Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Big Trouble in Little China, created by John Carpenter: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Jack Burton is the all-American truck driver.  Big, burly, and rough around the edges.  When he arrives in Chinatown, San Francisco it seems like a normal trip.  He plays cards with his friend Wang Chi winning a huge bet against him.  In order to make sure he pays up; Jack decides to accompany him to the airport to pick up Wang’s childhood sweetheart turned fiancée who is on her way from China for their wedding.

As Miao Yin steps off the plane a Chinese street gang and sex traffickers called the Lords of Death attempt to kidnap a different girl but are thwarted by Jack Burton and her friend Gracie Law.  When this happens the gang instead grabs Miao Yin making off with her.  Jack and Wang follow in pursuit hoping to simply grab her back from the gang.

But when the duo stumbles into a gang fight and ends up facing down “The Three Storms”-a trio of ancient warriors with magical powers to control thunder, rain, and lightening- rescuing Miao Yin may not be as easy as the thought.  Especially not when the mysterious underground societies of magic that rumble beneath the Chinatown Jack knows and loves rear their ugly heads.

General Information:

-Genre: Fantasy Martial Arts Action Comedy

-Creator: John Carpenter

-Length: 99 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sexual innuendos and jokes, moderate fantasy and martial arts violence and gore, moderate profanity, mild use of alcohol and smoking, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Kurt Russell, Kin Cattrall, Dennis Dun

-Page of Reference in RP1: 292

Review (contains spoilers):

This movie has no business being as good as it is.  It’s a martial arts fantasy action movie…about an ancient guy who needs a special green-eyed woman to marry in order to break the curse he is under.

It is ridiculous, over the top and atrociously cheesy but absolutely fantastic.

And I don’t know why!

There is nothing particularly great about any one part of this movie.  The effects are exactly what you would expect from a 1980s film.  Its kind of a traditional old school kung fu kind of movie.  Kurt Russel is…well….Kurt Russel.  The storyline is absurd.

But it all works.  I’m so glad that I finally sat down and watched this one.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in 8-Tracks, Blog Posts

Rebel Yell, by Billy Idol: a Song Review

General Information:

-Album Title: Rebel Yell

-Artist: Billy Idol

-Release Year: 1983

-Song Length: 4:47

-Genre: Rock

-How to Listen: Spotify (with subscription), Apple Music (with subscription), iTunes (for purchase), CD, or look for it at your local library

-Page of Reference in RP1: 184

Lyrics:

Last night a little dancer came dancin’ to my door
Last night a little angel came pumping on my floor
She said come on baby, I got a license for love
And if it expires, pray help from above, because

In the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
In the midnight hour babe more, more, more
With a rebel yell more, more, more
More, more, more!

She don’t like slavery, she won’t sit and beg
But when I’m tired and lonely she sleeps in bed
What sets you free and brought you to me, babe
What sets you free, I need you here by me, because

In the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
In the midnight hour babe more, more, more
With a rebel yell more, more, more

He lives in his own heaven
Collects it to go from the seven eleven
Well, he’s out all night to collect a fare
Just as long, just as long it don’t mess up his hair

I walked the world for you, babe
A thousand miles for you
I dried your tears, of pain, babe
A million times, for you

I’d sell my soul, for you, babe
For money to burn, for you
I’d give you all, and have none, babe
Just to, just to, just to, just to, to have you here by me, because

In the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
In the midnight hour babe, more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
More, more, more!

Ooh yeah, little baby
She want more
More, more, more, more, more!
Ooh yeah, little angel
She want more
More, more, more, more, more!

Review:

Once again, a song that was a solid 4 because it is generally great overall but nothing spectacular (sorry Billy Idol) gets a 5-star review BECAUSE IT HAS A RIDICULOUS STORY BEHIND IT!

So, Idol himself has confirmed the story behind the title of the song and album.  It all stemmed from a night out at a party with the Rolling Stones where he came upon them drinking a bottle of Bourbon.  The label had a man dressed in Confederate Grey riding a horse.  The brand? Rebel Yell.

The song isn’t about bourbon but only Billy Idol could: 1. Tell a story like that about where he got the title for a song and B. have us all believe it because it’s just that crazy.

He did say the song was about women being the strongest force in the world and the lyrics overall tell the story of the love between a man and a woman.  There has been a lot of speculation about the specifics of what is talked about…but honestly.  Its just a really good song.

The lyrics are solid, the music is catchy.  And it’s just fantastic all around.

And yes, you can still get Rebel Yell Kentucky

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in 8-Tracks, Blog Posts

Beds Are Burning, by Midnight Oil: a Song Review

General Information:

-Album Title: Diesel and Dust

-Artist: Midnight Oil

-Release Year: 1987

-Song Length: 4:18

-Genre: Rock

-How to Listen: Spotify (with subscription), Apple Music (with subscription), iTunes (for purchase), CD, or look for it at your local library

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Lyrics:

Out where the river broke
The blood-wood and the desert oak
Holden wrecks and boiling diesels
Steam in forty-five degrees

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share

The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belongs to them
Let’s give it back

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
Now to pay our share

Four wheels scare the cockatoos
From Kintore East to Yuendemu
The western desert lives and breathes
In forty-five degrees

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share

The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belongs to them
Let’s give it back

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent now
To pay our share

The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belongs to them
We’re gonna give it back

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

Review:

Pretty solid light rock song.  It isn’t hard on the years…the lyrics are really similar to a lot of what I’m used to hearing throughout the late-‘80s.  Some of it is kind of nonsensical but overall, it’s pretty catchy and is definitely one that I’ll be adding to a few of my personal playlists.

As I looked for the lyrics for this song, I learned that it is a political protest song. Honestly, I’m finding it really interesting that a lot of the music that I’m listening to for this blog happen to be protest songs or off-kilter, off-trend music.  Though I guess that shouldn’t be too odd considering the nature of the book.

So, Midnight Oil is an Australian band… go listen to this song and their other music because its all pretty cool in my opinion.  But this song in particular was a protest against the government in Australia.  Apparently, there was forcible removal of the native Pintupi peoples from the Gibson Desert (it seems like a combination of what happened here in the US to our native peoples as well as the Japanese Internments of the 1940s…and well…if you’ve kept up with the US news the last few years is still occurring to other BIPOC).  These people weren’t and still haven’t been given apologies by the Australian government for their treatment of Aboriginal peoples even now.  Though the Pintupi people seem to be trying to return to their land since the early 1980s.

I find things like this absolutely fascinating because music is just a form of art and art can be so many things.  This song is catchy, the lyrics and melody are really easy to pick up and follow.  You can take it for that.  Or you can look deeper into the lyrics and the background of the band and the song.  And sometimes you find that it was actually something really deep and important.

So important in fact that Midnight Oil’s frontman, Peter Garrett, said of the song: “In retrospect it was the song we were born to record. It’s got all the bits to make it work, strong rhythms, good melody and the lyrics had some punch, while being very Aussie. t took a while to stick. It’s incredible how much it still gets played around the place… Who would have thought an Aboriginal land rights song would travel that far?”

So important that the Australasian Performing Right Association has placed it #3 on their Top 30 Australian Songs of the past 75 years.

And so important that my opinion of the rating for this song went from a 4 out of 5 (as a decent and pretty standard sounding, yet solid, late-1980s song) to a 5 out of 5.

Sometimes knowing what something is about makes it that much more powerful.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.