My Top Ten Bill Paxton Movies

I was sad to hear of the death of Bill Paxton over the weekend. He has such an impressive movie resume! It’s funny how, even though he was only in very small roles at first, he still managed to be in so many beloved, kick-ass classics. Especially numbers one & two on my list… AWESOME films! It’s great that he ended up in bigger roles in things such as Twister & Apollo 13 but I’ll always first think of him as the lovably annoying Hudson in Aliens and as the hilarious asshole brother Chet in Weird Science.

I honestly thought I’d already done a Bill Paxton Top Ten list in the past as he’s been in several of my favorite movies but it looks like I never did. As always, I’ve ranked these in order from my least favorite to favorite movie as opposed to character role. So, in his memory, here are My Top Ten Bill Paxton Movies (counting down from 16 to include everything I’ve seen):

16. True Lies
15. Mighty Joe Young
14. Nightcrawler
13. Frailty
12. The Last Supper (but need to re-watch & refresh my memory, really)
11. Near Dark (also need to re-watch)

TOP TEN:

10. Commando

9. Twister

8. Streets Of Fire

7. Apollo 13

6. Predator 2

5. Titanic

4. Edge Of Tomorrow

3. Weird Science

2. The Terminator

1. Aliens

Seen But Don’t Remember:
Stripes
Indian Summer
U-571

Never Saw:
Navy Seals (Can you believe that, with my Michael Biehn crush??)
Brain Dead (I like the sound of this one…)
Tombstone
Boxing Helena
The Evening Star
A Simple Plan
Haywire
2 Guns

Finally, I think most people my age know that Bill Paxton directed & starred in the bizarre Barnes And Barnes “short film” video for the song Fish Heads.

In looking up his film credits, I noticed he was also in two other music videos. Love the Pat Benatar video for Shadows Of The Night! I’d forgotten about that video. I miss the “story” videos of the Eighties. Anyway – watch out for Paxton in a small role as a WWII baddie in that video. Also, he starred in New Order’s Touched By The Hand Of God, which I must admit I’d never seen. What a great, eclectic career. Bill Paxton will be missed.

R.I.P. William “Bill” Paxton (May 17, 1955 – February 25, 2017)

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The Legend Of Billie Jean, Less Than Zero & Private School Movie Reviews

Welcome to my 80’s Quickie Movie Review Special! I’m catching up on reviewing the things I’ve watched the past couple of years and, since these three were from the same decade (the BEST decade), I’ve decided to stick them together. One is a film I saw at the time & really liked but hadn’t re-watched in years, one is a throwaway film that was exactly what I expected for its sort of genre, and one is a film I’d badly wanted to see for years & found to be a big disappointment after finally seeing it for the first time now. Here we go!

The Legend Of Billie Jean (1985)

Directed by Matthew Robbins

Starring: Helen Slater, Keith Gordon, Christian Slater, Peter Coyote, Yeardley Smith

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A Texas teenager cuts her hair short and becomes an outlaw martyr with her brother and friends.

My Opinion:

I did watch this on TV several times in the 80s & I really liked it but it never became an all-time favorite like other movies from the era (even though Christian Slater, one of my big teen crushes, was in it). It was a lot of fun watching it again with the hubby several months ago, though, and it’s gone up in my estimation due partly to nostalgia and partly to being older & able to appreciate things such as the female empowerment going on (which will have gone straight over my head when I first saw this at the age of 13 or so). It reminds me a bit of the same sort of theme running through the little known 1982 Diane Lane film Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains and the two would make a great double feature. Any female bloggers want to come over to my place for a movie night? We’ll watch these two. Bring lots of popcorn! No pillow fights, though – we’re not going to feed any male fantasies. They can just go watch Private School (review below). 😉

I love Helen Slater (she’s a definite girl crush) and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Billie Jean. I like the City Slickers connection with both Slater & Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson) also being in that together (love that movie!). I also like that this movie has a period scene on my list of My Top Ten Period Scenes In Movies & that I get to link to that post again. Ha! There are great songs in this like Pat Benatar’s awesome Invincible (the movie’s theme song) & Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. Oh, that plot synopsis above is pretty crap so here’s a bit more if you’re curious: Basically, Slater & Slater (no relation IRL!) are a poor brother & sister in small town Texas. C. Slater’s motorbike is trashed by local hoodlums & H. Slater demands that the (rich by small-town standards) father of the main hoodlum boy pay for the repairs. After the father instead attempts to rape H. Slater, C. Slater accidentally shoots the asshole in the shoulder. The siblings & their friends then go on the run & H. Slater’s Billie Jean ends up a media sensation & heroine outlaw to all those who believe in how she stands up for what’s right. Through it all, her only demand is that her brother’s motorbike repairs be paid for by the prick responsible. It’s actually a great, simple story & I can see why it has achieved a sort of cult status.

I do really like The Legend Of Billie Jean even though it’s not one that I watched 1,582 times as a teenager. It’s a must see if you love movies from this era but somehow missed out on it. I’m not sure how a younger generation might feel about it but it has aged slightly better than some other movies from its time so it may be worth checking out if you like the sound of it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Less Than Zero (1987)

Directed by Marek Kanievska

Based on Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Starring: Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, Robert Downey Jr.

Music by Thomas Newman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Andrew McCarthy as Clay, a college freshman returning home for Christmas to spend time with his ex-girlfriend Blair (Jami Gertz) and his friend Julian (Robert Downey, Jr.), who is also a drug addict. The film presents a look at the culture of wealthy, decadent youth in Los Angeles.

My Opinion:

I didn’t see this movie at the time as I suppose I was a little too young for it but then I just never managed to catch it on TV or anything. Anyway, it’s a movie from 1987 starring big 80’s actors so I’ve of course been wanting to see it for almost 30 years now (yikes! I’m old). I also loved the big song from this movie (a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Hazy Shade Of Winter by The Bangles) and I saw that video full of clips from the film so many times that it almost felt like I had seen the film. Was the movie worth the long wait? No, it wasn’t. Damn – what a disappointment. I was surprised to find it quite boring, especially as the novel is from such a controversial author. I think it was one that needed to be seen at the time as it’s not at all shocking nowadays.

The film is about rich California kids & Robert Downey Jr is a drug addict whose friends try to help him when his family give up on him. Downey Jr was fine as was McCarthy, I suppose (I never liked McCarthy – he’s so boring & bland. He’s like an American Hugh Grant). I’m a fan of Gertz mainly because of my love for The Lost Boys but she feels the most miscast of the three. None of them feel quite right in their roles, though, and the story isn’t very hard hitting for one about drug addiction. The story just kind of meanders & the sex scenes with McCarthy & Gertz felt awkward – talk about less than zero chemistry.

I’ve never read a Bret Easton Ellis book so can’t compare this movie to the novel but I don’t like the film American Psycho & what I’ve read of the book sickens me while I absolutely hated The Rules Of Attraction film & found it extremely offensive. I’m not normally easily offended (I’ll get into this a bit more with Private School) but, considering how much the author’s other adaptations have pissed me off, you’d think Less Than Zero would at least have some balls. This is probably the most tame “drug addiction” movie I’ve seen. Very disappointing. I watched this several months ago & barely even remember it now. Good soundtrack, though! I do remember appreciating that.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Private School (1983)

Directed by Noel Black

Starring: Phoebe Cates, Betsy Russell, Matthew Modine, Michael Zorek, Ray Walston, Sylvia Kristel, Kathleen Wilhoite

Music by Rick Springfield

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Private School is a 1983 teen oriented sex comedy film. It follows a teenage couple attempting to have sex for the first time.

My Opinion:

Being the age that I am, I saw plenty of teen sex comedies while growing up. It’s difficult to watch them nowadays without cringing. I suppose it was a very different experience to be a girl watching them in the 80s as opposed to a boy. It’ll seem strange to females nowadays but, in my day, we didn’t give teen sex comedies much thought. It’s amazing that we didn’t find them offensive & I’m happy that they’re, for the most part, a thing of the past. Private School certainly isn’t a “good” movie but, if you really love 80’s sex comedies, it’s worth a watch. It’s better than crap like Porky’s and the girls (whose boobs we see plenty, yes) are fairly decent characters instead of just feeling like victims for the horny male characters (like in movies such as Revenge Of The Nerds with its rape scene that would never be allowed in a movie nowadays. Yikes). I didn’t find Private School offensive & there’s certainly enough nudity in it for horny males everywhere so I think it gets the right sort of balance for both sexes to be able to watch it. But, of course, we get no male nudity. No surprise there!

***WARNING: SOME BOOB PICS BELOW****

Yes, we get a guy spying on the girls in the showers. But, nowadays, he’d take pictures & stick them online. 80’s sex comedies usually don’t feel sinister in the same sort of way that the few modern day films do. We also get the guys dressing up as girls & sneaking into the girls’ dorm. They’re so obviously boys, though, that the girls just have fun messing with them. Especially the below girl, who surprises everyone with a topless ride on a horse. I’m sure it was a very popular scene with young male viewers.

By the way – in looking for pics for this post, I discovered that the topless horse rider (Betsy Russell) is Jigsaw’s ex-wife in the Saw films. Speaking of movies that I find offensive, I find stuff like the Saw films far more offensive than 80’s sex comedies. Yet movies with excessive violence are more readily accepted by society while the briefest flash of a nipple starts riots (way to go, Janet Jackson!). It’s a fucked-up world. Private School is a pretty forgettable film (unless you’re a 13-year-old boy) and it sure as shit isn’t very good but at least the female characters are treated like human beings & have personalities. They’re actually stronger characters than the boys, who are quite dull.

Oh! And Kathleen Wilhoite (in the above photo with the lovely Phoebe Cates) is in this. She’s such a “hey, it’s that girl”. She’s also in Road House. God I love Road House! Road House is “good bad”. Private School is just kind of “meh bad”. I love that I got a Road House mention in here.

My Rating: 5/10

Love these songs!!! Soundtracks from the Eighties are the best. And you get clips from the movies as well. 🙂

Music Video Friday: Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield 

I managed to do 2 weeks of Music Video Friday without posting a video from the Eighties! So I think it’s time to post this 80’s classic: Pat Benatar’s Love Is A Battlefield. Get your shoulder shimmy shake ready!

I wouldn’t say that Pat Benatar was a favorite singer of mine growing up, although I did like several of her songs. As far as female singers go, I was more of a Heart fan. Although, looking up Pat Benatar’s songs now for this post, there are some good ones I’d forgotten about. Shadows Of The Night! Invincible! Maybe I need a Best Of!

Love Is A Battlefield, released in September 1983, reached number one in the U.S. charts (while only reaching 17 in the U.K. Boo!). Anyway, the video was one of the staples of MTV’s early days. Remember when MTV was good?!? No, most of you are too young but, trust me, MTV used to be the greatest damn thing EVER. It was all MUSIC. Man I miss those days. I’ll never forget being outside my house at the age of about ten when the cute neighbor boy ran out of his house & shouted at me “Thriller is on MTV!!!!!” and then ran back into his house like a maniac. Lol. God he was adorable…

Where was I? Oh! Pat Benatar! I love how Eighties videos so often had cheesy little melodramatic stories. So… Pat Benatar runs away from her parents even though she looks about 30 then ends up some weird kind of dancing hooker or something. But she’s able to escape her pimp by doing an angry shoulder shimmy shake at him! Take that, you nasty dancing pimp! I’d love to be a superhero where my superpower was the shoulder shimmy shake. How awesome would that be?! You have to admit it’s less lame than an Ant-Man. The logo could be like Superman’s but with a triple S instead of just the one S. I like it! I’d photoshop that if I was any good at that sort of thing! 

Well, this post has kind of gone off track. Here’s the video but I’d be very surprised if there’s anyone who has never seen this work of art. Ah, the good old days! 🙂

*chart information from Wikipedia