Catching the Classics: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

FTARHPosterSince 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list grows regularly and is currently more than 1800 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

In terms of pop culture, I’m a child of the 80s. I was born in 1979, so the 80s were the decade I spent most of my formative years in. To this day, it represents a disproportionate amount of my movie, music, and TV viewing and collecting. But I was quite literally a child of the 80s. Not a young adult. Not a teenager. So a fair number of R-rated movies of the 1980s slipped past me due to age restrictions (my parents weren’t super-strict in that regard, but they didn’t go out of their way to expose us to those films either.) Fast Times at Ridgemont High was one such film. As I grew into adulthood, I started hearing about it more and more, and though I’m now long out of high school, I was glad to take the opportunity to catch this classic teen comedy. Continue reading

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Movies I Want Everyone to See: The Commitments (1991)

198601.1020.ATo a large degree this could properly go into the category, “Movies That I Want Everyone to Hear”, because much of the joy in this film derives from the fantastic soundtrack and fresh delivery of the titular band that is the focus of this movie. All the way back to the 1930s, kids were getting together musical acts and putting on a show as the plot of a movie. “The Commitments “shares a lot in common with Mickey and Judy, as long as you ignore the sex, poverty, drug use and the 145 times in 113 minutes that the F-bomb gets dropped.

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We’re the Millers

Were the Millers

A motley crew composed of a drug dealer, a geeky virgin, a stripper and a homeless runaway team up to smuggle an enormous shipment of marijuana across the Mexican border, posing as a family. As you can imagine, they wind up being more than a little dysfunctional as a unit. Comedy ensues as they try to evade angry drug dealers, get past border guards, elude the DEA, and of course, deal with each other.

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Catching the Classics: Sunset Blvd.

Sunset Blvd PosterSince 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list grows regularly and is currently more than 1300 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

Like The French Connection, last week’s review, Sunset Blvd. first came to my attention from the AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list. They had it at #12, certainly high praise. But I didn’t add it to my watch list at that time. I was just out of high school, just getting into movies, and it would have taken more than just “a movie about a crazy old lady” to catch my interest at the time. Over the years, my tastes have matured some, and I’ve kept hearing about Sunset Blvd., eventually adding it to the list. Thankfully so, as Billy Wilder’s film shows that a movie about a crazy old lady can be more, much more, than it appears at first glance.

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Movies I Want Everyone to See: The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

man_who_would_be_king_ver1

Review by Richard Kirkham

All you film fans out there who were born after 1970 are about to eat your hearts out. You may know that the 70s were the second golden age of Hollywood, after all that’s when “Star Wars”, “The Godfather”, and “Alien” all started. You may even be aware that the greatest adventure film ever made, “Jaws”, was released in the Summer of 1975. It would be a solid argument to make that 1975 was the apex of Hollywood film making in that decade. Here is a partial list of the movies released that year: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dog Day Afternoon, Barry Lyndon, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Rollerball, Three Days of the Condor, Shampoo, Nashville, Seven Beauties, Cousin cousine,The Passenger as well as the aforementioned fish story. ” That is a list of essential films for anyone who loves movies to partake of. Buried in the avalanche of great films from that year, is the one film that stars Michael Caine and Sean Connery together as the leading men (each had a small part in “A Bridge Too Far”) and as a bonus it was directed by John Huston.

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Catching the Classics: The French Connection

french_connectionSince 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list grows regularly and is currently more than 1300 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

The French Connection first came to my attention when I was watching the AFI’s “100 Years, 100 Movies” program, which inspired my watch list; they had it ranked at #77. It was therefore one of the very first items to make it onto the list. It was also the Best Picture winner at the Oscars for 1971. As such, it seemed like a perfect choice for the inaugural entry in “Catching the Classics”.

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Movies I Want Everyone to See: The Rocketeer (1991)

rocketeer

Review By Richard Kirkham

Hollywood in the Golden Age, Nazi Commandos, Gangsters, Young Love, Air Speed Races, Howard Hughes, is there anything that is not found in this Walt Disney Picture from more than twenty years ago? I can’t think of anything they could have added to make this movie better. The story is a clever adventure which mixes real world events with science fiction elements and puts it in the backdrop of one of the most romantic times and places in film history. “The Rocketeer” was a modest success and not a break out hit that would justify a sequel. The movie harkens back to the serial adventures of the 1940s but is based on a racy 1982 graphic novel/comic, which has enjoyed greater literary success than it’s cinematic cousin. There are some obvious changes made in adapting this to the big screen. The biggest change was altering the character of Jenny Blake. Instead of the somewhat seedy “party girl/stripper” she is in the comic, she becomes a more wholesome ingenue. She is an innocent young actress, trying to break into the movies by playing in the crowd scenes in the movies being manufactured at the Hollywood Dream Factories of the Golden Age. The+Rocketeer

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