I do tons of hunting around town here in Portland Oregon and beyond for awesome VHS tapes for my own viewing pleasure and also for my shop Hollywood Babylon. The fun is always running across cool movies, often times I never even knew existed. This is most definitely the case when I ran across a VHS copy of ‘VIBES’ from 1988 starring Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum!? Yeah, at least for me this was a surprise as I’d never even heard of this one before and the unlikely pairing of Goldblum as “Nick” & 80’s pop icon Lauper as “Sylvia” kinda blew my mind. At first I thought it was simply an 80’s rom com, but upon reading the synopsis on the back I was even more excited to find that Vibes is actually a supernatural adventure flick with light elements of Indiana Jones sprinkled about it’s odd colorful plot.
Talk about a movie that sounds right up my alley? Vibes was indeed a ton of fun and it’s two unlikely leads make it a full on trip down 80’s nostalgia lane. Both Lauper and Goldblum play quirky down on their luck psychics who are hired to head off to Ecuador to find the missing son of a mysterious wealthy fortune hunter. Both seem reluctant to work together even though Sylvia who’s major bad luck with men, seems immediately enamored with Nick who’s character is as over the top Godlbum-esque here as they come. Both use their unique powers to piece together the mystery they become entrenched in, Sylvia speaks with a dead woman named Louise and Nick can see the psychic history of objects from merely by touching them.
Once the two leave the city they quickly realize there’s a supernatural element at play and their employer hasn’t been entirely honest about why they’ve been hired for the job. It’s a total pleasure to see the two leads playing off each other and it’s quite obvious from the get go it’s gonna be physically impossible for Golblum to resist the cute as a button Lauper. Cyndi shines here with her extra thick New York accent and most of all it’s the unlikely pairing of these two icons that really make this one such a treat.
The back of the VHS boasts something of a special fx extravaganza from one of the dudes from Ghostbusters which was sadly a bit misleading. There are a few neat scenes of 80’s fx at play here but ultimately the supernatural spectacle here wasn’t nearly as impressive as I’d hoped for. A few more scenes of paranormal mayhem would have made this one a full on lost 80’s classic. It does have some great sets though and the Ecuador back drop gives this a bit of a Romancing the Stone vibes at times although with less physical adventure actually going on. There’s a great dance sequence between the two as well that’s pretty darn cute as well. The main reason to seek this out is the two leads, it’s an interesting pairing and filled with a ton of fun moments despite it being a full on bonafide box office flop. One of the best parts of the movie is the closing credits song by Cyndi Lauper called “Hole In My Heart” which is one of her best and adds to the pure nostalgia of this little forgotten gem of an 80’s movie.
Ok so here’s an interesting clip! You remember that old Star Wars holiday special that George Lucas wants to pretend never happened? Well here’s another bizarre moment in retro Star Wars history, all the way back in 1980 Hamill made an appearance on German television making a cameo on a musical Star Wars themed variety show, recently Hamill shared the video and commented on it also saying “I remember not wanting to wear a gold jumpsuit like a rejected member of ABBA or if I could memorize dialogue in a foreign language-but thought “Who cares? No one outside of Germany will ever see this!” Thanks to the internet-NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY. Who knew?”
I’ve never seen this before but I’ll say it’s quite a treat for any true fan of the beloved series. In case you missed this one here it is in all of it’s glory!
It seems our ol’ pal Ash Williams might be in need of our help, Season 3 of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ just recently kicked off & it seems there’s a serious possibility that the show may not be renewed for ‘Season 4’ by Starz. The show is one of the most pirated out there meaning all of us Evil Dead fans haven’t really been supporting the return of Bruce Campbell in the way he’d hoped we would. I’m fully up to date having just finished watching the most current episode of season 3. I’ve at the moment got a free 7 day trial for Starz, that’ll be over in a couple days and I’m planning on getting a membership at least for a month to watch the rest of the show. I figure $8.99 is way more than worth it for rest of the season, besides I spend more than that to see a movie at the theaters usually for a movie that wasn’t that all that good. So if you’re a real fan of the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise it just might be time to show up for real, cough up 9 bux and support Ash in his quest to stomp out evil!
Now onto season 3 thus far, upon watching the first episode, it felt a bit too familiar to season 2, Ash is now the hero of his small home town, everything seems to be peachy for him again and his companions (starting off a bit too much like the “Jacksonville paradise” season 2 first episode). Of course the Necronomicon appears again, someone recites it’s passages and ‘Deadites’ are back raising hell for the small quaint town. My only initial gripe was that we’re spending yet another season in Ash’s hometown, at least for now & I’d really have liked for Ash and his crew to have been sucked into another time warp similar to ‘Army of Darkness’ to really mix things up. However it was apparent my small gripe would soon be totally erased by just how bat shit crazy and fun everything quickly escalated to. So far season three just might be the best of them all, every episode delivers the wild and crazy gore, monsters & special fx fans have been clamoring for all these years. Continue reading
Has anyone been checking out the latest season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’? Am I the only one who’s feels like this show has seriously lost it’s original charm? It’s been a while since we’ve seen ol’ Larry David in action (six years to be exact) and now he’s finally returned to get back into all those uncomfortable situations most people have similarly experienced at some point in our lives. Well after checking out the last few episodes of this new season, which I was pumped about, it’s clear Larry and Co. have ultimately lost the brilliant situational comedy the show’s most well known for. Every damn situation he gets himself into feels incredibly forced & too dang silly to really feel relatable to anymore. Most of all this new season so far feels A LOT like a parody of itself.
‘Curb’ feels like it’s lost it’s originality, now putting Larry into situations that unfold in the most predictable ways possible. From miles away you can see where every awkward moment is going end up. Whether he’s opening a pickle jar or grabbing cookies in a hotel lobby with his fingers rather than the tongs, it always advances the show’s plot to another unbelievable level. It’s maybe just gotten a bit too self aware for it’s own good? For me the past seasons for the most part, felt like Larry was existing in the real world and it made all of his antics that much more relatable. You’d feel like, you’d been there before and many times Mr. David would say the shit you’d wished you could, but were too afraid of suffering the consequences.
Now no matter where he goes he’s always got people who feel like they’re programmed to cause a stink over anything and everything the dude does. Like Portlandia some of these situations just drag on far too long now and a lot of the dialogue now feels like it was written by a fan of the show trying their best to make things as uncomfortable as humanly possible as much as possible. We’ve lost the realism that directly fueled the comedy and made everything that David said and did that much more cringeworthy & consequential.
We get it, Larry is always saying and doing the wrong thing, but in the past it felt a bit like we were watching a real guy navigate through the real world. This season follows, in my opinion, a once brilliant formula a bit too by the numbers. In the past we’d never quite know when or why the shit was gonna hit the fan. Perhaps they’ve run out of ideas or perhaps now the landscape of things even in six years have changed so drastically that Larry’s just not relevant in the way he used to be. Whatever the case I had to make a quick rant, I still find aspects of the funny don’t get me wrong, this was one of my favorite comedies of all time, I’m gonna finish the season but dang do I miss Larry’s glory days…what do you think?
I highly recommend the brand new Netflix Original movie ‘Little Evil’, especially if you’re already a fan of the modern cult classic ‘Tucker & Dale vs Evil’. It turns out ‘Little Devil’ is the newest & second movie from that very director, Eli Craig. That explains a lot about why the movie’s comedic horror charm is so damn spot on. It’s a great concept that puts a unique spin on The Omen and the “birthing of the antichrist” sub-genre of horror movies. We follow a newly married stepfather (played brilliantly by Adam Scott) as he struggles to bond with his new son Lucas while appearing to be the perfect dad to his new wife (Evangeline Lily).
It doesn’t take long before he notices his new son’s incredibly creepy & bizarre behavior and weird ass style of dressing. Most of the laughs revolve around just how crazy the kid acts while the plot ridiculously thickens as the stepdad slowly begins to accept that his new son is a god damned demon spawn. There are a shitload of memorable scenes here to relish and Craig proves once again he’s one of the best when it comes to horror comedy (damn that goat puppet is awesome!). So many attempt to pull it off usually with mixed results. The movie explores some familiar horror tropes too while adding just the right amount of eye winking to fans of old school horror.
The movie has a ton up and coming comedians & familiar faces (Watch for “Tucker” in an amazing scene) that add to it’s charm, my fave being Clancy Brown as a mysterious priest who you might remember from his role on the incredible cult classic series ‘Carnivale’. The movie’s a helluva good time (no pun intended) and has a ton of heart to it. It’s also got some genuinely creepy moments as well mixed in which is a nice touch, with all the absurdity the movies got going for it already. My only complaint is a minor one, near the final act the movie gets a little bit too cutesy, when I was really hoping they might build upon the terror of the creepy kid that was already brilliantly established. However things go in a bit in way of ‘major Hollywood style feel good comedy’ which I’m not against necessarily but was hoping for something a bit more off beat in the final act. All in all though this one’s a great Netflix original movie that’s filled with something for everyone and a second win (although not quite as good as Tucker & Dale) for director Eli Craig. Check it out!
Been a movie watchin’ fiend lately & luckily most of the flicks, most of which I’d call largely forgotten cinema, have been surprisingly damn good! So listen up I’m gonna throw a bunch of short reviews for some films that are worth the trouble to track down if like me you’re looking for some lost gems! Let’s get on with this shit today we’ve got some great what I like to coin ‘John Hughes Horror’ in…
Night Life (1989)
First up let it be known this cool ass little movie was never officially released on dvd so it’s a tuff one to track down. You can hunt down a copy on vhs or like I did buy a bootleg copy of it on dvd from Ioffer.com, a great site for stuff like this. Anyway I wanna start off saying that this movie has Scott Grimes, that red headed kid from Critters 1&2 so it instantly had me there as I love those two movies. It’s essentially an 80’s teen high school bully movie with zombies. Scott Grimes or “Archie” in the movie, who channels a bit of Michael J. Fox, works at a mortuary for his jerky uncle (John Astin) and is bullied by four assholes (two preppy jock-y couples) from his school. Turns out he’s totally infatuated with one of the girls and the bullies quickly devise a plan to set him up on a “date” that ultimately destroys him teenage life. He’s also got an older lady pal, a cute local mechanic that he hangs out with all the time that he’s also crushed out on, who’s clearly put him in the friend zone. Ahh to be a teenager again…
Well one day those same four prepster bullies meet their demise in a horrible car crash, and of course Archie has to take them back to the mortuary. It seems though he’s in high school he accompanies the police to crimes scenes and is oddly in charge of the “dirty work” of dealing with the dead, I guess that shit flew back in the 80’s huh? Only problem is the four assholes become zombies when a bolt of lightning strikes the roof of the mortuary, something clearly foreshadowed earlier when a dead frog’s legs twitch when given an electrical charge by his science teacher. The nice thing here is these Zombies aren’t your mindless walkers, they’re more ruthless, cunning & have one clear driving their every move: to turn Archie into mince meat!! This begins a totally outrageous game of cat and mouse that plays out like a great extended episode of Tales From The Crypt in the best way.
The movie’s got a light hearted feel to it but isn’t afraid to get down and dirty when it needs to either. The zombie bullies use their newly acquired blood lust to carry out some pretty inventive on screen kills too. This may not be a traditional zombie apocalypse flick, but it’s one of the most unique and who needs more of the apocalypse anyway. Even in the 80’s that shit was overdone. Even way back in 89′ Tony Timpone of Fangoria praised it “the most original, off-beat & entertaining zombie films in years, a must see!”. I gotta agree it’s a ton of fun, has great stunts, cool fx, gore, rad looking zombies, sets & characters. Pretty much everything I love about the 80’s all wrapped into one. This one deserves an official release it’s definitely a lost gem. I’m pretty floored at how this movie doesn’t have more love these days, hopefully someone will clean it up and give it a proper release if you’re a fan of 80’s horror and those John Hughs-esque flick of that era you’ll find a lot here to love!! One last interesting tidbit here is that director David Acomba was one the two directors responsible for the infamously bad 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special!! But hey don’t hold that against him!!
I’ve never been a gigantic fan of Kevin Smith, but I’ll admit I did like his two Clerks movies (yeah both of them). I’ll also admit I was totally surprised that he made an excellent thriller, Red State. Yep those were all good movies, but as a whole I’m really not a big fan of much else he’s done. With that being said, after he made Red State I was fully convinced he just might have found his niche by way of horror movies and was pretty excited to check out ‘Tusk’. That movie, in my opinion, was truly a painful watch. It just plain sucked in every way. It was a wasted attempt at making what could have been a unique horror movie.
Tusk was a complete 180 from ‘Red State’ that had me a bit confused about what I thought was his new found talent dabbling in the horror genre. Well things got even worse last night when I decided to give his latest movie “Yoga Hosers” a shot on Netflix. It’s streaming there if you’re looking to waste your time & lose a few brain cells while you’re at it. ‘Yoga Hosers’ is the second installment of his “True North” horror trilogy and was meant to be an homage to movies like Critters & Gremlins. The end result is far from coming anywhere close to the magic of those movies. I can honestly say Yoga Hosers is easily one of the worst movies I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s so bad I had to stop it 3/4 of the way through. I just couldn’t take how much it sucked (and I LOVE bad movies) but there’s just nothing worse than a totally bad comedy. It’s not ammusing watching jokes fail over and over and over.
Smith seems to think he’s totally dialed in to the pre-teen / millennial comedy too but during the experience you see a cast of characters who’re just extensions of his dated sense of humor. His daughter, along with Johnny Depp and his daughter star in this wretched horror comedy that get’s more irritating with every passing minute. We’re given a horde of flat repetitive Canadian “humor”, bad cg, idiotic senseless plot and some incredibly stupid “monsters” for the main characters to face off against. Through all of this you can picture Kevin Smith behind the scenes secretly thinking he’s somehow created the next cult horror comedy classic. Far from it. This is some of the worst attempts at comedy I’ve seen in ages and it led me to the question: should Kevin Smith call it a day?
My first thought was a solid yes but after thinking about his last two movies and just how much they sucked it got me thinking the exact opposite. I mean Red State was a really good movie and seeing that Kevin Smith does indeed have one more film left in this trilogy called “Moose Jaws” I’m actually thinking that he could really change direction here and give us something truly memorable. I only say this because Smith has gotten a LOT of shit from critics and fans on how fucking bad Yoga Hosers turned out to be. It seems a bit of a long shot since most of the cast from Yoga Hosers will be again returning for the next movie. ‘Moose Jaws’ is said to be an homage to Jaws but with a giant pissed off moose. I say let’s give it one more try Kevin, shift the tone of Moose Jaws and give us something intense and scary. Hold off on the humor and make these terrible characters from the last two movies iconic. I’ll give you one more try Mr. Smith but after this trilogy it just might be time to call it a day. For good….