Tag Archives: Miami Vice

If These Movies Are On Television, Then I Will Watch Them

30 Jul

The other day, I wrote a post about the BBC and its list of the 100 best American films, and a commenter said that I should provide my own list of top movies. Unfortunately, I am not a movie critic and cannot delve into the intricacies of acting and directing. I only know what movies I like and do not like.

With that in mind, I decided to take this challenge into a different direction. When I am scrolling through the guide, there are some things that I will automatically click on and watch for a while. This includes a few movies with different levels of quality. If I cannot make a list of the greatest movies of all time, then I can make a list of the 10 movies I will always watch if I see them on the television guide.

They are coming at you in the order that I thought of them.

Manhunter (1986) – This was on last night and led me to write this post. It is the first movie about Hannibal Lecter and is directed by Michael Mann. In other words, it is Silence of the Lambs meets Miami Vice. You may have seen its remake, Red Dragon, but this one is a lot more entertaining.

Flash Gordon (1980) – Let Dino de Laurentiis try to capitalize on the Star Wars phenomenon, and this is what you get. It has some great actors and some not-so-great actors, but they are all having a good time. It would have been awesome to been in the room when Flash attacked Ming’s guards by playing football. On top of that, Ornella Muti is there in all her glory.Ornella

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) – Two stars of the 1980s, Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke, try to make their transition into the next decade. They ride motorcycles. They go after drug dealers. They act cool. Well, acting might be too strong of a word. I have already written about this one and will move on down the line.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) – When I become king, a new law will make its way across the land. As a testament to its greatness, everyone must watch this movie. Clint Eastwood is awesome, and it is filled with awesome quotes. I should know because I have them all memorized. In the early days of this blog, I wrote an extensive post about this one.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – As with the previous movies, I have already written about this one. Burt Reynolds is at his peak. Jackie Gleason is hilarious. I saw it five times when it was in release and can never watch it too many times. The only problem is that television cleans up the language and, in the process, destroys a lot of the laughs.

El Dorado (1966) – I could have listed a ton of John Wayne movies, but I think I click on this one more than any other. It could be because this one is on regularly. Anyway, it is a script that was filmed several times, but it never gets old. Oh yeah, there is one other thing. As I have written before, it is a poetic movie.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) – This is a terrible movie. Klinton Spilsbury never made another movie. Heck, he did not really make this one. James Keach was brought in to dub his lines. However, it has some redeeming qualities. Merle Haggard sings the theme song, and part of it was filmed in Monument Valley.

Logan’s Run (1976) – I am a big fan of dystopian movies, and this is one of my favorites. How can post-apocalyptic life be bad with scantily clad women everywhere? On top of that, a push of a button can make one of the scantily clad women appear instantly in your apartment. The only thing that could go wrong is that Carrousel ride at the age of 30. On second thought, it would probably be better to live with a bunch of cats in a destroyed Washington, D.C.Cats

For Love of the Game (1999) – This is a movie that used to hit me on a deep emotional level. As the years pass, it does not have the same effect. Despite that, it is still a good movie. Kevin Costner has made a bunch of sports movies, but this is my favorite one. It could be because Vin Scully is calling the game.

Legends of the Fall (1994) – This is another movie that reaches me on an emotional level, but it is also interesting in a historical sense. Obviously, it is about a family that goes through years of heartache. However, it is also about rum-running during Prohibition. They talk about the Volstead Act and smuggling alcohol across the Canadian border. I could go deeper into a historical analysis, but I may need that for another post.

Now, let us analyze the list by decade.

1960s – 1

1970s – 3

1980s – 3

1990s – 3

Interestingly, nothing made in the past 16 years has knocked a movie off this list. I wonder what that means.

Then, there is this. Over half of the list was filmed between 1976 and 1986. Those must have been formative movie years for me.

Anyway, those are the movies that I will always watch if I find them on television. What are a few of the movies that would make your list?

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The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1985

7 Apr

Wow, I cannot believe that 1985 was thirty years ago. I started the year as a sophomore and ended the year as an upperclassman. For a high school kid, that makes all the difference in the world. I could not play an instrument, but I could play the radio.1985

The year began with Madonna continuing her “Like a Virgin” dominance of the charts. In fact, the entire month of January belonged to her.

In February, her song was replaced by “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. It was one of my favorites and was a big deal for a kid who really wondered what love was all about.

It was soon replaced with “Careless Whisper” by Wham! featuring George Michael. This should have been a clear signal to the other guy. George was about to be the star of the duo. I guess that is why I call him the other guy.

REO Speedwagon was up next with “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. Honestly, I never understood the fascination with this band or this song.

“One More Night” started a big year for Phil Collins. This would be the first of three Number One songs for the singer/drummer. Or, is it drummer/singer?

Phil Collins was good, but he could not hold off a bunch of stars raising money for Africa. “We Are the World” was a song, an event and a pretty good video. It was performed by USA for Africa, a group of singers who were not all from the USA. Ever wonder who took part in this project? Wonder no more. The group was made up of (in alphabetical order):

Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheila E., Bob Geldof, Hall and Oates, James Ingram, Jackie Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Al Jarreau, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News, Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, The Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder

It stayed on top for four weeks before Madonna struck back with “Crazy for You”.

She stayed in that spot for a week and was knocked out by a song that played over the end credits of a movie. The Breakfast Club struck a chord with high school kids, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds was the song that made this chord stick.

Wham! returned with “Everything She Wants” and made sure “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” would have to be remembered because, after one week, it was a thing of the past.

Then, one of my favorite 1980s groups hit the Number One spot. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears was, in my opinion, the best song of the year.

Unfortunately, it was soon replaced by the overrated Bryan Adams with “Heaven”.

“Sussudio” by Phil Collins made sure that Bryan Adams went away. Although, I still have not figured out who or what Sussudio is supposed to be.

James Bond could save the world, but he could also put a theme song at the top of the carts. “A View to a Kill” by Duran Duran held the Number One spot for two weeks. They did it despite being connected to Roger Moore, one of my least favorite 007s.

Paul Young and “Everytime You Go Away” accomplished what no villain could. He defeated James Bond. However, he did not hold on for long.

Tears for Fears returned with “Shout”, which was not as good as their previous hit. I have no idea how it stayed at the top longer than the other one.

I admit that the 1980s were cheesy. That cheesiness was defined by Huey Lewis and the News, a group that hit Number One with “The Power of Love”.

Unfortunately for Huey, the Brat Pack would not be denied. They drove Simple Minds to the top. Now, they did the same thing for John Parr. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” was the theme song for the movie with the same name.

The fire was doused by one of the greatest videos of the 1980s. “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits provided a regular person’s view of music superstardom. The video was early computerization at its best. The song was Number One for three weeks and was followed by a string of one-week wonders.

“Oh Sheila” by Ready for the World started the trend. That was followed by “Take On Me” by a-ha, a song that was driven by its awesome video.

Whitney Houston had a Number One song with “Saving All My Love for You” and was followed by Stevie Wonder with “Part-Time Lover”. It looks as if those songs have two different philosophies.

Another theme song reached the peak of the charts. “Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer was an instrumental that took the country by storm. Of course, Miami Vice also took the country by storm and influenced 1980s lifestyle and fashion. This is where I should admit that I have never seen an episode of Miami Vice. I may be a product of the 1980s, but I still have television taste. Give me The Equalizer and The A-Team anytime.

Jefferson Airplane? Jefferson Starship? Starship? They need to make up their minds. Anyway, Starship had a hit called “We Built This City”.

The year could not end without another Phil Collins hit. However, “Separate Lives” was a duet with Marilyn Martin.

Another typical 1980s group replaced the work of Phil and Marilyn. “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister held the top position for two weeks. However, the year ended with the return of Lionel Richie and “Say You, Say Me”.

Did you have any favorites that did not reach Number One? Let me know.

 

 

 

 

Six Degrees of Joe Walsh

7 May

I have been flipping through the television dial (yes, television used to have dials that you actually got out of the chair and turned) and hit upon Guitar Center Sessions on the Audience channel. Tonight’s episode features Joe Walsh, one of the all time greats. This guy isn’t just a great guitar player. He has lived one crazy life.Joe Walsh

Walsh has had a varied career as a solo artist and member of several bands, but he may be best known as one of The Eagles. That band was founded by Don Henley and Glenn Frey. When the band broke up, they both had successful solo careers. Frey even spent some time acting on Miami Vice.Glenn Frey

Miami Vice made Don Johnson famous for his white suits, pastel shirts and cool cars. He was the definition of the 1980s. Johnson tried to parlay his television fame to the movies, but, like many television stars, the transfer didn’t go so well. However, he just appeared as a plantation owner in Django Unchained, the controversial and Oscar-winning film by Quentin Tarantino.Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino came to the attention of most people when he made Pulp Fiction. Of course, that was a ground breaking film that revitalized the career of John Travolta. He danced. He killed. He got killed before showing back up at the end of the movie. It takes a heck of a writer to come up with something like that.

Welcome Back, Kotter introduced Travolta to television audiences as one of the Sweathogs. A vehicle for comedian Gabe Kaplan, the show ended up focusing on the misfits in an inner city high school. There was Vinnie Barbarino, Horshack, Boom Boom Washington, and Epstein. It stayed on for a couple of years and launched Travolta, unlike Don Johnson, to movie stardom. Kaplan went on to play poker and become a poker commentator.Gabe Kaplan

As a member of the professional poker community, Kaplan has played against many of the great players and won Amarillo Slim’s  Super Bowl of Poker in 1980. Slim was considered one of poker’s great players, but he was a better talker. After his win in the 1972 World Series of Poker, Slim appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.Amarillo Slim

Johnny Carson’s father was known as “Kit” Carson, whose nickname was derived from a famous figure in the history of the American West. He gained fame through many endeavors, including being a trapper in the Rocky Mountains.Kit Carson

One of Joe Walsh’s best songs is Rocky Mountain Way.