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MMYIF: Labyrinth

My Misspent Youth In Films... Labyrinth Directed by: Jim Henson Starring: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud Released: June 27, 1986 Sixteen-year-old Sarah is given thirteen hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother Toby when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King Jareth. What I Thought Then This was another frequent rental. I didn't see it until I was maybe ten and I remember finding the whole thing weird and magical and also I was having some very confusing feelings about this Jennifer Connelly person. A lot of details have stuck with me, like Dance Magic Dance  and the doors where one of the guards always tells the truth and one always lies. What I Think Now The last time I saw this movie was about ten years ago and I did not like it at all . For one thing, it's campy, and I have a very low tolerance for camp. As I mentioned in my post for The Muppets Take Manhattan , while Jim Henson was a talented visual artist, he wasn't a
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MMYIF The Sequel Was Better Double Feature: The Care Bears Movie II / The Karate Kid Part II

My Misspent Youth In Films... The Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation Directed by: Dale Schott Starring: Maxine Miller, Pam Hyatt, Hadley Kay Released: March 21, 1986 The Care Bears try to help a young girl at summer camp who, in an effort to revamp her dorky social status to agility and skill, enters into a sinister bargain with a shape-shifting demon posing as a young boy. The Karate Kid Part II Directed by: John G. Avildsen Starring: Pat Morita, Ralph Macchio, Pat E. Johnson Released: June 20, 1986 Daniel accompanies his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, to Miyagi's childhood home in Okinawa. Miyagi visits his dying father and confronts his old rival, while Daniel falls in love and inadvertently makes a new rival of his own. What I Thought Then We didn't own a copy of Care Bears II , but it was a frequent rental. I remember thinking it was very intense with the evil shapeshifting cloud that was haunting a summer camp, and while we watched the first Care Bears  movie as well, this is the


 My Misspent Youth In Films... Clue Directed by: Jonathan Lyn Starring: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn Released: December 13, 1985 Six guests are anonymously invited to a strange mansion for dinner, but after their host is killed, they must cooperate with the staff to identify the murderer as the bodies pile up. What I Thought Then We taped this one off television and watched it constantly, so my memory of this film is of a very specific edit that had most of the jokes cut out of the first half. As a result, my impression of this movie has always been that it starts out dark and broody and then builds up a crescendo of silliness. In fact, the first time I watched it I thought it was a serious murder mystery right up until the third act. What I Think Now I mean, the recurring dog-shit joke is a bit much, but man this thing holds up. Take a bunch of veteran character actors and give them a nice meaty script and the result is joyous. Of course, the whole thing is held together o

MMYIF: Follow That Bird

My Misspent Youth In Films... Follow That Bird Directed by: Ken Kwapis Starring: Caroll Spinney, Jim Henson, Frank Oz Released: August 2, 1985 Big Bird is sent to live far from Sesame Street by a pesky social worker named Miss Finch. Unhappy, he runs away from there, prompting the rest of the Sesame Street gang to go on a cross-country journey to find him. What I Thought Then It's a Sesame Street movie! Of course I freaking loved it! I think we owned the soundtrack on vinyl, but it wasn't one that Dad made a tape of, so we didn't listen to it. What I Think Now Before  Sesame Street  was overrun by Elmo, Big Bird was the mascot character, and he has a lot more depth to him than Elmo. Elmo is unbridled joy. Big Bird was friendly and generally optimistic, but every now and then he would have to reckon with sadness and anxiety. So what's his foray onto the big screen like? Deep, beleaguered sigh. It's not very good. I guess we'll start with the positives, though. I

MMYIF Fantastical Trauma Double Feature: The NeverEnding Story / Return To Oz

My Misspent Youth In Films... The NeverEnding Story Directed by: Wolfgang Peterson Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronarch Released: July 20, 1984 A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book. Return To Oz Directed by: Walter Murch Starring: Fairuza Balk, Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh Released: June 21, 1985 Dorothy, saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful. What I Thought Then Here are two movies about fantasy realms full of wonder, magic, bizarre rock-creatures, dead ungulates, a ruling class of underage girls who are suddenly out of power, deus ex machina endings, and evil things that want desperately to murder children. They were so cool! They were also completely terrifying. What I Think Now Fantasy was weird in the 80s. The make-up and special effects were just on the cusp of being abl

MMYIF: The Muppets Take Manhattan

My Misspent Youth In Films... The Muppets Take Manhattan Directed by: Frank Oz Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz Released: July 13, 1984 Kermit and his friends go to New York City to get their musical on Broadway only to find it's a more difficult task than they anticipated. What I Thought Then We watched this, The Muppet Movie , and The Great Muppet Caper  a lot when I was a kid (and this entry is kind of standing in for all of them), but this was my favorite of the batch. Seriously, it was like kryptonite for me and my sister. As my mother tells it, we saw this in the theater, and in the scene when Kermit shouts from the top of the Empire State Building that he's not going anywhere, my then two-year-old sister stood up in her chair and shouted "Yes! Yes, Kermit!" back at the screen. Oh, and it had that live-action version of Muppet Babies , so that was pretty cool. What I Think Now As a rule, Jim Henson productions don't age very well for me ( Labyrinth

MMYIF: Ghostbusters (1984)

My Misspent Youth In Films... Ghostbusters Directed by: Ivan Reitman Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver Released: June 8, 1984 Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. What I Thought Then I was a huge fan of the Saturday-morning cartoon The Real Ghostbusters , and this movie felt like a really cool, if slightly scary, live-action tie-in. What I Think Now I mean, it's a modern classic, right? And one that came together completely by accident. For those not familiar with the backstory, Dan Aykroyd conceived of this movie as a SNL-style comedy that he would star in alongside John Belushi, something of a spiritual successor to The Blues Brothers . The Winston role was written for Eddie Murphy. But then Belushi died and Murphy had a conflict with Beverly Hills Cop , so it was reworked into what we have now: a workplace screwball comedy supernatural thriller that is just damned near perfect while also not really being about a