Starman

This is a movie that at one point was the hot alien visiting Earth property which had a lot of directors attached to it., Of course the other story about an alien visiting Earth got made and released first and that worked out well for Steven Spielberg. John Carpenter made this, his most mainstream film, after “The Thing” failed at the box office and he needed to show he could do a commercial picture. While it did not have the box office success of “E.T.”, it is an artistic achievement and contains one of the most interesting performances by an actor in this, or any other year. Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen lend a sweetness to the film that is totally different than the other film, and a lot more mature in some ways.

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The premise of the movie is that we have invited a visit from Extra-terrestrial beings, but are clearly not prepared to handle such a visit. The alien visitor is detected by the military and SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), but before they get to the site of a space ship crash, the visitor has taken on the form of a recently deceased house painter by cloning a body from DNA found in the widow’s home. He than hijacks the widow to take him to a rendezvous site on the other side of the country, “Arizona Maybe”. Jenny Hayden is confused as hell that her dead husband has come to life, but she recognizes almost immediately that something is wrong. The visitor has a rudimentary understanding of language but not much else and he learns by watching and copying the actions and behaviors of the humans he encounters.

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Against All Odds

A successful L.A. mystery/romance that features two incredibly beautiful people in a mixed up love triangle. “Against All Odds” is probably best remembered for the title song than the lush Mexican scenery from the first hour or the typical real estate driven plot in the second.  It comes from a time when L.A. had three professional football teams playing and the Go Go Eighties were in full swing. against_all_odds

My wife and I saw this opening night on a Friday in 1984, the next day some friends of ours wanted to see it so I returned with them and my wife stayed home. It was after the group of us got back to our apartment that my wife told me she had received a phone call while we were gone and it concerned a friend of mine. He had been murdered and his body was just recovered weeks after the crime. My friend had been involved in some shady business and his partners basically took him for a ride. This movie had so much of that L.A. crime world aura around it, and there is a scene towards the end where one of the characters has basically been told he will not be returning from the car ride that everyone is making. I can never watch this film without thinking of my friend and the wrong turn he took in his life. One of the reasons that it still resonates is that the movie perfectly captures so much about the L.A. scene at the time. The fashions and hairstyles are not obtrusive and the locations have changed only slightly in the thirty years since. “Against All Odds” is a neo noir that still holds up today with only a couple of reservations. Continue reading