Movie

Dirty Dancing (1987)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Director:

Emile Adrolino

Writers:

Eleanor Bergstein

Starring:

Jennifer Grey

Patrick Swayze

Jerry Orbach

Cynthia Rhodes

Blurb:

Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances “Baby” Houseman falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle.

Thoughts:

I noticed on my most recent viewing that Dirty Dancing doesn’t have the best acting. I never know what Jennifer Grey’s character is thinking or feeling. Once they start having sex, it’s obvious, but before that, her stare is a bit dead. Patrick Swayze is, of course, very emotive, and I know what he’s thinking.

There’s also the whole she’s supposed to be eighteen, and he’s supposed to be a few years older than that. They’re clearly in their late twenties and early thirties. I end up missing out on the whole forbidden love because they’re adults. Her parents shouldn’t be able to hold her back. I get the class thing, but Baby clearly doesn’t care about that. So the only thing holding them back is her parents. I missed all of that until I read Wikipedia.

I don’t watch Dirty Dancing for the acting so much as I watch it for the music, though. The dancing is also nice, but it’s the music that I love. It’s been a while since I listened to the soundtrack, but there was a time when I was sixteen when I listened to it nonstop for an entire week.

Honestly, I’m not sure if this is a movie I need to own. I have the soundtrack. Do I really need the “story?” I do like the depiction of abortion in the film. It’s realistic, and the woman isn’t shamed. So that’s a big positive in the movies column. I don’t know. I’ll probably keep it. Sometimes I just want to watch Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey crawl across a floor toward each other while lip-syncing.

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…

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

William Huyck

Gloria Katz

Starring:

Harrison Ford

Kate Capshaw

Ke Huy Quan

Amrish Puri

Blurb:

In 1935, Indiana Jones arrives in India, still part of the British Empire, and is asked to find a mystical stone. He then stumbles upon a secret cult committing enslavement and human sacrifices in the catacombs of an ancient palace.

Thoughts:

I’ve never enjoyed Temple of Doom. It’s too scary. The food is even terrifying. Hearts are ripped from people’s chests. People are burned alive. All of that, and it’s rated PG. It’s no wonder PG-13 was created because of this movie. On top of all of that, Indiana, Harrison Ford, is somehow even a bigger misogynist than in Raiders.

Watching this movie after the Me Too movement has not been eye-opening, but certainly uncomfortable. I never liked how women were treated in the film, but I just accepted it. Now it actively pisses me off. Indy’s treatment of Willie, Kate Capshaw, was disgusting. He repeatedly dismissed her, even though he literally dragged her with him. She has a right to complain. Willie had been singing at her club, and all of a sudden she’s in a jungle surrounded by a foreign nature. Naturally, she’s scared, and Indy just laughs at her and rolls his eyes. Women, amirite?

Temple of Doom is technically a prequel, which explains why I don’t like it. I tend to hate prequels. There’s no explanation for why it happens before Raiders. Indy is a bit more mercenary, looking for only fame and glory. He starts off willing to ignore the plight of an entire village because he doesn’t believe them. I guess he hadn’t yet been shown that the supernatural was alive and well in his world.

Willie was a female version of Indy, but he’d never acknowledge it. They were both the top of the careers and complete narcissists. So sure of how amazing they are and only capable of the barest minimum of self-reflection. That was at least amusing to watch.

Even harder to look past than the sexism is the blatant racism in the film. It’s just soooo bad. You’ve got the heavy-handed Indian racism and the casual racism with Short Round, Ke Huy Quan. They covered as many bases as they could with Temple of Doom and racism. I refuse to allow the whole ‘it was a different time’ excuse to be used either. Fuck that noise. The Indian government actually told them they didn’t like several things in the script, and instead of changing them, they changed location. They knew exactly what they were doing.

Also, if anyone ever complains about how unrealistic certain scenes in Crystal Skull are, just point them to the beginning of Temple of Doom. They fall out of a plane in a life raft onto a snowy mountain. Ride down the mountain at breakneck speeds and then fall off a cliff into a raging river. It’s beyond ridiculous, which is fine for the type of film. My issue is more with people complaining about Crystal Skull.

I own Temple of Doom in a boxset, and I’m a completionist, or otherwise, I’d be fine not owning it. It’s definitely not a movie I feel the need to re-watch at frequent intervals. Normally, it’s not until I forget just how bad it is that I re-watch it.

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.

Romancing the Stone (1984)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Director:

Robert Zemeckis

Writer:

Diane Thomas

Starring:

Kathleen Turner

Michael Douglas

Danny DeVito

Blurb:

A mousy romance novelist sets off for Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure hunting for treasure with a mercenary rogue.

Thoughts:

I love adventure movies, and Romancing the Stone ticks all of my boxes. Not only is it an adventure, but it also includes romance, and it does it well. How often can you say that? Never, that’s how often. I wonder if it’s because a woman wrote it? Sadly, Diane Thomas was killed in a drunk driving incident, and we never got to see other movies from her. Apparently, she was working with Spielberg on some things at the time too. That’s two female writers in the 80s, attached to movies I love, that died…

Reviewers have compared Romancing the Stone to Indiana Jones, and I don’t see it. Apart from the fact that they’re both adventure movies, they don’t share anything else. Joan Wilder, Kathleen Turner, is definitely the main character. I don’t care what Michael Douglas thinks. Joan was the main one, and he was her sidekick.

They weren’t fighting Nazis. They were searching for treasure with a treasure map. Archeology played no part. Seriously, other than the adventure aspect, how is this like Indiana Jones? It feels like reviewers getting all pissy cause it was female-led.

Two conspiracies in one post, nice!

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

-Sylvester Stallone was considered for the role of Jack Colton. Thank goodness that didn’t happen, I can only imagine how he would have demanded things be changed, plus he’s not good with romance.

-Robert Zemeckis almost didn’t get to make it because 20th Century Fox had no faith in him after two failures. It was because of the success of Romancing the Stone that he could go on and make Back to the Future.

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

There weren’t many random facts this time. The film didn’t have much drama going on with it, so that’s nice.

I wish more movies like this were being made—films like this and tv shows like The Librarians. I’m hoping that because of everything that’s going on in the world, entertainment will start to veer toward a lighter fare. Bridgerton was wildly successful, proving that people want happy, predictable media right now. Please, please bring back my adventure movies. The only upcoming one I’m aware of right now is Uncharted with Tom Holland, and considering it’s based on a video game, I do not have high hopes.

I’ve written a whole long blog post about my favorite Adventure movies and my feelings on them, so there isn’t much else to say about Romancing the Stone.