Thursday, 31 March 2011

Power Ballads - Here I Go Again, Whitesnake

I've had what can only be described as a hell of a day. It would be all too easy to not update my blog tonight but suddenly Whitesnake popped into my head and I thought, I have to listen to Here I Go Again and before I knew it, I was giggling and forgetting my bad day. This is what a classic power ballad can do for you and really who did them better than Whitesnake?

"Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone" Best power ballad line ever. "I know what it means, to walk along the lonely street of dreams!" Sing it David. Was there ever a more ridiculous rock star? Look at him now.

Good lord. What a mess.

Famous for the ridiculous videos of women in white dresses writhing on top of cars and so on, Whitesnake were really top fun. It's only recently I learned that David Coverdale was in Deep Purple. I know, I know, how could I not have known? I have also just learned that the woman in the videos was actually his wife. I feel bad for judging him now - at least he was married to her.

I also adore 'Is This Love'? I can't embed Here I Go Again so I am leaving you with it. It's basically the same video anyway...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The West Wing

My third Rob Lowe related post in two days. I make no excuses. So here we arrive at The West Wing. My excuse for posting about this? ROB LOWE!

All-time favourite TV shows ever? The West Wing is up there. It might be at number one. It's certainly in the top 5. I love it so much, I walked down the aisle on my wedding day to The West Wing theme. What do I love about it? Where to start? I'm feeling a list coming on...

1) CJ Cregg. Alison Janney is just wonderful in this and I love that a woman is written so well. The root canal episode makes me cackle every time.
2) Aaron Sorkin. A god among men for some of the best lines ever written. He warmed up with The American President which is one of my favourite films.
3) Martin Sheen as President Bartlett. If only we could have a president as noble, as convincing, as trustworthy. I'd vote. Martin Sheen is an under-rated actor, I've always loved him. After all, he gave us Emilio and ummm, Charlie.
4) Josh's Secret Plan to Fight Inflation.
5) Josh Lyman. He's smart, he's funny, he's annoying and he makes Jimmy Smits president!
6) Toby Ziegler. "Leo, wouldn't this time be better spent plotting a war against a country that can't possibly defend itself against us?"
7) It had Mark Harmon in it. Just when it couldn't get any better, it did.
8) The kidnapping of Zoe Bartlett - the most exciting 10 minutes ever shown on television.
9) ROB LOWE! As Sam. Job done.
10) Rizzo is the Prez's wife. Job done.

I could go on and on. I don't have big Leo love but I know it's out there. Charlie was another great character. The storylines were brilliant - it was moving and funny all at the same time. To this day I want to go and work at the White House as I am convinced it must be exactly like that, right?

Here are the credits. I think it's time to dig the boxsets out and watch it all again...

Speaking of Rob Lowe...

He has an autobiography coming out. Oh. My. God. How did I not know this? And he's on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair.

Cannot WAIT!

Monday, 28 March 2011

About Last Night

Remember me telling you how much I loved St Elmo's Fire?  Well, this is SEF's grown up sister. Another contender for film of the 80s Chez Teenager, I consider this to be another masterpiece of the Brat Pack genre. Although is it really a Brat Pack film? I am saying yes - Rob and Demi were brat packers, it qualifies.

I know I say this all the time but god, this film is perfect, Rob at his all-time prettiest. Demi at her cutest. I love her best friend Joan played by Elizabeth Perkins. She's uptight and jealous but a good friend. And James Belushi is great in this as Billy's sleazy best mate, Bernie. This was based on a David Mamet play and I watch the West End eagerly in the hope someone will revive it one day. No luck yet.

It has a soundtrack that is well worth mentioning. It goes without saying that I owned it on cassette. Sheena Easton had not one but two songs on it. I still play that album sometimes - I upgraded to a CD of course.

So, some great lines from About Last Night:

"I'm sick of hating, I mean god Joan, I don't know if I have any hate left" (oh the drama!)
"Your vulgarian friend is downstairs bending innocent people's fenders"
"He's a better human being than that bitch on wheels you've got for a friend!"
"You're not leaving are you?" "No. we're walking in backwards" (I love this)
"Interesting broad, where did she develop her personality? A car crash?"
"I refuse to go out with a man whose ass is smaller than mine"

Awww, I type those lines and I want to watch it again. For the hundredth time. It's a classic and I love it. Rob and Demi will never be as good again.

Now tell me, what do you do on sandwich night?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Golden Girls

While we're having a sitcom moment, I'd just like to state for the record that I adored The Golden Girls. Sex and The City girls, eat your hearts out, this was the original show about female friendship.

This was such a brave show to make - a sitcom about a bunch of female pensioners living together? It was so wonderful and genuinely heart-warming. The actresses in this were all spot on. Bea Arthur was a legend, Rue McClanahan played the southern belle perfectly and Betty White was everyone's favourite grandma. I struggled a bit with Estelle Getty as Sophia at the time but on reflection, the show needed her one-liners.

My abiding memory of this (and I've not watched it in years) is that everything was solved by eating cheesecake at the kitchen table. Amen to that! I like to think this is how I might be in my golden years, hanging out with my old friends and having fun together.

So RIP Bea, Rue and Estelle and hang in there Betty - we love you!

Also, great theme tune.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Opening credits - 80s sitcom special

We've already amply established I didn't do much in the 80s except watch TV. And it occurred to me today that I watched many really bad sitcoms. I don't know if they even have an equivalent today of the sitcoms of the 80s. They all had exceptionally cheesy opening credits with syrup-laden ballads crooning over them. So here I present a few for your delectation.

First up, Family Ties. The show that brought us Michael J Fox and therefore always holds a place in my heart. It also has Jason Bateman's sister in it! It was about a liberal family who had a conservative son (MJF - Alex). This was the show that taught me about the evils of Richard Nixon. I also liked the dad quite a bit - not sure why in retrospect. Cheese rating: 8/10.

Next up - Charles In Charge. Does anyone else remember this? At my school, we were obsessed with this and used to rush home to watch it. Scott Baio! Can you ever fail? Scott was Charles who looked after a family while the parents worked. That's all I remember about it and I've never seen it repeated. It's another white, middle-class family folks. Cheese rating: 9/10

Next! Kate and Allie. I loved this show. Two recently divorced women living together with their kids in NYC. Fab-u-lous. I wanted to be Susan Saint James who was basically the lesser man's Kate Jackson. She was super cool in this. Plus the kid who played Allie's daughter turned up in The West Wing years later (she was annoying in that too). Each show opened with a little head to head with Kate and Allie. The main credits were at the end so I include them both. Cheese rating: 7/10

Next! Empty Nest. Oh dear. This really was bad. I think it may have been late 80s/early 90s. I can't defend it except to say it must have been on after Cheers. A dad with grown-up daughters who don't leave home. That's about it. Cheese rating: 9/10

Finally, to prove that black people did exist, A Different World. Another show I adored when Lisa Bonet was in it. A spin-off of The Cosby Show, it showed Denise Huxtable at college. It was cute and funny. I reckon those early episodes would stand up to a viewing now. Cheese rating: 5/10. This wasn't that cheesy at all.

Power Ballads - Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler

We come to one of the great classics of the genre with Wind Beneath My Wings by the Divine Miss M. A song written by Willie Nelson about his wife, Bette makes it her own. I love Bette Midler, who doesn't love Bette Midler? After all, she gave Barry Manilow his big break.

I heard this song on the radio this morning. It's a song that will be played on the radio for the rest of time isn't it? She sings it beautifully. Beaches is a bit of a Bad Film We Love but I defy anyone not to shed a tear through it. *sniffle*

So here it is, I can't find the video, only this so you have to get to about a minute before the song starts. Before that you can look Barbara Hershey being 'movie glam sick'.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Power Ballads - More Than A Feeling, Boston

Some songs just cheer you up and this is one of them. The Mighty Boston. I can never resist a band named after a city (see Chicago as an example). More Than A Feeling is a marvellous power ballad. I once asked my friends on Facebook to nominate their favourite power ballad and my cousin Dan said this and I thought "why, yes of course!"

It's sublime. It's also easy on Guitar Hero. So take it away boys...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Opening credits - Baywatch

Today was a beautiful day here in London town. Spring has sprung. And so naturally my thoughts turned to warm climes, sunny beaches and Baywatch - one of the best early Saturday evening programmes ever made.

Yet again, David Hasselhoff does us proud. If you were expecting a picture of a buxom blonde up there in a teeny red costume, I am sorry but I am a girl and I don't wish to oblige. Respect to The Hoff. Watching these credits again takes me back to the 90s, the days before the internet when TV really was a unifying force. Everyone watched Baywatch. Marvellously simple in its premise: sexy people run around LA beaches in very little clothing. Who really bothered to care what happened week in and week out? This is the show that gave us the wonderful Chandler line in Friends: "Run Yasmin, run like the wind!"

Ah yes. The show that gave us Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth (what a name!) and Erika Eleniak. I didn't have to look up those names. Oh and Jeremy Jackson...

There's very little I can say about the show itself but plenty about the credits. For starters, it takes them 45 seconds to even get to the first actor, The Hoff. There is so much establishing going on. Sunny beach, hot chicks in bikinis, speedboats. It's hilarious. Then there's the song. I love this song. That drum introduction, the expectation, the drama and then the man wailing away about how he'll be there. It's called I'll Be Ready by Jimmi Jamison by the way. Don't say you don't learn from this blog.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Opening credits - Hill Street Blues

Hill Street Blues had one of the most perfect themes ever committed to television. Somehow just listening to it makes me feel a little blue which I thought was appropriate for a Monday post. It owes quite a bit to the Taxi theme, another favourite.

I was never a big watcher of the show, I think I was a little young to appreciate it but I used to watch the opening scenes so I could listen to the credits; it was the days before YouTube. I can't embed season one - you can watch it here. It's better than the later season below.

Be safe out there.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Neil Diamond

The time has come my friends to talk about Neil. Close observers will notice that I am a fan of power ballads, a fan of belt 'em out songstars and a fan of the 70s. Therefore with Neil we have a perfect storm, if you will, of my favourite things. We can add to that parents who may not have agreed on much but both loved Neil Diamond. My dad used to play Neil Diamond in the car most of the time (when he wasn't playing Tubular Bells or Chic that is) and I don't think many can resist the lure of Neil, especially when it is administered at an early age. My mum also loved Neil and always had to do a little dance if Cracklin' Rosie came on. Who doesn't?

So Mr Diamond, your time has come to have the Teenager spotlight on you. Listening to Neil is like taking a long hot bath, putting on fluffy socks, watching your favourite TV show on a boxset and never having to go to work. Yes, he is that good. He's even better live and he's touring the country this summer so my advice is to buy your tickets now if you've not left it too late. I find him the ultimate comforter. A bad day can be fixed by a listening of Holly Holy. A sad heart can find solace in Love on the Rocks. A rainy day can always be improved by Forever in Blue Jeans. And a crisp autumn morning just calls for September Morn to be played.

MrD has so many hits and so here, for your perusal are my top 10 Neil songs:

10. Remember Me. It's not often played but I have a soft spot for this ballad.
9. I Am I Said. Slightly crazy lyrics but Neil sings it like his life depends on it.
8. I'm a Believer. Still prefer Neil's version to The Monkees.
7. Holly Holy. I love how this builds up.
6. Love on the Rocks. Ain't no big surprise.
5. America. Every time that flag's unfurled.
4. Hello Again. A power ballad of epic proportions.
3. Cracklin' Rosie. We're now in territory where surely nobody could disagree?
2. Sweet Caroline. My mum's song and one that would be on my desert island with me.
1. Forever in Blue Jeans. That's also coming to the island with me.

And I've not had room for You Don't Bring Me Flowers, September Morn, Solitary Man, Kentucky Woman or any of his recent hits. Oh, it's simply impossible to pick 10.

No discussion of Neil is complete without reference to The Jazz Singer. It is the very definition of a Bad Movie We Love. Utterly ridiculous and overblown but how I love it. And what a soundtrack - man, I could listen to The Jazz Singer at any time.

Neil has one of the best voices in the business and I look forward to continuing to listen to him forever more. In my blue jeans. Come July I shall be bowing at the Neil altar at the O2 and this time I am taking my dad. It's gonna be emotional.

I leave you with You Don't Bring Me Flowers because I didn't include it in my top 10. Naturally it is in there really, if I made the list tomorrow, it would be included. Check out Babs jumpsuit - on trend baby! And Neil looks hot. Everything about this is divine. Enjoy!

Power Ballads - The Winner Takes It All, Abba

MrTeenager and I have a game where we nominate songs to kill yourself to. This is my number one choice (his is Goodbye to Love by The Carpenters). I should point out that we have no intention of killing ourselves.

This song makes me want to weep. It's so sad. It's another masterful Benny and Bjorn effort. I shall save a proper Abba appreciation post for another day. Suffice to say, they would feature heavily on my Desert Island Discs. In fact, I'd struggle to narrow down eight Abba songs alone.

Apart from the fact that these lyrics are infinitely tragic, it is made more heart-rending when you know they are writing about their lives. Oh, why couldn't they just stay paired up forever? They all look so good together! Agnetha's soulful voice is perfect for this. She really did have an amazing voice. Being the proud owner of Abba Singstar, let me tell you, these songs are impossible to sing along to. I'm a sucker for a bit of piano in a power ballad (November Rain for example) and well, this is a in short, an absolute classic of the power ballad genre. I'm not even going to talk about Meryl Streep's version of this in that odious film.

So a little Sunday morning, heartfelt appreciation for one of the best songs ever written. Thank you for the music Abba.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions is one of those films that is simply perfect to watch when you need a delicious teen guilty pleasure in your life. Gossip Girl pretty much took everything from this. If you watch the trailer, you'll see. Even the aerial shots of Manhattan are a direct lift.

Of course, this is based on Dangerous Liaisons which is a film I find hard to love. This doesn't have the same bite as that film but it's a whole lot more fun. All the cast are on top form. I particularly love Selma Blair in this who plays the naive and desperate teenager beautifully. Discussing this with my sister today, we both wondered what happened to Sarah Michelle Gellar. She was hot to trot in this and of course Buffy but she seems to have fallen off the radar. Reese has gone from strength to strength. Ryan, not so much but he was never that great. And this has Joshua Jackson in it. A little bit of a treat for us who admire him but he's not cute in this - bleached tips on the hair? No.

This is completely a film for the MTV generation. No scene lingers for too long, it looks fantastic, everyone is pretty. But the story is a great one. Just like Baz's Romeo & Juliet, when you have great source material, it's hard to go wrong.

It uses music brilliantly - who could forget Bittersweet Symphony at the end when Annette gets her revenge? Fan-tab-u-lous. I might have to watch it again.

Here's the trailer. Enjoy!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Opening credits - The Brady Bunch

It's a Friday and we should celebrate. What better way than with The Brady Bunch? Talk about a theme telling you the whole story in just over a minute. Genius.

The Brady Bunch was good wholesome family fun and all the better for it. It was classic 70s feel-good television and I put it in the same category as Happy Days. I used to love it and wanted to move right on in with the Bradys. I especially loved the open staircase for some reason.

A contender for best wardrobes ever? I think so. Here's a story... Enjoy!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Michael Jackson - Thriller

What happened to Michael Jackson was a tragedy. Not the fact he died, although that's sad, but his whole life. When I listen to Thriller (the album) I always get a bit melancholic. So controversies aside, let's focus on the music.

Thriller is my favourite album of all time. I always come back to it and I can happily listen to every track. I have fond memories of listening to the cassette of this on my walkman on a holiday in Aldeburgh when I was 10 and being told to take my headphones off and join in family fun. Yawn. Why would any sane person want to do that when you can listen to Billie Jean? Answer me that! I listened to this on repeat constantly for about a year. I know every word to every song, every move to every video (although perhaps not to actually dance to) and everything about it is perfect.

So track by track. Let's do it:

Wanna be startin' something - wonderful opening to the album, I love the last minute of this one.
Baby be mine - smooooooth
The girl is mine - awwwwww, Jacko and Macca. Love the banter. 'I'm a lover not a fighter!'
Thriller - best dancing in a video. EVER.
Beat it - Van Halen on guitar. Perfection.
Billie Jean - simply one of the best songs ever written and perfectly executed.
Human Nature - I love this, it makes me want to fly into Manhattan and cycle round Central Park. I don't know why. It makes no sense.
PYT - a great track to do aerobics to!
The Lady in My Life - ok, I could probably live without this one but it's still listenable.

I did that without referring to the album. Impressive eh? Told you I knew it! My second favourite album is Off The Wall. We'll save that for another day.

RIP Jacko, ya freak. I miss 80s you. Let's close with another great video.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Power ballads - Careless Whisper, George Michael

The song of my teenage years: the coiffered hair, the suit, the video, the Marbella setting and most of all those guilty feet that are never going to dance again. Oh George. George, George, George. This is one of the many reasons I adore you and always will. A song you knocked out on the bus with Andrew which is an 80s classic.

The sax opening leads to an almost perfect power ballad. There is a lot of fist clenching (no, don't be rude at the back there), I simply mean there is a lot of emotion in this song. I sometimes wonder if George Michael looks back at his 80s videos and cringes. He does look ridiculous in this but you can't doubt he means it as he croons along. My favourite moment in the video is when the wicked wanton woman grabs him and pulls him back on the bed with red silk sheets. HI-LARIOUS!

I feel Careless Whisper is a little overlooked in the George oeuvre. It suffers from being overplayed that's for sure but it really is up there in my Top 10 power ballads of all time. It has it all for me. A master at the top of his game. Imitated but never bettered. God bless you George for giving us this. I am not allowed to embed it so you'll just have to watch it here. And remember, there's no comfort in the truth...

Monday, 14 March 2011

Opening credits - Hart to Hart

Hart to Hart was one of the worst programmes ever made. Naturally I loved it. Oh, I wanted to be Jonathan Hart on that plane in the first scene of the opening credits.

I am a complete sucker for narrated credits. I'd love to give you other examples but my mind has gone blank. Max does us proud here - "when they met, it was moider!" Ask my sister and she will tell you about me asking her if that actually meant they murdered each other. I was only little.

This show was all about style over substance. The plot was the same every week - either dashing Jonathan ("he's quite a guy") or Jennifer "(She's gorgeous!") would uncover something suspicious, be in danger, rescue each other and then have a final scene in bed talking about it which ended in a sweeping kiss: fade to black.

They didn't have children and to my recollection, there was no mention of them. They had a lurve that needed no kids - just them, Max and Freeway the dog.

Oh, those were the days. Another Aaron Spelling classic.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Opening credits - The A Team

Everyone loved The A Team. It was a show of complete and utter genius. Just rewatching the credits fills me with a wave of warm nostalgia. This is what Saturday evening television was all about. The idea of soldiers of fortune, still wanted by the police, helping needy people around LA was brilliant.

Casting in these sort of shows is everything and the producers didn't put a foot wrong. George Peppard was exactly right in this, chewing on his cigar, loving it when a plan came together. Every girl had a crush on Dirk Benedict as the suave Face, Dwight Schultz played Mad Maverick beautifully and of course, Mr T. Ahhh, Mr T. B.A. Baracus was one of the great TV characters of the 80s and it made Mr T a huge star. He was called Mr T. I might start calling myself Mrs M. See if I can start a craze.

I had an A Team poster on my wall and eagerly awaited it every Saturday. It was lovely and innocent. Famously nobody ever died in it, even if they'd been blown up in a car, you always saw that they had survived.

It was silly, it was repetitive, Hannibal's disguises were ridiculous but these four guys played it all perfectly and you just knew they were raking in the money and laughing at how weak we were in the face of that theme tune and those iconic catchphrases. What a theme. Hard to top. Enjoy!

Barry Manilow

I have a weakness for old style performers of this generation: Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tony Bennett... I eat them up with a spoon. Deep down nothing pleases me more than a cheesy song, belted out with passion and someone up there who isn't afraid to wear a bit of sparkle. These guys know how to please their audience and having seen Barry and Neil live, I can tell you the audience isn't all 70 year olds with blue rinses. I've spotted some teenagers in the audience. I really have and not looking after their grannies either.

This is a big year for me as I am going to see Neil and Barry. I've seen them both before more than once and I am of the opinion that when they tour now, I faithfully trot off to pay my respect because they ain't getting any younger. One day we'll just be left with the likes of Ronan Keating to entertain us and you'll be sorry then that you didn't go to wave your lighter to these legends.

I mentioned before that a dear friend introduced me to Barry. I returned the favour by introducing her to Neil. You can see why we are friends. Barry takes some time to appreciate. He is a bit of a figure of fun, it is hard to get past the nose and the hair. It's worth it though because he knows how to write a hit. And what hits. There are the ones everyone knows: Copacabana and Mandy. And there are the ones that us fans love even more: Weekend in New England, Looks Like We Made it, Tryin' To Get That Feeling, I Write The Songs, Even Now, Daybreak, One Voice.

The definitive Barry song for me is Can't Smile Without You. It starts with a whistle. How can one resist a song that starts with a whistle? And it is such a happy song. This is the one he traditionally picks a fan - a Maniloonie or a Fanilow (yeah Justin Bieber, we're waaaay ahead of you) - and gets them on stage to sing with him. Don't even think this might be you unless you fit the Fanilow/Loonie club as these women wait years and spend thousands to be in the right place in the audience. If you have ever sung with him please post a comment and tell me all about it.

Cam't Smile Without You builds up beautifully and by the end you are swaying along, beaming like an idiot. I've always thought it would be a great song to descend a grand staircase to kicking your legs as you go. Of course one would be wearing something sparkly...

I looked and looked for the footage of Barry singing live with Sue from Bournemouth as that is the video we had at uni (ummm, yeah when we weren't watching Take That, we were watching Barry Manilow videos) but alas, I can't find it. So here is the song with no distractions and no tuneless singing along. Enjoy!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Saturday Night Fever

This is not just a film, it's a cultural landmark. A perfect marriage of music, dancing, John Travolta, disco, floors with lights, Brooklyn and fabulous clothes.

It's easy to mock Saturday Night Fever and it has been parodied to death. However, at the time it was considered ground-breaking. It is also easy to forget that this is a dark film - I rarely sit and watch the whole thing as I find it quite depressing. Instead I forward through to find the sublime dance scenes.

Oh John. I think he deserves a wall of Oscars for his performance in this. Not only is he a really good actor, he can dance like a dream. I don't think anyone on film has ever been a better dancer than Mr Travolta. And he is so sweet, there is a goofiness to him that I think the picture above captures perfectly.

SNF has one of the best openings of a film. Stayin' Alive and those red boots swaggering down the streets of Brooklyn is pure film-making genius. And the cultural references are beautifully done - Tony getting ready for his night out with Farrah and Al Pacino watching him.

The soundtrack is of course, perfection. This is simply one of the best soundtracks ever made. We bow to the Bee Gees. Yes, we do.

My flaw with SNF is the women in it. Both are beyond irritating and Karen Lynn Gorney who plays Stephanie is just bad. The credits say 'Introducing Karen Lynn Gorney". Introducing and saying farewell all in one film I say. She can't even dance very well.

This is Mr Travolta's film and a career defining moment for him. His crazy Scientology ways can all be forgiven when I watch this scene. Check it out at about 1:40 and report back if you can do that. I shall be very impressed if you can!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Back to the Future

What a film. Seriously. It needs no introduction. If you don't love this film, then why are you reading my blog? Go away. Be off with you hipster children!

Christopher Lloyd in this - brilliant. Sample quotes:

"There's that word again "heavy". Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth's gravitational pull?"
"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads!"

He plays the crazy scientist to perfection. It goes without saying that Michael J Fox is also wonderful in this. From the iconic red body warmer to his great delivery of lines:

"Are you trying to tell me my mother has got the hots for me?"
"So you're my Uncle Joey? Better get used to those bars kid!"

Back in the 80s, films were properly, like, scripted. This has a great plot - it's clever and engaging and they set up everything from the bolt of lightening that sends Marty back to the future to Marty being able to tell Doc he is from the future cos he knows how he got the bruise on his head. I mean this film is practically an education in physics! And they say the 80s were shallow. Pffft.

Huey Lewis belts out his song, it's got a perfect 80s and 50s setting. In short, it's one of the best films ever made and I love it. The less said about the sequels, the better.

I looked for the trailer to show you and found the one they made last year to celebrate it being back in the cinemas as it was 25 years old. Read it and weep oldies. And then I found the original teaser trailer and it's so odd! Check them both out. And remember, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything...

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The OC

The OC was a funny one. It was an immediate hit and it's easy to see why: gorgeous cast, California setting, soapy plots. But it got bad so fast and never recovered from that. Looking back, even at the opening credits, now, it seems old fashioned. Gossip Girl is so much slicker and hip. Even Glee is more knowing. The OC was a proper soap.

Things that were great about The OC:
Peter Gallagher. Always liked him and it was fun to see him in this.
Adam Brody. Even though he left Gilmore Girls to star in this, I forgave him. A great character.
Seth and Summer. A couple you really rooted for.
Rachel Bilson. Pretty and funny. Where is she now?
Jim Robinson from Neighbours!
Julie who married Jim Robinson from Neighbours! A great TV soap bitch.
Fab theme tune.

Things that weren't great:
Marissa/Mischa Barton.
Dear god but she was annoying.  I don't know why anyone thought she was the star, she's a horrible actress. She is beautiful and I guess that's all you need. Depressing. But weirdly, they kill her off and the show declines rapidly. I tried, I really did but I had to give up on it. It wasn't that I missed her, more that even the writers seemed to have given up.

The first couple of seasons were fun though and I am a sucker for a California beach scene. Let's enjoy the Phantom Planets together and dream of sunny climes. Welcome to The OC, bitch.

Power Ballads - I Want To Know What Love Is, Foreigner

I want you to shooooooooow meeeeeeeeeee! Ahhhhh, what could be more soothing on a Tuesday morning than this treasure from the 80s? Such an over the top song - it has all the hallmarks of a classic power ballad: earnest lyrics, slow-mo video, big hair.

LOVING it. That album cover: it almost sums up the 80s doesn't it? It looks a bit like a Rubik's Cube.

There isn't much to say about this other than of course, I adore it. It's proper fist clenching, wave the lighters, stadium rock. And it's all the better for it.  Enjoy!

Monday, 7 March 2011


Everybody needs good neighbours. 80s Neighbours was fantastic. Fan-bloody-tastic. It's hard to explain why; the acting wasn't stellar, the sets were notoriously wobbly and god, it didn't even get that sunny on Ramsey Street. What's the point of an Australian soap without sun? But, it was compelling wasn't it? 25 mins a day of bounce, Bouncer and some teen love thrown in. How could it fail?

I know I harp on about there being nothing to do back in the 80s and it's not strictly true, I expect some people climbed trees and hiked miles but I was always an indoor sports kind of gal and Neighbours fitted that home from school/college window very nicely. Cup of tea and a sit down with the Ramseys and Robinsons. Marvellous.

I gave up watching this years ago. I expect it's still entertaining enough but they will never top Des & Daphne (giving birth with tights on!), Mike & Jane, Henry & Bronwyn and, of course, the mighty Scott & Charlene. I never was, and never will be, a Jason Donovan fan but I do have a soft spot for Kylie, even now. Much of it is based on the good will of her performance as Charlene. She acted her little socks off with some truly awful lines and dear god, what a wedding dress. No round up of Neighbours is complete without a reference to The Wedding. Complete with Angry Andersen, here it is. Check out everyone's face! It's priceless. I shall save my thoughts on Home & Away for another day.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Opening credits - Knight rider

Only in the 80s could a show be made where the star is a talking car. I am on a roll today with my 80s big haired heroes. This is classic saturday tea time entertainment. They don't make shows like this any more as we're all meant to be entranced by The X Factor and other crap like that. It's tragic.

Nothing was as good as this in its prime. Well, possibly The Dukes of Hazzard and The A Team - more on them another day. This show's premise was as thin as gossamer but nevertheless, very entertaining. Michael Knight fights crime with a talking, superhero car. That's it!

Much like John Forsythe in Charlie's Angels, the unsung hero of this was William Daniels, the voice of K.I.T.T. I once heard he didn't need any adjustment to his voice to sound like that and I believe this to be true as it's such a great story. If you don't know who he is, look here. He starred in St Elsewhere which I also loved.

This show introduced us to The Hoff. I love Mr Hoff and any 80s kid feels the same way. Big hair, tight trousers and a huge ego, this is the man that brought us Baywatch and respect is due.

Another contender for best TV theme tune here. Enjoy!

Opening credits - Magnum p.i.

I had such a crush on Tom Selleck. It doesn't make much sense really - the moustache and hairy chest? But he was pure yumminess in Magnum p.i; a show that was so silly yet wonderful all at the same time. Some of the best opening credits of the 80s here - red ferrari, sweeping Hawaii views, bikini-clad women, Hawaiian shirts and of course, the eyebrow trick at the end. My sister and I used to try and do this (look, I don't claim to have been cool when I was young, ok?) and we could never achieve it.

My favourite seasons in Friends are when Tom is Monica's boyfriend - he was never too old and you could see how Monica could fall for him. Like I say, yum!

Also, let's not overlook the actual theme tune here - it's so punchy and fab. I just listened to it with a big smile on my face. I don't actually remember much about the show - this was a classic example of TV where I watched the credits and then lost attention.

So here it is in all its glory. Enjoy!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Power Ballads - Rule the World, Take That

I didn't think Gary Barlow could top Back For Good but good lord, this is a great power ballad. When they played this on the Circus tour in 2009, I honestly thought 80,000 people were going to explode with happiness. It's a work of genius. I find Gary annoying but I can't question his songwriting skills. This is a perfect song with goosebump bonus. And they look pretty hot in the video too. Look!

River Phoenix

I've written before about some deaths hitting you right in the heart and I mentioned River then. The Keanu post earlier today got me thinking about him and I just watched the trailer for My Own Private Idaho. River was my generation's Heath Ledger. A talented actor who left us way too soon. He died 18 years ago. I have three favourite River films.

1) My Own Private Idaho. A very pretentious film and looking at the trailer, it is so very 90s. A time when Sky magazine (remember that?) was popular and The Face. It is, however, quite a good film and mainly because of River's performance. He is heartbreaking in this. And it has added Keanu goodness of course. This is the best scene:

2) Running on Empty. If you don't know this film, you really should. It's wonderful and it has this scene that introduced me to this seminal James Taylor song. I think of River whenever I hear this.

3) Stand By Me. Well, of course. Top 80s film. Top film of any time. Who doesn't love Stand By Me? It's heart-warming and this is coming from someone who finds it hard to find much heart-warming. I love the friendship between the boys and that final scene. I am welling up just thinking about it. That killer line which isn't even spoken: "I never had any friends later in life like I did when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"

RIP River.

Appreciation of Keanu Reeves

My Poison post led me to thinking about Keanu Reeves which is always a pleasant activity. It's been over twenty years that I've been appreciating Keanu and it's time to take stock.

I think Keanu is the ultimate slacker icon, from Bill & Ted to The Matrix, all his films seem to have taken him by surprise as much as us. There's something refreshingly natural about him, you can imagine him being someone you could have a drink with and he'd be totally unaware of his beautiful face. I suppose a bit like Johnny Depp but less grungy. Johnny always looks like he might whiff a bit.

Speed was a breakthrough film for Keanu and whilst I do like Speed, for me, his pinnacle will always be Point Break. Point Break is another Top 10 film for me. I am a sucker for any film that features surfing; throw in Patrick Swayze, Keanu and Kathryn Bigelow at the helm and I am weak at the knees. It's a great film and I won't hear a word against it. Keanu's slightly vacant acting style suits it perfectly. I think Keanu's  finest hours have been when directors appreciate his blankness: Bill & Ted (obviously), The Matrix (he is meant to be confused for a lot of it) and My Own Private Idaho (weird film but my he looks pretty in it).

He is so pretty. He is looking a little plastic these days and I hate the thought of him having any surgery but ohhhhh, he was divine.

My friend and I once wrote a poem about him. Yes, when I wasn't chasing Take That at uni, I was swooning over Keanu. I think I still have it somewhere. We went to see Dogstar (his ill-fated band) just so we could see him up close. We all drove to the premiere of Speed in Southwold because we were convinced he might turn up (ummm, no he didn't) and we paused and rewatched the beach scene in Point Break endlessly on our video.

I can't believe Point Break was twenty years ago. Here's the trailer. Enjoy!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Power Ballads - Every Rose Has A Thorn, Poison

There are some songs that are truly awful but one loves them anyway and this fits squarely into that category. I have always loved this song even though I know it's terrible. I remember buying the album just so I could listen to this song over and over. It was called 'Open up and Say Aaah'. WTF? It really was called that.

Then it was used in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey to such great effect. I still giggle just thinking about the joke. Maybe you had to be there at the time to really appreciate how funny this is but Death in the background just cracks me up. The whole film is hilarious and has Keanu Reeves in it (a major crush - a lifelong crush and a subject of a future post) but anyway, check it out:

I've always had a weakness for a poodle perm power ballad and we will revisit this theme I am sure over the coming weeks and months. But here it is in all its soft rock glory. Take it away boys.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Opening credits - Charlie's Angels

Now then, what is there left to say about Charlie's Angels? Plenty I say. Let's get to it.

For girls growing up in the 70s, there was only one TV show and this was it. I was only a youngster when the Angels hit our TV screens but I have such fond memories of watching this and being totally entranced. The glamour! The hair! The clothes! Three 'little girls' fighting crime and solving cases while tossing their bountiful locks of hair and donning lip gloss. OMG. Seriously, O.M.G.

It was wonderful of course. And much as I like Cheryl Ladd, Farrah was who we all wanted to be. Well actually, this isn't true. I always wanted to be Jacklyn. Even now I covet her hair. But Farrah was cool. Kate was cool. They were all cool. Watch the opening credits and you could be looking at a fashion show from 2011 as all these clothes are back in this season.

A timeless show of pure genius with the voice of Blake Carrington as Charlie. It's hard to imagine needing anything more from a TV show. They just don't make television as entertaining as this nowadays.

These credits are season two as it's hard to find season one online. Enjoy.

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