This article lists some of my favorite movies that were aired in India (during the 90's) on Saturday afternoons. I have fond memories of watching all these movies and I don't think I'll ever be able to forget them. The following list is in no particular order, so lets get started
This movie is about 14 year old Lucas (played by the late Corey Haim). Lucas is a poor, nerdy little boy that lives in a trailer with his alcoholic dad. He tries to show the world that he is a rich kid and tells people that he stays in a nice, big mansion. He has a job and loves collecting insects. On one of his 'insect hunts', he meets Maggie (Kerri Green) who he falls in love with instantly. Maggie is really pretty and she's taller than Lucas. In other words, she is waaay out of his league. She thinks Lucas is an interesting kid, but has no romantic feelings for him. Lucas is also the school loser. He is always being bullied by a couple of older kids at school (one of them played by a young Jeremy Piven). During one of these 'bully attacks', Cappie (Charlie Sheen) comes to Lucas' rescue. The two of them become good friends after that. Another friend of Lucas' is Rina (Winona Ryder in her first movie role). Rina likes Lucas, who likes Maggie, who likes Cappie. So, the movie is basically a love triangle... well a 'love diamond' between the four of them. Lucas even joins the school football team to impress Maggie. The rest of the story, well... I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so go out and watch it. Entertainment Weekly ranked this as #16 on its list of 50 best High School movies. In my opinion this is the best high school movie ever made. It has a great story line, covers nearly every aspect of your stereotypical American high school (the jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, popular kids etc.) and has some excellent performances. The movie ends with the now over-used and cliched Slow-Clap.
The Paper Brigade
The Paper Brigade was a made-for-TV movie. It was about Gunther (played by Kyle Howard, a very popular child artiste back in the 90's) who moves in to the small town of Pleasant Valley from New York along with his family. Gunther moves into a suburban neighborhood where he meets Allison (Kylee Cochrane). Gunther wants to take Allison to a 'Screaming Banshees' concert (in the movie they were a very popular band), but the tickets are sold out. The only guy that has tickets is the local bully. He is willing to part with the tickets for $150. The only way Gunther can get the money is by getting a job, so he decides to become a paper boy. At first, he sucks at this job earning no tips. Soon, he starts getting better and better and becomes the best paper boy in the neighborhood. The rest of the movie is about how he earns the money, outwits the bullies, with the help of an old man (Robert Englund, the guy that played Freddy Krueger) and gets the girl. This is a typical kiddy Disney flick. It was a pretty average movie and I had a great time watching it with a bunch of friends
The Karate Kid
Everyone knows about the Karate Kid. This movie achieved cult status in the USA in the 80's. It had 2 sequels (3, if you count the crappy Hillary Swank movie), an animated series, a video game, action figures and other memorabilia. The story was about Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) who moves to Los Angeles from Newark, New Jersey with his mother. He is fascinated with karate and has been trying to learn it from various books and the YMCA. Daniel meets Ali Mills (Elizabeth Shue) at school. He tries to impress Ali at a party, however her jealous ex-boyfriend, Johnny Mills (who is a student of the Cobra Kai Karate school that Daniel can't afford), kicks his ass in front of everyone. Daniel is the victim of repeated beatings from Johnny and his buddies. During one of these beatings, Daniel is saved by his neighbor, Mr. Miyagi (played by the late Pat Morita), who whoops the entire gang's ass. Daniel begins to learn Karate from Mr. Miyagi at his residence. Here he learns the infamous wax on wax off technique. Daniel eventually learns how to defend himself. The latter part of the movie deals with Daniel facing and defeating his Rival, Johnny, in a Karate tournament. Johnny's mentor is John Kreese, a Vietnam War veteran and leader of the Cobra Kai Karate school. In the final scene of the movie, Daniel defeats Johnny with the infamous 'Crane Kick'. This movie, and Mr. Miyagi in particular had a lot to say about finding balance, about choosing mentors wisely, about disguising defensive martial-arts techniques in home improvement (and yourself in a shower curtain, if it meant you could attend your high school Halloween dance undetected by Cobra Kai bullies). It was a simply brilliant, first-of-it's-kind movie. Some say it spawned the whole 80's 'karate-craze'. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. The remake of the karate kid, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan is due for release in October 2010.
I'm sure you've noticed by now that I really like high-school and under-dog movies.
Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveler
Ralph and Tommy on Stamps
Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveler was a 1988 Canadian Children's film. The story is about Ralph, his sister Nancy and their trouble making friend, Tommy Tricker. Ralph collects stamps, so when he comes across a mysterious old stamp, he accidentally discovers the magical ability of stamp traveling (traveling to far off places on a postal stamp). The three of them have a bunch of adventures as they start stamp traveling by mistake. They travel to distant places like China and Australia, making new friends and learning about their cultures. Along the way, they start looking for Charles Merriweather, another stamp traveler that went stamp traveling 75 years back and never returned. There was a sequel to this movie that wasn't as good as the original. This is another coming-of-age movie. Ralph, the main protagonist, has a stutter at the start of the movie. He is insecure and shy. By the end of the movie, he is more confident and his stutter completely disappears. For 1988, the special effects were brilliant. Clubbed with a great story line and excellent cinematography, this movie is a must watch. On a rating of 5, I'd give Tommy Tricker and the stamp traveler a rating of 4.
Yes, I know you must be sick and tired of reading about 'coming-of-age' teen movies. So, the next one is a bit different.
The air up there
The air up there is one of the best basketball movies I have ever seen. The story starts with Jimmy Dolan (Kevin Bacon), a college basketball assistant coach searching for a new star player for his team so that he has a bigger chance of being promoted to head coach. He sees a video of a player in Africa. Convinced that this player could be his next big star, he travels to the African continent in search of him. He finally reaches the village (with the help of a British missionary). When he gets there, he meets Saleh, a 6'6" Basketball ace, who is also the head man's son. Saleh is the future of the village. His father has immense faith in Saleh to lead the people of the village in the future and take his place. The village however, is being threatened by a mining company, the leader of whom was a former member of the village. The mining company wants to get hold of the mineral rich village land. They constantly terrorize the villagers and even kill and steal their livestock. The rest of the movie shows John Dolan, a money hungry westerner, who cares about nothing but his career, transform into this caring person, who helps the villagers fight for their rights. He forms a Basketball team in the village and challenges the mining company to a game, the winner of which will have ownership of the village land. One of the most dramatic and exciting scenes in the film involves the tuition of Saleh by Dolan regarding the "Jimmy Dolan Shake & Bake," a basketball style made famous by the Bahr Brothers in the mid 1990's. The air up there has some great comedy, jaw dropping scenery, excellent basketball sequences and carries a nice message. Jimmy Dolan even goes through the right of passage and becomes one of the villagers. Another influence on his character in the movie is the nurse (stationed in the village with the missionary), that helps him find himself and do the right thing.
Keep watching this space for more lists and articles. Remember, I'm still a fledgling writer so I would appreciate the constructive criticism.