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?

Halloween Marathon Finale: The Shining (1980)

A little delayed with the Halloween marathon but its FINALLY here. 🙂

The final movie in my Halloween Marathon was The Shining and one that my boyfriend has been wanting for us to sit down and check since I announced the Halloween marathon.  Seeing as this is a classic, I decided to put it as the finale to give it a special spotlight 🙂 Unfortunate was that I needed to finish this over Saturday and Sunday because I was so exhausted from my huge deadline that I couldn’t keep my eyes open to finish the movie.

Lets check this out!

the shiningDirector: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired to look after the deserted and secluded yet prestigious Overlook Hotel during the closed season. A perfect opportunity for him where he can focus on his writing while having his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son, Danny (Danny Lloyd) with him.  Before he takes on the job, the hotel manager informs him of peculiar instance of a previous caretaker that murdered his family there.  When a snow storm brews outside, having them on lockdown, Jack grows restless and more and more unstable in his personality.

Everyone knows the story, right? Well, I actually didn’t until I saw the movie.  The only thing I knew was that “Here’s Johnny” line that goes with the poster image on the side.  As I was watching this, I was wondering what makes The Shining scary and at the same time, hoping that I’ll like it because no disrespect to Stanley Kubrick as a director, but I’ve had a hard time enjoying his movies.  Its not really my style, I guess.  I’ve only seen a fraction of his movies so I do hope to find one that’ll pull me right in.

The Shining is a slow, gradually building story.  There’s a lot to love about it.  The premise of it all, especially set in an incredibly huge closed space (mostly) is pretty genius.  Is it evil lurking around? Is it what people thought was cabin fever? What is The Shining exactly?  Because thats something that Danny apparently has, from what the cook says.  There are questions that build up as bizarre things happen to everyone.  Jack Torrence mostly experiences mood changes until when he starts getting a lot of alone time and for Danny, he sees more physically than everyone else.  I’m still a little confused with what actually went on but there is one particular highlight of The Shining.

Jack Nicholson’s take of Jack TorranceTHE SHINING

the shining jack


So, I know nothing about the source material of The Shining but I was reading that it was supposed to be descent into madness for Jack Torrance.  I never have movies being carbon copies or not with movies. I think that for movies to work, they sometimes need to approach things differently than the book because of the description and whatnot.  Jack Torrance already seemed like a questionably sane man when the movie started.  He had creepy and awkward reactions and expressions and as the movie progressed, his character got more chilling in a very entertaining way.  Does that make me crazy that I wasn’t scared by the movie? I do think it was really entertaining to watch because if anything, the final act was really where it was completely crazy and that was when it shot from good build up to great development.  (Sorry Tyson, 10/10 maybe not for me but I’d give this one 9/10 if I had to rate it).

Another really nice thing about the movie was the camera angles.

the shining

Like not just the straight lines and the elongated hallways and all that but just how its structured: the colors and contrast and the patterns.  There’s so much detail to every scene and thats pretty impressive.  It makes it feel a bit like the movie is set in an illusion.  There’s something unreal about the whole Overlook Hotel scene.  And then don’t even get me started how I really liked the whole labyrinth set-up.

Add on the violin music (which I think bothered my boyfriend a little) to add on the intensity and mood of the scene. By the way, violin music eternally remind me of that horror movie directed by James Wan. I think its Insidious.  I have horrible memory with horror movies just because sometimes, I hide behind my blanket to watch some of them and can’t remember exact scenes.  But this one, didn’t bother me so much and was pretty awesome.

the shining

The entertaining part was watching Shelley Duvall act as Wendy.  She was really fun to watch because she panicks A LOT.  Thats part of the movie and the plot and it matches to the context.  Everyone in The Shining borders on extreme in everything.  She’s a pretty awkward character as well.  Who isn’t in this Torrance family anyways? They all have something to learn about them.  What I like about her character is that there is a big development because she’s literally oblivious to everything around her because whatever’s happening, her son can see it so he’s scared and her husband is just being affected and going nuts, she just gets thrown into this craziness and then freaks out because it makes sense to. That scene with the bat: stellar performance and my favorite scene in the whole thing.

The Shining had 3 stars and since I’ve already mentioned the Torrance parents, I have to talk a little about Danny, played by Danny Lloyd. I have my issues with child actors but Danny is different.  Somehow he is the key in all this because he has The Shining.  I’m still trying to figure out what that is exactly. Is it communicating with others and foreseeing thing? I have to rewatch it or read the book, either/or. The kid has the best scared and shocked faces ever.  He has some pretty nicely shot scenes too.  Like the whole rolling down the hallways in high speed.  Love it! That goes back to my camera angles compliment.  Plus, he’s smart, like in that last scene, just in case you haven’t seen it (and I’m not judging because I only saw this the first time), I’m going to keep it at just that.

I expected a lot from The Shining.  There’s a lot of great aspects about it: camera, characters, story (although confused a little with the ending).  I’m looking at this solely as a movie and nothing related to source material because I haven’t check it out.  I’m not even familiar with any of Stephen King’s writing except for some of them adapted on the big screen or TV.  It was entertaining, Jack Nicholson gave a chilling performance and the setting was great.  Nothing build atmosphere like seclusion and shifting human behavior (aka crazy) and evilness all around.  I don’t think its perfect but then its pretty close to it 🙂 I still have a few issues to work out and it’ll probably require a second viewing but I’ll gladly do it.

Thoughts on The Shining? Have you read the source material? Enlighten me on how it differs!

Halloween Special 2014 (& November update)!

Let me present to you Halloween 2014 with a little vlog and ending with a piano cover like previous years 🙂

If ever YouTube is uncooperative for you, I have jotted down the recap at the bottom.

Also, sorry for the flawed piano cover.
Time was really limited and I’m already behind schedule in getting this up so I tried my absolute best.
And I’m testing out using my tablet to read piano sheet music instead of printing it out.

Oh and I sound really robotic..sorry for that also…

1) Friday the 13th franchise was entertaining
2) Horror marathon is not done yet.  Tomorrow will be The Shining to wrap up. Expect the review on Monday!
3) Skipped 3 movies: Contracted, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Antisocial. Will get those done soon.
4) November update: Nanowrimo! Tell me if you are doing it so we can cheer each other on!
5) Nanowrimo means no book reviews, minimum movie reviews
Instead it’ll be Photo101, Weekly Photo Challenge, Weekly Adventures, Workout updates, Pinterest Therapy
6) Piano cover: Funeral March of the Marionette

THANK YOU for everything especially being around for this Halloween marathon and everything else! 🙂