Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#70 - The Goonies - 1985

The 7th and final movie of my 80's week that I decided to watch was the ultra iconic Goonies. This film was ridiculously great on some many different levels and easily the best movie of the week and right up there with one of my favorites. I would probably have to admit it would be a tie between this one and the Burbs. I love both these films but if I'm being honest this one was better than the Burbs and the best movie of the week. Below is my detailed review.

This film is one of those unique films that is basically for everyone and that everyone can enjoy. Originally advertised as a family adventure flick this film is so much more. It blends action, comedy, adventure, suspense, and thrills in a rare way that most films couldn't even imagine. No matter what age you are you would enjoy this film. You've got children heading out to explore a possible treasure, a criminal family on the run, the typical 80's flick teen jerk, caves and caverns, waterfalls and pirate ships and some of the most scenic settings you could possibly ask for so really this film pretty much had it all. Lets start with the cast because without them none of this would even matter.

The main actors of this film who were self proclaimed Goonies were Sean Astin (Mikey), Corey Feldmen (Mouth), Jeff Cohen (Chunk), Jonathan Quan (Data), Josh Brolin (Brandon), Kerri Green (Andy), and Martha Plimpton (Stef). I don't think there could have been a better cast of characters for the Goonies than this, absolutely great! The bad guys who made up the Fratelli Family were brothers Robert Davi (Jake) and Joe Pantoliano (Francis), and their mother Mama was played by Anne Ramsey. Sloth who was technically a Fratelli was really a good guy in the film and helps out the Goonies in the end. My favorite character as is most people's I'm sure was Chunk! He was by far the funniest one of the bunch.

I don't necessarily know for sure if this film was filmed in Astoria, Oregon but I believe so since they made a day in June this past summer the Official Goonies Day in that city. It's been 25 years since the release of this wonderful film and I cant wait to get this 25th Anniversary Edition on Bluray! The setting for this film with Astoria, if that is truly Astoria in the background was quite scenic and absolutely gorgeous. I love the rolling hills, lush green trees, and the ocean views. Astoria looks like a beautiful place to live and if I recall that is where Arnold went and ended up teaching in Kindergarten Cop. The town of Astoria and the caves, waterfalls, and pirate ship sets were all very visually stimulating and was a treat for my eyes. I especially loved the water slide scene near the end of the film. How fun would that have been to film??

One thing that Ill always relate to the Goonies is Cyndi Lauper. Her video of "Good Enough" is shown on the TV at the Walsh's and that song is played in the movie as well. She also co-wrote the song "Goonie R Good Enough" as well for the movie as that was played too. Her music along with the score for this film was a perfect fit and kind of like the Star Wars theme the Goonies theme and score are incredibly recognizable and most people who have seen the movie know exactly what that music is the second they hear it.

This film had adventure from start to finish and was intertwined with some very funny scenes. There are almost too many to name in a single review without going on too much but Ill do my best. Here are my favorite scenes and what I remember most about the Goonies. The chase scene at the beginning and Chunk's overexcitement to share with everyone what he witnessed was very funny. He of course had to do the "truffle shuffle" before getting in. I loved the device at the Walsh's house that let people in the front gate. I wonder who thought of that for this film? Very different, very odd. One of the funniest scenes of the entire film takes place in the Walsh's living room when Data crashes through a window and knocks over a statue which Chunk catches but then of course drops. I think we all know which part broke off the statue and how it got glued back on. haha!!

There are little quotes and comments throughout the film that are funny to me and remind me of when I was younger. For instance while in the attic when Chunk says "1662 is that a year or something" and Mouth replies "no, that's your top score on pole position". I loved that game! So basic, so fun! I also thought it was humorous that Mikey would always say, at least on 5 or 6 different occasions "that's what I said" after accidentally skewering words over and over. The most memorable and probably most popular though has to be Chunks scene with Sloth where Slot states both "Baby Ruth" and Rocky Road". Another popular one is when Troy, the rich kid prick yells down the well and yells "you Goonies"!

Like I said before Chunk was my favorite character in the film and his scenes being stuck in the freezer, his time with Sloth, and the infamous blender confession scene were all very very entertaining. Had there not been a character like Chunk with his dramatic and down right hilarious acting ability these scenes wouldn't have been half as good. Kudos to Jeff Cohen for his work as Chunk! Data had some great scenes in this movie as well and they all had to do with his gadgets and gizmo's which were very cool and one which even saved his life. His extremely bright lights were pretty awesome if you ask me as well as those slick shoes! I love it when Data comes to the waterfall and fountain scene and yells out "its a giant piggy bank"!

Like I mentioned before the settings for this film were pretty darn cool and they were on full effect when the group entered the skull faced cave and encountered the skeleton piano. The chase scene over the running water on the log was quite comical and painful for the Fratelli's. I think it would be so much fun to have an adventure through caves and caverns like the Goonies did sans the bad guys following me of course. When seeing these scenes I constantly wonder where they shot all of the underground scenes and what happened to those sets. I think it would have been so much fun to work on this film as they encountered so many different obstacles throughout. It all culminated to a great final sequence aboard One Eyed Willies Pirate Ship with treasure and gold all around. The Goonies found the treasure, helped bring the bad guys to justice, and in the end saved their parents home so it was a classic fairy tale ending for this film even though it was not a Disney flick. Amazing, amazing, amazing! They don't make movies like this very often so this was a treat to get to watch this one! No shocker here, this one gets an A+!

Monday, August 30, 2010

#69 - Adventures in Babysitting - 1987

The 6th movie I chose to watch this week was Chris Columbus's directorial debut film Adventures in Babysitting. This was another classic that enjoyed growing up and will most definitely enjoy from this day forward as well. It was a very unique storyline and had some very fun and interesting characters throughout and was a great film. Below is my detailed review.

Elisabeth Shue was the lead role of Chris Parker a babysitter who had one hell of a night of babysitting and then some. She was watching Brad (Keith Coogan) and Sara Anderson (Maia Brewton) and eventually ended up watching Brad's friend Daryl (Anthony Rapp) as well. Penelope Ann Miller played Chris's best friend Brenda and in a scene where I had to do a double take good ol Vincent D'Onofrio played Dawson or as Sara knew him to be, Thor! Another standout in this film was Handsome John Pruitt (I love that name!!) played by John Noonan. George Newbern (Father of the Bride) also starred as Dan Lynch, the guy who Chris eventually ends up with. Bradley Whitford (West Wing) played the role of Mike Todwell the asshole whom lied and cheated on Chris. Why is it that this guy seems to play a jerk in a lot of movies? All in all a great cast.

After some research I found out that Shue beat out Valerie Bertinelli for the lead role after many others both auditioned, were considered, and/or backed out due to other obligations. Some of them were Michelle Pfeiffer, Joulie-Louise Dryfuss, Jodie Foster, Sharon Stone, Brooke Shields, Andie McDowell, Melanie Griffith, Tatum O'Neal, Bridget Fonda, and Kathleen Turner. Both Nicole Eggert and Christina Applegate auditioned for the role of Sara in the film but that went to young Maia Brewton. I'm always intrigued by the actors and actresses who could have been in certain movie's but weren't.

This film had some many great things about it but lets start with the music and dancing. This is evident right from the beginning of the film where we see Chris dancing and singing to the song "Then He Kissed Me" by the Crystals. Quiet adorable and endearing. Edwin Star's Twenty Five Miles to home song was in this film on two different occasions. First when they first got onto the expressway at the beginning of the film but more notably at the end of the film when they were racing to get home and beat Mr. and Mrs. Anderson home. There were other small snippets of music throughout like "Expressway to your Heart" at the frat party but none compared to the Blue's singing scene. See below for more info. The film actually ended with the song it started with, "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals after Chris and Dan kissed in the Anderson's driveway.

The Blue's Bar scene where Chris sing's Babysitting Blues was absolutely classic. The way Chris and the kids perform in this sequence is amazing. Easily one of the most entertaining scene's of the entire film! You can't help but sing Babysitting Blues and finishing with "some guys are out to get her and Brenda's probably dead and these guys should be in bed"! Very catch, very hip, and very very funny! Awesome awesome scene. Like I said the music in this film was awesome and so many of the great great scenes in this movie had music associated with it.

My favorite character was Daryl whom had many funny facial expressions, quotes, and antics throughout the film. He was quite the quirky friend one could say and was a pleasant surprise for this movie. I especially loved when they were in the truck with Handsome John Pruitt and he yelled out "oh God is it his hand" and Brad says "no, its a gun" and Daryl yells out "oh God" again. Very funny. His actions at the frat party and when seeing Mike at the restaurant were also very funny.

Brad was also quite funny in this film and the cruel trick Sara played on him at the beginning of the film with Chris was a teenage boy's nightmare. I could literally feel Brad's pain in that scene. I loved Brad's enthusiasm as he introduced himself to all the chop shop workers and his defense of Chris in the subway was just too damn funny. I can hear him now, "take that back, apologize. Watch your mouth you big city scum sucker". haha". Watching Sara and Daryl's face in this scene were hilarious especially after Chris picks out the knife from Brad's shoe and says to the gang member "Don't Fuck with the Babysitter"! Awesome! I thought it was a clear reference to Michael Jackson's Beat it with the two gang crews meeting on the subway with their Black and Red attire and knives out ready to do battle. So 1980's huh?

I know that Brenda was an important part of the film but I felt the scenes at the train station were a little too unrealistic. I mean I know homeless people probably live there but the guy with the gun was corny and I cant imagine any guy doing what he did and there was one of the few film flubs in the train station as well. When the old man tried to get into the phone booth his bag is visible on the ground and he has dentures in there. Only problem is he has a full set of teeth when yelling at Brenda. Another flub was on the expressway when the tire blows out. Chris tried to steer to the shoulder on the right in one scene but ends up pulling over to the left and center divider in the next. No big flubs but just some minor ones that were noticeable. I also personally thought that Brad, at 15, was a little old to be babysat personally especially by someone just 3 years older than him. hat was weird to me.

I could easily look past all of that because I enjoyed the memorable scenes in this film so much that these minuscule things I just mentioned had no effect on my thoughts and views for this film. I still have positive things to say when speaking of this film and always will and to this day it still has one of the most entertaining music dance and singing number in a movie that Ive ever seen. Yes I loved that scene that much. Overall this one gets an easy A!

#68 - Ferris Bueller's Day Off - 1986

The 5th movie I watched this week was the 1986 cult classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I remember hearing about this film from some parents of teammates of mine back when I was playing baseball. I think it was a big deal back then and if I remember correctly it was controversial in a way but I cant figure out why now after seeing it so many times? Was it because it was glorifying skipping school? I don't get it. In any matter below is my detailed review.

Now most people know this film had quite the cast and was led by Matthew Broderick who played Ferris Bueller but there were some others who were in this who weren't the main star's that were funny to see. Lets first list the main cast. Alan Ruck starred as Cameron Fry, Ferris Bueller's best friend and Mia Sara as Sloane Peterson, Ferris Bueller's girlfriend. Jeanie Bueller was played by Dirty Dancing's own Jennifer Grey and rounding out the main characters would be Jeffrey Jones as Principal Ed Rooney and Edie McClurg as his secretary Grace. As I mentioned there were some other notables and they were Louie Anderson who was part of the singing telegram crew, Ben Stein as a teacher, Kristy Swanson as a fellow student, and Charlie Sheen as a troubled young man in the police department.

As is the case with many films the final choice for characters and who got the roles were not necessarily the first choices. Anthony Michael Hall originally turned down the role of Ferris Bueller and Emilio Estevez turned down the role of Cameron. Other's who were considered for the role of Ferris Bueller were John Cusak, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Michael J. Fox, Robert Downey Jr., and Tom Cruise. Now correct me if I'm wrong but was Jim Carrey even popular in 1986? Maybe it was the In Living Color TV show that made him popular but I don't think he was a breakout star at that time? John Candy also auditioned for the role of Cameron which I find odd. There was a slew of women who were considered for the role of Jeanie Bueller and the more popular ones were Madonna, Jodie Foster, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

I don't know exactly when I saw this film for the first time but I've seen it several times in my life and enjoyed it each time I saw it. I do have to admit that as funny as it is I did find some of it quite corny and unbelievable this last time I viewed it but then again I don't believe this type of a movie is supposed to be keen on facts and reality, right? This continually year after year is on several different top movie lists including 80's comedy, high school flicks, and cult classics. I liked it but didn't love it and with that being said Ill list below some of the things I really enjoyed about this film.

The first thing I always think about when I hear the word Ferris Bueller is Ferris Bueller's house and here's why. The house that belonged to Ferris Bueller actually is located in Bixby Knolls an upscale neighborhood in Long Beach, CA. This would be why the final scene where Principal Rooney gets picked up by a bus was filmed at Los Cerritos Park in Long Beach which is literally a few minutes away from where the house is located. When I lived in Long Beach back in 2005/2006 my wife and I used to take walks over there in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood and we walked by the Bueller house every time and we also walked by Los Cerritos Park as well however we didn't know that's where they shot the final bus scene but now we do. Very cool that they shot these scenes in Long Beach. As of 2006 the Bueller home looked just like it did in the movie.

Music was a big part of this film and my favorite and I think the best scene in the entire movie had music in it. Yes I am talking about Ferris Bueller's performance of Danke Schoen and Twist and Shout atop a parade float in downtown Chicago. After some research I guess there was actually a real parade going on when they filmed this scene and some of the people dancing like the steel worker up on a lift next to a building were not actually even part of the scene as an extra but they were just simply dancing to the music and ended up being added to the film. I loved the scene where the people at the steps did a classic Michael Jackson move while dancing and to this day I swear when they are first entered onto the screen they are all on a moving platform because it is just too perfect for them to have choreographed it that well. Speaking of music another great scene was at the beginning when yet again Ferris is singing Danke Schoen this time while getting ready and at one point sporting a Mohawk in the shower. Classic Ferris.

This films setting is supposed to take place in Chicago but personally I would love to know where they shot the scene's at Cameron's house. WOW! Love that house out in the woods. Throughout the movie the trio (Bueller, Cameron, and Sloane) venture to downtown Chicago, a Cubs baseball game, a museum, the Sears Tower, and back home but still my favorite setting for this film took place at Cameron's place with his secluded wooded hideaway of a home. Heck Id even take the car room as my room with that cool view every morning out to the wilderness.

Like most memorable films there are several scenes which most people always remember and identify with for a movie. For me and for this movie those scenes would be as follows. Ferris and Cameron yelling swing batter batter swing" at the cubs game. Ferris going back to introduce himself to bikini girls who are laying out while he is trying to race home. Cameron flipping out after hearing the mileage is off in his car. The big heavy set dude singing Twist and Shout in the crowd. Ferris Bueller's keyboard that he turned into a cold voice machine. Ben Stein calling out "Bueller, Bueller". These are my memorable moments which I'm sure are different than most people's. but still these things remind me of this film and come to mind when I hear this film title.

I thought overall this was a very good film and had a lot of pretty cool scenes in it. I loved the fact that it was filmed nearby and that I've seen some of the locations where they filmed this movie and I thought as good as Matthew Broderick was as Ferris Bueller I still liked Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye and he was my favorite character in this film. Jennifer Grey whom I thought was quite cute in Dirty Dancing had a more limited role than I would have liked but was still good in the role she had. This is definitely a film Ill see again one day and I enjoyed seeing it this week. Although not one of my favorites of the week I would still give this movie a firm B+!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

#67 - The Last Dragon - 1985

The 4th movie I watched this week is the lovely classic "The Last Dragon" or as some refer to as "Berry Gordon's The Last Dragon". I reviewed this movie back in March so I have attached some of those comments with new ones for a new and more detailed review. I remember watching this one when I was in my New Edition, Ready for the World, Breakin 2 Electric Bugaloo phase. I loved this movie and although I hadn't seen it for awhile I was excited to see it again and loved it just as much as I used to before. I remember seeing this movie when it was available for rental back when I was around 10 or 11 maybe a bit older and I loved this movie, I would watch it over and over and just loved it. Come to find out, I wasn't the only one. This movie would regularly be sold out at the local movie joint and as I grew older I came to learn this was sort of a cult classic, a Kung Fu cult classic. To this day I love watching this movie and for someone who is not at all interested in martial arts that is saying a lot. Below is my detailed review.

This film's star was named Leroy Green and was played by an actor named Tamik. I don't believe this actor has gone on to do much else but I'm sure he will always be remembered for his role in this film. He had such a quiet, respectful, and gracious way about him and that helped shape his role for this character even though he was a kung fu king or master some might say. The character Richie Green was excellent in the film as the sarcastic, blunt, loud mouth younger brother of the Last Dragon (Leroy) but lets be honest the show stopper of this film was Sho'nuff played by Julius Carry. His charisma and screen presence made him the perfect villain for this movie.

The other main stars in this film were Vanity as Laura Charles and an array of others like the good guys, bad guys, family members, and security guards but mostly Leroy Green, Laura Charles, and Sho'nuff dominated this film. As I usually do in most films I'm always amused by some actors who I see in this older movies with smaller parts and that is no different in this one. William H Macy played the role of Laura Charles agent although it was a small role indeed it was still quite odd to see him in such a small role. Other notable actors in this film in small roles was Chazz Palminteri as a limo driver and The Cosby Show's Rudy, Keisha Knight Pulliam as Leroy's sister.

As for the movie itself. Here is the basic jist of this film and the storyline it follows. Leroy Green is a quiet unassuming Kung Fu fighter. He is well known in the community for being a great Kung Fu fighter and this upsets the local bully and bad guy Sho'Nuff and his gang of scoundrels. Leroy's brother Richie is obsessed and in love with TV dance show's 7th Heaven host Laura Charles. Eddie Arkadian is a music producer who feels his girlfriend Angie has star potential and he kidnaps Laura and attempts to force her to play Angie's video on 7th Heaven. There are several instances where Leroy comes to Laura's defense and save's her and this leads Eddie to go out and find someone to take down Leroy, hence Sho'Nuff is called in.

The Last Dragon had martial arts influence, excellent music, a love story, and a final battle scene that was amazing. Like I said it was a classic good vs evil and the movie rarely lagged at any part. The characters were so unique and different and the way they all intertwined to come together was great. None of this would have worked had a mediocre cast been casted but all of the characters were great in their roles especially the hero, the villain, and the girl. Vanity was gorgeous as the entertainer Laura Charles and Taimak's innocence as Leroy Green made his transformation throughout the movie that much more magical.

The music for this film was excellent and I currently have several songs for this soundtrack on my ipod right now! My favorite tracks were Vanity's 7th Heaven and Dwight David's The Last Dragon. Vanity's song 7th Heaven is played earlier in the film and is extremely catchy. I especially dug her monster like dance moves and it reminded me of something out of a Michael Jackson Thriller movie. Very cool and hip. The second track The Last Dragon was most memorable to me because it was at the end of the film during the epic battle between Leroy and Sho'Nuff. I could never hear this song again in my life without thinking of this movie and particularly that final battle scene. I love when music does that to you and becomes that memorable. Its awesome!

There were a lot of great scenes in this film but some that were just funny to me and others that I couldn't figure out. Here are some of the ones I am talking about. Lets start with Sho'Nuff's red dot on his glasses. What is this for? Looks funny to me. In the beginning of the film there is a sequence that takes place in a movie theater and there is a transvestite. Why? Were they popular back in 1985? Heck have they ever been popular anywhere other than West Hollywood?? Personally I don't think this needed to be added to the film. All of Angie's outfits in the film were quite funny to me especially the head light outfits where two big headlights covered her breasts. haha. Very funny. Leroy's Asian friend was funny especially when he called Sho'Nuff a string bean Rick James looking fool. Too funny!! I also like the El Debarge video clips and song they played in this movie for Rhythm of the Night. I loved how the Green family had breakfast for dinner. I just had to say that and yes it makes me want to make breakfast for dinner, I love breakfast for dinner!!

Ok now onto Vanity. I have to admit when I saw this film I began to have a major crush on Vanity. She is gorgeous and she was amazing in this film. I loved when she told Leroy she was looking for a bodyguard and said so seductively "some to guard my body". The she tells him "you look like a master to me". She was great throughout and made a perfect female interest in this film and main female lead. Her dancing, singing, and acting were great in this movie. One of my favorite scenes with her besides the dancing and singing one of 7th Heaven at the beginning was when she was showing Leroy the Bruce Lee video clips before the kissed. Love that scene.

Leroy Green really makes this movie and heck its called the Last Dragon and that's him so it should be that way, right? I loved how he was always so calm throughout the film. There were several scenes that he didn't even flinch at Sho'Nuff's fake punches to him, he just stared and looked at him. That was pretty cool. My favorite scene though was obviously the final battle scene which I speak of so much in this blog. It is easily one of my favorite battle scene's in a movie of all time and it is pure brilliance. Leroy obviously defeats Sho'Nuff and even catches a bullet from Eddie Arkadian after wards. Glowing and all, Leroy's Kung Fu skills in the final battle prove to be too much for the almighty Sho'Nuff and he takes down the bad guys and gets the girl. He even asks Vanity while all donned out in a White Suit holding flowers for her to "show me some moves". Great ending for this great great film!

All in all this movie was enjoyable throughout and it led up to that epic battle at the end that I'm sure most will enjoy. There isn't much I would have changed about this movie and I hear that a remake is already in the works and the name Rhianna is already being tossed around as one of the actresses, no doubt as Laura Charles character and she would be perfect for that. Ill be very interested to see who they cast as Leroy and Sho'nuff. Time to start surfing the web and checking out the rumor mill for that. For this one I give it an easy A!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

#66 - National Lampoons Vacation - 1983

The 3rd movie I watched this week was the classic National Lampoons Vacation. This movie came out when I was 7 years old and I probably didn't see it for the first time until the late 80's but I will always remember seeing this one and loving it from the first time I saw it even at an early age. There were so many wonderful things about this movie and I was so happy to get a chance to see it again because it has been awhile. Below is my detailed review.

I'm not even going to waste anyone's time by sharing the plot of this film because everyone should already know that, if you don't I'm sorry. Instead lets talk about the cast. Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Randy Quaid, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Imogene Coca, and Christie Brinkley (in her film debut!) round out the main cast of characters worth noting. Chevy Chase obviously plays Clark Griswold and his wife Ellen is played by D'Angelo and his Hall plays his son Rusty. Quaid plays the hilarious Uncle Eddie and Coca stars as Aunt Edna. Brinkley stars as "the girl in the Ferrari" and Levy and Candy have smaller roles in the film as a car salesman and Walley World employee respectively. Brian Doyle Murray also has a very brief appearance in this film as the Kamp Komfort Clerk and this is too funny to me because he actually also plays the role of Clark's boss in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation which I've literally, no joke seen over 150 times in my life.

Ok enough about all the actors. They are great and casting gets a passing grade with flying colors for this cast of characters. Lets move on to the sets for this film and where they take us. It starts in Chicago, IL and moves to St. Louis, MO and then to good old Dodge City, KS. From there they move forward to Coolidge, KS and then all the way out to Phoenix, AZ and out to their final destination of Los Angeles, CA. Out of all the locations they visited my favorite was obviously Los Angeles, CA due only to the fact that Walley World was actually Six Flags Magic Mountain and I loved seeing those scenes with the roller coasters and it brought back memories of the way Six Flags used to be. Ill speak more about that below. The scenes in St. Louis and Dodge City actually looked to me like they were shot at the Universal backlot but they were not, they were filmed at the Warner Brothers studios. They looked pretty realistic and accurate to the environment they were supposed to be at, or at least I am assuming so. Not sure where they shot the Coolidge scene but I wouldn't want to live there, sorry.

Lets talk Walley World. First problem I have, it should be Wally World, not WallEy World, that just bugs me. As mentioned before Walley World is actually Six Flags Magic Mountain sans the Parking Lot images along with the castle in the background and the big skyway, those are obviously art concepts and are not in the park itself. The rest is and I love seeing the rides they used for this final scene of the film. Colossus was actually Screamey Meemy and Revolution posed as Whipper Snapper for this film. Who the hell came up with these names?? haha. I thought it was cool to have the final sequence of this movie filmed at an amusement park and if it couldn't be Disneyland then I guess Six Flags would do however Knotts Berry Farm would have been a great choice. I would have loved a scene with the ride Gold Rush or the White Water Rapids but I guess the coaster scenes were all they shot. Originally the Directors had planned for the Griswolds to head to Disneyland for their main destination but Disneyland never closes so they were unable to use that venue for this film.

My favorite character in this film is easily Clark Griswold. Uncle Eddie is actually funnier in Christmas Vacation and had a more limited role in this one so really nobody compares to Clark as far as the funny goes. His dedication and determination to get his family out to Walley World no matter what turns into pure comedy with all the obstacles he has to face. I especially love the scene where he flips out in the car prior to heading to California when his wife and kids suggest maybe passing on Walley World. It is a shorter more condensed version of his rant in Christmas Vacation and although not as funny as the latter film it is still quite comical and one of the funnier scenes he has in this film. Who could also forget his late night skinny dipping scene with Christie Brinkley?? More on that below.

There were a lot of great scenes in this film and parts of this movie that I enjoyed. Some funny, some "wow look how young he looks", and one in particular scene that was just sad. Lets start with the "wow look how young he looks. Ill use this reference for Eugene Levy and John Candy, but especially Levy he looked super young as the Car Salesman at the beginning of the film. 5 short minutes of screen time but a "wow look how young he looks" scene for me. Lets get the sad scene out of the way now too. I think we all know what I am referring to. The scene where the police officer pulls Clark over because he accidentally left the dog tied to the bumper of his car and killed it was sad. Just the thought of it is sad but thankfully there was no evidence of the "carcass" as the police officer said. Not sure this scene was a "must have" for this film and had there been other deleted scenes for this movie I think I would have preferred them to this one, any of them, don't care what they would have been. Lets move on to the funnies now! There's lots of them!

The singing scene with the family as the first embark on their trip is classic. It reminds me of the scene at the beginning of the film the Great Outdoors. I also enjoyed their dangerous trip through the "hood" in St Louis but I was highly confused when I saw a thief using what appeared to be a cell phone and not some big bulky looking one either but a small compact looking one. Weird. Is there a story behind that?? Their stop at Uncle Eddies is very very funny especially when Clark first sees Aunt Edna. Who doesn't laugh when a man's sandwich falls out of the bun? Speaking of Uncle Eddie can I have his # to get some of those hip looking white shoes? WOW - too damn funny! One of the funniest scenes of the movie was when Clark saw Brinkley at a rest stop and was dancing with his pee soaked sandwich. Clarks got some moves in this scene doesn't he? haha.

The scene at the hotel in Phoenix after they dreadfully drop off Aunt Edna at a family members home was one of the more memorable ones in the film. For any teenage adolescent this scene is probably embedded in their brain and will be forever. Yes I am speaking of the infamous pool scene with Clark and Brinkley where they go skinny dipping. Now and day's teenagers were less to homeroom than we saw in this scene but still the scene itself was wonderful on many levels. Clark's comment before jumping in "this is crazy this is crazy and I'm in deep" before he shouts out like a woman at the coldness of the water is comedy magic. At this point in this film I felt sorry for the guy personally but couldn't help but laugh how deeper he dug himself a hole.

Other scenes that top my list were the theft scene at the Grand Canyon, the Psycho reenactment shower scene, the incredible car crash scene in the desert, and all the scenes when Clark saw Brinkley in her red Ferrari while driving. I thought it was hilarious subliminal advertising when they had a Coppertone Display in a Dodge City, KS that had Christie Brinkley donning a yellow bikini. Too funny. I also thought it was unique that Roy Walley looked very similar to Walt and Roy Disney. Coincidence? The tent cabins at Kamp Komfort reminded me of when the Brady Bunch went camping. I liked that show! I was also amused at all the scenes that reminded me of Christmas Vacation like the following. Rusty explaining things by saying One followed by B then followed by three. The outburst scene by Clark was similar too as I explained before. Here's a transcript. "I'm going to have fun, your going to have fun, were all going to have so much fucking fun were going to need plastic surgery to remove our god damn smiles. You'll be whistling zippeedee dooo da out of your asshole"! Classic Clark Griswold.

This movie to me was filled with many very funny scenes and all kinds of obstacles and diversions for the Griswold family on their vacation from Chicago to Los Angeles. I have never and hope to never experience a vacation like this but watching it was quite enjoyable. The snapshots of postcards at the beginning of the film and vacation photos at the end of the film were pretty cool touches. The song that is uber-popular and has been in numerous films that plays when Clark and his family run towards the entrance of Walley World at the end of the film is a song that will always remind me of this movie. The coordinated drum smashes that match Clarks arms flinging out was an added bonus for me as you really get to witness this man's dream come true as he finally made it to Walley World! There wasn't much to complain about in this film besides the dog scene and therefore I would give this one a strong firm A!

#65 - The Burbs - 1989

The 2nd movie I chose to watch this week was the 1989 film The Burbs. I remember seeing this one when I was younger and it being one of my favorite movies at the time. To this day it is still one of my favorites and although not one of Tom Hanks biggest motion pictures ever easily one of my favorites for him. I originally thought this one was from the 90's but it seems as though it barely stayed in the 80's decade so I was happy to have this one for this week. Below is my detailed review.

The Burbs had a wonderful cast and a perfectly quiet small town cul-de-sac as its setting. The cast consisted of Tom Hanks in the main role of Ray Peterson. His wife Carol is played by Princess Lei Carrie Fischer herself. His neighbors are Lt. Mark Rumsield (Bruce Dern), Art Weingartner (Rick Ducomumm), Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman), and Walter Seznick (Gale Gordon) along with new arrivals to the Mayfield Place the Klopeks. The Klopeks consist of 80's staple actor Courtney Gains as Hans, Brother Theodore as Uncle Ruben, and most notably Henry Gibson as Dr. Werner Klopek.

The story of this film is Ray Peterson is taking a week's vacation and wants to stay home and veg for the week but his new next door neighbors are quite intriguing individuals to him with their unkept lawn, elusive behavior, and strange noise and lights coming from their basement. He cant help but wonder what is going on over there so when you add the street Lieutenant (Dern) and street whacko (Ducommun) to the picture you get the makings of a very funny film. Against the will of the women in their life they compose a game plan to investigate this families house when they leave for a day trip and what takes place is pure catastrophe in all shapes and forms.

I spoke briefly about the set of this film above but let me divulge more on that here. This film was shot on the back lot of Universal Studios where they originally filmed Leave it to Beaver and what is now Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives. If you notice at the beginning of the film the name of the street is Mayfield Place and that is the same street name that the Clever's live on in Leave it to Beaver. I remember going to Universal Studios shortly after the release of this film and getting to set this set, it was very cool. I loved how different and dirty the Klopek's house was compared to all the others. I know its Wisteria Lane on the tour now but I will always remember it as Mayfield Place and home to the Burbs movie.

One thing that amazed me with this film is that the entire movie, all 102 minutes take place on the cul-de-sac there on Mayfield Place. That is incredibly unique for a film to basically take place all in one specific area, in this case neighborhood for the entire length of the film. Very rare but yet it worked for this movie. The atmosphere of this neighborhood and the Klopek's house alone made for a very cool setting for this film. The night scenes were my favorite especially when the rain and thunderstorm was present. The interior scenes inside Ray and Walts house were pretty basic however the interior scenes inside the Klopek's was very cool and creepy. The scene where Ray has to use their restroom and walks down the hall in the Klopeks with the front door behind him and staircase to the right of him actually looked eerily similar to the interior section of the Psycho House and the scene where Norman entered the house before chasing down Lila. I wonder if that was intentional and more so I wonder if they used the same set? It was filmed just a tram ride away at Universal?

I liked all the characters in this film but by far my favorite was Lt. Mark Rumsfield played by Bruce Dern. He was so damn funny to me in this film with his military attire, hatred for Walter's dog, and his animal crackers. haha. All of the scenes he was in were funny. I especially loved his scene inside the Klopeks with the way he was with them questioning everything, checking out the pipes, etc. My favorite though was when he was intently trying to figure out what angle a painting should be placed at. Too funny. He was easily the most entertaining one in this film in my mind.

There were numerous scenes that I really enjoyed and the following are some of my favorites! I thought when Ray and Art went up to the Klopek's door for the first time and the bee's sprung out and chased them through the street was pretty funny. I also enjoyed the scene where Lt. Rumsfield and Art rummeged through the trash truck looking for evidence from the Klopeks trash. Lt Rumsfields shaving cream and camouflage boxers added humor to this scene in my mind. This goes back to Lt. Rumsfield but when Rumsfield, I'm going to call him Rummy from now on, when he and his wife and Ray and his wife go to meet the Klopeks there are plenty of funny scenes all mostly thanks to Rummy. I like when he says "Hans, Hans Christian Anderson" and then when Ruben answers him abruptly and he responds, "about a 9 on the tension scale Rub".

There were also some more dark scenes that made it more mysterious and horror like which I loved even though this was clearly a comedy. The organ music playing when showing the Klopek's house, the thunderstorm and rain, and the digging in the backyard of the Klopeks were all pretty cool scenes that I enjoyed. It gave the movie a more spooky campy feel to me and I liked that. Don't get me wrong none of these scenes were scary per say but it added an element that I liked to the film that is usually missing from these type of flicks. The film progressed to where the three guys, Rummy, Ray, and Art with the observance of the neighborhood dude, Ricky plan to go all out and investigate the Klopeks house all Hardy Boy style. Ray ended up doing most of the work including the digging in the basement and almost got blown to smithereens for it but he ended up living. The final scenes of the film show Dr. Klopek with Ray in the ambulance actually admitting to killing the former neighbors, the Knapps and then Rummy chasing down Hans whom he calls out "Pinocchio" due to his similar resemblance of Pinocchio's buddy in the Disney classic. All in all this movie was entertaining to me from start to finish and I love the fact that the entire movie was shot on that back lot at Universal. Add in Rummy and the other cast of characters along with the spooky Klopek house and this one was a winner in all categories for me. I would easily give this one an A!