad), this one was tough. I think I have to give it a 4 just because it is pretty crazy not to have seen it unedited after all these years, but at the same time, given what she hasn’t seen…I can see how it wasn’t a priority to watch something she had seen the 75% version of.


LTTM review:

Um.

I can appreciate that there is a lot to be missed on basic cable versus seeing the actual movie but… I missed several uses of the F word. And when Tommy gets killed, you see the blood squirt out of his head. That’s about it. I don’t really get Ryan’s outrage. I’m not complaining, because I like the movie and don’t mind watching it, but… I got almost the entire story and effect from watching it on AMC several times.

Overall, I still love, love, love the movie but I don’t feel like I missed much.

A Disturbance in the Force

I am contemplating making a few changes to “The LIST, round 1.”

Here it is in its current form:

  1. Top Gun
  2. Goonies
  3. Raging Bull
  4. Rocky(s)
  5. Coming to America (8/1)
  6. Trading Places
  7. Hunt for Red October
  8. Karate Kid(s)
  9. Spaceballs (8/11)
  10. Animal House
  11. Big Lebowski
  12. Full Metal Jacket (8/13)
  13. True Romance
  14. The Natural
  15. Die Hard(s)
  16. Blazing Saddles
  17. Naked Gun(s)
  18. Platoon
  19. The Untouchables
  20. All The Presidents Men
  21. Braveheart
  22. Scarface (7/30)
  23. Annie Hall
  24. Wayne’s World (8/2)
  25. Blues Brothers

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Push Blazing Saddles and Trading Places to the second round
  2. Replace with Hoosiers and Alien
I feel like Blazing Saddles needs to be watched after I view at least one western movie (that’s right, I’ve never seen a Western). And Trading Places I think has less urgency now that I’ve seen Coming to America. The replacement picks are arbitrary, but I feel like they might be a higher priority of the movies from the second round.
What do you guys think?

Late to the Major Malfunction! A review of Full Metal Jacket

[Editor’s note: One of the reasons why I was able to enjoy this movie so much is because I was able to avoid spoilers for my entire life. I don’t want to spoil any movies for anyone, so please avoid this post if you haven’t seen Full Metal Jacket.]

Prologue by Kevin Baker

Pvt Joker: Leonard, if Hartman comes in here and catches us, we’ll both be in a world of shit.  

 Pvt Pyle: I AM in a world…..of shit.

Pvt Pyle in Full Metal Jacket

Based on the powerful novel The Short Timers by Gustav Hasford, Full Metal Jacket is essential viewing in the pantheon of Hollywood-ized Vietnam. I first saw this when I was 13 and have watched it dozens of times since. Being a former Marine machine gunner much like Animal Mother, this film takes me back to the boot camp experience I had and the fear and respect I had for my drill instructors.

There is no telling how many young men and women joined the Marines just because of this movie alone– especially after viewing R Lee Ermey’s unparalleled performance. I mean, who wouldn’t want such a funny guy screaming in their faces for (what is now) a 13 week course? (Of course, the Senior Drill Instructor doesn’t actually spend that much time with recruits. It’s actually a team of 4 or 5 DIs together, but that’s just a minor issue with the film.) My favorite line was when Hartman asked Pyle if his parents had any other children that lived. It is hilarious how much drill instructors work at their craft with serious off-the-hook comments that I couldn’t come up with in a million years. Or maybe my favorite is Payback’s line, “Joker ain’t never been in the shit. He thinks “The Bad Bush” is between old mama-san’s legs,” that really makes the Marine in me smile.

On a “WHAT? You haven’t seen _____?!?” scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest level of shock, disappointment and sad), Full Metal Jacket gets a 8. Knowing that her father is a huge Kubrick fan I was surprised to hear that she hadn’t seen it before now.


LTTM review:

My past movie viewings have definitely been influenced by my parents’ tastes, which is why it makes no sense that I’ve never seen Full Metal Jacket. My dad is a HUGE Kubrick fan. I think he assumed that I had seen it (and many others… I’ve only seen 2001, Lolita, The Shining and a few minutes of Eyes Wide Shut before I stabbed myself in the leg) and when I told him I was watching it for the first time for this blog, I think he was a little upset with me.

When I think of the types of movies I want to watch on a rainy day, war movies aren’t really up at the top of the list. I was nervous about watching this movie because war movies are always traumatic and very emotional, and I feel so awful watching them because I’ve never experienced anything like it…and I feel guilty watching it for my enjoyment. But between my dad’s love for the movie and the fact that my boyfriend is a Marine, it was fairly clear I needed to suck it up and see it.

This movie didn’t trigger my emotions as much as my first viewing of Saving Private Ryan a few months ago. But I did think it was incredible. I have to mention that I was extremely surprised at everything that happened with Pvt Pyle and his drill instructor. I had gotten the impression that he was the main protagonist throughout the entire film, and when he shoots the drill instructor and then himself I really thought it was a dream. I’m so glad that the movie had never been spoiled for me because it was such a shock, and I love it when a movie can affect me like that. I definitely preferred the first half of the movie to the second half because my emotions were all over the map, from cheering on Pvt Pyle to laughing at the Drill Instructor to freaking out after the scene in the bathroom (the Head, as Kevin tells me). Combat scenes always confuse me a little bit, but I still thought the second half was well done and everything that happened with Cowboy and later the Vietnamese sniper was very sad and affective. The first half is what will stick with me, though.

The only two notes I wrote down when watching the movie were, “do they really not have horses in Vietnam?” and “prostitutes in Vietnam have the best clothes.” I’m silly. I know the latter is correct by observation, and I assume the former is about something someone said in the movie. A quick google search tells me that there has been horse racing in Vietnam so I’ll assume that’s the answer. The more you know.

Face palm moment: As I mentioned with Scarface, the experiences you have of watching one actor play a role over and over really affect the way you view them in other roles. This was true with Vincent D’Onofrio, who I’ve only seen in Men in Black and (more frequently) Law and Order: CI. Watching him pre-drugged (I think) and pudgy took some getting used to. Also, I feel like I’ve only ever seen R Lee Ermey yell at people in commercials. So that was weird.

Favorite part: As Kevin mentioned, the drill instructor was…HILARIOUS.

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment: Me so horny, me love you long time.” “What can I get for ten dollars? Everything you want.” ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE that these lines came from this movie. And, you know, I was a hip hop DJ on KJHK for years and played a little 2 Live Crew in my time, so I started cracking up when this quote came up.

Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): This is hard. I can’t say that I enjoyed it because it was so tragic and violent, but I’m glad I saw a movie that was so important to two people who mean a lot to me. So I’ll give it a five.

Late to the Schwartz! A review of Spaceballs

[Editor’s note: Please oh please don’t pass over this review without scrolling down to the gif. The gif!]

Prologue by Ryan Stites:

1-2-3-4-5? That’s amazing. I’ve got the same combination on my luggage.

Spaceballs was the first movie I heard the f-word in. Not only is that entire scene hilarious (other than a bravado performance from Rick Moranis, George Wyner’s Colonel Sandurz makes the movie for me), that moment has always stuck with me. While not Mel Brooks’ funniest movie (Blazing Saddles) or his best overall (The Producers), Spaceballs remains one of the best movies to quote to this day. The jokes are really, really, really dumb, but sometimes it’s the simple things. “WE AIN’T FOUND SHIT!” is still one of my favorite things…ever… I think that timeless stupidity makes it really accessible for a first time viewer. I’m still waiting for Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money. C’mon, Mel, release it as a double feature with History of the World: Part 2!

As we saw with the Coming of America installment of LTTM, there are times in which the order Laura rights the numerous cinematic wrongs in her life will make a difference. In Spaceballs, there are numerous scenes which require at least a passing familiarity with their original source. Not that the Planet of the Apes or Alien spoofs are hard to place, but to really get the full impact, you need to see the originals (especially in the last scene with the Dancing Alien…John Hurt!!!).

On a “WHAT? You haven’t seen _____?!?” scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest level of shock, disappointment and sad), Spaceballs gets a 6.5. Essential if you are a nerd, especially a male, but easily understandable.


LTTM Review:

If you read my “About the Blogger” section or if you know me IRL, you’re aware by now that I loooove Alfred Hitchcock. This is relevant (not really) because my first foray into Mel Brooks territory was High Anxiety, a seriously funny Hitchcock spoof (with the exception of a five minute titular song routine by the director, wtf).  SPOILER ALERT: shot-by-shot parody of the Psycho shower scene, but the bellhop is beating Mel Brooks with a newspaper. HIGH-LARIOUS.

Looking back over his work, I’ve only seen High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein and The Producers but I feel like all three are some of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. This is particularly true of Young Frankenstein, and I don’t think it would be a stretch to call it one of my favorite comedies of all time. I love Brooks’s ridiculous satirical style, I love that he mocks himself to no end, and I love the OBVIOUS and potentially offensive jokes that he writes. So going into this project, I knew that I’d love Spaceballs. It was just a given.

Now that I’ve seen it…MAN. I am pissed. My dad and I have the same, ridiculous sense of humor and laugh at the absolute worst, most obvious things. I know he’s seen this movie. Why didn’t he show it to me before now? WHY!?

I love almost everything about Spaceballs with the exception of Joan Rivers’s voice. Absolutely awkward and terrible, but since the character didn’t talk as much during the second half of the film it was NBD. But Yogurt? Yes. Combing the desert? Yes. “Snotty beamed me up twice last night; it was wonderful?” Yes. Bill Pullman? Oh yes, yes yes yes.

As Ryan mentioned, one problem with watching this movie so soon into this project is the fact that I haven’t seen that many Sci-Fi movies. Yes, I have seen all three (legitimate) Star Wars movies but I haven’t ever watched Star Trek, Planet of the Apes or Alien. The first two weren’t a huge deal but my absolute favorite part of the movie (see below) was a play on Alien. I was in tears and gasping for air after this scene was over, and then watched video of it over and over again… and I know that when I finally watch Alien I will not be able to get through that referenced scene without giggling. Clearly I need to time my movie watching better, but it’s a little hard for me to do so when, um, I haven’t seen anything.

Also– don’t you miss Rick Moranis? I know I do. Shoot. I think his Schwartz may be as big as mine.

Two final thoughts:

A) Where do I get Princess Leia bun headphones?

B) If you were a bumper sticker, would you be I ❤ Uranus or We break for nobody?

Face palm moment: First John Candy movie I ever watched- Home Alone (shut up, I know it’s not a John Candy movie). Second John Candy movie I ever watched- Spaceballs. Who IS that guy?

Favorite part:

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment: “I bet she gives great helmet.”

Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): I’m surprised Ryan didn’t rank it higher (essential if you’re a male? The sexism is strong with this one [heh]), but then again I think I’ve shocked him with the other movies I haven’t seen so this probably didn’t surprise him as much. I’d give this a solid 10 out of 10, and I am absolutely pissed that my dad didn’t force me to watch this movie when I was younger because I would have gone out of my mind over it at a young age. A++++++++ WOULD WATCH AGAIN.