Archive for the movies Category

2020 Year End Honorable Mentions – Movies

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 21, 2021 by Paxton

Movie Report

So all my favorite lists (books, movies) are out there for the world to see.  I even talked to you about my favorite novelizations on I Read Movies as well as provided you some honorable mentions in books and comics.  So I guess I should come up with some honorable mentions for movies.

This list will be some movies I wanted to talk about, good or bad.  These aren’t all “just missed the favorites list”.  Some of these were never going to make the list.  But maybe I had something more to say about them.

Let’s go.

Bill & Ted 3
Bill & Ted Face the Music
– I want to start with two nostalgia bombs that I watched last year.  First, Bill & Ted 3.  I was one of the ones that was pretty excited about this.  I love the first movie.  I really enjoy the second movie.  I’ve read a ton of the comics that have come out in the intervening years.  I was so ready for this.  And it was great.  Fun and fast paced.  Lots of fun twists and turns.  I feel like some of the story sort of covered the same ground of what’s been done before.  I love Samara Weaving as Bill’s daughter.  Bridget Lundy-Paine as Ted’s daughter took some getting used to, but she’s fine.  I like the story tries to bring in the Princesses more, but ultimately it doesn’t really amount to much.  I enjoyed returning to this world, I enjoyed seeing Reeves and Winter back in their iconic roles, I enjoyed that they tried something a little different (and a lot the same).  As a Bill & Ted fan, I had a lot of fun.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
Jay & Silent Bob Reboot
– This was the second “nostalgia bomb” movie I watched last year.  I’m a fan of Jay and Silent Bob.  This movie was really a sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which I’m mostly a fan of.  I always enjoy seeing these View Askew characters in another movie.  And Kevin has a lot of famous friends and pretty much all of them try to make an appearance in this movie.  And that’s ultimately my problem.  This movie doesn’t feel like one continuous movie, but a collection of scenes, filmed separately, with no one interacting with anyone except Jay and Silent Bob.  I know this is due to stars’ scheduling issues, but I feel it in the film.  However, I do appreciate the effort to bring people back.  Jason Lee.  Joey Lauren Adams.  Even Ben Affleck makes an appearance.  But all of their appearances are clearly walled off from everything else that happens in the movie.  The fun of all the interactions is lost.  We only see Jay and Silent Bob reacting.  So, I was a bit disappointed.  But I’m glad I watched it.  I hear Kevin is back on getting Clerks 3 written.  I’m a little wary about that.  I heard Jeff Anderson doesn’t want to do Randal anymore, but if he’s back in, then more power to Kev.

Last Blood
Rambo Last Blood
– Okay, I guess technically, this would be a third nostalgia bomb that I watched.  I’m a Rambo fan.  I love 1-2, forget 3 even exists, and love the 2008 Rambo movie.  So I was excited to see “one last ride” for this character.  And what a great title.  You know what, I would have really liked this movie if it wasn’t Rambo.  It’s a pretty solid action movie.  It’s just not a great Rambo movie.  It takes some time to get going.  I don’t like the middle section where he goes to Mexico.  The last part is pretty good, but it’s not lit well and it’s very hard to see what’s going on.  I saw another movie last year very similar to this called Close Range with Scott Adkins.  It was from 2015, and while I have a few issues with that movie, it’s a better version of the story in Last Blood. This just didn’t feel like a great ending to John Rambo’s story.


High Rise
– From 2015, based on a 1975 novel by JG Ballard.  I watched this for the incredible cast; Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth Moss, Luke Evans, and Sienna Miller, all directed by Ben Wheatley who is directing that new version of Rebecca with Armie Hammer and Lily James. I was pretty pumped.  And it’s terrible.  I was so disappointed.  It’s very stream of consciousness.  It reminded me a lot of Roger Avary’s Rules of Attraction.  Very weird and hard to follow.  It’s definitely an artsy type of film, which is totally not my bag.  So I realize that mileage may vary greatly with this.  But I did NOT like it.

Anna
Anna
– Saw the trailer for this last year and it blew me away.  So I marked it “to watch”.  Finally got around to it last summer.  It’s pretty awesome.  Reminded me of a grittier Salt.  Anna, trapped in the slums of Russia, in a twist of fate, is offered a job within a special division of the KGB.  She becomes a deep undercover operative, posing as a fashion model while accomplishing missions.  She is caught by the CIA, agrees to work as a double agent, then maneuvers both the CIA and KGB in an effort to get her out of the spy business.  But neither agency wants to let her go.  The movie gets pretty tense and has some major action set pieces.  I very much enjoyed it.  The girl who plays Anna, Sasha Luss, is pretty great.  She handles the action well and I believe it when she wants to get out of the business.  Also in this are Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Helen Mirren.

And those are some of my movie honorable mentions!  Hope you found something interesting in all of my 2020 lists I gave you.

My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2020

Posted in Blog Series, Movie Board, movies with tags , , , , , on January 15, 2021 by Paxton

Movie Report

2020 was an odd year for movie viewing, to say the least.  Typcially I would’ve seen nearly 50 movies in the theater.  This past year I think I saw two.  And both of those were old movies; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on 2/16 and The Godfather on 2/23.  The theater by us was going to show all 8 of the Harry Potter movies starting in Dec 2019 through like May 2020.  I was going to take the kids.  Unfortunately I missed the first two movies in December 2019.  But I caught Harry Potter 3 right before the pandemic.  Then everything shut down and I won’t get to complete that marathon with my kids. Which sucks because they really connected with Harry Potter (books and movies) over the quarantine.  It would have been nice to take them to the theater to see them.  Anyway, that’s my 2020 sob story about seeing movies in theaters.

Anyway, I keep my list of movies watched (with some small reviews) in two places, similar to my books list.  The first is the usual Google Spreadsheet.  That list is easier to get an overall view of the year and pick out favorite entries because I have it all color coded based on rating and year released.  The other place I keep a list of the movies I watch is over on Letterboxd.  So check me out there.  Friend me.  I need friends.  I’m lonely.  SO LONELY.

But now, let’s dig into my list.  Rules are like my books, only movies new to me in 2020 are eligible. Normally, I’d start off giving you a list of my favorite “released in 2020” movies. But, surprise, surprise, things being how they are, I didn’t really watch a lot of “2020 movies”.  So I’m going to mix this list up and do ten of my favorite movies that I watched for the first time in 2020.  And they may not all be movies.  I may include mini-series as well.

So let’s see what my favorite things to watch in 2020 were. I got most of my images and links from Wikipedia.

Ip Man 4
Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019)
– I’m going to start with this one because it leads directly into the next one.  I love Donnie Yen.  I think I first noticed him in his all too brief appearance as Snowman in Blade II.  I’ve followed him ever since.  And this Ip Man series has been fantastic.  Yen is just *awesome* as Ip Man.  The first one is still my favorite, followed closely by the second.  The third one is still good, but not one I love.  However, Part 4, is amazing.  It might be my new favorite after the first.  But tied with the second.  And one of the reasons why is the villain, played by Scott Adkins.  He is brutal and amazing in this.  He has such a powerful screen presence.  I’ve only ever seen him in one movie before this and I remember being underwhelmed.  I may have to revisit that movie now because I was wrong.  This is a great capper to the Donnie Yen/Wilson Yip Ip Man series.  And Scott Adkins is now someone that I’m going to dig more deeply into his filmography.


Scott Adkins movies – 2020, for me, has been about watching movies with my dad. Things have been really rough this year for my dad and I’ve been going back to Alabama to help him with medical stuff and to just spend some time with him, which has been in short supply these last few years. Anyway, he and I watched a TON of movies together this summer. I caught up on a lot of stuff I’d never seen before and discovered a lot of new things. One of those things, thanks to Ip Man 4, is Scott Adkins. Now, being an action/martial arts guy, I’d totally heard about Scott Adkins. This guy is a machine and puts out a ton of movies every year. I’d always meant to catch some but never have. So, my dad being a lover of the action genre, was interested in also checking him out. Especially after I spoke so highly about Scott in Ip Man 4.  So we binged like 5 of Scott Adkins’ movies. And they were AWESOME. We watched The Debt Collector, the sequel The Debt Collectors, Avengement, Close Range, and El Gringo.  And Adkins delivers in every one.  Especially the ones where he gets to show a little personality.  Of these, my favorites may have been The Debt Collector, and its sequel, Debt Collectors.  Adkins and Louis Mandelore have such great chemistry and it was fun watching them get in over their heads in the debt collecting business.  Avengement is awesome because it’s brutal.  He starts off a normal guy and SO MANY bad things happen to him he’s pretty much a different person by the end of the movie.  It’s one bad ass revenge flick.  El Gringo felt like a Robert Rodriguez movie.  I mean that in a good way because I’m very hit or miss on Rodriguez’s output.  Oh, one other movie we saw had Akins in it, but it was a surprise.  We also watched American Assassin with Michael Keaton, Dylan O’Brien and a small but important appearance by Scott Adkins.  Very good.

Palm Springs
Palm Springs (2020)
– Time travel. Andy Samberg. JK Simmons. I don’t think I have to say anything else.  I’m a sucker for time travel movies.  Especially if they are doing something creative or different with the idea.  And this definitely does that.  Plus it has classic Andy Samberg and a hilarious appearance by JK Simmons.  This is great.  See it.

The Last Dance
The Last Dance (2020)
– This was a documentary produced by ESPN and Netflix. I’m a huge sucker for 80s-90s NBA stuff. Books, documentaries, game footage. This scratched every single itch I have for that kind of content.  It’s so good.  It mostly covers Jordan’s career and how he approached the game of basketball but it touches on so many other things like competiveness, drive, how much is too much, and what it costs to be the best.

Once upon a time...
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
– I’m always interested in what Tarantino’s next movie is.  Even if it doesn’t look good I’ll check it out.  This one totaly looked good and I finally sat down to watch it.  And loved it.  I love the atmosphere, I love the time period, I love the performances.  Leo and Brad are fantastic.  Margot is great, and beautiful, and plays Tate with surprising sadness.  I really felt for her.  And the ending, in typcial Tarantino fashion, goes bananas.  I loved it.  I’m picking up the novelization that Tarantino is writing later this summer.  What a fun movie.

Ford v Ferrari
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
– I’m not technically a “car guy”. I admire some styles of cars; especially mid-to-late 60s american muscle cars. But this movie caught my eye not because it’s about racing, but because of the cast. Christian Bale and Matt Damon in the 50s-60s tearing up race tracks and taking on the Italians? Yes. I’m on board.  And I loved every second of this movie.  Damon and Bale are fantastic as always and the action was packed.  There was also a surprising amount of humor which I love.  I was interested to see this movie, but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.

Ready or Not Guns Akimbo
Ready or Not (2019) – I thought the premise of this sounded fun so I streamed it on a lark one night when I had nothing else to watch. And so begins my obsession with Samara Weaving. This move was so fun, but also unexpected at the same time.  Lots of crazy, kooky characters.  And a crazy cool premise.  Samara Weaving finds herself on the run from her new husband’s family in a series of deadly games due to a curse that they believe was put on their family.  It’s so much fun and Weaving is pretty great.  After watching Ready or Not, I jumped into another Samara Weaving movie, Guns Akimbo.  Which is even more crazy and over the top.  Guns Akimbo also has Daniel Radcliffe who is forced into a weird viral game against other crazy characters to kill each other.  Samara Weaving plays the top bad ass character and she’s so awesome.  Both of these movies are pretty over the top but in kind of the best way possible.

We also wound up binging a bunch of TV shows in 2020. So here are three shows we loved watching in 2020.

The Great
The Great
– I heard buzz about this, but I saw it as something like that dreamy and weird Marie Antoinette movie from 2006, which my wife loved.  And I didn’t.  Therefore I didn’t want to watch it.  However, being a good husband, I gave it a chance.  And I was wrong.  SO WRONG.  This is a period piece.  Yes.  But it has more akin to A Knight’s Tale than Marie Antoinette.  It weaves in so much grown up humor, lots of sex, lots of language, and backs it all with a modern music soundtrack.  People like to throw around irreverant, but considering that this movie is ostensibly about Catherine the Great’s rise to power in Russia, it is absolutely irreverent.  And doesn’t care one bit about the actual history (which sounds worse than it actually comes across).  Elle Fanning is amazing in this.  Nicolas Hoult as Peter is so awesome.  This surprised me to my core.  I loved it.


11.22.63
– My wife and I read the Stephen King book back in 2012. And it made my 2012 year end favorites list.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Time Travel.  I’m a sucker for it.  But this series is really good.  James Franco discovers a time warp in the back of a diner that leads to the early 60s.  There are a whole bunch of rules to how it works but he agrees to a plan with the diner’s dying owner to go back in the time warp and try to stop the assassination of John F Kennedy.  But to do that he’ll have to survive and live for two years in the past.  And during those two years while he’ll be preparing to stop the assassination, time itself will do everything it can to stop him.  It’s a cool premise.  Great cast.  And loaded with suspense.  Just like the book.

Queen's Gambit
Queen’s Gambit
– Like The Great, this was another series I’d heard buzz about but wasn’t necessarily excited to start watching.  But again, I was wrong.  The cast in this is so strong.  Ana Taylor-Joy?  Are you kiddding me?  She’s awesome.  Set mostly in the 60s, it centers on Ana Taylor-Joy’s character who turns out to be a chess prodigy.  And in the 60s, chess was not considered a girl’s game.  But Ana Taylor-Joy has a few issues, mostly due to her unideal home life.  And it manifests in drinking.  And pills.  Can she maintain her high level of chess play while shoving booze and fistfuls of pills into her mouth?  Watch to find out.  If I was pressed really hard, I may even say that this was my favorite thing I watched this year.  But only if I was pressed.

I Read Movies’ 2020 Year End Round up

Posted in Blog Series, Book Report, books, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2021 by Paxton

For those that don’t know, I host a movie novelization podcast called I Read Movies.  Every month I read a movie novelization and then on the podcast I talk about the differences between the movie and the novelization.  Novelizations are great resources for extra information on your favorite movies.  Extra scenes, plot points, missing characters, all can be found in a good novelization.

September 2020 was I Read Movies’ third birthday.  December’s Willow episode was episode 42.  On the main podcast, I covered 11 novelizations in 2020.  You can see the covers of the 11 novelizations above.  I say, “on the main podcast”, because I did cover a few extra novelizations on other podcasts.  Back in May I covered the novelization of Highlander by Gary Killworth for Cult Film Club.  I also talked about the novelizations of Pale Rider and Tombstone on the western podcast Hellbent for Letterbox.  For the last two, I covered those more informally and didn’t go beat by beat the differences with the movie.

So that makes 14 novelizations covered by me in 2020.  I was going to include some of these in my last favorite books article but I decided to just do a quick round up here and pick my 5 favorite novelizations that I covered this year on I Read Movies.  I picked really well this year.  Out of 12 novelizations, it would have been easy to pick 10 as my favorites.   But I really dug deep and narrowed it down to my five favorite novelizations.

So let’s see which novelizations I most enjoyed in 2020!

FYI, all images and links are to my buddy Shawn’s movienovelizations.com.

The Goonies UK
The Goonies (1985) by James Kahn
– This was the first novelization I did in 2020.  Written by James Kahn who also wrote the Return of the Jedi novelization (which I covered in 2018) and the first two Poltergeist novelizations.  There is so much to love about this novel.  It’s written from Mikey’s POV, but clearly after the events have already taken place.  There are extra scenes including the squid scene at the end, as well as a long drawn out scene of the kids riding a raft through some underground caverns.  There’s even an entire chapter written from Chunk’s POV where he takes over telling you the story.  It’s a lot of fun.  And you do get a type of epilogue at the end that shows you what happened after the movie’s last scene via articles in the local newspaper.  If you are a Goonies fan, this novelization is a must.

Knight Rider 2
Knight Rider #2: Trust Doesn’t Rust (1984) by Glen A Larson
– I mostly cover movie novelizations for I Read Movies. However, starting in 2019, I decided I’d pick one TV novelization to do each year.  Last year I did a novelization of the original Knight Rider pilot episode, Knight of the Phoenix.  If I had done an I Read Movies year end round up last year, it would have been on it.  I had so much fun with that first book, that for 2020 I picked up the second book in Larson’s Knight Rider novelizations series, Trust Doesn’t Rust.  This book is based on the season 1, episode 9 debut of KARR, the evil rival to KITT.  I love this TV show, and the KARR episodes (there were two) were definitely some of my favorites.  This book, being based on only one of those episodes, certainly expands a lot on the action in the episode.  And Larson knows these characters well, so he’s the perfect person to do these novelizations.  However, there are two things about this book that surprise me.  First, these books were written a few years after the episodes.  So Larson had knowledge of later episodes in the series when he wrote them.  Despite this, he doesn’t normally incorporate this future knowledge into the story.  So some story beats of the book will contradict what comes later in the show.  Or not really even mention it at all.  The other thing I’m surprised about is that this book doesn’t also novelize the second episode featuring KARR.  They could have easily said, “1 Year Later” and continued on to tell that story.  But those are nit picks.  This book and the previous Knight Rider book is so much fun to read that I’m hoping to continue on in this series.

WarGames Hackers
WarGames (1983) and Hackers (1995) by David Bischoff – This is a two-fer because they are by the same author.  Like my buddy Retromash, WarGames is one of my favorite movies.  I had actually read the WarGames novelization back in high school when I found it in an old “garage sale store” back in Alabama.  I remember loving it.  So, I looked forward to a reread and to cover it on I Read Movies.  And it didn’t disappoint.  It fills in some pretty great story beats, has a few extra deleted scenes, some throwaway dialogue, and a completely different ending.  It’s a lot of fun, and Bischoff would also write another “techno” based movie novelization I read last year, Hackers (1995).  That movie is so much fun and the novelization preserves that fun while vastly increasing a lot of the context of the story.  There are one or two extra scenes, but what Bischoff does is add a lot of story beats to further flesh out the characters.  Plus, there’s a lot of techno jargon that is either wildly inappropriate, or wildly out of date.  I can’t recommend these two novelizations enough.

Jason Lives
Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part 6 (1986) by Simon Hawke
–  Back for my blog’s AWESOME-tober-fest 2012, I covered a bunch of horror novelizations.  Many of the 80s horror novelizations have become extremely hard to find and very collectible.  I had a friend that had almost all of them and he let me borrow them to read and review for the site.  This Friday the 13th book was one of them.  It was released in conjunction with the movie, but lead to Hawke also novelizing the first three movies in the franchise.  I wish they would have let him complete it, because I would have loved to have seen Hawke’s Part IV adaptation.  Anyway, fast forward to 2019 and I lucked into finding a copy of this book at my local used store for $3.  So I decided to cover it last November.  This is such a great adaptation of probably my favorite Jason movie.  It’s lots of fun.  It does add some context to characters and even fills in a bunch of back story for Jason.  Plus, there’s an epilogue featuring Jason’s dad, Elias.  Like I said, it’s become really hard to find and it’s super expensive on the secondary market.  But if you get a chance, I recommend you give it a read.

Halloween
Halloween (1979) by Curtis Richards
– This particular novelization has picked up a sort of legendary status for novelization collectors.  Again, it’s an early horror novelization, so it’s highly collectible and very hard to find.  Plus, it adds *so much* to the story.  I was able to acquire a copy of this in digital form and covered it for I Read Movies’ Halloween episode last year.  And it delivers.  The book starts off talking about weird celtic cults in Ireland.  Then it downshifts into a scene with Michael’s grandmother and mother discussing Michael’s “unfortunate accidents” in school.  It takes a while before you catch up to the movie.  and even then, you get a ton of extra scenes of Michael and what his life was like inside the asylum.  This novelization is an exercise in why novelizations are great.  Actually, I could probably say that about all of my favorites this year.  They all added so much to their stories it made reading them a joy.

So those were my favorite this year. Let’s take a look at a few overall stats for I Read Movies.

Over the course of the show I’ve covered just over 50 books and novelizations. That includes the 42 episodes of the main show, as well as the Apendix special episodes, and any other special episodes I did for Nerd Lunch and Cult Film Club. How about an author breakdown? Currently, the author I’ve covered the most on I Read Movies is a three way tie between James Kahn, Jeffrey Cooper and Craig Shaw Gardner with three titles each.

James Kahn – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, The Goonies
Craig Shaw Gardner – The Lost Boys, Batman, Batman Returns
Jeffrey Cooper – Nightmare on Elm Street, Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Nightmare on Elm Street 3

Then there are a bunch of authors where I’ve covered two titles; Alan Dean Foster, George Gipe, David Bischoff, Hank Searls, and Glen Larson. I have a few of these authors scheduled again in 2021 so we shall see who jumps in front next year.

Okay that’s my I Read Movies year end novelization round up.  Hope you enjoyed this past year of the podcast.  I picked a lot of really good choices last year and I think I have a lot of good novelizations coming up in 2021.  I typically take a break in January, but I might have a special episode for January and then I’ll be back in February covering The Last Starfighter by Alan Dean Foster.

Faust Movie Friday: Bedazzled (1967)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, monsters, movies, The Devil with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2020 by Paxton

Faust Movie Friday

It’s another Friday during AWESOME-tober-fest!  That means it’s time once again for a Faust Movie Friday!  Today I’m going to look at Bedazzled.  For some of you the 2000 movie starring Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley just popped into your head.

Bedazzled 2000 poster

While, yes, I actually like that movie and considered covering it this year, that’s not the movie I’m talking about. Did you know that 2000 movie was a remake of another movie?  From 1967 starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, it’s also called Bedazzled.

Bedazzled 67 poster

The 1967 original movie has basically the same premise. Hapless and miserable Stanley (Elliot in the 2000 version) contemplates suicide when he is visited by the Devil incarnate and offered a deal; 7 wishes to get the life he always wanted in exchange for his immortal soul.  The rest of the movie is Stanley going through his wishes and figuring out what works and what doesn’t (mostly, it doesn’t work).  In this 67 version, Peter Cook is the Devil and Stanley is played by Dudley Moore.

Peter Cook’s Devil is very charismatic.  He seems simultaneously to enjoy his job and also loathe it.  He’s funny.  He’s constantly making deals.  Stanley keeps thinking that he and the Devil are becoming friends and then the Devil proves that they are nothing of the sort.  I really enjoyed Cook’s portrayal here.  Dudley Moore, pre-Arthur, which I haven’t seen much of at all, is great as the likeable loser Stanley.  He’s pathetic but you are pulling for him the whole time.  But, I’ll be honest, throughout the movie I was constantly wondering why he was so infatuated with that waitress, Margaret.  Almost everyone throughout the movie is clearly infatuated by her.  I didn’t necessarily see the appeal.  Why would Stanley want to kill himself and change everything by selling his soul to the Devil for her?  I guess that speaks more to Stanley than the desireability of her.  Regardless, this movie is a lot of fun.  It’s super funny.  It’s 100% British.  So very British.  But I really enjoyed watching it and I’m glad I finally checked it out.

Let’s take a look at some of the scenes from Bedazzled.


The movie starts with some very trippy 60s credits.


We meet Stanley Moon. Played by Dudley Moore.  Happless short order cook at Wimpy’s Bar (right pic).  He’s pining over one of the waitresses that work with him. He’s so depressed about his job, his lack of girlfriend, and his unrequited love, that he’s ready to commit suicide by tying a rope to his plumbing and jumping off a chair. Unfortunately, the pipes break and he floods his apartment.


Enter The Devil. Played by Peter Cook.  He promises that he can help Stanley.  He offers him 7 wishes for his eternal soul.


The Devil takes Stanley to his current base of operations, The Rendevous Club.  We learn from the sign that the Devil’s current nomme de plume is George Spiggott.  While he and Stanley negotiate over the terms of the contract that the Devil is offering, we see him performing “random bits of mischief” as he calls them.


Here he’s opening a crate of records bound for a record store and putting a big scratch on them.


Here he’s tearing out the last page of an Agatha Christie novel so whomever buys it won’t find out who the killer is.  In case you were wondering what book that is, it’s The Clocks.  Stanley signs the contract and begins his wishes.


After each wish, if Stanley doesn’t like the outcome of the wish, he just blows a raspberry and is taken back to George the Devil. Whenever this happens, George is usually in the middle of more mischief. Here, George just released a bunch of wasps on a circle of hippies playing music.


George offers Stanley his own room and bed to rest in after one of his wishes goes particularly awry. After waking up, Stanley meets Lilith. George has in his employ several characters that are physical manifestations of the 7 deadly sins. We met Anger and Sloth earlier. We’ll meet Envy later. Lilith is Lust, and she’s played by the great Raquel Welch.

If you watch this movie, you’ll notice that the Elizabeth Hurley version of the Devil from the 2000 remake is based on Welch’s Lust.  They even wear a few of the same outfits.


This is after another bad wish. When Stanley appears, George was in the middle of putting a small leak in an oil tanker.


Towards the end we find out that George had a deal with God that if he got to 200 Billion souls first, he could re-enter Heaven as an angel. And George had done it. So he was throwing a goodbye party with all of his employees before going back up to Heaven to join the angels.  And because he got a few extra souls over 200 Billion, George gives Stanley back his own soul.


Of course Lust is dancing on the bar at the party.


Then we see the Devil board an elevator in his office that goes directly to Heaven, and he gets an audience with the almighty. We learn that George giving Stanley his soul back negates the deal and he has to return to Earth to stop Stanley from destroying the contract.

I really enjoyed watching this movie.  I highly recommend you check it out.  It was a lot of fun and the performances are very good.  Especially if you like that dry British wit.

Well, that finishes out this week.  Next week is the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest.  And I have a few good articles to finsh us out.  Join me next week, won’t you?



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Faust Movie Friday: Crossroads (1986)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, monsters, movies, The Devil with tags , , , , , , on October 2, 2020 by Paxton

Faust Movie Friday

It’s Friday, guys!  Usually on Fridays during AWESOME-tober-fest I do movie reviews in what I call Fangoria Movie Fridays.  However, since I’ll be doing Devil movies this year, I’ve decided to rebrand these Friday movie reviews as Faust Movie Friday!

Today, I’m talking about Crossroads from 1986 starring Ralph Macchio, Jami Gertz, and Joe Seneca.

1986 was a sweet spot for Ralph Macchio. He was in two movies that year; Karate Kid Part II and Crossroads. So he was at the height of his mainstream penetration. And Crossroads feels like an odd movie to do during this time. But I’m so glad that he did.  I’m a big fan of old blues music anyway, but there’s a lot to love about this lesser known, underappreciated movie.  And yes, the devil makes an appearance, and he’s a *great* version of Ol Scratch.

Before we get to Scratch, let’s talk about the movie in general.  There’s always been this old American folk tale about blues legend Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil so he could play the blues guitar like no one else.  This movie takes that small urban legend and runs with it.  We even start with that very image.  Robert Johnson at the Crossroads making his deal with someone who is clearly more than he seems.  We later learn it’s the Devil’s assistant.

We then cut to Eugene played by Ralph Macchio. A gifted classical guitarist who is studying at Juliard, but really only wants to play the blues.  He’s studied the blues, read about them.  Learned about all the legends and the tales.  So he thinks he’s tracked down blues legend Willie Brown, the last person to play with Robert Johnson before he died.  And Eugene hopes to talk to Brown to get the fabled “lost song” of Robert Johnson.  Willie says he’ll give it to him if Eugene breaks him out of the old folks home and takes him back to Mississippi.

So Eugene gets a part time job on the maintenance crew of the home.  You, know to help him “case the joint”.  And because it’s Ralph Macchio, he has to pop the collar of his coveralls while mopping the floor. Eugene then uses his maintenance access to break Willie out the home and they hit the road back to Mississippi.

And cue all the normal road trip events; they don’t have enough money, they get in trouble in a bar, they meet a wayward teen girl, steal a car, get harrassed by small town cops.  All the stuff you expect to see on a roadtrip movie but I’m thoroughly enjoying the trip.  The whole time we think Willie just wants to get out of the home and live the rest of his life back in Mississippi, but we later learn he has alterior motives.  Willie apparently made a similar deal to the same man as Robert Johnson, and Willie wants to go back to the Crossroads where he made the deal to get out of it.  And he’s using Eugene to get there.  However, along the way, Willie winds up teaching Eugene what it means to be a real blues man before the big final confrontation with Ol Scratch.

And here’s Ol Scratch.  Played by Robert Judd.  I don’t know where this guy came from, but he is an AMAZING on screen Devil.  Looking at his IMDB he’s only done 2 movies; one back in 1977, and then Crossroads.  But he is awesome as Scratch.  Like an old, friendly small town southern preacher.  But underneath, you can feel a bit of menace.  I’d forgotten how good Judd is as the Devil.  Anyway, Scratch won’t let Willie out of his contract unless he has something to bargain with.  Eugene offers himself.  Scratch suggests a contest between Eugene and his man, guitarist Jack Butler.  Winner take all.

Eugene agrees, and suddenly they are transported to what looks like a small barn being used as a blues bar.  And Eugene goes up guitar to guitar against Jack Butler, played by the awesome Steve Vai.  This final battle is really feast for the eyes and ears.  I love it.

Check it out for yourself.  But honestly, if you haven’t seen the movie, just watch the whole movie.  You won’t be disappointed.



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