Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Director:

Stephen Herek

Writers:

Chris Matheson

Ed Soloman

Starring:

Keanu Reeves

Alex Winter

George Carlin

Blurb:

Two seemingly dumb teens set off on a quest to prepare the ultimate historical presentation with the help of a time machine.

Thoughts:

I’ve watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure relatively recently. Still, I re-watched it. It’s such a feel-good movie that it’s hard to resist. It has a lot of quotable lines. It’s funny. There’s also time travel. It was made for me.

Surprisingly, it was a hit at its release. So many of my movies were slow burns, not finding their audience until years later. It’s nice to know that Bill & Ted have always been enjoyed. Hollywood, why can’t you make more lovable stoners?

Tango & Cash (1989)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Tango & Cash (1989)

Directors:

Andrey Konchalovskiy

Albert Magnoli

Writers:

Randy Feldman

Jeffrey Boam

Starring:

Sylvester Stallone

Kurt Russell

Terri Hatcher

Jack Palance

Blurb:

Framed by their ruthless arch-nemesis, a mismatched LAPD crime-fighting duo has to put its differences aside to even the score with the evil kingpin who put them behind bars once and for all.

Thoughts:

The title and idea of Tango & Cash are awesome. You’ve got Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as, basically, buddy cops. They’re taking down criminals in their own way until they’re framed by a weird old white dude that has a thing for mice. It’s a great premise, and the first half of the movie is fine. Sadly, the last half doesn’t make sense, and it’s clear that someone else directed it.

Honestly, reading up on the film, it’s a miracle it got made. They went twenty million over budget, and Stallone fired the director and the original director of photography. Supposedly he was also the producer, director, writer, and star all at one time. He wasn’t given credit for it, and the Wikipedia isn’t one I’d trust completely, so take that with a bag of salt. It’s possible he felt inferior because Russell is so clearly the better actor.

I’d say this is around the time Stallone’s career started to take a downturn. He still did some good movies, but they were more hit or miss. He’s a better actor than Schwarzenegger, but he’s got a type he can play, and he should stick with it. Stallone is definitely not a comedian. He should have learned that in Cobra, but he didn’t. His jokes did not land in Tango & Cash, and it made his character seem off. Stallone has the superior butt, but Russell has better comedic timing.

Apparently, Stallone is trying to make a sequel, but I don’t see Russell doing it. I didn’t read anything about them having issues, but I find it hard to believe that Stallone was a joy to work with.

Only one more movie left in the 80s!

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)

By:

Kwame Mbalia

Blurb:

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal. Tristan chases after it — is that a doll? — and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

Review:

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is presented by Rick Riordan. Now, I’ve read the Percy Jackson books, and I enjoyed them, but they came out after I graduated high school, so they don’t have the nostalgia attached to them that Harry Potter does. They’re good books, but honestly, I forget about them.

Anyway, Tristan Strong has a lot of the stuff I remember from the Percy Jackson books. You’ve got an everyday kid thrust into an impossible situation rising to the occasion. Honestly, I loved Tristan more than Percy. He was going through a lot and struggling, and several times I cried for him. Reading as Tristan became surer of himself was beautiful. He read like a seventh-grader, and I thought Mbalia did a great job writing him.

The non-god characters in this book weren’t as fleshed out, but that was really only two characters, so I didn’t have a problem with it. I loved the mythology in this story. I’ve heard a couple of these stories before, but there were so many I hadn’t. It made me want to research them. It was awesome.

I’ve got a stack of library books I need to read, of course, but as soon as I finished Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, I went to the library and picked up the sequel. I’m hoping that one day my kids will actually enjoy me reading books like this to them, and I can do that too.

4.5/5

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writer:

Jeffrey Boam

Starring:

Harrison Ford

Sean Connery

Denholm Elliot

Alison Doody

John Rhys-Davies

Julian Glover

River Phoenix

Blurb:

In 1938, after his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. finds himself up against Adolf Hitler’s Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers.

Thoughts:

Okay, I’ve got another hot take to go on top of my Ghostbusters II one. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is my favorite Indiana Jones movie. Watching it again cemented that for me.
Indiana is a shit archeologist and a shit professor, and the only reason he has a job is nepotism. Man almost immediately bails on his students when he’s actually available to work. He also goes around destroying anything with potential historical value if it stands in his way. He’s never mentioned his father before and what we know of his father isn’t endearing, but Indiana won’t let anything stand between him and saving his dad.

There are a lot of issues in the story. I spent most of my re-watch pointing all the things that didn’t make sense. Like, why in the flashback to his youth is Indiana all about things being in a museum, but then in Temple of Doom which happens next chronologically, is he all about money? Then in Raiders, he’s back to it belongs in a museum. Temple Indiana doesn’t fit.

Why is he carrying around a flaming torch in a tomb he’s said he could retire from all the petroleum in it? He is literally dripping flames onto this “oil.” Of course, this is after he destroyed a library floor which should have gone against both of his professions. Dude, could you not wait an hour or so before hammering a hole into an ancient tile? Your dad has been missing for days at that point. Are a few more hours going to make a huge difference?

The whole movie is a bunch of good scenes with shit that doesn’t make sense in between, which seems to be standard Spielberg at that point. Big set pieces and damn the logic of everything else. Reading the Wikipedia entry for the movie, it sounds like a miracle we even got this coherent of a story. Several people wrote drafts, including Chris Columbus, who wrote two. Spielberg and Lucas started location scouting for his and then bailed because they decided it was too racist and unbelievable. If the creators of Temple of Doom think your script is racist and unbelievable, then… *yikes*

There’s a lot in the Wikipedia article for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Including the fact that the prologue inspired Lucas to create the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, which is not available to stream anywhere and is only available on DVD split into three volumes and cost over $90. I’ve seen a couple of the stories when I was a kid, and I’d love to watch all of them, but I find it difficult to spend that kind of money on a DVD. Paramount needs to get that up on their streaming service. It might get me to subscribe.

I believe there are only two women with lines in this entire movie. Both of them are Nazis. There are a couple of rich German women on the airship, but they didn’t say anything. This is pretty par for the course when it comes to these movies. However, it was pretty gross that both Jones’ men slept with Elsa. It says a lot about the treatment of women in this movie that that’s almost an improvement.

I appreciate a good adventure movie, but The Mummy movies have aged much better than the Indiana Jones ones. I’d love to see more of this type of movie being made again. There are so many movies I’d love to see made with an eye toward fixing their treatment of women and minorities. Hollywood loves to remake and reboot. Why can’t they do that and make things good? I’m not asking for a remake or reboot of Indiana Jones. That would be wrong. There’s a lot I don’t like about these movies, but they need to be left alone. I just want an adventure movie that doesn’t make me cringe in embarrassment.

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Lady’s Guide #1)

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Lady’s Guide #1)

By:

Manda Collins

Blurb:

An intrepid female reporter matches wits with a serious, sexy detective in award-winning author Manda Collins’ fun and flirty historical rom-com!

England, 1865 : As one of England’s most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she’s determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are preying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham’s refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she’s the key witness in a new crime, he’s determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they’ll need to catch a killer.

Review:

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem is the book I meant to check out months ago when I got the wrong book. Finally, I managed to get the right one, and I couldn’t finish it. I read over 40%, so I feel comfortable leaving a review, but I’m not going to rate it or count it toward my yearly total.

I often take a few chapters to get into a book, unless the book is just that good. I’ll read some pages, then set it down, do something else, and return to it. The problem I had with A Lady’s Guide was that I kept putting it down. There was nothing wrong with the book. It was well written, and the premise was interesting. I didn’t even hate any of the characters. I just could not get into it.

I believe the issue was pacing. The blurb makes it sound like a mystery romance fusion with a regency era setting. The first half of the book was almost completely devoid of romance. It was also pretty light on mystery. We knew there was a killer and that the wrong person had been charged with the crimes, but it wasn’t until over a third of the way through that there was any movement on that front either. Honestly, the story moved too slow for me and couldn’t hold my attention.