Ghostbusters II exists and that’s about all it’ll ever be known for. It’s not as iconic, memorable, or even rewatchable like Ghostbusters is. Like I said in my Ghostbusters review, I watched Ghostbusters II as part of a 2 pack. Although I can’t recall whether or not I watched both movies back to back. I think I did, but that shows the problem with Ghostbusters II. By this point in 1989, Ghostbusters and the animated series The Real Ghostbusters were hugely successful. So the studio kept pressing the actors to make a sequel even though they didn’t want to. Eventually they relented and that’s how we ended up with Ghostbusters II. This time the threat is some kind of evil painting and slime that brings things to life. The Ghostbusters are now labeled frauds and are each doing their own thing. Also Dana has a baby named Oscar, Louis wants to join the team, and Janine is suddenly attracted to Louis. Unfortunately most of the jokes don’t land and the ones that do aren’t memorable. The same can be said about the villain whose name I can’t remember. This was of course after the animated series. So the adult humor is way toned down. No casual smoking, swearing, or sexual innuendos to be found. Slimer was meant to have a big role like in the series, but it would have been too expensive. Not that the movie is completely without merit. The Statue of Liberty scene is pretty great. Ghostbusters II is just an unremarkable sequel to an already perfect movie.
The Ghostbusters save the day
Preceded by: Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters is an absolute comedy classic. Honestly, who hasn’t seen Ghostbusters? You can’t say the words “Who you gonna call?” without thinking Ghostbusters. I first saw the movie when I was a kid. After I’d seen a trailer many times on a VHS tape. We got Ghostbusters on DVD as part of a 2 pack that included the sequel. I immediately fell in love with the movie and I’ve seen it numerous times ever since. Ghostbusters was originally conceived by Dan Aykroyd to be a paranormal space adventure called “Ghostsmashers.” With the team dressed more like a S.W.A.T. team and carrying wands to fight ghosts. Needless to say this version of the movie was smashed in favor of a more grounded ghost comedy. Everybody knows the story. Three scientists working at a university discover the existence of ghosts haunting New York City. They end up getting fired and decide to start their own ghost catching business. They move into an old firehouse and drive the famous Ecto-1 cadillac. All wearing grey jumpsuits and sporting porton packs. At first their only taking down small ghosts like the iconic Slimer, but eventually they have to contend with worse threats like Zuul, Gozer, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man…
The Ghostbusters search for Slimer
Ghostbusters came out in 1984 (one of the best years for movies), it’s directed by then relatively unknown director Ivan Reitman, and it stars some of the best comedians of the time. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stantz, and Dr. Egon Spengler respectively. And also Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore who gets added to the team last minute and isn’t a scientist. No offensive to him, but it’s probably because they couldn’t get Eddie Murphy. Other cast members include Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, and Annie Potts. It’s a terrific group of actors. They’re all funny in their own way, but Bill Murray is easily the biggest scene stealer. Ghostbusters is packed with iconic moments. The first encounter with the library ghost, the first mission with Slimer, fighting Gozer, and of course accidentally summoning the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Ghostbusters is also filled with memorable quotes such as, “He slimed me,” “Don’t cross the streams,” “Are you the keymaster?,” “This man has no d*ck,” “Dogs and Cats living together,” “Are you a god?,” etc. Ghostbusters holds up very well today, but its biggest contribution to the world is the song “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. You can’t listen to that song and not get in a good mood. Ghostbusters is one of the most iconic movies ever made. Even its logo with the a crossed out ghost is easily recognizable. In a whole, Ghostbusters stands the test of time not just as a comedy or even a paranormal movie, but as a movie period. “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.”
“It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man”
Followed by: Ghostbusters II
Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, or simply Truth or Dare, is all about the game… well truth or dare. I first found out about this movie when I clicked on the trailer. Which makes a horror movie out of a silly party game. What’s next Blumhouse’s Hide and Seek or Blumhouse’s Spin the Bottle. Well regardless of how dumb I thought the concept was, I was still interested in seeing it. It’s safe to say Blumhouse is pretty much the king of horror movies at the moment and since I loved Happy Death Day (also released on Friday the 3th) I figured I’d give it a shot. Truth or Dare follows a group of vacationing teenagers who end up playing a game of truth or dare at an abandoned church. The game is cursed, it follows you wherever you go, and you have to choose truth or dare, or you die. What makes Truth or Dare especially creepy are the smiles. The people who ask you truth or dare all have stretched out smiles that look something like a Snapchat filter. Which is different then most horror movies that use creepy eyes. I’ve actually never played truth or dare in my entire life. Mostly because I don’t think I can handle revealing something about myself or doing something I’ll regret. The movie is sort of like the game in how it’s a good way to kill time. It’s also kind of a rip off of my favorite horror movie It Follows. Both of which deal with a supernatural curse that follows you wherever you go. I liked Truth or Dare fine enough, but I knew to expect a stupid movie from a premise like this. Now I have to ask you something… truth or dare?😈
“Truth or dare?”
Slither is a science fiction horror movie about slug like parasites attacking a small town. This also happens to be the directorial debut of James Gunn. The guy who directed the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and Super. If you’ve seen my Super review, you know I found it unwatchable and never wanted to see it again, despite its cult status. I feel pretty much the same way about Slither. Slither is also excessive with its hard R rating. Only in a more disgusting way. I know there are people who liked it for being a B movie concept, but I’m not a fan of it. Future long time collaborator Michael Rooker plays a guy who gets infected by the parasites. He becomes a disgusting tentacle monster that eats animals, loses his mind, and infects other people. Yet his wife still wants to be with him. Other future long time collaborator Nathan Fillion also stars in the film as a sheriff. While not as bad as Super was to watch, Slither is still to disturbing and icky for me to like it. I still find it hard to believe this is the same guy who directed 2 MCU movies.
A parasite slithers into a bathtub
Dangerous Minds is based on the true story of a white teacher who teachers a class of underprivileged multicultural youths. This premise reminded me of another movie with pretty much the same story; Freedom Writers (see review here). Both movies play out about the same. With the teacher having trouble at first, appealing to her class through unconventional means, and helping her class become better people. Even the actress playing the teacher is Hollywood pretty just like in Freedom Writers (Michelle Pfeiffer in this case). However, Dangerous Minds is different in that it’s R rated and a bit rougher. Rougher in the way that not every student has a happy ending. I also didn’t really like the movie that much. The teacher and former Marine Ms. Johnson’s methods include teaching karate, bribing with candy, and promising field trips. She also uses poetry, but it all felt a little off to me. Giving rewards in exchange for good behavior isn’t a good way to teach a class. It doesn’t help that the class is kind of forgettable with maybe three exceptions. Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance is a highlight though, but there’s really only one reason people remember this movie. The song “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Which is way better and more memorable than the entirety of Dangerous Minds.
Ms. Johnson teaches her students
WarGames is probably the most dated movie to come out of the 80’s. In fact, I avoided watching the movie for a long time, because I thought it would be too dated to enjoy. Even though that’s not something I’d normally do. As I type this review on my user friendly personal laptop, I think about just how primitive computers used to be. The only time I used a computer with a black screen and green symbols was when I was a child. It was at the library and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Of course as time goes on technology gets better and bulky computers have gotten slimmer. So you just have to watch WarGames from an 80’s perspective. WarGames is about the military defense program. It’s sort of hard to follow, but from what I could gather there’s a growing threat of nuclear war. The thing that really grabbed my attention was the teen lead characters. The 80’s was a great time for teen movies and WarGames is no exception. Matthew Broderick is a hacker who accidentally taps into a selection of military war games. He inadvertently starts World War III, which leads to him and his girlfriend (of course played by Ally Sheedy) having to go on the run to stop it. I also enjoyed the tense looming threat atmosphere the movie has. WarGames may be dated, but it’s just as entertaining as it was when it first came out.
David (foreground) and Jennifer (background) play a game
Point Break (2015) is yet another bland unnecessary remake of a movie that should never have been remade. Is Hollywood that out of ideas that they have to start remaking movies from the 90’s? What makes even less sense is remaking a movie that’s so synonymous with its era. Point Break (2015) has a lot of problems, both in story and choices. While the movie is still about FBI agent Johnny Utah going undercover to catch criminal surfers and befriending Bodhi. They change it to where Utah has the long blonde hair and Bodhi has the shorter black hair (which doesn’t make any sense). Instead of committing crimes and doing extreme sports separately, they rob things by doing extreme stunts. The original Point Break is all about the surf, but the remake isn’t even though the title is literally a surfing term. There’s a surfing sequence, a wingsuit sequence, a snowboarding sequence, and a rock climbing sequence. The way it’s shot makes it seem more like a compilation of extreme sporting events rather than a straight forward action movie. The only scene they try to recreate is the “shooting into the air in frustration” scene. It’s a bland recreation just like the rest of the movie. Plus the movie is horribly desaturated and murky looking for some reason. Point Break (2015) is a dull PG-13 imitation of an off the wall cult hit that takes itself way to seriously.
Johnny Utah (right) and Bodhi (left) talk about life
Remake of: Point Break (1991)
Point Break is so totally 90s. You got Keanu Reeves, surfing, extreme sports, long hair, a Red Hot Chilli Pepper, and an R rating. You can’t get more 90’s then that. Point Break is one of the more memorable action movies of the 90’s. It gained a cult following and it’s easy to see why. Keanu Reeves stars as Johnny Utah, an FBI agent! He goes undercover as a surfer, because surfers are suspects in a string of robberies. Like I said, only the 90’s would have a premise this ridiculous. The late great Patrick Swayze plays Bodhi, the surfer guru whom Utah befriends. Point Break is well known for many reasons. The surfers in the movie who use realistic surfer lingo like “bruh,” “gnarly,” and “radical.” The Ex-Presidents who rob banks wearing president masks (specifically Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Lyndon B. Johnson). That off the wall chase scene that includes throwing a dog and ends with the famous “shooting into the air in frustration” scene. The extreme skydiving scenes, one without a parachute. And since it is from the 90’s, the quotable dialogue. It might surprise you to know that this testosterone filled movie is actually directed by a woman. Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow to be specific. Along with her then husband James Cameron as executive producer. Point Break is so dated that it’ll live on forever as one of the gnarliest action movies of all time.
Johnny Utah (left) and Bodhi (right) catch some sick waves
Lady in the Water is the first unapologetically bad M. Night Shyamalan movie. Unlike anything that came before it, everyone agrees that it’s bad. Lady in the Water was always a source of confusion whenever I heard about it. I literally never understood what the story was. I’ll try my best, but it’s pretty stupid. Lady in the Water stars Paul Giamatti as a landlord who stutters except when he doesn’t. One night he finds a water dwelling Narf named Story, played by a perpetually wet Bryce Dallas Howard. She’s being pursued by a Scrunt, grassy wolves that can only be defeated by a trio of monkeys called Tartutic. Trust me it gets stupider. He has to find the “Author,” who just so happens to be played by Shyamalan himself. Apparently he’s so important that his stories will one day inspire the President to change the world for the better. Oh yeah, the villain also happens to be a movie critic and there’s a giant eagle in there too. Lady in the Water is meant to be a drama, but it ends up being a comedy. How can anybody take a movie that has Narfs and Scrunts in it seriously? If there’s a twist, I’m not sure what it was meant to be. The biggest problem with Lady in the Water however, is what it means for originality. This is why Hollywood doesn’t want to make original movies anymore. They might end up with ridiculously overplotted narcissistic duds like Lady in the Water.
Story the Narf
Bound is the directorial debut of the Matrix trilogy directors the Wachowskis. It also happens to be the last movie of theirs that I saw. Mostly because it’s so different from the rest of their work. The Wachowskis are known for their large scale CGI filled science fiction films. Bound is a small scale neo-noir crime thriller. Most people probably forgot it even exists or that it’s even associated with these directors. That was the main reason I knew about the movie. That and the fact that Bound is about a lesbian couple. Before I get into that, here’s the story. Bound is about Violet, a woman who plans to steal $2 billion dollars from her mafia boyfriend. With the help of her ex con neighbor Corky. Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon give realistically steamy performances as a lesbian couple. One of the reasons the movie was well received. I personally liked how tense the atmosphere was. The climax (including the reason the movie is called “Bound“) keeps you on the edge of your seat, unsure of what’s gonna happen. While most people don’t remember Bound, it’s an underrated film that promised an interesting career from the Wachowskis.
Corky (left) meets Violet (right)