Creation of Seinfeld

On July 5th, 1989 NBC launched the first episode of the hit series Seinfeld. It aired for nine seasons. The show is set in Manhattan’s upper west side on an apartment complex. The show is a handful of Jerry’s friends and acquaintances but mostly his best friends. Many of Seinfeld’s shows are based of his real life experiences that are recreated in the show and shown through the characters. It has also broken a lot of mainstream TV and became the first to do so since Monty Python. This is postmodern. Seinfeld states that the show is suppose to show humor and especially with some of the characters in the series. The humor in this series is suppose to be funny because of the fail or disastrous results of the other characters. Importantly, the show also never wants to make you feel bad or sorry for the characters even after Susan’s death, one of the characters.

This family sitcom is unlike any other. The show  has its own structure and is developed by presenting a thread and story line at the beginning of every show. the rapid scene shifts between plot lines help bring the stories together. Unlike most sitcoms, Seinfeld does not follow a pattern. the characters stories and life events vary and intertwine in each and every episode. What helps this situation is that the stories in previous episodes are expanded on and brought up again in later episodes.

Even though the show started in the late 1980s, the show has become so popular and is still popular with many people even though it does not create more shows, the re-runs are entertaining as ever. This is because it was a revolutionary show that became a hit and model for future shows and movies. one of the best shows to be created.

Grease 2- the Humiliation

So this is a film class. We are watching a bunch of hits: Academy Award Nominees even, but what about the bombs of the 80’s? If we want to talk bad movies there is nothing that rivals the disappointment of Grease 2.

grease 2

Also known as the worst sequel ever made. Gone are the peppy gang and the heart winning hero and heroine. Instead we have some unmemorable performances from some unmemorable actors.

t birds

First, lets talk sequels. Sequels are not always good… in fact sometimes they are so terrible it makes you cringe to even place them in any sort of juxtaposition with their originals. Their badness taints the original just by association.Grease 2 is a perfect example.

Did you know it existed? I didn’t until like two years ago, and I watched the original maybe five thousand times as a kid. I love that movie. My love for it is ridiculous. I found the sequel because it sometimes plays on Oxygen when they run out of romcoms people actually have an interest in seeing. Or maybe Lifetime. They are sort of interchangeable.

So the one thing 1982’s Grease 2 has going for it is Michelle Pfeiffer.

Returning characters include Frenchie, Eugene, the coach, the principal, and the diner waitress, the rival gang member…. not exactly the workings of a hit. So in this movie they basically reverse the roles and Sandy’s Australian cousin who is actually pretty hot… not John Travolta,but certainly more attractive than a lot of 80;s heart-throbs, tries to get himself a pink lady, Michelle Pfeiffer, by impersonating a motorcycle rider. You don’t need to know his name because after this movie, he dropped off the face of the Earth and went wherever once promising young actors go when they die.The film was a huge flop and ruined the rest of his life not to mention his career.

Highlights of the movie include robotic exchanges between the helmeted heart-throb and a bored Michelle Pfeiffer, and a luau pool party musical scene that is unrivaled in awfulness.

grease 2 finale

If you move to the last few minutes of this clip you will see Michelle Pfeiffer singing. And the luau scene as well.

The big difference in the movie (besides the lack of great actors, convincing musical numbers, dancing ect.) is that the craze is all about motorcycles instead of cars. If there was a time machine I’m fairly certain this movie would have been unmade. Its sad and awful and makes me queasy.

America, the place to find everything.. even a wife!

I love to watch comedy movies, movies that make me laugh and I come out of the movie theatre with my stomach hurting from so much laughter. So I decided to pick up Coming to America with Eddie Murphy. If you like Eddie Murphy, you will love this movie! It wasn’t his first, but definitely isn’t his last; he keeps you laughing until the end.

The movie focuses on Eddie Murphy who plays a Prince from a fictitious country called Zamunda. Akeem, Eddie Murphy is in pursuit for a wife, but not an obedient one that his parents have picked out for him so he ventures out with his butler, Semmi who is played by Arsenio Hall to Queens, New York because, “What better place to find a queen than the city of Queens?” said by Eddie Murphy. Because Akeem wants to find someone to love for his personality and not for his money and royal status, he pretends to be a goat herder from Zamunda and they work at McDowell’s, which is a spoof off of McDonalds in the movie.

This is how they arrived to New York City, with all of their fancy clothes, but quickly changed to this..

While working there Eddie Murphy falls in love with Mr. McDowell’s older daughter, Lisa. Akeem doesn’t mind working with the commoners, but his butler doesn’t like it at all so he writes home to his parents the King and Queen to ask for more money, well they got more than that, the King and Queen come to America to bring his son home. After Eddie Murphy’s identity is blown Lisa doesn’t trust him and doesn’t want to marry him, but in the end we find that she comes around and ends up marrying Eddie Murphy back in Zamunda.

Eddie Murphy does a great job in this movie, I loved his accent, it really made the character. I think my favorite part of the film was when they got to New York City and they hail a cab with about ten valet guys with dozens and dozens of Louis Vuitton suitcases. They had no clue to what was before them in their adventure. To some extent it is a family film to watch with your children, there are a few things that you might not want to show them if they are youngsters, but other than that it is good for all ages and sends a good message of finding that one true love in your life.

I think that in respect to content that this movie does hold up to today and we as people now can find ourselves in the same relationships, minus the royalty part. The one thing that doesn’t translate are the costumes, Eddie Murphy’s tails he wears and his rat tail on his head isn’t really the rage right now, but other than that it translates to todays times. Overall, Coming to America is a good choice for a movie if you want a comedy that isn’t dirty like todays movies and has a good plotline.

The ending, Eddie Murphy finally found his Queen.

 

“I Picked the Wrong Week to Quit Smoking/Drinking/Sniffing Glue”

Airplane!, which follows ex-Air Force pilot Ted Striker onto an ill-fated flight in an attempt to win his girlfriend, stewardess Elaine Dickinson, over again, is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a while. This hilarious film, which has little plot to speak of, shines in the sheer insanity of the situation that its characters must face. How the actors managed to stop themselves from laughing while filming this escapes me! Perhaps that is one of the things that make Airplane! so great… While all the actors take their roles seriously, the film itself is one long joke from start to finish.

One of my favorite parts of the film was the dialogue itself, which involves a lot of miscommunication among the characters. The “What is it?” gag, for example, is repeated several times:

Elaine Dickinson: You got a letter from headquarters this morning.
Ted Striker: What is it?
Elaine Dickinson: It’s a big building where generals meet. But that’s not important right now.

And later:

Dr. Rumack: You’d better tell the Captain we’ve got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.
Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?
Dr. Rumack: It’s a big building with patients. But that’s not important right now.

The movie is chock-full of this childish humor. Add to the mix an inflatable “Otto Pilot,” a guitar-playing nun, and a smoking, alcoholic, drug-taking air traffic controller and you have a perfect environment for nonstop laughter!

“Otto Pilot,” Elaine, and Ted in the cockpit!

Apart from “harmless” jokes, Airplane! also managed to work in some more serious topics, all while maintaining the humorous mood. The movie certainly has its share of racist humor – the African-Americans’ conversations in “Jive” are subtitled, a Japanese man commits hara-kiri, and an Indian man pours gasoline on himself and almost lights himself on fire in what I can only assume is a mockery of sati (even though the practice of sati only applies to Indian women). What caught me unawares was the talk of abortion in the very first minutes of the film. If I wasn’t expecting this, I can’t imagine how audiences must have felt about it in the 80s… By the end of the film, however, the viewer has forgotten this small transgression.

All in all, I really enjoyed this movie, although how much of this is due to the fact that I watched it with my father rolling with laughter next to me, I can’t say.

P.S. I just found out that this movie was a spoof on a much more serious plane movie of the 50s – Zero Hour! Apparently, Airplane! is modeled on it exactly. Even the name Ted Striker is derived from Zero Hour!’s Ted Stryker.

When Harry Met Sally, He Was a Jackass. Is This the Modern Love Story?


For my last 80s movie of the semester, I wanted to watch something a bit sentimental. After searching for a bit, I stumbled upon When Harry Met Sally.

 

Potato, potato, tomato, tomato…

 

The Romantic Comedy fit the bill I’d say, but my favorite part of the movie had nothing to do with Harry or Sally. In fact, I really hated Harry—he’s neurotic, rude, and ugly in my opinion. And, even though Sally insisted that she hated Harry too when he professed his love to her for the first time on New Years, her smile betrays her perverted attraction to this crazy man. I can’t say that I am attracted to jerks just because they know what kind of dressing I like on my salad.

Really? Look at that face.


Perhaps he is characterized in this way to deconstruct the idealistic nature of love, and the well-mannered, handsome prince charming. But life is brutal enough, why can’t we have another fairy tale love story? Market saturation?

They just feel so good…almost as good as Sally’s boisterous simulated orgasm in the café—but both fairy tales and Sally’s orgasm are glaringly artificial. The fake orgasm, one of the most famous scenes of the film, could be a direct mockery of idealistic modern romance because real love can’t exist in an idealistic vacuum. Harry and Sally do not follow the traditional rules of love. This=fake o. That’s depressing.

I find it interesting that Harry consistently uses a black phone and Sally uses a white phone, no matter where they are.

My hands-down favorite part of this movie was the recurring shot of older couples recalling how they fell in love. I could have watched a whole movie of them, paying attention to their body language, clothing, and speech patterns to reveal the intricate dynamics of affection in only 30 seconds.

 

The opening scene is of an old couple, and then at least 4 others present their story at regular intervals throughout Sally and Harry’s journey. Most of the stories—like the “high school sweethearts” who decided to get married 34 years later, the gentleman who experienced an ungodly number of divorces in a month before meeting his current wife at a funeral, the couple who spoke over each other but didn’t seem to mind, and the old Chinese couple who didn’t meet until their wedding day—were a bit complicated. But they were all seemingly happy—the imperfections made them irresistibly cute, almost more so than a love story that unfolded in a predictable way.

When Harry Met Sally suggests that imperfect love is the norm. I agree with that claim. However, I can’t agree with the claim that difficult, complicated, thorny love is cuter somehow more endearing than simple love.

“Up Where We Belong”

I really need to stop watching movies that make me cry.  For my last blog, I wanted to watch a film that is considered both a critical and box office success of the 80’s.  I loved Richard Gere in Pretty Woman but was extremely disappointed with American Gigolo but I decided to give him another chance and watch one of his better films as my grand blog finale.  Tonight I watched an Officer and a Gentleman and I must say I LOVED this film.  It was released in 1982 and was both a critical success and a huge hit at the box office becoming the third highest grossing film of the year.  The film is definitely a drama and stars Richard Gere as Zack Mayo (yeah, like what you put on a sandwich) and past “It” girl, Debra Winger as Paula Pokrifki.  After a troubling childhood, Zack signs up and starts attending the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School in hopes of becoming a Navy Pilot.  Their head drill instructor is the extremely intimidating, brutal Sergeant Foley played by Louis Gosset Jr. (who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in this film).  Sergeant Foley terrified me!  He was so scary and everything the candidates had to do was extremely intense and honestly probably does not motivate anyone to join the navy.  Some of the scenes were a little to much to handle because of how intense they were.  While in the program, Zack befriends Sid and falls in love with Paula.  Obviously the film is a drama so there are many obstacles these three characters experience throughout that I do not want to give away because I HIGHLY recommend this film.  The film did hit a little too close to home for me with more of the intense and tragic moments (hence the crying) but I thought the film was great and it is probably one of my favorite films of the 80s now.  I did feel that Gere and Winger had chemistry and the ending scene, which is iconic and often referenced today in pop culture, was simply romantic.  I personally liked the theme song for the film “Up Where We Belong” and thought it was very appropriate for the story.  If you have not seen this film-SEE IT!


Say Anything…but another romantic comedy

We’ve all seen it…the iconic image of a young John Cusack holding a boombox above his head. This image has burned in the collective consciousness of anyone over 17. So annoyed by this image in my head I decided to finally watch the film from it sprung – Say Anything.

Say Anything poster

John Cusack plays the completely directionless Lloyd Dobler who at 19, has returned to America after spending the last couple semesters over seas. He kickboxes and has a fetish for trench coats. He lives with his sister (played by his real sister Joan Cusack) and his nephew. His home life contrasts sharply with his love interest Diane Court, played by Ione Skye, whose Father and her future is her world. Diane is an over-acheiver who has everything going for her – she’s the class valedictorian, a dedicated worker at her Father’s senior home, and to top it all off is drop-dead gorgeous. Her parents are divorced (Apparently she had to choose between the two of them in court at 13. No wonder she’s so responsible.), and her Father offers her the love and stability that her Mother could not. Besides that Diane is so wrapped up in her future, pleasing her Father, she has in many ways neglected simply being a teenager.

Mahoney in the middle.

Diane’s father played by John Mahoney (also seen in the 1987 film Moonstruck) is everything a parent should be – sensitive, supportive, and proud. However as the film progresses we see his fragile facade crumble, as it is revealed he is not so righteous a man. The IRS pursues Diane’s father on suspicion that he has embezzled money out of the senior’s at his home.

Ione Skye and John Cusack

Through a stalkerish phone call, mildly charming rambling, and a few chivalrous gestures, Lloyd manages to snag a date with Diane at a graduation party. Despite his over-protectiveness Diane’s father, James allows her to go out on a date with determined Lloyd. They attend their graduation party together where Lloyd serves as the “key-master” looking out for young drunkards, most notably a young Jeremy Piven, who repeatedly tackles Lloyd out of sheer joy.

Hey it's that guy from Entourage!

Through the party we also come to understand the source of Corey Flood’s pain, and why she bitterly trashes her ex-boyfriend Joe, who took her virginity then left her for another girl. She wines about him throughout the entire film. This entire pointless vignette did nothing to serve the direction of the film, and was forgotten as soon as it over. They film honestly could have done without 2/3 of Lloyd’s friends too…Corey’s pointless subplot was enough to make me reconsider watching Say Anything altogether.

Corey needs to build a bridge and GET OVER IT.

From here the movie progresses with astounding predictability. Montages of Diane and Lloyd necking underneath trees ensue, bringing us to the moment that they consummate their two-month-long relationship in a car by the beach. Diane has such a close relationship with her father that she actually tells him the truth of her whereabouts the night before. I found the most interesting aspect of this movie not to be Lloyd and Diane’s predictable boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back-plot, but John Mahoney’s crumbling from a respected member of his community and proud father. To the grey-haired, cigarette-smoking, embittered man we meet at the end of movie. HE ALMOST CRIES IN A BATHTUB FOR PETE’S SAKE. He gave the most emotionally-solid performance in an otherwise flimsy film, with a few endearing moments. (Although I will say I enjoyed the film’s iconic boombox scene in which John plays the song that he and Diane first made love to…Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”.)

JOHN MAHONEY IN A BATH TUB!

All-in-all, if you’re up for big hair, some memorable lines rambled by John Cusack, this scene in particular, and buckets of teen angst, I encourage you to tune in to Say Anything. If you’re not in the mood for adult-decisions made by inexperienced teens, then opt for the more-adult Moonstruck.

So young...so dumb.

“It’s dangerous for a woman like you to play it safe.”

Moonlight. Family. Love.

Moonstruck

There is something enchanting about Moonstruck. It is not found in high production values, or crazy special-effects. Slapstick-y jokes. But there is a substance in the script, and a poetry in the language and themes of this film. A chemistry and intimacy found in the cast, that makes you draw nearer to the screen. Moonstruck manages to capture the animal-craze found in new love and slap it on screen, while bringing attention to themes of loyalty, true love in the face of obligation, and the ways in which we block ourselves from the things we desire most.

“The moon brings the woman to the man.”

A big, fat, moon and Loretta (transcendentally played by Cher) are some of the first images to grace the screen. Loretta at age 37 shares a passionless relationship with her boyfriend Johnny. We see her staring off in the distance with a rose resting on her graceful neck. There is no doubt that behind her vacant stare she yearns for more than the life fate has given her. Since the death of her first husband via bus (which she discusses quite honestly), Loretta has concluded that her “lack of tradition” was the missing link. So with the hapless Johnny she has concluded the only way to avoid disaster is for them to abide by tradition as much as possible. Johnny proposes, to which Loretta says yes. She likes him and that’s enough for her. They agree to be married. However, fate has a different plan.

Johnny (Loretta's fiance)

Johnny must leave for three days to attend to his dying Mother in Italy. Johnny has a tendency toward losing what’s dear to him; everything from his luggage, to Loretta who falls in love with his estranged brother Ronny – played by the then up-and-coming Nicholas Cage. Bristling with anger and heartbreak, Ronny lashes out at everyone and mourns the loss of his fiance and his hand.

No one stands up to his anger or bothers to point out how misplaced it is – Ronny blames Johnny for the loss of his hand – but Loretta. Perhaps in Ronny, Loretta has finally met her match. For every blunt word she tosses at him Johnny returns with an equally adept observation of Loretta’s character.

Loretta and Ronny bond over steak.

Loretta: “That woman didn’t leave you, ok? You can’t see what you are and I see everything. You’re a wolf. […] That woman was a trap for you, she caught you and you couldn’t get away so you chewed off your own foot. […] And now you’re afraid because you know the big part of you is a wolf that has the courage to bite off your own foot.”

Johnny: “He made me look the wrong way and I cut off my hand. He could make you look the wrong way and you could lose your head. […] A bride without a head.”

Loretta: “A wolf without a foot.”

Passion

Ronny: “SON OF A BITCH…I can’t believe this is happening.”

Loretta: “Where are you taking me?!”

Ronny: “To the bed.”

They make love. Sensuous, passionate love…who knew Nicholas Cage was once more than a joke? Dare I say, vaguely attractive? (Watch the infamous scene here.)

Nicholas Cage was attractive once?

“I was dead”, confesses Ronny to Loretta in the throes of passion. Moonstruck is ripe with dialogue with the ability to make one swoon or giggle, and actors who deliver without a wink to the audience. What appealed to me about Moonstruck was each actor’s ability to give a solid, character-centered performance while remaining firmly rooted in the ensemble. Never once did someone’s performance overpower the rest of the cast. Each actor from Olympia Dukakis, whose performance as the Matriarch of the Castorini family won her an Academy Award, to Cher who also carried home an Academy, to the subtle characterization of her adulterating father Cosmo Castorini played by Vincent Gardenia stands solidly on it’s own and cohesively as a whole. This was an ensemble film done right.

Olympia Dukakis and Cher

Vincent Gardenia and Cher

Moonstruck cast

Rather than focusing on young, stupid people in love. Moonstruck alternatively focuses on older people…who in some ways are just as “stupid” in their love, but have the several decades of life experience on their side. This life experience allows them to explore the more philosophical side of love, allowing us not only to ruminate on why we desire love, but why we chase it, abandon it, and remain by the people we believe capable of giving us it. Or even why we commit to those people long after the passionate love we once had is gone.

Anyone who is a fan of love, idiosyncratic dialogue, Cher, Italian families and culture in general, and the opera La Boheme should surely tune-in for this gem of a film.

The Original Hangover

This is the decade Tom Hanks explodes onto the screen! Just fresh from his first major role in Splash, Tom stars in Bachelor Party. Far before The Davinci Code and The Hangover, Hanks plays Rick, a light hearted, rebellious, immature party boy looking to blow off some steam for the last time with his buddies before tying the knot.

(Cannot believe it has been 28 years since this came out!)

Just like any good group of friends would do, they deny he is getting married and once realize Rick is not joking, decide the only right thing to do is throw an epic party!

In a time where movies were not known to crude humor, this Bachelor Party breaks the mold with perverted, cheap slapstick comedy making this movie is definitely a must see!

Just like we all know in any relationship, Rick must deal with Debbie’s parents and her overbearing ex-boyfriend. Oh in-laws! Rick is despised for being his “charming” self a  bachelor party, this party is constantly having some sort of twist and turn, starting off with hookers being sent to Debbie’s party. Add Chippendale dancers, drugs, booze, and a horse and you got a party you should have RSVP’d to.

Time for a glass of “Man Up”

As awesome as this movie is to get you pumped to take control of the mat with awesome training montage music from Foreigner, Journey, Sammy Hagar, Red Rider and REO Speedwagon, it is a sports movie with a weak sappy love subplot. Directed by Harold Becker, known for such films as Taps which starred a young Tom Cruise, Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn, Vision Quest is a movie for the athlete and not for a cozy date night.

Louden Swain, Matthew Modine, is not just a high school athlete trying to survive his senior season, he is trying to make a name for himself by finding who he is and by doing the unthinkable, beating Brian Shute, who is the top wrestler in Washington and revered like a God. This is not just about a kid growing up, it is his vision quest.

Having wrestled a majority of my time in high school, I instantly loved the movie. I can still remember the stale smell of sweat and rubber mats. The movie starts off with slow pan of Louden jumping rope in soaked sweats. The coach starts the typical “Win one for the Gipper” speech for the beginning of the season, you know what I’m talking about if you ever played a sport.

Louden must first beat the best wrestler in the 178 pound weight class, which is Kuch, in order to wrestle Shute. In order to do so, much drop a significant amount of weight which is a struggle any wrestler can identify with.

After school, practice, and running all day, he is harassed by a male guest at his night time job at a hotel. Then starts his run back home.

Along his journey, Carla, Linda Fiorentino, crashes at his place. This is where Louden’s innocence is apparent and the love part begins.

Insert the first live performance by Madonna and you got yourself a half baked romance!

After the whole romance thing is done, it is now time for Louden to take on Shute. Cue Red Rider’s Lunatic Fringe and watch the madness begin.

 

 

 

80’s Breakdancing meets Kung Fu

Link

The Last Dragon

Who doesn’t like Kung Fu movies, romance, 80’s music and Bruce Lee? In this adventure, “Bruce” Leroy Green, the quirky socially awkward teenager, is trying to become the ultimate martial arts master who searches for the mystical “Glow.”

Early on, Leroy is harassed by Sho’Nuff, the clearly well dressed martial arts master, and his cohorts in a movie theatre located in the rougher part of town. The scene is a bit far fetched with everyone talking, throwing popcorn and at one point, break dancing! A huge fight ensues with movie goers taking on Sho’Nuff. They try the typical one on one scenario, only to decimated by quick blows for Sho’Nuff is “the baddest Mo’Fo no doubt in this town!” Leroy having enough jets in the chaos.

Of course, Leroy just so happens to save Laura, the host of 7th Heaven the place to be for rad music and newest freshest moves, after goons try to kidnap her because Laura turned down an offer from Eddie Arkadian.  Just like any good Kung Fu movie, Leroy lays the smack down in typical neck chopping elbow striking fashion to save the day! This scene could not complete with a cool and collected hero taking care of his defenseless woman.

Eddie then has Rock, his head henchman, successfully lure Laura from the 7th Heaven studio into a mobile truck and kidnaps her while Leroy meditates on a crate. Seriously? Enter the cheesy PSA about getting into cars with strangers. Of course, Rock drops a clipboard with Eddie Arkadian productions slapped on front of it. Leroy dawns a ninja costume and breaks into Eddie’s apartment beating up everyone in sight only to have Eddie get the drop and take off Leroy’s mask, surprise surprise! You can beat up a group of thugs, but a fat balding man can get the drop on you!
This compromises his secret identity, allowing Eddie to track him down. OH NO! Eddie then hold a tryout for the scummiest men in Harlem. Okay okay, some guy barks and bangs breaks a table with his head. A bit ridiculous but totally necessary for this movie to be authentic! After Eddie pieces together his team, he approaches Sho’Nuff to take care of Leroy and kidnaps not only Laura, but Leroy’s brother Richie. Gasp! This leads to the ultimate epic battle between Leroy’s ragtag dojo and Eddie’s goon squad. Yes, a little kid opens a can on a few grown men, allowing the two masters to go at it.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg-dg2tmcE4)
Having enough, Leroy final reaches the ultimates level, enter horrible CGI and watch him pick apart Sho’Nuff.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWVhiIisH30)
This film is a much see for the awesome break dancing, round house kicks, teased hair and neon colors. Mix in a few “WAAAAAHS!” and enjoy!

The movie about hockey, but really about fighting

The Fight Scene
The movie Youngblood, with the ever-so-sexy Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze, is one of the few 80’s sports films that I have seen that hasn’t been completely cheesy. Yes, it can be unrealistic at times, but overall it is a good movie with a strong plot that doesn’t have too many cheesy undertones. It it set in Canada, where Rob Lowe’s character Dean Youngblood is sent to try out for the Mustangs ice hockey team. He makes the team, but is immediately made fun of for not fighting back when a big bully on the ice pushes him down and hits him with his stick. This sets the stage for the rest of the film, because Youngblood is so amazing at hockey, what he needs to focus on is learning how to stand up for himself and how to fight. This kid really can’t catch a break, though, so it’s no wonder he’s not up for fighting back. During his try outs, he gets sacked by a huge guy, which makes everyone question how manly Youngblood is. Then, during his first night out with the team, they get him drunk so he plays awful at practice the next day, getting him in trouble with the coach. They also gang up on him and shave his balls, which is apparently an “initiation process”. And if that wasn’t enough, the older woman who boards the Mustang team comes onto him, also “initiating” him into the team in her own way. Of course, that last one he probably didn’t mind as much. All in all, the entire movie Youngblood has many opportunities to show people he’s not so much as a push over, but he really only proves it in the end, when he trains as a fighter and defeats the bully that pushed him down in the beginning. Hockey is really just a way to lead into the bigger problem: what player can fist fight the best.
Also, usually with sports movies, there is an annoying love interest that gets in the way of the sport, and the movie goes down hill because it’s lost it’s main and most intriguing plot line, the sport, and it’s gone into an awful love tug-of-war between the main player and his significant other. However, I really didn’t mind the intimate relationship between Dean Youngblood and his coach’s daughter, Jessie, played by Cynthia Gibb. Their relationship was believable, and it was more of a side story to the hockey plot rather than intertwining with it. It also helped Jessie’s case that she looked like Emma Watson, who is always a good catch.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. So what if it had Robe Lowe shirtless for parts of it? It truly surprised me, starting off with a great 80’s jam with Rob Lowe skating in a misty ice rink, kind of like when Kevin Bacon had his emo-dance session in the empty warehouse. Despite how much actual fighting they do during hockey – if we’re basing it off just this movie, then I’m appalled that not all players are injured or have more broken teeth – it was an interesting movie with a great cast of actors.

The Last Unicorn

 

Yes, I did decide to write a blog on a movie called The Last Unicorn. And in my opinion, if you haven’t seen this lost gem of a children’s movie, you probably should. It has fallen prey to the classic disease that seems to kill many an animated, kid-friendly movie:  it wasn’t made by Disney.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching, however. In fact, I found this movie to be surprisingly enjoyable due to its striking animation and engaging story. The film is based on a novel by Peter Beagle, and centers around a unicorn, supposedly the last of her kind, and her quest to find others like her. She is transformed into a human by a fumbling magician and falls for a young prince. Seems like your average fairy-tale movie, right? WRONG.

The animation of the movie enhances its fairy-tale plot-line. The colors vary depending on the mood of the scene—they are vibrant and rich during scenes in the forest and dark and ominous during scenes involving the host of evil that plagues the unicorn protagonist.

The level of dark imagery and mentioning of black magic was surprising for a children’s movie, especially considering its marginal popularity—it supposedly grossed around six million in theatres.  Similar to the problem which plagued the Disney miss The Black Cauldron—which terrified children and made parents uncomfortable—the dark imagery in the Last Unicorn tended to go over the heads of young children. The scene which takes place in the dilapidated gypsy fair perfectly depicts this age-inappropriate grimness. The images of abused animals in small cages, being manipulated and used to trick passersby and make money seems a bit mature for your average Disney baby.

Other somewhat mature themes prevail in the movie. Nudity during the transformation scene—I’m talking bare butt here too, not just conveniently placed hair strands—as well as the non-traditional ending of the film likely contributed to its overall lack of renown.  Instead of the average, “let’s run off together into the sunset in a cloud of happiness,” shenanigans, Amalthea (the unicorn) and Prince Lir must go their separate ways.

The film also contains a surprising message of feminism. Not only does Amalthea single-handedly battle the fearsome and evil Red Bull and free thousands of captive unicorns, but she also leaves the man she loves in order to establish a home for the other unicorns.