02.03.12

I revisited some movies during the past weeks while I have been feeling a little run down from being sick, yet not sick enough not to go to work. Maybe this can help you over a rough patch. Here is a week’s worth of double features for better or worse:

Missing in Action (1984)/The Octagon (1980)
Chuck Norris has become a hipster punch line the past few years, but these two slabs are why he deserves to be a household name. These movies are full of slow motion hand grenade action and Ninjas. Nobody knew much about Ninjas when The Octagon was made, but everybody knew that they kick ass. That’s all you need to know to enjoy it.

State and Main (2000)/Bowfinger (1999)
Two meta-narratives before that sort of thing was all the rage. State and Main has several good one-liners. Bowfinger shows Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin can be funny when they try. I don’t like the dad thing Steve Martin moved into, but he plays a good sleezeball.

Ghost Story (1981)/An American Werewolf in London (1981)
These two movies are the first to scare me badly as a child. Looking at them now, they might not seem terrifying, but Nazi werewolves with machine guns wrecked me at a young age. Nazi werewolves with machine guns are enough of a reason to see An American Werewolf in London.

Demons (1985)/Ganja and Hess (1973)
I know you are thinking of all the better foreign horror you would rather be watching, but Ganja and Hess and Demons are really good when the cough syrup is kicking in. There are better Argento/Bava family films, but what does Demons have to offer? Only a guy chopping of heads with a sword from a motorcycle. Only a random helicopter crashing through a roof furthering the plot. It was a good double.

Ghosts of Mars (2001)/Let Me In (2010)
There are better John Carpenter movies, but even though none of the acting in this movie is very good, I like the rapport all the characters share. The flashback scenes via cheap looking models of Mars are worth the whole movie. Although it is really a flashback inside of the entire flashback that is the movie since the whole thing is a testimony. Is she testifying that someone is flashing back and explaining something to her? Doesn’t matter. Let Me In was a respectable remake of Let the Right One In. The original was better, but I like a remake that brings something to the table besides dumbing down.

Office Space (1999)/Strange Brew (1983)
Like revisiting old friends. One thing that struck me watching Strange Brew so much later in life is how cool Max von Sydow is to appear in this movie. I mean he is too cool to begin with. He did Shakespeare. He worked with Bergman. For him to recognize value in The McKenzie Brothers is mind blowing. He can’t have needed money. Max could probably walk into any bank and say: “Hello, I’m Max von Sydow and I need some cash” and they would have to give it to him, wouldn’t they? Let’s put it this way, Max was waaaaay cool BEFORE Strange Brew. It put him into another stratosphere. You wouldn’t see Klaus Kinski in Strange Brew.

Gosford Park (2001)/Apocalypse Now (1979)
Wanna napalm a Sunday afternoon? Test your endurance with a classic and a sleeper. Robert Altman turned his knack for utilizing huge casts into a clever whodunit. I like Altman anyway, but you don’t hear about this one as much. I watched Apocalypse Now Redux because I could not remember ever watching it with the cut footage reinserted. Honestly, I think it was a better movie without that stuff. Those scenes on the plantation were just too off the road. Plus in Redux, Martin Sheen gets laid twice on a river mission in Vietnam. Coppola really Lucased Apocalypse Now in my opinion.


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