25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2017


I am not back yet. Health issues aside, I have been having major computer issues for more than a month now that are going to make regular posts out of the question. Also, my mom passed away suddenly two weeks before Christmas. Things aren’t so good here at the moment. However, I did watch over 1,100 movies in 2017, so I figured my requisite end of the year post was something I should do no matter how lean it may be because I can’t really take screenshots and lost the ones I took during the year.

The same rules as last year still apply:

  1. There is no particular order to the films in these lists. They either made it, or not.
  2. These are not necessarily films that came out in 2017. In fact, none did–darn Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back at the Return Of The Jedi being decent, if still a mess. These are films that I saw for the first time in 2017.
  3. The gems list are films that don’t make the best list, but I want to put a spotlight on them.
  4. If you disagree with any of my choices. Good! I want people to form their own opinions and think for themselves. But if you care to share those opinions, then be nice about it, or you won’t receive a response from me.

Barbara Broadcast (1977, dir. Radley Metzger)

Best:

  1. The Telephone Book (1971)
  2. At Berkeley (2013)
  3. Samurai Cop (1991)
  4. Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
  5. The Beguiled (1971)
  6. Fire In The Sky (1993)
  7. And The Band Played On (1993)
  8. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
  9. StageFright (1987)
  10. Deadpool (2016)
  11. The Hit Girl (2013)
  12. A Simple Life (2011)
  13. 45 Years (2015)
  14. Barbara Broadcast (1977)
  15.  3 A.M. (1975)
  16. Magnum Force (1973)
  17. The Mechanic (1972)
  18. Romancing The Stone (1984)
  19. Censored Voices (2015)
  20. Marshland (2014)
  21. Nostalgia For The Light (2010)
  22. Stir Of Echoes (1999)
  23. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
  24. Malcolm (1986)
  25. The Forbidden Room (2015)
Poster for Roar (1981)

Poster for Roar (1981)

Except for that one lion that you can see someone kick in the face a couple of times. Otherwise, this movie that portrays lions as slasher movie villains was totally humane to animals. It’s right about the actors.

Speaking of Melanie Griffith, she would end up having some of her most memorable lines from Working Girl (1988) lifted to be in Fifty Shades Darker (2017).

From Working Girl:

New Secretary: Maybe now would be a good time to go over what you expect of me.
Tess: I, uh, I expect you to call me Tess. I don’t expect you fetch me coffee unless you’re getting some for yourself, and um…the rest we’ll just make up as we go along.

From Fifty Shades Darker:

New “Secretary”: I mean, am-am I expected to call you Miss Steele?
Anastasia: I expect you to call me Ana. And I don’t expect you to fetch me coffee unless you’re getting some for yourself. And…the rest of it, we’ll just make up as we go along.

Worst:

  1. The Letters (2014)
  2. Emmanuelle In Rio (2003)
  3. Bat Pussy (1973)
  4. Lethal Games (1991)
  5. Sunburst (1975)
  6. Roar (1981)
  7. Knock Knock (2015)
  8. I Am Here… Now (2009)
  9. Cabin Fever (2002) & Cabin Fever (2016) — They can share a spot.
  10. Fantasies (1981)
  11. Lady In The Water (2006)
  12. Dreamcatcher (2003)
  13. Adult Entertainment: Disrobing An American Idol (2007)
  14. All the Paul W.S. Anderson/Milla Jovovich Resident Evil movies — They can also share a single spot.
  15. Hillary’s America: The Secret History Of The Democratic Party (2016)
  16. Jem And The Holograms (2015)
  17. The 5th Wave (2016)
  18. Split (2016) — The one directed by Jamie Buckner.
  19. Stir Of Echoes: The Homecoming (2007)
  20. The Tomb (2009)
  21. Different Strokes (1998)
  22. Deadly Spygames (1989)
  23. Incoming Freshman (1979) — The Cannon re-edit of the film. I couldn’t find a copy of the original version.
  24. White Fury (1990)
  25. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996) — The Golden Films version under the banner of “Enchanted Tales.” You know, the one about talking musical instruments with a few minutes of a guy who walks around hunched over with hair in his face that stands up straight and brushes his hair out of the way to solve his problems at the end. That one.
VHS Cover for Shark's Paradise (1986)

VHS Cover for Shark’s Paradise (1986)

And that force is a group of Australian actors doing their best to start a Miami Vice-like show with a TV Movie about chasing after someone that is using sharks to kill people.

Gems:

  1. The Subspecies series — The entire series is fun. Pro tip: You don’t have to watch Vampire Journals (1997) to see the 4th film.
  2. Future Hunters (1986)
  3. Hercules In The Haunted World (1961)
  4. Laser Mission (1989)
  5. Warriors Of The Wasteland (1983)
  6. Shark’s Paradise (1986)
  7. Deadly Friend (1986)
  8. The Witchcraft series — All of them. From the birth of William in the really boring first film to the meta 16th film, they are all worth seeing if you enjoy bad movies. Some of them are much worse than others, but I had a really good time with these movies, and I hope they make more of them.
  9. Zombi 3 (1988)
  10. Queens Of Evil (1970)
  11. Killdozer (1974)
  12. Café Flesh (1982) or Café Flesh (1986) as it is now listed on IMDb
  13. Old Enough (1984)
  14. The Hunted (1995)
  15. Outland (1981)
  16. Technology/Transformation Wonder Woman (1978/9)
  17. Enter The Ninja (1981)
  18. Coming Home (2014)
  19. The House By The Cemetery (1981)
  20. Short Term 12 (2013)
  21. My Dog Tulip (2009)
  22. Pledge Sister (1973) — This one made the list purely on the grounds of its soundtrack, which includes everything from Gregorian Chants to directly lifting Sunshine Superman by Donovan. And they use it better than Pan (2015) did Smells Like Teen Spirit or Vacation (2015) did Without You. I hope that whoever put the soundtrack together for this otherwise anonymous 70’s adult film went on to do work in mainstream cinema.
  23. A Thief In The Night (1972)
  24. East Side Sushi (2014)
  25. Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)

Update On Music Video of the Day Posts (Rock Me Tonite by Billy Squier)


I haven’t been doing good health-wise, and I’m not sure when it’s going to pick up. So, I am going to be in and out for awhile. I just wanted to give people a heads up. I don’t like missing these, but it’s going to happen more frequently. I would provide a timeframe if I had it. It’s all over the place at the moment.

I picked out Rock Me Tonite by Billy Squier because I wanted to talk about the infamous music video that went with it for today. Unfortunately, that isn’t something I can just throw together like this post. There’s interviews–written and oral–, context, my opinion, it’s importance, etc. It’s one of the most significant music videos ever made.

In the meantime, do what Squier would have liked people to do in the first place: Listen to the music absent of the images that the video brings to mind.

Music Video of the Day: Paradise In Distress by Golden Earring (1999, dir. ???)


I had to do this video eventually. It might as well be on Election Day or Inauguration Day. I decided to go with Election Day. There’s never a time this video wouldn’t be controversial to spotlight anyways.

I’m hardly a history expert, so numerous people in the stock footage are unfamiliar to me. However, I do recognize some, and thanks to a YouTube comment, I have been able to look up a fair amount of the ones I didn’t know, such as Mobutu Sese Seko, Ferdinand Marcos, Jean-Bédel Bokassa, and Megawati Sukarnoputri. You could play this back-to-back with Cult Of Personality by Living Colour because all the people featured in the stock footage had or have a cult of personality around them, whether you agreed with them or not.

There’s something that’s easy to miss in the video if you aren’t familiar with their 80s videos. They did one called The Devil Made Me Do It that might as well be sung from the perspective of a guy in a film noir that was drawn into criminal actions by a spider woman, and would like to be let off the hook as a result. The parts with the band are largely done with lead singer Barry Hay looking upwards as if he is singing to God in order to pardon him for the crimes he has committed. You’ll notice that near the end of this video, the camera goes up so that Hay is looking upwards like he did in The Devil Made Me Do It. Seeing as this video starts off with confession, I imagine that was done on purpose.

I don’t know who the director of the video is, but there is someone in the YouTube comments section that seems to say that they were the one who did it:

OMG. I so forgot I did this one as CD-extra for them in 1999. Just found it back on an old back up! KREWL!!!

Whoever did it, I think they did a good job. It’s one of my favorite political videos along with America by Kurtis Blow and Cult Of Personality by Living Colour, both of which make use of stock footage.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Don Quixote by Nik Kershaw (1985, dir. Storm Thorgerson)


For those of you in an area that celebrates Daylight Savings Time, remember to make sure your clocks are set back an hour.

This is the last of the Thorgerson/Kershaw music videos that I can find. It also means that along with The Riddle, Wouldn’t It Be Good, and Wide Boy, we’ve done all the songs that Kershaw performed at Live Aid.

I have never read Don Quixote or even come close by seeing Man Of La Mancha, so I can’t really speak to what it has to do with it beyond a few things like the tilting at windmills bit. But that’s something that has become a saying independent of the book. He’s asking Don Quixote, among other things, if we are seeing imaginary enemies. This song is from 1985.

If you read the lyrics while watching the video, then you can see what they were going for with this. Especially tying television to delusional thinking about ourselves and our actions. After reading a couple sentences from the Wikipedia article on Don Quixote, I can see why that is the name of the song and the person the song is addressed to.

I would love to know who that is at the beginning of the video. My best guess is that it’s supposed to be Salvador Dali since he did at least one painting based on Don Quixote. That would explain the inclusion of the clock too.

I’m not sure what the dancers are there for, but I’m willing to bet that’s a Man Of La Mancha connection.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: The One And Only by Chesney Hawkes (1991, dir. ???)


I’ll have to take Wikipedia’s word for it that Buddy’s Song (1991) was released theatrically. It certainly didn’t look like it to me when I watched it. It was more like a TV movie.

The song was written by Nik Kershaw for Chesney Hawkes. The Wikipedia article on it seems to indicate that it was tacked on to the movie because it was a hit song for Hawkes at the time. I think this is true because at least on the copy I watched, it plays very lightly in the background of one scene, and then prominently over the credits. An article on The Guardian where they interviewed Hawkes and Kershaw says otherwise. I recommend reading the article. It’s interesting to hear what Kershaw has to say about his effect on Hawkes career. They are apparently still friends and you can find numerous videos of them playing together as recent as this year.

The movie isn’t that bad. Despite appearing to be a star vehicle for Hawkes, it’s really Roger Daltry’s show. According to Wikipedia, the movie was a sequel to a mini-series that had Daltry in the same role, but with a different actor playing his son Buddy. That makes sense since the focus really is on him. He’s a guy who named his kid after Buddy Holly because he is obsessed with people like Holly and the 50s in general. He has ties to organized crime. He does some time for a friend, and then spends the rest of the film dogging his son as he moves into music, not realizing that while helping some of the time, he is also harming him. It’s two steps forward, one step back.

That brings me to the video. There is no real relationship between Buddy and a girl in the movie. There is a girl, but I only remember two scenes that she is in. That part of the video is a little ridiculous even if she is meant to our avatar. Daltry chasing after Hawkes does give you an idea of what you are getting if you watch the movie. Those parts of the video reflect the film. There’s an article over on The Telegraph where Hawkes talks about the amount of money it took to make at least one of the two videos that were done for this song. I’m assuming the quarter of a million pounds video was this one. Yikes!

If the girl looks familiar, it’s because that’s Saffron of Republica fame. The band I imagine most people–me included–know because of the song Ready To Go and the rock version music video for it with its excessive zooms.

The other woman is someone named Lucy Alexander. I don’t know anything about her other than that she has been on a show called Homes Under The Hammer since 2003.

I like the song. I think the video doesn’t do it or film any favors.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: The Riddle by Nik Kershaw (1984, dir. Storm Thorgerson)


It has come to an end. When I started this “30 Days Of Surrealism” thing, I really had one video in mind. This is that video. Nik Kershaw breaking into someplace, and getting pushed down into a giant question mark by The Riddler with nothing but surreal things around him as he tries to make his way to the end of it.

I could walk through the video pointing things out, but I don’t need to. Kershaw himself does that in the video below. It seems to be a truncated version of something where he did the whole video. It’s stil pretty good, and he talks about the song as well. The video should be there. It is just one of those that doesn’t want to show its thumbnail for some reason.

Most of the things in the video are easy to spot after a couple of watches. There is one that took me many viewings to spot. The teapot with multiple spouts. The first time you see it, it appears to only have one of them.

But when he passes by it, you can clearly see that there are two of them.

I wonder if it is covered up the first time or if they switched out the pots. I wouldn’t be surprised if they switched them. Maybe The Riddler did it.

Enjoy the video, and keep your eyes pealed because there’s something everywhere. Even the words on the head that Kershaw runs his hands over.

30 Days Of Surrealism:

  1. Street Of Dreams by Rainbow (1983, dir. Storm Thorgerson)
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Children by Dio (1985, dir. Daniel Kleinman)
  3. The Thin Wall by Ultravox (1981, dir. Russell Mulcahy)
  4. Take Me Away by Blue Öyster Cult (1983, dir. Richard Casey)
  5. Here She Comes by Bonnie Tyler (1984, dir. ???)
  6. Do It Again by Wall Of Voodoo (1987, dir. ???)
  7. The Look Of Love by ABC (1982, dir. Brian Grant)
  8. Eyes Without A Face by Billy Idol (1984, dir. David Mallet)
  9. Somebody New by Joywave (2015, dir. Keith Schofield)
  10. Twilight Zone by Golden Earring (1982, dir. Dick Maas)
  11. Schism by Tool (2001, dir. Adam Jones)
  12. Freaks by Live (1997, dir. Paul Cunningham)
  13. Loverboy by Billy Ocean (1984, dir. Maurice Phillips)
  14. Talking In Your Sleep by The Romantics (1983, dir. ???)
  15. Talking In Your Sleep by Bucks Fizz (1984, dir. Dieter Trattmann)
  16. Sour Girl by Stone Temple Pilots (2000, dir. David Slade)
  17. The Ink In The Well by David Sylvian (1984, dir. Anton Corbijn)
  18. Red Guitar by David Sylvian (1984, dir. Anton Corbijn)
  19. Don’t Come Around Here No More by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers (1985, dir. Jeff Stein)
  20. Sweating Bullets by Megadeth (1993, dir. Wayne Isham)
  21. Clear Nite, Moonlight or Clear Night, Moonlight by Golden Earring (1984, dir. Dick Maas)
  22. Clowny Clown Clown by Crispin Glover (1989, dir. Crispin Glover)
  23. Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden (1994, dir. Howard Greenhalgh)
  24. Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler (1983, dir. Russell Mulcahy)
  25. Harden My Heart by Quarterflash (1981, dir. ???)
  26. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Eurythmics (1983, dir. Jon Roseman & Dave Stewart)
  27. Far Side Of Crazy by Wall Of Voodoo (1985, dir. ???)
  28. Wide Boy by Nik Kershaw (1985, dir. Storm Thorgerson)
  29. Wouldn’t It Be Good by Nik Kershaw (1984, dir. Storm Thorgerson)

Music Video of the Day: Wouldn’t It Be Good by Nik Kershaw (1984, dir. Storm Thorgerson)


From what I can tell, this is the first time Kershaw and Thorgerson made a music video together. They would end up doing at least four of them. It’s not often that you come across a music video where the Wikipedia article describes the whole thing in detail. I guess it makes it easier for me.

The music video for “Wouldn’t It Be Good”, directed by Storm Thorgerson, was released in 1984 and received heavy rotation on MTV, which helped the song reach No. 46 on the US charts. It used chroma key technology to achieve the alien suit’s special effects.

The video opens with two men talking, followed by heavy breathing. Nik Kershaw, wearing a vintage white suit, crosses in front of an antique car, carrying a briefcase. He enters ornate doors, and the music starts to play. Kershaw climbs stairs inside the building, enters a room and leans against the door. He opens his hand and lets a rock fall. His clothing and haircut transform, becoming 80s fashion, and the suit plays vague scenes. He crosses to a bank of equipment, adjusts dials and then looks out the window. He begins to sing. Sitting down, he presses buttons on a bulky remote, and more definite video scenes begin to play on his white clothing, showing people, shoes, grass, a satellite dish and other items that illustrate what he sings.

Kershaw opens French doors and exits to a balcony, leans against a column to sing. Below him, a vagrant has built a fire in a steel drum to keep warm. Kershaw goes back inside the room, and something lights the window. He takes a tube from his equipment, leaves the room. In the hallway, a woman is amazed at the scenes playing on his suit. He meets a little girl with ponytails, bumps into a man on the stairs, while scenes related to them play on the suit. Outside, he looks around, sees a woman walking a dog and the two men who opened the video. He falls in the street and a crowd gathers around him. He crawls away, manages to get up and run. The scenes on his suit have stopped playing now, and the crowd watches him run away. The white clothing stands out as he runs into darkness toward a horizon that is only faintly lighted. He sees the transmission from a satellite dish, runs toward it. He stops at the dish and dissolves into static.

What am I supposed to add to that? How about this from an interview he gave to The Telegraph in 2014:

Q: What did your parents think about you leaving halfway through your A-levels?
A: I had one conversation with my father about it. He said: “Are you sure?” I replied yes and he just said: “All right then.” He knew I wanted to be in the music business and he himself was a frustrated architect working for the local council. He would have run away to the circus if he could. I ended up as a pop star and my brother ended up training dolphins.

The part about this song and others paying his kids way through school is more relevant, but I like that story. Yay, my father didn’t have a problem with me leaving mid-schooling. So, I ended up doing a music video where I was followed around a giant question mark by The Riddler and my brother went into training dolphins. I think I was also an alien who wore a bright white suit that was connected to a rock in another video.

I love his answer to the question about whether a “jetset lifestyle” came after his high period died down considering some people probably know him via Doc Hollywood:

No, I’m a country boy at heart and was never flash with money. I didn’t have a flash car until my mid-life crisis when I splashed out on a Porsche. I hate waste and hate having the p‑‑‑ taken out of me. That’s what happens when you have money: people take the p‑‑‑ out of the high fashion accessories and flash cars. I never felt the urge to go out and blow money.

I can also add that according to The London Salad, the video was shot inside the St. James’s Hotel. At the time it wasn’t in use, but it appears to be up and running again.

If you recognize the song, but not the video, then it’s probably because it was on the soundtrack for the movie Pretty In Pink (1986).

Enjoy!

30 Days Of Surrealism:

  1. Street Of Dreams by Rainbow (1983, dir. Storm Thorgerson)
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Children by Dio (1985, dir. Daniel Kleinman)
  3. The Thin Wall by Ultravox (1981, dir. Russell Mulcahy)
  4. Take Me Away by Blue Öyster Cult (1983, dir. Richard Casey)
  5. Here She Comes by Bonnie Tyler (1984, dir. ???)
  6. Do It Again by Wall Of Voodoo (1987, dir. ???)
  7. The Look Of Love by ABC (1982, dir. Brian Grant)
  8. Eyes Without A Face by Billy Idol (1984, dir. David Mallet)
  9. Somebody New by Joywave (2015, dir. Keith Schofield)
  10. Twilight Zone by Golden Earring (1982, dir. Dick Maas)
  11. Schism by Tool (2001, dir. Adam Jones)
  12. Freaks by Live (1997, dir. Paul Cunningham)
  13. Loverboy by Billy Ocean (1984, dir. Maurice Phillips)
  14. Talking In Your Sleep by The Romantics (1983, dir. ???)
  15. Talking In Your Sleep by Bucks Fizz (1984, dir. Dieter Trattmann)
  16. Sour Girl by Stone Temple Pilots (2000, dir. David Slade)
  17. The Ink In The Well by David Sylvian (1984, dir. Anton Corbijn)
  18. Red Guitar by David Sylvian (1984, dir. Anton Corbijn)
  19. Don’t Come Around Here No More by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers (1985, dir. Jeff Stein)
  20. Sweating Bullets by Megadeth (1993, dir. Wayne Isham)
  21. Clear Nite, Moonlight or Clear Night, Moonlight by Golden Earring (1984, dir. Dick Maas)
  22. Clowny Clown Clown by Crispin Glover (1989, dir. Crispin Glover)
  23. Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden (1994, dir. Howard Greenhalgh)
  24. Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler (1983, dir. Russell Mulcahy)
  25. Harden My Heart by Quarterflash (1981, dir. ???)
  26. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Eurythmics (1983, dir. Jon Roseman & Dave Stewart)
  27. Far Side Of Crazy by Wall Of Voodoo (1985, dir. ???)
  28. Wide Boy by Nik Kershaw (1985, dir. Storm Thorgerson)