THRASHIN’ (1986)

Directed By: David Winters
Written By: Paul Brown & Alan Sacks
Cinematography: Chuck Colwell
Editor: Lorenzo DeStefano & Nicholas Smith Production Designer: Catherine Hardwicke

Cast: Josh Brolin, Robert Rusler, Pamela Gidley, Josh Richman, Sherilyn Fenn, Chuck McCann, David Wagner, Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, Brooke McCarter Jr, Brett Marx, Mark Munski

Two skateboarding gangs battle each other for supremacy, and a member of one gang falls in love with the sister of his rival.


Now I have to give a curve to this skateboarding movie. As it is nostalgic fun that I probably would have enjoyed if I had watched it when I was younger and when it had initially come out, but watching it now. 

It is funnier in unintentional ways other than just the styles of yesteryear. Though the film does raise some questions and gives way to many observations like… 

Why do the corporate sponsors and owners of skate and Nike companies in these 80s movies come across as pedophiles? As they are way too old and way too giddy to be around young people. 

The daggers are way too obvious in their sabotage. Especially laughing while their victim is getting stitched up. Right in his face. Is this a machismo thing? Or just I dare you to say something? 

Also, why is it a gang when it involves minorities but a crew or group of friends when all caucasian? In this movie and beyond. Nice to see Robert Rusler as the suave skateboard villain leader of the daggers. Even if his casting makes you wonder exactly how old these characters are supposed to be. 

It always amazes me to see Josh Brolin in early roles as until MOD SQUAD the movie I really didn’t start recognizing him from movies like THE GOONIES, but you know you’re in another era of movies. When the integrated skate park gang are the villains. 

The film has the usual teenage romance in between the skateboard drama as well as lame jokes. Though I am not a prude it is shocking how fast Josh Brolin and Pamela Gidley’s character hook up on their first date practically but I guess when it’s true love you just know. 

This is more a film for teen girls to watch and fall in love with probable hunky poster boys at the time, but strangely also a film that bypasses that audience making the film more advertised for teenage boys, who might be into the fad of the time skateboarding. Leaving a definite unintentional homoerotic charge throughout the film and in the scenes. As even the villain of the film seems more into his look and glamour above all else

The highlight of the film is the joust skate off and just how trusting and willing a female character is to hitchhike her way to California with random truckers, but hey this movie is presented all in good fun and in supposedly simpler times. 

And the RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS are in this movie performing!!!! Some added cool points for the film. Though you will find them in quite a few films. It also makes it feel more like a teen movie by having a noted band in the film and their performance being a centerpiece almost.

If looking for a totally tubular nostalgic blast from the past check out this film. Even though for all of its ridiculous juvenile fun. I just couldn’t get on the same wavelength. 

Grade: D+

SWEET LIBERTY (1986)

Written & Directed By: Alan Alda
Cinematography: Frank Tidy
Editor: Michael Economou

Cast: Alan Alda, Michael Caine, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bob Hoskins, Saul Rubinek, Lise Hilboldt, Lillian Gish, Lois Chiles, John C. McGinley, Lynne Thigpen 

Michael has written a scholarly book on the revolutionary war. He has sold the movie rights. The arrival of the film crew seriously disrupts him as actors want to change their characters, directors want to re-stage battles, and he becomes very infatuated with Faith, who will play the female lead in the movie. At the same time, he is fighting with his crazy mother who thinks the Devil lives in her kitchen, and his girlfriend who is talking about commitment.


When it comes to Alan Alda. A little is a lot though I am still a fan of the series he starred in M.A.S.H.

He comes off too smug throughout even when trying to be earnest. As A know all. As like him, the film feels like it is speaking down to others and considers itself too intellectual.

This film comes off as Woody Allen lite. It feels too general but too sharp and kind of whitewashed.

Wonder if at the time this was seen as biting humor. Watching it now feels basic.

The film has a light touch with a little depth. Which moves along breezily. As it is full-on comedic 

Lilian Gish as Alda’s mother seems here more to work and to be a big name in the cast.  As her character is another problem for the lead character to juggle. Whose storyline goes nowhere. Not to mention makes his plights more personal. 

Michael Caine is effortlessly charming and aloof. He manages to stay in control of his growing set of affairs. Yet never breaks a sweat.

Bob Hoskins is in full New York City accent mode as a screenwriter trying to make it big. 

The film In its early scenes is more about the behind-the-scenes movie-making comedy. That feels charmed with itself. Before becoming more of an intellectual farce of sorts.

The score is kind of hammy. As this film feels more made for video. As it’s less cinematic and more small-scale simple. 

If not for some language and sexy scenes. This film is clean enough to be a TV movie with a movie star cast. 

Despite my misgivings, the film Does have its charms as a film about late to middle age angst 

This film would make a great companion piece with the film STATE AND MAIN

Grade: C+ 

THE LADIES CLUB (1986)

Directed By: A.K. Allen
Written By: Fran Lewis Ebeling & Paul Mason
Based on the novel “THE SISTERHOOD” By: Casey Bishop & Betty Black Cinematography: Adam Greenberg
Editor: Marion Segal & Randall Torno

Cast: Karen Austin, Diana Scarwid, Christine Belford, Bruce Davison, Beverly Todd, Marilyn Kagan, Arliss Howard, James LeGros, Carol Baxter, Paul Terafotes 

A raped policewoman forms a vigilante group of various rape victims. They abduct and castrate men whom have committed repeated violations of women, and got away with it through legal technicalities.

This rape-revenge vigilante tale is a little different In the way that the revenge seems to never be to kill the men who rape repeatedly. Like Batman, that question only seems to come late but they punish the men by castrating them.

The film for the tawdry subject matter. Plays more like a television movie on the subject as there is barely any bad language and at times the scenes while well-meaning in their direction and emotions come off more melodramatic and unintentionally humorous. 

Especially the scene when a character you get sister is sexually assaulted (luckily never shown) but the aftermath and how it is shown just seems like Something out of a public device announcement you would show to school children about the dangers of going off with a stranger. 

When it begins the film seems like it will be typical and even the perpetrators seem more of a stock room of suspects punks who are looking to rob a house. Discover she is a cop and then decide to rape her and they get off on court easily by acting and dressing like choir boys.

We meet various female characters throughout some of whom stay with their spouses who claim to not even believe them When they said they were raped (what). 

Though most of the males come off bad or unsympathetic by the end. Even Bruce Davison playing a fellow cop who is interested in Karen comes off as a weakling and ineffective even as he tries to romance her and be there for her. 

Arliss Howard shows up playing a co-star’s husband who when he finds out what she is dining and breaking the rules by telling him. As she only tells him because he suspects she was having an affair. He comes across more aggressive and abusive to be believably supportive later on.

While we meet plenty of these women in the group. We only get to know three In particular and by the end the one who didn’t sure become the strongest advocate for what they are doing and the one who was gung- ho at first. Now has reservations.

The third act while obviously done for dramatic purposes seems silly and only there for the ending to finally put a fine point on all of this.

So while the film offers a different take on the vigilante tale. Including where it seems the original Perpetrators that start off the lead and who is the very reason they seek revenge never really come back. 

So the film is something to entertain but very hard to take seriously watching it through the prism of modern times.

Grade: C

WILDCATS (1986)

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Directed By: Michael Ritchie
Written By: Ezra Sacks
Cinematography: Donald E. Thorin
Editor: Richard A. Harris 


Cast: Goldie Hawn, James Keach, Bruce McGill, Tab Thacker, Nipsey Russell, Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Mykelti Williamson, Swoosie Kurtz, Robyn Lively, Jan Hooks, Nick Corri, M. Emmet Walsh, Ellia English, Gloria Stuart, L.L. Cool J 


Molly is a high school track coach who knows just as much about football as anyone else on the planet. When the football coach’s position becomes vacant, she applies for the job, despite expecting sniggers from fellow staff members and her former husband.

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TRICK OR TREAT (1986)

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Directed By: Charles Martin Smith
Written By: Joel Soisson, Rhet Topham & Michael S. Murphey
Story By: Rhet Topham
Cinematography: Robert Elswit
Editor: Jane Schwartz Jaffe 

Cast: Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Elaine Joyce, Glen Morgan, Doug Savant, Gene Simmons, Ozzy Osbourne, Charles Martin Smith, Alice Nunn 

A bullied teenage boy is devastated after the death of his heavy metal idol, Sammi Curr. But as Hallowe’en night approaches, he discovers that he may be the only one who can stop Sammi from making a Satanic comeback from beyond the grave.

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TERRORVISION (1986)

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Written & Directed By: Ted Nicolau
Cinematography: Romano Albani
Editor: Thomas Meshelski
Production Design & Art Direction By: Giovanni Natalucci 

Cast: Chad Allen, Diane Franklin, Mary Woronov, Gerrit Graham, Jon Gries, Bert Remsen, Alejandro Rey, Randi Brooks, Jennifer Richards 


Stan installs satellite TV for his family, but, soon, he picks up a signal from another planet and his television system becomes the gateway between the 2. A creature comes to his apartment and only their son Sherman sees it, but his parents don’t believe the boy.

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