Amanda Wyss

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A Nightmare On Elm Street Review


Weak
A Nightmare on Elm Street, and more notably Freddy Kruger, has a special place in the hearts of many Americans in their late 20s and early 30s. When the movie was released in 1984, these now older viewers were in elementary and middle school. The dark was a formidable threat, and a villain like Kruger was a concern that tapped at the corners of the mind.

Viewed through older eyes, Nightmare isn't remotely scary. I can see the nostalgic value of Freddy Kruger (played by Robert Englund, who has a built career on this role) the same way that I sometimes hum Debbie Gibson songs to myself. But as a first-time viewer, I found my attention caught by the lousy acting, hideously dated wardrobe, and actress Ronee Blakley's apparent bronzer addiction. She makes Jessica Simpson in The Dukes of Hazzard look like an albino.

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A Nightmare On Elm Street Review


Very Good
In 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street revived the teen horror genre, later spawning six sequels about Freddy, the burn victim/child killer who kills you when you fall asleep. Who knew that the sheep were homages to Buñuel? Or that this was Johnny Depp's first movie? The DVD has a commentary track with Craven and the then-idolized Langenkamp, among others, to clear this all up for you.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High Review


Excellent
What, you ask, is this movie of movies? This one which you've heard about? It's an eighties thing, with not much appeal for the modern troupe because its slower paced, less funny, than what you might see today. But, like a lot of eighties movies, it holds its own merit. This adaptation of the book by Cameron Crowe (don't know who he is? I'll give you a hint. He wrote and directed the famous line "Did you know the human brain weighs eight pounds?" That's right, the maker of Jerry Maguire and Singles) is a coming-of-age drama about a young girl making the choice all of us make, sex or a relationship.Sure, we tell ourselves that both can exist, and they can, but there is the line that she draws: if she wants to sleep around or if she wants to have something to hold onto. And the movie, in a nutshell, is about that. It follows her and her friends during their last year in High School in the small town of Ridgemont. Where each one of them ends up with their troubles, ranging from no girlfriend to an abortion to adultery. It sounds serious, right?That's not quite on target.The movie has its serious moments, but it has its funny moments too: from two girls practicing blow jobs on a carat at a lunch table to a guy cruising for chicks dressed in a pirate cap. The movie is sublimely funny. And interesting. It's very sad, in my mind, that those things are so rarely seen in the 90s.

Better Off Dead Review


Excellent
Did kids in 1985 "get" Better Off Dead? John Cusack wouldn't become a teen idol until 1989's Say Anything..., and here his combination loser/geek/skiing stud might come off as hard to relate to.

I don't know, I still love this movie, with its bizarre tangents/dream sequences, such as when Cusack's Lane crafts an animatronic, Van Halen-rocking hamburger during his part-time job. What's that got to do with anything? Well, nothing at all. In fact, all the skiing, talking cartoons, and odd meals ("Frahnch fries...") distract from Lane's frequent suicide attempts, upset over the loss of his girlfriend (Amanda Wyss). The film could have been a lot more disturbing -- but of course Lane never quite manages to off himself, and he doesn't get the girl back either; he trades up to the foreign exchange student across the street.

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Boogeymen Review


Good
Just when you think there are no new ideas in Hollywood comes a DVD like Boogeymen, which shakes up your expectations of the movies. With the promise of giving you "the greatest hits of horror," Boogeymen is a compilation of scenes from 17 horror movies, ostensibly the best-known bits of the movies' "boogeymen" doing their dirtiest work.

Some of these boogeymen are the real deal -- Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) at the end of the film, Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) in his finest hour, Jason (Friday the 13th) chasing a towel-wrapped co-ed, Pinhead (Hellraiser) ripping apart some dude. These are memorable horror baddies who haunted us during our youth. Then there are scenes from Wishmaster, Leprechaun, The Guardian, and even The Dentist -- not only is it not scary, it's silly and insulting to the other villains (like Psycho's Norman Bates) in the lineup. The Puppetmaster? And The Ugly? I've never even heard of The Ugly.

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Amanda Wyss

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