My Favorite Movie Experiences Of 2019 – Quick Hits Part 2

Yesterday I knocked out eight or so quick hits of movies I enjoyed in 2019. I should have mentioned in that first post that I’m talking about movies I watched in that year, not necesarily movies that came out in said year. If that were the case, I probably wouldn’t have much to write about as someone who mainly gets their entertainment from Netflix (digital AND disc, like an O.G.), Amazon Video, the library and Hulu! Let’s get back to it!

Continue reading My Favorite Movie Experiences Of 2019 – Quick Hits Part 2

My Favorite Film Experiences Of 2018

I haven’t done a lot of blogging this year, but, don’t worry, I’ve still been watching a ton of movies! I’ve even been keeping track of everything I’ve watched or read in a pair of Composition Note Books that I’ve (not so) cleverly dubbed Pop Notes. Thanks to them, I’m pretty confident looking back at the year and piecing together thoughts on some of my fave film-watching experiences (minus horror, which will get a list or two of their own). This one’s pretty long, so hit that jump and get into it!

Continue reading My Favorite Film Experiences Of 2018

Toy Commercial Tuesdays: Star-Studded Star Wars

There are roughly a thousand things I love about this Kenner Star Wars spot. First off, that’s Christian Slater on the left and Christmas Story and Death Valley star Peter Billingsley on the right. Second, I’ve had some of the action figures in this commercial since I can remember remembering things like Hoth Han and IG-88. Third, I’ve always seen and been enamored with that Darth Vader carrying case, but never realized that it actually featured the names of the characters and designated spots. Fourth, it’s hilarious to me that, of all the amazing characters on display as the camera pans by, AT-AT Driver and the medical droid get shout outs from young Master Slater. Okay, so maybe there were only five things I love about this commercial, but it’s still a great watch.

Halloween Scene: Tales From The Darkside

tales-from-the-darkside-the-movieEarly this month I worked on a list for CBR that might eventually get published about the best classic horror movies to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime. That lead to me watching Tales From The Darkside: The Movie for the first time and I think it’s up there with Body Bags as one of my all-time favorite horror anthology films!

That got me thinking about the George A. Romero-produced TV series than ran for four seasons from 1984-1988. Basically, a new take on the Twilight Zone/EC Comics, these half hour episodes offer a variety modern horrors many of which (at least in the first two discs) revolve around then-new technology like word processors, answering machines and multiple phone lines. Continue reading Halloween Scene: Tales From The Darkside

Riding With The King: Film Edition!

maximum-overdriveAs I mentioned in my Stranger Things-inspired post, I’ve been watching a lot of horror films lately. And you can’t have a mention of that Netflix series without thinking of Mr. Stephen King, now can you? Well, I read and listened to a crazy number of his novels earlier this year (and am still sloooooowly working my way through The Stand) but I’ve also watched a few of the films he’s worked on.

While flipping through movie options on TWC On Demand I saw Maximum Overdrive as an option and immediately turned the film on. Usually, I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about my choices, but this was nearly instantaneous. Continue reading Riding With The King: Film Edition!

80s Odyssey: The Wizard (1989)

The Wizard isn’t the kind of movie I lost my mind over as a kid. I liked it and back then it was a really big deal to lay eyes not only on the mysterious Power Glove (which turned out to be a piece of junk), but more importantly the highly anticipated Super Mario Bros. 3. I remembered the basics, Fred Savage and another kid who seemed like Rain Man traveled across part of the country with a girl, playing video games and eventually playing Mario 3.

I decided to watch The Wizard again last week thinking it would be a fun little nostalgia trip for me, and it was, but it also turned out to be a really good movie. I tweeted that it’s basically a Bing Crosby/Bob Hope Road To movie mixed with Rain Man, Nintendo and The Hustler, but it’s also a surprisingly well written movie. Sure, it’s a little melodramatic at times, but I like how they don’t put all the details on the table right off the bat.

What I didn’t remember from childhood is the fact that Fred Savage and the other kid are actually brothers, that they come from a broken home and have a father who has been shattered by the loss of their sister. It’s actually pretty intense and might seem like too much for a movie that many consider a big advertisement for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but I think it all balances well and the end product is a quality movie.

But, it’s not all sadness. There are a lot of funny parts and Savage is an absolute delight to watch. He’s such a quality actor and was so even at such a young age. Everyone in the film does a great job and that include Beau Bridges and Christian Slater as the dad and older brother respectively.

I do wonder if kids today would appreciate or even like this movie. Is there too much that would need explaining to them? That’s an arcade game. Our video games used to look crappy. The Power Glove looked cool, but sucked. I like to think the themes are pretty universal though and hope that kids could get behind the idea of needing to branch out on your own to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. Also, that video games are awesome, but they probably already know that.

The movie’s on Netflix Instant right now and is definitely worth another watch. Has anyone else watched it recently or shown it to their kids/siblings?

All Out Action: Westworld (1973) & Hard Rain (1998)

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Like I said recently, I’ve been trying to watch as many movies as I possibly can with the Netflix on XBox option, but I’ve also had a few Netflix DVDs sitting around (though the Broken Arrow DVD was completely cracked down the center, so that’s one less to worry about for now). So, here we go with the reviews.

WESTWORLD (1973)

I distinctly remember watching Westworld with my dad when I was younger, but I apparently didn’t remember much but the very basics from the movie. I lucked out and got Em to watch it along with me and it seemed like she liked it well enough (she didn’t make fun of me like she did after watching The Warriors so that’s a plus). Anyway, I also really dug the movie, probably even moreso because I didn’t remember every little part of it.

The basic plot is that there’s this resort populated with robots where you can go and live like you’re in another time period (Roman Empire, Medieval England or the Wild Wild West). You can basically do whatever you want there (including shooting and having sex with the robots, though, presumably different ones). Our story focuses on two visitors, one played by James Brolin, the other by a guy named Richard Benjamin who looked familiar, but nothing on his IMDb rang any bells. Yul Brenner also starts as the robot Gunslinger who keeps coming after Benjamin. Well, the vacation doesn’t go quite as planned as the robots start revolting and SPOILER the Gunslinger kills James Brolin (Em and I both thought he’d be the hero, oh well), sending Benjamin running from the relentless cowboy killer robot.

There’s a lot of cool special effects and writer and director Michael Crichton (I had no idea he directed movies) does a great job of selling the story. According the IMDb trivia he got the idea for the story after visiting Disneyland, which was pretty funny to me because it seems pretty familiar to The Stepford Wives, which I read, watched and reviewed recently. The trivia also said that The Gunslinger also inspired John Carpenter to create the greatest slasher in movie history Michael Myers. So, if you’re a fan of either of those other movies or just cool sci-fi robot stories starring Jame Brolin and Yul Brenner, then you should definitely check this one out.

HARD RAIN (1998)

I’m not even sure why I put Hard Rain on my queue. It was probably one of those suggested movies that Netlifx does when you add a movie to your queue. Anyway, I wasn’t all too excited to watch it when the DVD came in, but I’m really glad I did as this is a fantastic action movie with one of the coolest and best handled natural disaster plots I’ve seen in a while. Plus, it’s got Christian Slater, Morgan Freeman, Randy Quaid, Ed Asner, Betty White and Minnie Driver sporting a pretty bad American accent.

Plotwise you’ve got Morgan Freeman leading a band of robbers trying to get their hands on the money in Slater and Asner’s bank truck in a town in danger of flooding. Meanwhile Quaid and his fellow police officers try to save the townspeople like Driver and White. As the water rises (and boy, does it get up there) so does the tension and a great “anything can happen” feeling. It does get a little crazy at the very end with all kinds of allegiances changing and crosses being doubled, but all that water makes it okay in my book. You’ve got everything from a boat being driven through a church window to a wave runner chase scene in a high school. It really is just a fun movie that offers up plenty of “how are they going to get out of THIS” situations. I highly HIGHLY recommend this movie to anyone who like fun movies who don’t let things like science get in the way of enjoying a movie (in this world, a gun can fire no matter how long it’s been under water, so just deal with it okay?).