The Birthday Series – Mini Reviews 1989-1991

Droids Birthday Series 1989-1991

These next three film simply didn’t inspire me to do full reviews for them. So here we are, the famous mini review! Ready? Set? Go!

Slacker Poster1991

Who is responsible for this? This is Richard Linklaters first film.

What’s it all about? Nothing really. It’s a collection of conversations and monologues precariously linked together. The film opens with a character (played by Linklater himself) getting into a taxi and while on his way to his destination, telling a story (which is actually quite interesting) about a dream he had. When he gets out of the taxi, he witnesses a hit and run, and the film movies away from his character to follow the driver of the hit and run vehicle. And so on, as we spend a few minutes or so with random, unconnected individuals and eavesdrop on their conversations.

Is it any good? Yes and no. It works more as an experiment in a certain type of filmmaking. It’s almost a surrealistic dreamlike film where we float from one random (sometimes confusing) conversation after another. Much like ‘Waking Life’, this works for a while, and I found myself interested and entertained by the quirky monologues and ideas of the various characters, but it’s not an idea that can last a full length feature. And to say the film outstays its welcome at 105 minutes is an understatement. Slacker really isn’t any different in structure to Linklaters “Before” films, which follow two characters around Vienna and Paris. But the important difference is that those films followed the developing relationship of two likeable people, and in the films ideas, conversations and encounters, those two people were a constant presence. We get involved because we trust that the film is building towards something. But in Slackers the episodic, random nature of the film, and the characters mouthpieces for (often unfinished) thoughts and theories, keeps us at arms length.

Recommended? If you like Linklaters films, then yes.

twoandahalfchangs

 

Young Guns II Poster

1990

Who is responsible for this? Geoff Murphy, a Kiwi director responsible for such classics as Freejack and Under Siege 2.

What’s it all about? The further adventures of Billy The Kid (Emilio Estevez), and his rag tag band of Brat Pack bad boys.

Is it any good? Kinda. Sorta. Not really. To be quite honest, I quite enjoyed the first Young Guns, but this sequel really seems pointless. It opens in 1950, in the middle of the desert, with a decrepit old man beside the road who claims he is William H. Bonney, aka Billy The Kid, who was (supposedly) killed by Pat Garrett some 70 years prior. He recounts his story to a lawyer, because he wants a pardon from the Governor, and the story we see is his recounting. But the problem with this is that we don’t know that the tale this old coot (actually Estevez in heavy makeup) is telling is even remotely factual. That, combined with the fact that his story really isn’t very interesting (Billy and Pat were friends, Pat turned lawman, hunted him down then let him go), results in us not really caring too much. So instead the story just gathers a bunch of known actors (Kiefers Sutherland, Lou Diamond Philips, Viggo Mortensen, James Coburn, Christian Slater and William Peterson), and devolves into an uninspired chase film punctuated with a couple of shoot outs and escapes from custody.

Recommended? It’s not terrible, but I wouldn’t actively seek it out.

2 changs 

lock up poster

1989

Who is responsible for this? John Flynn, director of ‘Rolling Thunder’ and ‘Out for Justice’.

What’s it all about? Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone), who has six months left on his prison term, is transferred to the maximum security prison of corrupt Warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland), who has a grudge and intends to punish Frank. Punish him good!

Is it any good? As a silly diversion it passes the time without offence. But no, it’s not very good. First of all, it’s preposterous that a disgraced prison warden could somehow connive to have the instigator of said disgrace randomly transferred to his prison. Secondly, Frank is such an unreasonably nice guy, and the reason for his prison sentence so “just” that the film is blatantly stacked in our heroes favour. It would’ve been more interesting if Frank was a darker character, a bit more of a reformed felon, someone who had committed an actual crime (not defending someone) who had served his sentence, and was ready to re-enter society. But as usual Sly is a likeable screen presence and we want to see him take down the villainous warden.

Recommended? It’s a half decent late night TV type watch.

2 changsAnd that’s the mini review Birthday over! I’m sure you can understand why I felt these film didn’t warrant full reviews. That, and I’m lazy.

 

For Droids a jolly good fellow!

2009 – The Collector

2008 – The Midnight Meat Train

2007 – Hot Rod

2006 – Bon Cop Bad Cop

2005 – The Dukes of Hazzard

2004 – The Manchurian Candidate

2003 – Gigli

2002 – Signs

2001 – Rush Hour 2

2000 – Hollow Man

1999 – The Iron Giant

1998 – BASEketball

1997 – In The Company of Men

1996 – Chain Reaction

1995 – Babe

1994 – Clear and Present Danger

1993 – The Fugitive

1992 – Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Droid

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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

53 responses to “The Birthday Series – Mini Reviews 1989-1991”

  1. DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD says :

    Fucking love both ‘Young Guns’ film, I think 2 a bit more than 1 because of the Brushy Bill Roberts bookends, Slater/Lou Diamond squabbling, BLAZE OF FUCKING GLORY, and that classic cocksucker Bill Peterson.

  2. Jarv says :

    None of these are worth a full review. Mehness.

    I think I like Lock Up the best. A silly film.

  3. DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD says :

    In Young Guns 1– Jack Palance has one of the best death faces ever– like he had a stroke right as he popped.

  4. ThereWolf says :

    Slacker I’m not arsed about. Liked Young Guns, but not immensely – so didn’t bother with YG2 and probably never will.

    Lock Up was daft and fun.

    • koutchboom says :

      Lock Up is proof that Sly is the greatest Actor of our or any generation.

      • koutchboom says :

        Guys check out my new web site:

        http://stallonezone.com/wordpress/

        Please post some comments!!!

      • Jarv says :

        I did doubt that that was yours- then I noticed this in the profile:

        “I do have a real soft spot for 70’s music… including disco.”

        Repeat after me:

        “It’s raining men, Hallelujah, it’s raining men”.

        So, Koutch, what is it that attracts you to musclebound Sylvester Stallone?

      • Droid says :

        It is kind of fetishist isn’t it?

      • Jarv says :

        Not quite the word I was thinking of.

        It’s not Koutch’s anyway.

        2 reasons: Firstly, he’s not 51. Secondly, I don’t think law enforcement agencies allow Koutch to work in Education.

      • Bartleby says :

        Young Guns 2 is crap. Lock-Up is stupidly hilarious. Slacker is probably the best of the three, but it’s rather irritating, isn’t it?

        Closetland–It’s an interesting movie, with good acting by Stowe and Rickman (but then, when isn’t Rickman good? Koutch: Alice in Disco Land) and it starts to go off in some odd directions, but it’s really just sort of miserable to watch.

        It’s Rickman’s secret policeman torturing this woman for nearly the whole movie,and I don’t mean ‘Serbian Film’ style or something. It’s mostly psychological torture, but it makes the whole thing a really unpleasant experience.

      • koutchboom says :

        Whats wrong with Lock Up? Its a fucking solid movie. I watched it not too long ago, holds to nicely.

  5. Continentalop says :

    We slowly get closer and closer to Anthropologus. Can’t wait.

  6. Continentalop says :

    Slacker is the best of these three IMO, and only as an experiment.

    Young Guns II was a big disappoint to me, especially since YG I was actually pretty good (and surprisingly historically accurate, at least by Hollywood standards).

    Anything by Stallone after Nighthawks & First Blood and before Copland is just crap in my view.

    • Bartleby says :

      Right, YG II was the kind of movie that everyone feared Young Guns would be. I guess you can’t dodge a bullet forever.

      Did you see The Town yet, Conti?

      And DGDB, since you’re around, did you go out and support your man Night and see Devil?

      • Jarv says :

        Fuck Night.

        Hopefully that hack cunt doesn’t ever make another film.

        And Young Guns 2 has it’s moments.

      • Continentalop says :

        Have not Bart. A friend ask me to wait so we can see it together. So probably this Saturday.

        Did see a bunch of old noirs, some I’ve never seen before (like Whistle Stop & Impact).

      • Bartleby says :

        YG II may have had its moments, but it didnt add up to much at all. It was the surface level treatment that the production dodged the first time.

        I liked Devil actually. It was nice not to have Night behind the camera and the script. Felt like a Twilight Zone ep to me.

    • Jarv says :

      When was Cobra?

      I seem to remember not hating that.

      • Droid says :

        You mean Marion Cobretti?

        “Call in the Cobra!”

        Sly cutting a slice of pizza with scissors? The old timey car with nitrous? The wet road/dry road stunts at the end when the bikers were sliding off their bikes? The smelting plant directly adjacent to the orange grove?

        That film sucks, but man is it funny.

      • Continentalop says :

        Cobra was in the 80s and God do I despise that film.

  7. Droid says :

    Young Guns was good. But YG2 did shit like have Estevez get shot in the leg at the start, have him limp for (i’m not joking) one minute, then it’s never mentioned or acknowledged again. Just a stupid film. And the first one wasn’t stupid. That said, it’s fairly swift, and mildly entertaining.

    • Bartleby says :

      Thats what I mean. Young Guns was surprising in how well it told its story. But if you look at the cast and the title, it seemed like it would be less. YGII is the glossy, happy meal version.

      I guess YG II was like every other big sequel in the early 90s; was passably entertaining but you forgot about it almost immediately. Love ‘Blaze of Glory’ though.

      • Droid says :

        Young Guns was also made extra awesome by it’s dialogue being sampled by Warren G and Nate Dogg.

        “Regulators! Mount up!”

      • Bartleby says :

        Ahh, Nate Dogg and Warren G. They did wonders for my nicknames in highschool and beyond. Doesn’t help that Warren’s the middle name, and most of you know the rest.

  8. Continentalop says :

    Bart have you ever seen “The Rats Are Coming, the Werewolves Are Here”?

    • Bartleby says :

      Oh god, unfortunately yes.

      The amount of junk I’ve seen is ungodly. There was a time when if it found its way into my path, I’d watch it. Regardless.

      Seems like at some point, you have done much the same thing.

      Conti, no more procrastinating. I’ll put your Nightmare Alley article up tomorrow. Can I set it for a once a week column, or is that too much?

      • Continentalop says :

        Once a week should be fine for now. I’ll finish my next two reviews and email them to you by the end of the week.

  9. Tom_Bando says :

    *Young Guns I and Too–liked’em both, forgot’em both, etc. Okay westerns, as I like the genre and thought the cast was fine–they were better than they hadda right to be. Each one.

    *Slacker–never saw it.

    *Cobra–1986, Stallone’s much-anticipated follow-up to Rambo II and Rocky IV. Opened up big and then sank. He was paid a frightening amount of money by Cannon Films(Yes! It was one of Those-!) to play Dirty Larry. And it (almost) worked in places–I liked that car myself–but it also had such lovingly idiotic set pieces as the cult banging together some axes over-head in slow unison, Sly’s little ‘You’re the disease and I’m the Cure’ stab at ‘Are you Lucky, Punk-‘, and of course, the optimum nepotism casting–Bridgette Neilson as his lady love. Seriously this movie was quite fucked, very ’86, haven’t seen it since.

  10. Franklin Thomas Marmoset says :

    Slacker didn’t do much for me. Richard Linklater just rubs me the wrong way for some reason. All that talking, I think. That guys loves to film people talking about stuff.

    No memory of Young Guns II at all, apart from the song, which is a cheese-rock classic.

    And Lock Up is awesome. Good clean dumb fun.

  11. just pillow talk says :

    Slackers – never seen

  12. DocPazuzu says :

    Loved the first YG (even if it seems a bit creaky today) and quite enjoyed YG2 (great score by Silvestri). The main problem with the latter is that it looks and feels a bit too slick. The first YG was a hit so they threw a ton of money at the sequel and it shows. It lacks the gritty, rough and tumble texture of the first film. One of the biggest cheers I’ve ever heard in a movie theater was when Billy made Palance “reap the storm” at the end. Great moment.

    Anthropophagous is truly awful — and not in the good way. There’s even a semi-sequel called Anthropophagous 2000 (by Teutonic twat Andreas Schnaas, I believe) which is even more unwatchable.

  13. DocPazuzu says :

    Lock-Up:

    Sly vs Sonny fucking Landham = WIN

  14. just pillow talk says :

    WTF did I just do…

    Slackers – never seen

    Young Guns II – clearly pales in comparison to the first one.
    There was no need to make it. I mean, Lou gets a knife through his fucking forearm! Rub some dirt on it and get back on your horse!

    I’d rather drink terpentine and piss on a brush fire, I ain’t touching that one.

    Lock Up – Haven’t seen it in ages, but I remember liking it. It’s a Stallone-lite movie, no acting on his part, story is meh, some action.

  15. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    Young Guns 2 is one of those rare movies from the 90s I only watched once. That’s how little of an impression it left on me at the time.

    Lock Up and Slacker? Never saw, never hope to.

  16. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    It goes. Still breathing. Finishing up my monster movie. Trying to lose the 30 pounds I put on since this time last year.

    • just pillow talk says :

      You made a monster movie?
      Any details you can share?

    • LB says :

      Hey HOD-good to see you, man!

      I just dumped 20 pounds in last month and a half-and dumped a loser girlfriend as well.

      It’s been a hell of a summer-mostly fun.

      My monster movie script is similar-been writing it for twenty years.

      I can’t decide to this day how it ends.

      It’s a logic gate: yes to possible sequels, or tell the story.

      Anyway-good to see you.

  17. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    I didn’t make one but I’m writing one, just finishing up. It’s basically what would happen if 1000’s of Godzillas attacked the earth at once. If you have $200M to spare, you can fund the project.

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