Well, it seems like absolutely ages since I gave you part twenty three of this odyssey but here we go again with another edition. This time around there is at least one film that I hadn’t thought about for years until it just suddenly popped into my brain while trying to research another project, while the others are pretty much standard movies I’ve seen again and again but just happened to forget about until now! Anyway, enough of me yacking on…we’ve got work to do!
UNCLE BUCK (1989)
The ever reliable, and much-missed, John Candy was perfect in this film from John Hughes. Candy is Buck Russell, confirmed bachelor and all-round slob, who is forced to look after his brother’s three kids. Hughes’ ability to tap into the mind of the American teenager was one of his masterstrokes and he does it again here. Jean Louisa Kelly as Tia is about as dysfunctional a teen you could find while Gaby Hoffman and a pre-Home Alone Macaulay Culkin provide the cuteness overload. But this is really John Candy’s film in which he showcases not only his brilliant comedic bones but also his heart.
WATCH IT FOR: “Here’s a quarter…”
JUST CAUSE (1995)
Sean Connery stars in this solid thriller as Paul Armstrong, a Harvard professor lured back into the courtroom after 25 years to represent a young black man who has been sentenced to death for the murder of a young girl. Laurence Fishburne plays the local sheriff who resents Armstrong’s presence and who believes the police have their man. Connery is, as usual, brilliantly cool and takes no nonsense from the locals as he delves deeper into this horrific crime.
WATCH IT FOR: Trailer
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
John Carpenter made his name in the seventies and eighties as one of the leading lights of cinematic horror with Halloween, The Fog and The Thing. Here, though, he ventures into the world of comedy, adventure and fantasy. Kurt Russell stars as Jack Burton, a truck driver, who arrives in San Francisco’s Chinatown where all manner of weird and wonderful things happen. Kim Cattrall and the ever present James Hong provide solid support in this rip-roaring extravaganza.
WATCH IT FOR: The Three Storms
CITY SLICKERS (1991)
Three middle-aged friends – Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby – are having a mid-life crisis and decide the only way to celebrate their milestone birthday is to go on a cattle drive from New Mexico to Colorado. Whilst there, they meet Curly (Jack Palance) who teaches them everything they need to know about being a cowboy, as well as a few things about life. It’s a wonderful, uplifting comedy that brought the legendary Palance his only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
WATCH IT FOR: The Secret of Life
Big screen adaptations of Roald Dahl stories haven’t always been up to the quality of the original product. With this movie version of Matilda (a book I absolutely adore), director Danny DeVito has managed to capture the spirit and essence of the source material. Mara Wilson stars as the eponymous heroine, a little girl who just so happens to be a genius, and the fight against her horrid family (DeVito and Rhea Perlman play her parents) and the hideous Miss Trunchbull (a delightfully wicked Pam Ferris). As adaptations go, this is one of the best.
WATCH IT FOR: Hammer Throw!
BLADE RUNNER (1982)
With a sequel (Blade Runner 2049) currently in cinemas it seems only right to revisit this classic piece of sci-fi. Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick (“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”) and from pioneering director Ridley Scott, Blade Runner is a bleak, film-noir-style thriller set in a futuristic Los Angeles where Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is on the trail of a group of replicants (androids that look like humans) who have staged a mutiny on the Off World colony. Its a dark, brooding thriller made all the more menacing by Rutger Hauer‘s Roy Batty.
WATCH IT FOR: “Tears in the rain”
Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) is a scientist who is regarded by everyone he meets as a failure. He invents a machine that makes food fall from the sky but little does he know that trouble will soon follow. The story has been told many times before – local laughing stock comes good – but here its given a quirky twist with giant food falling from the sky. The animation is beautiful and the script is as witty as you like, add to this the voice talents of James Caan, Anna Faris and Mr. T and you’ve got yourself a winner!
WATCH IT FOR: Raining burgers!
James Stewart is wonderful in this film version of the hit stage play. In it he plays Elwood P. Dowd, a man who insists that he has a friend in the form of an invisible six-foot high rabbit called Harvey. Because of this his family and friends believe him to be insane and try to have him committed. This is a whimsical tale, almost fable-like with Stewart giving one of his finest performances and providing cinema with one of the best fantasy comedies in history.
WATCH IT FOR: Stewart’s performance
GUNG HO (1986)
Michael Keaton plays Hunt Stevenson, a worker at an American car firm that has just been taken over by a Japanese company. He must act as a mediator between his co-workers and new owners while justify the existence of his own job. Director Ron Howard brings humour to a culture clash drama which is, in essence, slightly clichéd and mundane but its Keaton’s performance that keeps things moving.
WATCH IT FOR: Morning exercises
HIGH SOCIETY (1956)
As movie remakes go, High Society is a pretty good one. Based on the 1940 romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story it sees Grace Kelly as a spoiled heiress who finds herself having to choose between three suitors, two of which are played by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Sure, it lacks the fizz and punch of the original but it does boast a number of glorious songs and has a fun, flighty nature about it not to mention an appearance from Louis Armstrong and his band.
WATCH IT FOR: Well Did You Evah?
Well, did you ever? There goes another edition of My Life In Film… I promise not to leave it so long until the next one but, as it’s that time of year, the next entry will be a Halloween special so keep your eyes peeled for that one! As for this edition, well I think its quite eclectic as per usual, don’t you think? If you’ve liked what you’ve seen here then please do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. Until the next time…
“It’s all in the reflexes”