Jeffrey Jones

Stay Tuned

Year: 1992
Directed By: Peter Hyams
Written By: Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein, and Richard Siegal

RYAN’S REVIEW

I don’t remember much from the year 1992 but I do remember seeing this movie in the theater. I was eight years old and the idea of regular people going into the television programming as part of it was such a terrific fantasy for me. 1992 was one of the years leading up to my parents divorce and TV was my great escape. If I wasn’t playing outside with my action figures I was sitting in front of the tube with one in hand watching whatever served as an easy distraction. When I saw this movie I loved it because the idea of being able to go into the world of television was just awesome. The fact that it served as some sort of hell in this movie was beside the point, I was eight, it was the idea that appealed to me. As our collection grew the memory of this film bubbled to the surface one day and I went out of my way to add it to the collective.

The Humphrey Bogart movie seen on the television early in this movie was The Maltese Falcon. Bogart plays badass private eye Sam Spade and in the scene on screen he is confronting the damsel in distress who is actually the perpetrator behind the murders.  Really cool movie that is actually part of our collection. We reviewed it a few years ago. I like this movie a little bit more now for featuring it.

Not really sure what Jeffrey Jones’ character is all about in this movie. Is Mr. Spike the devil? It certainly seems so with the evil laughing as he drives down into Hell presumably. As the boss of Hell Vision he is out to steal your soul and kill you, for some reason. I do like this evil organization who kills and possibly sends people to hell but also trains interns. Interns that can rise quite dramatically it seems. There’s a great reference to Dr. Strangelove at one point down in the depths of Hell Vision. As the movie goes on you still don’t really know what Spike is all about. He’s evil enough though, he’ll choke you out if you talk back to him and kiss you if you give him good news.

I love how this movie mocked the current TV programming of the early 90s. One of my favorites is the Sadistic Hidden Videos. The officer brings the woman to tears with news of her husbands death and two seconds later she’s laughing when she realizes she is on hidden camera. I remember the commercial the Max Hell segment is making fun of with that guy sitting back in that chair and the sound of his stereo blowing his hair or something. I can’t remember what the product actually was but that’s pretty funny. What parent doesn’t want a Silencer of the Lambs now and again on a long ride to keep the kids quiet?

“This is one clever pussy.” That’s hilarious because they found a way to drop the P word into a PG rated film. Followed shortly by “My Three Sons of Bitches” and then the spoof of Wayne’s World. I never got into the Wayne’s World skit, or the movies. Ah there it is, The Maltese Falcon is mentioned by named in the segment that is obviously inspired by it.

Sometimes this movie borders on trying to be a horror film with so much themed around hell and death. Segments like Duane’s World and the Exorcisist can really make it a bit confusing about what the film is going for. There are an awful lot of references to Hell and 666 in this movie for it to be rated PG. I’m not a stickler for such things but in this movie the hell references just seem so random.

John Ritter is so well cast as the typical guy. He had a special quality as an actor and was so likable. I think the scene when he shows up on the Three’s Company set it’s really funny.  He’s the kind of actor who can drop pussy into the dialogue and still come off as innocent. He died before his time, may he rest in peace. Long before he was Jim’s dad on American Pie Eugene Levy was proving he had the potential to make anything he was in funnier. Maybe it wasn’t in this movie because nobody really saw it but he does make this movie funnier.

AAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It seems I cannot escape Star Trek, as it has followed me beyond the 12 prior films and into this one. John Ritter as Captain Picard is good for a laugh even with the horrible reminder. “Holy Shatner,” he does it right and gives respect to both crews. The Star Trek fan I have purged from myself would be proud.

Crash Test Dummies! That’s awesome, and it’s followed shortly by Driving Over Miss Daisy. This is a funny movie. It’s silly and I’m probably putting more thought into it than it’s worth but I’ve enjoyed watching it again. The whole message is as John Ritter says in the end “Too much TV can get you in trouble.” This really isn’t the kind of movie to put too much thought into though. I think it’s worth your time simply because it’ll take you back to the early 90s.

NEXT MOVIE: The Stepford Wives (2004)

Sleepy Hollow

Year: 1999
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Washington Irving (original story), Kevin Yagher and Andrew Kevin Walker

RYAN’S REVIEW

Our next movie lines up perfectly with the season and it will be where we kick off our month of horror movies for Halloween this year. This is a beautifully gloomy if not fantastic movie. It can set the tone for the season but it will never match up against the classics. It’s a spooky movie that looks great, but it doesn’t have that fear factor that the great horror classics utilize.

This is a fantastic Burton movie but I don’t think it’ll even stand up against others such as Beetlejuice or Edward Scissorhands. He got the look right but I find this to be Johnny Depp’s weakest performance among their collaborations. It’s not all Depps fault, the character of Ichabod is far from cool and hardly the type of character to carry a film.

I get that Ichabod Crane is supposed to be this way but the cowardly character does nothing to enhance the film, even with Johnny Depp in the part. He is so pathetically fearful, at one point even leaping away from a spider. He does nothing to evoke love or admiration and that’s a major flaw. You could argue Depp played the part well but it’s the character that is the problem. There’s no level of awesome or badass within him.

I really like Christina Ricci, but I grew up with a crush on her. I’m predisposed to like her whether she is any good or not. She’s not bad in this movie, but she’s no Winona Ryder.

The rest of this cast is full of regular Burton collaborators and they all help to make this movie really feel like Tim Burton. Depp, Christopher Lee, Jeffrey Jones, Burton’s then wife Lisa Marie, and Christopher Walken. With those guys in tow this movie looks awesome on paper. Burton gets to go wild with his spooky crap. Somehow he managed to miss the mark but at least it all looks good. The pumpkins, scarecrows, fog, and headless horseman give it a perfect Halloween vibe.

The headless horseman is awesome, played by Christopher Walken. He looks sadistic with no head and somehow more fierce with one. Even without his iconic voice Walken manages to be awesome. He has no speaking lines in the movie and that is a good thing. I love Walken’s voice but it would have been all wrong for the character he was playing.

I don’t love this movie by any means but I enjoy it. It is really aesthetically pleasing and it feels so perfect for the season. It’s a fun take on an old classic and they don’t pull any punches when it comes to chopping off heads. I remember when this movie was coming out it was a big deal how many people were losing their heads in this one. It’s not the best movie you can watch during this Halloween season but it’s not a bad one either. If you want something that feels right but isn’t going to scare or gore you then this is a perfect movie to watch.

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Year: 1986
Directed By: John Hughes
Written By: John Hughes

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have spent my entire life watching and loving this movie, but suddenly it changed for me a couple of years ago. I was student teaching as a final requirement to graduate from college and I caught this movie on TV one night.  When the movie reached the first scenes with Ben Stein lecturing about economics suddenly everything was all wrong.  I had watched this movie countless times and always found that scene to be so funny.  I spent my days like that in high school, staring blankly at a teacher that was up there walking about….something.  Suddenly I found myself on the other side of that classroom and it was weird. I was no longer that dazed off daydreamer but the guy up front talking about….something.  What I found to be most interesting is how the film so accurately portrays that classroom from both sides of the room.  We all remember being that student, bored out of our mind, no clue what that guy up there is talking about, and the clock is moving slower by the second.  I now know what it is like to be that teacher. Standing in front of a bunch of kids talking about something that you find interesting, but no matter what you say there is just a room full of zombies staring back at you, and the clock is moving slower by the second for you too. I had a second period class just like these kids in the movie.  A bolt of lightening could have blasted through the ceiling and into the room and I don’t think they would have noticed.  It was watching this movie that night and suddenly seeing the scene through the eyes of the teacher and not the student that I suddenly realized I was officially an adult.  That realization sucked because nobody is in a hurry to step into the real world and become a real grown up.  I’m glad that it was this film that led me to the realization though, it’s a great movie and I love having another reason to like it.

John Hughes made several great films that will live on forever and this movie is right up there with the best of them.  This movie has been popular for almost thirty years now and I don’t think there is any reason to think that will change any time soon. A parody of this movie featuring Matthew Broderick was this past year’s big time Super Bowl ad and it met really favorable reviews. While Hughes has written many many great films, this was the best of all that he directed.  Although I do really like The Breakfast Club as well, and I have never been able to get into Sixteen Candles but I know many people love it.  There is something different about this film that sets it against the norm for most high school films.  The way that Ferris Bueller stop and talks to directly to the viewer makes him so much more likable and unique. This movie basically is a high school film, but you will find no other high school film like it and that is part of what makes it so exceptional.

Matthew Broderick was iconic in the lead role, and if nothing else he will always be remembered for it.  His career went pretty much down hill for the most part after this film but it doesn’t really matter because he will be Ferris Bueller forever in my mind.  He is so funny and so confident in the role, I really couldn’t imagine anybody else playing the part. He got so much older as his career went on that I think this movie kind of hurt his future career a little bit. In the role that most of us remember him from he is so young and vigorous.  I just don’t think we saw that from him again as his career progressed.  Jeffrey Jones was also iconic in his role as principal Rooney and I think Jones was great in several other films as well but I will not speak fondly of him.  While I may have always liked him he did turn out to be a pedophile so I can say nothing in support of him.  Mia Sara was awesome in this movie, she was so beautiful and seductive in the role.  I don’t know that her career went anywhere after this really but I will never forget her awesome sex scene in Timecop (I was a teenager when it came out, it meant something to me then).  Alan Ruck made this movie special almost as much as Broderick did but he wouldn’t be this good ever again.  Like Broderick too though, he will always be Cameron from this movie. The only other thing he did that comes to mind that I saw was his small role in Speed, but he was in several different TV shows that I didn’t watch.

In supporting roles there are a few people that must be mentioned as well.  Ben Stein once said that when he dies he won’t be remembered for all the books he has written or any of his other accomplishments but for his small role in this film.  When he got to set he didn’t really have any scripted lines, John Hughes just had him stand in the front of the class and start lecturing about economics off the top of his head.  He thought he was being really interesting when he had everyone’s attention but in fact they were all just so thrilled with how perfect it would all work for the movie.  Stein was great in this movie, and he is probably right about how he will be remembered.  “Bueller….Bueller….Bueller…” will be written on his tombstone one day. After all, we own the “Bueller….Bueller…Edition” of this movie.  Stein has always spoken openly about how great this movie is and has many interesting opinions about it.  Jennifer Grey is fantastic as Ferris’s jealous sister Jeannie. I have always like Grey, but I liked her better the way she looked in the 80s.  She appears to look completely different now and I imagine she has had a lot of work done, and I do not think it was necessary.  Also worth mentioning is Charlie Sheen‘s small cameo in the film.  I read that Sheen stayed awake for 48 hours in order to appear like a drug addict but who the hell is he kidding? Sheen only had to show up to work to appear like a drug addict, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he had snorted a few lines right before the camera started rolling.

This isn’t a movie I have to talk you into and it has no need for my validation at all.  I have yet to meet anybody that doesn’t love this movie and that is because it is so great.  This is a movie we can all relate to and we can all admire.  It is fun, funny, and it leaves you in a good mood. If you have somehow managed to not see this movie over the last twenty eight years then drop what you are doing and go after it. I doubt there are many who haven’t seen it though because it is such an awesome movie.  It is more than worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.

AMBER’S REVIEW

“He’ll keep calling me, he’ll keep calling me until I come over. He’ll make me feel guilty. This is uh… This is ridiculous, ok I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go. What – I’LL GO. Shit.”

AWESOME, classic. I would be utterly surprised if you haven’t seen it, but definitely go for it if you haven’t. One of the best teenager high school movies out there.

NEXT MOVIE: The Fifth Element (1997)