Ultimate 80s Blogathon Encore: Ten 1980s Faves by Film and TV 101

If you saw Drew’s conclusion earlier today, I’m sorry but we’re not done yet.  Its come to our attention that technical difficulties has fallen on our Ultimate 80s blogathon and now that we’ve found out and fixed it, we don’t turn away any of your hard work so its time for an encore.  Our encore is brought to you in the form of a  Top Ten list by Kira over at Film and TV 101.   Her piece was just too awesome to pass up!

Let’s pass it over to Kira to give us an encore to Ultimate 80s Blogathon! 🙂


So, to tie in with Tranquil Dreams and Drew’s Ultimate 80s Blogathon, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite films from the 80s. There’s a fair old mix, but I believe they capture some of the best the era had to offer.

The Killing Fields (1984)

The Killing Fields relives the account of a photographer who got trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s ‘Year Zero’ cleansing campaign; the struggles he overcame to get out of the country and the friends he made along the way. It’s one of those films that serves as a real eye-opener to the events that took place during the brutal regime the Cambodian tyrant led, and is one that will be difficult to forget for anyone who takes the time to watch it due to transparency with which it was made.

The Untouchables (1987)

In Brian De Palma’s crime drama where Kevin Costner’s FBI Agent Ness goes after Robert De Niro’s Al Capone, thrills are a-plenty. The Untouchables was a film I convinced my parents to let me watch years ago as I told them that it would help me with my history lessons, and I was very glad my little bit of cunning trickery went a long way. It’s a very slick piece of work with an all-star cast which really captured the struggles the Law had with bringing down the original Scarface during the Prohibition Era.

The Blues Brothers (1980)

Just qualifying for my list is The Blues Brothers – the action-packed crime-comedy that as confirmed itself as a cult classic. In it, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi make an excellent comedy pairing as the title characters as they set off on a mission from God to save the Catholic orphanage they were raised in. It’s another all-star ensemble that’s backed up by music royalty, meaning that it’s worth watching just for the music (which, by the way, is fabulous).

The Shining (1980)

Here’s Johnny! Also just scraping in is The Shining – Stanley Kubrick’s tremendous adaptation of Stephen King’s novel where a family suffers at the hands of a spiritual presence during their winter holiday. Jack Nicholson absolutely kicks ass in this one, and who can forget him beating his way through those door panels into the bathroom where his terrified wife stood, screaming hysterically, with nothing but a kitchen knife in her hand? It was proof again of Kubrick’s directorial talent, and of how well King’s novels translate into film.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Well, if you want a good laugh, look no further than Eddie Murphy’s freewheeling Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. I’d love to know how many tears have been shed throughout all three films, but I’d have a guess and say that at least half of them resulted from this one. It’s the original, and in my eyes, it’s the best, and showed the world how the field of police work is flooded with comedic material.

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Robin Williams had us in stitches as the unorthodox and irreverent DJ who shakes things up when he’s assigned to the US Armed Services Radio station in Vietnam. The film, which was largely improvised by Williams, also has hints of a winning buddy movie as Forest Whitaker co-stars as the serviceman given the job of showing Williams’ Adrian Cronauer the ropes. Good Morning, Vietnam takes a slightly lighter look at the war America would rather forget about, and I think that’s why audiences loved it so much.

The Evil Dead (1981)

The thought of watching this one terrified me, but over the summer I finally got the guts to see it. I really enjoyed The Evil Dead, which told the story of five friends who travel to a cabin in the woods for a few days where they unwittingly release flesh-possessing demons. It’s a film that was ahead of its time when it came to make-up and special effects and whilst it might be a bit of a fright-fest, it’s also a wonderful bit of fun.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

There’s not a fat lot not to like about the first instalment of the smash-hit franchise starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as the mismatched detectives we all know and love by now. Lethal Weapon was the original buddy movie that set the standard that a lot of films have since tried (and many failed) to meet. It’s a hard one not to love and it’s probably an epitome of the 80s; Gibson’s mullet, Maverick cops and major political incorrectness.

Scarface (1983)

Sooner or later, I was always going to crow-bar a bit of Al Pacino onto this list and , of course, it had to be with Scarface that I did this. It’s near-on three hours long and full of raucous fun and endlessly quotable lines that I absolutely love, and whilst Pacino’s Tony Montana isn’t a character with the highest morals, you can’t help but feel slightly sorrowful when he meets his end and the credits start rolling. You’ll be hooked, you’ll laugh, but most importantly, you won’t be able to stop saying that line (and let’s face it, you’re doing it right now).

Die Hard (1988)

As we reach number one, I admit to you that there was never going to be anything else other than Die Hard that was going to be in the top spot. However, Bruce Willis’ tour-de-force is there not only because it is a great film and one of my all-time favourites, but because it’s probably the reason I love film so much. Plus, it broke new ground in the action genre and is full of witty lines that, again, you’ll be saying for weeks after watching. Yippee ki-yay!

There you have it – my ten best 80s films. There’s certainly a bit of variety there, but the general gist of things suggest that, for me, film in the 80s was all about action and quick-witted lines. What about you? Do you agree with any of the films on my list? Or would you stick something else on there?

TMI Podcast: The Random Chat Show Talks Bad Christmas Movies and Kinda Sorta Maybe Reviews Krampus!

The Random Chat Show is continuing with last week’s launch of Christmas and holiday season.  Among the tons of holiday flicks, we discuss what makes a holiday film suitable for the season? What are some examples of bad Christmas movies and why? We eventually talk about Krampus and our thoughts about it. Melissa wraps us up with another great DIY.

What are your choices that you think shouldn’t be Christmas movies? 

Hope you enjoy! 🙂

If you have any suggestions for topics, remember to drop us a comment or email at therandomchatshow@gmail.com.
P.S. We started a Twitter for The Random Chat Show.  Drop by and give us follow @randomchatshow !

Not-So-Secret Santa Review Swap: Dark Harbor (1998)


I joined into The Cinematic Katzenjammer`s Not-So-Secret Santa Review Swap and the movie that my secret santa chose for me was Dark Harbor.  This movie seems quite fitting since it is set in Maine and hey, I just came back from there. Right after the review, I have a little bonus in celebration for this event 😉

dark harbor posterDirector: Adam Coleman Howard

Cast: Alan Rickman, Polly Walker, Norman Reedus

David (Alan Rickman) and Alexis Weinberg (Polly Walker) are in an unhappy marriage.  While on Route 1 in Maine hurrying in the rain to catch the last ferry to cross over to their island retreat, Alexis sees a figure on the side of the road and tells David to stop and look.  They end up picking up a young man (Norman Reedus).  They end up missing the last ferry and parting separate ways with this young man.  However, with a twist of events, they end up seeing this young man again and letting them stay with them for a while longer than imagined much against David’s desire.  While David is off with his friend’s, the young man and Alexis get familiar with drinks, costumes and eventually sexual attraction sparks.  Alexis tries to resist while David seems to become more distant towards their relationship.

dark harbor

My synopsis cannot do Dark Harbor justice.  This is a clever thriller. I won’t say that its fast-paced because its deliberately slow and I believe it is done in a certain way to build up the mood.  However, it still kept me engaged and wondering whether something more would happen many times throughout.  Although nothing significant does happen, when the extremely clever ending hits, you will not seeing it coming and thats when those scattered pieces that was ignored throughout the viewing come back and all make sense.

dark harbor 1

On top of that, Dark Harbor has an amazing cast.  Any flick where I see Alan Rickman’s name on the list of casts merits my full attention.  He is just so talented.  I enjoyed him as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, Snape in the Harry Potter series, as the wanting to go astray husband in Love Actually and now, this one goes right on that admirable list of roles that he’s done.

dark harbor norman reedus

I’m not as familiar with Polly Walker and Norman Reedus but after looking at IMDB, I realized that I have seen them in others flicks as well.  Nothing that I totally loved so it slipped my mind but I really don’t know where to start.  Polly Walker played a pretty amazing wife who we know right off that she wants to rekindle the affection in her marriage and try to make it work.  She tries to stay loyal even when the young man keeps reminding her of temptation and seduction.  Honestly, the Young Man wasn’t cute or handsome or charming in any way but I think what Norman Reedus does really well is portray the mystery of the unknown and how that in itself is very attractive.  The character of someone being deep and secretive.  We never know the Young Man’s name through the whole movie.

Its been a while I’ve seen a thriller that may be slow but ends off with such a clever ending.  It was definitely a pleasant surprise and totally worth the watch! Thanks to my Secret Santa 🙂

Now for the BONUS PART! Please excuse my nasal and raspy voice…its already gotten a lot better from a few days ago 🙂 At least I can talk again!

You know, I look at you, and its funny, you don’t remind me of myself exactly.  But you remind me of a certain time of when what I used to think love was then: the fireworks, the explosions, the highlights. But its not. Its time, to go through the seasons together, through change, through the ups and downs, to be able to look at your beloved in the eye and say we did that together as one, we chose each other above all others.  Thats love. Its unexplainable.  Its a secret that can only be known once you’ve done the time.

Love the quote! Don’t you?

Who has seen Dark Harbor? What do you think about Alan Rickman? Whats your favorite role of his?

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Voila! In case you missed my review for Die Hard, Die Hard 2 and Die Hard with a Vengeance, its respectively HERE, HERE and HERE! After the guilt of not putting this up, I had to get around to it even if my boyfriend didn’t want to see it! I really didn’t enjoy this movie when I saw it this for the first time a few years ago. It is the marathon so I’m going to finish this marathon in style (even if its delayed) and give this flick another chance.

live free or die hard posterDirector: Len Wiseman

Cast: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Cliff Curtis

Due to an FBI technical breach/hack, Director Bowman (Cliff Curtis) sent out senior detectives on a urgent call and this directed John McClane (Bruce Willis) to pick up a professional hacker Matthew Farrell (Justin Long) to be delivered to the FBI.  During this pickup, Matthew is attacked.  With McClane’s help, they both escape but end up getting stuck in downtown Washington in the crisis of a shutdown of the city performed by a team of organized terrorists lead by Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) and his team including his girlfriend Mai (Maggie Q) who is in the process of doing a fire sale (meaning transportation, financial and all utilities down) to cripple the nation. McClane has to team up with Matthew and use his knowledge to track down where Thomas and his team will attack next before the complete whatever they are trying to accomplish.

die hard 4.0 helicopter and car

Just to clarify, I don’t really hate this movie.  Its not like its really bad.  Its extremely crazy action-packed and intense for most of it.  There’s a lot of over the top explosions, shooting and its loud and destructive in most of the time.  Its pretty much what you would expect in a Die Hard movie.  Just look at THE MOST awesome scene in the whole movie: the helicopter being “killed” by a car.

die hard 4.0 mcclane matthew

Bruce Willis’s John McClane is amazing to watch on screen as always.  We can tell that its not his time anymore.  The technology and virtual terrorism is way past what he understands and thats why we have Justin Long’s Matthew Farrell.  This is where we get McClane and Matt throwing comments about age and being old.  There is a lot of sarcastic humor (at least I call it that) and I love that stuff.  This is probably the first movie (when I saw it the first time) that I saw Justin Long.  Honestly, I was pretty impressed.  He’s a decent actor and he’s done some alright movies. I enjoy watching these types of roles on screen.  It always makes me laugh.  Plus, they had a good dynamic going on.  It made for a lot of entertaining dialogue throughout this action flick.

Die Hard 4.0 Thomas Gabriel

Next up, I always talk about the terrorist.  Timothy Olyphant plays Thomas Gabriel and to tell you the truth, he’s pretty convincing.  I’ve never seen him do a downright bad-ass guy.  This time, he may not be emoting a lot with his face for a majority of the movie but his eyes are crazy full of hatred.  He’s convincing enough in my book.  Maybe its because my computer knowledge is definitely far from hacker knowledge so I have no idea what was going to happen next.  This guy is the best part of the bad guys…Its good he is the leader of them, right?

die hard 4.0 mai and matt

Next I go to the annoying part of this movie.  The lady right up there! Maggie Q pisses me off in this one because there is no one that can survive the amount of crap she goes through.  Okay, we see McClane stand up to a lot of damage but he’s lucky all the time.  This girl is throwing McClane around (but thats okay, some chicks are strong and I secretly imagine that I can kick my 6 foot 3 boyfriend’s ass if needed with my 5 foot 3 physique and I strength train and do weights, etc).  BUT, what I don’t get is how she can get flopped around, beat up repeatedly and then have a huge shelf fall on her and still be alive.  *MINOR SPOILER*Say, she has a crazy tough bone structure, but how can she even survive an SUV hitting her at a crazy speed and still climb up a hanging vehicle*END*.  I’m sorry, its just my rant on seemingly impossible to kill villains.  The other bad guys were a bit on the weird side because they have assembled a team of French and Italian and they all don’t communicate in English when calling back to the central enemy base.  It just doesn’t correlate.

die hard 4.0 mcclane

Don’t get me wrong! I actually ended up enjoying this movie a whole lot.  I actually have it playing in the background as I type this up.  Its intense and fun!  The cast is pretty awesome (except for Maggie Q).  Its just a bigger and more modern Die Hard than the previous few. Of course, its still not the first Die Hard but I wouldn’t skip it if I had to do the marathon.  I’d say its worth your time if you can just shut off your mind and just love the intensity and McClane’s crazy encounter with being at the wrong place at the wrong time 😉

Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)

If you haven’t seen my review on Die Hard and Die Hard 2, you can check it out HERE and HERE respectively.  Let’s get on with the third part: Die Hard with a Vengeance You don’t really need me to intro this franchise, right?

die hard with a venganceDirector: John McTiernan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irons

When a store is blown up and the NYPD receive a call from the bombers asking for the suspended John McClane (Bruce Willis) to complete the mission set out for him, they run to grab him to pull him out of suspension to prevent other catastrophes.  The rule is that Simon (Jeremy Irons) has now asked him to play a game of Simon Says and its full of riddles with deadly consequences if not completed within the time limit or following the rules that he sets.  However, on his first task, McClane is asked to stand with an offensive sign walking down Harlem area for 5 minutes.  He expects the worst to happen, but that is until a good samaritan Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson) comes by to try to stop any crimes that could happen without knowing the situation that he has gotten himself into.  They have no idea what Simon wants and why he has chosen to toy with McClane but all they know is that McClane and Zeus must follow the rules to prevent another explosion.

die hard 3 mcclane zeus

Honestly, this is similar to the feeling I get from Die Hard 2.  There isn’t really much of the plot that I love (like the first one) but somehow, I found certain parts enjoyable.  I do know what I do like about it.  The most certain aspect I love about this one is the fact that it has now elevated to a duo with millions of differences that has to work together for the greater good.  Plus, Bruce Willis as McClane is fantastic as always. He really sinks into this role in a great way.  In this one, he’s paired up with the awesome Samuel L. Jackson.  They make a great team and they carry this movie with humor and chemistry.

die hard 3 jeremy irons

On the terms of plot, I guess I’d be lying if I think that it wasn’t attractive of who they set the main bad guy to be.  Jeremy Irons was decent although we mostly heard his voice giving instructions.  Of course, as any Die Hard, there is always a secondary plot and plan that unravels.  It keeps the story interesting because there are multiple things happening.

die hard 3 mcclane

There was one part that I laughed because of a cut scene that was made not correlating too well.  These are simple imperfections that sometimes with certain viewings we’ll notice.  There are some (after thinking about it, quite a bit) gripping moments because it does involve a lot of countdowns and bombs and last minute decision making to get out of yet even more tight situations.  When does McClane not have to do that, right? Its almost the story of his life by now.

This action flick was cool for me.  I had fun watching Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson team up and see how they worked as “buddies” with their own issues to deal with.  It provided a lot of humor that helped lighten the intensity they had put there.  Although this movie was all about fighting, it did try to add a bit of trick and games to help bring up the tense mood and drive us to see the plot with the subplot that was going on.  I liked that balance.  There is something that I feel is missing, maybe its yet again the villain who didn’t really seem to do too much, or maybe its just his lack of presence. Still, I found it an alright action flick.  I would still say it was fun 🙂

What do you think? Do you know what missing factor I could be feeling but not able to express? Was there something out of place for you?

Die Hard 2 (1990)

Die Hard was an absolute success (check out my review HERE).   But sometimes (most times), the follow-up sequel really doesn’t get very good.  What about Die Hard 2? Let’s check it out 🙂

die hard 2 posterDirector: Renny Harlin

Cast: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Sadler, Reginald VelJohnson

Christmas has arrived once again.  John McClane (Bruce Willis) is in Washington airport waiting for his wife, Holly’s (Bonnie Bedelia) to arrive.  When he suddenly sees some suspicious people heading into the baggage area of the airport (you know where they send the different baggage to different planes or whatnot..I don’t know what thats called).  He follows them in and when one of them get away, the airport police just take it as a normal baggage thief.  Shortly after, he realizes when all the planes are put on delayed status, that terrorists, lead by Colonel Stuart (William Sadler) has disabled all transmitting and communication functions from the Communications Tower, Dulles Tower to the aircrafts making the scheduled flights trapped in the skies doing circles with no idea what is going on in the airport.  They ask for certain instructions to be followed as they wish to land a criminal, Chief Esperanza and take him away.  John McClane must now find a way to land his wife’s plane safely before it runs out of fuel no matter what it costs as he tries to search out Colonel Stuart and his crew.

die hard 2 mcclane 2

Die Hard 2 is not a bad movie but its not as epic as the first one.  It was fun to watch for the most part.  Bruce Willis is both a comic in a sarcastic way given the situation. He is still the McClane that gives it his all and does everything he can to get his wife back and fight the bad guys.  There is a decent support cast.  The issue is that there are certain fight scenes that seem rigid and staged.  This was not the case in the first one.  Also, the effects are not too great but I can overlook it seeing as it is an aged movie.  1990 effects till now has improved a lot but I’m not too picky with effects when the entertainment level is there.

die hard 2 colonel stuart

I always like to look at the bad guys. In this one, we primarily have Colonel Stuart, played by William Sadler. Honestly, I don’t really remember this guy in any other movies other than Die Hard 2.  *runs off to look at IMDB* Ah, so the only role I know him from is the guy I wanted to punch as a stupid father in August Rush.  Not impressive… Either way, him as a villain was alright.  I just thought that every time he was transmitting a message it sounded like a mechanical robotic voice. He has a very answering machine recording type of voice which made me laugh a little at it.  I’m not exactly sure that was supposed to be the effect.

This action flick lacked a bit of the intensity that it had in the first one.  It really tries to get us engaged as to what will happen next and technologically, what could be done next, but it wasn’t very much the action that did it all.  There were explosions and plane crashes, fire and shooting and all that but it wasn’t as frequent as I would have wanted from it.

die hard 2 mcclane

However, whenever I watch these action flicks, I ask myself one thing..was it enjoyable? Did I have fun with it? Fact is…I did! Because John McClane’s character still kicks some serious butt.  Every time he enters on the screen and does his thing, he does it in a great way! Plus, we have a bit of continuation from the first one, with the situation of the in plane situation from his wife’s angle.  And we bring in a little cameo with outside help from his buddy from the first one.  And other characters also.  A new character that really gave a bit of comic relief chemistry was the janitor or something like that called Marvin played by Tom Bower.  That guy cracked me up! He was such an amazing character 🙂

die hard 2 mcclane 3

Overall, Die Hard 2 was an enjoyable flick. As much as the villain didn’t make me feel very threatened, Bruce Willis’s John McClane still managed to light up the screen with his comedic lines matched with his way to get himself out of intense and tight situations to find the solution to save the day!

Die Hard (1988)

Wow…I was 2 when this came out.  We all know this movie, especially after the 5th one came out in past February.  However, I promised a fellow blogger Jonathan @ Life of Jonathan to check it out.  He landed on my site during my February romantic comedy marathon and wanted me to do more “manly” movies.  I wanted to make another marathon out of it but I think gradually reviewing Die Hard movies is already going to be fun enough.

die hard posterDirector: John McTiernan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

NYPD office John McClane (Bruce Willis) fly down south to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife, Holly Gennaro (Bonnie Bedelia) and his two kids.  Before going home, Holly arranged for him to go to Nakatomi Plaza where she works to attend the Christmas party.  Not long after he arrives, the office is penetrated and locked down by a group of terrorists lead by German leader Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).  In desperation, he escapes and not only tries to save his wife from what could happen, but to also find out and stop whatever the terrorists plan to do.

Did you need me to give you a recap? I think most people have already seen this, but then I have to give others the benefit of the doubt, right? So there you go, a short plot summary.

This is one of the best action thrillers.  It is also  in #104 in the IMDB Top 250 movies. Okay, there are some cheesy lines here and there and there is one part I just realized when I was watching that cracked me and my boyfriend up which we had never noticed before.  The long hair blond guy tried to karate chop McClane in their final showdown.  I can’t find the image of it but it was a LOL moment for us! I had to give that part a mention.


Why is this one of the best action movies? Because its completely action-packed.  The intensity of this movie can get really high especially when McClane is running around bare foot and totally alone fighting a bunch of terrorists in an unknown building and trying to not get killed.  At the same time, there are a lot of smart ass comments that are meant to crack you up.  It provides this perfect balance to make it enjoyable and huge amount of action intensity.  We also have a great partnership from through the radio with McClane and the LAPD cop, Al.  They help each other out and they have some nice, funny and great moments happen. All the characters become so amusing to watch in this movie.

die hard hans gruber

With that said, this movie is possibly the best in the Die Hard series because of its villain.  Alan Rickman is a fantastic actor and he does an outstanding job at being Hans Gruber, a criminal mastermind/terrorist.  He’s not crazy or does he act frantic. He’s smart and calm and we never can guess what he will do or say next. I was a huge fan of Alan Rickman even before seeing Die Hard, which I only saw a few years ago.  He is a really awesome actor not just as criminal masterminds but as Snape in Harry Potter and a tempted-to-cheat husband in Love Actually.

die hard john mcclane.

Great action movie, awesome cast, intense fight scenes, laughs here and there and great partnership formed and an awesomely evil villain, oh right and Bruce Willis in one of his most awesome movies and it makes me love Die Hard! By the way, did you realize that Bruce Willis ran REALLY fast across one of the scenes.  Never seen him do that before in other movies! Even more awesome!

Let the Die Hard reviews start 🙂

Which is your favorite action movie? Do you like Die Hard? Why do you like it? Maybe its for the same reasons or different ones?