Dianne Wiest

The Lost Boys

Year: 1987
Directed By: Joel Schumacher
Written By: Janice Fischer, James Jeremias, and Jeffrey Boam

RYAN’S REVIEW

In this age of vampire rage it’s almost too much to even bear seeing any vampire movie again, but this is the vampire movie.  This movie made vampires cool twenty years before it became the trendy thing to do. Screw all the Twilights and True Bloods, Jack Bauer was the vampire in this movie.  By today’s standards this film is far and away ahead of its time.  It both exploited the comic book world and made vampires cool which are both so big in our current culture. This movie gets a bit too goofy at times but it’s cool enough to compensate for all that.  The music and the style of the time are captured in the film making it a portrait of the era in the late 80s. The tone of this movie is all over the place because it tried to fuse comedy and horror together but it’s a fun movie and sometimes that it all that matters when it comes to evaluating a film.

In 1987 there was every reason to believe the young cast in this movie all had bright futures ahead of them.  Arguably some of them did but none really reached the potential people saw in them during the late 80s. The most successful is without a doubt Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland.  That’s his actual name by the way.  If I remember right his dad, Donald Sutherland, chose to name his son after six of his best friends so Kiefer’s legal name is actually that long.  I am a big fan of Kiefer because he played one of the greatest characters ever, Jack Bauer.  However, there was a reason Kiefer landed on a TV drama at a time when it was considered an act of desperation in a film star’s career. Kiefer has had some memorable roles over the years but his career was spinning out of control in the years preceding his part as Jack Bauer. Yet faced with adversity he took that role and made it something special. Kiefer is one of the big reasons 24 was such a success and I for one look forward to the return of the series next year. As it goes with his role here there is an interesting factoid that I was unaware of till just now.  His character David doesn’t die.  All of the other vampires explode or disintegrate when they are killed but he does not when impaled on the deer antlers.  Apparently his character was meant to survive and play a part in a sequel that was never made. In true 80’s fashion is was to be titled The Lost Girls; go figure right? It’s too bad the sequel wasn’t picked up.  Although it probably would have been a disaster anyway I would have liked to see what more they could have done with the David character.  Kiefer made for a cool vampire and it would have been cool to see more of him.

It’s Jason Patric I have in mind when I think that people probably expected big things from the young cast of this movie.  He must have come across as the type of young actor who had a promising future in front of him but it never happened. I don’t know why but I know his track record doesn’t do anything to impress. Unless you were really taken with Speed 2, when for some reason it’s a problem that a boat can’t slow down with the enormity of the ocean to cruise through.  Jason Patric fit the part in this movie well but his character’s name is said relentlessly to the point of being annoying.  There aren’t enough drugs in the world to account for the annoying amount of uncalled for laughter coming from these hipster vamps, and peppered all throughout their “lol-ing” is the name “Michael” said over and over, and over and over again. It’s not Jason Patric’s fault, but it’s an annoying part of the film I always think of when he comes up in conversation.

When I was a kid I was quite taken with Jami Gertz in the role of Star.  That wild hair and hippy style really did it for me back then.  I was always a bit confused about the little kid who was with her in the movie.  Was he her brother or son? I never knew before but having read a bit about the movie I found out that the vampires just snatched this kid up at random to be her companion. At one point in the movie you can see his image on a milk carton as a missing child. Dianne Wiest plays the other female lead in this movie and I think she really brings the film down.  I have never really seen her play more than the aloof and naive mother and I’m just not a big fan of that role.  It’s a necessary role in some films and I suppose she does it as well as anybody.  She plays a similar part in both Edward Scissorhands and in one of my personal favorites, The Birdcage. 

I feel compelled to mention Corey Haim and Corey Feldman here but I can’t figure out why.  These two had their moment in the sun around the time this movie came out and they have held onto this franchise hardheartedly as it continued long after their significance passed.  Feldman is one of those great child actors that just didn’t take his success to the next level as he grew up.  I know he is still out there doing things now but I’m not sure what.  He has continued his role of Edgar Frog in a couple of long since sequels, Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst. I haven’t seen either one of those films but if any reader has feel free to share some thoughts on them. I know Corey Haim was supposed to be in at least one of those two but wasn’t able to after his untimely death a few years ago. Haim struggled with drug addiction for most of his adult life and it went the way these things often do with him dying at the young age of 38. These two guys became a pair in the 80s but like so many things from that decade they just didn’t transition with the times.  Of the two I have always liked Feldman better because the guy was just such a great character in so many films that I love.  I thought his character in this movie was a bit too campy and ridiculous but I’m thinking more of The Goonies when it comes to what endears me to him as a child actor. Speaking of guys who didn’t fully make it out of the 80s I’d like to point out the vampire version of Bill S Preston Esquire is in this film.  Alex Winter plays the vampire that says the least and gets staked first.  I mention him specifically because I have heard talk of a third adventure for Bill and Ted coming to the big screen.  I have my doubts that it will ever actually happen but during this day and age, when anything that can be perceived to have vaguely significant name recognition is made, anything is possible.

Joel Schumacher was the director that destroyed the Batman franchise.  An unforgivable act and even though this movie came out long before he was put behind the camera for the third Batman film it’s something that still needs to be considered.  In truth he did nothing in this film to offer any saving grace if you ask me.  It’s a cool movie but the whole tone is so up and down. I think it is an odd idea to make a film that qualifies for both the horror and comedy genres. It happens more often than not but I see these two genres being counteractive to one another and think it’s just a ridiculous idea.  It has to be one or the other and can’t simply be a combination of both.  A film can be set in the horror genre and intended only to be funny, like the perfectly done Shaun of the Dead, but that isn’t what they did in this film. I think there are several specific scenes in this movie that show they were actually trying to be scary and I feel like the comedy wasn’t the purpose of the film, just part of it.  I have never found this movie to be either funny or scary but liked it despite that.  I watched it at a young age and thought it was a really cool movie. I liked the idea of a vampire being something more than a monster and more about the opportunity to be forever young and party for an eternity. This idea may have been introduced before this movie for all I know but it was the first I had seen of it.  This film has survived as a cult classic and I think that is by and large due to the idea of vampires who “sleep all day, party all night.”

I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m sick of vampires.  I’ve been happy to see most of this unreasonable cult phenomenon shift focus toward zombies but it is only a matter of time before that begins to get annoying too.  I think plenty of people would suggest we have already reached that point and I couldn’t argue that we haven’t. While there has been a shift toward zombies lately it hasn’t really slowed down the vampires enough.  There seems to still be a significant market for the livelier of the undead but I think enough is enough. I think it went way too far a long time ago.  I can stomach True Blood to an extent, mainly because of Anna Paquin’s fondness for nude scenes, but I draw a line when it came to Twilight. To start with, it’s a series that comes from teen reading and that’s lame enough.  I did see the first film because I was unaware of what it was when I rented it. Needless to say I thought it was beyond ridiculous.  Someone answer me this, why would an eternal creature want to spend its days going through high school over and over again? High school was totally lame no matter what crowd you were in and the idea of a vampire trying to blend in there is just stupid.  Not only that, but when did it become OK for vampires to go about during the day? They are creatures of the night; it’s like one of the most important principles of vampires.  It was just all so stupid, but who am I to argue with what made someone a millionaire.  I have plenty of other thoughts and criticisms when it comes to Tweenlight but I’ll hold back in the event of diehard fans hating on what I have said.

If you can stomach more of what has become the unbearable norm these days then take a trip back to the 80s and check out this movie. It may have an odd tone to it but I think it’s a cool take on vampires, and one that was done long before they became too overdone in our society.  This is a fun movie and I think it is worth your time to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie almost always reminds me of my step-dad. My mom didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to watch this movie but he helped talk her into it. I remember having nightmares about maggots in my food for weeks. Still, it scared the crap out of me when I was younger, and may have been one of the very first vampire movies or stories even that I was introduced to.

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Are ready for another MONTAGE? This one could be really interesting if they hadn’t needed to put every single character in the movie on this poster. I think the use of a black and white posterized looking image on the stark red of the background was really great idea considering their lives are revolved around blood. I actually like the typography. I think it’s iconic, at least for me for this time period. Not an entirely missed poster, but dammit WHY must they always include everyone on the poster?

NEXT MOVIE: Love Actually (2003)

Edward Scissorhands

Year: 1990
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is such an awesome movie.  When it came out it was a new and interesting fairy tale made in true Tim Burton fashion.  Like many other Burton movies this one is exceptional because there really is no other like it.  This movie is interesting, imaginative, and incredible. With this strange fantasy story Tim Burton manages to give us an insight into how he sees the world and tell us something about ourselves all in one stroke.  This film is about finding out who you are, it’s about love and fear; it’s part Beauty and the Beast, part Frankenstein, and all Tim Burton.

Tim Burton really is one of a kind.  He has such a vision when it comes to blending colors on screen and he has a style that is all his own.  I have never cared much for what I think of as “the creepy Tim Burton crap” but it is part of who he is and it is original.  His originality is what makes him such a great filmmaker and this is one of the best showcases for his talent.  My favorite of his films has got to be Beetle Juicebut this is a really really close second. Johnny Depp is great as the title character and if I’m not mistaken he has referred to this as one of his favorite roles.  He portrays such an innocent being that is victimized by the world and ultimately misunderstood. Winona Ryder is young and beautiful.  Dianne Wiest is honest and good spirited.  However, after Johnny Depp I think the best performance has to go to Alan Arkin.  He plays the father of the Boggs so deftly and naturally that it makes you believe this is a real family and a real story.  I have read that the death of Jim at the end of the film was Tim Burton’s revenge on the jocks who picked on him in high school but I think that revenge came in casting Anthony Michael Hall as the jock instead.  Hall had played dorks and nerds for a long time but was trying to change his image with this role. Who was he kidding though, right?  He did a horrible job and his career continued on a downward spiral because of it.  This was the last film that Vincent Price appeared in and that is another thing that makes it special.  It is sad that the last thing he did on screen was dying though.

Edward is a creature of isolation, in this film we see him adapt and attempt to live a normal life.  Edward does not understand what he is dealing with in society though and he is vulnerable because of his ignorance. The world is cruel, and it isn’t long before the world is trying to exploit Edward in a variety of ways.  When he doesn’t understand what is going on he responds in ways that society doesn’t understand. He isn’t a person, he is the unfinished product of the inventor and it isn’t his fault that he doesn’t understand the world.  He tries to do what he thinks is right but is unequipped and unaware of how to deal with the manipulation and the cruelty of others.  Everywhere he goes people continually fill him with hope by telling him that they know a doctor who can help him but the only people who do help him are the Boggs, and ultimately they fail to understand him as well.  The only one who really knew him was the one he fell for, and she couldn’t help him either. What makes Edward such a great character is that he is so diverse and innocent.  He is someone we can all learn from because in his story we can see aspects of ourselves and our nature.

I have written before about Danny Elfman as a composer, we have reviewed several movies now that he scored. I do like Danny Elfman but in this journey through our movies I have found myself losing respect for him.  He has such a specific sound that I don’t even have to see the credits to know he was involved in a movie now.  While I think he has put together some great musical scores for films I am noticing more and more that all his scores sound the same.  Tim Burton uses him frequently and I think they work really well together.  Elfman’s gloomy sound is perfect for Tim Burton’s purposes.  If you want to know what I am talking about though see Beetle Juice, Darkman, Batman, or Batman Returns

This is a wonderful movie that many love.  It isn’t one you need me to tell you to see but I am always happy to recommend it during a rare time that I find someone who hasn’t seen it.  Great cast, great story, and a great filmmaker at his best.  This movie will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you feel on a deeper level.  It is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love, love this movie. This was the first film of it’s kind that I had ever seen. I didn’t even know that movies like this existed or could exist. It is a beautifully made movie, with and incredible plot. I love the housing units, the costumes, the hairdos. Everything was thought about and thought about until it was perfect.

I thoroughly enjoy this movie and could watch it over and over. If you haven’t seen it, it is more than worth it to watch it.

NEXT MOVIE: Enemy of the State (1998)

The Birdcage

Year: 1996
Directed By: Mike Nichols
Written By: Jean Poiret and Elaine May

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I was 12 years old I went to work with my dad one night at the theater.  This was something I did often, while he worked I would go from theater to theater and watch movies.  Well one night when I was 12 I wondered into The Birdcage not knowing anything about the film or what it was about.  I might have made it four minutes into it before getting up and leaving.  As soon as I realized those women dancing on stage were men dressed as women I had seen enough.  I went on to tell the story of me getting up and walking out of that theater for another eight years until I was in college. I had a roommate who owned the movie and suggested I watch it, I had no idea what I was in for.  Today I consider this one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, and I love it.

This movie isn’t for everyone.  There are a lot of small-minded people out there with very strong feelings about homosexuals.  Nevertheless I challenge anyone to watch this movie and not laugh. While the characters are most definitely gay they are not doing anything offensive by any means. These are funny people put together in an outrageous scenario and what they made was a very funny film. Gene Hackman is great as Senator Keeley and Dianne Wiest is great as the joyful Republican wife. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are hilarious as two gay men trying to act straight.  Hank Azaria should not go unmentioned here either, he is a very talented entertainer who has shown a lot of versatility in his career.  I wouldn’t call myself a Mike Nichols fan but I have liked many of his films, like The Graduate and What Planet Are You From? Of all his films, I think this was his best, but it does have steep competition and there is a lot of room for argument there.

I fully support gay rights and equal treatment but I did not always feel that way.  In a weird kind of way this movie helped me to be a more open-minded person and more accepting of other types of lifestyles. I was in college when I saw it for the first time and it was during that time that I learned to think for myself.  In a psychology class I learned that homosexuality is not just a lifestyle people chose but that genetics played a part.  I believe it is wrong to judge or hate someone for being who they were born to be. The way I see it whatever or whoever anybody out there chooses to be is none of my business or concern anyway.  I do not see the point in getting angry or malicious about something that you cannot control and will never change anyway. The bigots and homophobes out there are wasting their time and energy on hate. Homosexuality is not a fad, it’s been part of society from the beginning of time and always will be.

I don’t know that this movie would teach everybody to be open-minded but it will definitely have even the most uncomfortable guy laughing.  I consider this movie one of the funniest I have ever seen and it is one of my all time favorites.  I hope you will give it a chance if you have never seen it, it is worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

In college, when Ryan told me that he had never seen this movie, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that he had never seen it, when I had seen it a couple hundred times, I wasn’t sure how he was going to take it or like it. I fell asleep during the movie at some point, and while I was peacfully dreaming away I was all of a sudden awoken with laughter and the words that I will never forget…””Baby! (that’s what we call each other) Baby! Wake Up! LOOK WHAT HE IS DOING!” Those words will live on forever in our relationship. He was so shocked by the outcome of the dinner that he was urged to wake me up.

I thoroughly love this film. i really like Robin Williams in this role. I think he does an incredible job and Nathan Lane is priceless as his lover. I think this is a great movie. I don’t know if it is qualified as a movie for everyone, but if you are open-minded (which I feel everyone should be) then you would most likely like this movie and probably benefit from having watched it.

NEXT MOVIE: Black Sheep (1996)