By Brian Saur, check out Part 1 here
One of the more intense kid revenge movies of the decade and a movie so crazy that it is surprising to me that it doesn't have more of a following than it does. Truly an untapped gem of a film. It's basically the story of two orphaned kids (Shannon Presby and Lori Loughlin) who end up living with their uncle in Florida after the tragic death of their parents. The uncle has a wacky scheme already underway wherein he has purchased a small old run down amusement park and plans to fix it up as a "primer for Disney World" that tourists will hopefully flock to on their way down to the Magic Kingdom. It's a goofy idea, but a great backdrop for a movie like this. As is often the case with these films, the new kids run afoul of some local scumbag rednecks (led by an incredibly evil and bleached blonde James Spader). When Lori Loughlin's character refuses the advances of both Spader and another member of his gang, things start to get ugly. It begins with your usual fight outside of the school, but whats interesting and unforgettable about this movie is how things escalate and what an amazing and violent climax the movie comes to. I won't spoil anything, but suffice it to say that things get pretty out of control in a bloody and entertaining way. One of my favorite dark films from this period that not nearly enough people have seen. Recently covered on one of my favorite podcasts - The Suspense Is Killing Us.
This one is all-timer for me and one that I have loved since my family taped it off cable when I was a kid. It opens in a great way that perfectly introduces the imaginary spy character "Jack Flack" (played wonderfully by Dabney Coleman) and how he is connected to the young main character (Henry Thomas - only a year or so off of E.T.). The story follows this young kid (Thomas) who is having trouble dealing with the death of his mother and living with his single dad (also played by Dabney Coleman) and so he has taken to talking to this imaginary espionage agent on a regular basis in his daily life. Then, complications arise when the kid witness an actually murder that seems to have some conspiratorial dealings behind it. When he tries to tell people about it, he is seen as having made it all up and so he has to try to figure things out on his own - including how to deal with the real bad guys that now want to kill him to keep him quiet and get the secret evidence that he has accidentally acquired. I'm not saying I like seeing younger people in peril, but I will admit that I miss that this used to be more of a thing in the 1980s and it definitely felt interesting to see kids getting into crazy adventures back then that I don't feel like we see as much now. Regardless, Henry Thomas is great, as is Dabney Coleman, William Forsythe, Michael Murphy and others. And the film is directed by the late Hitchcock devotee Richard Franklin, so the suspense and tension are really handled quite well. All around a high recommend from me!
"Tear it up today, Thrashin' U.S.A. uh-huh."
THRASHIN' started as kind of a joke movie to me. It was always "that skateboarding movie" that was kinda silly and starred Josh Brolin from GOONIES and Robert Rusler from WEIRD SCIENCE. It wasn't a movie that I watched a ton as a kid so it had some nostalgia for me, but not nearly as much as something liked RAD (the BMX movie) which was a true classic for me and my family watched it often when I was a younger. I still love RAD to death, but I've totally come around to THRASHIN' and it's become a true favorite for me. I love basically everything about it. The cast, outside of Brolin and Rusler also has Sherilyn Fenn, Pamela Gidley, Brooke McCarter (THE LOST BOYS), Josh Richman (HEATHERS, RIVER'S EDGE) and Chuck McCann. And who isn't down for yet another revamp of WEST SIDE STORY, but with skaters? Also, it has one of my favorite opening songs ever. What can I say? Hot, reckless and totally insane is how I life my life.
This somewhat forgotten hockey movie with Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze is all-in-80s from the opening credits. The slow-motion sequence features Rob Lowe, skating, sweating and shooting goals. It reminds me of the bicycle dance scene in RAD (another kinda underrated movie from 1986). This movie also kinda feels like it has some working class character types in common with GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN. Another thing it has in common with that movie is the casting of the amazing Ed Lauter. Lauter plays the coach here and he is as good as ever. The movie also has that very adversarial Swayze, the way he used to play it back then. Oh and there's even a small part for a young fella named Keanu Reeves, so there's a POINT BREAK prequel happening. And last but the farthest from least is Cynthia Gibb, one of my top-rated 80s crushes from such movies as MODERN GIRLS, MALONE, SHORT CIRCUIT 2, JACK'S BACK and more. She is basically adorable incarnate in YOUNGBLOOD and her haired looks to have been feathered by the gods. So there's all that and then it's a sports movie and I'm a stone cold sucker for those (even though I'm not a big sports fan) so I'm totally on board. Also - there's a scene where Cynthia Gibb bumps into Rob Lowe outside of a theater playing SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, and that's just extra added cool as far as I'm concerned.
Director Tony Bill (MY BODYGUARD) made this film from a script by John Patrick Shanley (JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO). Very quirky drama with Jodie Foster, John Turturro and Tim Robbins. The film definitely has the vibe of some of the other films Shanley has written. While not being as funny or heartwarming as something like JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO, it definitely has little character touches and conversations that make it stand out and feel memorable.
Brian Saur is a podcaster and blogger from Los Angeles that specializes in cult and classic films. He is co-host of the Pure Cinema Podcast and also produces and hosts another show called Just the Discs, which focuses on Blu-rays. He has run the Rupert Pupkin Speaks website since its inception in 2009 and continues to highlight obscure cinematic gems there on a regular basis. Follow him on Twitter (@bobfreelander, @justthediscspod, @purecinemapod), Facebook, or Instagram for more film recommendations.