Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Well the 80s party was a success. We watched a lot of fun movies, listened to music that made us dance, and made fun of just about everything that came on screen until we got too tired to make jokes.  Oh, and Nick had TWO slices of DQ cake...who knew?  I've still got three slices left, and one is calling my name already.  Oh, and I've got a bowlful of kettle chips left over too.  If there's one thing I always do, it's that I always buy too much food.  As for our marathon, we got through 4 movies between Saturday night and Sunday morning (as well as one episode of "Inspector Gadget") and I'm sure you're dying to know what we managed to get through.  Here we go!

To start, we popped in one which was a favorite of us all and which brought back fond memories of our childhoods, Adventures in Babysitting.  Aside from being amazed that all of us seemed to see this for the first time while we were being babysat, we also remarked on how well made the film was.  From the acting, to the writing, to the soundtrack everything about this movie works.  For those of you who don't know the goes something like this:  Chris Parker is a17 year old who has just been stood up by her steady boyfriend, and so she ends up babysitting for Brad and Sara Anderson.  It proves to be a boring night until her friend Brenda calls and needs to be rescued from the downtown Chicago bus station.  What at first seems like a routine trip turns into a crazy adventure as they find themselves with a flat tire and are soon drawn into several action packed situations that get worse and worse.  The film is both hilarious and exciting and takes itself completely seriously (for the most part) and that is what makes it seem believable, despite some of the very unbelievable things that happen.  There are certainly dated elements, but those can be overlook for the sheer fun factor.  Definitely a classic.
The next film up on our list was The Monster Squad, a film that can best be described as The Goonies but with the Universal Monsters thrown in.  Of course, the Squad has more going for it than that but that is the easiest way to describe it.  The original plan for this party was to watch something from every genre, and this was my way of doing 'horror' without getting too gory for my squeamish and 'not-that-into-horror' guests.  The plot goes as such: Back in the day, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing tried to wipe Dracula and his minions off the planet using a sacred amulet that opens a gateway to limbo.  However, their plan backfired.  Jumping forward to 1987, we find Sean and his friends Patrick, Rudy, Eugene, and Horace (aka Fat Kid) who have started a Monster Club because of their love of horror films.  Sean is given the diary of Van Helsing by his mother, who got it at a yard sale, and he takes it to Scary German Guy (his German neighbor) to translate it.  Little does he know that Dracula (along with the Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster, The Mummy, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon) is in town and wants to get the diary back to keep anyone from reciting the passage within that will open the amulet.  Soon the kids are pitted against the monsters in a race to save the world.  Will they succeed?  Does Wolfman have nards?  This movie is great because it features foul mouthed kids and lots of gruesome (but unoffensive) horror to enjoy at the PG-13 level.  Its not the best film in the world and is full of cliche and predictable moments, but overall it presents a very entertaining tale full of likable characters and great dialogue.  If you haven't seen it, you should.

Next up was a film that I described as concentrated 80s because when you watch it, its like eating frozen OJ without adding water.  Its too sweet, it makes you sick, but damn if it doesn't feel good while you're doing it.  Earth Girls Are Easy is memorable not only because its one of the few 80s sci-fi musical comedies but also because it was written by and features Miss Downtown Julie Brown herself...MTVs own Miss 80s.  That alone makes this one worth watching, but if you're still unsure, let this plot summary help you: Valarie, a valley girl who works at the Curl Up and Dye beauty salon, dumps her cheating boyfriend on the eve of their wedding and decides to take a topless sunbathe next to her pool...which distracts a UFO that is flying by the vicintiy.  Soon she is bringing the horny space visitors into her home (played by then unknown Damon Wayans and Jim Carrey and sexy stud Jeff Goldblum) and trying to get them to fit in with Earth culture.  Along the way, there are car chases, sex jokes, dream sequences, and more 80s musical numbers than you can shake a stick at.  If this movie sounds completely ridiculous and stupid, that's because it is.  But thats part of the joke, the film (like Brown's MTV segments) completely spoofs the excess and frivolity of late 1980s culture in L.A with its overabundance of hot pink, neon, and crazy fashion.  Its definitely worth seeing once, unless goofy comedies don't do anything for you.  Oh, and the soundtrack is great too...especially the title song, "Cause I'm a Blonde", and "I Like Em Big and Stupid".

And of course, no 80s movie marathon would be complete without at least one John Hughes movie.  Lets face it, the man completely defined what a high school movie is and has been since the 1980s starting with his enduring classic, The Breakfast Club.  However, before the Club there was Sixteen Candles which was much less serious but still showcased his wit and talent for capturing the essence of teenage life, embarrassment, and love.  In Sixteen Candles, it is the day before Samantha Baker's sister's wedding and her whole family is in town for the occasion.  The house is a crazed powder keg waiting to explode, and with all the commotion everyone in her family has forgotten that it is Samantha's sixteenth birthday.  To make matters worse, she is being hit on by the school geek and the boy she really likes, Jake Ryan, doesn't seem to know she exists.  However, by the end of this crazy day, Samantha's life may be more changed than she thinks.  This film is classic Hughes.  We have the seemingly impossible and almost 'fairy tale-like' romance, the strange side characters and situations, and the biting wit that came with all of his films.  It easily ranks among his most popular films, up there with The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Uncle Buck (and still several others).  The film doesn't just resonate as an 80s film, given its enduring status as a teenage classic today.  Hughes had a way with teenage stories that manages to be universal and timeless no matter when you see it.

I hope you guys enjoyed this quadruple whammy and I hope you seek these films out if you haven't seen them yet.  I'll be back with you soon with more of my own ramblings and musings.

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