ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – D – Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead (1991) Movie Rob’s Pick

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“[to Sue Ellen about their mom] Stay away from her, she’s in one of her Terminator moods.” – Kenny Crandell

Number of Times Seen – 1 (3 Nov 2020)

Brief Synopsis – After their babysitter unexpectedly dies, a family of kids decide to look after themselves while their mother is away for the summer.

My Take on it – This is actually a film that I recall hearing about when it came out, yet never had much of a desire to see what it was all about until now.

The story is actually quite fun even if things are bit too clichéd and far too 90’s the whole way through.

Christina Applegate does a nice job here in her first lead role and proves that she is proves here that she is much more talented than one would assume by just watching her in Married With Children on TV.

They do a nice job setting up and developing the various characters so that they all seem quite distinct even of they still feel like stereotypes part of the time.

This is a film that definitely has its moments along the way, but it’s a bit too formulaic for its own good and it shows.

Bottom Line – Fun film that works despite the story being a bit too clichéd. Applegate is great in the lead role and is able to show that she is much more talented than most people would think if they just saw her in Married With Children on TV. The story is set up quite cleverly and they manage to find distinct personalities for the various siblings that make them all stand out. The film has its moments even if overall, it does everything “by the  book.”

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – When the movie was released on video, it had a contest in which participants would answer a number of questions about the movie related to movie trivia, as well as rating various actors’ performances. The winner, whose answers matched up the best with an official set, would win the babysitter’s car. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – A – Action Point (2018) Movie Rob’s Pick

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Back then, there was a little thing called personal responsibility. If you screwed up and got hurt, you didn’t call no lawyer or the media. You just dusted yourself off and bragged about it to your dumb little buddies..” – D.C.

Number of Times Seen – 1 (1 Nov 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A man reminisces with his granddaughter about his glory days as the owner of a dangerous amusement park in the late 70’s.

My Take on it – Johnny Knoxville is known for his crazy daredevil stunts and this film is full of them.

Unfortunately, they have very little connective tissue to the story being told and they all seem to have been included just to try and make things fun despite not helping the story at all.

The plot is extremely silly and fails to be engaging at all.

Th stunts are actually fun at the beginning, but they get far too over the top quite quickly and take so much away from the enjoyment of everything that happens.

The characters and situations are all one dimensional and superficial and don’t help make the viewer care about anything that happens here.

The plot itself is quite simple and boring and truly limps along most of the way.

It fails to find a way to be more entertaining or engaging which makes this film a real chore to try and get through even with the way some of these stunts are presented.

Bottom Line – Really silly film that doesn’t work at all. Like with most of Knoxville’s films, this one also has lots of crazy stunts that seem to be included just for the fun of instead of having a real meaning in the story. The characters are all one dimensional and superficial and don’t help to make things any more interesting or enjoyable to watch. The plot limps along the whole way through and doesn’t manage to find a way to stay engaging even with the various stunts along the way.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The film is loosely inspired on the now defunct Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey that first opened in 1979. The park was considered by many to be one of the most dangerous theme parks in the United States. At least six people were known to have died as a result of incidents that occurred within the original park. The park closed in 1996 and later reopened, under new ownership, as Mountain Creek. After yet another ownership change, the park briefly changed its name back to Action Park for the 2014 and 2015 seasons before reverting back to Mountain Creek in 2016, in order to disassociate itself from the former park’s infamous reputation. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (2/10)

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – H – Halloween (1978) Movie Rob’s Pick

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“It’s Halloween; everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” – Brackett

Number of Times Seen – 1 (7 Oct 2020)

Brief Synopsis – 15 years after murdering his sister and her boyfriend, an escapee from an asylum once again seeks revenge against the residence of his small town.

My Take on it – Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a fan of horror films at all, in particular slasher films.

I have avoided watching this film for decades due to a lack of interest in seeing what it was all about.

Darren’s choice for this month’s theme made me decide to finally check this film out.

I actually liked it much more than I thought I would.

They do an interesting job creating a suspenseful slasher thriller.

The choice to prolong the anticipation for an attack works really well and is effective in raising the level of tension along the way.

The plot itself is quite simple and thin and things are far too predictable like in most of these kind of films.

Director John Carpenter is able to use some great POV shots that help make the viewer actually feel as if they are right these in the room with these characters which works really well.

They also are able to utilize some great camera tricks that help to make things seem scarier and more gruesome than it really is.

Donald Pleasance is great in the lead role even if the real lead is Michael Myers himself.

This was Jamie Lee Curtis’ movie debit and she also does a nice job here.

Bottom Line – Interestingly done slasher thriller that is able to hold of the suspense for long enough to keep things even more enjoyable due to the anticipation of things. The plot is a bit thin and it all comes across as being a bit too predictable for its own good. Carpenter’s use of first person camera work helps the viewer feel as if they are right there. The film utilizes some great camera shot in order to make things look scarier and more graphic than it truly is. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – From a budget of $300,000, the film went on to gross $47 million at the US box office. In 2008, takings that would be the equivalent of $150 million, making ‘Halloween’ one of the most successful independent films of all time. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – F – Friday the 13th (1980) Movie Rob’s Pick

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“You’re doomed! You’re all doomed! ” – Crazy Ralph

Number of Times Seen – 1 (5 Oct 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A group of counselors try to reopen a camp that was closed down after a tragedy twenty years earlier while a serial killer tries to stop them from succeeding in opening up for the summer.

My Take on it – As everyone who knows me is probably already aware, I’m not a fan of movies in the horror genre and stay as far away from them as possible.

On the other hand, I enjoy a good challenge, so when Darren told me that this was the theme for October, how could I refuse?

I’ve heard so much about this movie and its sequels over the years, yet never had the inclination to try and see what it was all about.

The first movies of these kind of series have usually been more grounded, so I chose to see what the film that started the Jason craze was all about.

The premise of the film is one that has been copied so many times over the past 40 years (even by other films in the series as I’ve been told).

The idea of making a slasher film in a summer camp is a great idea and has been reused numerous times because it allows for so much latitude along the way.

The cast is filled with lots of unrecognizable actors but it was great seeing Kevin Bacon in an early role as one of the counselors terrorized by this serial killer.

There are a few nice ‘scare’ moments in this film and the choice to not go too far with the gore worked well.

As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t seen any of the sequels, yet my understanding is that this is the most grounded of all of them and I’m glad that I finally got a chance to see what it was all about.

Bottom Line – Great idea that has been copied over and over during the course of the past 40 years. The idea of a slasher film in a sleep away camp has been reused so often (even in this same series), but they definitely get so much right here. The cast is filled with lots of unknowns, but it’s great seeing Bacon as one of the counselors. The film has a few nice ‘scare’ moments and I liked how they didn’t go overboard with them. I haven’t seen any of the sequels to this film, but my understanding is that this is the most grounded of the lot. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – While most of the cast and crew stayed at local hotels during filming, some of the most dedicated, including Tom Savini and Taso N. Stavrakis, stayed at the actual camp site. They had Savini’s Betamax VCR and only a couple of movies, such as Barbarella (1968) and Marathon Man (1976), on videotape to keep themselves entertained so each night they would watch one. To this day Savini says he can recite those movies by heart. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – H – Howard the Duck (1986) Movie Rob’s Pick

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“No one laughs at a master of Quack Fu! ” – Howard T. Duck

Number of Times Seen – 1 (7 Sep 2020)

Brief Synopsis – An anthropomorphic duck from another planet is transported to Earth and must find a way back to his home world.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had avoided watching for 34 years since I never heard anything good about it.

This film has a strong cult following and based on the story and the way that they present things, I’m not surprised by that at all even if it is far from being my kind of film.

This movie is terrible and has very few reasons to watch it.

The story relies far too heavily on special effects and the poorly done animatronics doesn’t help make it any more enjoyable to watch unfold because it seems far too unrealistic as presented which is quite a shame.

The story is done in a really boring way and fails to find a way to stay interesting at all.

The tone is constantly off the whole way through which also hurts this far too much.

George Lucas produced this film and that alone says so much about the kind of potential that he believed this story had.

Unfortunately for him, it was a box office bomb and it all comes across as being far too silly.

The film has a talented cast who are completely wasted here.

Lea Thompson, just off her success in Back to the Future (1985) is really wasted in the co-lead role here which is so unfortunate because she had so much potential as an actress that was squandered with this role.

Jeffrey Jones and Tim Robbins are also great actors but aren’t given enough to do here.

The look of Howard the Duck is so unrealistic that it’s quite laughable due to the way that they present things here.

Bottom Line – Horrendously bad movie that has very little saving graces. The story itself is quite boring and the tone is off kilter the entire way through. The special effects are passable, but the animatronics don’t seem to work well enough which makes things look even more unreal which is a shame. The fact that Lucas produced this film for his new Production Company says so much about his hopes for this movie working much better, but it was a complete box office bomb due to the silliness of it all. The cast is completely wasted in these roles especially Thompson who had so much promise. I can definitely understand how this film could gain a cult status, but it is not my kind of thing at all.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to reports at the time of the movie’s release, George Lucas had just built the $50-million Skywalker Ranch complex, and was counting on this film to get him back in the black. When it bombed, he was forced to start selling off assets to stay afloat. His friend Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer, offered to help by buying Lucasfilm’s newly-launched CGI animation division for a price well above market value. Lucas, in desperate straits and thankful for the assistance, agreed. That division eventually become Pixar Animation Studios. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (2/10)