Friday, March 17, 2023

Worth Mentioning - Your Heart's Still Wild

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning. 

A strange apocalypse and family friendly comedy.


Director Albert Pyun’s debut film The Sword and the Sorcerer – which was, as the title advertised, a “sword and sorcery” movie - was a surprise hit in 1982. A couple years later, Pyun started making the festival rounds with his second feature, Radioactive Dreams. When I heard that Radioactive Dreams was a post-apocalyptic adventure film, I thought I knew what to expect... but I never would have imagined the movie would be as bizarre and unique as it is. This isn’t quite like any of the other post-apocalyptic adventure films of its time. This is something that only could have come from the mind of its writer/director.

The film begins by letting us know that nuclear war broke out in 1986. Every nuclear missile in the world was launched... except for one. Fifteen years later, various groups living in the wasteland are searching for the two keys that would enable that last nuclear missile to be launched. Because whoever has those keys would be able to rule all of the cities of the wasteland. Then we’re introduced to the lead characters; John Stockwell and Michael Dudikoff as Phillip Chandler and Marlowe Hammer, two young men who spent their formative years hidden away in a bunker, reading old detective novels, practicing magic tricks, and dancing to old music. After fifteen years, they have finally managed to break out of the bunker and decide to take a cruise around the wasteland in their convertible. They’ve barely emerged from the bunker when they cross paths with a woman named Miles Archer (Lisa Blount) and have to fight off mutants and bikers. Miles ditches them pretty quickly, but not before she accidentally drops something in their car. The nuclear missile keys.

As our heroes continue to bumble through the wasteland, they get mixed up with an untrustworthy woman called Rusty Mars (Michele Little), nearly get chowed on by cannibals and monstrous creatures, and find themselves in the middle of a gang war in a place called Edge City, where one of the gangs is made up of foul-mouthed little criminals who are dressed like they’re ready for the disco. They even catch up with their long-absent fathers. And everything plays out in the most oddball way possible.

Radioactive Dreams was always destined to be a cult film, as there was no way its tone and style was ever going to catch on a wide audience. I can’t even say I’m a member of its cult myself. It’s an interesting curiosity, and I would recommend checking it out to see if it’s on your wavelength, but it’s not something I could watch again and again, even though it has its entertaining elements. A lot of the movie’s fans are drawn to it because of the soundtrack, which goes especially heavy on the Sue Saad tunes. Saad even has an on-screen performance in the film as an inhabitant of Edge City’s punk district.

80 FOR BRADY (2023)

I’m not a football fan. I used to sit through exactly one football game every year, the Super Bowl, and I haven’t even done that in a decade. So I know very little about the life and career of Tom Brady. I only know what I’ve heard here and there, as it’s difficult to avoid hearing something about the guy every once in a while. But I couldn’t even tell you if he was involved in any of the Super Bowls I watched without consulting Wikipedia.

That said, I did enjoy director Kyle Marvin’s 80 for Brady, a nice little comedy about a quartet of elderly friends (played by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field) who stumbled into football fandom and became fixated on one player in particular: Tom Brady. When a sports radio show holds a contest giving someone the chance to win free tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl – where Brady and his New England Patriots teammates will be playing against the Atlanta Falcons (in a Super Bowl I did not watch) – the friends jump at the chance. And most of the 98 minute movie covers their journey to attend the Super Bowl in Houston. A journey that has a lot of unexpected ups and downs. No one will be surprised that writers Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern dropped in several moments where it looks like our heroines aren’t going to be able to go inside the Super Bowl stadium after all. But this is a comedy, not a downer, so of course they do get to watch the game from inside the stadium.

I’m not saying 80 for Brady is a great comedy. In fact, I didn’t do much laughing while it was on, and the story is almost completely predictable from beginning to end. But it’s a cute movie, and it got by with its cuteness and my fondness for some of the leads. I’m especially fond of Sally Field, thanks to my lifelong appreciation for Smokey and the Bandit.

This film was the first to come from Brady’s own production company, so it has a very high opinion of the man. Tomlin’s character is so infatuated with him, she even has moments where she hallucinates that he’s giving her supportive advice. Guy Fieri, on the other hand, was not a producer on the movie, and yet he also has a surprisingly substantial role in it. Other notable cast members who show up along the way include Andy Richter, Billy Porter, Harry Hamlin, Alex Moffat, Rob Corddry, Ron Funches, Bob Balaban, Sara Gilbert, Sally Kirkland, Jimmy O. Yang, and Glynn Turman. I was left wishing Turman had more to do in the movie, because he is awesome as a guy who resides in the same assisted living facility as Moreno’s character.

80 for Brady is a pleasant comedy that could even be enjoyed with an elderly grandmother who doesn’t like too much sexual content or dirty words in her entertainment.

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