May 2019

“George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her.” (p 66)

My Top 10

  1. A Room with a View
  2. Stand by Me
  3. The Color of Money
  4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  5. Little Shop of Horrors
  6. Children of a Lesser God
  7. Manhunter
  8. Crimes of the Heart
  9. Aliens
  10. The Name of the Rose

note:  A big drop after the first two – this year is much stronger in Original (Hannah and Her Sisters, My Beautiful Laundrette, Mona Lisa, Platoon, Blue Velvet) than Adapted.


Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XXVI:

One Crazy Summer

  • Director:  Savage Steve Holland
  • Writer:  Savage Steve Holland
  • Producer:  Michael Jaffe
  • Stars:  John Cusack, Demi Moore
  • Studio:  Warner Bros
  • Award Nominations:  none
  • Length:  99 min
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  8 August 1986  (#62 – 1986)
  • Box Office Gross:  $13.43 mil
  • My Rating:  **.5
  • My Rank:  #97 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Guilty Pleasure
  • First Watched:  on television when it first came to cable
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  5 or so

As a Kid:  Ironically, I didn’t see Better Off Dead until I went to college.  The irony is that that predecessor to this film (about a kid, played by John Cusack, in high school and with the same director) is actually a considerably better film and one I have seen far more often.  In college, I made a John Cusack tape (on VHS) of Better Off Dead, Say Anything and The Sure Thing and it was very popular and groups of people would spend a whole Saturday night watching it.  The more appropriate tape would have had this film (which, like Say Anything, has John Cusack graduate high school) in place of Say Anything because this film is from the same period in Cusack’s life and is more that level of humor.  But Say Anything was a key attraction on that tape and is way, way better than this film. (more…)

Lear: Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! (III, ii, 1)

My Top 10

  1. Ran
  2. Kiss of the Spider Woman
  3. The Color Purple
  4. Plenty
  5. Prizzi’s Honor
  6. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
  7. The Shooting Party
  8. Fletch
  9. The Falcon and the Snowman
  10. A Sunday in the Country

note:  You may notice that this isn’t the same Top 10 that appeared in my Nighthawk Awards.  That’s because I did some thinking about some of the films and the list was considerably altered.  Both Plenty and The Shooting Party were much stronger than I had given them credit for.


A Century of Film


The Genre

What is a Horror film?  And what would have qualified at the beginning of film?  Kim Newman and James Marriott correctly point out in their great book Horror! The Definitive Companion to the Most Terrifying Movies Ever Made, that as cinema was beginning, so was Horror as a genre, with works like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula.  The first “official” Horror film is The Devil’s Castle, a two minute film from 1896.  Frankenstein was filmed as early as 1910 (a 12 minute film which was just recently restored) and Jekyll even before that in 1908.  The Avenging Conscience, a Griffith film based on works of Poe, is one of the earliest American feature-length films, running 78 minutes. (more…)