Posts Tagged ‘Tron’

A little while back I re-watched the original “Tron” movie (1982).  I picked it up with the latest version, “Tron:  Legacy“, some time ago, but have not sat down to watch them both together.  Well, I still haven’t.  But I did watch the first to see what I remembered – not much.  Well, not much about the movie anyway.  What I took away from the re-viewing was the sense of deja vu from knowing but not remembering a movie.
The word “tron” comes from the programming contraction of “trace on”, which is a programming tool for helping to see what’s going on in a running program.  “Tron” turns the process on and “Troff” turns it off (“trace off”).  Yes, programmers are an original lot when it comes to naming things.  None of this is mentioned or explained in the movie.  That would have been TOO geeky for the average audience.
Anyway, I went to see the movie at the theater (back in ’82) because I was (am, but less so now) a computer geek.  A programmer.
Setting aside the geek factor, is Tron a good movie?  No.  Not even for its day.  Did that really matter to me?  No.  Not even to this day.
It’s a “cool” movie with reasonable special effects which incorporates a number of Sci-Fi and Computer Science related terms and I loved being on the “inside” of knowing what it (the movie) was about.
The real question is can I give the movie a “High” or “Strong” recommendation or not.  Well, if you’re of a certain age and certain background (geek), you will probably really enjoy the movie the same as I have.  If you’re not a historic geek (too young) or not a computer geek (a user not a programmer), you probably won’t get much out of the movie except as the prequel to the “Legacy” version.  So, where does that leave me…  I highly recommend this movie because it reminds me of what it was like to be geek before geek was normal.  We knew we were “cool”, before our future became everyone’s present.  (Resistance was futile…)
Somehow, looking back like this only makes me feel older…  Maybe if today had happened sooner, I’d be able to enjoy it longer (still).
Today’s second review is:  “Streets of Fire“, which came out in 1984.  This is a “rock & roll fable”.  I’m not sure what that means, but that’s how it was advertised to us way back then.  It’s a simple movie:  girl gets kidnapped by bad-guy, girl gets rescued by good-guy, big fight at the end.  Simple.  What’s good about the movie?  Well, aside from the stylish filming, there are a couple of well done fight scenes – a short one at the beginning to introduce the hero, and a longer one at the end – the crescendo.
There’s also a couple of pretty good songs (MTV videos in the old days) in the movie.  The best one (“I Can Dream About You“) is the main song for the lead-in group and the final song is “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young“) is performed immediately afterwards with the lead-in group singing and dancing backup.  Because of a bizarre twist of fate, “I Can Dream About You” was showing on MTV all the time the year I met my wife, I fell in love with her, she went back home to England, and it (the song) became my theme song until she returned to me.  Twenty-eight years later and I still dream (day dream) about her…
If you’ve never seen this movie, it’s well worth the viewing.  If nothing else, you get to see a young Michael Pare (good-guy) and a young Willem Dafoe (bad-guy).
It also has Amy Madigan in a terrific supporting role as good-gal, side-kick.  She almost steals the movie.
I highly recommend this movie for anyone interested in early adaptations of MTV to movie cross-pollination’s.  If you haven’t seen either song in the movie, both are available on YouTube.  I highly recommend “I Can Dream About You“, but then I would, wouldn’t I?

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)  —  movie review
I must admit I’ve really been looking forward to the release of this sequel.  I’ve only seen the original (maybe) three times in full, but everyone has seen Mike do Gekko, “Greed is good!” a million times.
I took along my youngest (Sarah), unfortunately – for her.
Visually, the movie was appealing to me in a TRON/PowerPoint kind of way.  Using the NY skyline as a backdrop for stock market ups and downs, and the roads as ticker runs was good.
Greed and excessive wealth were on display – but both lacked emotional appeal.  The characters kept saying “It’s not about the money”, when clearly, it was all about the money.  There were long, slow pans of skinny, tanned, bejeweled ladies and fat, mostly older, white guys.  …And lots of stiffs in suits.
I did enjoy the “finding family” aspects of the film even though they were not particularly believable, but then it’s entertainment not real life!!  I’ve not followed Shia LaBeouf before (other than Transformers), but I now think he can act.
I think the movie will reach a certain crowd – those who saw and understood the first movie and those who have followed (and understand) the economic problems of the last decade.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are very many folks in either group.
I think the liberals will vilify Stone (again) for not explaining the problems government (Bush and Obama) had or at least offering any evidence there were viable options.  Nothing but the bailout or economic collapse are given as options – black and white (binary) in a world of nuance.  I think the conservatives (and Tea Baggers) will vilify Stone (again) because he presents a harsh look at the new corporate greed – which is offered as FAR worse than individual greed (but doesn’t explain why).
The film is a lot of investment banking and Wall Street bashing, pure and simple.  I don’t have a big problem with that, per se, they are big boys who can take it, and they did screw up (and are continuing to do so).  The shortfall of the movie is it was a missed opportunity to be a learning moment: it could have said more about what happened, why it happened, why it was allowed to happen, and what were some of the other options (for future reference).
Sarah’s review – if the chairs were more comfortable, she’d have fallen asleep after about 20 minutes.  (From the mouths of babes…)
My recommendation:  if you are one of those two groups mentioned above, or if you love Oliver Stone (hate the government, hate the rich, hate the corporations), you’ll probably enjoy this film.  As a film buff, I’ll wait for the X-mas twin pack to come out and re-watch them both.  (Life is hard for film nerds!)

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