Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
21
Dec 2018
The Three Musketeers (1993)

The Three Musketeers (1993)

Title: The Three Musketeers

Summary: Based on the classic novel, Dumas’ story of the young Gascon d’Artagnan who goes to Paris to become a Musketeer and serve the king, and how he befriends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and they have to save the king of France from being assassinated. Only this version is extremely Disney-fied!

Tagline: All for one and one for all!

Though, honestly, the other two that were used for a poster and video packaging, respectively, crack me up:

A place of betrayal. The fate of a king. A time for heroes. (Considering this movie wasn’t even filmed in Paris, let alone in France…)

They’re Scoundrels, Playboys, Outlaws . . . The Greatest Heroes Who Ever Lived. (This literally sounds like a MCU tagline. All those things describe Tony Stark.)

Book!Aramis was a complete playboy scoundrel and the Musketeers technically turn outlaw… I’m lost on the “place of betrayal” part, though.

Note: I have seen this movie many more times than an average viewer. Something like 75 times, at least 3 times in an actual movie theater, during its original release. Yes, I have a problem. A problem named Sutherland.

Oh, and I will likely make the distinction of book!CHARACTER to keep them separate from the film version, through out the recap. Because book vs movie is rather important to understand how much different the version you’re watching is compared to the actual novel.

Initial Thoughts:

The 1990s were a weird time for movies churned out by Disney. Instead of a bunch of animated films (this was just when Pixar really kicked into gear, but who really remembers A Bug’s Life?) they were releasing a bunch of family-friendly live-action films. Stuff like White Fang, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, The Rocketeer, Newsies, [Wing: Newsies is one of my favourite movies!The Mighty Ducks (and its subsequent sequels [Dove: Bagsie I get to recap them!]), and Hocus Pocus, to name a few. [bat: Okay, Wing recap Newsies, Dove recap Mighty Ducks, and I’ll recap Hocus Pocus! THEN WE CAN CROSS-COMMENT ON EVERYTHING!]

The first three years of the 1990s saw only four animated films released compared to 14 live action films. Granted, animated movies take longer, so that’s probably why. Even today that’s still true, although computer animation is much more widely used compared to the tiny bit we were all dazzled by during the ballroom sequence in Beauty and the Beast in 1992.

Also of note would be the part where Disney was pulling from classic literature and interesting life stories. Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken is based on a true story; White Fang is a Jack London novel. There were real news boys in NYC and they held a strike in 1899 but I don’t think they sang and danced while doing it. [Dove: I have only just got a copy of this, because it’s called “The News Boys” over here. I have no idea why the name was changed, but Dean Portman from Mighty Ducks will sing!] [Wing: His role is fairly small but completely delightful. Oh, god, I could talk about Newsies for hours. Carryin’ the banner, y’all.]

Alexandre Dumas’ The d’Artagnan Romances, which is the encompassing name given to all the stories Dumas penned about the 17th century musketeers and their adventures, is really, really long. Most people are familiar with The Three Musketeers, the first of the stories that runs sometimes over 700 pages in length, which introduces us to d’Artagnan and tells the story of how he becomes a member of the King’s Musketeers.

Like Disney was going to actually stick to the actual story. Based on real events and persons, it is not… shall we say… “family friendly”. There’s a ton of intrigue and romantic/sexual affairs, and murder plots, all set within the court of King Louis XIII of France.

There’s also about a billion and a half (slight exaggeration) characters with enormous French names and titles. Keeping track of it all is only slightly less harder then knowing who’s who on Game of Thrones. It’s taken me a long time to really understand it, and that’s just based on half-hearted effort to read wiki articles and such, and admittedly it interests me to a fault. Your average reader? Probably not so much.

The Three Musketeers

There was a family portrait package special down at Sears that day.

So, Disney being Disney, stripped the story line down to its basic and most “family friendly” elements. Gone are the Musketeer’s menservants, gone is Kitty and Constance’s husband, no one needs you Monsieur de Tréville! (Who is actually awesome in the BBC’s adaptation, The Musketeers.) Everyone else was either toned down or given amped up traits: Athos is the serious broken-hearted alcoholic, Porthos is the larger-than-life comic relief (although he is in the book, as well), and Aramis’ philandering ways are severely reined in.

Which, in light of what happened with Charlie Sheen, is rather funny in a dark way. Sutherland’s legal troubles with DUIs would happen after this film, so again, life and art have many blurred lines.

There’s a lot more I could get into about all this but I’d rather incorporate it into the recap, so there’s some reference that can be of aid to you, readers. It’ll help, trust me.

One last thing: most of the main cast had either previously worked for Disney at some point or subsequently went on to do something else with them after this film. Basically, once you get in bed with the House of Mouse, you never really get out again. (Well, Sheen might be the exception…)

Onward! To the recap!

[Dove: I love this movie. Oliver Platt is awesome, and I swear to god, he played this role as if he knew that gifs would be a thing one day. Also, Michael Wincott is probably my longest-running crush. He’s wonderful.] [bat: Dove, you REALLY must see Forsaken. Wincott saves that movie from being a total bore.]

[Wing: This movie is so much cheesy fun, and also full of attractive people, or at least people who are attractive in this movie even if not elsewhere.]

Read more »

Movies , , , , ,
18
May 2018
Brotherhood of Justice 1986

Brotherhood of Justice (1986)

Title: Brotherhood of Justice

Summary: The eponymous “Brotherhood of Justice” starts out as a well intention’d group of teenagers taking a stance against crime and drug use happening in their high school, but dissolves into much darker territory quite quickly.

Tagline: In this town if you deal or steal, you die… That’s a promise from the Brotherhood.

Note: This was a television movie that aired on May 18th, 1986. It’s 32 years old today. Also, you can find it uploaded to YT, if you wanna watch it.

Initial Thoughts:

In my continuing quest to be the world champion of Trivial Pursuit: Kiefer Sutherland Edition (Announcer Voice: “She was the only one playing.”) I figured we’d delve into yet another one of his films. This one isn’t as well known as others; granted, quite a few of his films are terrible and/or forgettable, so there were plenty to choose from.

But no. No, I chose Brotherhood of Justice.

Back when the internet was new™ and I was just beginning to use eBay to amass a collection of VHS tapes of his films, I stumbled into Brotherhood of Justice. Partly because in the lead role is none other than Keanu Reeves, another actor who basically ruled my pre-teen years via movies. (Wyld Stallyns forever!) Anyway, here is a film that has two of my favorite actors ever in it, was filmed in Santa Cruz, CA, and aunt Becky from Full House, too? SIGN ME UP!

Brotherhood of Justice 1986

How much false advertising can you cram into one photo?

Over the years, with both Reeves and Sutherland becoming much more higher profile in terms of careers, the packaging on this film has become absolutely bat shit bonkers. Brotherhood of Justice seems to be included on those “14 movies on one disc!” collections you find in the reduced sales bins at Kmart or Walmart. And it’s always marketed as a vigilante film — which it is — but then the packaging artist uses photos of them from, say, when they were in their mid-20s and it’s an outright lie. Or they use photos from The Matrix or thereabouts and 24 and I’m like literally standing in the aisle, pointing and screaming “LIES! ALL LIES!”

To explain, I must start from the beginning. The television film, which is what this is so don’t go expecting anything spectacular production-wise, is based on true events. In 1984, a group of young males formed “The Legion of Doom” at Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas. A group of privileged white boys from wealthy backgrounds decided to become their own justice system and, duh, went way overboard and really, this might as well be set in 2018, things haven’t fucking changed.

Anyway, you can read more about that here and here. As part of their sentences, the members of “The Legion of Doom” were not allowed to be involved with or sell rights to their story. Did that stop Hollywood from capitalizing on the story? Nope. I’m currently recapping a fictionalized version, so obviously not.

Brotherhood of Justice 1986

None of these photos are from this film. NONE.

Brotherhood of Justice 1986

AKA: PHOTOSHOP FAILURE

As I said before, when both actors’ careers took off, this one was dragged out of the vault and received weird packaging to capitalize (yet again) on people (like me) who liked their work. You can see it also (for a time) received a weird title change — High Voltage — which I cannot explain. I can’t find anything  online to tell me why they titled it that, either.

BUT. I can tell you that the photos on the backside of the VHS box (photo on the right) come from Point Break, Flashback (at least I think so? It’s not Flatliners) and that bottom one of Keanu is from Permanent Record (which was filmed in the city of my birth and I promise it, too, will be recapped in the future.) So basically NONE OF THE PHOTOS ON THE BOX are images from the actual television film. LIES! ALL LIES!!!

Even the DVD artwork is all lies. It may be titled Brotherhood of Justice on my copy, but I’m pretty sure the photograph of Sutherland is from Flatliners and the one of Keanu could be River’s Edge, though I’m not certain. Still lies. Still has zero to do with the film.

Okay, moving forward, I should add that in addition to Lori Loughlin, Billy Zane (when he still had his own real hair) shows up, and also Gary Riley, who played Charlie Hogan in Stand By Me. (Another 50 billion points for me in Trivial Pursuit: Kiefer Sutherland Edition!) It was filmed in Apatos, CA, in Santa Cruz, too, and features scenes at the Boardwalk. It’s a much different feel, the Boardwalk scenes, compared to the ones in The Lost Boys.

Here, just watch the trailer:

Without further adieu, Brotherhood of Justice.

Read more »

1986 Film Fest , , , ,
14
Feb 2018

Crazy MoonTitle: Crazy Moon (1986)

Summary: No website can agree on an “official” synopsis of this film. Let’s just say it’s a “rom-com” before that was a thing, and it’s really… strange.

Tagline: Sometimes acting crazy is the only way to stay together.

Note: I found this on YouTube. I believe it is still there; this is a hard film to find, except maybe on VHS tape. So, what I’m watching isn’t the best in picture quality, but I’ll live.

Initial Thoughts:

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! It’s kind of fitting that I ended up aiming to post this recap on the one day of the year that we’re all pressured to be romantic and shunned if we don’t have a partner. Crazy Moon is one of those “super quirky in an obvious way!” kind of films that I don’t think intended to be a “super quirky in an obvious way!” kind of films.

‘Weird’ is the adjective I keep using to describe this film to everyone I know. It’s a hot mess and needed a better director, writer, and editor. I see so much I want to fix. It’s painful how much I want to fix it.

Because of its age (32 years) and the fact that it was so low budget and is technically a foreign (Canadian) film, information is…lacking. I’m cobbling together what I can from four websites. Talk about frustrating.

A bit of back story: Kiefer Sutherland, who most of you probably best know as Jack Bauer (or in the case of Dove and Wing, as David of The Lost Boys), wasn’t well known until the mid-80s. And even then he’d done more theater then film. Literally his first acting job in the United States was Stand By Me, which he thought he failed at and was convinced he’d doomed his career over. Yes. Amazing, isn’t it.

So. Somewhere between 1985, when Stand By Me was filmed in Oregon and California, and 1986, when he went off to Santa Cruz to film The Lost Boys, he made Crazy Moon in Québec, Canada. Why do I know this? His hair. His hair is the same color as it was in Stand By Me, although longer. And he’s way too tan, which was because the hoodlum gang got frequently sunburned while filming the car scenes in Stand By Me.

Yeah, I am a strange font of even stranger knowledge but I would hands down win “Trivial Pursuit: Kiefer Sutherland Edition”.

Plus, he’s super young. Maybe 19, probably closer to 18, because he was only 20 when he filmed The Lost Boys. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if he filmed this before Stand By Me, but I swear the info I can find is conflicting in every which way. The film appears to have been theatrically released in Canada in 1986, but wasn’t released theatrically in the US until December 1987, in a bid to capitalize on Sutherland’s sudden fame after The Lost Boys was a box office hit that July.

Ironically, the character in Crazy Moon is a complete opposite of David in The Lost Boys, although I think he talks even less in Crazy Moon.

Honestly, I would try to summarize the film, but I don’t want to. I think I’ll leave it all for the recap.

Read more »

1986 Film Fest, Movies , , , , , , , ,