29 May 2014

I Heart the 80s!

by Kevin Powers

The most memorable movie scene of my life contains three classic songs from the 1980s, each one unique and from a different genre. The scene I'm talking about is from Paul Thomas Anderson's 1997 ode to the porn industry circa '77 - '85 Boogie Nights. At a certain point, Anderson shifts from his starting point as a glitzy Robert Altman into a crazy Marty Scorsese. Not to say that Anderson was overly derivative. He was just trying stuff out and whippin' that camera around.

In the scene, a high-end drug kingpin named Rahad Jackson played to sweaty perfection by Alfred Molina invites the star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) and his entourage, co-star Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly) and exotic dancer Todd Parker (Thomas Jane), to his home for a bit of a drug deal...a fake kilo of cocaine for cash. This is an homage to the famous incident in which John Holmes aided in the robbery of a drug dealer, and Anderson throws it all in there: slow-motion, whip-pans, zoom-ins, perfect sound mixing and editing as there is a Chinese kid in the background lighting Black Cats one after the other and tossing them in the air while the following mix-tape plays in the background:

1. "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger
2. "Jesse's Girl" by Rick Springfield
3. "99 Luftballoons" by Nena

I'll let you see for yourself:

I heart the 80s!

Last night, I watched the pilot episode of AMC's new drama series Halt and Catch Fire. It features a really great cast, including the incredibly charming Lee Pace (ABC's Pushing Daisies) and a look and feel that screams realistic early 80s. Pace plays Joe McMillan, a former IBM salesman, who makes his way to a fictional Dallas company with the grand scheme of reinventing the personal computer. He recruits a down-and-out computer engineer (Scoot McNairy) and a software prodigy (Mackenzie Davis) to help him.

Halt and Catch Fire offers a sort of cool for me. I love period pieces, and I especially love origin stories. In this case, the nerdery of the beginnings of the personal computer boom is sure to be plenty enough to hold my interest, and, after viewing the pilot episode, it has. I love it when movies and TV shows live up to their trailers and thank the marketing people at AMC for bringing The Eurythmic's "Sweet Dreams" back into my life. I invite you to see for yourself and watch the series premiere this Sunday night at 10 PM on AMC.

Here's the trailer:

I heart the 80s!

Which brings me to this morning, when my best friend emailed me from work and asked for some upbeat 80s tunes to request on the office jambox, I obliged him. Here is the playlist I offered:

I heart the 80s!

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