Posted in That 80s film

The Hitcher (1986)

In the darkness a matchstick strikes a cigarette as a young Jim Halsey is seen driving through the night, struggling to keep awake as he sips on his coffee.

The road is seemingly empty,  the night looks cold and nothing but a beetle car drives past. After nearly falling asleep and having a near collision with a truck, Jim strikes up his attention at a passer by looking to hitch a ride.

It is perhaps one of the most intense and eerie openings to a road trip  as Jim opens the door to a drenched ‘John Ryder’ standing in the rain.

In the car, Jim asks where the stranger is heading but he asks for a cigarette instead , avoiding his consistent questions. Alarm bells should be hitting Jim’s mind but he drives on through the lonely night as the man stares at him ” why are you looking at me like that”?  John is simply ” looking..just looking”.

After seeing the very same beetle car stopped at the sidewalk of the road, the man puts his hand on Jims thigh making him drive a little faster. His odd character is already scary enough with his small smirks he gives Jim, turning sinister with each smile.

Jim: ” what do you want”?  (John starts laughing) ” what’s so funny”?

John: “That’s what the other guy said..the guy who picked me up before you did.”

Jim: “That was him? “

John: “Sure it was. He couldn’t have walked very far”?

Jim: ” Why’s that”?..

John calmly says ” because I cut off his legs..and his arms..and his head and I’m going to do the same to you”.

It is a powerful scene for its subtle but direct approach at making Jim and the audience feel very uncomfortable from the beginning with his delicate manners of harsh but calm tone that would most likely make Jim pee his pants if he hasn’t already.

After some terrifying moment passes, driving through the darkness with a guy probing your balls and face with a sharp – edged knife, taunting you to want to die, he  manages to eject the car door and John is thrown out of the vehicle, rolling out into the dirt. ” ha ha fuck you buddy”!

Getting back on his feet, John smirks as the car vanishes ahead of him as the sky becomes light. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of this stranger.

As daylight reaches the sky, Jim is a little at ease but focused on the road as he sees a little girl playing with her toy bear in their family car. He exchanges smiles which soon dies as a man pops up beside her. It is none other than John Ryder taking a ride in the backseat ready to continue his killing spree.

What began as a traumatic car ride turns into a road journey to hell for Jim when John Ryder appears every so often, hot on his trail.  ” Hi kid” . Talk about a stalker (!)

Staggering with exhaustion from his getaway, Jim finds himself  at a diner and whilst eating his burgers and fries, Jim picks up a bloody finger and gags outside to find himself greeting  the police waiting outside for a serial killer. A phone call he had made, only to be arrested himself for being in possession of murder weapons the hitchhiker had planted at his given opportunity.

John Ryder serves his purpose somewhat  as the human terminator who keeps coming after Jim Halsey no matter the cost. He goes as far as to attack the police officers at the station, framing him for the murders. That’s one way to mess up a guy (!)

There is no real motive behind targeting Jim Halsey, after all he is a psychopath at the very best,  but we can assume the reason he outsmarted or rather out lived a serial killer to an extent  with such determination has made  John find  a thrilling chase in something worth going after for the time he can pursue it. I mean even Psychopaths can get bored of the same old killing.

Throughout the movie we see John half heartedly toying with Jim not killing him at any given chances but mentally hitting the spot more than he can physically handle. He wants to mentally torture him.

John, the calm and collective killer whilst Jim is the innocent guy that became a  naive bystander, caught as his messed up prey.

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(Google image) ” How do you like Shitsville?”

Even on a deserted highway, with armed officers, Jim can’t seem to get rid of this guy who makes it his priority to make the situation look as bad as it can get. A psychopath driven with such madness he can massacre with a single shotgun and a switchblade at hand without leaving his trace. Now that’s what i call killer instincts.

It is this sadistic mental approach that makes this movie stand out than just another ‘mad killer on the road to massacre’. It is far from grotesque, as you do not witness the bloodshed but you get that spine chilling feeling the moment you see the hitcher politely smirking his way to your death. Dexter Morgan  knows this quite well.

There are so many great scenic moments that are delivered with great patience and visual directing which make even the mere silence terryfying. Some of the chase scenes and the ambience also loosely reminds me of Mad Max , where no cgi were needed to make the scenes look as exciting as they could get. In this movie the calm but scary conversation at the opening is really what captured my mind right to to the end.

It is the reason Rutger Hauer is the perfect psychopath who plays a charming yet scary persona that is likeable but difficult to comprehend. He has the striking features that sit in the great balance between switching from a good guy to the bad. This is also effective in the roles Christopher Walken plays which works in both his favours in a believable way. It works as ‘you either have that kind of face or you don’t’.

There are many great choices I wanted to pick at as the highlight of this era but I wanted to bring this movie into the limelight as not to get it brushed past the viewers and readers because it is a simple but great movie of its time which effectively worked without going overboard with the killing and deserves to be recognised.

Here John Ryder has no mercy to show for anyone he meets, he knows how to use a vehicle well but he knows his weapons even better. He isn’t afraid to face death but he certainly knows how to make yours happen because to him the rule of thumb has a very different meaning.

Credits:  Movie poster artwork by Ollie Boyd.

Directed by : Robert Harmon. 

Written by : Eric Red.

Starring : Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and others.

Music by : Mark Isham

Other honourable mentions from 1986 that I love:

Aliens- Directed by James Cameron.

The Fly- Directed by David Cronenberg.

Little Shop Of Horrors- Directed by Frank Oz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in That 80s film

The Goonies (1985)

Never has an adventure quite been so exciting for Mikey ( the enthusiast), Data (the Asian inspector gadget), Mouth ( the cheeky one) and Chunk ( the chubby one who’s always hungry) that make up the Goonie gang.

Facing foreclosure of their homes ” shut up my dad will fix it, it won’t happen”, where a country club is going to be made, is enough to dampen any ones mood. For the kids ( around 12-13) it’s plain boring as they attempt to reunite for one last weekend of fun.

When they hear Mikeys dad has a collection of antiques to send to the museum, they stumble across a map that presumably leads to the fortune of a pirate named one- eyed Willie. They are sceptical at first since no one has ever retrieved such treasure but “what if this map could lead us to one- eyed willies treasure. What if ? “

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(Google image) ” Goonies never say die”!

On their bikes they ride with the map and a 1632 doubloon (type of coin) to guide them, eventually reaching  an offshore restaurant where they run into the Fratellis who ‘welcome’ them harshly into their run down diner which likes to stand out for its charcoal burnt effect ( very chic(!) and has a very limited menu of tongue as the crook of a woman grabs hold of a boy and edges her knife ” you boys like tongue ? “ which would give anyone the creeps.

Evading the criminals they find the restaurant has a hidden tunnel and find the remains of a previous explorer, knowing that what lies ahead of them can only take them on  a dangerous journey to try and make it out alive and in one piece. Children really shouldn’t play with dead things.

What’s remarkable about this movie is that Spielberg had taken a different approach  to the innocent kids that we would usually  find adorable in his movies. These kids talk like they mean buisness and like to  play by an unusual kind of rule in comparison to the ‘shy’ kids who once went exploring with an E.T.

These kids are certainly charming  but they aren’t so gullible to fall for some sweet treats in exchange for behaving themselves. These are hard-core boys living life to their best and with different traits that make up the team, it’s refreshing to watch  a movie that’s more than just kids play.

It’s enjoyable for its witty dialogue and memorable for that reason. When Mikeys mum ( Mrs. Walsh) brings home a Spanish helper who doesn’t understand English, Mouth certainly wants to brush up on those foreign skills and do his part to help out as he has expertly learnt and translates purposely for her:  (Mrs Walsh): “pants and shirts..oh just throw everything into cardboard boxes, can you translate all that? “

“For sure Mrs. Walsh”. 

(In Spanish Mouth translates) ” The Marijuana goes in the top drawer. The cocaine and speed go in the second drawer. And the heroine goes in the bottom. Always separate the drugs”.

In another moment Chunk, who is very clumsy with anything he touches, accidentally  breaks off the penis of a statue in Mikeys house. Mikey rushes over to examine the damage yelling ” that was my mom’s favourite piece”, to which Mouth remarks “you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t”. Such charming kids wouldn’t you say (!)

It is these iconic scenes that are some of the reasons the dialogue makes such a huge difference than watching another ‘cute’ movie that only has room for the kids. It brings out so much character to make you want to live the adventure for yourself.

The adventure itself reminded me of Indiana Jones for obvious reasons  as they embark in a cave full of booby traps and meet more dead people than they ever should, whilst an old woman and her sons are after them for the treasure too. “ Trust your mother boys..throw her in a four -wheel drive and hold onto your hats!”. It also has the essence of the swashbuckling adventures of Tom Sawyer and the vibrancy of Peter Pan.

I admire that the kids have not been put into the shoes of another ‘Disney kid’ who is too afraid to know about the ‘bees and the birds’ and is expected to be shut off from the gritty nitty aspects of the real world where kids are far less underestimated. Of course that isn’t to say let’s get all the kids to act like the embodiment of a foul mouth adult, but as a personal taste, movies that are aimed at both us and the kids seem more pleasing to watch. It’s why I can watch Home Alone on repeat.

Here, the Goonie kids are acknowledged for their distasteful use of language that is light heartedly used without being too offensive or vulgar which i respect and liked. It’s those silly moments that make realistic parents gasp “don’t say that word”!

For its time kids weren’t seen as bold, as daring with their speech so this really became a big step forward In creating a movie, where children were both seen and heard loud and clear that capture the heart of the kids as well the minds of an adult.

Meanwhile the movie still allows the kids to be kids having an adventure whilst taking on the roles of semi adulthood because saying ‘oh shit’ and knowing sexual innuendos is perfectly ‘normal’ for a pre -teen.(I think).

It’s what makes it more authentic, more real and a lot more fun. At the same time, they aren’t afraid to let loose as kids often misbehave as such,  whilst understanding and maintaining a strong bond of friendship between each other.

They realise their parents have money issues and they know far more than adults can often be blind to. ” our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now they got to do what’s right for them. Down here, it’s our time”. 

Watching this movie also made me miss my own adventures as a young child of around five when I would venture with my cousins calling ourselves ‘the famous five’ where we would pretend to explore hidden paths on our casual visits to the Aquarium, zoo, park and anywhere else. Me being the tiniest trying to always catch up behind the rest and getting rather lost at times.

The high energised performance that all the actors give to this movie is thrilling to watch and everything about the movie is to be loved for. It has the likeability you can’t resist watching time after time.  Make way Mr.Jones! the Goonies are here to stay and their good enough!

Credits : Movie poster artwork by David Peacock

Directed by Richard Donner

Written by: Steven Spielberg 

Starring: Sean Austin, Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Jonathan Ke Huy Quan, Josh Brolin and others

Music by : Dave Grusin

Other honourable mentions from 1985 that I love:

Back to the Future – Directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Mad Max  Beyond Thunderdome – Directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in That 80s film

Ghostbusters (1984)

When there’s something strange in the neighbourhood..who ya gonna call, Soneas blog !  Well that is if you want to hear about the Ghostbusters. The soundtrack alone is something magnificent and imprinted in most of our minds I’m sure. The various music what I can only vision as swing/jazz is definitely to my liking and i loved hearing them all. Geek much? What can i say, I love movie soundtracks.

This is a movie that never fails to make me laugh. Three university professors have been investigating the supernatural world without any success. Their pompous attitude “back off man, i’m a scientist” gets them into trouble let alone failure to come up with anything useful. Even upon seeing an apparating  ghost reading a book, they scream and run out of the library, as they are told “your methods are sloppy and your conclusions are highly questionable” so they are removed from the university.

Shortly after they set up their own paranormal workshop in a run down place calling themselves the ‘Ghostbusters’ with a secretary in   hope of making some money. Although none of them had anticipated what was in store for them in a giant vortex of all things spooky.

The men are more comfortable to hoax their way with some fancy “it’s technical” equipment to make ghosts happen and vanish. One they didn’t think to really greet them in a refrigerator of Dana Baretts apartment which opens up a whole  can of demons.

Strapped up in their one piece suit, their proton back pack, and their energy stream beams that resemble a flowing laser to blast ghosts, you’d think they were ready to exterminate some rather giant bugs.

They encounter their first  ‘slimer’, a green eccentric ghost causing havoc at a prestige hotel, and get their first break to capture it, getting more than they bargained for “we got one”! as calls start coming through for their help and begin to attract media attention, meaning more demand for work so Winston is hired as their fourth member. “if theirs a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything”. 

Ghostbusters is one of those rare movies that simply worked for the characters choice of words and chemistry on screen. You have Peter, the sarcastic man of choice who loves to indulge in lady love), Raymond, the eccentric guy who strikes a plan at awkward moments but acts foolish), Spengler (the quirky  genius minded who likes to collect spores, moulds and fungus ) and Winston who’s  “seen shit that’ll turn you white”.

 The movie works without trying to be funny (someone who rarely likes modern  comedy), as their wit is formed in monotone which makes it that more entertaining.

There is no overused slapstick involved, just a whole lot of smart humour, brain and heart. When Peter  (Murray ),needs to inspect Danas apartment he says ” I’ll go to her apartment and check her out. I mean I’ll go with her to check out the apartment” without breaking into any smile which repeats quite often in dialogue. My kind of funny.

Ghostbusters may not have the special effects it could do with making this superb but that’s exactly what it never needed in the first place. With demon possession, various  (slimy) ghosts, and a remarkable giant Marshmallow Man, the movie holds  enough strength to be loved by the crowd for it’s creativity.

The sarcasm of the humour throughout the movie is genius and very likeable that  you can almost see past the flaws of any effects it lacks. It’s something I miss in modern day comedy films so I choose to avoid them.

This is a well deserved classic to be recognised as it pulls out all the right tricks from an energy beam. The serious thrill of some senseless engaging humour is enough to blast a smile across your face . Very rarely can a blend of comedy and supernatural be done so well as this has.

So remember folks, if you’re troubled by strange noises in the night , experiencing feelings of dread in your attic, pick up the phone and call the professionals..we’re ready to believe you!

Credits: Movie poster artwork by Joshua Budich

Directed by: Ivan Reitman.

Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramos.

Starring: Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rock Moranis and others.

Music by: Elmer Bernstein.

Other honourable mentions from 1984 that I love:

The Terminator Directed by James Cameron.

The Karate Kid Directed by John G. Avildsen.

Splash Directed by Ron Howard

Gremlins Directed by Joe Dante

Posted in That 80s film

Scarface (1983)

Say hello to my little friend. That’s Tony Montana to you and me. ‘A political prisoner’ as he likes to put it from Cuba, who turned his life from being a zero to not quite the hero in his new found glory.

” okay here’s the story. I come from the gutter, I know that. I got no education but that’s okay. I know the streets and I’m making all the right connections”.

Excuse the language you are about to witness as it’s what this movie is made up with as I dive  into this profanity of a review.

It starts off in a federal investigation room where immigration officers ask Tony a series of question which he tries to bluff his way through saying ” my dad was a Yankee. He take me to the movies.  I watch guys like Humphrey Bogart. They teach me to talk. I like those guys.  Of course he knows never to tell a good lie as a foreigner when they’ve ‘heard enough of the same shit’.

A month of being stuck in a refugee camp with his friends, luck seems to favour them as their one way ticket out of the country will be granted in exchange for killing a government official ordered by a wealthy man named Frank Lopez. A hard offer to consider but ” I kill a communist for fun, but for a green card I’m gonna carve him up real nice”.

Soon after Tony and his friends land in America where they are in awe of bikini babes, who are apparently a lesbian if they reject you and the city spenders in their nice suit and tie. A town ‘waiting to get fucked’.

From dishwashing to being Franks helper, they are assigned to show what their made of in retrieving cocaine in exchange for money from a Columbian dealer which backfires, leaving one of them being dismembered by a chainsaw, as a chained up Tony is forced to watch the blood splatter across his face, waiting to be next but is saved just in time by his friends who were waiting as back up.

They personally deliever the goods to Franks mansion and tell him how he had to sacrifice the life of a good friend, a brother to him which Frank takes into consideration for his trust and where he meets his lady, Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer) ,who likes to powder her beautiful face in cocaine and falls for her. Bad move Tony. It is also the setting stone for him becoming Franks henchman, learning to ‘never get high on your own supply’ and gets involved in doing his ‘dirty work’.

Tony is used to rejection, but he works hard to get what he wants – the world and everything in it. We get a little understanding of the fact he had no father figure to follow so he learns the ropes within his own logical thinking and knows that ” in this country you gotta make the money first, then when you get the money you get the power”.

Tony does have a soft side to him treating Elvira at first with a charm a cuban knows best and visits his mother and sister saying” your son made it”, but his moral judgements over time consume him with power and greed that he sees fit for others having, that his efforts are made in vain, making it hard to find the right reasons to like him.

I can surely admire his determination to reach to the top of the ‘mob’ chain and he certainly does well to make his millions in one piece with a beautiful woman by his side, but it comes at a cost as his ‘American dream’ comes fully loaded with a  vengeance when he makes more enemies than he had friends and his heart becomes cruel, intoxicated with spite.

The movie is far from another so -called gangster movie filled with the drugs sex and rock and roll. It chooses to focus on the character of Tony and how he becomes involved in such a chaotic system of capitalism. The script follows a smart and witty dialogue which is the perfect partner to some drugs and guns blazing.

When you show  an already flawed man to power, there are sure to be fireworks as it ignites and turns too dangerous. A man who knows the right moves but not the right way as his weakness is counting on just himself and his balls to make him his fortune. A man who is bold with his words and even bolder with his weapon because I’m Tony Montana. You wanna fuck with me, your fuckin’ with the best”!

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(Google image) ” You little cockroaches..come on. You wanna play. Okay I play with you”

Credits: Directed by Brian De Palma. 

Starring: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia and others.

Music by: Giorgio Moroder

Other honourable mentions from 1983 that I love:

Posted in That 80s film

Blade Runner (1982)

” Early in the 21st Century, the Tyrell Corporation advanced robot evolution into the Nexus phase- a being virtually identical to a human known as a Replicant.

After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus 6 combat team in an off-world colony, Replicants were declared illegal on Earth, under penalty of death.

Special police squads- Blade runner  Units, had orders to shoot and kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicants.”

In the year 2019, flying cars can be seen  in a busy dystopian world. Although  being two light years away, im sure Ridely Scott will now have a very different view-point on how things would look like. We still have better tv screens, better lighting, but you have the busy chaotic environment just right, just no flying cars..yet.

In the movie,  Advanced technology seemed to have created engineered  robots that look exactly like humans, resembling strong strength and agility and most importantly a persona of sorts through memory implants. However they are banned from Earth as they are used as slave labour and other work that seem hazardous to the human race.

Rick Deckard is a retired police officer trying to enjoy his noodles in the hustle and bustle of the city when he is grabbed by some men who say “ you are under arrest”.

He is brought back to his old workplace under the supervision of his superior boss -Bryant because ” no one is good as an old blade runner”, who wants him to get back to work. He learns that a group of replicants- Leon, Roy, Zhora and Pris have escaped and come to Earth  as they have a lifespan of four-years and want to extend their lives, led by their supposed leader Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer).

Decker starts his search  to ‘retire’ (to us that means kill) these replicants but his job is no easy task as he needs to find them first.

Upon visiting Dr. Eldon Tyrell, Decker is surprised to find an experimental Nexus 6 Model named Rachael who looks as every bit human dressed  head to toe in a glamorous black outfit who even smokes.

When Decker begins to test her using a machine designed by asking a  series of questions, whilst scanning the eye to distinguish between a human and an Android, he finds her answers ‘humane’, as she answers short but steadily, thinking of her answers carefully almost from the back of her mind. At one question she even remarks “is this testing whether I’m a replicant or a lesbian “.

There is a great short chase scene with a stripped snake charming dancer that turns out to be Zhora, who flees upon being discovered by Decker. As she runs through the busy crowd, Decker shoots at her several times as she smashes through the shop glass with every stagger, spraying blood with the swipe of her transparent coat which is stylishly framed as if it was an artwork and the synthesizer music throughout the film adds to the feel of this neo dystopian world they live in.

When i first watched this movie, i was young and felt empathy for the replicants who try their best to manage living in such a grisly society where they cannot understand why they can’t survive. When i re watched this, i felt a stronger sense of sadness and pain with experiences  changing in my own life, that it gave me a different perspective to viewing it again.

To see the replicants in such a dire situation was more heartfelt, especially towards Rachael and Roy. Scott himself, regards this as one of his most personal films and in an interview he explained that he “liked the idea of exploring pain“. At the time he would  visit his brother in hospital which he said was traumatic and painful for him that he reflected through the characters own struggles to survive in the movie.

In a scene with Decker and Rachael, she visits his apartment and shares ‘memories’ of her childhood with photos to show she is real. Tears silently rolling down her face as she begins to realise they are memories from a random human child.  However Decker later swayed by some form of attachment embraces her forcefully saying ” say kiss me”.. to which she responds “kiss me”. 

It is that very moment Decker seems to open up to the possibility of looking beyond a replicant, something he never gave much consideration as it was merely his way  to hunt them and kill as a job, ” replicants are just like any other machines, their either a benefit or a hazard”, not accounting for any form of lifestyle or social one for that matter, why it is but what it could be, portraying an emotion from both of them ‘feeling’ lonely in different circumstances.

Roy also with stored images describes his feelings as if it were his own, ” i’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe..” despite me knowing it can’t  be true, it is a touching moment to behold and emphasises the bittersweet tragedy  of exsisting . ” quite an experience to live In fear isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave”.

Their appreciation for life goes beyond being an engineered creation, even with stored memories, you see the sadness and emotions in their eyes, (or are they programmed to feel this way on command), which reflects the newer nexus model being ‘more ‘human than human’ as Tyrell states ” the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long”.  

It is a remarkable script that author Phillp K. Dick should be praised for, coming up with the original idea in 1968 – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I love his novels on such topics that were also later made into movies such as A Scanner Darkly , Minority Report and Total Recall of a few that I enjoyed reading.

The movie is rich in knowledge of creating a nostalgic neo sci-fi movie that goes beyond the laser works. It is not a future with beaming energy and shining gadgets, but rather focuses on the gritty  aspects of labour, decaying and corruption.

It is the context on which this movie is based that define this to be such an influential classic throughout movies in history. So much that it has been brought back to life in the future movie Blade Runner 2049 which will  be directed by Denis Villeneuve.

it’s a shame they won’t live but who really does?”  which displays the message  throughout Blade Runner of what it means to be human.

Credits: Directed by Ridley Scott. ( based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep). 

Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, Joanna Cassidy and others.

Music by : Vangelis

Other honourable mentions from 1982 that I love:

The Thing  by John Carpenter

The Secret of NIMH by Don Bluth