Empty Balcony: All the Right Moves

All Stef Djordevic (Tom Cruise) wants is to get out of town, and I don’t blame him. All the Right Moves, the 1983 film from director Michael Chapman and screenwriter Michael Kane, opens on a rather depressing moment. It’s morning at the steel mill, and Stef’s older brother and father are shown wrapping up their graveyard shift. They leave the mill in silence, their fellow workers just as spent as they are. The message for viewers is clear, if not all that accurate for some (my grandfathers used to hit the bar across the street from their mill immediately after work — end of shift was a time for jollity, not introspection). The mill takes all your hopes and dreams, and crushes them. But at least it keeps food on the table and a roof over one’s head…until the layoffs start. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: All the Right Moves”

Empty Balcony: Risky Business

When I was a child, my parents made a poor decision. They wanted to go see a movie, but they couldn’t find a babysitter. I don’t recall if a sitter canceled, or they decided to go out on short notice, or if I was such a young terror that I’d burned through all the numbers in the address book. Either way, my folks were determined to go see a movie, and if no sitter could be found, then I was going to see a movie, too. If that movie was an R-rated feature about a lustful teenager and a smoking hot call girl, then so be it. Besides, as my parents reasoned, the boy is only six years old. Not only will he forget what he sees, he won’t understand any of it, anyway. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Risky Business”

Empty Balcony: Taps

Back in 2014, Missile Test held Arnold Schwarzenegger month, where I watched and wrote about every significant Arnold flick. There was no abiding reason for featuring Arnold movies for an entire month, other than I just felt like doing it. I followed that up in 2017 with a month of Sylvester Stallone reviews. Then I got the bright idea to do a month of Tom Cruise flicks, but my soul ran dry after watching Rain Man. Anyway, I’ve had ten reviews of Tom Cruise movies sitting in a folder for years, now, collecting digital dust. So, since Cruise month isn’t likely to happen, for the next couple of months I’ll be posting these old-ish reviews on Wednesdays. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Taps”

October Horrorshow: The Lost Boys

To some movie fans, filmmaker Joel Schumacher is still paying penance for Batman and Robin. This page reconsidered that film a few years back, and concluded the problem lay more with viewers’ expectations than Schumacher’s final product. Still, no matter how people feel about that film, Joel Schumacher will be forever associated with putting nipples on the batsuit, when his greatest contribution to film was this operatic gem from the 1980s. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Lost Boys”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Best Friends

I knew nothing about this film when I began watching it. I found it on a YouTube channel that collects old grindhouse and drive-in movies that have fallen into the public domain. That copy was crap, but being in the public domain meant that the film could be found elsewhere. Amazon Prime has a much better quality copy, so should one actually want to seek out and watch this turd, I recommend doing so on Amazon. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Best Friends”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Summer City

Summer CityThis flick is a bad one. This is one of those zero-budget plodding messes that would have found a ready home on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s one of those flicks that lacks most endearing characteristics, and only survives because it featured a future Hollywood star.

Summer City, from way back in 1977, is the first feature film on Mel Gibson’s IMDb page. He’s one of four main characters, all friends, who head out from 1950s Sydney for some fun and sun at an Australian beach.

How do I know the movie takes place in the 1950s? Director Christopher Fraser and producer/writer Phil Avalon helped us viewers with that, by providing an opening credits stock footage montage of scenes from the 1950s. This extensive sequence is amazing, because so much of the footage seems to have been chosen at random — the only prerequisite being that it looks like it was shot in the ’50s. How else to explain the repeated use of footage of a long-distance runner in training? It has nothing to do with the plot. This movie is about surfing blokes. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Summer City”

Stallone Month: Paradise Alley

Before there was Rocky, there was Paradise Alley. That might not make any sense, since Paradise Alley was made two years after Rocky. But back in the mid-1970s, when Sylvester Stallone made his pitch to Rocky producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, this was the screenplay Sly wanted to make. They passed, but according to Sly, they said they would look at any other ideas he had. He went home that night and began to write Rocky. But there was still this screenplay out there, and after the success of Rocky, Sly was able to make this film. Not only did he write the screenplay, he also directed, starred, and, God help us, sang the opening theme song, Too Close to Paradise. All of this is very Orson Wellesian, in that it’s an overindulgent exercise in filmmaking, storytelling, and acting, but it doesn’t have the benefit of being any good. Continue readingStallone Month: Paradise Alley”

October Horrorshow: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

I love it when a sequel plays around with its original idea...with caveats, of course. Tweaks are good. Wholesale re-imaginings can be taking things too far. Take The Highlander, for instance. That film lays out some neat ground rules for both protagonist and antagonist. For some supernatural reason, seemingly random people throughout history have been rendered immortal, their purpose in life to track each other down and cut each other’s heads off, all to earn a mysterious prize which will be given to the last man standing. The film spent a substantial amount of time on its hero’s origin story in the Scottish Highlands. The film wrapped up the story so completely that the filmmakers may as well have put a bow on it. But, when it was time to make a sequel, all that backstory was retconned, and the immortals turned into fricking aliens. ALIENS. Audiences hated it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”