It (1983)/Money For Nothing
Artists/MGM/all Kino Blu-rays)
B-/B/B Sound: C+/B-/C+ Extras: C-/C-/C+ Films: C+
the early 1980s, Hollywood decided to try and turn back the clock, be
Reaganized and make many a simple, safe film and this included a new
group of young stars. Many became part of the grouping dubbed 'The
Brat Pack' by the press, but as Director Joel Schumacher (whose St.
was a yuppie answer to Barry Levinson's superior Diner,
but all trying to be the next variant of Lucas' American
(1973)) pointed out, it was press-created and a disservice to all the
he first stated this (including on the audio commentary on Fire),
it is now apparent he may have been highly underestimating how bad
the situation really was and is. Most of the actors of that period
have been oddly uncelebrated, forgotten and even thrown away by the
media. Save a lucky few, there is no nostalgia for them, no
celebration of the 1980s that includes them as heavily as it ought to
and the many weak films they made or were not the hits they should
have been are included as part of this problem. Still, many were
ambitious and certainly better than much of the really bad releases
(or is that bored package deals) we are seeing today.
to this that there was often serious talent behind the camera and the
erasing of these actors becomes odder. Here are four films from the
period issued on Blu-ray that are curios, though too many are not
aware of them or forgot the films were made!
(1983) might be best remembered as one of those early films Tom
Cruise was in and he is, but it also happens to be directed by Curtis
and also stars Jackie Earle Haley (a child star more well known than
Cruise at the time who has managed to still be a working actor and
star today) and a young Shelley Long just before landing the TV hit
Its the later 1950s when a group of young male friends (Cruise and
Haley included) just becoming teens decide to find out more about
women, sex and drinking by gong to Tijuana, Mexico. The film even
has some great classic hits of the period, then also adds odd 1980s
pop songs made for the film.
the film is uneven, it is always interesting and trying to be
authentic, the actors are brave to be vulnerable as they would have
been in real life then and its look is very convincing. There is
even some chemistry, but the script is a little uneven and that stops
the film from being even better. One wonders if the new songs were
forced on the production. It also has John Stockwell (later of John
reviewed elsewhere on this site) and he fell through somewhere
between the two actors that made it and the upcoming 'Brat' cycle to
John and Joan Cusack were also around at the time starting their
careers and both have made some great movies, given some memorable
performances and were in that space between honest 1970s films about
growing up and the problematic 1980s films that the 'Brat' films
often include. They also both made the transition into adult acting
and still work, even if John has been in more B-movies when he
deserves more and Say
is now a classic despite being underrated, underappreciated and
disrespected upon its original release.
(1993) was one of those early Hollywood Pictures live action releases
Disney was pumping out and having some hits with. Using Pittsburgh
too obviously and often as a stand-in for Philadelphia, where some of
the film was also shot, this is a heist comedy with few laughs and
new ideas, but still has plenty of talent. Not that well directed,
Michael Madsen, a very young James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman
(both gone way too soon), Frankie Faison, Fionnula Flanagan, Michael
Rappaport and two actors still active today: the always
underestimated Debi Mazar and now Academy Award winner Benicio Del
Toro. Yet, the film is a miss and already, you can see at this point
that no 'Brat Pack' members show up in a film that via the Hollywood
star system, they would have shown up in otherwise. Cusack could
almost be included, but he was never totally, officially part of that
result is a mere package deal that does not deliver, yet another film
far more people would be interested in seeing or re-seeing because of
the talent involved, so with so many bad and far more violent heist
films being made since, this has no cult following either.
that brings us to the film in the chronological middle which also
does not have any cult following and is not discussed much despite
the talent involved. Peter Markle's Youngblood
(1986) was as well promoted as the other films and hit starved MGM/UA
thought they had a hit on their hands in this drama/comedy with
still-popular Rob Lowe as a young guy who wants to play hockey, but
is about to discover it will involve more bullying, peer pressure,
male bonding and the like than he expects. Fair enough and it is
totally a Canadian production, one we can look back on as an early
success that made filmmaking up north a big deal and evolved into its
own industry that it was totally absent in being in the later 1970s.
late Patrick Swayze (who hot the respect he deserved before leaving
us too early) is on the team already, a secondary league team versus
the National Hockey League, but his character is the high scorer.
Like a music video or the sudden new masculinity in the Reagan era,
all the guys were suddenly toned and from the gym, even filmed like a
music video or like models, as the film flaunts sexuality, does some
gay-baiting (Lowe is practically nude in one scene when his love
interest (Cynthia Gibb) shows up as he is stuck in a hallway) and I
doubt we would see such a scene today.
cast (also including character actor Ed Lauter, Jim Youngs and a
brief early appearance by the one who is now the biggest star of them
all, Keanu Reeves (he's part of the gang and has some dialogue) does
their best to give good acting performances and make this believable.
It also plays more like a Canadian independent production despite
the 1980s Hollywoodisms, so why is it not more well known or a curio?
Well, its better than those Mighty
films and may not be as brutally honest and wacky as Slapshot
with Paul Newman, yet it is one of the few films about hockey with
any credibility despite its cliches and issues.
continued his career long after his 'Brat' contemporaries, TV and
otherwise, but this film too has just disappeared moire into the
'memory hole' than it might have if from another era and with other
actors. Even a few big stars and big stars to be have not been
enough for these films to be talked about, but their arrival on
Blu-ray should be reason enough to revisit and reconsider them to at
least some extent.
also look decent enough with all the films presented in 1080p 1.85 X
1 digital High Definition image transfers save the later Money
in 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition (home video had the studios
insisting on 1.85 too often, killing true scope productions until the
early 1990s) and they look decent with name Directors of Photography
on each. The legendary Gilbert Taylor, B.S.C., shot Losin'
and he is applying a certain sense of style when he can, but a few
times, I could not tell if it was style or the age of the transfer or
film materials used. It looks fine otherwise.
Siegel, A.S.C., lensed Money
and Mark Irwin, C.S.C., Youngblood,
both now known for their many hit genre films and some impressive TV
work. Irwin is probably one of the most successful cinematographers
in all of Canada and the films look good, though Youngblood
is more stylized.
three have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless
mixes, but Losin'
was a monophonic release and the later two films 2.0 Stereo
and issued theatrically in Dolby older analog A-type noise reduction
system with mono surrounds. If you get those two, use Pro Logic (or
any variant thereof) to decode the surrounds.
on all three releases have multiple trailers for other releases and
one for each respective film, but Youngblood
has a feature length audio commentary track by Director Markle that's
not bad to hear after seeing the film.
for my points on the 'Brat Pack' era, I hope to revisit these points
and add to them with future such releases. We'll see what else we
can identify about the era then/