Tag: Lea Thompson

MOVIE REVIEW | Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

“Well, I like art, I work in a gas station, my best friend is a tomboy. These things don’t fly too well in the American high school.”

Growing up in the 80s, with two older sisters, I became more than just a little familiar with the John Hughes oeuvre.   Whether he wrote it, directed it, produced it, or just inspired someone to rip off his style, chances are I saw it, more than once. Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Say Anything, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Better Off Dead, Weird Science… If it was about teenagers and had even the slightest connection to the Brat Pack, it was on high rotation in my childhood lounge room. Except, it turns out, Some Kind of Wonderful.

As high school weirdo Keith, Eric Stoltz has a lot on his plate. He works what seems like a full time job at a local service station, his father is always on his ass about applying to colleges and his little sister is always breaking in to his room. On the girl front, his best friend, Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson as the epitome of the 80s tom boy cute girl) obviously has a massive crush on him, but he’s too busy being infatuated with school hotty (Lea Thompson as Amanda) to notice. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK*** Howard the Duck (1986)


People can talk about and make fun of a modern day Hollywood disaster like The Lone Ranger all they want, but it’s just a flop wannabe.  Before it was even a redundant, half assed, lazy, money grabbing glint in a studio executive’s eye, there was one shit bomb of such legend, pretty much the only thing it’s famous for today, almost three decades after it first underwhelmed audiences, is it’s shit bombery.  Yes people, I watched Howard the Duck.  And you know what, its reputation is kind of undeserved.

That is by no means me saying it’s a good movie.  Howard the Duck is not a good movie.  It’s just not nearly as bad as its almost mythical status would have you believe.  By the time George Lucas got involved as a producer of Howard the Duck, the famed writer, director, producer and neck waddle connoisseur was riding high on three Star Warses and two Indian Jonses.  So why would anyone doubt the potential when he proposed making a live action adaptation of a little known comic book foul  mouthed duck?

Within the first couple of minutes, we meet Howard at home on his duck populated planet before he’s beamed to Earth via a pretty cheap looking special effect.  Once on Earth, he meets Lea Thompson after we see her playing a gig with her band, which leads to two observations about that time period.  In the mid-eighties a lot of movies involved characters in dangerous punk bands that played the most bubble gum of non threatening pop.  Also in the mid-eighties, film making had access to possibly the smokingly hottest trio of smoking hot “girls next door”, Lea Thomspon, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Phoebe Cates.

Back to the plot.  Howard meets Lea Thompson, who in turn introduces him to her scientist mate play by Tim Robbins.  Robbins reckons he knows how Howard ended up on Earth and takes him to his lab where we meet his boss, played by Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (I could look up the actor’s name, but I think describing him as “Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will make more sense to more people than his real name).  Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off becomes a bad guy and Howard, Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins have to defeat him in their efforts to send Howard home.

The story is fine, nothing special, but there are plenty of worse ones out there.  The effects are a let down at times, especially when you consider that Lucas was involved, but they’re not the worst of the time either.  And while Howard never seems like more than a little dude in a duck costume, the puppetry involved with his facial expressions and eyes are really expressive and impressive.  I’m not gonna rush to watch Howard the Duck again anytime soon, and I can understand why it wasn’t a massive hit at the time, but I also don’t think it deserves its rep as one of the patron saints of film flops.  And say what you will about the rest of this movie, but the song Thompson sings at the end is an insanely catchy toe tapper that’s been stuck in my head for days.

Budget $37million / U.S Box Office $37.9million

Razzies Won:
Worst Picture
Worst Screenplay – Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz
Worst Visual Effects – Industrial Light and Magic

Howard the Duck
Directed By – Willard Huyck
Written By – Willard HuyckGloria Katz

Instead of Howard the Duck, watch Tim Robbins be awesome The Hudsucker Proxy