Awesome Movie Poster For 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters

Check out this awesome movie poster for a documentary about… movie posters! It’s called 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters and I badly want to see it as I have a love for cool movie posters (such as those by artist Drew Struzan, which I posted about HERE).

You can read a little about this documentary & see a teaser trailer at this link: Entertainment Weekly.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986) Sort-Of-Review

Last week, I watched this 1986 17-minute documentary directed by John Heyn and Jeff Krulik. Apparently it’s a bit of a cult classic that had totally passed me by for all these years.

Well, it’s not something I can exactly “review” but, as it’s available on YouTube, I thought it would be fun to mention it & share it here for anyone who may be interested in watching it. Here’s a little about it from Wikipedia:

Heavy Metal Parking Lot documents heavy metal music fans tailgating in the parking lot outside the Capital Centre (which was demolished in December 2002) in Landover, Maryland, on May 31, 1986, before a Judas Priest concert during their Fuel for Life tour (with opening act Dokken).

By the early 1990s, Heavy Metal Parking Lot had become an underground cult-classic, usually traded on bootleg VHS videotapes. It was reportedly a favorite on the Nirvana tour bus, among many other bands. Due to growing popular demand for the film, music-rights issues were finally sorted out with Judas Priest.

Yeah, this was a fun watch and certainly not something that’ll waste your time at only 17 minutes. Only those who lived through this era will really appreciate the very low budget interviews with a bunch of drunk metalheads, though. There were several guys I went to school with who were exactly like these dudes (not the girls so much). I wasn’t really part of a group in school as I was more of a loner but I got along with the jocks, etc, just as well as with the metalheads. But I preferred the metalheads. I never really explored Judas Priest beyond the biggest hits but I did like the songs I knew (I was more of a Metallica & Anthrax girl).

Duuuuuude…..

The best thing about this documentary is the guy in the below photo, who they later named “Zebra-Man”. Because there’s a follow-up “Where Are They Now” thing in which they track him down & interview him (you can watch that HERE. but, of course, watch the film first). Two even shorter follow-ups, Monster Truck Parking Lot & Neil Diamond Parking Lot, are also available on YouTube. They’re okay but a bit pointless – stick with the original!

Here you go, my fellow 1986 metalheads! Heavy Metal Parking Lot… 🙂

**Yeah, I believe you heard that right… She’s 13! 😳

30 Years Of Garbage: A Garbage Pail Kids Documentary 

A Garbage Pail Kids documentary is coming out! Who remembers Garbage Pail Kids? I had a small collection (as well as a couple of Cabbage Patch Kids, of course – I’m such an 80’s child). Anyway, I now have a book showing a lot of the stickers that I never saw. Love them! Some of them are so disgusting & inappropriate. 🙂 They’d never make anything similar for kids these days.

The documentary coming out is called 30 Years Of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story. Here’s the trailer if you’re interested:

Oh, and I have to say that I loved the touching SNL tribute to Dead Poets Society so I figured I should share that as well. It’s called Farewell Mr Bunting:

Tank Girl, Bronies & Class Of 1999 Movie Reviews

Here are three quickies for three shitty movies. I wasted enough time watching them so I don’t want to spend much time writing about them. Here we go!

Tank Girl (1995)

Directed by Rachel Talalay

Based on Tank Girl comic by Alan Martin & Jamie Hewlett

Starring: Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell, Iggy Pop, Scott Coffey, James Hong, Don Harvey, Jeff Kober, Reg E Cathey

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Tank Girl is set in a drought-ravaged Australia, years after a catastrophic impact event. It follows the antihero Tank Girl (Petty) as she, Jet Girl (Watts), and genetically modified supersoldiers called the Rippers fight “Water & Power”, an oppressive corporation led by Kesslee (McDowell).

My Opinion:

I recently read a collection of early Tank Girl comics (which I reviewed yesterday HERE) so figured I better finally watch the movie adaptation afterwards despite it being pretty widely trashed. While reading Tank Girl, I kept thinking “how could this actually work as a movie?”. The answer, of course, is that this movie doesn’t work. What a mess…

I’ll start with some positives: I didn’t mind Lori Petty as Tank Girl and thought she had the right look & attitude. I’ll try to ignore the fact that she’s not at all Australian! I didn’t love her as Tank Girl (I’m sure someone else might have been better although I’m not sure who) but I didn’t hate her. She seemed to have fun with the role, anyway. Tank Girl is an awesome character and I think that does come through in the movie even though they don’t quite capture her spirit. And, um… Another positive?? Let’s see… The soundtrack is pretty good! Although I would’ve liked much more punk plus they should’ve tried to use bands mentioned in the comic (but a “score by Ennio Morricone” actually wouldn’t have worked even if the comic liked to credit him with its score). 😉

In the comic, there wasn’t much of a storyline. Tank Girl was daft (and usually drunk) and the whole thing was crazy & all over the place. I liked that. I’ve only read the earliest of the Tank Girl comics so don’t know how many I missed or if there’s actually a similar story to the one in the movie at some point but I didn’t think it worked. The story & the script sucked. Malcolm McDowell was a pretty crap villain and… Naomi Watts was in this?! I didn’t know that beforehand – she must be embarrassed now.

I wondered how they’d deal with Tank Girl’s boyfriend being a kangaroo and, although the movie doesn’t really manage to pull it off, I’m not sure how you ever could portray that in a film without it looking cheesy as hell. I like this bit of trivia at IMDB:

“MGM insisted on cutting a scene of Tank Girl and her kangaroo boyfriend Booga reclining after sex, despite spending $5,000 on a prosthetic penis for Booga.”

I don’t know what else to say about this movie. It just didn’t work but, to be fair, I think it’s a very hard comic to adapt. I do wonder if it would work nowadays with the right director since comic book movies have gotten a lot better and “darker”. I’d like to see a violent, R-rated version. Like Dredd but with a sense of humor? I don’t know – it still probably wouldn’t work but I did read that this movie was very heavily cut & that the director, Rachel Talalay, had no control over that so I suppose that didn’t help. I’m giving it a higher rating than I think it deserves because I really like the character of Tank Girl and, at the very least, I don’t think the movie tainted the character. But I’d like to see that fake kangaroo penis.

My Rating: 5/10

Class Of 1999 (1989)

Directed by Mark L Lester

Starring: Bradley Gregg, Traci Lind, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Patrick Kilpatrick, Pam Grier, John P Ryan, Darren E Burrows, Joshua John Miller, Sean Sullivan

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Robot teachers have been secretly placed in the schools where the students have run riot. The teachers do a good job of controlling the unruly youngsters, until they go too far and some students get suspicious.

My Opinion:

On paper (or on a screen since that’s how we read everything now), this movie sounds awesome. To me, at least. The synopsis (killer robot teachers in a high school!), the cool poster & the fact that it’s from the 1980s had me all excited to watch this movie that I’d somehow never even heard of. Well, damn – it’s not good. What a disappointment! I was hoping it would at least be a low budget sci-fi cult classic type of thing like Hardware or something (yes! I got yet another Hardware mention into a post!). I didn’t hate it but it’s not very good despite having so much potential to be something I’d like.


One thing I always love about watching movies from this time period is seeing familiar faces from my favorite era and Class Of 1999 has lots of these. Look – a Tank Girl connection with Malcolm McDowell! He plays the school’s principal in this – I think Hollywood had him on speed dial for these types of movies back then. The movie’s hero (Bradley Gregg – a teenage delinquent who’s actually a “good guy”) is in two of my favorite movies: he’s Eyeball Chambers in Stand By Me and also the character whose death topped My Top Ten Nightmare On Elm Street Deaths in Dream Warriors!!!

The robot teachers are played by Patrick Kilpatrick, John P Ryan & Pam Grier (with dodgy-looking fake robot boobs). Stacy Keach is the main baddie in charge of the robots and for some reason seductively eats a banana? I immediately recognized Sean Sullivan as the drunk one who Garth doesn’t want spewing in the Mirth Mobile in Wayne’s World. Finally, Bradley Gregg’s sweet little delinquent brother is played by Joshua John Miller(!), who (whom?) I know very well from lots of 80’s movies & TV shows including my favorite episode of Highway To Heaven. Haha! Highway To Heaven!! I was such a nerd. I just looked him up & he co-wrote the screenplay for The Final Girls. What?! I should really try to watch that…


To be honest, I’m not sure what actually made this movie so bad. Yes, the acting is pretty rubbish and the special effects look dodgy and the script isn’t the greatest but I still can’t help but look at these images and the overall plot & cast and think that this is exactly my type of movie. I think it didn’t help that, when it started and we saw the exaggerated “futuristic 1999 punk kids”, it reminded me of the teenagers in Class Of Nuke ‘Em High. I’m pretty damn sure that no movie ever wants to make you immediately think of a Troma film.


Also, I watched this and the Bronies documentary very late one night as they were both about to disappear from Netflix. I kept falling asleep through both of them so I may have not fully given this movie a chance. Okay – I think I’m now trying to talk myself into liking Class Of 1999 for some reason?? It’s an okay film but extremely dated and would only possibly be appreciated by someone my age who likes this sort of thing. I’m glad I watched it but I’m not too bothered that it has disappeared from Netflix. I’m sure I’d have appreciated it more if I’d seen it when I was 15 or so. Has anyone seen the director’s previous film, Class Of 1984, which sounds like the exact same movie minus the robots? It has a higher IMDB rating. Hmm… I’ll watch that too if it shows up on Netflix!

My Rating: 5.5/10

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (2012)

Directed by Laurent Malaquais

Produced by Anglie Brown, Morgan Peterson, Michael Brockhoff, Tara Strong, Lauren Faust & John de Lancie

Starring: A bunch of bronies!

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (formerly titled BronyCon: The Documentary) is a 2012 documentary film centering on bronies, the adult fans of the 2010 animated television series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

My Opinion:

I said I didn’t want to waste much time talking about these movies but I did blather on a bit in my other two reviews. Well, this one will truly be short as there’s not much to say. I find the “Bronies” thing sort of fascinating as I still don’t understand why a bunch of grown men have supposedly latched onto My Little Pony but this documentary doesn’t really explore the “why” at all. It’s just not a very good or in-depth documentary and was quite boring considering its odd topic.

I actually don’t remember if the above guy was in the documentary but this is one of many photos that come up if you Google “Bronies” (I don’t think the guys I used in the photo at the very top were in it). You’d think I’d remember if he was but I can barely remember a thing about this now. That’s the problem – the documentary failed to make a bizarre topic at all interesting. I do, however, remember the below guy as I kept thinking he looked like Corey Feldman.

I’d say that you’d probably only want to watch this documentary if you’re a fan of My Little Pony. I actually found the bits with the voice actors (Tara Strong and, oh my god – Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, John de Lancie!) & the creator of the Friendship Is Magic series (Lauren Faust) more interesting than the interviews with the fans of the show.

Not surprisingly, one of the Bronies talked a little bit of the bullying he’d had to endure thanks to being a fan of the show (if I remember correctly, he had a gun pulled on him? God bless America!). That kind of thing always pisses me off because, although it may seem strange to a lot of us, these guys aren’t exactly hurting anyone by liking My Little Pony. I guess it was a little disappointing that the psychological aspect of what exactly it is about this show that has apparently drawn some grown men to it wasn’t explored but, hey, this was someone’s project and they did a decent enough job gathering together fans & those involved with the show. I’m sure it didn’t have a huge budget… I’d be interested to know what My Little Pony fans thought of it but I must admit that I don’t personally know any adult fans (although I did love old school My Little Pony as a young girl!).


This is the one I had!!!

My Rating: 5/10

I figured I should end this post with something from the Tank Girl soundtrack, which had potential but could’ve been much better overall. This is one of my two favorites from the soundtrack (I’ll post the other for Music Video Friday this week): Richard Hell And The Voidoids – Blank Generation:

Stories We Tell (2012) Review

Stories We Tell (2012)

Directed & Written by Sarah Polley

Starring: Sarah Polley, her family, and friends

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.

My Opinion:

This is a damn good documentary. I suppose it helps that it was made by & “starring” a family of actors & writers and that it’s narrated perfectly by Sarah Polley’s stage actor father.

I’d been meaning to watch this for ages but I always have to really force myself to watch a documentary. I was finally forced to as I saw it was disappearing from UK Netflix, so… Sorry to anyone in the UK who may want to see it now as it’s no longer available in that way! This is one I’d certainly recommend to anyone interested in documentaries & filmmaking in general but I was also surprised at just how interested I was in hearing all about the lives of this family I’ve never met and, especially, the life of Sarah Polley’s mother, who died in 1990.

I’m automatically assuming that everyone here knows who Sarah Polley is as we’re all movie bloggers but I suppose she’s one who has pretty much avoided being a part of the mainstream. So I’ll just quickly say that she’s a director & actress probably best known for being in the Dawn Of The Dead remake, Splice & Go (plus a lot of other things I’ll admit to not seeing other than her small part in eXistenZ). I really need to re-watch Go but I absolutely loved Dawn Of The Dead and I actually really liked Splice’s Cronenberg-like nature although the film was absolutely bonkers and certainly not for everyone. But I prefer actors/actresses who choose unconventional roles & I’ve been intrigued by Polley since those two films. I really should check out the other films she wrote & directed (Take This Waltz & Away From Her).

It was very brave of Polley to explore her family’s history in this way, especially as the documentary doesn’t always paint everyone in the best light. As you might expect from the synopsis & the fact that there’s a story to be told here, this film focuses on the complexities of human nature and the secrets we can keep even from those closest to us.

I was worried the documentary might feel a little contrived or, worse, “attention-seeking”, but it never feels that way. It instead feels like this was Polley’s way of confronting her past and moving on with her life in the best way she knew how being from an artistic family of writers & actors.

Polley tells the story respectfully and, although some may be of the opinion that her mother made mistakes (I’m not of that opinion), the point is that we all do. Every family has its own story & no blame is placed on a woman who is no longer around to defend herself. Also, once the story was found out, there were reporters eager to write about it so Polley begged them not to so she could tell it in her own way. I’m glad they respected her wishes as she’s told a great story about a family no different from any of ours and about a quite complex and fascinating woman.

My Rating: 7.5/10

A Daft Punk Documentary & The Warriors: Last Subway Ride Home 

Hi all! A couple of little things to share with you today involving two things that I love: The Warriors & Daft Punk. 🙂

There was apparently a Warriors festival a couple of weeks ago that I’d heard nothing about. I loved the movie, which is my favorite movie I’ve watched since starting my blog a few years ago (you can read my review HERE). Thanks to Laura of Filmnerdblog for tweeting me about this! 🙂 The original cast members recreated their subway journey to Coney Island & you can watch the YouTube video of that journey here: Neatorama.

In other news, there’s apparently a Daft Punk documentary. YES! I want to see this NOW!!! I’m a big fan of Daft Punk (you can read my review of their artsy fartsy but thoroughly awesome film Electroma HERE).

The documentary about my favorite robot duo (oh wait – that’s probably R2-D2 & C-3PO)… Okay, the documentary about my second favorite robot duo, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, was directed by Hervé Martin Delpierre & is called Daft Punk Unchained. It features people such as Giorgio Moroder, Kanye West, Michel Gondry, Paul Williams, Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers. Oh thrill, Kanye. Well, it sounds pretty damn cool. You can read a bit more about it here: Firstshowing.net.

Here’s the trailer!

Exam, Paul Williams Still Alive & The To Do List Movie Reviews

Happy Bank Holiday Monday to those in the UK who won’t be reading this since you’re not at work pretending to work while actually reading blogs! Then I think you Americans have next Monday off? So, since no one will be around the next couple of weeks, I figured it was time to do a few more mini-reviews of movies that I didn’t give enough of a shit about to review when I watched them a year ago. Sounds like fun, right?! 😉 Here we go…

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Exam (2009)

Directed by Stuart Hazeldine

Starring: Adar Beck, Chris Carey, Gemma Chan, Nathalie Cox, John Lloyd Fillingham, Chuk Iwuji, Luke Mably, Pollyanna McIntosh, Jimi Mistry, Colin Salmon

My Opinion:

Exam is the best of these three movies, which doesn’t say much for the other two. I’ll say that Exam had a brilliant concept and I did appreciate that. It started out pretty great but got too far-fetched & silly by the end, which was disappointing since it had a lot of potential. I’m feeling lazy today so I’ll let Wikipedia give you the set-up:

The film is set in present-time United Kingdom in an alternate history. Eight candidates dress for what appears to be an employment assessment exam; they enter a room and sit down at individual desks. Each desk contains a question paper with the word “candidate”, followed by a number, from one to eight. The Invigilator, a representative of the company named DATAPREV, explains that the exam is 80 minutes and consists of only one question, but there are three rules: they must not talk to the Invigilator or the armed guard at the door, spoil their paper, or leave the room. If they do, they will be disqualified.

That sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? And it is – it’s why I watched this movie. And it gets even more interesting when the exam starts and the candidates discover the one question. The state of the world in this alternate history, which we learn a little about as the movie progresses, does help to explain the lengths that these eight candidates are willing to go to in order to get this job. But not quite… As to be expected, there are a couple of pricks who you’re meant to immediately dislike but none of the characters are very well developed and you don’t care enough about any of them to really care who will get the job at the end.

Had the characters been better instead of so one-dimensional and had the story been less far-fetched by the end, I’d have liked this one a lot more. I did really enjoy the mystery involved with the whole thing. It was fun seeing the candidates trying various ways to figure out what the hell was going on with the bizarre exam. In a world (shit, did I just use the “in a world” phrase?) where times are desperate, as in the story’s alternate history, you can almost believe that these candidates will do anything to get this very important job. However, the movie doesn’t manage to make us believe that “this could really happen”, which sucks as I think it could. Exam reminded me a lot of The Purge, which is another movie that I thought had a brilliant concept & so many ideas to be explored but never were. Like The Purge, Exam feels like a wasted opportunity (although I really liked The Purge and find myself always sticking up for it).

Don’t let my negativity discourage you if you like the sound of this movie. I think I may just be too picky in always expecting movies to have some deeper sort of meaning. If you don’t think about it too hard & are able to suspend disbelief, you may get some enjoyment out of Exam.

My Rating: 6/10

Paul Williams Still Alive (2011)

Directed by Stephen Kessler

Starring: Well, mainly just Paul Williams, his wife, and the director but there’s plenty of old footage with famous celebrities to watch. 

My Opinion:

What a shitty documentary. Hell, I think I could make a better documentary. The trouble isn’t the subject as I think Paul Williams is fascinating enough to make for an interesting documentary. But god the director, Stephen Kessler, is annoying! This reminded me a bit of the John Hughes documentary, Don’t You Forget About Me (which I reviewed HERE). In both films, the makers almost feel more like stalkers than like proper filmmakers.

I’ll say that Paul Williams comes across a bit grumpy in the documentary but that’s probably understandable as the director pretty much spends the whole film talking about how Paul Williams used to be a pretty big star but now he’s nothing (which isn’t true at all, especially since Daft Punk soon after declared their love for him & worked with him on their amazing Random Access Memories album). It’s ridiculous as Paul Williams has had a longer and FAR more successful career than Kessler (his only other movie you’ll have heard of is the crappy National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation).

As for Paul Williams, I know some people here probably know nothing about him although you may recognize his face. He was (well, still is) mainly a singer-songwriter but also an actor whose most famous work was in the Seventies. He wrote songs for people such as Barbara Streisand (Evergreen) and The Carpenters (We’ve Only Just Begun & Rainy Days And Mondays). Perhaps his most famous song, though, is The Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie (it’s certainly my favorite & in my list of My Top Ten Happy Songs). He was also in Smokey And The Bandit and the spectacularly mad Brian De Palma film Phantom Of The Paradise, which I reviewed HERE. Williams plays an evil record executive in Phantom, which is a mental “horror musical” that I enjoyed so much that I decided to watch this documentary soon after. Bah! Rubbish. Watch Phantom instead.

It’s hard to know what to rate this as it IS worth checking out if you’re interested in Paul Williams and don’t know much about him. There are plenty of old clips with lots of famous celebrities & the film is almost worth watching for that alone. Don’t expect the most in-depth documentary ever, though, and be prepared to feel as annoyed by the director as Williams sometimes clearly is. I’m glad I watched it but would like to see a better documentary about Paul Williams.

My Rating: 6/10

(okay rating more for the fact that Williams is an interesting character than for the quality of the documentary)

The To Do List (2013)

Directed by Maggie Carey

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rachel Bilson, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Andy Samberg, Scott Porter, Connie Britton

My Opinion:

How can a totally filthy sex comedy be so BORING and completely unfunny in any way? What a load of shit.

I’m thinking that maybe I truly don’t like Aubrey Plaza. I don’t have much experience with her (she’s in that Parks & Recreation thing, right? Never seen it). I didn’t mind her in the slightly pretentious Safety Not Guaranteed but then she mostly just got on my nerves in the disappointing Life After Beth. Well, I’d have to say I pretty much hated her in this. I don’t know if that’s entirely her fault, though, as I can’t say I liked anyone in this plus the movie is just plain bad. I honestly can’t think of a less funny “comedy” that I’ve seen in recent years. It’s almost as bad as a Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer “parody” movie.

(Just go play with yourself instead of watching this movie – you’ll have way more fun)

So, in this movie, perfect student Plaza decides she wants to lose her virginity & do every sexual thing that she can before heading off to college. Or something like that – I don’t remember much of this movie now. Anyway, here’s her sexual “to do” list:

I wouldn’t call myself a prude so my issues with the movie have nothing at all to do with the subject matter. I do enjoy the occasional sex comedy. But what I require is for them to actually be funny. I mean, WTF is this shit?:

Aubrey Plaza’s character is beyond annoying in this movie & I can’t imagine anyone wanting to do any of the things on that above “to do list” with her. The only funny thing, looking at that list, is how it says “British?” next to “teabagging“. lol. Okay – that’s kind of funny. But the rest of this movie is NOT. This movie can go do all of the above things to itself. Yeah… Go fuck yourself, movie!

My Rating: 3/10

Now here’s the rather epic, totally 70’s prog rock-y Touch, Paul Williams’ song with Daft Punk on Random Access Memories:

Drew: The Man Behind The Poster (2013) Review

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Drew: The Man Behind The Poster (2013)

Directed by Erik Sharkey

Starring: Drew Struzan, Dylan Struzan, Harrison Ford, Guillermo del Toro, George Lucas, Michael J. Fox, Thomas Jane

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Drew: The Man Behind The Poster is a 2013 documentary film directed by Erik Sharkey about the career of American film poster artist Drew Struzan.

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My Opinion:

I watched this documentary last year and kept meaning to review it. I don’t know how to review documentaries (or books! man I’m behind on book reviews). As a documentary, I suppose it was pretty good. I don’t watch too many of them unless I’m really really interested in the subject, though, and this one was right up my alley. I love movies (obviously) & movie poster art and Drew Struzan has designed some of the greatest & most well known movie posters. So I’ll warn you right now that I may end up talking more about his art than about the actual documentary.

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Personal Life:

What I liked about this documentary, as with any documentary, was finding out more about Struzan’s personal life as well as his work. They talked to him and to his wife a lot and they seemed to have a lovely, very close relationship (I love a good husband & wife team). I’d say Struzan came across as a bit bitter and angry over certain things (he got very screwed over by someone in his career so I can understand that anger). He was the very definition of a “starving artist” in his early days and his wife was always by his side. I think this documentary got the balance right in talking about his personal life as well as his art. I can’t find any photos of his wife (Dylan) in the documentary, which is odd as she’s a very important part of it. But I found the above photo here, on the website of an artist who met Drew. It’s an interesting article if you want to have a look at the link & get an actual artist’s perspective on things (I can’t draw anything other than stick figures. I can’t even paint a wall properly!).

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It’s interesting how artistic types can sometimes be difficult but I liked how Struzan seems to have said “screw it” and lives for his wife & his art now. I’m difficult too but I have zero artistic talent of any sort so I don’t know what my excuse is… 😉 I’m not saying he came across as unlikeable – just that he does what he wants to do now & too bad if others don’t like it. I think more people should be like that, actually. He was far less grumpy than Paul Williams was in the Paul Williams Still Alive documentary that I watched at the same time. I suppose I should do a mini-review of that sometime too… Here’s my review: Paul Williams is a grumpy fart! Lol. Seriously, though, Struzan came across as a private person who’s very passionate about the things he loves and I have a lot of respect for people who are like that.

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Artwork:

First of all, I’ll say they did a good job getting some famous people to talk about Struzan and the work that he did for/with them (I especially loved Michael J. Fox’s enthusiasm for Struzan’s work – you could tell just how much he loved being a part of the Back To The Future posters). Speaking of grumpy famous people, they even got Harrison Ford to talk about Struzan! How cool is that? He must be the actor Struzan has painted more than any other… We also heard from Guillermo del Toro, George Lucas, and Thomas Jane.

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I’m really glad they spoke to Thomas Jane about his part as a movie poster artist in Frank Darabont’s The Mist. For anyone not familiar with the movie, Struzan’s artwork was used in the beginning and Jane’s character is shown painting Struzan’s art for Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (which Struzan painted specifically to be used in The Mist). Three things I love all together: Stephen King, Drew Struzan & Frank Darabont! Wait… Four! Thomas Jane is a hottie. Anyway, Struzan showed Jane how to make it look like he was really an artist doing a painting then, being the perfectionist that he is, later told Jane that he did it completely wrong in the movie. I loved Jane’s re-telling of the story – he had a great sense of humor about it.

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Frank Darabont is clearly a big fan of Struzan’s as he’s had him do art for a lot of his work (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Walking Dead, and of course artwork for & in The Mist). George Lucas is also a huge fan and Struzan has done loads of Star Wars art for books, anniversary editions, etc. There are so many different Struzan Star Wars pieces that it’s hard to choose a favorite. I think it’s between Revenge Of The Jedi & this one, which was a collaboration with artist Charles White III:

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Struzan did the poster art for Hellboy but he also did an amazing piece for Pan’s Labyrinth, which the studio rejected (much to Guillermo del Toro’s anger). But del Toro is very proud to have this hanging in his home – I’d love to have this!:

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I hate how studios so often feel the need to have horrible, boring movie posters just featuring photos of the film’s stars these days. I understand that seeing the stars so prominently displayed convinces some people to watch a movie (I guess?) but it doesn’t work on me. I’m more interested in a film if it has a really interesting, artistic poster (I’m the same way with books. I’m drawn to books with good covers). Struzan paints the film’s stars anyway so I don’t know why anyone would ever choose some crappy photoshopped photo over a painting for a movie poster. I’d much rather see something like this:

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Summary:

I’ve decided to stop here for a couple of reasons. First of all, I sometimes feel ridiculous “reviewing” movies when I know as little about filmmaking as I do about writing. When it comes to art, I have even less experience or knowledge. I just know what I LIKE and I have a passion for film, music, books, and art & love discussing it with all of you in the same way that someone like Struzan has a passion for actually creating that art. Believe me, I’d far rather be creating it but I just don’t have that ability.

Second of all, if I continue I know I’ll just ramble on & on about all my favorite Struzan pieces. So, in the middle of this, I decided to do a separate list of My Top Ten Drew Struzan Movie Art Pieces, which I’ll post tomorrow. I’ve actually not even mentioned a lot of my favorites, including the one that is my favorite Struzan poster, hands down. I’ll just mention this as I decided that my list tomorrow should focus on only his movie art: When watching this documentary, I had NO idea that Struzan had done album covers and that he did one of my all-time favorites for Black Sabbath. How on Earth had I not known that?! The Alice Cooper one is amazing as well:

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Love those! Like I said, I know what I like and I know that seeing Drew Struzan movie art makes me happy. As for this documentary, I really enjoyed it as I find the subject matter fascinating and it was great getting to know a little bit about this private and talented artist.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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My Top Ten Black Sabbath Songs

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Yep, I have no movie reviews ready to post today so it’s time for a super lazy Top Ten List! Look, Seth – SABBATH! 🙂

Counting down to my number one favorite, here are My Top Ten Black Sabbath Songs:

10. TIE: Planet Caravan & A National Acrobat
9. N.I.B.
8. Electric Funeral
7. Iron Man
6. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
5. Paranoid
4. Fairies Wear Boots
3. War Pigs
2. Spiral Architect
1. Black Sabbath

Number one & two are SO close… Think it depends on my mood. Yeah – I mainly just know the “Greatest Hits”. This was an easy post – I should do these more often!

Actually, I just realized that I can make this a movie-related post as well. One of the many movies I watched in 2014 but didn’t get around to reviewing was Drew: The Man Behind The Poster. I’ll still review that as I found it fascinating and I LOVE Drew Struzan’s movie posters. However, as he’s so well known for his famous movie posters, I had NO idea before watching the documentary that he’d also done one of my favorite album covers (and back cover) for one of my favorite bands! Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath:

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How did I not know that?? Anyway – here’s the song Black Sabbath. I love that it sounds like what you’d hear on the way to Hell. It’s perfect for the walk to work. 🙂

Don’t You Forget About Me (2009) Review

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Don’t You Forget About Me (2009 Documentary)

Directed by Matt Austin

Written by:
Matt Austin
Michael Facciolo
Kari Hollend
Lenny Panzer

Running time: 90 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Don’t You Forget About Me is a 2009 Canadian documentary film about screenwriter, director, and producer John Hughes. The film specifically focused on Hughes’ fade from prominence in the early 1990s. It details the journey of a group of young filmmakers who go in search of the reclusive icon, documenting their search through interviews of the people with whom Hughes had worked and fans of his films.

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My Opinion:

Obviously, I was interested in watching this documentary as, like the filmmakers, I grew up with and love John Hughes teen movies and was sad that he stopped making those types of films and that he pretty much disappeared from Hollywood. I think it’s quite a sad story and, as we know, he died too young from a heart attack at the age of 59 on August 6, 2009, just after this documentary was filmed.

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This is worth a watch for anyone who is a big fan of Hughes but not so much worth a watch if you’re not. The best part by far was seeing all the interviews with those who had worked with Hughes and those who were influenced by his work. It’s pretty impressive that they were able to get as many people together for this documentary as they did. The following are just some of the people they interviewed:

Ilan Mitchell-Smith
Ally Sheedy
Judd Nelson
Kelly LeBrock
Mia Sara
Alan Ruck
Kevin Smith
Roger Ebert
Richard Roeper
Jim Kerr

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As for the rest of the documentary, I was hoping for something a bit more in-depth on why they thought Hughes had disappeared but we don’t really get this from the filmmakers. They talk a bit about their favorite Hughes films and what those movies meant to them but we don’t really hear anything new. I was a little confused by a couple things too. They say they spent two years (or maybe it was two and a half) on this documentary. I don’t think this is a spoiler: they drive to Chicago to try to track down John Hughes & interview him (I won’t say whether they manage to or not). But, once they get there, they sit down and start writing out some questions to ask him. Then they try to decide how to go about contacting him: walk right up to his house & talk to him or give him a letter or what. They write the letter right outside his house. In two years they didn’t think to have any of this prepared until they arrived in Chicago to try to meet with Hughes???

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Summary:

A documentary worth watching if you love John Hughes films as you get to see some interesting interviews with those he worked with and those he influenced. However, you won’t really learn anything new or get an in-depth look into the man and why he disappeared from the scene. It’s also a little disappointing that there’s no focus whatsoever on any of his movies other than a few teen ones (what’s wrong with the Vacation movies? Planes, Trains & Automobiles? Etc?). Like I say – I do recommend this if you like John Hughes but I was a little uncomfortable at the thought of fans trying to track him down as I think he wanted a peaceful life with his family. And knowing that he died so soon afterwards made watching this even harder. (Please read below the picture for something I DO highly recommend….) And for another opinion on this documentary from another fan of John Hughes, you can read Rob’s thoughts over at his MovieRob blog HERE.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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**To be honest, if you’re a John Hughes fan (or even if you’re not), I’ve been meaning to share this absolutely fascinating piece from a girl who was pen pals with Hughes from 1985-1987 (and more beyond). THIS should be read by everyone – Hughes lovers or even those who are simply interested in being writers or just knowing a bit more about the feelings of someone who was in the public eye. It’s a brilliant insight into the man & you will learn much more about him from this lovely piece written by a girl called Alison Byrne Fields than you will from watching this documentary. Please read this – It will be well worth your time (and there’s more to be read if you wish to explore more about John Hughes on her blog). Link here: Sincerely, John Hughes

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Sound City (2013) Review

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Sound City (2013)

Directed by Dave Grohl

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of Sound City Studios from its early days in 1969 until its closing in 2011. It then follows Dave Grohl’s purchase of the studio’s custom analog Neve console, which he moved to his personal studio, Studio 606. Famous musicians who recorded at Sound City reunite at Studio 606 for a jam session and to make an album of “all-new all-original songs, each one composed and recorded exclusively for the film within its own 24-hour session on that console.”

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Artists Featured: (also via Wikipedia because I’m lazy today)

The documentary features interviews conducted by Grohl of artists associated with the studio:

Vinny Appice
Frank Black
Lindsey Buckingham
Johnny Cash (archival)
Kurt Cobain (archival)
Kevin Cronin
Rivers Cuomo
Mick Fleetwood
Neil Giraldo
Josh Homme
Alain Johannes
Jim Keltner
Paul McCartney
Barry Manilow
Rupert Neve
Stevie Nicks
Krist Novoselic
Stephen Pearcy
Tom Petty
Trent Reznor
Ross Robinson
Rick Rubin
Jim Scott
Pat Smear
Rick Springfield
Corey Taylor
Benmont Tench
Lars Ulrich
Butch Vig
Lee Ving
Brad Wilk
Neil Young
Warren DeMartini

Running time: 108 minutes

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My Opinion:

It’s hard to review a documentary. Basically, if you like Dave Grohl and/or any of the artists listed above (and especially if you have any sort of interest in the music industry), I’d highly recommend this documentary. I mean, who doesn’t like Dave Grohl? Dave Grohl is awesome. I want to marry Dave Grohl. (But, I’m already taken. Sorry, Dave Grohl!).

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Before watching this, I had watched another music documentary – Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap (review HERE). That one was good but not very in-depth and was just a bunch of rappers showing off their rapping skills as opposed to exploring the roots of rap or anything like that (but I suppose it wasn’t called “The History Of Rap”). It was fun but a little shallow. And, I’ll admit – The music in Sound City is more my kind of thing so I was probably going to find this documentary more interesting anyway.

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What I really liked more than anything about Sound City was Grohl’s infectious enthusiasm. He clearly LOVES music and what he does for a living and it really shows, making this documentary as enjoyable as the music he continues to (seemingly effortlessly) create.

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Then, of course, it was great seeing interviews with and old footage of so many musical greats. The ones featured most prominently (from what I remember – I watched this months ago), were Fleetwood Mac (especially Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham), Tom Petty, and…. Rick Springfield! Yeah – remember Rick Springfield? Jessie’s Girl and all that? Well, he was a big heartthrob back in my day (sort of – the girls a few years older than me really loved him). Anyway! His story involving Sound City was really very touching and a little heartbreaking & he actually seemed a little… broken. Plus we all know about all the soap opera drama within Fleetwood Mac, which once again gets touched on in this documentary.

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Many of the artists & those who worked behind the scenes at Sound City got a little emotional during the interviews & it all felt very genuine. This documentary had a lot of heart to it and Grohl’s dedication to this project really shows in the final product. Definitely worth a watch for anyone remotely interested in Grohl, the recording industry, rock music, or just a damn good documentary.

My Rating: 8/10

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Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010) Review & Haiku

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Exit Through The Gift Shop

Directed by Banksy

Narrated by Rhys Ifans

Starring:

Thierry Guetta
Banksy
Shepard Fairey
Invader
André

Plot Summary:

This documentary follows a man named Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in LA who is obsessed with recording every moment of his life. While visiting France, he discovers that a cousin of his is actually the well known street artist Invader.

This is the start of Guetta’s obsession with the secretive lives of street artists. Through Invader, he meets & documents other street artists at work including Monsieur André, Zevs & finally Shepard Fairey back in LA who then helps Guetta to document several other street artists throughout the country. Through Shepard Fairey, and to Guetta’s huge delight, he finally meets the extremely elusive Banksy, who agrees to be documented as long as his identity remains a secret…
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My Opinion:

I saw this movie back in January. Although I absolutely loved it, I guess I never reviewed it because I had no idea how to go about it. But when I asked all of you which film I should review of the ones I hadn’t, this was the winner (yay! you all have good taste.). 🙂

There is SO much more to this documentary than what I’ve put in the above summary! I’ve barely even scratched the surface. To be honest, if you don’t yet know much about this film, I don’t think you should really know any more before seeing it. Just watch it. I highly recommend it – it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in the past few years.
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If you have the slightest interest in art or filmmaking (or even if you don’t and would just enjoy a very entertaining film with some oddball characters), watch this. Don’t read too much about it beforehand – it really needs to be seen to be believed. Or possibly not believed… It’s an absolutely fascinating look at the world of art. What defines art? Is street art really art? Or is it only art once it’s hanging in a museum? Can just anyone make it? And what about Banksy, who started out a simple street artist but is now having art shows and selling his work for lots of money to the rich & the famous? Is he any more or less of an artist now?

This documentary explores these things in such a unique way by turning the tables on the viewer. I thought this film was extremely clever, even if I was just being brainwashed the whole time. Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who Banksy is. It doesn’t matter who Mr Brainwash is (who?! watch the movie…). 😉 What matters is that art is art as long as there’s at least one person who considers it to be (in my opinion) and this film is a thoroughly entertaining piece of art.
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Banksy:

Okay – I love Banksy. That’s going to have helped me liking this film. I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to watch this documentary. I suppose that, by the time the film finally came out, Banksy was EVERYWHERE. You couldn’t walk through a shopping mall (in the UK at least) without seeing Banksy stuff for sale. As with anything that becomes too mainstream, it loses its appeal a bit. Especially something that’s meant to be so anti-establishment in the first place. (Did I use that word correctly? Check out me & all my big words in my reviews lately! Lol!).

Many years ago, before he was quite so well known, I went on a Banksy tour around London to see some of his work. Unfortunately, some of it was already gone (like this famous one – now painted over. what a shame! we could just make out the outline):
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I did manage to get one decent photo of one that was still there (on my ancient camera phone!) – I’ll include that at the end of this post. But I really can’t finish this “review” without posting pictures of some of Banksy’s work:
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Shepard Fairey:

Shepard Fairey also plays a very big part in this documentary. I wasn’t that familiar with his work before the film. He created that whole “Obey”/Andre The Giant thing, which comes partly from a favorite movie of mine: They Live. Fairey later created the following They Live Mondo poster for the Alamo Drafthouse. I absolutely adore it & have already posted it a couple of times:
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Fairey has done lots of other work, including things such as album covers & the Barack Obama “Hope” poster.

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One great thing about this documentary is that it got me very curious about everyone involved. I spent ages reading about Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Mr Brainwash, etc. I hope you’ll watch this film and then do the same. It’s the sign of a good film when you get your audience wanting to explore things further. As for Banksy – Yes, he’s supposedly been named. There’s a picture that’s meant to be of him. But I won’t post links to these things. If you want to look for it, you can. But I think knowing who he really is would ruin what makes his work so special. Anonymity is rare in this age where everyone famous is on Twitter or has some ridiculous reality show.

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Summary:

A fascinating documentary about the world of street art that also happens to be a thoroughly amusing & entertaining film with some great characters. I’ve said very little about what actually happens in the film – it needs to be seen to be believed (or not believed…). Go to it without reading up on it too much beforehand – save that for after the film. Trust me, you’ll WANT to read more about it the second the film finishes. An excellent work of art.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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My Grin Reaper photo from my “Banksy Tour” around London:

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My Exit Through The Gift Shop Haiku:

Banksy does street art
And great documentary
Who’s Mr Brainwash?

Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap

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I’m a 30-something & the 80s are my era. I’m now one of these old people who hears current music on the radio & goes “What is this SHIT? This isn’t music!”. Especially with current rap (I mean…. Lil Wayne… What’s THAT all about?!). Then I remember my Grandma saying the exact same thing years ago when hearing Run-DMC on the radio & I think “Crap. I’m old. Because Run-DMC were GOOD. Maybe Lil Wayne is good too but I’m just old & not with the times?!” Someone please tell me that I’m not old & just have good taste… 😉

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I’ll start this review by saying that I have VERY little knowledge about rap. I like various types of music – it depends on each individual song – but the majority of what I like has always been rock & indie, especially the more classic rock of the 60s, 70s & a bit of the 80s. Favorites are things like Iron Maiden, Radiohead, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, The Beatles, anything with David Byrne singing… I could go on & on. When I do like current music I’ve realized that it’s usually when it sounds like my favorite OLD music (The Black Keys, Tame Impala, Wolfmother). So this review is coming from a girl who wouldn’t exactly consider rap to be her favorite genre. Okay – I’ll stop blathering on about the music I like & get on with this review now!

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Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap was directed by Ice-T and co-directed by Andy Baybutt. It focuses on the skill involved in creating & performing rap verses. I think this documentary is really aimed more at the true rap fans – it didn’t give me the in-depth history of rap that I was hoping for since it’s something I don’t know a lot about. It’s not a documentary about the older music that influenced rap artists in the first place & how rap music came about (other than each of the rap artists in the documentary talking about OTHER rap artists who had influenced them). What about mentioning all the great original songs sampled in rap? None of this is the fault of the documentary, though – it’s not about the “history” of rap, it’s about the “art” of rap as the title states. I’d just not really read a synopsis beforehand.

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It’s worth the watch just for the fact that they managed to get A LOT of famous rappers together for it. I’d at least heard of maybe half of them even if I don’t really know their stuff – the hubby did get annoyed at how I kept going “who’s that??”. Grandmaster Caz is the one featured the most in the documentary as Ice-T puts him on the spot & gives him 20 minutes to write & perform a rap based on the Art Of Rap documentary. This requires weed!

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Actually, I think it’s worth mentioning all of the rappers featured in the documentary – here’s the full alphabetical list from IMDB of those involved:

Bun B
B-Real
Afrika Bambaataa
Busy Bee
Joe Budden
Grandmaster Caz
Common
Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss
Ice Cube
Chuck D.
Royce Da 59
Dana Dane
Mos Def
Snoop Dogg
Dr. Dre
Eminem
Lord Finesse
Doug E. Fresh
Ice-T
Lord Jamar
Cheryl ‘Salt’ James
Big Daddy Kane
Ras Kass
Kool Keith
KRS-One
MC Lyte
Marley Marl
Darryl McDaniels
Melle Mel
Nas
DJ Premier
Q-Tip
Raekwon
Rakim
Redman
Puerto Rico
Joseph Simmons
Immortal Technique
WC
Kanye West
Chino XL
Xzibit

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I’d recommend this documentary to anyone who has enough of an interest in rap music and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who sees rap as a true art form & would be impressed at all the on-the-spot rapping Ice-T asks each of them to do. I’m sure there’s a lot of skill involved in doing that – I know I sure as hell couldn’t do it! If you have little or no interest in rap in the first place, though, it’s unlikely you’d find this documentary very interesting or suddenly have a profound understanding of and love for rap after seeing this.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Seems to make sense to include some music at the end of this review so here are some of my rap favorites:

KRS-One – Sound Of Da Police

Run-DMC – It’s Tricky

Public Enemy – Don’t Believe The Hype

A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It?

Grandmaster Flash – The Message (my favorite by far – never leaves my iPod)

To be taken seriously, I’ve resisted the urge to include Digital Underground – The Humpty Dance…. Oh screw it – here it is! :-p

And, finally, an old clip that I still find hilarious 🙂

No, wait! I have to end this with The Wedding Singer’s rapping granny. Love her! 😉