Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2021

MMYIF: Beetlejuice

My Misspent Youth In Films... Beetlejuice Directed by: Tim Burton Starring: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton Released: March 30, 1988 The spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit to drive them out. What I Thought Then A goofy and kinda spooky movie, to be sure, but I was mainly here for Beetlejuice's antics. Also, I was a fan of the tie-in Saturday morning cartoon . What I Think Now Oh, hey, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Michael Keaton are in this! And also Winona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara. And that creepy guy from Ferris Bueller's Day Off . It's crazy to think that this was Tim Burton's second feature-length movie, after Pee-Wee's Big Adventure , or that he would follow it up with Batman . This film firmly established him as an auteur and made him a household name. It's a rich playground for his fervent imagination, darkly comic sensibilities, and signature camp-

MMYIF: The Princess Bride

My Misspent Youth In Films... The Princess Bride Directed by: Rob Reiner Starring: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright Released: October 9, 1987 While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love. What I Thought Then My sister and I regularly disagreed about what movies to watch. I wanted to watch Star Wars  and she wanted to watch Babes In Toyland . So we'd compromise and watch this instead. What I Think Now This is my favorite movie. I've probably seen it a hundred times. I watch it at least once a year, and we quote it often around the house. We just showed it to the kids, so now they know why I say "Have fun storming the castle" when my wife is going to run errands. It's damned near perfect, and even three decades later it holds up brilliantly. It's got a taut script and a pace that's brisk without

MMYIF: The Monster Squad

My Misspent Youth In Films... The Monster Squad Directed by: Fred Dekker Starring: Andre Bower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht Released: August 14, 1987 A young group of monster fanatics attempt to save their hometown from Count Dracula and his monsters. What I Thought Then This was a fun, edgy, kid-centric horror movie with some comic element and a few iconic lines of dialogue. What I Think Now Good grief... Some of these movies I revisit knowing that they're not going to hold up well on re-watch. Some of them pleasantly surprise me; most are exactly what I expect them to be. But this one... I didn't expect  it to be good, but I had no idea how bad it was. This feels like it was made for twelve-year-olds  by  twelve-year-olds. There's a profound lack of story, character development, or even basic narrative cohesiveness. This is a film with an important character named "Scary German Guy". This is a movie in which a seven-year-old successfully calls in the military by

MMYIF: Robocop (1987)

My Misspent Youth In Films... Robocop Directed by: Paul Verhoeven Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy Released: July 17, 1987 In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories. What I Thought Then I watched this movie when I was seven years old and wouldn't eat red meat for two weeks after. It was the awesomest thing I'd ever seen. What I Think Now In my defense, they marketed this to children. I mean, they didn't really, but they totally did. There was an arcade game, a Nintendo port of that game, even a Saturday morning cartoon . It was one of many not-in-any-way-appropriate-for-children movies that dominated playground conversation when I was in grade school. The only film series that got more talk was probably the Nightmare on Elm Street  franchise, because if there's one thing kids like talking about more than robot cops with targeting computers built into thei

Tea & Sympathy

For the last few years, I've had a tea backlog... I couldn't tell you how many years. Some value of X that's greater than 5 but less than 10. I like tea, but it's not something one goes through very quickly. You buy it by the pound but consume it by the small-cluster-of-leaves. And as a life-long coffee drinker who would only have a cup of tea in the afternoon, maybe, a couple of times a month... let's just say I'm grateful it's shelf-stable. The bulk of this backlog is actually courtesy of a family friend named Jessica. She used to work in a tea store and had an enormous backlog herself, part of which she donated to me while trying to clear out her place for a move (I think, I forget the exact circumstances). Not too long after, she passed away. Suddenly, in her twenties, leaving behind a grieving husband and a toddler. It was sad and shocking. But I would think of her fondly on those rare occasions when I made a cup of tea at home in the afternoon, scoopin