The mid to late 1990’s was an interesting time in cinema as the LGBT era of cinema was starting to happen. I will however admit that To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar was not the first film to feature actors in drag, but it’s the film I chose for today. After tying for first place in the New York Drag Queen contest, Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) and Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) win a trip to Hollywood to compete in an even larger competition. However the two cannot travel by plane because Vida convinces Noxeema to bring along the inexperienced Chi Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo). While driving on the road, their car breaks down in a small town and they are stuck together with the locals until the car is fixed. However, they’ll soon figure out that they’ll make just as much of a difference in their lives as the townsfolk do on them. The film also stars Chris Penn (Rumble Fish) as Sheriff Dollard, Stockard Channing (Grease) as Carol-Ann, Blythe Danner (Meet The Parents) as Beatrice, Jason London (Dazed And Confused) as Bobby Ray, Arliss Howard (The Lost World: Jurassic Park) as Virgil, Alice Drummond (Doubt) as Clara, Jennifer Milmore (Friends) as Bobby Lee, Julie Newmar (Batman 1966) as herself, and the film was directed by Beeban Kidron (Used People).
The funny thing about this film is that all three of them play really great women and better than the women in the film itself. All three of them were absolutely terrific in this over the top lesson in acceptance cause that is what it’s really about. The whole film was about being accepted for who they felt they really were and isn’t that the battle going still to this day? The film may not have been ahead of it’s time, but it spoke some serious lessons and reminds us of how long the struggle has been going on for them. The best part is at the end when the town accepts them and protects them or at least we think they accepted them. I say that because most of them when it came down to it were like we have always known who you really were, but they accepted them. Patrick Swayze looked great as a drag queen while John Leguizamo could have probably passed as a real woman, and Wesley Snipes just looked like Serena Williams. It was great to see Robin Williams in the beginning of the film and maybe this foreshadowed his upcoming role in The Birdcage. The cinematography was pretty good and I liked the story enough to keep me hooked for the whole film. I definitely recommend this film for anyone who is a fan of the three and especially Patrick Swayze because he took every role serious. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
Since the beginning of this bog, I don’t think I covered a film that starred Tom Cruise (Top Gun) who was one of my favorite actors from the 80’s. For today’s film, I chose All The Right Moves which stars Cruise as Stefen Djordjevic, a kid from Ampipe, a steel town in Pennsylvania. You see in Ampipe, there are only two options it seems for most of their residents, you either work in the dying steel mills or you go to college. All Stefen ever dreams of is to have the chance to get out of Ampipe and so he uses football as the means to an end. The only problem is that Stefen’s attitude and his high school coach Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson) stands in the way of his escape. The film also stars Lea Thompson (Back To The Future) as Lisa, Charles Cioffi (Shaft) as Pop, Gary Graham (Alien Nation) as Greg, Paul Carafotes (Fight Club) as Salvucci, Christopher Penn (Best Of The Best) as Brian, Sandy Faison (Guiding Light) as Suzie, Leon (Cool Runnings) as Shadow, Jonas Chaka (Biker Boyz) as Mouse, Keith Diamond (Dr. Giggles) as Fox, James A. Baffico (Dawn Of The Dead) as Bosco, and the film was directed by Michael Chapman (The Clan Of The Cave Bear).
This was your average early 80’s teen flick that happened to star a future megastar and one of the finest women of the 80’s. While the scene between Thompson and Cruise isn’t very long, it surely is a really good one. Tom Cruise was well he is Tom Cruise so he puts on the performance you would expect from him and have seen in all of the movies he has been in. Lea Thompson is great as the first under appreciated girlfriend who has to make a tough decision later on in the film even though it could be the end. The football parts of the film are pretty good, but the real story of this film is the town itself. There was a time in this nation when certain production heavy cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit were in big trouble because production was moving elsewhere and you see that touched upon in this film. People are getting laid off and one character whose in high school even resorts to armed robbery because he feels he has no other option. So, while the film is essentially about the struggle of two characters who are looking to get out of this town, there is a bigger picture around it. I didn’t understand the title of the film because clearly Cruise’s character makes all the wrong moves, but it all works out for him in the end because even Coach wakes up. I liked the movie and so I am going to give it an B+ for a final grade.
This one was always hard to believe considering that I am a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) and it’s that I have never seen his first film Reservoir Dogs. So with this challenge going, I figured today was better than ever. The film is about five guys Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), and Mr. Brown (Tarantino) who are all hired to do a jewelry store robbery that goes terribly wrong. When the surviving members meet back at the compound, they suspect that one of them may be a rat and may have tipped off the police about the job. Through chaos, conversation, and impatience they will try to figure out just who the rat is in the group. The film also stars the late Chris Penn (Best Of The Best) as Nice Guy Eddie, Lawrence Tierney (The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad!) as Joe Cabot, Randy Brooks (Colors) as Holdaway, Kirk Baltz (Natural Born Killers) as Officer Marvin Nash, and it features the voice of Steven Wright (Son Of The Mask) as K-Billy DJ.
If you know the way Tarantino films work, then this is the film where it all began for him. The heavy dialogues that his films are known for and not to mention the films where the timeline doesn’t exist or as I should say that it can be messed with. You know exactly what I am talking about when I say that because the story can be moving along and then out of nowhere we jump back in time as we get the origin stories of the more important characters of the film. I truly love that about his films because it’s different than just going through the events in chronological order. Now some of the audio can be a little shaky where you can here Keitel very well, but you notice that the microphone isn’t near Buscemi. Other than that, I truly loved this film and the twist that it gives. You are never going to believe who the rat was because I was kind of shocked when I found out myself. That to me was great storytelling on the part of Tarantino who pulled triple duty for this film being it’s director, writer, and one of the actors in the film. Not a bad cast of characters either for a guy making his first film as he pulls in names like Keitel, Buscemi, Penn, Madsen, etc. This was a different time though when Hollywood believed in originality. The film is available on Netflix and I think you should check it out if you never have before. That is why I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.