Tag Archives: 80s movies

Who Ya Gonna Call? Bill Murray… But he probably won’t answer


Part of me is annoyed at Bill Murray, and part of me sympathizes with why he’s turned his back on the long-gestating “Ghostbusters 3.”

The latest news, as reported by IGN.com, is that production for the long-talked-about sequel will begin summer 2013 and will do so without Murray.

My inner fanboy is crying out, “Why not do this for the fans, Bill?! We all are dyeing to see you back as Dr. Peter Venkman. We love you, and we love you in this unforgettable role. We are the ones who put all that money in your pocket. We’re the ones who waited in line and spent our hard-earned money to see your movies. We made you who you are, and you owe us — even if you’re not crazy about doing it.”

But  the truth is, we paid our money to see Bill Murray because he’s an incredible talent. I’m a huge fan of his, and I trust him. I believe when he makes a movie, it’s going to be a good one. I’m looking forward to his next movie, “Hyde Park on the Hudson,” in which he plays Franklin D. Roosevelt. There’s already early Oscar buzz surrounding his name. This is a man whose made some amazing movies, has incredible range, and always delivers a good performance — even if the movie isn’t great.

So I have to trust that he’s making the right choice to not take part in Ghostbusters 3. There have been so many prequels, sequels and spin-offs that I’m confident to say I could have lived without a third installment in the franchise. I’m sure it would be much better with Murray back in the cast, but it’s not going to ruin my day.

As a public, we often get the feeling that we’re entitled to the work of an artist. We feel that authors, artists and movie makers owe us their work, but it’s really not true. The greatest creations are those born naturally. It goes back to the old saying that sequels are never as good as the original, and it’s true for the most part. The reason being is that great original works are organic. When a spin-off is born out of request by the public or the demand for more dollars by a studio, it’s usually watered down, forced, and not fresh.

All great artists produce work that satisfies them. Stanley Kubrick never set out to please studios with his films. Pablo Picasso didn’t paint more or pursue surrealism because people demanded it. They created because they were artists, and people enjoyed their work because they were great at it. Bill Murray’s his own man, and I can’t help but respect him for it.

I look forward to the rest of Bill Murray’s career much more than I long for a third Ghostbusters movie.

Cloak & Dagger

A young boy, with a penchant for spy thrillers and video games, finds himself in the middle of real espionage when he’s relentlessly pursued by spies after he comes into possession of a video game cartridge containing top-secret government info.

Rating 7 out of 10

You know the movie’s old school when the trailer says “Check your local newspaper for locations.”

While “Cloak & Dagger” definitely has some throw-back charm for me, it’s actually a really good movie for kids that I still enjoy as an adult. There are actually guns in a family movie! Bad guys kill people! People die! The hero smokes cigarettes! It’s crazy!

Seriously, though, this movie probably couldn’t be made today, at least not a lot of it, because it would be too violent by today’s standards. But I think it’s what makes the movie feel more real. The boy in the movie, played by Henry Thomas of “E.T.” fame, gets lost in fantasy with an imaginary secret agent who looks just like his dad (who he never sees). The imagination of the secret agent world is in contrast to a very real spy drama around him, which is full of violence.

There are some really evil bad guys and some old-school nostalgia in this film – like Atari cartridges. If you’re a child of the 80s and you have kids 10 and up, it’s definitely worth a revisit to this fun spy movie.

Vic’s Retro Pick – “Flash Gordon” 1980


7 out of 10

If indeed you dig cheese and camp on the most epic of levels (thrown in with some sci-fi) the Mike Hodges 1980 fantasy offering “Flash Gordon” is your platter that matters. It’s pretty cemented as one of the best ‘bad” films of the 1980’s. It’s laughable, charming and empty and quite a ride on the roller-coaster of camp. Hodges’ film is an explosion of sound, color, bombast and fun. I dare say that everyone can find something to love in this movie while exclaiming that it’s really bad. Well, its a conundrum all right.  Sam J. Jones, in a Razzie nominated performance, plays an ex-football player for the NY Jets. After boarding a plane with the very cute Dale Arden (Melody Anderson, “Dead and Buried”) they get caught in a funky looking meteor shower. They crash land and meet Dr Zarkov, played with delightful glee by the awesome Topol (“For Your Eyes Only”). Zarkov claims to know what is sending all of these meteors and causing the disasters that are plaguing earth. After they reluctantly get tricked aboard his rocket, Zarkov launches them to the planet Mongo. Then all campy hell breaks loose. In a good (and bad) way.

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The film then becomes an opulent ride full of loud Sci Fi action and gaudy costumes (Danilo Donati) that are bright red and jump at you from the screen. The 2 best things in Hodges’ hokey comic opus are Queen’s rock-a-licious soundtrack and of course the amazing Max Von Sydow as Emperor Ming The Merciless. Fred Mercury belts out the now iconic “Flash. Ah Ah” with vivid abandon. And we love it. Von Sydow absolutely revels in the material when he steals every scene he’s in. Except when the stunning Ornella Muti is on screen. Rawr. Brian Blessed, while attached to huge ridiculous looking wings is fantastic to watch as he bellows just about every line he has (“Impetuous Boy!!!). Prince Barin (Timothy Dalton) is another character we are introduced too as well and he displays heroic Robin Hood tendencies that are so off the wall that it is completely lovable but rather silly. There are Rocket Cycles, Sky Cities, football style fight scenes, force fields and wing barbarian attacks that are bountiful and ludicrous to behold. But is it fun and a piece of colorful camp and wonder?  Yeah sure. Is it full of innovative and funky sets and costumes? Kinda. Is it full of hammy, scene chewing? Oh yeah! Is it a good movie? Who the fuck knows. But have fun re-watching it. I sure did. Much more fun than when I first skewered it for my Middle School Newspaper review.

Ghostbusters 3 update


We’ve been following the story for a pontetial third installment of the Ghostbusters franchise, and it finally looks like things are moving ahead. Filming is expected to begin in the spring, according to a report by The Guardian.

Productions Weekly, a reliable source, also tweeted: “Hearing that @SonyPictures is planning to put Ivan Reitman’s “Ghostbusters 3” into production in May 2011.”

Clearly, the wheels are turning. And to add interest, Bill Murray appeared at Spike TV’s Scream Awards to accept the best picture award for “Zombieland” and donned a Ghostbusters uniform, complete with proton pack.

The Guardian reports that Dan Aykroyd has been revising a screenplay by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, who worked on the American television hit “The Office.” Aykroyd said that there was a “comic role of a lifetime” for Murray in the new movie, and confirmed it would concern handing over ghostbusting duties from the old team to a new generation. 

“My character’s eyesight is shot, I got a bad knee, a bad hip – I can’t drive that caddy any more or lift that psychotron accelerator any more, it’s too heavy,” Aykroyd told the U.K. paper. “We need young legs, new minds – new Ghostbusters; so I’m in essence passing the torch to the new regime, and you know what? That’s totally OK with me.”

There have been plenty of reasons to feel skeptical this film would ever make it to the cinema. Murray and others expressed concern that the original screenplay was written by the team responsible for “Year One,” a dopy comedy with Jack Black and Michael Cera — whom I can’t stand.  In a rare interview, Murray told GQ: “Harold Ramis said, ‘Oh, I’ve got these guys, they write on The Office, and they’re really funny. They’re going to write the next Ghostbusters.’ And they had just written this movie that he had directed. Well, I never went to see ‘Year One,’ but people who did, including other Ghostbusters, said it was one of the worst things they had ever seen in their lives. So that dream just vaporised.” 

Since then, Aykroyd has been very involved in make the screenplay. He also worked on the video game screenplay, which was very good and starred the original cast. 

Top Gun 2


As if they hadn’t made enough crappy sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots, “Top Gun” director Tony Scott wants to bring back his 1980s Airforce action flick in a sequel called — you guessed it — “Top Gun 2.” 

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer at Paramount Pictures is on board, naturally, and Tom Cruise is seriously interested. I don’t think this would be his best opportunity at redeeming his career. Perhaps he should give up worshipping aliens, or whatever the hell scientology nuts believe. 

Scott told hitflix.com in an exclusive interview — and I could not make this up people — that he got the idea for “Top Gun 2” from a drunken, half asleep 20-something who told him about his job flying unmanned drones.

“It was funny, because I was on a plane actually coming back from Vegas, rock climbing in Red Rock, and the guy sitting next to me was all hung over,” Scott said in the interview. “He must have been in his late 20’s and he was one of these kids. He said, ‘I partied all night.’  And I said, ‘What do you do?’  ‘I work [with unmanned aircraft in] the Air Force.’  But they operate these drones like it’s war games, but it’s for real.”

So let me get this straight… you want to do a sequel to a movie about fighter pilots that’s about planes that don’t use fighter pilots. Well, that’s just brilliant! Sign me up for advanced tickets!

Scott’s next film, called “Unstoppable,” is about two men played by Denzel Washington and Chris Pine who are trying to stop a runaway train. That sounds about as compelling as seeing Ice Man and Maverick taking their shirts off and playing volleyball again — although I don’t think Val Kilmer is quite up to task these days. This is just another example of Hollywood lacking any creativity and grasping at very thin straws to turn a buck. Even the Nintendo game “Top Gun” sucked.

Here’s Quentin Tarantino’s take on Top Gun. Enjoy!

American Flyers

Sports physician Marcus (Kevin Costner) convinces his estranged brother David (David Marshall Grant) to train and compete in a long-distance bicycle race across the Colorado Rockies. Family friction and a deadly medical condition inherited from the men’s father complicate their relationship during the rigorous training. Director John Badham (Mr. Brooks) captures the breathtaking mountain scenery while giving insight into the tactics of bike racing.

Rating: 2 out of 10

American Flyers has everything a cheesy 80s movie needs: bad mustaches, blonde-haired jerks, Russian bad guys, a come-from-behind sports story, siblings dealing with the recent death of a parent and an awful pop-rock soundtrack.

This flick is chuck full o’ bad dialogue, corny acting and, it’s worth noting, a distractingly bad mustach on Kevin Costner. I still don’t believe it’s really his. It must be fake. This is an overly sentimentally, sticky sweet sap fest and the soundtrack is laughable with all kinds of overly patriotic songs that are really misplaced.

Every scene with Costner and Marshall Grant slowly rotted my brain with overly dramatic dialogue that made what should have been a dramatic story into a laugh fest.

My mother, a huge Costner fan, watched this with me and said, “Even my boy Kevin can’t save this.”

Teen Wolf

Adolescence means changes, and for nerdy basketballer Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox), that includes transforming into a werewolf. What would seem like a setback proves to be a great asset as Scott finds himself unstoppable on the court and a hit with the ladies. Susan Ursitti co-stars as Boof, Scott’s best friend and confidante, and Jerry Levine plays the snarky “van surfing” buddy who tries to turn Scott’s lycanthropy into a windfall.

Rating: 6 out of 10

This was Michael J. Fox’s follow-up to “Back to the Future,” and while it’s no where near as fun or good, it’s certainly worth watching now as an adult.

This movie is stocked with cheese — the “Big Bad Wolf” theme song, the typical average kid growing through a major change while dealing with bullies, girl problems and a principal who rides your back. While it has all the makings of a typical teen movie, “Teen Wolf” breaks the obvious mold with making Scott turn into a werewolf. It’s such a ridiculous stretch that you have to just let yourself go along for the ride.

There are some genuinely funny and moments most of us can relate to. But in the end, it’s very typical — boy meets girl, loses girl while becoming a werewolf, and wins her back while discovering his true self. Oh, and he hits the game winning basket in the championship game. The studio was definitely banking on Fox’s star power for this movie, and without his talent it would have been a flop. It’s not that great, but it’s a fun walk down memory lane.