The Apple (1980)

Usually I like to approach my films to current events, time of year or what’s currently playing at your local cineplex. Given that this is a flashy 80s musical extravaganza with a board to the head message, it dawned on me that there are somethings that are just fitting for any moment in life. And so, I sat down with The Apple.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, I give you a taste…

I think we can all agree that 1994 was a grim year for music. This movie was a warning and we all ignored it. This is how Ace of Base happens.

Should you need a quick recap of the plot, here it is, courtesy of Wikipedia…..

Alphie (George Gilmour) and Bibi (Catherine Mary Stewart), two youths from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in Canada, travel to America to take part in the 1994 Worldvision Song Festival. Despite being the most talented performers, they are beaten by BIM (Boogalow International Music) and its leader, Mr. Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal), who use underhanded tactics to secure a victory. The duo are approached by Mr. Boogalow to sign to his music label, but soon discover the darker side of the music industry. Bibi is caught up in the wild lifestyle BIM offers, while Alphie risks his life to free her from the company’s evil clutches. He eventually convinces her to run away with him and the pair live as hippies for a year (and produce a child) before being tracked down by Mr. Boogalow who insists Bibi owes him ten million dollars. However, the two are saved by the Rapture, and all good souls are taken away by Mr. Topps (aka God).

Yes, you read the last part of that correctly. Having gotten down by the music business, the Rapture comes and everything is right with the world.

Frankly, there is not one thing wrong with this film. There, I said it and I’d say it again.

 Don’t let this movie fool you. It may tell you that these two fresh faced young’ens are from Canada and that they’re visiting New York, but there’s nothing but interior shots of Germany. The film takes your imagination and takes liberties. But you will thank it for it later.

Nope, not Germany. America. When in doubt, tell yourself, its America.

I don’t know much about the music industry. I’ve read the memoirs, seen the interviews and listened to crappy albums made by artists who were just trying to fill out the last of their record contracts (I’m not going to name names, I’ll just say that one example rhymed with R.E.M.)

Here’s what I do know, and its mostly thanks to this movie. Your magical folk music may stir up the masses, but if you let a record company dress you in red leather, theres just no boundaries of where you’ll go.

Meet your new boss, kids. He’s going to tell you when your single isn’t “radio friendly”.

Not gonna lie…their “corporate disco” is actually better than their folky entry into the world.

Plus, I really want her silver jumpsuit.

Which looks even better on a man. People in the fashion industry are failing by not convincing the Middle America man of today that this is a acceptable and practical look for the man on the go.

I’m going to intersect here, that this movie had an amazing musical number which involved Old Testament theology and a catchy dance tune that commanded the cast members to dance. No film has dared to attempt this and none will ever reach the heights that this did.

She’s taking a bite of an apple, folks. I dare you to find a better way of teaching the origins to sin to a congregation.

So how far does this symbolism take us?
The head of the label…could it be…SATAN?

Well played, movie. Well played.

Frankly, I think this movie is a little confused on the message. Yes, Satan is bad. And the general train of logic would dictate that if he gives a thumbs up to something, its a red flag that you should stay away from it. However, the music is catchy, there’s glitter everywhere, the choreography is just a treat for all the senses – and then the movie makes you feel bad for wanting to do a DIY musical extravaganza in your apartment.

Also a musical orgy happened. It was incredibly catchy.

“If you really wanted a path of righteousness, you’d come organize a folk fest in the park with me.”
“Disco’s not gonna last forever! Satan is lying to you and doesn’t want you to know about Coldplay!”
Remember back in 1994 where you couldn’t hang out in a park without a record label paid security guard busting your chops? 
God, as usual, saves the day, which means you are free to hold Coachella at your local neighborhood park.
And in case you doubted me….
The Rapture does happen and takes the shape of a Buick Skylark. The music is actually pretty good although you can’t really dance to it. Well, you can, just save your disco moves for another party.
So, The Apple. I learned that people just really want folk music. Or did I miss something?

THE LIAM NEESON EDITION – The Other Man (2008)

 

 

 

This week, Liam Neeson returns to our screens and our hearts to shout at people, wave guns and solve seemingly impossible mysteries.  Given his track record of high level excitement (Taken, anyone? That time he trained Batman, then almost destroyed Gotham? He released the Kraken!), I figured there had to be some other unknown gem of octane in the many folds of Netflix.

Liam once took down a Mexican cartel for pulling out daisies from his front lawn.

Here’s the plot quoted from iMDb:

“In this taut thriller, a software engineer Peter (Liam Neeson) and the shoe designer Lisa are successful in their careers and have been happily married for twenty-five years. When Lisa is gone, Peter finds a message in her cellular and decides to snoop her e-mails and discovers in a secret folder named Love that she had a lover, Ralph. Peter travels to Milano and stalks Ralph; he finds that the man plays chess in a bar”

A taut thriller involving shoe design, international travel and games of chess? Batten down the hatches ’cause its Neeson Season!

 

We open with a fashion show. This movie is going to be like Sudden Death…but with fashion.

You can tell, Liam’s a caring family man and will take this whole place apart if anything gets threatened. Just a matter of time for this story to actually begin….

Okay,

 

 

…we have Liam doing some light housecleaning…

 

 

 

…we see him hold on to Laura Linney….

…and we see him checking email.

You can’t accuse this movie of not being action packed. If your actions are limited to frittering away an afternoon. Which Liam does a lot in this movie. I’m sure the movie told me what he does for a living, I just never saw it.

Liam writes an email letting his wife’s paramour know that she’s no longer at this email address. Liam does not know that emails are not like houses. You simply do not move away and let someone else move in to it.
Its pretty disappointing to learn that he doesn’t know how email works.
Skip ahead to the story where he goes to Milan to confront the man his wife, Laura Linney is cheating on with.  Let the chase and heartpounding action begin!

I’ve never been to Milan, but I’ve heard its a big city. Liam goes from Somewhere, UK to Milan in a day and automatically finds Antonio Banderas crossing the street.

Yep, this was the chase of the movie – a casual mosey across the street.

 

And then the two rivals meet and battle it out over chess….
The rest of the movie is a game of chess. Strap in, and forget the airplane. Because THIS is the non stop action you were looking for.
And flashbacks. Lots of flashbacks.
Like, remember the time she made this face at you when you were telling her an anecdote of what you did with your day?

This might have been your first clue that she was moving on to someone else.

Someone who enjoys tranquil boat rides for example.

And that time Liam Neeson read a  explicit email from Antonio to his wife…to his daughter. Because this is how fathers and daughters bond?

Frankly, why isn’t Antonio Banderas the action hero in this? He at least goes outside.

They like taking creepy pictures together.

Remember that time when you just whispered vague emotional promises to each other and it was kind of dull? That’s how I remembered it anyway.

Needless to say, the chess game doesn’t go well. Antonio wins and in the first bit of action after about an hour, Liam throws the board on the floor in a fit of rage.

And then they take a walk together.

Because this is what men do? Seriously, I’m asking.

After some more heartpounding chit chat, Liam sets off to go home, but his daughter has followed him here.

See that face? That’s his “I’m going to get $%# done” face. Which is usually followed by action of some sort…

Nope. Just moves directly into his exhausted “Emotional processing” face.

In the end, people were let go, people moved on, and Liam found a new bravery in moving on to a different part of the house to check emails and sort laundry. And Laura Linney moved on from this:

Which has to be by far, the creepiest picture you could ever take of someone. Liam would never do that to you.

NEVER. Because he will shut that DOWN.