In 1984, I taught at Cal State Northridge, and I regularly discussed movies that I had seen or was looking forward to. One of my students engaged me in a conversation about the upcoming summer films and asked what I most wanted to see. I remember mentioning the “Indiana Jones” film and the new “Star Trek” movie as the ones I most wanted to see. When I asked him what he was looking forward to, without a moment of hesitation he said, “Ghostbusters”. I was a little surprised. I knew it was coming and I’d read about it in “Starlog” magazine, but I did not think there was that much “want to see” value there. Boy was I wrong. Opening weekend was huge, crowds were enthusiastic and the movie played like gangbusters (not ghostbusters).

ghostbusters_ver2The design on the poster is now iconic, the “universal no” symbol imposed on top of a cartoon ghost was graphic and funny but it looked a little childish to me so I had probably dismissed the picture a little. With my students enthusiastic thumbs up, I put this film on my list to see that summer and the rest is history. “Ghostbusters” was the number one film at the box office seven weeks in a row, the number two film for six weeks, and three other non-consecutive weekends returned to the number one position during the summer months. It was the biggest film of the summer and was the second biggest film of the year. For many of you it may be the one film from 1984 that you know well because it spawned a sequel, a cartoon series and incessant talk of a third episode for the last twenty-five years.  Continue reading

Streets of Fire

Some movies need a story to carry them, some need a star, others require special effects artists to make the movie worthwhile. “Streets of Fire” doesn’t really have any of those things but it does have the vision and willpower of it’s Director, Walter Hill. After the success of “48 Hours” he was bankable, in demand, and he had a vision. His dream was a Rock and Roll fable that included all of those things a movie lover might like to see in a story, flash, neon, explosions, weird characters, gunplay and rain on the asphalt. This movie gives it to us in spades and never tries to be more important than it is.

streets_of_fire_ver1This movie screams “1980s”. The bright colors, and wall to wall soundtrack along with the high concept are all indicators of the extravagances of of that decade. “Streets of Fire”  is a license to geek out on the kinds of cinematic visuals and aural richness that make us love movies. It’s not a great film, but its a great film to watch.

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