Category Archives: DVD SHELF

The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough for the WWF!

In the 1980s many important acronyms were making headlines: the emergence of the AIDS epidemic, NASA and its riveting Space Shuttle Program, MLK Day became an officially observed federal holiday, and IBM introduced the first “personal computer,” to name a few. But for three pre-teen siblings growing up in Queens, New York, two other acronyms would enter into, and soon dominate, their household: the debut of cable network MTV and a few years later, the mainstream arrival of WWF.

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To this day, when I hear Animotion’s song “Obsession” my mind immediately flashes to the opening title sequence of Saturday Night’s Main Event.

WWF Wrestling was big in our house. HUGE. We watched the Saturday morning matches and the Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling cartoon, fought with our parents to let us stay up late enough to watch the Main Events, subscribed to the WWF magazine, ate the ice cream sandwich bars. In a word, yes, we WERE obsessed with wrestling, thank you very much, Animotion. The year 1985 was an important one for wrestling, too, since that was the year that many of these shows debuted. America was experiencing a tidal wave of Hulkamania! Also, thanks to a fateful meeting on a plane between Lauper and Captain Lou Albano, he was soon being cast as her dad in the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video, and Lauper was later was cast on various WWF programs and matches as Wendy Richter’s manager, playing opposite a villainous Albano (then the manager of the Fabulous Moolah). The crossovers sparked a period that’s come to be known as the “Rock and Wrestling Connection.”

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Now, an unrelated, or SEEMINGLY unrelated event in 1985 was the arrival of The Goonies in movie theaters. Written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner (previously discussed on Retroist), we all know the story of a band of misfit kids trying to save their goon dock side of town from being torn down to make way for a ritzy country club. Any fan of the film will also remember the unofficial theme song to The Goonies, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough,” performed by…that’s right, Cyndi Lauper! But does everyone also recall the amazing video (a two-parter!) that accompanied the single?

The video had it all! Most of the kids from the film showed up to reprise their roles, Cyndi’s mom of course makes an appearance, the Bangles play some lady pirates, and Steven Speilberg event makes a cameo, but the icing on the cake is that there are a TON OF WWF PERSONALITIES playing various characters in the video! The Iron Sheik, Roddy Piper, Nikolai Volkoff (who arrives on a pick-up truck, milking a plastic cow), Captain Lou, Wendy Richter, Fabulous Moolah, Classy Freddie Blassie, everyone playing their typical roles of “bad guys” vs. “good guys.” And of course, the, ahem, GIANT reveal at the end of the video.

wwf-magazineAgain, being the avid fans of both music videos and WWF matches, my brothers and I were in heaven when we discovered this video on MTV. But there was one problem: while we were always able to see the video when it was on MTV, the video had two parts, and we really never got to see the concluding video. And remember, this was in a time before the instant gratification of YouTube and Daily Motion, and websites like the mighty Retroist who would helpfully host both parts of the video.

(Here’s part 2)

Cyndi was actually appointed by Spielberg as the musical director for the movie’s soundtrack, and she enlisted the Bangles to record one song for the album (which, if you didn’t own the soundtrack, helps to explain their otherwise curious appearance in the video). Something interesting to note regarding the production of the video: it was also shot by the movie’s director, Richard Donner. According to a few websites (that lack citation), Lauper had a less than enjoyable working experience with Donner, suggesting that he was pushing too hard at times when she was exhausted from filming. Here’s some behind-the-scenes footage from filming of the music video, though, so you can judge for yourself. To my eyes, it looks like everyone’s getting along OK:

Another interesting bit of info: the original title of the song, as written by Lauper, was just “Good Enough,” but Warner Bros., who distributed the film, went ahead and modified it to “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” so that people would make the connection between the single and the movie, which helped the marketing of the film. None too pleased with this unapproved change of title (on an album that she musically directed), Lauper decided she would no longer perform the song live in concert, but in the past 10 years, due to popular demand from her fans, she has started to work it back into her set list.

So if you ever wondered why there were wrestlers, instead of Fratellis, chasing the kids in the video for “Goonies R Good Enough,” you now know why. And that should be good enough for you.

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Everybody Wants Some!


Sure, there are numerous memorable moments from the ’80s comedy Better Off Dead: skiing the K-12, Lane botching his own suicide, challenging the Howard Cosell-loving asians to a road race at the red light, even Ricky’s mom blowing up, to name a few. But I wager that one of the finest moments in this film is when Lane Meyer does a little daydreaming while on the job at Pig Burgers, declaring that HE’LL show us what “everybody wants” (in answer to Pig Burgers’ poster whose slogan was that “everybody wants some”).

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What follows is some of the strangest, most delightful 3 minutes you’ll see in an ’80s comedy. A scene that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the plot/story/character development/movie, featuring the music of Van Halen, which will forever link their song to this film. It’s almost as though director Savage Steve Holland just really loved Van Halen and wanted to find a way to get almost the entire song into this movie. It acts in essence as a music video for the song, although it’s a singing claymation hamburger and dancing fries that we see. A very bad-ass singing claymation hamburger, I might add, who seriously shreds on a claymation replica of Eddie Van Halen’s custom designed “Frankenstrat” guitar. This is definitely a feat that I doubt could ever happen today in a studio-made movie (Better Off Dead was originally released in theaters by Warner Bros.)

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I tried to do a little interweb investigating into who the company might be that worked on the claymation sequence in the film. My best guest, based on production credits supplied on IMDB, was that it was handled by a company called Dream Quest Images, who also handled model making for such movies as E.T., Total Recall, and The Abyss, until the Walt Disney Company bought the DQI in 1996.

The kicker is that the song doesn’t even appear on the original motion picture soundtrack for Better Off Dead! And several times that I’ve gone looking for this clip on YouTube or even Daily Motion, the video was either fully removed, or the video remained, but the sound was often stripped out for violating terms of use and lacking permission to rebroadcast. So either Diamond Dave and the boys have become less litigious in their later years, or perhaps someone from the VH camp has come to realize that allowing clips like this to live a second life on video sharing sites only helps to keep people coming around for the Van Halen sound.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go and practice my moves for the big K-12 competition tomorrow..

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#Occupy John Malkovich!

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Who watches?

Seriously, WHO watches the Watchmen? I’d like to know when they’ll be done!

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Open Your Eyes…

There are some movies that, no matter how terrible others say they are, i just can’t help but watch over and over. Whether I wind up flipping past one of them on late-night cable, or if i grab a DVD from my shelf; there are some films that really affect me.

One film that i think got the really short, poo-laden end of the stick during its theatrical release was “Vanilla Sky”. Let me state for the record that i am NOT a Tom Cruise fan. I find him barely tolerable to watch, even in early movies like “Cocktail” or “The Firm”. I’m sorry, he had that all-American look and became an “it” actor without really ever earning it (in my opinion). I think most of his performances have been pretty wooden (with exception of a few films like “A Few Good Men” and “Eyes Wide Shut” and yea, i suppose he was pretty badass as the douchey self-help guru Frank in “Magnolia”) Actually, when you look at his filmography on imdb, the dude hasn’t really even BEEN in a ton of films, and the one’s he has been in are mainly action films (so really, not much room to stretch out one’s acting abilities).

Now, on the other hand i LOVE Cameron Crowe (director of “Vanilla Sky”) and i think he did a really beautiful job remaking “Abre Los Ojos” while putting his own artistic/musical mark on the film. He got a really great performance out of Cruise, too: playing a young, rich, pompous, handsome devil who knows of no real cares in the world. Life is but a dream, until he meets an amazing girl, spends one evening with her, then sees an insane girl the next day, and his life is turned upside down. that’s the basic plot of the film, but the story goes off in a few different directions that prove to be something of a mind fuck if you aren’t really paying attention to all of the action on the screen. Now, in the original film, the underlying idea about time/place is made a bit stronger and more evident earlier on in the film. Unfortunately, i think for American audiences, the alleged “twist” to the story came too far from left-field that it made the moviegoers mad, and made the film laughable in many people’s opinions.

Well, not me. And yes, i think the original version is lovely and beautiful as well. And honestly, when I saw the Crowe version in theaters I *did* walk away thinking “eh, not so much”. But thanks to the gods of cable programming, i’ve been given ample opportunity at many a 1am to revisit the movie and my reaction to it. And i’ve got to say, it keeps getting better every time I see it.

Here’s one of the few scenes you can find on youtube that ISN’T a fan film or a fan music video for the film. Not my favorite scene either, but it’s lit, designed, and shot beautifully, and i think Cruise acts his butt off in this scene. Penelope Cruz, of course, just has to show up in any movie and radiate that light that she has. Which, of course, she does here.

I guess I also am digging this scene tonight since it’s truly one of the first true days of fall in New York (temperature and foliage wise), and this scene replicates the beauty of autumn in Central Park in a very real way.
Enjoy

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