Like the villain in a late-night horror movie, this just refuses to die, no matter how many times you try! The joy of doing this is getting the chance to revisit some old favourites as well as jogging the memory of those films once thought lost in the ether. Hold on to something because we’ve got company…
BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (1989)
These days film sequels are filmed back-to-back all the time. In 1989, however, this was the first instance that I recall seeing of this happening. There was such a buzz about there being a sequel to the classic time travel adventure so adding that there would be TWO sequels within months of each other was just mind blowing – much like this film! Following on from the end of the first film, we see Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) taking Marty (Michael J. Fox) and his girlfriend Jennifer (this time played by Elizabeth Shue) back to the future to save their kids. What ensues is, to quote another famous time traveller, Doctor Who, “a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” adventure that is just too darn confusing to explain here! Opinions are divided as to whether this or it’s successor is the best of the sequels but for my money, you can’t rule this one out!
WATCH IT FOR: Marty arrives in a future version of Hill Valley
CITY HEAT (1984)
On paper, this film should have been a lot better than it was. Two of Hollywood’s biggest stars together for the first (and last) time! Clint Eastwood is a tough, no-nonsense police lieutenant who reluctantly joins forces with his former partner-turned private eye Burt Reynolds to solve a murder. Like I said, it should have been a lot better but I think what appealed to me was the pairing of the two stars, even though the film as a whole was pretty awful.
WATCH IT FOR: This trailer is pretty much all you need to see!
As buddy cop movies go, this one is pretty cool. Jim Belushi plays a maverick police detective who, while trying to catch an elusive criminal, enlists the help of a new partner, Jerry Lee, a police dog. The pair are, as you’d expect, quite mismatched but soon a bond develops and they become a force to be reckoned with. This was one of two films released in the same year where cops and dogs partnered up, Turner and Hooch is perhaps more fondly remembered but out of the two I prefer this one, mainly because Jerry Lee is prettier than Hooch!
WATCH IT FOR: Belushi’s cop meets Jerry Lee for the first time
Bryan Brown returns as F/X genius Rollie Tyler, now a toy maker, who is hired by his girlfriend’s policeman ex-husband to help catch a killer. The operation goes sour and the ex-husband is killed. Tyler ends up hiring old friend Leo McCarthy (Brian Dennehy) to solve the case. I absolutely love this film and it’s original and wish they had made at least one more. Both Brown and Dennehy are excellent as are the effects Tyler uses, including the clown. Much like the first one, this film deserves a little more recognition and love.
WATCH IT FOR: Clown fight!
OH, MR PORTER! (1937)
I love Will Hay and his films, this one being one of his finest. Hay plays a railway employee who, through a relative, is given the job of stationmaster at a sleepy Irish village. Desperate to put this village on the map he devises schemes to improve publicity but soon falls foul to a gang of gun runners. Joining Hay in this comedy are his two usual companions, Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt who are just as bumbling and inept as he is. This is a delightful film but I don’t think Will Hay is appreciated as much as he should be. You really should check out his films, including this one! One for the trivia fans: this is the film that The Boys In Blue (1982) was based on!
WATCH IT FOR: “When a train’s late…”
Dennis Quaid is one of my favourite actors yet I’d almost completely forgotten this little gem of a horror. A young psychic is hired by a government agency experimenting with dream sharing technology. He is tasked with implanting an idea into the mind of the U.S. president. The poster art would lead you to believe this is a cheery adventure movie but it’s anything but. Quite dark and chilling in places, Dreamscape is a great thriller and, like a few films I’ve featured in this series, deserves a little more love and respect.
WATCH IT FOR: Don’t fall…
Long before he became the conqueror of all movies, Tom Hanks was a mainstay of the daft 80s comedy. They don’t come much dafter or sillier than this one! Dan Aykroyd plays Friday, a by-the-book police detective who is partnered with Hanks as his complete opposite to solve a series of bizarre crimes. The two leads work brilliantly together, bouncing off each other like the pro’s they are. It might not be to everyone’s taste but Dragnet certainly is a great comedy, despite being a little bit bonkers!
WATCH IT FOR: The trailer – “Thank God it’s Friday!”
THE PLAYER (1992)
“No stars, just talent” – this is an absolute gem of a movie. A film about the business of making film from director Robert Altman. Tim Robbins plays a movie executive who is receiving death threats from a writer whose script he rejected. Trouble is, he’s rejected that many that he doesn’t know who’s threatening him! From the opening eight minute tracking shot you know you’re in for a treat. Star cameos aplenty (so many that you forget who is actually in it!) help move this murder mystery along but it’s really Robbins who shines here.
WATCH IT FOR: The pitch!
WHAT ABOUT BOB? (1991)
Richard Dreyfuss plays a very successful psychotherapist who slowly loses his own mind when one of his most dependant patients, Bill Murray, tracks him down while he is on a family holiday. Murray is brilliant, as always, as the neurotic Bob, but it’s Dreyfuss who, as the very strait-laced and strict therapist, dazzles as he begins to unwind when Bob turns up at his door. It’s a very funny film and one that doesn’t get the credit it truly deserves.
WATCH IT FOR: “He’s never gone!”
THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE (2001)
From the highly-acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone is a supernatural horror like no other. Set during the time of the Spanish Civil War it sees a young orphan (Fernando Tielve) arriving at a creepy boy’s orphanage that holds many dark secrets, not least the ghost of a former resident. Much scarier than anything Hollywood has to offer, The Devil’s Backbone is a masterpiece of Spanish cinema and the chills remain long after the credits have finished rolling.
WATCH IT FOR: Even the trailer gives you the chills!
The credits roll on another collection of films that have made an impact on me in some way. A couple of hidden gems in the mix as well as a couple of lesser gems, but gems nonetheless! Part fifteen is on the way, as is another Face Is Familiar… so do please stick around for that. As always, if you want to share your thoughts on anything here please drop me a line…go on, you know you want to!