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Showing posts from July, 2021

MMYIF: Without a Clue

My Misspent Youth In Films... Without a Clue Directed by: Thom Eberhardt Starring: Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, Jeffrey Jones Released: October 21, 1988 A drunken Sherlock Holmes is really just a cover for the real detective, Dr. Watson. What I Thought Then This was my first introduction to the character of Sherlock Holmes and for many years after the Holmes/Watson dynamic in this film was my default way of thinking about the characters. Which is just shockingly wrong. What I Think Now Dr. John Watson is a genius who, several years back, solved a mystery for the police but didn't want to reveal that he was the one who solved it, as he was hoping to receive an appointment to a fairly conservative medical college where they would probably frown on him solving mysteries in his spare time. So he invented a character named Sherlock Holmes, attributed the solution to him, and suddenly everyone wanted to meet this man. Watson hired an alcoholic third-rate actor named Reginald Kinkade to p

MMYIF Used Rental Bargain Bin Double Feature: Hot To Trot / Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

My Misspent Youth In Films... Hot To Trot Directed by: Michael Dinner Starring: Bobcat Goldthwait, Dabney Coleman, John Candy Released: August 26, 1988 Comedian Bob Goldthwait stars as an insecure stockbroker who teams up with Don the Talking Horse, a chatty four-legged financial advisor. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark Directed by: James Signorelli Starring: Cassandra Peterson, Phil Rubenstein, Larry Flash Jenkins Released: September 30, 1988 Upon arriving in a small town where she has inherited a rundown mansion, a famous horror hostess battles an evil uncle, and townspeople who want her burned at the stake. What I Thought Then For a family with an extensive VHS collection, we purchased very few of them new. Most of our movies were... uh... time-shifted indefinitely from TV, but a significant portion were purchased second-hand from the video rental section of our grocery store. Because, yes, grocery stores rented movies even before Redbox. I have no idea why we owned (or were allowed to

MMYIF: Short Circuit 2

My Misspent Youth In Films... Short Circuit 2 Directed by: Kenneth Johnson Starring: Fisher Stevens, Michael McKean, Tim Blaney Released: July 6, 1988 Robot Johnny Five comes to the city and gets manipulated by criminals who want him for their own purposes. What I Thought Then A silly romp featuring everyone's favorite fast-talking robot and his nutty inventor friend Ben. We watched this a lot . What I Think Now Sooooo, are we gonna talk about the brown-face now? Or are we going to come back to it? Let's come back to it. The original Short Circuit  was a Steve Guttenberg comedy featuring an interesting sci-fi concept that's awfully slow for the first two acts and has exactly one memorable line: "Hey laser-lips, your mother was a snow-blower!" It also has Fisher Stevens in a minor roll as Guttenberg's partner Ben, an Indian played by a white dude because that was just a thing that happened in the 80s--no, no, we're gonna talk about it later. Anyway, the fir

MMYIF: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

My Misspent Youth In Films... Who Framed Roger Rabbit Directed by: Robert Zemeckis Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy Released: June 22, 1988 A toon-hating detective is a cartoon rabbit's only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder. What I Thought Then This was a fun movie that was also a crazy-impressive technical accomplishment starring a rabbit whose comic sensibilities closely mirrored my own. Also, I was always surprised to hear Bob Hoskins' natural accent after seeing this film. What I Think Now It's still very impressive, on a technical level. Think about all of the challenges of a modern digital film but without being able to do any compositing. All you can do is draw on the existing frames, and anything you draw will obviously be drawn. That means a lot more effort needs to be made during principal photography to stage the shots for later insertion of animated characters. When a cartoon weasel is holding a real prop gun, that


My Misspent Youth In Films... Big Directed by: Penny Marshall Starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia Released: June 3, 1988 After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult. What I Thought Then Honestly, at age 10 or so, this felt like a kid empowerment fantasy with some boring relationship bits at the end. What I Think Now I think what amuses me most about the premise is that it's basically just another  Freaky Friday  remake, but with the less interesting half cut out. And man , does this film play differently now that I'm middle-aged. It doesn't even feel like the same movie. It's uncanny. As a kid, I was 100% on board with Josh Baskins (Tom Hanks) and his life choices and I laughed uproariously at the adults around him who didn't understand why he was acting the way he was. Now that I'm grown, I felt a little embarrassed for him. As a kid, I couldn't understand why his