Today is not only our first appearance of Dan Haggerty here at Simplistic Reviews but also a ending for a movie that flabbergasted DJ. I suppose this would already be enough for a Movie Commentary but nope…that’s not all. We also have a homeless department store Santa investigating a modern-day Neo-Nazi plot to finally bring about the master race that Hitler had always dreamed of.
Instead of a race of pure-blood Aryans, it is revealed that Hitler dreamed of a race of half-human/half-elf hybrids.
Yep… what a movie everyone. So grab that egg nog and sit back, things are about to get weird.
P.S. Enjoy the Elves because next week is a cold one set on a tropical island. Try not to question it.
This year will celebrate the 28th anniversary of the Spike Lee Joint, “Do The Right Thing.” But the question we always ask ourselves is, “What is the right thing?” Is there a “right” thing? And if there is a “right” thing, how does one make the decision on what the “right” thing is?
There’s no doubt that “Thing” was a film that happened at the right place at the right time, and while other films have tried to emulate the race divide and a sign of the times, see also Lee’s “Summer of Sam” for a look into the racial and cultural divide in 1970s New York, there still isn’t a film, for my money, that captures the anger, anxiety, and zeitgeist of a city sitting on a powder keg. Of course, art often imitates life, and in recent years with police shootings, gang violence, political discourse, and attacks on immigrants, minorities, and the LGBT community on the rise, we all live in uncertain times.
Oh, there is also the fact that we have a bullying, fear-mongering, divisive, reality-show starring megalomaniac about to take the Oath of Office as the 45th President of the United States, but don’t worry folks, go watch some foxes jumping in the snow (actually, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea).
Back to the point, in “Thing” the climax reaches a fever pitch when the character “Radio” Raheem is murdered by NYPD officers, a fire hose is turned again an angry mob and our “hero,” Mookie, played by Lee, throws a trash can through the window of local pizzeria, Sal’s Famous. A lot of anger is loaded into the final 15 minutes of the film, but it brings up the question; What is the “Right” thing?
This is an argument that I’ve gotten into with a lot of people. Personally, I’m always interested to hear what people think is the “right” thing. The biggest point of contention is always whether Mookie should have thrown the garbage can through the window of Sal’s Famous. While I understand why this might be a point to argue between people, I’m on the side of this being the “right” thing. Simply, it was rightful rage over the death of an innocent citizen by the “trusted” police force which forces another citizen to act in way that many may never understand how to act. Of course, in turn, this action also saves the lives of Sal and his sons, despite the fact that their business is destroyed by an angry mob. That’s the simple way to breakdown the climax of “Thing,” but there is much more leading to this choice.
Other aspects of the story certainly play a big part in Mookie’s decision. The New York heat, Sal not paying Mookie before the day was up, being accused of being a dead-beat father, the constant harassment by Smiley, there are several aspects of the day that sets Mookie off, but the most reasonable is always going to be seeing “Radio” Raheem murdered in front of him by police who are tasked with upholding the law and having the CPR (Courtesy Professionalism Respect) on the side of their cruiser (the irony). It’s a layered argument that can be tossed back and forth, but the reason we still reference “Thing” as the movie that still commands our attention a quarter of a century after it’s release is the climate we live in currently.
Police still systematically target minorities which often ends in horrific results, and police are overworked with less officers on the ground to do the job correctly, not to mention the fact that many officers are ill-equipped to get the job done correctly. An overburdened and broken system leads to misjudgment and tragedies that will continue to happen.
Is violence the “right” thing…no….however, when you are kicked, prodded, marginalized, and made to feel that you have no rights as a citizen, what are you going to do? Throwing a TV through a window might be a start, but how about throwing your vote in a ballot box on a local level to make the immediate change that is needed to hopefully, at some point, make a bigger change.
Much was made when “Thing” was released, including comments that viewing this film would incite riots. Lee’s response was whether critics believed that minorities, namely African-American’s, were unable to control their impulses while viewing a work of fiction. It was a perfect response for people that just don’t get it, and will never get it. Hell, if “Thing” makes you angry, IT SHOULD! While it WAS a work of fiction it was still inspired by true events, namely the beating and murder of Michael Stewart by NYPD officers, and we are still seeing the endless deaths of African-Americans around the country, sadly at the hands of law enforcement officials. We should all be upset by this, while Lee is being a politician about it, he should have said “Yes, people should get upset about this film, it’s happening, this is the world we live in!”
So, what is the “right” thing? IS there a “right” thing? The “right” thing is to take tragedy and knowledge and apply it in a way that changes the course of your life, your country, and your politics. We are living in scary times, with people in charge that seem to like to “troll” the American people. We literally have an Internet troll who is poised to take the office of The President of the United States shortly. Think about that….someone who made his career firing the like of Lil John and Dennis Rodman from a fake job interview show is going to be hiring people to look after Civil Rights cases and reading the most classified of files, will be running our country for what could be up to eight years.
The “right” thing is to follow the mantra of Public Enemy and “Fight the Power.” But fighting the power is more than just with your fists. Fight with your empathy, fight with your courage, fight with your knowledge, shit, fight for your right to party, because if anything you always have the “right to fight.”
Well that happened…
DJ and Justin just watched Beware Children at Play. And…Well…It’s not so great. It is a slow boring movie that only picks up right at the end. Sure the topic of murdering demoniac crazy children is a fun idea to use in a movie but if you don’t do anything with it then its pretty lousy. Hopefully the movie next time is a bit more enjoyable to watch, because even though this trailer looked amazing, the final product was just lame.
Friday the 13th Pt. 8 – Cheese
There is good cheese, and bad cheese; “Friday the 13th Pt. 8” is equals part both, mainly because it is so God damned 80s. It reeks of everything the 1980s was and will always be remembered by. In fact, this film is the most 80s of all the films in the series. Did I mention how 80s this film is….
So, “Jason Takes Manhattan.” Once again, Jason rises from the grave, again, with the help of some lightning and a metal anchor. After his first two welcome back kill of some horny, and whiny, teens, he catches a ride with more horny and whiny teens on a high school cruise to New York City. On this doomed cruise is Renny, a teen who also happens to have some history with Jason, her dickhead “stepfather-of-sorts” and Kelly Hu in one of her first roles.
Needless to say, Jason kills a bunch of kids, visits Manhattan, and is of course stopped in one of the oddest endings to a “Friday the 13th” movie.
Two things that stand out to me in this one is the resemblance to “The New Blood.” We have a teen heroine who has a history with Jason in addition to an overbearing father figure and worrisome mother figure. There is a pseudo-romance between said heroine and hero that is somewhat awkward, and of course the girl who is jealous of the heroine but gets her comeuppance.
The other thing is the vision of New York itself. People tend to forget that New York in the 80s and 90s was pretty much a cesspool. It was pretty dirty and you could say dangerous before gentrification took over. There also seemed to be a lot of open toxic waster just hanging around. New Yorkers who grew up in the 80s and 90s in the city, is this true?
Anyway, while this is one of the weaker edition in the series, it’s still totally watchable if not just for the fashion, funny Jason kills, and of course we can’t forget Kane Hodder who just brings something special to the Jason role.
For more awesome 80s fashion, check out these other hits:
Friday the 13th Pt 8
Nightmare on Elm Street 5
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY
Alright folks, it’s time to dust off your flannel, feather your mullet and bust out the VCR again because it’s time for another Simplistic Reviews Movie Commentary. We return to 1989 with another classic; “Lethal Weapon 2.” The sequel to another classic,”Lethal Wepon,” “Weapon 2” pretty much ups the ante over it’s predecessor and exceeds and it some ways. This time around Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of a group of South Africans who are into some shady dealings, including a guy who might be David Warner.
Whereas “Weapon 1” was a pretty dark film, “Weapon 2” is a the perfect balance of humor, bombastic action, and gritty cop drama. With that said, sit back, strap yourself in (if you’re into that type of thing) and get ready to yuck it up with three guys who make Jones, Mahoney, and Hooks look like legit cops with “Lethal Weapon 2.”
There are only a couple films that I can pick from that have influenced me at a very young age. Back to Future is one and the other is today’s review.
Batman is pretty much a perfect film even though its a film plagued with errors.
Vicki Vale entering the Batcave. (Say What?! Thanks Alfred)
Batman killing the Joker. (Wait… Batman just killed the Joker?)
The Joker killing Martha and Thomas Wayne. (Wait what?)
Batman creating the Joker. (Ugh you made me first)
Batman being a mass murder. (I think Batman kills more than the Joker)
These are big issues, yet Batman continues to be the best Batman film to have ever been made. How is that possible?
Because Batman 89 has everything to make a summer blockbuster and everything to make a staple of a film for a young boy’s mind.
Lets start with the cast
The cast is absolutely perfect. Of course at the time everyone had issues with it, but overtime the film holds up with help from its characters and actors. Michael Keaton is Batman! He will always be a favorite for us 80’s and 90’s kids. When I first met Neal he asked me about who I thought was the best Batman. I said Bale comes close but hands down I have to say Keaton. Keaton brought Batman from a joke to a icon. I am a big fan of the comedy of 66’s Batman but it will always piss me off. Batman was not that, he is what Keaton showed us. Keaton’s ability to pull off Batman and Bruce is something we really haven’t had since. Bale again is the only one that comes close, but falls short with that voice. Keaton got it. Keaton went to that dark place in his voice and for that he will always be the Batman/Bruce of the big screen.
Jack Nicholson as the Joker is hands-down one of the greatest castings in film history. He as a actor that took that role and stole each scene he was in. Vicki Vale played by Kim Basinger has always been my favorite Batman love interest since maybe Andrea Beaumont. No female since has been able to pull off her part. The cast is a classic and I hope we get another Batman film with a fantastic cast like this in the future.
The story is a simple telling of the origin while using flashbacks. It’s very well written, and the structure is fantastic. I’m amazed what Sam Hamm did with this script. I’m more amazed Sam Hamm didn’t become a well known writer. Right now Hamm’s IMDB page shows 9 credits. How is that possible? He really did a great job with this film. When Batman Returns came around he kind of was given the shaft. He gets credit for story but if you ever get a chance to read his script you’ll find a good read. In fact I really wish they went more with his then Daniel Waters.
That score and soundtrack, WOW!
Danny Elfman! Elfman created the greatest theme ever! Sure Superman has a good one, Star Wars is cool but Batman! Come on its amazing and why the hell did we not bring it back. Elfman created a score that just fits perfectly. It’s dark and beautiful. Yet it’s very strange and exciting. I want to feel this again in the theater and I hope we get this theme back, come on Zimmer DO IT! I double dare you! Now Prince created a period of time that will forever be playing in my ears. I listen to this soundtrack almost every week. The film gets watch almost every week too, yep I’m not joking. Happy or angry I will queue up that soundtrack and play the hell out of it.
Art direction is incredible. Something you will never see anywhere else. When I look at that set I think to myself this is a once in a lifetime experience. That suit is my favorite version ever to be done. Zack Snyder is coming close, still we haven’t seen it in color yet, but you can never go wrong with full black and that yellow belt and logo.
Tim Burton pulled off one of the greatest feats in film history. He was a kid at the time. A kid with the most expensive film riding on his back and he pulled it off. I don’t think he really tries anymore, which sadness me. His early work is far superior and is something I dearly miss. But what Burton gave me makes up completely for his recent films. He gave me a childhood, which I reminisce about once and awhile. Batman was and is everything to me. Without this film, things could be different. I might of not of been that little boy with the black towel attached with those clothes pins running. And for that I can only think of a simpler time and say thanks for the great film.
Happy 25th Birthday!
It’s June and it’s Podcast time! But this one is special. Today we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of 1989’s classic, Batman. So we decided to try something new, join us today as we give you a SR Movie Commentary! Our first commentary and very possibly not our last commentary 😉
So queue up those VCR’s…hmmm wait sorry….DVD’s, Blu-rays and this Podcast and have a blast to the past with us. You can watch our YouTube video, listen to the Podcast or stream the commentary with the full film on dropbox!
Wait did Julie Kill someone?!
Birds & Brass By Sort Of Soul
Batman: The Video Game Composer(s) Naoki Kodaka, Nobuyuki Hara