Tag Archives: 80s movies

Ming the Merciless

Ming the Merciless

I was experimenting with a new (to me) technique for copying from a photo. I started out zoomed way, way out and slowly worked my way in, adding more detail with each pass. I totally botched the angle of his head and the gun. I’m not sure how I managed to change the perspective from the source photo, but I’m still pretty happy with how it turned out for a first effort.

Painted in the gimp on a fujitsu stylistic st5112 with minor color adjustments/grain effects added using g’mic plugin.

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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in film


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Spring Break

#17 Spring Break

Spring Break Movie Poster

If you were a college student in the 80’s, it was practically a rite of passage to load up with your buddies and head to Ft. Lauderdale, get drunk, do drugs, have promiscuous sex, and watch wet t-shirt contests on the beach all in the name of Spring Break.

If you were a teenager in the 80’s, it was practically a rite of passage to sneak home vhs tapes of movies about college kids doing those things.  This movie really struck many nostalgic chords for me.  I never lived a life like the people in this debaucherous riot, but as a young gentlemanbeggar, I found myself envious of the great fun it seemed they were having.  Even as a more responsible adult, I see that the lifestyle depicted here is in no way enviable, but still, it looks like great fun.  There is a plot in this movie, albeit a thin one.  I won’t bother trying to explain what the major conflict is, because, really what matters is that it’s an ensemble cast of college kids enjoying spring break.  You’ve got your white-bread goody-two-shoes who’s rebelling for the first time, his slightly edgier best friend, the “professionally cool” guy from New York, and the secretly deep dumb guy who’s more loyal than your favorite dog.  Oh, and there’s plenty of gratuitous nudity.  Oh yeah, you’ve also got the girl next door who’s so pure that fresh snow looks dingy next to her.  Don’t forget the gratuitous nudity.

Spring Break Screenshot

Oh look! "The Man" wants to shut down the popular hot-spot!

Seriously though, even with all the questionable behavior and the T&A in this movie, there is a certain innocence in the film that is sadly lacking in more modern attempts to make “coming of age” movies.  So often, movie makers just don’t get it.  They rely too much on the notion that nudity=fun, not realizing that the true formula is fun=nudity.  There really is a difference.  On the cover of the DVD it says proudly “Mr. Skin is a big fan of this movie!”  Surprisingly, the nudity in this movie, while gratuitous, isn’t as prevelant as you might suspect.  In fact, this movie could easily be edited enough to show on network tv.  And I’d wager it’d still be as much fun.

Fans of 80’s music might especially enjoy this raucous romp which features music by NRBQ, .38 Special, Jack Mack & The Heart Attack, and Cheap Trick.

You can actually watch the entire movie online at!

What a great way to finish up my Spring Break week!

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Posted by on March 20, 2010 in film, Movie Challenge


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The Mosquito Coast

#5 The Mosquito Coast

Take one part Swiss Family Robinson, one part Moby Dick, and one part Indiana Jones and blend thoroughly.  Put them into the oven and bake for approximately 2 hours, and you get The Mosquito Coast.   Harrison Ford plays a tireless and gifted inventor who is fed up with the “selling out” of his homeland, America.  He loads up the family, leaving the dishes in the sink, and heads for the Mosquito Coast, where he plans to bring “proper civilization” to the unspoiled natives in the form of ice.  He buys a small village in the south american jungle and sets about starting his own Robison Crusoe-esqe paradise, teaching the natives about the evils of corrupt society, all the while building a village that will provide all the creature comforts of home without the corporate trappings of capitalism.  Quickly making enemies with the local missionaries, it becomes clear that he is a man focused on self empowerment.

Without giving too much away, let’s just say that his enthusiasm for the family’s new way of life turns into outright obsession, and eventually evolves into a kind depraved and outright madness that very nearly destroys his family.  What scares me most about the movie is how easy I find it to identify with Ford’s character in the first half of the movie.  I guess it goes to show that there’s a fine line between genius and madness.  I think I’ll just hang out on this side, thank you.

Fans of Seinfeld should note there’s a cameo appearance by Jason Alexander early in the movie.  You might not recognize him with hair.

Of special note to children of the ’80’s, this movie stars River Pheonix as the oldest son, and Martha Plimpton as the missionary’s daughter.  While flirting with River Pheonix’ character, she has one of the strangest, yet oddly compelling come-on lines I’ve ever heard in a movie.

"I think about you when I go to the bathroom."


Posted by on January 13, 2010 in Movie Challenge


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Young Guns

#3 Young Guns

Ahh, the late ’80’s.  Westerns were trying to make a comeback, Emilio Esteves looked more like Martin Sheen than Charlie did,  Keifer Sutherland reminded everyone of Donald, and Lou Diamond Phillips was gonna be the next big star! Good times!  Oh yeah, there were two other guys in this movie, too.

In a move that seems surprising some twenty-one years later, this western didn’t totally try to reinvent the western.  It was a pretty straightforward telling of how a band of misfit cowboys found themselves thrust together and on the run from the law.  Emilio Esteves played “Billy the Kid” with a reckless abandon, and we never really learn in this film just why he’s a heartless killer–just that he is.  I find that refreshing.  Sometimes, just sometimes, we don’t need to know every character’s back story–Do you hear me, Hollywood?!?

I will say that the synthesizer laden soundtrack came as something of a surprise to me when I watched this movie for the first time in over 15 years.  Last time I saw it, synthesizers were so prevalent that they seemed organic to storytelling of all types.  In retrospect, it seems a little silly and out of place, but in a “passing notice” sort of way.  

Don’t look to this movie for historical accuracy, because I’m sure it didn’t go down this way.  Though, I do suspect that Jack Palance was alive when Billy the Kid was making a name for himself.  He looked to be at least 95 when this movie was made.

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Posted by on January 11, 2010 in Movie Challenge, review


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