Thursday, October 23, 2014

October Expiration Watch: Hacking Away at the '80s

Bad news this month if you're a fan of 1980s movies; also if you're a Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford Coppola, or Firefly fan (no, Firefly isn't leaving, thankfully, but Serenity—the feature-length sequel to that short-lived cult series—sadly is). Some other good stuff will also be taking a break from streaming (we hope it's only a break), including a handful of classics, a helping of sci-fi, a bit of horror, and a few curiosities that are worth a look if you're craving something unusual.

'80s FAVES

American Psycho (2000) - not technically an '80s movie, but it's based on a Brett Easton Ellis novel that's of and about the '80s—in all their greedy, serial killer excess
The Big Chill (1983) - Lawrence Kasdan's tribute to baby boomer nostalgia (capsule review here)
Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) - this one's a double period piece—a semi-autobiographical 1980s comedy set in Neil Simon's Depression-era youth; watch it back to back with Woody Allen's Radio Days and don't be surprised if you start talking like an old-school Brooklyn Jew
Broadcast News (1987) - great cast, sharp and funny James L. Brooks script; see it if you haven't
Caveman (1981) - Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, and Shelley Long as wacky cavemen with '80s hair—but the star of the show is still the drunken dinosaur
Footloose (1984) - if someone were to send an '80s time capsule into space, a DVD of this movie might very well be in it
He Said, She Said (1991) - also not technically made in the 1980s, but with those hairstyles, those shoulder pads—and Kevin Baconit's not fooling anybody: so '80s!
La Bamba (1987) - Ba-la-la-la-la bamba! Hmm...'80s movies about other eras: a recurring theme
Say Anything (1989) - how dare they take away Lloyd, Diane, and the giant boombox! (cue Peter Gabriel's..."Red Rain"); an '80s movie so hip it feels like a '90s movie (only not Singles)
St. Elmo's Fire (1985) - remember what I just said about Footloose? I take it back.
Steel Magnolias (1989) - no, I'm not crying, I'm just chopping onions...on the couch in front of the TV


The Buddy Holly Story (1978) - Ba-la-la-la-la bamba! Oh, wait, wrong prematurely dead '50s rock star (sorry, too soon?). And yet the ending seems suspiciously familiar...
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) - Newman and Redford in their glorious, beautiful primes, in one of the least western-like westerns ever made—the very first buddy movie, in fact
The Prince of Tides (1991) - Barbra Streisand directs Nick Nolte to great acclaim (but sadly, no Oscar) in her ambitious, highly lauded adaptation of the Pat Conroy potboiler
Single White Female (1992) - stepdaughter to Fatal Attraction, mother of The Temp, The Crush, The Fan and all those other '90s obsession flicks, grandmother to Swimfan, The Roommate
Thelma & Louise (1991) - you could write a thesis on the differences between '60s and '90s cinema by simply comparing this movie's final scene with the one in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; I'm not saying you should, but heck, I'd read it


Apocalypse Now (1979) / Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)
One from the Heart (1982)
Tetro (2009)
If you've been following this blog for any period of time, then you know the drill with these: they come and go with the seasons. Full overview here.


For a Few Dollars More (1965) / The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - the second and third in Sergio Leone's "Dollars" trilogy, after A Fistful of Dollars—the spaghetti westerns that put spaghetti westerns on the map (and made Clint Eastwood a bona fide movie star)
Breezy (1973) - as unlikely as a Clint Eastwood-directed picture gets, this hippie-era love story features the equally unlikely pairing of 54-year-old William Holden and 19-year-old Kay Lenz. Sure, it lays itself open to charges of "creepy" and Hollywood wish-fulfillment. But the film's affecting performances and 1970s looseness make up for a lot, as do characters whose level of sincerity and desire for a genuine connection make them downright fascinating in these irony-drenched times.


Iceman (1984) - Timothy Hutton defrosts a frozen prehistoric man in a compelling sci-fi film that Roger Ebert called "spellbinding," Harlan Ellison called "magnificent," and I call "riveting" (which, with a buck fifty, might get you a cup of coffee). P.S. The Netflix description is wrong: there is no media circus.
Serenity (2005) - the pulse-pounding, feature-length followup to Firefly, one of the best sci-fi/adventure series ever—and a show famously cut down before its prime. If you've seen Firefly or are making your way through it now, you'd best start bingeing so you can catch this finale before it's gone.
Silent Running (1971) - meditative cult sci-fi with an ecological message, starring Bruce Dern and a couple of cute robots, directed by legendary special effects artist Douglas Trumbull (2001, Blade Runner)—and much better than I just described it
Starman (1984) - John Carpenter's boy-meets-girl take on E.T. (capsule review here)

The crew of the Serenity, back for one last adventure


Candyman (1992)
The Conqueror Worm (1968)
The Ninth Gate (1999)
Orca: The Killer Whale (1977)
Sadly, I have nothing to say about any of these, but since Halloween's coming up I thought I'd point them out. Oh, The Ninth Gate stars Johnny Depp and was written and directed by Roman Polanski. Despite its bad reviews, the idea of those two guys working together remains intriguing. Go ahead, give it a shot—I dare ya!


101 Dalmatians (1996) - Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil, with a whole bunch of spotted pups. Also with Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, and Hugh Laurie, and...can you tell I haven't seen this?
Bob the Builder (1999-2012) - for very small kids*
Thomas & Friends (2005-2012) - also for very small kids*
*If you know any very small kids, please tell them they need to start bingeing this stuff, like, yesterday. Also, they should stop hitting their sister and go to bed. [Update: Looks like Bob and Thomas were renewed, so, um...never mind.]


The Escape Artist (1982) / Hammett (1982) - both of these come and go with the expiring Coppola films, all of which (minus Tetro) were produced under the director's American Zoetrope shingle before it went bankrupt. The first film was directed by cinema-tographer Caleb Deschanel (Zooey's dad), the second by Wim Wenders. I keep trying to catch at least one of these whenever they're streaming—a situation I hope to remedy this month.
Heat Wave (Apr├Ęs le sud - 2011) - French. Dark. Probably somebody dies.
The Odessa File (1974) - Jon Voight as a Nazi-hunter, back before he became a Republican
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts (2011) - classic '90s-style indie (think Gas, Food, Lodging and Bodies, Rest and Motion) that's kind of a thinking woman's chick flick. If it had subtitles, it might also pass for French—except nobody dies (spoiler alert); worth a watch if the subject grabs you
Vigilante Force (1976) - now I ain't sayin' this one's that good, but along with a frequently shirtless Kris Kristofferson and Jan-Michael Vincent, it's got Bernadette Peters, Victoria Principal, a cameo by Loni Anderson, and enough banjo music, brawls, an' bullets to shake a Bud at. From the future director of Grosse Pointe Blank.

Additional expiring titles below, including even more from the '80s (Allan Quartermain, anyone?).

October 31

101 Dalmatians (1996)
American Psycho (2000)
Apocalypse Now (1979) / Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) - Review
Balibo (2009)
The Big Chill (1983) - Review
Blown Away (1992)
Bob the Builder (1999-2012) 
Breezy (1973)
Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986)
Broadcast News (1987)
The Buddy Holly Story (1978)
Bullet Proof Monk (2003)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Candyman (1992)
Caveman (1981)
Cheech & Chong's Next Movie (1980)
Cloak & Dagger (1984)
The Conqueror Worm (1968)
The Dogs of War (1980)
Elvis '56 (1987)
The Escape Artist (1982)
Footloose (1984)
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
Fire in Babylon (2010)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
The Great Outdoors (1988)
Hammett (1982)
Hannibal (2001)
He Said, She Said (1991)
Heat Wave (2011)
Iceman (1984)
King Solomon's Mines (1985) / Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987)
La Bamba (1987)
Les Miserables (1998)
The Ninth Gate (1999)
The Odessa File (1974)
One from the Heart (1982) - Review
Orca: The Killer Whale (1977)
The Prince of Tides (1991)
A Raisin in the Sun (2008)
Red State (2011)
Say Anything (1989)
Serenity (2005)
Silent Running (1971)
Single White Female (1992)
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts (2011)
St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
Starman (1984) - Review
Steel Magnolias (1989)
Tetro (2009) - Review
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Thomas & Friends (2005-2012)
Tortilla Soup (2001)
Trees Lounge (1996)
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Up at the Villa (2000)
Vigilante Force (1976)


stevenglassman said...

I almost hate to be that guy, but I have to point out that you named the wrong Peter Gabriel song in your comment about Say Anything. The movie used "In Your Eyes," not "Red Rain." Right album, wrong track.

Thanks for these posts, though; this blog is fascinating!

David Speranza said...

Hah. That's okay, you can be that guy (I often am myself). Except I actually said "Red Rain" on purpose, to suggest the state of mourning we'll all be in when Say Anything expires. ;-) I kind of assumed we all knew the actual song was "In Your Eyes," and was hoping my reference would be taken with the big ironic wink that was intended. Ah, well. Let me go back and finesse the punctuation a bit, see if that helps. Thanks for weighing in. I've certainly been known to make the occasional mistake here, so such checks and balances are appreciated!

KC Bob said...

Thanks for the warnings! Much appreciated!

Kirby said...

Dalmatians are from Dalmatia, not Dalmatio.

David Speranza said...

Right you are, sir. Corrected. Grab yourself a cigar!