Classic of the Week: Boogie Nights (1997)

Boogie Nights is a 1997 American period comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heather Graham. It is set in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley and follows a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star in pornographic films, documenting his rise in the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970’s to his downfall into the 1980’s. The film is an expansion of the director’s mockumentary short film The Dirk Diggler Story (1988).

In 1977, high school dropout Eddie Adams is living with his father and emotionally abusive mother in Torrance, California. He works at a Reseda nightclub owned by Maurice Rodriguez, where he meets porno director Jack Horner. Interested in starting Eddie in porn, Jaxk auditions him by watching him have sex with Rollergirl, a porn actress who loves to roller skate. After arguing with his mother about his girlfriend and sex life, Eddie moves in with Horner at his San Fernando Valley house. Eddie gives himself the screen name “Dirk Diggler” and becomes a star because of his good looks, young presence and unusually large penis. His success allows him to buy a new house, a large wardrobe and a 1977 Chevrolet Corvette. With his friend and co-star Reed Rothchild, Dirk pitches several successful action themed porn films. While his is at a New Year’s Eve party at Horner’s for the year of 1980, assistant director Little Bill Thompson finds out his wife is having sex with another man. Bill, tired of the adultry, shoots them both dead.

Dirk and Reed begin using cocaine on a regular basis and because of this, finds it very difficult to have an erection and falls into violent mood swings and beomes aggrivated by Johnny Doe, a new leading actor Jack has recruited. In 1983, after fighting with Jack, Dirk is fired and takes off with Reed to start a music career with Scotty, a boom operator, who is in love with Dirk.

This is a film you either love, hate, or have a love-hate relationship with. It is awkward to the max, not a film one would want to watch with your parents, or anyone super conservative. There is still to this day, controversy with this film. The fact Eddie Adams is a teenager working in the porn industry and using drugs, is highly inappropriate and can make some viewers very uncomfortable, but this is not Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film like this, he does these kind of things again in 2021’s Licorice Pizza. PTA is known for pushing the bounderies and causing controversy with his works.

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This would have been a really good movie if it weren’t about a teen porn star and druggy. The film focuses far too much on Eddie in the porn film industry and not enough on his life outisde that ot the other manin characters. Though this film recieved tons of rave reviews, I was left unimpressed. The acting is outstanding, the costumes are period perfect and the soundtrack is great is as well, but the story lacks in quality. Adding great talent does not always make for a great movie.

The film also talks far too much about the size of the star character’s pecker and focuses a bit much on him trying to get erections. If I want to watch teen porn, I’ll go on porn website. This movie is considered a dramedy, but I didn’t find it funny much at all. The sexual jokes were all throughout, giving the film a pretty sleazy feel, which I guess is what PTA was going for just like in Licorice Pizza, where a fifteen year old boy tries to woo a twenty-five year old woman.

Overall, a decent film, but the runtime of two hours and thrity-five mintutes is had me wishing it could’ve been over sooner. Fantastic acting and a great soundtrack is really the best thing about this one. Not Paul Thomas Anderson’s best work, but not his worst. 18+ 3.5/5

Classic of the Week: Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)

Steamboat Bill Jr. is a 1928 silent comedy film starring Buster Keaton and directed by Charles Reisner. The film is known for what may be Keaton’s most famous film stunt: The exterior of a whole house falls around him while he stands in the ideal spot to pass through the open attic window instead of being crushed. The film inspired Disney’s Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse’s 128 film debut.

The film follows William “Steamoat Bill” Canfield, who is the owner and captain of a paddle steamer that has seen better days. He impatiently awaits for his college student son to arrive, whom he hasn’t since the boy was a baby. Expecting a big man like himself to help him compete with businessman John James King and his brand new, expensive riverboat, William is sorely disappointed with his awkward son, who arrives with a beret, a pencil mustache and a ukulele. He gets enraged when he finds out that his son and King’s daughter Kitty, also visiting her father, are in love. Both business opponents are determined to break up the relationship.

When Canfield’s ship is said to be unsafe, he accuses King of plotting it. He beats him up and is put in jail. His son tries to set him free by bringing him a loaf of bread with tools hidden inside, but his plan is dicovered. The sheriff hits the son on the head, sending him to the hospital. A cyclone then hits, tearing down buildings and jeopardizing this ships. As Canfield Jr. is making his way through town, a build front falls around him.

Although this film was a box office failure and received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since gone down as one of Keaton’s best movies and one of the greatest films of all time. It has many laugh out moments, lots of slapstick and special effects that were ahead of its time and still impress to this day. It has romance, drama and a few heartwarming and instense scenes.

This iconic film has inspired so many movies and televisions shows, especially the house falling scene. This is a movie with a simple plot and that was so brilliantly executed in every way, I don’t understand how this did so poorly in theaters and had such mediocre reviews. It is a wonderful, fun-filled and very entertaining film from begining to end. There is not one dull moment and it is Keaton at his best.

There is no nudity, no profanity (of course) and no drinking or smoking. There is slapstick violence. The father’s rejection of his vain son and the cyclone scene may be disturbing to some children, but other than that this is a pretty family friendly film. This is one movie that can be watched over and over again. This film has definitely stood the test of time. Truly a masterpiece that will continue to entertain and inspire. 7+ 5/5

Classic of the Week: Weird Science (1985)

Weird Science is a 1985 American teen science fiction Comedy film written and directed by John Hughes and stars Anthony Michael Hall, Mitchell Smith and Kelly LeBrock. The title is take from a pre-Comics Code Authority 1950s EC Comics magazine of the same name.

The film is about nerds and social outcasts Gary Wallace and Wyatt Donnelly who use a computer program to create the perfect woman, she turns the lives topsy turvy. Both Wyatt and Gary are bullied by senior jocks for drooling aver their cheerleader girlfriends. Turned down and disappointed at their lives and wanting more, Gary tells Wyatt they need shove in popularity in order to get their crushes away from the bullying jocks. Alone for the weekend, Gary is inspired by the 1930 film Frankenstein to create a virtual woman using Wyatt’s computer, making her with everything they can imagine to make the lady of their dreams. After attaching electrodes to a doll and hacking into a government computer system for more power, a power surge constructs Lisa, a gorgeous and smart woman with unlimited magical powers.

Weird Science is not only weird but it is filled with vulgar and tasteless humor. John Hughes wrote and directed a story that seems like the two actors and maybe a high school drama produced. Only teens (boys mostly) will really enjoy this this disaster of a film. It is a film that teen boys will likely want to masturbate to, since there are lady’s undergarments and full frontal nudity shown. Once a teen (boy mainly) reaches adulthood, they are likely to either stop liking the film, forget about it, or only find it to be an okay movie.

This film is not even okay, it is tasteless and seems like a horny teenaged boy wrote the screenplay. It screams drooling adolescent males that have just discovered how to self pleasure and seeing a naked female for the first time. Only a few times did I actually laugh. I really don’t understand the cult status of this movie, as it’s really not very good. It is a tad entertaining, yes only a little bit. It is not one that I can watch over and over again. It is a once or twice and never again type.

From such a great director and the cult classic-ness of this film, I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular (judging by the plot), but something at least good. This is John Hughes’s worst film. A piece of trash that should remain in a garbage can or burned. Normally I don’t give such awful reviews for movies, but this one definitely deserves it. There really isn’t much I enjoy about this movie, maybe how gorgeous Kelly LeBrock was and how she was the best actor in the entire production.

Weak, typical bad teen film, unoriginal plot from a renowned director and too much vulgarity. I’ll be sticking to his Brat Pack and other better films from now on. Did he use a computer and turn himself back into a teenager to produce this? Sure seems like it. 14+ 1.5/5

Classic of the Week: Broadcast News (1987)

Broadcast News is a 1987 American romantic-drama film written, produced and directed by James L. Brooks. It stars William Hurt, Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter. The film follows the story of a television news reporter who has emotional breakdowns every day, a picky yet genius reporter and their charming but significantly inexperienced rival.

This film is does a great job at showing how the daily life of a TV news station. It doesn’t shy away from showing the good and not so good of being in the TV news world. It does it so deeply, letting learn all about different the professions, but it also has many other elements too. It has drama, humor and romance. Although this is considered a romantic comedy as well as drama, it isn’t super mushy gushy like so many romantic films. The different elements are all executed with the right amount of each genre.

This movie shows how life throws curve-balls sometimes and that sometimes life can be great. Although the story is about a news station, they don’t focus too much on the reporting, because they reveal not just their working world, but the main characters life outside the studio, how they live, their love lives, etc. Jane is portrayed as a spunky and socially awkward, yet assertive in her work type character, a female warrior type that was rarely seen in movies and still rarely seen today.

This film is serious at time but not too serious serious like other movies about TV news stations (Network). It has drama and depth as well as charm and humor, though much of the latter. All of the acting fantastic. This isn’t the most exciting movie, but it’s far from boring. Each character is unique and they are intertwined in some ways until the end.

The ending may or may not turn out the way you want it too, but is the beauty of film making, to leave it up to viewers to have their own opinions. You’ll laugh, cry, cheer and get angry, because this movie bring out all emotions and does it so brilliantly, not many films today can do that. The casting is perfect, the cinematography is excellent, as well the story. This is motion picture has many different things going on, which may confuse some viewers.

This is a story of not just a news station, not just the reporters lives, but of working life, love and friendship. The characters may get mad at each other but they always have each other’s backs. You also really feel like you are there at the station in those scenes. Some critics may say this film has a bit of a sitcom feel to it, but they are wrong in my opinion.

The character of Tom Grunick (Hurt) can be a tad stiff and self absorbed with being successful. Jane Craig and her breakdowns from stress do get a bit old and make you want to tell her to get a therapist. But that doesn’t make them bad characters, just a a bit annoying, but it doesn’t make the film less enjoyable. With it’s drama, it’s small percentage of humor and romance, it is one that can enjoyed over and over.

This film is so smartly written and directed, that so many news related films haven’t come close to the brilliance of this one. A truly fantastic movie with different stories that make it truly one of a kind. 18+ 4/5

Classic of the Week: Jaws (1975)

Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg based on Peter Benchley’s 1975 novel of the same name. It stars Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Murray Hamilton and Lorraine Gary. It follows the story of a man eating great white shark attacking beachgoers at a summer resort town, coaxing police chief Martin Brody (Scheider) to hunt it down with the help of a marine biologist (Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter (Shaw). Murray Hamilton plays the mayor and Lorraine Gary plays Martin’s wife.

This film has the feel of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which Spielberg was going for. For the time period of this film’s release it was considered revolutionary in film-making and many still regard it as that, although some viewers have or do point out the “fakenes” of the effects particularly of the shark. Yes, at times, you can tell the shark is fake and a few times that the attacks are fake as well. But the film was still ahead of it’s time and still just as scary today as it was then.

This film is beyond shocking and nail-biting no matter how many times you watch it. It is also extremely gory, so not good for children under the age of ten. The intensity of this movie makes it both exciting and frightening. Despite what some call “fake” about this film, it is still very well done and makes you not want to get in the ocean, not to surf, swim, or go out on a boat, so don’t watch this before going to the beach or on a cruise.

Roy Scheider is outstanding as police chief Martin Brody, although the character could’ve drank, smoked and cursed less, especially around his kids. Murray Hamilton is equally great as the mayor of Amity Island, so is Richard Dreyfuss as Martin Hooper the marine biologist. Robert Shaw does a fine job as Quint the shark hunter and Lorraine Gary is good, not great as Ellen Brody.

Somehow a fake giant shark killing beachgoers fell into place, because this film brings an astonishingly effective shock factor and is legendary for that. It is so brilliantly executed that it deserves it own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is one that any film lover must see to believe. There is not one bad moment, not one boring scene. It sends you on a terrifying ride throughout, sends your heart racing the moment you hear the famous music, that has become synonymous with sharks. It is one of Spielberg’s finest films. A true masterpiece, so don’t let the nit-picky critical reviews turn you off of watching this.

This like I said is not for young kids, it is violent to the max, lots of smoking and drinking and quite a bit of cursing. Also, if you don’t like lots of gore, this may not be for you. 13+ 4.5/5

Classic of the Week: A Taste of Honey (1961)

A Taste of Honey is a 1961 British film adaptation of the 1958 play of the same name by Shelagh Delaney. The film is directed by Tony Richardson, who also directed the play on stage.

The film follows a teenage girl named Jo and her mother Hellen as they moved their few belongings across Manchester on a bus. Jo’s mum is an alcoholic who becomes engaged to a much younger and wealthier man. Jo meets an older fellow who works on ships and they eventually fall in love and and have sex, before having to set sail. He assures he’d be back soon, but never comes back. She ends up moving into a ramshackle home with a gay friend and finds out she is pregnant.

This film is so realistic, you almost feel as if you’re watching a documentary and not something fictional. The acting is great from all the main stars, but much of the movie is so slow, it’s boring. This is an extremely depressing film as well, mostly just sad scenes and a few somewhat happy ones. Although the acting is superb, the main characters are all hard to like. Helen is a heavy drinking, money spending and self centered lady, Jo complains too much and ends up with a baby as a teen, Jimmy is far too nice at first, then gets Jo pregnant and leaves, Helen’s fiancé is a jerk and hates Jo and Geoffrey (Jo’s roommate) is not too bright and far too sweet.

Even though this a a rather dull film, it is still relevant in this day in time with today’s “Teen Moms,” only without much of the trash that’s seen on TV and in movies. This movie is raw and straightforward. It shows the life of a teenage mother who is forced to decide wether to have the baby or not.

I cannot imagine this story ever being a stage production, because it was hard to sit through much of this film without yawning. Despite this, it is a powerful learning tool in the life of a teen parent and the struggles they go through. There is not one ounce of humor or glory, only short lived romance and much extremely heartbreaking scenes. This movie was controversial fr the time, being the use of single mothers, homosexuality, inter-racial kissing and underage parenting. It was banned in several countries, despite bing a critical success and award winner.

If you want a movie about underage motherhood that’s more uplifting try Juno. If yo want want a serious one on the subject, try this one, you’ll either love it or hate it. You’d think with such a strong message and raw storyline, this film would have been better to me, but I was thoroughly bored throughout. The writers and directors could have done a better job with this piece. 18 & up 3/5

Classic of the Week: It Happened One Night (1934)

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It Happened One Night is a 1934 pre-code American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra. It follows the story of spoiled socialite (Claudette Colbert) tries to get away from her protective father and falls in love with a mischievous reporter (Clark Gable).

This romantic comedy is one that was considered a bit racy for the time period, but by today’s standards is extremely mild. There are references to love making and having a one night stand, but it does not happen and Ellie flashes her thigh to catch a driver’s attention in one scene. Peter Warne (Gable) smokes throughout and there is few scenes of drinking. There is slapstick violence throughout as well.

This is a lively, fun and humorous filled film. Colbert and Gable are outstanding together, making them one of the greatest movie couples in cinema history. Never is there a dull moment. A few things could have been done without like Ellie’s father slapping her for back talking, but other than that, this is a truly wonderful film. It has the right amount oof humor and romance without being too cheesy.

Despite the fact it received so-so reviews at the time of release and even from critics since then, I absolutely love this movie. It has a simple plot, that never bores and always entertains every time.

Peter paid to marry Ellie, but ends up falling in love with her and she with him. She calls off her wedding with a pilot, revealing that she is in love with Peter and their story to her father. She instead marries Peter and they spend the night in a motor court in Glen Falls, Michigan.

This film will make you laugh and warm your heart. It’s not your average love story, nothing like today’s Nicolas Sparks style stuff. It has roughness, humor and heart. How many movies from today have all that? It’s not overly sweet or mushy gushy and there is n sex. It has the right amount oof raciness, making it just sexy enough.

This is one of the few romantic Oscar Best Picture Winners and it deserved it and still would if had been directed in this decade. Everything about this movie is picture perfect. If you want a great date night film, here is one that won’t disappoint. Rough, yet lovely and laugh out loud funny.  Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! 8 & up 5/5

Classic of the Week: Rear Window (1954)

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Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and stars James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr.

The film follows the story of photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries (Stewart) who is confined to a wheelchair in his Chelsea apartment. His rear window looks out into the courtyard and several apartments. During a heat wave, he watches his neighbors, who are keeping their windows open to be cool. He sees many different things going on, but is convinced one of his neighbors has committed murder.

This film has been said to one of Hitchcock’s best. It starts outs slow, but does pick up. It also isn’t Hitchcock ‘s most action packed film, but it is still fairly entertaining despite being a bit slow at times. But that’s because it takes place almost entirely in Jefferies’ apartment.

This film at times is a bit boring and could some some action or more interesting scenes than just L.B. Looking out his window the whole time, but that’s what you get from a character that is supposed to be wheelchair bound. James Stewart is great as L.B. Jefferies and Grace Kelly is equally great as his girlfriend Lisa Carroll Fremont. They worked together perfectly throughout the movie.

This isn’t Hitchcock’s most exciting film and much of it far too slow. It could have use some action of some sort to make it more enjoyable, but that doesn’t make it a bad film, just not anything outstanding in my opinion, although many film critics and scholars would say differently.

There are some some good parts of this movie, like the supposed murder scene and the exuberant dancer, just the ordinary people is what is uninteresting and that they could have done without.  But being the doctor’s orders that Jeff keep his leg elevated, we’re sadly stuck in his apartment with him. Had this film had more settings, it would have been more captivating, even though film experts will probably say otherwise.

Overall the acting is fantastic, but the story lacking a bit of the excitement factor it deserves from such a great cast and director. It’s not terrible, but it’s not outstanding. Alfred. Could have done better. 18 & up 3.5/5

Classic of the Week: The Odd Couple (1968)

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The Odd Couple is a 1968 American Technicolor buddy comedy film written by Neil Simon, based on his 1965 platypus of the same name. It was directed by Gene Saks and starred Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. The film follows the story of divorced men, neurotic neat freak Felix Unger and fun filled slob Oscar Madison, who decide to live together, despite their personality differences.

 

Felix Unger (Lemmon) checks into a roach motel near Times Square and attempts. To kill himself by jumping out the window, but fails to get it open and pulls a muscle in his back. He limps back on the street and tries to get drunk at a dance bar and ends up hurting his neck when throws down a shot. He contemplates jumping in to the river.

In the unkempt Upper West Side apartment of divorced sportswriter Oscar Madison (Matthau) on blistering hot summer evening, Oscar and his buddies are playing poker  and discussing their friend Felix Unger, who is unusually late for the game. They also complain about how messy the apartment is. A friend’s wife calls and tells them Felix is missing. Oscar calls Felix’s wife, who says they have split up. Worried Felix might commit suicide, he shows up not knowing his friends already know about his wife kicking him out of the house.

Felix starts crying and his friends comfort him. Oscar then suggests that Felix move in with him, since Oscar has lived alone since his split up with his own wife, Blanche, several months before. Felix agrees and tells Oscar to let him know is he gets on his nerves. Within only a week, Oscar is going crazy.

This is a hilarious movie that many can relate to. Living with someone who has different personality can be difficult, especially when one is tidy and the other isn’t. You both want things a certain way and they often causes chaos. Sometimes you either learn to compromise or just live it and sometimes that works and sometimes, it doesn’t, like in this film. Oscars grows fed up and kicks Felix out for his obsessive compulsive ways. Eventually Oscar lets Felix back in and two realize best friends should have each other’s backs.

This film is filled with laugh out loud humor, fighting and bickering, but it also at times, has heart when the two realize messiness and tidiness isn’t the end of the world, that friendship is more important.

This move will have you laughing at time, but also it will warm your heart at other moments. It teaches you family and friends are the most important thing in life. That despite all their hardships they had to endure living together, Felix and Oscar, remained best friends and vowed to always be there for each other, through thick and thin.

This not just a humorous film, but also one that teaches not just about friendship, but also about how to overcome  misfortune and to never be afraid to ask for help, especially when needed the most. Underneath all the confrontation, this story has true heart. A wonderful film that has inspired two television spin offs. Outstandingly written, directed and acted. A perfectly imperfect movie from beginning to end that never disappoints. 10+ 5/5

Classic of the Week: Animal Crackers (1930)

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Animal Crackers is a 1930 American pre-code comedy and musical film directed by Victor Heerman and stars the Marx Brothers, Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo with Lillian Roth and Margaret DuPont. It was based on their Broadway musical of the same name. The film follows the story of how a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famous African explorer Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding.

This is not only a Marx Brothers and comedy classic, but it is truly one of the funniest films of all time. It is clever and funny. There musical numbers and Groucho and Zeppo sing as well and Harpo and Chico both play the piano, Harpo also plays the harp. Like most of the Marx Brothers’ films, Groucho is the ringleader. There is lots of cheesy, yet fun songs (except for one love song), slapstick fighting, clever humor, tricks and flirting.

Groucho is fantastic as Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding, Harpo is great as the professor, Chico is also great as Signor Emanuel Ravelli and Zeppo does a fine job as Horacio Jamison. Margaret Dumont does a fine job in her role as Mrs. Rittenhouse, owner of the house (on Long Island) and Lillian Roth does equally god as her daughter Arabella.

There are many fun musical numbers in this film such as, “Hello, I Must Be Going,” “Hooray For Captain Spaulding” and “He’s One of Those Men.” There’s also the love song, “Why. Am I So Romantic?” The songs give this film the right amount cheese and excitement.

There is also a lot of jokes, some that have become famous with the brothers like Groucho saying, “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know” and when the party guests are giving three cheers to Captain Spaulding, Harpo brings in three chairs. Harpo is the only Marx brother that doesn’t speak in their films, although he occasionally laughs and whistles, he is also very gullible and naive.

This movie will have you laughing, cheering and dancing. There is mild sexual innuendo and flirting and slapstick violence, but no one is seriously injured. There is drinking and smoking throughout, Groucho is seen with his trademark cigar. But other than that, it is very mild and okay for older children, as younger ones won’t understand the jokes.

Never once is this film boring. It is truly hilarious and entertaining and gets that way more and more after viewing. The Marx Brothers were and still are some of not just the funniest, but greatest actors and movie makers of all time. They, to this day, can put a smile on a person’s face and brighten a day with laughter. This is a wonderful movie that is just as quick-witted as it an enjoyment. With music, dancing, humor, peril and romance, this one will never disappoint. 8 & up 5/5