Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '87 - Todd Liebenow ""

Monday, April 24, 2017

Underrated '87 - Todd Liebenow

Todd writes about neglected cinema at his blog Forgotten Films, which I am a big fan of:
http://forgottenfilmcast.wordpress.com/
He also runs a great podcast about those kind of movies there too and I was a guest on the show (talking about MIDNIGHT MADNESS):
https://forgottenfilmcast.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/forgotten-filmcast-ep-65-midnight-madness/
Todd also has another podcast called "Walt Sent Me" all about Disney films:
http://waltsentmepodcast.podomatic.com/
He also writes articles for Man I Love Films:
http://manilovefilms.com/author/squonk/

Lastly, find him on twitter here:
https://twitter.com/ForgottenFilmz
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Three O’Clock High (1987; Phil Joanou)
I know Brian himself with mention this one, but it can’t be repeated enough. Three O’Clock High is perhaps the most original of all the 80’s high school comedies. It has a clever script and an unmatched visual creativity. It also boasts my favorite of all 80’s teen villains, Richard Tyson as Buddy Revell. His performance is filled with a nuance you don’t usually see in such a role. This is a must see.
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Hiding Out (1987; Bob Giraldi)
While we’re on the subject of high school comedies, Jon Cryer stars in this one as a stockbroker who hides as a teenage student to escape mob hitmen. Cryer is charming in the dorky sort of way that he’s so good at...but this isn’t Ducky. You also get Keith Coogan and an extremely crushable Annabeth Gish. Add in two hit singles, “Catch Me I’m Falling” by Pretty Poison and “Crying” by Roy Orbison and K.D. Lang, and you’ve got what you need for silly teenage fun.
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Morgan Stewart’s Coming Home (1987; Alan Smithee)
Speaking of Jon Cryer, he also stars in this comedy that was actually filmed before Pretty in Pink. He plays a politician’s kid who has spent his whole life at boarding school. Suddenly, though, he brought back home to be prop for the next campaign. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this was directed by “Alan Smithee;” this is a fun one. Movie fans will relate to Morgan’s love of zombie flicks. Lynn Redgrave and Paul Gleason are fun in villainous roles. The fact that I also had a huge crush on Cryer’s love interest, Viveka Davis, has also helped give this one a special place in my heart.
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Return to Horror High (1987; Bill Froehlich)
I’m never sure how to describe this one. It’s an 80’s slasher film, but also a parody of the genre, that is about the filming of an 80’s slasher film. It actually covers similar ground as Wes Craven’s Scream, but nine years earlier. The horror works, the comedy works, and one of the victims is George ClooneyQ Oh. and Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick) plays a cop.
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Hollywood Shuffle (1987; Robert Townsend)
Writer, director, and star Robert Townsend made this film over the course of several years, paying for it on his credit cards. It features a series of sketches, but wrapped around the story of a young African-American actor struggling to get parts other than drug dealers and gang members. The great supporting cast features a pre-In Living Colour Keenan Ivory Wayans...who almost steals the show as a villain named Jheri Curl
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Back to the Beach (1987; Lyndall Hobbs)
Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello return for this loving salute to the AIP beach party films of the 60’s. The film is filled with 60’s star cameos including Connie Stevens, Dick Dale, Jerry Mathers, and Bob Denver...yet the film never leans too heavily on nostalgia. The script is funny and the cast is clearly having a ball. One of my favorite moments is always Pee-wee Herman’s rendition of “Surfin’ Bird.” Oh, and on hand to take up the uber cute mantle from Annette is Lori Loughlin, before she was Aunt Becky.
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The Gate (1987; Tibor Takacs)
Suburban parents in the 80’s were all worked up thinking that heavy metal music would turn their kids into devil worshipers. Well, in this film a metal album ends up opening a gateway to hell in the backyard...and while Mom and Dad are away, of course. This is a fun horror flick made with the kiddies in mind. It’s very Spielbergian in it’s presentation with plenty of scares and laughs to boot.
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House II: The Second Story (1987; Ethan Wiley)
Forget about the backyard, this follow up to the previous year’s House has rooms that lead to other dimensions. Definitely more comedy than horror, but so much fun. You get Royal Dano as a zombie prospector, a Playboy centerfold as an Aztec princess, dinosaurs, a strange half-dog half-caterpillar thing and crystal skulls. This movie has it all...including John Ratzenberger!
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1 comment:

beamish13 said...

Nice list. I've seen Three O'Clock High in 35mm twice-an amazing work of art that demands to be seen with a large audience. Hiding Out is a real gem, too-who can't love a film that has snipers in a high school gymnasium?