Patrick Swayze

Point Break

Year: 1991
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
Written By: Rick King and W. Peter Iliff (story) Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

When it comes to adrenaline fueled action films there are few that are as fun as this one. As I have always said, the cool factor is important in any film, especially in a mindless exaggerated action flick. Being cool in an action movie is as important as being scary in a horror film. This movie not only has the cool factor but all along the way there is shooting, surfing, and skydiving. What more could you want? With a cast that screams the early 1990s and a great filmmaking duo this film never fails to entertain. Despite being a household favorite while I was growing up this was never a movie I intended to own because I always considered it a bit silly. Yet it found its way into the collection anyway when I bought it as a gift for my brother a year or so ago for Christmas and just decided to assimilate into the collective instead. I specifically remember wrapping the gift for him and reflecting on the film as I did so. I thought to myself “this is a cool movie, why do I have a stick up my ass about it?” and before I knew it I was fitting it onto the shelf in the “P” section.

It’s true that I do have a certain mentality about this type of movie today. I don’t even watch the mindless action flicks that are coming out anymore but I appreciate the ones that I grew up with. When our collection was smaller I had a smug attitude about the films that would be part of it and I felt it was too good to be sullied by silly action films like this. As the collection grew it absorbed plenty of movies that made that line of thinking moot and there was no reason to deny this movie. This movie is cool and it is fun. As entertaining as any cops and robbers film and plenty of films have since ripped off exactly what this movie did. As I started to wrap this movie up for my brother years ago I thought about all of this and decided there was no need to waste it on him. I had already bought the DVD, might as well just keep it for myself because I had a place for it. I had suddenly realized it belonged and I couldn’t send it away to collect dust on some other shelf as part of an insignificant collection of films that had no purpose. I am such an compulsive person when it comes to collecting things and would it not be for my wife I would most likely be the worst kind of packrat. I channel all that type of insanity into this movie collection and for me it embodies something that has taken on a life of it’s own.

This movie always reminds me of my stepdad. While we differ in this way, my stepdad and stepbrother have always been thrill seekers. I, as a naturally clumsy and accident prone person, steer clear of activities involving such obvious opportunity for risk and embarrassment. They on the other hand have always been fearless in the face of danger and when I was about 15 or 16 my stepdad went skydiving for the first time. This involved many nights both before and after where as a family we all sat down to films like Drop Zone, a few of the Roger Moore James Bond pics, and of course Point Break. It was much more fun before the actual skydiving because seeing these movies afterwards in round two consisted of nonstop talk about how unrealistic it was. First time around I had no idea that you didn’t have time for all kinds of acrobatics as you fell through the sky. I was completely innocent of how ridiculous the notion of jumping out of a plane without a parachute was. I knew deep down such a thing was ridiculous but it was still cool to see Johnny Utah jump out of the plane without a chute to chase down Bodhi through the air. After all, I had seen Roger Moore as James Bond do it several times when I was growing up. It was kind of a buzzkill to watch it in round two and hear all about how this wasn’t right and that wasn’t possible. Who cares what is and isn’t possible when watching a movie like this anyway? The skydiving scenes in this movie are about as cool as they get, and as a person who intends to always stay grounded I at least like to imagine such things could really be so cool.

The cast of this movie is like a snapshot of 1991. Looking at it today the young movie watcher might scratch his head and wonder but back in 1991 it all made so much sense. In 1991 Patrick Swayze still had his youthful good looks, Gary Busey wasn’t insane, and Lori Petty as a leading lady was something that happened. I have never been a fan of Patrick Swayze but I’ll give him credit where it is due. This was easily one of his best roles and he fit the part of Bodhi perfectly. I read somewhere that he was an actual accomplished skydiver prior to the making of this movie. If that’s true it’s not only pretty cool but made him an even better fit for the role. I wonder what young people today, who watch this movie for the first time, think about seeing Gary Busey play this part. The Gary Busey they know today is not the guy we had 24 years ago. I am told he didn’t become this crazy Gary Busey until some accident he had some time back when he sustained a head injury. I don’t know about that one way or another but I’d find it hard to believe Busey’s current persona isn’t just the result of having done copious amounts of drugs. I admire how well the man markets himself these days but I just don’t care for it. It seems fake and intentional to me. I much more preferred the Gary Busey of old like the one we see in this film. As for Lori Petty, well I have just never understood. She had a few significant roles in the early 90s but I have never really liked her. She has a really whiny tone to her voice and her persona always gets under my skin, especially in this movie.

Keanu Reeves is still finding success as an actor today but I can’t imagine how he got the role in this movie back in 1991. It seems like an awfully progressive idea to take Ted and turn him into an action star but it worked. I wonder if his obvious practice at using surfer type lingo played into the decision at all. Had he not done so well in this role so many things might have been different in the future with movies like Speed and The Matrix. One of my favorite actors from the time was in this movie as the over the top asshole boss. John C. McGinley is one of those actors who can do just about anything and I have always liked him in these types of supporting roles. If I remember correctly he went on to play nearly the exact same role from this film in one of the many films that followed in the footsteps of Point BreakSet It Off. After Point Break nearly all heist movies looked for new cooler ways to mask their bank robbers, and Set It Off was no different. Correct me if I’m wrong about Set It Off, it’s been almost 20 years since I saw it in the theater and I’m surprised I remember it as much as I do.

James Cameron served as Executive Producer for this film and his wife at the time, eventual Academy Award winning Kathryn Bigelow, directed the film. I read somewhere that they also wrote the final version of the screenplay together although weren’t listed because of a dispute over the credit. I have grown up as a huge fan of anything James Cameron was involved with and still marvel at his film making abilities today. We will all have nearly forgotten about how awesome Avatar was by the time the next one comes out and that will be perfect timing for Cameron to remind us who he is. I think the whole point of Avatar is lost if you try to watch it at home but that’s only part of what makes it so incredible. In an era when movie theaters are suffering, James Cameron made something that was necessary to see in the movie theater to get the whole effect of it. I don’t get out to the theater anymore like I did when I was younger and the same was true in 2009. Yet I made it out to see Avatar  times because it was something to make exception for. I will certainly do the same when the sequels eventually come out too because I have faith that Cameron will blow our minds ago. This movie doesn’t involve the same type of special effects he is known for using but Cameron has a great mind for action sequences. His influence undoubtedly played a role in this movie as it offers several action packed scenes that are exceptional. Incidentally, James Cameron is a filmmaker who appreciates the value of the “cool factor.” Of course this movie is cool, James Cameron had a hand in it. Whether the guy is dressing Arnold Schwarzenegger in all black leather or putting Sigourney Weaver in a giant robot suit he knows how to make something better by making it look cool.

This movie has been remade and that is a travesty. I don’t think the movie has come out as of this post but I remember a few years ago when the idea was announced I was incredibly disappointed. I don’t know which asshole in the movie industry is pitching these awful ideas but I wish he/she would get fired. I specifically remember that this movie was referred to as a “timeless classic” in the announcement that it would be remade. Who thinks it is a good idea to remake a “timeless classic”? It’s timeless because it will always be entertaining. Why sully its name with some kind of knock off version that will never live up to what people have already enjoyed for over 20 years? It’s ridiculous and lazy. These executives are reaching when they can’t do anything better than remaking or rebooting something just to capitalize on the name recognition. They think we, as the audience, are stupid and they treat us as such. They are ruining movies in vain by making foolish efforts to sell more tickets. They want to sell tickets to kids so they pussify something to get the PG-13 rating. They’ll abandon new ideas because we are too stupid to be interested in something new and instead they simply remake something with a name we might recognize and turn out for. On one end I get it, home entertainment is killing the industry and these guys got to do what they can to make a buck. I think it is the wrong way to do it. Don’t ruin classics by remaking them but find new and inventive ways to get people in the theaters, like James Cameron did when he made Avatar. That kind of thing costs a lot more money though, so the studios cheap out and do what is easy. Ruin something to make more money or make a weak effort to format it into 3D so the ticket prices are higher. What a waste. Bottom line: don’t waste time watching the remake of this movie people, just watch the original because it’s a good movie and there’s nothing wrong with it.

I have seen this movie more times than I can count. Yet when I sat down to watch it for this review I found myself just as sucked in as I was the first time. That says everything about how good this movie is. It’s a fun movie that doesn’t get old, it’s a “timeclass classic.” After everything else that I have said it goes without saying that I think this movie is worth your time. I am even happier now than I was before that I decided to keep this movie for the collection. There is no reason to turn your nose up to something when it’s something you will enjoy. Some movies are made to make statements and teach lessons but others do only what movies were originally intended for, they just entertain and there is nothing wrong with that.

NEXT MOVIE: Poltergeist (1982)

 

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The Outsiders

Year: 1983
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola
Written By: Kathleen Rowell (screenplay) S.E. Hinton (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I found myself surprisingly sucked into this movie when I sat down to review it. It was the first time I had seen it in probably as many as ten years but it was one I saw frequently in my youth. This movie reminds me of my dad because he was a big fan of it and talked of it often when I was young. It has a very large cast of popular young actors from the time. Some of which would go on to be big stars today while others rose to brief stardom before fading away. The movie tells an interesting story about class differences and rivalries during the 1950s.

Francis Ford Coppola made one of the greatest movies of all time and it is one of my personal favorites. The Godfather, for all practical purposes was a perfect film and a masterpiece crafted by Coppola. Aside from that I like very little of what he has done in his career. I hate the two sequels he made for The Godfather, and I have always thought Apocalypse Now to be overrated. I know that I would lose a debate when it comes to my opinion about Apocalypse Now but I will fight till I’m blue in the face over the The Godfather II and III. While I get why Apocalypse Now is a big deal I just find Coppola’s Vietnam hitman mission film to be too long, too dark, and too confusing. Given that opinion I am inclined to consider this my second favorite film by the guy who is a big deal for the one awesome thing he did forty years ago. Truthfully I think the direction of this movie actually brings it down a peg as I think the story and the cast are what make it appealing. For example the typography in the intro is awful; the ending too fails to do anything but drag out the closing to the story.

It’s the story of this deep seeded cultural barrier between the rich kid Socialites and the poor impoverished Greasers that drives the film. The greasers with their leather jackets, switchblades, and greasy hair are the rough guys that bring down society by always causing trouble. The Socs aren’t much better however. These rich kids dress better but they like to get loaded on booze and cruise the bad part of town looking for trouble. When the two sides come together bad things are bound to happen.

The cast of this movie is its greatest strength because it is an interesting thing to look back on. The group of young actors that were cast in the movie would all have their moment in the sun, although some went quicker than they probably would have liked. Ralph Macchio never really did anything after the 80s, and C. Thomas Howell did little after a promising start to his career with films like this one and Red DawnEmilio Estevez would hang on to stardom through part of the nineties but is practically forgotten these days as his famous family members continue to prosper. Patrick Swayze, may he rest in peace, is such a silly actor. I have always thought he was just awful in just about everything and this movie is no different. This was actually one of his first big roles. He looks the part true enough but regardless how good the man might look on screen he has just never been worth a damn as an actor.

This was also one of the first roles for Tom Cruise who would go on to be one of the biggest actors in the business. Even today, over 30 years later, he has yet to slow down as an actor, or even age for that matter. Rob Lowe also has to be considered a big time star today. I do not know why though. I detest him as an actor because I think he ruins EVERYTHING. I used to be a big fan of Parks & Recreation until he showed up and his stupid character just ruined the whole thing for me. As far as I’m concerned, the only time he didn’t suck was in Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me. Diane Lane also had one of her earliest roles in this movie. She would go on to just get hotter and hotter for the next twenty years. It hurts my heart a bit to see her in roles as the older woman now, such as we saw in Man of Steel. However, she is still hotter than any woman her age has any business being and hats off to her.

My favorite role in this movie goes to a guy that can only be described as hit or miss throughout his entire career. I have always liked Matt Dillon in this movie the best. He is the toughest of the tough kids and in his youth you would have thought he would go on to be bigger than all his peers. Sadly that wasn’t the case but he still has plenty to be proud of with what he has accomplished in his career.

I’ve stumbled through this review a bit and still said little of any significance. I like this movie and think it is interesting to watch in hindsight. I think among all the crap its unseemly famous director has made it stands out among the rest. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I think this movie is easily worth your time to see. I think though, if you want more insight to the film you are bound to find a better review from someone more invested in this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Passenger 57 (1992)

Red Dawn

Year: 1984
Directed By: John Milius
Written By: Kevin Reynolds and John Milius

RYAN’S REVIEW

The remake of this movie is only days away from release and I felt compelled to watch the original before it is forever tainted by an undoubtedly awful rendition.  I have always thought this was a really cool movie and I have been incredibly angry at the idea of it being remade.  This movie was a good idea but still a far fetched plot even as the Cold War was still going on.  To make a new version now just seems asinine and I will not be wasting my time with it.  An idea like this was the kind of thing you could only get away with in the 80s.  Today it is just a lazy attempt to make money by the studio.  The remake has actually spent some time on the shelf and the studio wasn’t sure what to do with it.  Perhaps this is because it makes no sense; there is no global scale war going on currently and no dangerous enemy out there hellbent on taking over the world. I implore anybody that reads this post to not waste your time on the remake.  Watch this movie because it is in fact worth your time.

This movie may be a bit silly in its premise, but it is nevertheless about an actual real conflict.  That is more than can be said about whatever is hitting theater this Thanksgiving.  I think that this movie is historically significant despite its unrealistic nature.  It is a wild scenario that many people seriously feared throughout the Cold War. I don’t know what the hell the new Red Dawn is about but I know it is about nothing real or anything that actually matters.  This movie was a period piece that has no place in the twenty first century. In this movie we see young men having to face the realities of the world through violence, in an honest fashion.  This movie is powerful and important.  It was a travesty to even consider remaking it and I cannot believe that any studio out there is so desperate for ideas that they actually did it. Not only did they do it but they are banking on it as a holiday release and pushing it really hard with advertising.

This movie had a really superstar cast of up and comers from the 80s class.  Patrick Swayze in one of his finer roles plays the leader of the rebel Wolverines.  Charlie Sheen, in one of his tamest roles plays the dependable and loyal brother to Swayze. C. Thomas Howell probably plays his best part of any that he ever played. I love how ruthless and reckless his character becomes as the movie progresses.  Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson were both very hot chicks that got gritty and grimy to play the badass girls of the Wolverines. I am a fan of Powers Boothe and liked what he brought to the film as the actual soldier who mentors the fledgling rebels. I also really liked the guy that played the Cuban Commander and how he began to struggle with his position in the conflict.  He becomes disheartened with himself as he realizes he has become the foe he used to face in the field himself. I like that they all fight to the last man and martyr themselves in battle.  I like that they win the battle but the war clearly goes on without them as the movie closes. I think these things add to the realistic nature of the unrealistic circumstances the characters find themselves in.

What I think made this movie really memorable is that it had balls, it was a ballsy story and it wasn’t afraid to kill off all of its stars one by one.  I can’t see this rehashed Hemsworth crap being anything more than a campy wanna-be movie. I like Chris Hemsworth, he was awesome as Thor, but I don’t like him enough to give this new movie a shot.  It’s just such a stupid idea that I can’t stand it.  I keep seeing this preview where Hemsworth says something like “This is just a place to them, but this is our home.” Well there are serveral reasons that is a stupid thing to say. First of all this the United States of F—ing America, it’s not just a place to anyone.  Secondly, there is no army currently threatening the world with war, no powerful nation anywhere capable of invading the United States.  Third reason is the the tacky tone added to the line that’s meant to inspire patriotism but just comes off as lame.  I implore you people to not waste your time this holiday with this madness.  It’s asinine, and this studio thinks you are stupid, they are practically stealing your money from you if you pay to see it.  I’m not sure which studio is responsible for this remake but they are literally banking on the idea that the audience is stupid, that we don’t crave something new and creative.  They looked at each other in some room and said “this movie may not be relevant anymore and the plot might no longer apply to the times but let’s make it again anyway and see if these idiots will pay for it again.” Don’t be that idiot and don’t waste your time with it.

Of course I will not be seeing the movie and if I am utterly and hopelessly wrong then feel free to comment and give me a piece of your mind.  If you have an itch to watch Red Dawn this holiday though I suggest you find a copy of the original and forget about what is hitting theaters. The 1984 version of this movie was awesome and I would recommend it to anyone.  This movie is definitely worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

 I actually don’t mind this poster at all. It is intriguing, and that is ultimately the main goal of a poster. I like the color of the sky and the movement of the ovals in the background. Although I am not in love with the typography of the title, I think they were trying really hard so I will at least give them that.

Overall, not a bad poster. It could totally be worse.

Donnie Darko

Year: 2001
Directed By: Richard Kelly
Written By: Richard Kelly

RYAN’S REVIEW

What an interesting film this is. It’s a bit strange and to be perfectly honest I have never really been clear on what is going on in the end but I have always liked it nonetheless.  All of the Richard Kelly  movies I have seen have been like this.  They are bizarre but intriguing in an appealing way.  So much of the movies being put out there sometimes are more of the same. So it’s refreshing to see a truly original and different idea. I think I identified with the messages and meanings of this film more in my youth but I still enjoy it today.

Time travel and worm holes are not ideas usually blended in with the typical high school film but that’s part of what makes this one exceptional.  Throw in a creepy ass bunny, a badass argument over the sexuality of smurfs, and teen drug use into the pot and you have taken a weird high school film to the next level. I think the movie had a great cast and an awesome soundtrack.  Those things can make or break any movie and they make this movie better.  This is a marquee role for Jake Gyllenhaal but he is continuing to develop a long and distinguished career.  He is fantastic in this part and he carries the film on his shoulders.  I think his actual sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, was a great choice to play his sister in the film. They have great natural chemistry with one another that Kelly was able to use to his advantage. I like Patrick Swayze’s part in the film, and better yet how Donnie Darko gets the best of him.  I think Beth Grant was exceptional in the movie, we all know a person like the character she plays and she plays it well. This was the first feature film for Seth Rogen, who plays the lackey of the main bully in the school. Drew Barrymore owns the production company that put this movie in the theaters and it was her direct involvement that got the movie made but I think she overacts throughout the film. What kind of douche bag teacher tells a new girl to pick a seat next to the boy that she likes? There are much better ways to play the part of the “cool teacher.” Noah Wyle plays a big part but who the hell is Noah Wyle right? I think big things were expected from him fifteen years ago but nothing ever came of it.

Richard Kelly is unique, to say the least.  His movies have plot threads that you won’t find in anything else and they are very imaginative. If I remember correctly his father worked for NASA, and I think that explains the complexity of his stories somehow.  He likes to use wormholes and time travel and other types of theoretical science that typical people don’t know anything about. He blends them with really personal and relatable stories though, and Donnie Darko is a perfect example of that. Typical suburban household with a kid on pills but in this house there is also clairvoyance, time travel, wormholes, and the end of the world. His other two films were Southland Tales (2006) and The Box (2009).  I liked both of those very much, though Southland Tales has been at the center of a debate in this household that has been ongoing for about five years now.  Every once and a while I try to trick Amber into watching it again because I can’t believe she actually doesn’t like it but this is always a waste of time.  She hates it every time, and I am surprised every time because I think it is awesome.

This movie was nearly straight to video because studios weren’t sure how to market it for release.  I think when you watch it you can understand why.  It’s not your typical film and it can be confusing even to the people that really liked it. I always recommend this movie but do so real timidly because it isn’t for everybody.  It has become a cult classic over the years and will undoubtedly continue to grow in popularity for the foreseeable future.  While it is weird I do think this this movie is awesome and definitely worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is really interesting. It is dark, and very, very strange. I remember watching this movie in college and thinking it was so great because it was so original. I’m not quite sure I feel the same way about it now. It’s definitely one of a kind and if you like that really weird, dark and somewhat crazy kind of movie then you should see it. I look at it like watching what it feels like to see from the point of view of a guy taking a lot of medication.

NEXT MOVIE: The Doors (1991)