Sunday, July 19, 2009

8 From the 80s

This was posted very much earlier over at Twitch as part of a Mega-Twitch-O-Meter listing, so here it is reproduced. You can refer to the actual Twitch post here and of course the contributions made by the other gifted writers.

The only changes here are the pics, so here we go:


So this is probably not the most awesome list out there, but for a boy who grew up in the good old 80s, they were certainly easily available for repeated screenings thanks to the trusty VHS player. Undoubtedly most of the tapes have already been worn out and succumbed to humidity in this part of the world, they’re very much cherished to a boy growing up on Hollywood fodder, until his discovery of a wider world of films out there.

Find out which ones tickled my fancy and were usually placed close by my video player back in the days of growing up, 8 from the 80s, right after the break!

0001. Clash of the Titans

I recall watching this in a large cinema hall way before multiplexes took over, and the hall I was in, had these awesome winged horse statues flanking the screen, just like Pegasus in the film. If it’s Greek mythology on screen, how can one forget about this film, where gods and jealous goddesses manipulate clay figures to their whims and fancies, and the monsters ranging from minotaurs to a sea-dwelling Kraken ever so willing to devour the virginal sacrifice placed before it. I remember being scared stiff with appearance of the nasty looking Medusa, turning away lest I get turned into stone myself if I were to stare. A remake has been announced recently, though I’ll be glad if it could capture some of the charm of the old film which had some awesome stop-motion.

0010. Gremlins

We all know the strict requirements if we’re to keep this forbidden Mogwai, but trust us humans to break all the rules in a jiffy, from feeding after midnight and dousing the poor fella with water, leading to a Christmasy mad-cap caper where these little critters wreck utter havoc in a small town. Who would have thought that Chris Columbus could have come up with something as wickedly fun and nasty as this, and nothing is as riotous as a bunch of Gremlins critters going around Christmas caroling, and that unmistakable (and quite hummable if you ask me) signature tune. I’d never forget how Billy’s mom single-handedly fends them off and dishes out extreme punishment in her own kitchen! Hey, and it starred Phoebe Cates too!

0011. Ghost Busters

Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis crafted an extremely delightful action-comedy-adventure where paranormal professors bandied together to form a lucrative spirit capturing business out of an unused fire station and an old white hearse. I’m in stitches each time I recall that absolutely hilarious moment where Moranis got chased by a beast and ended up staring through the window of a high end restaurant, with its diners being pretty nonchalant about his plight. A couple of pop cultural icons got created, such as Ray Parker Jr.’s unmistakable theme song, that anti-ghosts logo, and the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man’s stomping of New York. Now we’re waiting for the much rumored third movie to gain traction, whether it would be a direct sequel or a reboot of sorts with a fresh faced cast. Hey Dan and gang, the neighborhood’s getting strange enough, and the fans are indeed calling!

0100. Back to the Future

Great Scott! It’s been almost 25 years already?! But hey I still don’t see any flying cars zipping around the skies, or that one size fits all Nike trainers hitting the market yet! Wait I’m jumping the gun on its sequel, so let me zip back to 1985 in my DeLorean…......... Probably one of the earliest time-travel movies that I can watch on a repeat loop (until I subconsciously knew all the lines by heart), I’m always left in amazement at how tightly-knit the story was throughout in linking up the reel 1985 and 1955 that Marty McFly got himself into, from set designs to conversational dialogue. Wonderfully encapsulating all things 80s and 50s in one film, this had spawned many playground bullies adopting the Biff Tannen knuckle-on-head rap, so thankfully I didn’t look anything like Crispin Glover’s shy-loser George McFly with his floppy fringe. Calvin Klein also probably benefited from that huge product, erm, character placement. Purple, too!

0101. Top Gun

To a kid, it’s cool to rule the air piloting million dollar F-14 Tomcats with call-signs such as Maverick, Iceman, and erm, Goose? While it’s never politically quite accurate, this film had its fair share of aerial dogfights to thrill audiences during its time, although watching it now it’s more of the same old repeated scenes of necks craning around the cockpit and the shifting of joysticks while pressing all the right buttons (to fire off various armament that is). And all these from Tony Scott before he opted for his now frequently preferred frenetic MTV styled dizzying visuals and jump cuts. Kilmer and Cruise’s “You can be my wingman” statements will also never be out of bromance fashion. Hey, and it starred Meg Ryan too!

0110. Robocop

My first exposure to a Paul Verhoeven film would be this part-man-part-machine-all cop law enforcer, and one of the things that continued to stick was how cheesy those television commercials were. At a time before film classification, we either get something uncut, or badly butchered, and surprisingly, Robocop survived relatively unscathed over here at the theatres, going by memory, though on the goggle box, needless to say how Peter Weller’s Murphy got KO-ed was given the chop. I can still hear my jaw drop on the ground when Robo got unleashed in his first night out at Detroit City to a pulsating score, equipped with a non-compromising attitude thanks to his prime directives, and a nifty piece of an automatic handgun with precision targeting to unleash mayhem.

0111. Die Hard

Yippee-Ki -Yay! Before Bruce Willis’ John McClane started battling terrorists all over a city, coupled with large mind-numbing explosions, and featuring aircraft like a jumbo jet to a fighter plane firing on all cylinders, he started off quite humbly under the directorship of John McTiernan battling Euro-villains represented by the cool, calculated Alan Rickman, whose gang took over an LA office tower for its precious bond papers locked away in a vault. Barefoot and clad in a grimy singlet, it’s a great reversal of a hostage situation where the hunters become prey to a lone cop armed with plenty of wit.

1000. Batman

Oooh, I’ve got a live one here! Nobody could escape the Bat-juggernaut of 1989, and set to rest the campy 60s television series. Jack Nicholson got top billing as The Joker, though Michael Keaton had to convince almost everyone that Tim Burton had made the right choice in the Caped Crusader. Everywhere you turned, was a bat-logo emblazoned on almost every conceivable object, and the set designs by the late Anton Furst had everyone talking, especially that of the sleekest, and most bad-ass looking cinematic Batmobile to date. (The tumbler’s a tank, so it’s no count for sleekness). Before Batman had begun and transformed into The Dark Knight, this and Batman Returns were my personal favorites, before Joel Schumacher arrived to screw it all up.

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