Friday, July 22, 2016


Nostalgia has bitten me in the ass.  And Rissa's ass, because she was forced to watch four, count 'em, four 1980s movies with me.  Floundering after Bowie died - it got me thinking that we hadn't shared Bowie movies with Rissa.  She'd never seen Labyrinth, or Absolute Beginners.  And when I was ordering those movies from Amazon the "if you like that you might like this" algorithm came up with Xanadu and of course she had to see that too.

We started with Xanadu.  About 15 minutes in she turned to me.  "Is the whole movie like this?"

"I think it is."


I remembered the roller skating and the mash up number where they mix 1940s swing with 'modern' rock.  When the animated section came on I exclaimed,  "OH MY GOD - I totally forgot about this!"

Rissa looked at me in disbelief.  "Wait... now she's a... FISH?!?"

"Yes.  Yes, she is, and it's freaking brilliant!"

Upon reflection, Xanadu might be a little unpolished and poorly acted... and just one music video after another... and why oh WHY did they make Olivia Newton John attempt to roller skate?  She could NOT roller skate.  Was there no budget for a skating double?  Rissa is also adamant that Gene Kelly should be erased from the film so that it doesn't sully his reputation.

After Xanadu, Absolute Beginners, which, apart from its first steady-cam shot (that clearly inspired all the "walk & talk" shots in The West Wing) - was a made up of a nearly-incomprehensible plot, surrounded by even more weird-ass plot points, with a brief scene where Bowie plays an American ad exec who gets to chew the scenery and Sade sings a spectacular Killer Blow. Strange, after having listened to the cassette tape of the soundtrack for years, I had remembered the film as having much more substance.  Rissa fell asleep during the race riot scenes near the end - not quite the gripping action the producers hoped for, methinks.

Next... Labyrinth, where Bowie's spectacular codpiece was front and centre for most of the film.  Huzzah!!!  Unfortunately, the codpiece was not enough to distract Rissa from how much Jennifer Connelly's portrayal of Sarah annoyed her. 

"Why is she being such a douche?  He's just a baby!"

Rissa's favourite part of the movie?   The special features - where almost all the FX were practical and she got to see Jim Hensen in all his puppeteering/directing glory.

Although Rissa recognized that Fame was a far superior film - better acted, danced... hell... made, the depressing verisimilitude of  the film had her jonesing for a therapist and had me wishing that I'd broken her in gently by showing her the  TV series - especially the episode where Doris gets to re-enact The Wizard of Oz.

Crap - I thought it was only four movies.  It was five.  I showed her The Lost Boys too.  And although she did appreciate how pretty Jason Patrick was... the oiled up sax player at the boardwalk made her throw up a little in her mouth... I owe her.

It's time to remind her of other 80s films that she's seen already and actually likes.  The ones that I've watched in the intervening decades since the 80s, nay  WILL watch any time they're on, the fabulous and the cheesy, from the sublime to the ridiculous: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Footloose, The Blues Brothers, Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Heathers, The Princess Bride, Tootsie,  Bladerunner, Ghostbusters, Stand by Me, The Neverending Story, E.T., Indiana Jones, Top Gun, The Karate Kid, Pretty in Pink, Working Girl and, and, and ... 

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