Movies & TV Shows That Made My Childhood Awesome – Part 2

Part 2, straight up!

FernGully: The Last Rainforest

But trees give life. They make the clouds, the water, the air.” Crysta

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All it takes is a whimsical animation, an enchanting musical score and a moral lesson to bewitch me. And that is exactly what FerGully is – magical. This one also goes straight in to my “if I watch this today, I’ll probably cry” list. I loved Crysta and was always so envious of her ability to fly and FernGully seemed like the perfect place to live in. What else do you need in life more than a cool pair of wings, a cute little red outfit, a funky short hair and a hot Zak, eh? I used to go overboard with emotions every time I heard “A Dream Worth Keeping” sung by Sheena Easton as the two oh so lovingly float and skip through waterfalls and lit fountains and fall in love… Oh man, I need to watch this like, TODAY.

 

FernGully has one of the best voice-over cast starting with Samantha Mathis as Crysta, Tim Curry as Hexxus, Christian Slater as Pips, and the legendary Robin Williams as Batty Koda. They say that this movie cannot hold a candle to Disney’s animators, producing a deeper, multilayered animation, and yet the FernGully’s filled with an aura of enchantment. I’ll always have this one in mind when someone mentions childhood favorites. And I’ll gladly introduce it to my kids when the time comes.

 

The Goonies

“Hey, you guys!” Sloth

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Remember Chunk, Sloth, Mikey and Data? A very young and handsome Josh Brolin? The Goonies was my ultimate summer vacation flick and I own the DVD for an occasional flashback.

Pirates, treasure hunts, gold-digging villains, swearing, and a heroic group of kids that want to save their homes from foreclosure – The Goonies has the right receipt for a children’s adventure. The Goonies joins the list of the typical cliques that could be found at every 80’s high school or a John Hughes movie. You have the optimist Mikey Walsh, his older brother Brandon, the nerdy and inventive Data, the cheerleader Andy, her sidekick Stef, the chatty smart ass Mouth, and the overweight klutz Chunk. Together they’re rummaging through damp tunnels and derelict scary underground paths to explore the location of One-Eyed Willy’s lost treasure only to stumble across the Fratellis, a family of criminals after the same treasure.

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I can’t remember this movie word-for-word as I do with the others which calls out for a re-watch. I do still listen to the theme song written and performed by 80’s icon and  favored singer Cyndi Lauper. From me to you…

 

The Neverending Story

“Never give up and good luck will find you.” Falcor

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The other day a friend challenged me to remember the name of the wolf-like creature. Cracking my brains I roared “G-M-O-R-K!”.

Wow, there’s so much to say about The Neverending story, starting with a breathe-taking story-line, avant-grade characters, imaginative setting, and one great theme song. Unlike The Goonies, the adventurous voyage takes place in the fictional world of Fantasia with only two heroes replacing a group of ambitious kids.

In Fantasy, the land of Fantasia is on the verge of destruction by a vengeful force called The Nothing and only one person can save it – a young Purple Buffalo hunter named Atreyu who’s sent to find a cure for the ailing empress. In reality, troubled and teased Bastian Balthazar Bux skips his math test to hide in the school’s attic and read. As the hours go by and the story climaxes, Bastian realizes he’s not just reading the story, but has a significant part in its development and outcome.

Amazing movie!

Favorite character?

Easy!

Morla the Ancient One.
This is one giant kooky turtle.

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Beetlejuice

Adam: What are your qualifications?

Beetlejuice: Ah. Well… I attended Julliard… I’m a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I’ve seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT… NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU’RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY… NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I’m qualified?

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Death, afterlife, a haunted house, creepy city-folks turned suburban and one obnoxious ghost named Betelgeuse (pronounced “Beetlejuice”) are tangled up in a 90 min comedy / horror / Gothic / timeless movie. Beetlejuice first introduced me to Tim Burton’s insane and morbid trail of movies which resulted in a lengthy period of admiration for that director with the hairstyle worn far beyond the excusable ’80s window.

Not enough words for Beetlejuice. To say it’s a favorite would be saying too little. Beetlejuice was and still a love at first sight for me – a masterpiece with the best portrayal of dark humor I’ve seen so far – recently deceased newly-weds Adam and Barbara Maitland find their now-vacant home invaded by brash new inhabitants, and hire the “professional” services of a sleazy ghost to scare them away. Filled with cleverly sarcastic dialogues, fantastic music score and an all-powerful cast, this movie is way way ahead of its time and still kicks ass ’til this very day.

“My whole life is a darkroom. One. Big. Dark. Room.”

For our charming protagonists Adam & Barbara Maitland we have Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. As the iconic run-down ghost we have Michael Keaton in one of his best roles (some would say it’s The Founder but I beg to differ), For the dry-witted smart little girl we have the fabulous and a then a Burton regular Winona Ryder. Her snotty parents Charles and Delia Deetz played by Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara, and of course Otho – the world’s most pretentious interior decorator – played by Glenn Shadix. 

And this brilliance of a movie wraps up my Movies & TV Shows That Made My Childhood Awesome – Part 2.

Still thinking of great shows and movies for Part 3.

Feel free to recommend.

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Labor Day (2013)

There’s not much to do when your’e sitting at home with a tight neck. Naturally, I turned to films and Netflix for salvation.

Director: Jason Reitman

111 minutes, Drama

Plot: Adele (Kate Winslet) is a depressed agoraphobic mother who lives with her only son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith), in a small suburban town. They stumble upon a wounded and suspicious looking stranger (Josh Brolinwho politely demands for a help. Searched by the police and left with no choice the strange man seeks shelter in Adele and Henry’s home to soon become an inseparable part of their lives.

"Labor Day"

Jason Reitman has a unique way of looking at things. It’s films like Up in the Air (2009), and Juno (2007), which I mostly enjoyed, that have me convinced he’s not my usual storyteller. What I mostly loved about Labor Day is that the plot is kind of sailing through quietly, although there’s a lot of drama going on. Reitman shares the personal story of each character in such a refined way, using different scenes which created unusual turns to the plot.    Here comes the bad bit, though. At some point the film kind of dragged and I thought Reitman could have gotten to the point a little bit sooner.  I could kind of foreseen what was going to happen just by seeing the film’s poster.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that after all it’s a love story. It was sometimes misleading on how things will carry on or end in the film, so I kept shifting attitudes during the film where I was sure of what’s going to happen, and where I was totally taken by surprise.

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I’m a huge Kate Winslet fan. She’s one of the most talented souls out there, and every film I watch with her turns out to be a winner.  I discovered Winslet’s magnificence after watching Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind when she completely mastered the role of Clementine. I have to say that Titanic didn’t make enough impression on me back then, so I skipped that one as a major consideration. Also, Kate Winslet has such a unique face which allow her to look stunning, but also quite ordinary at times, depend on the angle of the shot, I guess. I love that about her. She is definitely one to consider a role model, especially after her “don’t use Photoshop on me” declaration. Naturally when I saw this film on Netflix I didn’t hesitate to add yet another Winslet film to my archive. The character of Adele was delicately sewn into Winslet’s fine features, and I was able to completely relate to every expression she had, up to an extent of actually analyzing it. The chemistry between her and Josh Brolin was amazing and so convincing I almost felt sorry this was only a film.

Josh Brolin doesn’t need to do much to get into the character of the fearsome stranger as he own both the look and southern accent, which needless to say, I find sexy. It worked out pretty well in No Country for Old Men (2007), and it sure does here. I remember Mr. Brolin from his The Goonies days as Brand and always hold a thumb up for him just for that.

Gattlin Griffith did an outstanding job as Henry. He’s film appearance is a first time for me, but when doing a little online research I found out the young actor had quit the early start auditioning for films at the age of 7. He who appeared as Angelina Jolie’s abducted son in 2008’s Changeling. Apparently Reitman has struggled in finding the right child to play Henry, and was not even entirely sure Griffith was the right choice. Boy, did he prove himself wrong.

Actor Tobey Maguire is the film’s narrator, as he ends up playing grown up Henry, reminiscing on better memories of his childhood. He has a very short appearance but only then I realized his been telling the whole story all along. Didn’t recognize his voice at all.

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To conclude my viewing experience of Labor Day I would say I enjoyed watching it. I enjoyed watching the characters evolve into something they didn’t expect, I enjoyed the generous amount of cooking, I enjoyed Josh Brolin’s accent and even Toby Maguire’s small appearance.

My score:  somewhat enjoyable, but probably wouldn’t see it again

3 lolipop rating