Monday, 18 November 2013

KM Show, 18 Nov 2013: 1985

This is the script to my slot in Kevin Markwick's weekly film & music show on Uckfield 105 FM, Mondays at 9pm

Hello. Here I am again like a zombie that Kevin didn’t manage to decapitate after having talked us through 1985 the week before last. The great success of Back To The Future was just the cresting wave of a tide of movies aimed at young people and there are plenty more to sift through. John Hughes was getting into his directorial stride with the mad-cap Weird Science, a film in which two high school geeks manifest pre-internet porn at a house party. St. Elmo’s Fire was Joel Schumacher’s rather more straightforward high school coming-of-ager. Even Steven Spielberg was trying to re-create the success of the Indiana Jones formula for youngsters by producing  adventure films along the same lines. The Goonies, a sort of Peter Pan hybrid was something of a hit. However, in today’s post-Harry Potter  world it’s the schoolboy-restyling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Young Sherlock Holmes, that I’ve looked at. It’s a film notable for some up to the minute CGI from Industrial Light and Magic’s John Lassiter, who went on to make the Toy Story films. The technology may be high spec, but the story – and so Bruce Broughton’s music – is the stuff of old-school derring-do.

While kids were day-dreaming of action or romance there was still a fair bit of serious adult fare on release in 1985. Pale Rider is a funny amalgam of Westerns. An immoral town gets its comeuppance for past sins in classic high noon style, though the whole thing is couched in a magic realism that director and star Clint Eastwood borrowed from the European artfulness of earlier spaghetti Westerns. Very different but no less serious is the sci-fi-satire of Brazil in which Terry Gilliam re-imagines Orwell’s worst nightmares in a post-Cold War (but pre-NSA) future.  Jonathan Pryce is the Kafkaesque victim of mistaken identity, Sam Lowry for whom Kate Bush wrote this dream sequence song.

Inevitably there was one film that was the best of all these worlds. A serious science fiction adventure that dealt in serious moral issues, targeting a specific age group but having some fun along the way. In fact, Cocoon even manages to provide a good role for poor Steve Guttenburg who was about to be saddled with the dubious success of the Police Academy formula. An ET for pensioners, Cocoon involves the life-conferring properties of pods stowed on earth by an alien race. Luckily for the members of a Florida retirement home, they’re being kept in a local swimming pool.  James Horner cued up some swingtime for the inevitable party sequence. Goodbye!

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