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Posts Tagged ‘Jason Miller’

Light of Day

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Some time around the mid-‘90s I took a weekly screenwriting class for a while, and the teacher loved Paul Schrader. He seemed to bring him up in every class. The guy who wrote TAXI DRIVER. The guy with the strict Calvinist upbringing. Eventually he had us watch a Paul Schrader movie, and he chose LIGHT OF DAY – the one where Michael J. Fox plays in a rock band with Joan Jett. I had seen it before and I didn’t dislike it but I thought it was a weird choice to represent Schrader. I think maybe the teacher hadn’t seen it yet.

But, you know, after THE CARD COUNTER last year and finally watching LIGHT SLEEPER this year I was kinda high on Schrader and thought it might be worth going back to this one to see if there was something I was missing. Well, no, not really, but that’s okay. It’s not in the vein of those ones I just mentioned and it’s not as powerful or as distinctly Paul Schrader, but I don’t think anybody else would’ve made exactly this rock ’n roll movie.

I used to think of it as corny because it’s a rock star acting and a sitcom star rocking, but what’s cool about it is that it’s thoroughly working class. It’s about a band, but it’s never about the record label guy is coming to the showcase and it’s their big chance and they write a hit and they get the cover of Rolling Stone but then it’s the pressures of fame or whatever. No, they’re just a small band that plays at a little tavern in Cleveland called the Euclid (“the Euc” for short) and they try to keep that gig or set up a small tour or play in a different band that will pay better. They do pull a pretty good crowd for the size of the place, but they’re not famous. Nobody knows who they are. And they gotta have jobs. (read the rest of this shit…)

Toy Soldiers (1984)

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

There’s another TOY SOLDIERS besides the Sean Astin/Wil Wheaton one from 1991 that I reviewed before. This is the one from 1984 that’s kind of like UNCOMMON VALOR but with rich college kids instead of Vietnam vets. Jason Miller (THE EXORCIST) plays a Vietnam vet now working as a family’s personal yacht captain. When he chaperones their daughter Amy (Terri Garber, SLAPPY AND THE STINKERS) and her loser friends on a trip to Panama, they totally prank the shit out of him by purposely leaving him behind on a dingy. Cut to montage of dumping beer on each other’s heads, smoking joints, making out and comical sexual harassment.

“What they didn’t know, what nobody knew, was that the fun was just about over,” intones Sarge in his weirdly Wonder Years-esque opening narration. The accident that fucks up everything is realistically random: drunken Tommy (Jim Greenleaf, TAG: THE ASSASSINATION GAME, JOYSTICKS) jumps belly first onto an inflatable raft, bounces off it and hits his head. They bring him to land to try to get medical help, but they end up quickly abducted by paramilitary forces. They’re tied up, beaten and groped. Amy is defiant, so they lock her separately in a pit with a dead priest currently in the process of being eaten by rats.

But otherwise that would’ve been pretty funny how they ditched that old wet blanket so they could party, ha ha. (read the rest of this shit…)