Really good movie.
It holds up.
Good attention to detail.
Really good movie.
It holds up.
Good attention to detail.
It really started with National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Ramis was at the stick.
Egon from Ghostbusters.
Hughes really took off with Sixteen Candles.
And that’s the first I saw of the big trilogy.
Those ’80s movies which transcend decade and genre:
Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink.
The middle one is the best.
Hughes needed a dry run with Sixteen Candles.
The Breakfast Club was the home run.
The grand slam.
Which leaves some holes.
European Vaction [writer].
Weird Science [hasn’t aged well…unless you’re a horny boy].
By Pretty in Pink, Hughes had relinquished direction to Howard Deutch.
Bueller [director] hasn’t aged that well.
WarGames [piece on #QAnon in the works] is much, much better.
Some Kind of Wonderful is another Deutch-directed hole.
Crosses paths with Back to the Future [Lea Thompson].
All of which is to say that Uncle Buck pales in comparison the the true Candy/Hughes masterpiece: Planes, Trains and Automobiles [sic].
No Oxford comma.
She’s Having a Baby [director].
PTA [director] was his second great auteurist masterpiece after The Breakfast Club.
But in Hughes, auteur once again becomes AUTHOR [in the sense of writing].
Hughes was no caméra–stylo savant–no Orson Welles or Hitchcock of angle and mise-en-scène.
It’s the story that matters.
And yet…Judd Nelson’s neorealist performance in The Breakfast Club must have made Hughes the Rossellini of the ’80s…if for only a moment.
[and Nelson its James Dean…briefly]
The Great Outdoors [writer] is worse than even Uncle Buck.
Which is to say, Uncle Buck is WAY better than The Great Outdoors.
But both pale in comparison to Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Christmas Vacation was a comeback.
Jeremiah S. Chechik owes his career to Hughes [writer] and Randy Quaid [genius].
Hughes only directed once more after Uncle Buck.
And his writing went strictly downhill after the rollercoaster pinnacle of Home Alone.
Money isn’t everything.
Bill Murray is excellent.
Aykroyd is awesome.
It stands up.
Here’s another great movie.
Yes, Harry Dean Stanton is reading Finnegans Wake.
And Stanton is great herein.
But the real star is Jon Cryer.
Yeah, you heard me right.
Molly Ringwald is a good supporting actress to Cryer’s amazing performance.
But really, it’s the clothing which rules this movie.
Cryer and Ringwald have excellent outfits.
It’s a cute film.
But let’s delve.
Duckie (Cryer) really does a great job here.
Annie Potts is pretty awesome as Iona.
AND ANDREW “DICE” CLAY IS IN THIS!!!
Yes, the Dice knows how to light a cigarette.
That’s about the end of his screen time.
The lamest part is Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy ending up together.
It’s about as bad as Ally Sheedy’s transformation in The Breakfast Club and Emilio Estevez’s sudden fealty.
But other than that one slight detail, I highly recommend Pretty in Pink.
Put it together with The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles and you have John Hughes’ trio of teen masterpieces.
For although Hughes did not direct Pretty in Pink, he did write it.
Alternately, Hughes both wrote AND directed The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles.
If I had to pick just one, I would say The Breakfast Club is the standout gem.
But all three films are excellent and deserve further study.
They are true masterpieces whose value has not yet been fully recognized.
As film accrues decades.
Perhaps another century.
Even Godard hired Molly Ringwald.
Likely because these films touched him in some sort of Rebel Without a Cause way.
Either that, or the producer forced her on him.
But this film is really special.
Emilio Estevez is a dead ringer for Michael Flynn.
Which brings us back again:
Is #QAnon real?
We are drip-dropping back to war mode.
Full-on, shit-slinging war mode.
But for cinematic purposes, it is most direct to point out the two essential personages in this film:
Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson.
And, boiled down, Judd Nelson.
Sheedy is attractive.
The Sheedy makeover is kinda lame.
The Estevez swoon mostly hollow.
But Judd Nelson is solid to the end.
This is a powerful film.
John Hughes created and directed the reality of John Bender (Nelson) onto the screen.
That’s would have been enough verismo for an entire career.
Better than 75% of the shit out there.
Pretty good movie.
But then starts to lag.
But I at least made it through it.
So that means it’s pretty good, you know?
Ok, take off, you hosers!
This one just barely makes the cut as “’80s comedy”.
Narrowly avoids “Big Bush”.
But certainly “Notre Musique”.
The Blues Brothers is one of my childhood favorites.
And I was craving this film.
I tried to locate it on DVD (to no avail).
And so tonight I broke down and splurged on iTunes’ exorbitant à-la-carte business model.
I was willing to pay the premium.
Because I’m sick.
No way around it.
But let me update you as to my progress.
Weeks ago (a month?) I cut my sleeping medicine in half (the dosage).
It was hard.
I was disoriented.
But largely just slow as fuck.
I felt like I had a crayon lodged in my brain 🙂
Yes, my body and brain had gotten used to a certain dosage over the past 2 years.
Eventually I returned to some normalcy.
I got used to the new dose.
Half-as-much as previous.
It was time.
My graduate studies had long been over.
And my wonderful psychologist (whom I am so lucky to have) challenged me to break my addictions.
Understand, I didn’t conceive of my dependencies upon prescription drugs as “addictions”.
But I think it is helpful that my paradigm has shifted.
Yes, I was addicted to a sleeping medicine.
Because I took it every fucking night.
And eventually it called to me…to take it earlier than bedtime.
A few short weeks ago (two?) I made a psychologist-approved adjustment to the dosage of another of my medicines.
This one is for anxiety.
I reduced my dependence from three pills to two.
This was an achievement.
And a tribulation.
VERY FUCKING DIFFICULT.
Again I had that same confusion.
That same disoriented stupor.
Strangely, this detox was a little different.
The whiplash effect (“rebound anxiety”) hit me a full two weeks later.
There was a delayed effect.
The first days were headaches and stuff.
I thought I had it beat.
Rough, but possible.
So when the delayed effect hit, it really sucked.
But I got through it.
I trudged on.
I got back on the horse.
And now these past few days have brought a return to the sleeping medicine.
But not, you understand, a regression.
Rather, a full stop.
It’s been three days.
And now I am totally off my sleeping meds.
The first night was really rough.
Inability GOING to sleep.
But I stuck it out.
Each night has gotten better.
But the DAYS…
Aches, pains, headaches, stomach…trips to the restroom.
And that same disorientation.
It is a really strange feeling.
But it is an accomplishment.
And so tonight I made it through a movie.
I didn’t have the brain-power to review a film with subtitles.
No art films this time around.
But The Blues Brothers was just what I needed.
This really is a masterpiece of sorts.
John Landis turned in an excellent effort here.
The costars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were magnificent.
And the cameos just keep on coming 🙂
I’ve had the blues.
Not depression, so much, but another kind of blues (lately).
Like climbing up a hill.
When I get to the top (and get used to a new, lower dosage of medicines), my feet are pulled from under me again (as I start on a new challenge).
I am learning (slowly) to deal with my anxiety in natural ways (rather than with drugs).
Suffice it to say that this is VERY FUCKING HARD (for me).
In some respects, I am already back to an engagement with the world which I haven’t had in seven years.
Indeed, I have rolled my medicines back (under psychological supervision) to a level I last “mastered” seven years ago.
That is SOME FUCKING ACCOMPLISHMENT! 🙂
Just a few short months ago (this dog-day summer), I was in the pits of debilitating anxiety.
My cousin died of a heart attack on July 5th.
That sent me into a tailspin.
Not too long afterwards, I myself was on heart medicine.
My dear cousin perished at age 43.
It scared the fucking shit out of me.
So here we are 🙂
I hope to start a new job soon. (Yay!)
I am scared to death.
Scared I can’t handle it.
But I WANT to do it.
I WANT to handle it.
I WANT the challenge.
I had a great job interview the other day.
First time any company had bothered to listen to me in forever.
AND I WAS OFFERED A JOB! 🙂
I am just waiting on my background check to be completed.
As I have no criminal record (and no credit…neither good nor bad), I don’t see how a fair company could preclude my employment.
But life offers no promises.
I speak my mind.
A bit too freely, perhaps.
And I am not anonymous.
Sometimes I wish I were.
But I am flying out in the fucking wind.
I am not a secret.
My pen name is strictly that.
I am not hiding behind it.
It was my stage name.
I earned it.
I toured the world as Pauly Deathwish.
And so it seemed only natural that my film critic persona take the baton from my musician self.
I have been making it again.
Playing open mics.
Trying to get my drug-addled brain to MEMORIZE songs.
Was never my strong suit.
But I’ve gotten (more or less) a couple of tunes under my belt.
And being a middle-aged geezer, I don’t feel too bad showing up with a music stand and some extra lyrics for songs which I haven’t quite set to memory yet.
Music is what’s at issue here.
The Blues Brothers.
A beautiful film.
I have lived this film.
I have fucking lived these roads.
I’ve played just about every possible analogous shithole to Bob’s Country Bunker.
I have been in the disgruntled band 🙂
As close to chicken wire as imaginable…
Which drags me back to topic.
This is a really fucking good film.
And I am cursing like a sailor.
For my conservative, proper readers, I do apologize.
It is a defect in my personality.
I feel it necessary that I curse.
Otherwise, I don’t feel I am getting my point across.
Because what I am expressing is a very pithy matter.
The grunge and grit of life.
Every word is in lieu of weeping.
Experiences so pungent as to suck all fight out of a person.
That is what I have lived.
And it is that to which I bear witness.
I am not thinking real clearly, but I am thinking (and writing) a lot clearer than I was a month ago.
I am on the good drugs now 🙂
I have been fighting through multiple addictions.
Things which I didn’t see as addictions.
And life is coming back into focus.
And THAT IS TERRIFYING…
But also EXHILARATING!!!
But mostly terrifying 🙂
So here we are.
On a mission from God.
Walking with the Lord.
I ask, here, that God grant me mercy.
I’m just as fucked up as anyone.
But I ask for the grace of Jesus.
And I ask for strength to do the right things.
To help people.
To not be afraid.
I am living through the spiritual battle.
May God protect me.
I have seen the light.
And I weep. Jesus wept.
I’ve been through so much shit.
And I feel like maybe I am finally emerging from the “dead mall” of limbo.
Like Jake and Elwood crashing out of the JCPenney in 1980 🙂
I want to exist in that flophouse minute.
Buttered toast on a coat-hanger over a hotplate.
And a 78 rpm Decca blues record spins and the elevated lines churn by endlessly.
I want to live in that moment.
Brings us back to the Danish concept of hygge [coziness].
John Landis nails it in the scene where Jake is drinking Night Train wine and Elwood is making toast.
Very close to what Roberto Benigni would do 17 years later in the Schopenhauer scene of La vita è bella.
Those scenes from films…
Those scenes in which we want to live.
They never get old.
They never cease to comfort.
That somewhere in this fucked-up world is a little closet we can call home.
Barely big enough to open the door.
Just a bed.
But it’s our little space.
Carrie Fisher tries all manner of destruction in this film 🙂
Even a flame thrower!
But Jake and Elwood keep getting up.
Just some rubble.
Just keep dusting off those black suits.
“Maybe CIA”, says Aretha Franklin (like the key to Dylan’s Tarantula).
Keep climbing from ‘neath those bricks.
Gotta make it seem real.
Maybe use real bricks.
Better to be the first man up.
Let’s get this in one take.
Hit on the head too many times with a brick…
Because there are private pressings on vinyl of American acts that went no further than their local Holiday Inn.
It is almost a fabled purgatory.
Very Charlottesville with the car and the cartoonish Nazis.
But I just wanna hear me some more John Lee Hooker.
I got the blues.
Days of Delta slide…feathery as an aeolian harp.
And nights of thin, wild mercury.
Just like in the movies…
Get a record contract backstage.
You could wait your whole life.
Carrie Fisher goes full-automatic.
And most of this film takes place in the hellhole of Chicago (but nearly 40 years ago).
Hey…I’m not much for car chases, but this film does something real special with the device.
That’s where they have that Picasso, right?
And perhaps it will be notable that Spielberg is the Cook County Tax Assessor clerk?
We shall see.
This movie was very dear to me as a kid.
It’s one of those which came on TV all the time.
And it always pulled me in.
For me, nothing in this film beats the scene in which Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas huddle ’round a marijuana campfire in the fuselage of a crashed plane.
Taking strong belts of Jose Cuervo tequila.
Basically sitting in a giant bong 🙂
But the best part–the cutest part…is KT eating olives.
An old jar. To be sure.
But they last awhile.
And liquor kills all germs, right?
Who cares if the dead pilot took a few swigs long ago 🙂
It’s such a cozy scene.
Perhaps it’s what the Danish mean by hygge.
And it’s an ambiance I’ve only seen approached in Vertigo (Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart by the fireplace in his apartment…after he rescues her from the waters of San Francisco Bay) and, surprisingly, The Pink Panther (David Niven and Claudia Cardinale by the fireplace…Claudia on the tiger-skin rug).
But Romancing the Stone, unlike those two films, is a full-on romcom.
Sure, there’s action…to entice the leery men 🙂
But there’s no denying that this is a romantic comedy.
And so I’m glad to join the ranks of romcom lovers.
Glad to christen a new category on my site with this fine film.
Some of it hasn’t aged so well (like Alan Silvestri’s sequenced electro-samba soundtrack), but most of it has…so kudos to director Robert Zemeckis.
Zach Norman plays a gay villain in such a way that one cannot help thinking of John Podesta.
Danny DeVito, who plays Norman’s cousin, is definitely the funniest thing in this film.
Neither Turner nor Douglas are particularly funny, but they are graceful and charming (respectively).
I would even add that Michael Douglas encapsulates a sort of masculinity which has been on the wane since the 1980s in America…UNTIL DONALD TRUMP WON THE FUCKING PRESIDENCY!
It is trippy.
To watch this movie late at night.
To relive childhood memories.
And then to rouse oneself to one’s feet and think, “Is Donald Trump really the President? Is this not some kind of dream???” 🙂
I know for many it is a nightmare.
So I will just leave that train of thought there. For now.
Actually, there is a more serious villain in this film: Manuel Ojeda.
He is certainly a BAD HOMBRE 🙂
[sorry, can’t help it]
The bulk of the action takes place in Colombia.
It’s like William S. Burroughs, in search of yage, writing back to Allen Ginsberg.
Though the narrative becomes evermore-farfetched as it unfurls, it’s so much fun that we don’t much care 🙂
Buried treasure? Check.
Wrestling crocodiles? Check.
Mr. Dundee and The Goonies were from this same era 🙂
Alfonso Arau is here too…with his little “mule” 🙂
[I guess, on second thought, that is a drug-smuggling joke]
This was the performance which preceded Mr. Arau’s all-world turn as El Guapo in Three Amigos.
Yeah…the plot really gets ridiculous right after the waterfall 🙂
But this is a feel-good movie!
And we need this kind of stuff.
Sitting down to ENJOY a movie 🙂
What a concept!