I've decided to shake up my Liveblog paradigm this time around. Instead of doing a movie on Netflix Instant I haven't seen, I have an honest to God Netflix DVD in my house and I have seen it though it was so long ago that all I can really remember is that it was stupid. Behold if you will a movie that tried to start a franchise that, if successful, would be in the process of a reboot as we speak. I give you a movie most of you should be grateful that you've never even heard of: 1984's Streets of Fire.
0:00:40 -- The opening credits tell us that this movie is a "Rock and Roll Fable" set in "Another Time, Another Place" which means...well...absolutely nothing. Wait, Walter Hill directed this? The guy who did The Long Riders and 48 Hours also did this? Mr. Hill, if you wanted to cause me pain, you could have kicked me in the balls. It would have been less cruel.
0:07:00 -- Luckily, you don't need me to describe the past few minutes as you can watch it yourself on YouTube.
If you clicked "Play", you heard a song called "Nowhere Fast" that sounds like what you hear when you pressed the DEMO button on old Casio keyboards played by a band called Fire Inc. who almost certainly would be considered one of the greatest bands ever had the 80s never ended. Sadly, they did and now they make their grandkids watch this movie over and over. Also in the clip, you saw that song being lip synched and spastically danced to by a very young Diane Lane while her manager, a very young Rick Moranis, looks on. Also looking, a villain played by a very young Willem DaFoe in this very forgettable role two years before his unforgettable big break in Platoon. He's the guy in the shadows rocking a less douchey Edward Cullen look. You missed a few seconds later when DaFoe led his evil biker gang to kidnap Lane's character, singer Ellen Aim. Luckily for the gang, no one bothered to put any sort of security whatsoever in place so the kidnapping went beyond smoothly. Fun fact: I managed to recognize a 28 year old Bill Paxton sporting a pompadour jumping out of the audience to help. He got his ass kicked but he probably just wanted to make Diane Lane one of his wives anyway.
0:16:00 -- The "Another Time, Another Place" turns out to be the 1950s. If this movie is to be believed, the 50s were pretty much controlled by neatly dressed gangs and that each city only had 2 cops a piece to counter their influence. A girl named Reva (Deborah van Valkenburgh whom I recognize as having starred in some 80s sitcom I don't feel like looking up) seems to think the only one who can stand up to these creeps is her brother (and Ellen Aim's old boyrfiend) Tom Cody (Eddie and the Cruisers star Michael Paré). Tom wears trenchcoats, suspenders and sleeveless denim shirts, a look you could wear back then without anyone thinking you were gay. Reva tells him that it was a gang called the Bombers led by Raven (DaFoe) that took Ellen. You wouldn't think an entire biker gang could take a huge singing sensation in front of hundreds of witnesses and stay hidden but, as I said, this city seems to have only 2 police, neither of whom seem capable of finding their own asses.
0:30:00 -- Cody has formed his own supergroup by going on the hunt for Ellen with Ellen's manager, Billy Fish (Rick Moranis, a well known comedy star who was the absolute perfect choice to play this humorless douchebag, and yes, I'm being sarcastic, who probably wished he could turn into a dog in this movie too) and a former female soldier named McCoy (Amy Madigan) whose tough girl act combined with her manly style of dress and comment that Cody wasn't her type are probably supposed to imply that she's a lesbian except that, in the 50s, lesbians hadn't been invented yet. The main tactic used by these three to reacquire Ellen is for them all to be belligerent assholes to one another. Fish knows exactly where the Bombers are holding Ellen, information that would have been useful if this town had a functioning police force. They arrive at what is supposed to be a rundown biker bar but is actually quite a nice place with a decent band called The Blasters singing. Fun fact #1: Marine Jahan, the woman who actually did all the dancing Jennifer Beals supposedly did in Flashdance, is dancing on the bar in a thong and fishnets which makes me suddenly respect Walter Hill's filmmaking genius. Between the guys cheering for her and the rest of the crowd cheering for the band, I wondered how this bar made money since it certainly wasn't by serving drinks. Fun fact #2: Willem DaFoe is dressed like a very butch and stylish fisherman.
0:32:20 -- Ed Begley Jr. just stumbled onto the screen looking like something out of The Road Warrior. This completes the efforts of the 1980s to take every B and C list star of that era and smear them like dung all over my computer screen.
0:51:00 -- Lots of guns went off, lots of stuff blew up and the Magnificent Three managed to free Ellen with zero causalities and, for that matter, very little effort. It's almost as if a biker gang parading around in public isn't the ideal group to be kidnapping celebrities. Cody let Raven know exactly who he was which, if I remember correctly, means the movie will be calm and peaceful from here on out. The gang decide to ditch the awesome 1951 Mercury Convertible they were driving and instead barge onto the tour bus of a black do-wop group called the Sorels at gunpoint. Fun Fact: one of the Sorels is Mykelti Williamson who went on to play Bubba the shrimp guy in Forrest Gump. Another one is Robert Townshend. A few years after this, he made a movie called Hollywood Shuffle, a comedic look at how blacks were treated in Hollywood and the limited number of roles they were allowed to play. Musicians were one of those roles though I'm sure he wasn't the least bit inspired by this movie to make that one.
1:02:00 -- Now that Ellen has been rescued, the cops have suddenly appeared but HA HA they're looking not for the kidnappers but for the ones who rescued her. Why? Because this movie is fucking stupid, that's why. I thought I'd explained this already. I'm now assuming it was legal to kidnap hot singers back then. One thing that really stands out about this movie is that every character, every single one, is pissed off all the time. Cody's pissed because he had to rescue Ellen. Fish is pissed because he had to depend on Cody. McCoy is pissed because everyone else is. And Ellen? Ellen is pissed because Cody rescued her. Why is she mad about that? Because this is a GOD DAMN STUPID MOVIE. Don't make me say that again. Fun Fact: Michael Paré has one all purpose facial expression.
See you all in about 30 minutes to wrap this piece of crap up.
1:33:00 -- As any woman would be, Ellen was suddenly irresistibly turned on by Tom after he was unforgivably cruel to her. Tom then decides to leave the bed of the smoking hot 18 year old Diane Lane to walk around and say stupid dialogue with McCoy. After Ellen says she'll run off with him so they can have hot sex every night, Cody punches her in the face (yes, he really did) and goes back to confront Raven for no particularly good reason. For the first time ever, the local cops decide to confront the Bombers and fail miserably so Cody and Raven must have a sledgehammer fight to determine...well fuck, I don't know what this will determine. This may seem stupid but it was very common in both the 50s and the 80s for disputes to be solved by a vicious, festively dressed criminal and a stone faced vigilante having a sledgehammer fight while the police looked on. Don't believe me?
Fun Facts: Willem Dafoe is pretty good at playing a one dimensional, over-the-top villain. Michael Paré, on the other hand, sucks balls at playing a one dimensional, over-the-top hero. Long story short, Cody beats Raven and the Bombers are driven off when everyone in town suddenly shows up with a firearm proving that the NRA is right. Ellen then hires the Sorels to open for her and they have a happy joy fun time benefit concert which is how this all began but what the hell. Once again, Cody passes up the chance to hang around and repeatedly fuck barely legal Diane Lane even though, judging by his appearance, he spends his days working in a bottlecap factory so he can come home and jack off to underwear ads in the Sears catalog.
Final Fun Fact: the soundtrack to this movie is the best part of it. Ry Cooder's background score is great and some of the songs even went on to become bigger hits than this movie ever was. There are only two songs that truly, completely suck and those are the ones supposedly sung by Ellen Aim. The first one you've already seen. The second, "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young", closed out the movie and has the distinction of being one of the most pretentious songs I've ever heard as well having lyrics that were about ten completely unrelated subjects. Seeing it, it becomes obvious why you've never heard anyone say, "Wow, that Diane Lane sure can dance," or, "Man, that Walter Hill should direct more musicals." I will now embed that song so it can play me off. Take it away, long forgotten band.