Classic

The Last Dragon (1985)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

The Last Dragon (1985)

Director:

Michael Shultz

Writer:

Louis Venosta

Starring:

Taimak

Vanity

Christopher Murney

Julius Carry

Faith Prince

Mike Starr

Blurb:

In New York City, a young man searches for a Master to obtain the final level of martial arts mastery known as the Glow.

Thoughts:

I remember the first time I watched The Last Dragon. It was a memorable experience because I was at work and someone had put it on, and at one point, we were all singing DeBarge Rhythm of the Night. That moment and this movie are imprinted on my mind because of a spur-of-the-moment group sing-a-long.

Looking past that memory, the film is incredibly entertaining on its own. You have the himbo Bruce Leeroy, Taimak, looking for the next level of martial arts. He’s learned all his master has to offer, but he has yet to attain the Glow. Then there’s Laura Charles, Vanity, the super-popular video DJ attracted to pretty, nice men and doesn’t back down even when her life is on the line. There are TWO crazed villains. One wants fame and glory but can’t get there on his own. Last, but certainly not least, Sho’nuff The Shogun of Harlem makes the freaking movie. His goal is to prove that he’s better than Leeroy so that his power over Harlem is uncontested and unquestioned.

The women in The Last Dragon are a big part of why I love the movie. Laura Charles goes after what she wants and doesn’t compromise her integrity or jeopardize her career. She takes it a bit to the extreme because I’m pretty sure you’re life being threatened is a reasonable point to back down. Meanwhile, you’ve got Angela Viracco, Faith Prince, who loves a man who’s promised her wildest dream. But when he shows his true self, she stands her ground and faces off against him. The strength she displays is inspiring.

If you can’t find enjoyment from The Last Dragon, I don’t know what to say…

Ghostbuster (1984)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Ghostbuster (1984)

Director:

Ivan Reitman

Writers:

Dan Aykroyd

Harold Ramis

Starring:

Bill Murray

Dan Aykroyd

Harold Ramis

Sigourney Weaver

Rick Moranis

Annie Potts

Ernie Hudson

Blurb:

Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Thoughts:

Bill Murray in Ghostbusters is hilarious. He’s dry and sarcastic and makes the movie. Reading more into the film, though, it sounds like he was a bit of a diva. He said he’d do the movie but never actually signed anything, so it was never a sure thing. He also took a lot of time away from Ernie Hudson, who took a pay cut to be in the film because he liked the role so much. So while I love Bill Murray’s character in the movie, I feel bad for the people who worked with him.

Ghostbusters is one of those films that a LOT of people have truckloads of nostalgia connected with it. Oddly enough, I don’t. It wasn’t one I got to watch much growing up, so while I think it’s great, I do feel like I get to look at it from a distance. It’s fun and entertaining, and unique. The closest modern equivalent, besides the reboot, would have to be This is the End. Even that’s a stretch, though. It’s crazy that no one tried to emulate it. That’s what Hollywood does, after all.

And now it’s time for Random Facts from the Wikipedia Article!

-The day before the deadline for Slimer’s puppets Richard Edlund, his creator, was informed they wanted it to look like John Belushi. Edlund took three grams of cocaine and believed Belushi’s ghost guided him in Slimer’s creation.

-Universal owned the rights to the name Ghostbusters because of a children’s show but allowed Columbia to buy the rights for $500,000 and 1% of the profits. Which, of course, never happened because movies never make a profit. This only happened, though, because one of the people originally attached to Ghostbusters became the head of Universal.

-One of the only things that made it through all versions of the script was the Marshmallow man. It sounds like it was Aykroyd’s favorite part, and the movie wouldn’t get made without it.

– Julia Roberts was considered for the role of Dana Barrett

And that’s the end of another edition of Random Facts from the Wikipedia Article!

It’s always interesting to know who potentially could have been cast. I can’t imagine anyone else in the role of Dana after seeing Sigourney Weaver. Likewise, I can’t imagine Eddie Murphy in the role of Winston.

Ghostbusters is a highly quotable, classic comedy that everyone should see at least once.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Directors:

Robert Stevenson

Ward Kimball

Writers:

Ralph Wright

Ted Berman

Bill Walsh

Don DaGradi

Ken Anderson

Starring:

Angela Lansbury

David Tomlinson

Blurb:

An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defense of Britain in World War II.

Thoughts:

I remember Bedknobs and Broomsticks fondly. It’s not a movie that I’ve seen often, but it made a big enough impact on me that I bought it when I saw it for sale. I’ve watched it once since then and still enjoyed it, but that’s been years and years ago (it’s a DVD to give you an idea). While talking with some friends, I discovered that they had the same experience. They’d seen it, liked it, but didn’t remember much if anything about it, just that they liked it.

It’s based on a book, of course. Disney purchased the rights when they had issues getting Mary Poppins and then Bedknobs was set aside when they finally did get Poppins. It seems like it did well at the time, though it was compared to Mary Poppins in reviews. I looked to see if there was a blu-ray available on Amazon and it appears to only be on streaming and DVD, so I guess it never made it to blu-ray. It’s not a movie that’s gotten a lot of love and I wonder if it’s because of the witch element.

After my re-watch, I still enjoy it, but since it’s on Disney+, I don’t feel the need to own it. There was a very long singing and dancing number that had some questionable representation. It also felt a bit like Mary Poppins, though, that could have been that one of the main actors was from that film. After reading the Wikipedia entry it sounds like at least one song originally written for Mary Poppins was included in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

By far, the best scene in the movie was the battle at the end. It was so bonkers ridiculous, and amazing. That part alone made me almost keep the film. Still, as I said, it’s a DVD, and Disney+ has it available, and it doesn’t seem likely to be taken down.

I just want to add, Angela Lansbury is a treasure, and every time I see her, I think of Murder She Wrote and want to watch it. Plus, she was Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, the best Disney movie ever! (Maybe not ever, but definitely up there)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Director:

Ken Hughes

Writers:

Roald Dahl

Ken Hughes

Richard Maibaum

Starring:

Dick Van Dyke

Sally Ann Howes

Lionel Jeffries

Gert Fröbe

Anna Quayle

Blurb:

A down-on-his-luck inventor turns a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy vehicle for his children, and then they go off on a magical fantasy adventure to save their grandfather in a far-off land.

Thoughts:

After my re-watch of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I believe it’s not a movie I need to own. I enjoy it, but there’s nothing extraordinary about it. What makes me keep it is the heaps of nostalgia I have attached to it. It was one of maybe fifteen movies that I owned growing up, and I watched it so many times that it will forever be embedded in my mind. I could sing all of the songs even though I can’t remember the last time I watched it.

One of my favorite parts is the machine that cooks breakfast. It always fascinated me, and I’d always try and figure out how it worked. It was still fun to watch, even though now I’m about 99% sure it couldn’t work. There’s still that part of me that wants it to.

The songs are excellent and fun to sing. Dick Van Dyke was a pleasure to watch and, thankfully, didn’t try to do a British accent.

This was a book adaption and did not follow the book very closely. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books. It was apparently a story that he told to his children. Reading Wikipedia, it looks like Roald Dahl worked on the movie script, which was something I didn’t know. I’m not sure how much of his version was kept since the director said he had to rewrite it. Still, it’s kind of cool that Dahl, a famous children’s story author, worked on this script.

Reviews on release were positive, but it sounds like 1968 was a dark year for movies. I haven’t checked to see what was released, but it was mentioned a couple of times. Later reviews were also positive, but it’s somehow got a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, another sign that sites algorithms are garbage.

It didn’t make money on the initial release, but it seems like no movies did back then. Whether that was manipulative accounting practices or it was an actual loss, it doesn’t sound like it was considered a flop at the time.

I didn’t try watching this with my children, though, I did have it on in the background. The beginning held their focus, but it was too long for them. It was too long for me and could have easily had a couple of scenes cut entirely.

Anyway, I’ll be keeping Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, though I won’t be watching it again anytime soon.

The Sound of Music (1965)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

The Sound of Music (1965)

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

George Hurdalek

Howard Lindsay

Russel Crouse

Ernest Lehman

Maria von Trapp

Starring:

Julie Andrews

Christopher Plummer

Eleanor Parker

Richard Haydn

Peggy Wood

Charmain Carr

Blurb:

A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

Thoughts:

I watched The Sound of Music with my kids because it’s a movie I watched a lot as a child. My children were not as entertained as I was when I was their age. It took us four days to make our way through this film and on the last day I watched the ending alone. It is a longggg movie.

Once again, the music is amazing, there isn’t much dancing, but the puppet show and the little skits the kids do are charming. It’s a lovely movie, definitely a classic, but not one I need to watch often. It’s not one I could watch often with how long it is.

Recently, a book about the Von Trapp family’s lives was on sale, and I bought it. I’m interested to see what was changed for the movie. One of my favorite parts is the love story. I’m curious to see if that was entirely made up. Reading everyone’s Wikipedia entries is pretty interesting.

I’ve only got one more movie in the 60s, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Another kids movie that my kids will probably not like :rollingeyes: