Orion Pictures Corporation via Everett Collection
It's 2014 and I was looking back at the movies that came out in 1984. I was blown away by the number of good movies that came out that year. I was then moved to tears that they are now 30 years old ... which means I'm getting older, since I saw most of, if not nearly all 10 of these in the theater.
Conan The Barbarian had put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map, but this was the one that made him an A-list action superstar. The funny thing? He originally was supposed to play the role of the good guy, but he decided to be the unstoppable killing machine instead. Somewhere, in an alternate universe, some puny wimp is uttering "I'll be back ..." and their movie world is much poorer for it.
Molly Ringwald and John Hughes formed such a perfect tag team in the '80s Teen Movie genre that they could have probably won the WWF (it was called that in the '80s) Championship. Anthony Michael Hall also owes SUCH a huge debt of gratitude to this movie. There's also a very strong chance that the character of Long Duk Dong would probably not exist if this movie was made today.
Beverly Hills Cop
This was another star-making vehicle, this time with Eddie Murphy driving it. The former Saturday Night Live actor played wisecracking Detroit detective Axel Foley to perfection. Add Jonathan Banks as a dead-eyed hitman and Judge Reinhold as a hapless Beverly Hills Detective and it's no wonder this movie stayed in the theaters as long as it did.
Admit it - when you saw this movie, you SO wanted a Mogwai. Gizmo was SO cute and it was very sad that he was really a mechanical creature. The Gremlins, though. They scared the living daylights out of me. But Phoebe Cates ... mmm. Yes. Phoebe Cates.
I'm amazed that I'm at the fifth movie and am JUST getting to Ghostbusters. Who can forget Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis as they tracked down supernatural ghosts. Dean and Sam Winchester would have learned a thing or two from these guys, like answering Yes if someone asks if you are a god. Ooh. I think I hear a doggie that someone left outside.
The Karate Kid
Forget the Jackie Chan/Jaden Smith remake: this is the best Karate Kid. Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita gave us an unforgettable film, and it also helped keep Billy Zabka in the spotlight, with his recent guest appearances on How I Met Your Mother. Wax on, Wax off, indeed. Also, I had SUCH a huge crush on Elizabeth Shue back then.
Another classic that blows the horrible remake away. Sorry, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen's combined starpower incinerate the cast of the 2012 version. Also, that opening scene with the Russians parachuting to the ground gave me nightmares for MONTHS.
Kevin Bacon's version didn't even NEED a remake. I don't understand what the powers-that-be were thinking when they greenlit the new film. As cheesy and corny as it is, it's also awesome, what with John Lithgow and Lori Singer turning in some fine performances. Also ... Kenny Loggins, man. Kenny Loggins. That is all I have to say.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
This is the only movie that I didn't see in the theater, because I am a huge wimp and I do NOT like seeing gory horror movies. This was such an innovation though, what with the genre being populated by the silent Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. Freddy Krueger and his persona were such a huge change. That was before it devolved into silly sequels before the remake tried to breathe new life in the franchise.
This Is Spinal Tap
This is the mockumentary to end all mockumentaries. It's hilarious from the get-go. Who can forget Harry Shearer getting stuck in the chrysalis? One word: Stonehenge. Also, despite the dangers that this movie espoused, I am a drummer to this very day. I can proudly say that I have yet to spontaneously comb
You're thrilled that will be a movie adaptation of your favorite book. You can't wait to see if what you imagined as you turned the pages translates onto the big screen. Then as you're viewing the film, your joy turns first to horror then to utter disgust as you realize that the entire book has been butchered worse than someone stuck in a room with Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees. You leave the theater with steam coming out of your ears.
Translating a book into a movie is tough, yes, because no one visualizes things the same way. That doesn't let Hollywood off the hook. since these following movies were ones where the creative decisions were truly terrible.
The Scarlet Letter
This movie took a classic novel and pretty much spat all over it. Demi Moore turns in a dull performance and not even the great Gary Oldman could save it. They took a situation that was supposed to be about the shame of adulturous sex and made it even more tawdry.What made matters worse was the fact that they changed the ending to a happier one. Moore even defended the movie by saying that not many people had read the book (I think every English teacher in the nation tore up the newspaper when they read that quote). Nathaniel Hawthorne was probably spinning fast enough in his grave to power Manhattan for 10,000 years.
Bonfire of the Vanities
If you want to look up the term 'surefire hit', this movie should have been in there. It had Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis. Admittedly, it was before they became TOM HANKS and BRUCE WILLIS, but they should have had the charisma to pull off this adaptation of the satirical Tom Wolfe novel. The problem was, they went with a comedy instead of making it a dramedy. Melanie Griffith was wasted, too. There were no Masters of The Universe here.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Nicolas Cage can act in a drama. Watch Leaving Las Vegas. He can do it. This was not a good drama for him. He especially can't convincingly play an Italian. There was no real chemistry between Penelope Cruz and Cage. It also deviated a lot from the book and the movie just seemed to set the stage for Cage to start taking weirder and weirder roles (with a couple of National Treasures sandwiched in between).
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp version)
I like how the Gene Wilder version did with the childhood classic book. Wilder played Willy Wonka as a whimsical sort who enjoyed confounding the people who entered his domain. Depp, an actor who has really embraced eccentric roles of late, made a high-strung pale ghoul who probably was nightmare fuel for every kid that saw the movie in the theater. It just changed the whole overall tone from the book and was a bad choice. I wonder if Depp's own children were like, "Um... Dad?" when they saw this.
The Great Gatsby (both versions)
I read "The Great Gatsby" a long time ago, but I had a fixed image of Jay Gatsby. It sure as heck wasn't Robert Redford, who played the titular character in the '70s version and I never saw Leo DiCaprio. For some reason, I also didn't have the music of Jay-Z blaring in my mind when I read the book either. The modern version actually did fairly well in the theater, but I didn't see it as a good adaptation, since it was too glittery.
Any live-action Dr. Seuss movie
I don't think Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, had Jim Carrey and Mike Myers (the SNL actor, not the homicidal slasher I mentioned in the introductory paragraph) in mind when he wrote "The Grinch Whole Stole Christmas" and "The Cat In The Hat" respectively. He might have had issues casting someone who thought high comedy was talking with his butt cheeks and another who devised a character who was morbidly obese and would scream things like, "GET..IN...MY...BELLY!!!!" I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.
The dumbest decision in this movie was to remove the presence of the Greek Gods. You know, the ones that were a huge impetus behind the scenes for many of the events that took place during this epic? I think Zeus would have at least thrown a thunderbolt in the direction of Brad Pitt for making Achilles such a whiny, pouty prettyboy baby. There was such a big chance to make an epic movie and the creators punted on it; Such a shame.
I like Jack Black. I do. I loved School of Rock and found his turn in Tropic Thunder to be hilarious. When I saw that he was going to be doing a version of this classic tale, with several key points changed, my first, second and third instincts were, "Uh... no". Sure enough, it relied on kiddie humor and failed to carry anything from its original source.
Running With Scissors
This was a movie that I was actually looking forward to seeing, since I'm a big fan of Augusten Burroughs. Sadly, the movie took mental illness and had its characters act like cartoon characters. Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening and Joseph Fiennes all had their talent wasted in this movie. It was from a memoir too, which just made it worse. I found it a good opportunity vastly squandered.
I don't care that the Asimov estate approved of this movie, one that took only a couple of names from the book and made it a COMPLETELY different film. I think Isaac, if he were still alive, would have taken one look at the script and sneered at the writers, "You're kidding, right?" I don't think he pictured Will Smith sliding down a huge tower screaming at a sentient computer.
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
Imagine Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger and Jason and that scary dude from Scream and every other horror character from the past 30 years, all on screen together. Sweet, right? Scary, right? Well, if Bruce Campbell gets his way, you won't have to imagine.
Campbell -- current star of USA's Burn Notice and cult-hero from Evil Dead and Army of Darkness -- told the LA Times that the recent action flick The Expendables -- which had nearly every action star from the past 20 years in it -- gave him the idea to do a similar film, except in the horror genre. We had that very idea when Stallone's action melee' was first release and you can read our ideas for a horror-version of The Expendables here. But for a scoop straight from the horses mouth, read on:
"Yeah, The Expendables, or more like the It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World of horror. I want to get so many horror movie stars that people can't possibly not see the movie. I want to give them other stuff to do. I want to have Kane Hodder be very particular about what he eats. I want Robert Englund to be a tough guy, like he knows tae kwon do or something. I want to find out the hidden sides of all these people. Some will play themselves, some will play alternate characters as well. I may approach Kane Hodder to play Frankenstein. He could be Kane Hodder himself fighting himself as Frankenstein. It could be crazy. It's a silly concocted story that we hope to do maybe in a year or so. My breaks between Burn Notice have been getting tighter because they've been adding episodes. They're trying to trap me like a rat in the TV world, and I might just let them. There's a script, it just kind of blows right now, so no one's really seeing it. We gotta work on it. Definitely shoot in Oregon all on a stage. It's like the 300 of horror comedies. We want to make it a whole world. Someone's gotta take Frank down for good."
Although Campbell was clearly highly-caffeinated during this explanation, the idea sounds awesome.
Source: LA Times