ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – T – Trading Places (1983)

Director: John Landis

Writer: Timothy Harris, Herschal Weingrod (Screenplay)

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Ameche

 

Plot: A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.


Tagline – Some very funny business.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful, Though Dated

 

Story: Trading Places starts as we meet high flying investor Louis Winthorpe III (Aykroyd) who has made his bosses Randolph (Bellamy) and Mortimer (Ameche) millions of dollars, he is preparing to marry is long term girlfriend, life is good for him until he clashes with Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) a homeless wise cracker.

When the Duke brothers decide to make a wager, they decide to try and prove they can make Billy Ray as successful as Louis, but also show they can destroy Louis in the progress. We are left to see the two men adapt to their new lives trying to understand just what is happening.

 

Thoughts on Trading Places

 

Characters – Louis Winthorpe III has been living the life of with a silver spoon in his mouth his whole life, protected from any hardship as he rises up the ranks to be considered the very top employee. He is going to get married to the girl he was always going to be with until he must learn to live with nothing after being put in a bet. Billy Ray Valentine is a homeless street wise cracker that gets wrongfully accused of a crime only to be placed into a bet given a life with money, wealth and a job. He adapts to the new life like a fish to water. Randolph and Mortimer are two brothers that have too much money to know what to do with a resort to bets over people’s lives. Ophelia is a hooker that gets used as part of the bet to help ruin Louis’ life, she ends up teaching him about the right way to live with no money.

PerformancesDan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are both wonderful with their comedy moments they both get to show different stage of their comedy from rich and poor situations. Ralph Bellamy and Dom Ameche are both good as the rich businessmen that work with money over anything else. Jamie Lee Curtis turned heads with her role here which people were not expecting to see.

StoryThe story here follows two rich businessmen that put a bet on that they can switch the lives of a successful businessman with a homeless street hustler. This is shows us just how rich people can have too much money for their own good and their aimless fun can ruin lives. See the swap between the two gives them both a chance to learn a lesson about acting different towards people who have their own stories. There are certain jokes which just don’t work for the modern times because they go into race related that wouldn’t stand up now. For the important message that the two learn is the highlight of the film.

ComedyThe comedy in the film shows how Aykroyd and Murphy were on the top of their game in this decade, we get both sides of their skills to rather than just sticking to a solo character.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in New York, for the 80s this was perfect because of the investment game that was going on at the time and still is.


Scene of the Movie –
Joining forces.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The racial comments wouldn’t work now.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great 80s comedy that hits nearly all the jokes, shows two performers at their best in the comedy world and teaches a good life lesson.

 

Overall: Classic 80s comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – R – Risky Business (1983) Movie Review

Director: Paul Brickman

Writer: Paul Brickman (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Panoliano, Richard Masur, Bronson Pichot, Curtis Armstrong

Plot: A Chicago teenager is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Teen Comedy

Story: Risky Business starts as we meet teenager Joel (Cruise) who is preparing for his college entry exams, feeling the pressure of not passing them, when he gets left home alone, his friends push him into having some more fun in his teenage life.

Joel ends up calling for an escort in Lana (De Mornay) who does give him the night of his life, only he finds himself in a bigger problem, when it turns out she is trying to escape her pimp Guido (Pantoliano), leading to him trying to clean up the mess before his parents get home.

Thoughts on Risky Business

Characters – Joel is a shy teenager worrying about his future and where he will end up going next for college, the pressure of the exams is showing on him, until his friends push him into having some fun, which starts with just having a call girl, only for him becoming more confident in his actions. Lana is the call girl that arrives, gives Joel the night of his life only to leave him in the middle of a world he never knew about, she helps him fix the money problems he might be facing as well as showing him his first love. Guido is the pimp that Lana works for, he seems like he has been mistreating her before she escapes from him, only to keep popping up when Joel least expects it.

PerformancesTom Cruise does grow into this role with ease, he does start by looking awkward, but once he can be the confident character he shines. Rebecca De Mornay is great as the call girl with a heart, we keeps her character filled with mystery about if she is honest or not well through the film. The rest of the cast are great filling in the for the typical 80’s stereotypes.

StoryThe story here followers a teenager that finds himself getting caught up in not worrying anymore about his college, after a call girl introduces him to a world of making money overnight. In the 80s we did see the building of teenagers getting caught up in something out that would get out of control, while trying to keep it secret from their parents. This does follow that idea, well, it shows the change in character when it comes to facing the real world too.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from seeing all the different situations Joel finds himself in and how he tries to get out of them, even if they continue to spiral out of control.

SettingsThe film uses Joel’s home as the main setting, it shows how he is meant to keep things normal, only to need to fix the problems that arise.


Scene of the Movie – Catch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That first night together, please, come on.

Final Thoughts This is a fun 80s comedy that has stood the test of time better than most, Cruise does shine once he gets going and by the end of the film everything works out well.

Overall: Easy Watch.

Al Pacino Weekend – Scarface (1983) Movie Review

Director: Brian De Palma

Writer: Oliver Stone (Screenplay)

Starring: Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia, Miriam Colon, F Murray Abraham

Plot: In 1980 Miami, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.


Tagline – He was Tony Montana. The world will remember him by another name…SCARFACE.

Runtime: 2 Horus 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gangster 101

Story: Scarface starts when Cuban immigrant Tony Montana (Pacino) leave Cuba to start a life in America, he isn’t happy by starting with the everyday labour jobs, before getting a chance to work with his friend Manny (Bauer) who draws him into the world of drugs, a place where Tony thrives.

As Tony learns the business, he looks to make his move to become the biggest drug lord in the country, with deals everywhere, taking out the competition if they ever get in his way.

Thoughts on Scarface

Characters – Tony Montana is a Cuban immigrant that went to Miami to start a new life, though he didn’t want to work for it, well not in the legal way, he gets put an entry into the drug world and he gets turn by the power he could get by becoming a drug lord, being straight with the people he deals with and going above the people he doesn’t trust heads. Manny is the best friend of Tony who has always helped him in Miami, he is always by his side as he rises up the industry never questioning him until he starts getting out of control with his decisions. Elvira is the beautiful woman that is with a drug lord that Tony eliminates, she is being forced to stay with Tony, where she is drawn to the drugs that he is suppling, which is the main reason she stays around. Gina is the little sister of Tony’s she is always being protected by him, as he doesn’t like anybody getting close to her.

PerformancesAl Pacino is wonderful in the leading role, showing how easily he can morph into any gangster figure and make a huge impact on screen. We do see most of the supporting cast working very well through the film, getting their moment to shine opposite Pacino.

StoryThe story here follows Tony Montana as he goes from Cuban immigrant to drug lord in Miami, slowly starting to lose control of the situation as more enemies appear looking to take the throne he has taken. When it comes to the drug lord films, we do always know how they go, somebody gets in at the bottom and finds a way to rise to the top, to become one of the most dangerous men in the business, even if this means that the police and other enemies have come out of the woodwork to take his position. The way that Tony slowly becomes more corrupt with power is the highlight of the storytelling process in this film.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows how Tony would do anything to get the power in the world, he gets put through a traumatic experience with his first visit to the world and after that he doesn’t care about the violence he leaves behind him.

SettingsThe film shows us the different times that Tony has had, from his first arrival to his mansion he claims as his own after he gets all the money in the world.


Scene of the Movie – Say Hello, to my little friend.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is too long, we have a lot that we don’t need to see.

Final Thoughts This is one of the strongest gangster movies, showing the drug lords rise to power and just how much it changes him on the way up.

Overall: One of the Best.

James Bond Month – Octopussy (1983)

Director: John Glen

Writer: George MacDonald Fraser, Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Kabir Bedi, Steven Berkoff, David Meyer

 

Plot: A fake Fabergé egg, and a fellow Agent’s death, lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.


Tagline – Nobody does him better.

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun & Enjoyable

 

Story: Octopussy starts when a Fabergé egg goes missing and one agent ends up dead, James Bond (Moore) is bought into investigate the case, this starts by following Kamal Khan (Jourdan) and Magda (Wayborn) all the way to India and the mysterious Monsoon Mansion.

James will come face to face with a jewel smuggler known as Octpussy (Adams) who has been working with the Russian, can he solve the case and avenge his fellow agent’s death?

 

Thoughts on Octopussy

 

Characters – James Bond is still considered one of the best agents in the force which meaning he must once again go into action as he goes in search for answers when one of the agents gets killed, he still has his charm as he goes about his mission. Octopussy is the leader of a jewel smuggling ring that has an involvement in the agent’s death, she knows how to control the situation and both sides of the law. Kamal Khan is the middle man for everyone, he is working for the Russians and Octopussy, leaving him to be facing all of the deals that are taking place. He will kill anyone that gets in his way. Magda is one of the beautiful women that work for Octopussy, she uses her looks to trick the men into giving her what she wants, including Bond.

PerformancesRoger Moore was always the best Bond for the cheesy lines, which he hits perfectly well, he did have the weak side when it came to the action spots like others hand, this show us why. Maud Adams goes work in the role which could be a villain or just somebody against the law, while Louis Jourdan does make for a fun villain doing the dirty work. For the most part this is one of the better acted Bond movies in a few years now.

StoryThe story here continues the adventures of James Bond, this time he enters the world of jewel smuggling which will see him travelling the world and learning just what is the major plan behind the sort after Faberge egg. This does bring the story back to the grounded roots which are always the better stories, with no connection to the previous films. The suspense is kept going through the story and by the end, we do feel like we are in a situation where the worst could happen.

Action/AdventureThe action contains a couple of entertaining chase sequences which seem o place us in location we haven’t seen before including the streets of India.

SettingsThe film does take us across the globe, with India, Austria and Germany being the locations used for solving the case.


Scene of the Movie –
India street chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand backgammon.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most underrated Bond movies to date, it keeps the story tight, has great action sequences and even the cheesy one liners work this time around.

 

Overall: One of the best Bond movies.

Rating

 

 

The Meaning of Life (1983)

Director: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam

Writer: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin (Screenplay)

Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Carol Cleverland

 

Plot: The comedy team takes a look at life in all its stages in their own uniquely silly way.


Tagline – It took God six days to create the earth, and Monty Python just 90 minutes to screw it up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for the Fans

 

Story: The Meaning of Life is a series of different ideas of the meaning of life from point of views, we enter into different class, different religions and different careers. Each chapter connects to the previous which adds to the bigger point in the comedy behind just what is being poked fun at.

 

Thoughts on The Meaning of Life

 

StoryWith this being a series of sketches it doesn’t make it difficult to talk about the story, we have so many different mini stories which are clearly put together to show the different stages of life, from birth to death as the search for the meaning of life is put together. Most of the sketches generally miss which end up feeling flat as they just don’t build up to the moment of comedy required, it has also ended up feeling very dated with the way it handles everything in a not so subtle manor.

ComedyThe comedy in this film is all about taste, if you are not a fan of the Monty Python team, you won’t enjoy the comedy through the film, bit like myself. If you are a fan you will get to laugh more.

SettingsThe film takes us to multiply locations for each sketches, each will become clear for the message trying to be told.


Scene of the Movie –
Catholic and Protestants

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the comedy misses.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sketch movie that tries to play through important moments in history and only feels too forced for anything to really be anything special.

 

Overall: Sketch show comedy.

Rating