Play Pause

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Retro Review: V.I Warshawski (1991)

V. I Warschawski 
Cast: Kathleen Turner, Jay O' Sanders, Charles Durning, Angela Goethals, Nancy Paul
Genre: Action comedy
U.S. Box Office Gross: over $11 million

Plot: A female P.I babysitting for a boyfriend gets stuck with his daughter and the case of her murdered father

'Underwhelming Detective Romp With Little Substance'

When V.I Warschawski - the V standing for Vicki, her real name - meets and dates a former hockey player, he ends up hiring her to look after his daughter, Kat when he goes to take care of other business. With her father later found dead, the search is on to find the culprit responsible for Boom Boom Grayfalk's murder. 

In a way, this B-rated fare of a film was sort of, watchable in places. I have not read any of Sara Paretsky's novels of the V.I series, but in regards to some of the comments from those who have read them and have echoed their disappointments in this film, I do understand how let down they must've felt. 

V.I Warshawski comes across as a by-product of the late 1980s than the early 1990s and is cited as the downfall of Kathleen Turner's career, during a time where she was riding high during the 1980s with hits like Romancing The Stone and Body Heat. 

It is too bad the film feels more like a cross between a Lifetime, made-for-TV movie of the week meets Moonlighting, and thus, becomes nothing more than a detective show in a similar vein to Columbo and various other shows of the like, as opposed to a straight-up detective mystery film. Plus, V.I Warshawski all but ended Turner's reign as a movie actress and her follow-up efforts (but for Serial Mom) have been dire. The direction here is pretty much basic as far as it goes and the narrative is formulaic and nothing that we haven't seen before; with a borderline story and flat direction, it is too predictable that the feeble material doesn't provide much for the actors to work with. As for the last third of the film, it did become a little anti-climatic and wasn't as thrilling as I expected it to be. There were a few gunshots here and there, but it would have been nice to see V.I wrestling with or be it get into a real brawl-like battle with Kat's mother, just to make it more exciting to watch. But the performances were solid yet nothing special. 

V.I Warshawski is a detective version of Adventures in Babysitting, directed Jeff Kanew whose previous credits include Revenge of the Nerds, Troop of Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Cop and Fletch - which, in reference to the first two movies, are hardly comedy greats themselves. 

Angela Goethals as the teen with a big mouth just wound me up, however: she was too annoying for my liking, self-absorbed and had irked me so much. She was one of those typically irritating child characters, who thinks and acts as they are above everything and everyone else & knows better when they don't. I couldn't stand her, she was such a spoilt brat. Some of the words she uttered made me cringe and curl up into a ball. I would have thought that given Kat had lost her father, she would loosen up a bit and try to be more cooperative, understanding and be a bit kinder but that wasn't the case. Since her opening lines consisted usage of a curse word, I always sensed she'd be quite a handful. Whenever she'd opened her mouth, I had always dreaded what came out of it. She even used the F-word a few times in this film, as if by saying it a few times makes her more of a grown-up, when she isn't and wasn't. Kat was such a foul-mouthed kid, no wonder her mother had a few screws loose too - she was a mess herself, and Kat herself hated her. But If I was V.I, I would have ditched the girl sooner than have her tag along for the ride. I groaned when Kat became her partner. 

The plot and the story are predictable as it sounds, yet the main protagonist is a very credible character who is incredibly sassy, has lots of charisma and her accomplice and ex-boyfriend, the journalist often sleazy -yet somewhat likeable, Murray (Jay O' Sanders) was okay. His character and V.I needed a whole lot more development. Their love/hate relationship - that's love as in Murray is still smitten with V.I and hate towards Murray by V.I - is part and parcel of the movie that gets addressed throughout the film, which isn't normally the case in the novels, however. There was one scene where the pair spends the night with each other, which we don't see. I think the film might have benefited from having a few more intimate moments, particularly between V.I and Murray and further delving into their relationships, personalities and lives, as well as incorporating a 'will they/ will they not' love plot. Just to give the film something else to concentrate on, besides the main story arc. 

I also liked some of the dialogue, but it lacks drama in places and just isn't as serious enough as it should have been. The action isn't all that great, the tension and menace just weren't there & the antagonists just weren't believable, nor menacing and evil enough to be taken seriously. Rather they came off as cartoon caricatures. The murder case itself is so lightweight and uninspired in a throwaway fashion with virtually no red herrings or big twists the audience never saw coming, V.I Warshawski would have been better off by basing it on the entire series, as opposed to taking bits and pieces from the books and throw them in together and tie it to a lacklustre story. 

She also possesses some rather impressive martial arts abilities too. V.I is tough as nails - but she is tough and goes in with a no-nonsense, yet tough-love approach to her way of fighting crime. Other than that, Kathleen Turner gives a good performance that is better than the script. 

Though it wasn't unwatchable, at under 90 mins, the story speeds by without leaving much of a desired effect on the audience. 

Final Verdict: 

V.I Warshawski is not the Hollywood blockbuster it ought to have been and some parts of the film could do with a few more improvements (in addition to getting rid of the teenage girl). It is a B-movie murder-mystery than a triple-A cop action affair and moments are few & far between.

Overall, the film itself relies too much on cliches, which become so painfully obvious when you sit through it and is a little too predictable and feels underwhelming when it should have been far meatier.


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Retro Movie Review: Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992) #RobinWilliams

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest 
Cast: Robin Williams, Samantha Mathis, Christian Slater, Tim Curry, Jonathan Ward, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Tone Loc
Genre: Animated 
Estimated Worldwide Gross: over $21 million

Trivia: filming began in August 1990 - one year and several months before Hook, which was released theatrically in 1991.... one year before Ferngully came out 

Plot: The magical inhabitants of a rainforest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexus

'Robin Williams, Moreso as Batty Koda, & Tim Curry Makes This Average Disney-Like Effort Still Watchable In A Way'

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest went unnoticed by many people when it was released in 1992, despite the TV ads and somewhat high production values, the film was overshadowed by, as well as it did much worse than that other Robin Williams animated voice-over project, Disney's Aladdin, which was also released that same year. 

And because of this, Robin Williams's noticeable vocal efforts as the lab-tested, sarcastic fruit bat, Batty Koda got overlooked in favour of the movie's preachy tone. 

A young man, Zak is shrunk down to size and with that, he sees the damage the logging company he works for is doing when they cut down the rainforest. Zak then helps a fairy in Crysta to stop them and an evil nemesis, Hexxus, who feeds off pollution. 

The voice-acting by the likes of Samantha Mathis, Christian Slater, Robin Williams - who was great, Tim Curry, Cheech Marin and co was good, yet Pip was too much of an annoying jerk and the protagonists Crysta and Zak are flat and too boring and one-dimensional: had they been Disney or Pixar creations, they would have gone all out to make them more interesting and likeable, given them better lines, as well as make them more relatable to audiences. Also to add, Zak was too tanned, but then again, maybe that's because he is from Australia and well, a lot of Aussies have brown tans, as they have hot and sunny weather out there. Or perhaps, I'm just talking crap. 

I did come across one online comment which said that the film didn't make the best use of Tim Curry and Robin Williams by relegating them to minor character roles. But that was their role in the film, to begin with. Batty Koda, the comic-relief supporting character was always going to play second fiddle to Krysta and Zak, who were the main protagonists. Obviously, if the movie was centred around Batty - which perhaps they should have done instead and toned down the intrusiveness of the environmental theme-, then, of course, the directors would go out of their way to help fully utilise Robin's comedic and vocal talents. 

The film is one massive commentary on humans and the environment. The story was heavily disjointed and not very memorable or exciting, to be frank; I didn't care much for it, and neither I wasn't invested in Zak and Crysta's romantic interests. I only tuned in to Robin's energetic & cheery performance as Batty Koda. I watched this film for his character more so than for any other reason, and as he cracks me up with his comedic quips. 

Aside from the ordinary protagonists, for the most part, Ferngully is distinctly average - yet sufficiently entertaining in parts and hence, it is the amusing vocal hi-jinks of Robin Williams (especially through the Batty Rap song) & Tim Curry's convincing turn as the antagonist, Hexxus, that prevents it from being virtually unwatchable, and even more dull. And thank goodness, because whilst it does get a little too serious at times, it's a good thing Robin's humourous role alleviates what could have potentially been a monotonous flick. Without him as Batty Koda, I would not have watched this movie. 

Much like with Disney's Aladdin it was virtually dependent on the Genie, here in Ferngully, the movie, or be it the movie's highlights was virtually dependent on Robin's turn as Batty Koda and his quips.  

Actually, he, as in Robin Williams, didn't reprise his role as Batty in the sequel, - and that film did even and was even worse. 

A lot of people have labelled this film as environmentalism propaganda at its worse, and yet completely ignore that Captain Planet and the Planeteers takes this to a much more extreme level. But it is a good thing it came out in the '90s when people didn't take everything so seriously and to heart because if Ferngully was produced and released today, the backlash to this film would be ten times worse than it would have been, 20+ years ago. 

The naivety of the message can be easily and best forgiven/forgotten and one I can get by, because of the likes of Batty Koda's sarcastic and witty turn and in spite of the overriding eco-friendly messages. That, and the addition of that character makes it a tad more bearable than 2006's inferior The Ant Bully, which is in many ways the same film as this, but is set in a different setting and with a different set of & even less interesting characters.

The movie of course bombed (unsurprisingly) and whilst a remake would be a bloody awful idea, Batty Koda deserved his very own spin-off movie during the 1990s and with Robin voicing Batty again. Arguably, he was the only character in the film that didn't manage to turn Ferngully into a complete and utter snooze-fest, with his comical hijinks that didn't come off as grating & funny one-liners - & still, he didn't appear in it nearly enough. 

The art-style and animated sequences were well done if only the narrative and writing received the same amount of treatment as the visuals. The songs are not very good, but with the exception of the Batty rap: they were mostly tepid, uninspired & not catchy at all. Ferngully is sufficiently entertaining but for the continuous environmental messages, dull story, and the somewhat vomit-inducing message at the end of the film. 

Favourite Robin Williams Character Lines

- 'Delicious and nutritious! Tastes like chicken!' 

- 'I'm blind! Oh No! (opens his eyes) I can see! It's a miracle!'

- 'Human tails? Human's don't have tails. They have big, big bottoms that they wear with big shorts. They walk around going 'hi Helen!'

- 'Hail Caesar! Emperor of Rome!' 

- 'Price check on prune juice, Bob. Price check on prune juice'

- 'Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!'

- (mimicking Scotty from Star Trek) 'aye aye captain, I can't get enough speed, we've got no dilithium crystals!' 


Pros +

- Robin Williams (but more-so Robin Williams) and Tim Curry 

- Batty Koda voiced by Robin 

- Still better than the direct to DVD sequel 

- The Batty rap song 

- The animation was quite good

Cons -

- Film would have been more uninteresting and bland, had it not been for Robin Williams's performance

- The main protagonist characters are disappointingly ordinary 

- Story suffers whilst environmentalist messages become more, if not so in-yer-face intrusive & preachy

- Story not as good as Disney's animated Aladdin; is mostly boring  

- Some of the songs have not held up well and are not very good 

Final Verdict:

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest isn't by any means necessary as awful as the critics originally made it out to be. But whilst the environmentalist issue was addressed well - if a little too intrusively, in turn, the main story gets lost in the background & suffers. It was also disjointed and not that good. 

As breathtaking the animation and art-style looked on screen, had the quality of the story's writing been on the same par as that of say Aladdin, the movie would have been better because of it. Yet Ferngully is an inferior movie in every aspect to Aladdin but one of the few positive things to come out of it is Batty Koda, courtesy of Robin Williams. If it were not for him as that character, this film would have been an even bigger flop.

Thanks to and due to Robin, he is an underrated animated character in the making. 


Amazon Button (via

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Weekend TV Movie Review: Wayne's World - Five (1992)

Wayne's World 
Cast: Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Tia Carrere, Rob Lowe, Lara Flynn Boyle 
Genre: Comedy
Estimated Worldwide Gross: $183,097,323

Plot: A big screen spin-off of the Saturday Night Live skit. TV producer Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe) wants to take the public access ''Wayne's World'' to the world of commercial television. Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) battle to save their show and Wayne's girlfriend, Cassandra (Tia Carrere) from Benjamin 

'Never Mind Austin Powers, Wayne's World Is The Real Deal'

Right from the Queen Bohemian Rhapsody opening, Wayne's World takes the irreverent Saturday Night Live sketch to the next level by becoming a big budget Hollywood feature film. 

I'd never even seen Saturday Night Live or any of the Wayne's World skits before I came across this movie, but after seeing this film, I understand why it became a success and why Wayne and Garth's appeal goes far beyond the so-called metal heads. 

The slapstick and silliness is just excellent, but there is also a sophistication and charm in its portrayal of heavy metal music and the rock sub-culture in the film world that can be appreciated by people like myself who don't normally follow rock music. 

Wayne and Garth are Bill and Ted, only much more hipper and cooler in my opinion. Wayne is a cool guy and Garth is the cute and often shy type. They are like 20-something- year- olds you knew back in high school. 

Tia Carerre as Cassandra is brilliant and her vocal performances are incredible, there's no doubting she has the pipes. As well as the main plot of Benjamin trying to make stars out of Wayne and Garth, there is also an interesting romantic love triangle sub-plot that develops between Benjamin, Wayne and Cassandra, with Wayne having feelings for Cassandra. And Benjamin turns out to be a slime-ball as he eventually screws Wayne over, whilst trying to court his would-be girlfriend. 

One of the funniest moments for me was when Wayne tried to speak Cantonese to Cassandra - yeah, the pronunciation wasn't perfect but this is a comedy and it's all a bit of fun and so I did see the funny side to it. But the film has so many great gags and scenes throughout and it is so consistently funny too. Thing I noticed about most of Mike Myers comedy movies, including Wayne's World and Austin Powers, is that with the humour you can't think too deeply into it; otherwise, you will not get the joke. For me, so much of Mike's humour is based on visual gags: he relies on inanimate objects or any physical property that he can generate humour out of it. One example from this film is the product placement scene with Wayne. 

But the film's success and humourous appeal doesn't just solely rest on the shoulders of Mike Myers, but also on Dana Carvey who turns in an amusing, whimsical and mischievous portrayal as Garth. He may be quiet, shy and not as eccentric as Wayne -, and yet he can still zap you with an electric cattle prod, if you try to make him angry! Not forgetting he is a terrific drummer, and so Garth is not as dumb as you, or be it we think he is. 

As it is based on a SNL sketch, it contains its trademark SNL satire that parodies and pokes fun at everything from classic sitcoms to 1990s TV commercials and product placements, as well as throw in the odd Scooby Doo reference. There is even a Terminator 2 skit guest -starring Robert Patrick & a celebrity cameo in rock singer, Alice Cooper. The multiple endings for Wayne's World was a good twist and it was really amusing. 

Though the film is more famous for re-introducing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody for the '90s generation. 

Movies such as Wayne's World truly represented some of the last of the very best in comedy films from the past 2 decades; quite frankly, I miss this humour from those movies, as this type of humour is pretty much non-existent in today's comedy movies. 

Final Verdict: 

It's annoying when the press continue harping on and on about Austin Powers and acting as if it is the only Mike Myers comedy movie that exists. Austin Powers is hilarious and all, but in watching this film and the sequel, makes me appreciate the Wayne's World movie franchise even more so today than I did during the 1990s. 

Wayne's World is an absolute classic that still stands the test of time today. The comedy and gags come in thick and fast - yet are funny and not dumbed down farce humour.  

As Wayne Campbell, Mike Myers in my eyes will forever be synonymous with the rock- loving, 20 something-year-old more so than that of his other wacky movie character, British be-speckled super-spy, Austin Powers

Wayne's World may not be the most creative comedy film, ever - but the manner it manages to interweave pop culture references and still make the rest of the film funny, charming and upbeat, is well, 'excellent'. Plus, it is the movie that introduced us to Mike Myers & his comedic talents. 

So, party on! 


Saturday, 4 June 2016

Retro Movie Review: Toys (1992) #RobinWilliams

Cast: Robin Williams, Michael Gambon, Joan Cusack, Robin Wright, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx 
Genre: Fantasy
Estimated Worldwide Gross: over $21 million

Trivia: Robin Williams stated that dying his hair orange/blond made him feel like the 6th Dr Who

Plot: A high-tech factory falls into the hands of an army general who turns the models into killing machines. The deceased owners' children know what's afoot and, although apparently powerless, have to find a way of bringing down the nightmarish empire that is being constructed under their noses

'Oddball, Conflicted Film In Many Ways & Yet Is Not So Bad'

I am a massive fan of Robin Williams works - & most notably pre-early 2000s from Mork and Mindy to Good Morning Vietnam, Hook, Jumanji, Flubber to lesser-known efforts in The Survivors and Fathers' Day and though a lot of people have made out the fact that not every film he has starred and appeared in have been masterpieces, there is one film in particular where I am somewhat unanimous and in full agreement with most people, but at the same time, it.... has some watchable scenes with Robin Williams in them - and that film is..... Toys.  

When the military general decides to make weapons instead of toys when he tries to take over his brother's factory, Leslie Zevo, the son of the late eccentric toymaker Kenneth, takes it upon himself to put a stop to this scheme of his, with the help of his sister and love interest, once and for all. 

There was another movie released in the 1990s that had a similar theme to Toys called 'Small Soldiers', but it was executed far better than this film. When I first saw the cinematic trailer for this film way back in 1992, I was so impressed I thought this is going to be as good as Hook. But it wasn't until I saw Toys in full that my initial impressions on this film and what it was going to be like didn't match up to how I'd perceive it. 

Robin's character Leslie Zevo does display some of the typical & characteristic Robin Williams comedic improv traits, but other than that, this is not one of his better movies, nor performances. His performance is almost like a live-action cartoon character from a TV show - very boisterous and as typically-Robin, he did make me smile and laugh on occasion. Yet it is unfortunate that Barry Levinson was unable to help Robin recreate that magic from Good Morning, Vietnam that led to him winning a Golden Globe for Best actor as Adrian Cronauer. Leslie Zevo is no Adrian Cronauer, he isn't bad - but neither is he as memorable and cool as Peter Pan from Hook, Aladdin's Genie and many other worthy and notable characters that he has played. & the bleached blond hair doesn't cut it for me, either. 

The art direction and visuals do border on Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory & it looks impressive. 

I suppose that had Toys taken a leaf out of Mr Magorium's Wonderful Emporium, then it would have succeeded and made for a much better film. But for the performances by LL Cool J, Michael Gambon and the two Robins: Williams and Wright, the execution was muffled, given the setting and colourful visuals, & the tonality in being serious, surreal, quirky and weird, is rather unbalanced. And sadly for Robin and director Barry Levinson, who is a director I admire and whose other work I tend to like a lot in general, after the excellence of Good Morning, Vietnam this time around, lightning did not strike twice for them. Yet, I mean, having rewatched it twice, this is a pretty messed up movie, but also Robin's offbeat silliness did have me laughing and smiling, which wasn't grating and wasn't so bad. I don't mind weird-looking movies at all, just as long as it comes with an interesting story or narrative, but Toys just doesn't have that. It was messy, the editing in the final third with the battle scene was overdone with the slow-motion shots of Leslie and co evading the killer toys, and in Toys running a bit too long in the tooth as well. Also, the sexual undertones this film was giving off was odd. 

Opting for a more darker theme or approach wasn't the best idea either. As for the musical numbers, well, it was....odd and the songs weren't that memorable. Hearing the children sing in a few of them greatly annoyed me even more. The music in this film reminds me a lot of Hook in some ways - the orchestral vibe it is giving off, for example, some of it is very extravagant. Only here it was cringing. 

The biggest problem with Toys is despite the straight- to- the- point plot, the movie itself doesn't make much sense and never figures out what it wants to be, or the message it wants to convey. The film clearly has a massive identity problem. Sure enough, the film starts out all happy, colourful with a candy-coated opening, but then you sometimes want to tear your hair out in frustration because there are times where it feels as if it is not going anywhere. And in most cases, it doesn't. It's difficult to invest interest in a film and to sustain interest in it when it doesn't make any inroads to do just that. 

It tries to be highly ambitious in its set-up and art direction through the visuals and colourful looks of the characters and such, coupled with the performances by the main cast, but this is such a mixed bag. I don't hate this now, but I don't love it - this movie falls in the middle for me. Geez, Toys is such a subversive film - which is something I have come to a realisation with -and that I was too harsh on it and I was initially judging it, not just from my first viewing but going along with the negative reception it had received. Alas, this is a mixed bag, overall. 

Robin Williams and the rapport between himself and Robin Wright was really good onscreen. I never realised how well those two gelled well together in their scenes as a pairing, especially the one where they have lunch, & that they were a good twosome as they bounce off each other. 

Other plus points about Toys were LL Cool J - whenever his character had screen-time, he was good and his character livened up the movie a bit and was a lot more interesting than most of the others. It was when he told Leslie and the others what the General had been up to that the film turned it up a notch. And the fight between Leslie and his evil uncle towards the end had a lot more 'oomph' than the one between Peter Pan and Captain Hook in Hook. If Toys had more moments like that throughout this film, in addition to a more coherent message, I would have enjoyed it even more. 

I sort of get what Barry Levinson was trying to achieve here, even if he admits it was flawed and the criticism is understandable. This is Levinson's so-called Tim Burton-esque take on family and children-based themes. But it doesn't quite work and had it undergone the Disney treatment, and in live-action form, then I'm sure they - as in Disney would have made Toys more fun, light and whimsical and less cringing & with colourful special effects and more importantly, made it more accessible and approachable as a family fantasy flick. Just like they did with Robin Williams's, Flubber.

You know what - this should have been an animated movie, instead of being live-action: if Toys was an animated film and given how the events unfolded, it would have made far more sense.   

Yet here, Barry Levinson was making an adult movie with kids in mind, - and that alone, just didn't exactly bode well. Luckily, Robin Williams's schtick and silliness were tolerable & entertaining that I could enjoy in doses and so it was also fun to see his character, Leslie showing his amusing side. 


Pros +

- Visually spectacular 

- Robin Williams was all right when he was amusing

- LL Cool J, Robin Wright and Michael Gambon did well, Robin Williams was well, Robin Williams, which for me is never a bad thing

- The last 20 mins were good

Cons - 

- Robin Williams's bleached blond hair look

- Far too long 

- Film's objective not presented well

- Some of the music and musical numbers were too extravagant, and also cringing and tedious 

- Would've worked so much better as a zany fantasy comedy instead, or even as a Disney- like animated feature 

Final Verdict:

Toys is a supposed attempt at making a fantasy drama for kids, but the execution is so awkwardly strung together by Levinson, which is hugely surprising given this is the same director who gave us the brilliant Good Morning, Vietnam and Rain Man with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Yet strangely enough, it is saved by the efforts of Robin Williams, Robin Wright, LL Cool J, Michael Gambon and Joan Cusack. Just. 

Despite the strong negativity, Toys is an awkwardly surreal-yet occasionally flawed fantasy comedy that tries to be all- Tim Burton weirdo fantasy-like.

& it's a weirdness that you can buy into and enjoy, - or not. 


The Many Cross References, Plot & Narrative Devices, Archetypes & Tropes of Robin Williams Movies

Any time I chose to re-watch a film, I tend to keep a track of the various conventions, themes and devices that the directors use to convey meaning and understanding for audiences and viewers. By linking those ideas with the relative theme or device, I then understand and make sense of how they correlate with each other. 

trope is basically a word, phrase or physical thing such as an illustration or image that represents or supposedly represents a figure of speech. It can also refer to cliches and devices in movies, TV shows, video games, and anything that is related to visual entertainment. 

I often pay a visit to TV Tropes - it is nowadays one of my most frequently visited sites and a lot of the information I find on there is not only rather useful but also it is stuff I hadn't come across before or ever imagined. It's also useful in helping you write fan fiction or fiction of your own creation. 

Below is a list of various tropes such as cross-references, plot and Narrative devices that I have discovered in Robin Williams's movies, whilst I was re-watching them; do keep your eyes peeled for these as you re-watch these movies and as it makes you think about it on an extensive level. As ever, as and when I discover a few more of them, I will update this post and add them to this list. 

(credit: TV Tropes) 

Robin Williams Movie Tropes

Use Your Head >> Dale head-butts 2 drug dealers (Fathers' Day), Peter Pan head-butting pirates (Hook), Adrian head-butts a guy in a bar brawl, then tries to do the same to his friend, only that he is a head taller than he is (Good Morning, Vietnam) - character who attacks another character by using their own head as a battering ram 

Clap Your Hands If You Believe >> In Hook, Peter Banning/Peter Pan says to Tinkerbell he doesn't believe in fairies. Tink faints, awakes and tells him that fairies die when they are not believed in. She shouts at Peter to clap louder. wherein enough belief in something will cause things to happen, is also coincidentally known as the 'Tinkerbell Effect'. 

All-Star Cast >> Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins in Hook - any show or movie where the majority of the lead roles are played by big-name actors and actresses  

Crazy Survivalist >> Donald Quinelle of The Survivors was a hapless yuppie who turns into a rabid survivalist after losing his job - character who comes well prepared and highly armed with a knife, guns, hat and a huge supply of food and water 

Crazy-Prepared >> Donald Quinelle - character who is highly prepared for a highly unlikely scenario

Badass Normal >> Donald - character who has no superpowers but is useful by using intellect, martial arts skills or by being crazy prepared 

Conveniently-Placed Sharp Thing >> Donald cutting himself free when tied to a chair - when someone is tied up, there is something sharp that the victim uses to cut themselves free 

You Must Be Cold >> Sonny taking off and wrapping his coat around half naked Donald in the bitterly cold weather - men are duty-bound to take care of women, a person who is cold. A man takes off his coat and gives it to him/her. Variation of this trope: male/male

Catch Your Death of Cold >> Donald stripping off his clothes as he is walking in the snow and Sonny saying to him he'll catch pneumonia and freeze (The Survivors) & Dale helping in Jack carrying Scott and as he does so, he says in reference to Scott ''he'll catch pneumonia'' (Fathers Day) - character/s exposure to cold temperatures

Defiant Captive >> Donald along with Sonny when he is held captive by an armed robber in a cafe and Joey O' Brien when he is held hostage by Tim Robbins's character (Cadillac Man) - a character who is captured but is certainly not cowed; resists attempt to control him/her, may attempt to reason with their captor or play mind games with them 

Faux Fluency
>> Robin Williams as Vladimir speaking Russian in Moscow on the Hudson - a film or TV show that requires a character to speak in a certain language, yet there are no other suitable actors available that are fluent in it, may create a situation where actors who do this do not understand what their own characters are saying 

Fish Out of Water >> Vladimir in America in Moscow On The Hudson - character placed in a situation unfamiliar to them

Mood-Swinger >> Dale Putley of Fathers' Day - though maybe referred to as bipolar their mood swings are more abrupt and frequent than periods of mania or depression 

The Woobie >> Dale Putley - term for type of character who makes you feel extremely sorry for them 

Mr Vice Guy >> Dale - an ultimately good character nonetheless with an obvious vice, whilst they may have their flaws, it never completely outweighs their good qualities or sense of right 

Dark and Troubled Past & Wacky Guy >> Batty (Ferngully) and Dale (Fathers' Day) - something terrible happened to that character in a past life that shapes a fundamental level of their personality

Plucky Comic Relief >> Genie (Aladdin), Batty Koda (Ferngully), Dale Putley (Fathers' Day) - i.e. the funny guy. Character whose role is to relieve tension with oddball and hysterical antics. Can stay detached, things may go downhill for them 

The Queen's Latin >> Batty when he goes ''Oh Caesar, Emperor of Rome!'' when Zak changes channels in Ferngully characters speak with British accents in movies that aren't set in Britain and the characters are not British 

Shifting Voice of Madness >> Batty when he changes accents in mid-sentence as a side effect of the electric animal testing he had to endure. The Animation production company for Ferngully gave Robin Williams an insane character so he can use as many voices in one role - character who uses multiple speech patterns that s/he rapidly switches between. Their erratic behaviour regarding their speech and mannerisms may also disturb others 

Split Personality Team >> Batty and Zak (Ferngully), possibly Dale and Jack from Fathers' Day - a character's multiple personalities change during a particular emotion, challenge or aspect of life 

Butt Monkey >> Batty Koda and Dale Putley - character/s who is/are always the butt of a demeaning joke or put them through hell story-line; are an easy target, bad things happen to them 

The Mentally Disturbed >> Batty and Dale - character/s portrayed as being unable to break out of their illness. Prejudice trope, s/he becomes a target for cruel humour and parodisation 

Screams Like A Girl >> A frightened Batty Koda in front of Pip's face making him jump back when Pip teases him by saying to him he loves his haircut (Ferngully) and Daniel as Mrs Doubtfire when his fake breasts are set alight on the stove in Mrs Doubtfire - is played for laughs and is sometimes associated with a non-action guy character

Cloud Cuckoolander >> Batty, Leslie Zevo (Toys), Patch Adams and possibly Dale - a character with their heads in the clouds, are oblivious to things everyone else takes for granted. More likely to be the plucky comic relief, its wacky antics can be used for a gag, especially when paired with a straight foil. By definition, they aren't stupid. Sometimes what they say and do, may come off as weird, over-the-top, awkward  

How The Mighty Have Fallen >> Donald Quinelle (The Survivors), Parry (The Fisher King), Daniel (Mrs Doubtfire) - person who once had it all, until they fell on hard times

Fallen on Hard Times Job >> Jack and Reno replaying a football game in The Best of Times - the last resort job to which has-beens or fallen heroes have resorted, in order to pay the bills 

Blithe Spirit >> Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning, Vietnam), Jack Moniker (Club Paradise), Dr Malcolm Sayer (Awakenings) & John Keating (Dead Poets Society) - free-spirited fish out of water who goes to a strait-laced land and shakes things up, despite the insistence by everyone that the way things are cannot be changed

The Last DJ >> Adrian Cronauer - character who has a lot of integrity but refuses to play by the rules, superiors don't like him very much 

Large Ham Radio >> Adrian (Good Morning, Vietnam) - person put in front of a radio mic, will instantly switch into a confident DJ persona complete with catchphrases and a smooth baritone voice 

Carp Diem >> Dead Poets Society - stock Aesop about living your life and fighting against the odds or seize the day 

The Cool Teacher >>Adrian when he teaches English to Vietnamese students in class, John Keating, Parry who used to be one (The Fisher King) motivates their students to learn, laugh at stern teachers, oppose the evil teacher at every turn 

Bar Brawl >> Adrian gets involved in one of these (Good Morning, Vietnam) & Jack is mistaken for an adult & gets involved in a fight (Jack) - fight scene where emphasis is less on fighting skill and more about destroying the place with glass flying, bottles used as weapons and very probably a chair is used as well

Hate Sink >> Sgt Major Dickerson (Good Morning, Vietnam), Dr Kaufman (Awakenings), Dean Walcott (Patch Adams), Mr Grundy (Club Paradise) - a character whose intended role in the story is to be so mean and despicable the audience wants him/her to fail & the hero to succeed 

Very Loosely Based On A True Story >> Changes made in Patch Adams, the romantic love interest Carin was based on Patch Adams's male friend and it appears that everything in Good Morning, Vietnam was fabricated. The real Adrian Cronauer was pro-war and Republican whereas in the film he was portrayed as a liberal and anti-war - writer of the film decides the facts of the story lack interest, punch and decides to improve on it/change it up

Bad To The Bone >> James Brown's 'I Feel Good' in Good Morning, Vietnam and later on Papa's Got A Brand New Bag in Mrs Doubtfire is used in scenes with happy people or it evokes a happy tone - song that has been used in so many films that playing it in a different film tells the audience exactly what's going to happen in the scene 

Jerkass >> Rainbow Randolph of Death to Smoochy & Maxwell Wizard of Autumn Rush - a character who is completely obnoxious. Even though they may have fans - yet the appeal of that character is that they are self-centred, crass, rude 

It's all about me >> Rainbow Randolph - part of the psyche that considers him/herself as a separate entity from the rest of society 

Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist >> Randolph - the main character has undesirable character traits where they act cruel - and yet they are supposed to be the good guy the audience roots for 

Clark Kenting >> (averted) Robin Williams's Daniel as Mrs Doubtfire - process by in which a secret identity is maintained over a long period of time by asking the audience to go along with a paper-thin disguise

Disguised in Drag >> Garp whilst attending his mother's women's only memorial service in The World According to Garp and Daniel as Mrs Doubtfire - any scenario where a man dresses as a woman for purposes of a disguise 

Most Writers Are Writers >> T.S Garp grows up to be one and Dale of Fathers' Day is a writer of poetry - main character of the film or show is a writer or reporter 

Hoist By His Own Petard >> Daniel's unmasking as the guy behind Mrs Doubtfire in the restaurant scene - character's own weapon or device becomes the cause of his/her's downfall 

Holding Both Sides Of The Conversation >> Daniel and the case/social worker in his apartment- when s/he is having a conversation with a person, even though that person is not there. The purpose is to convince the person they are lying to. May involve imitating or impersonating another person

Stalking is Love >> Daniel and his love for his children in Mrs Doubtfire and Adrian pursuing Tringh in Good Morning, Vietnam - character pursues his/hers love interest/loved ones, yet object of their advances isn't irritated by their efforts

Deadpan Snarker >> Daniel, Batty Koda around Zak in Ferngully, Jack Dundee (The Best of Times) and Rainbow Randolph (Death to Smoochy) - characters prone to making sarcastic, bitter, occasionally whimsical comments 

Hates the job, loves the limelight >> Daniel in the opening scene in Mrs Doubtfire - has been in the business for years, but has become jaded. The things that come out of his mouth wouldn't make it on live TV. Yet deep down, he loves his work 

Asian girl with White guy >> Vietnamese girl, Trinh and Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning, Vietnam) 

Put Me In, Coach & Down to the Last Play >> Jack to the coach during a football game between Taft and Bakersfield when the team are currently drawing/trailing behind in The Best of Times - underdog competitor sparks a miracle rally for the team or scores a win to help his team win & every American football game ends with a bizarre offensive play that the team thought of in practice 

Lovable Jock >> Jack and Remo (The Best of Times) - a nice guy by default 

Benevolent Genie >> Genie from Aladdin - nice genie is so ditzy their usefulness can screw things up, tends to be its master wishing it free

Dramatic Spotlight >> Genie - spotlight shines down on something, someone and s/he is saying or doing something that happens

Breakout character >> Genie - a minor character from a TV show or movie becomes more popular than the other characters

The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson >> Genie as Jack Nicholson in Aladdin a non-human character or magical creature who is in tune with the cultural zeitgeist of the time period when the work was made. But not the one the work is actually set in. 


Dynamic character >> Peter Pan/Peter Banning of Hook - when the character at the end of the story has a different outlook or personality from when they started 

Badasses wear bandanas >> Peter Pan/Banning in Hook in the scene where he attempts to steal Captain Hook's hook - character who dons a headband, reasons for wearing one vary

Action Hero >> Peter Pan (Hook) - protagonist who uses his fighting skills to achieve his goals in a story

Evil Lawyer Joke >> when Rufio shouts 'Kill The Lawyer' after Peter Banning reveals to him and the Lost Boys he is a lawyer as his main occupation. Only for Peter to reply with 'I'm not that type of lawyer!' (Hook) & when Dale asks Jack what he does for a living, Jack says: 'I'm a lawyer'. Dale utters under his breath 'bloodsucker' (Fathers' Day) - lawyers who often defend people or practices that are considered unpopular and/ or wrong are an infamous acceptable target. Stereotyped to be aggressive, shameless who profit from other people's misfortunes and misery

Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass >> Peter Banning (crouching moron) & Peter Pan (Hidden Badass), Hook - at first is a fool, looks weak and incompetent then things change and when s/he turns into a hero, kicks ass 

Adorkable >> Batty Koda (Ferngully) and Philip Brainard of Flubber - a fusion of dork and adorable. nerdy, sweet, has an endearing quality 

Becoming the mask >> Daniel as Mrs Doubtfire - s/he takes on a fake identity in order to gain something. As time progresses s/he gets used to it and grows accustomed to it

Hawaiian - Shirted Tourist >> Jack Moniker of Club Paradise - stereotypical dress for a tourist or person on vacation 

Welcome To The Caribbean, Mon? >> film contains every Caribbean trope apart from pirates (Club Paradise)

The Charmer >> Jack Moniker Jack-The-Lad, cocky, cheeky; is a bit of a Casanova type, but is generally kinder, decent and less concerned with having things his own way 

Helium Speech >> Jack uses a helium tank whilst infiltrating one of the ships (Club Paradise) - inhaling helium and trying to talk, causing vocal chords to vibrate at higher frequency, is used to comic effect 

Kill It With Water >> Jack hoses down, rather than kill Voit's cronies (Club Paradise)

Groin Attack >> Sonny karate-kicking Donald in the nuts (The Survivors), Dale having hot coffee poured on his privates (Fathers' Day), Peter Banning gets hit with one by one of the Lost Boys plunger arrows (Hook) - often played for laughs and a cause for amusing injuries 


Reed Richards is Useless >> Phillip Brainard & Flubber in Flubber - character has fantastic technology or invention far beyond our own, yet it only gets used to solve equally fantastic problems 

Absent-Minded Professor >> Philip Brainard (Flubber) - a brilliant scientist but often forgetful of things like the date, people's names etc. Can be so engrossed in his work, he loses track of his surroundings 

Abnormal Ammo >> the Flubber (Flubber) - a strange weapon or object/thing with unusual discharge 

Twofer Token Minority >> Armand and Albert from The Birdcage are gay and Jewish - character/s who represents 2 token minority groups 

Overly Long Gag >> the restaurant scene in Mrs Doubtfire where Daniel attempts to play both roles as Mrs Doubtfire and as himself - gag that goes on excessively far and beyond a tolerable length 

Crazy homeless people >> Parry of The Fisher King 

Crazy jealous guy >> Daniel over Miranda and Stuart in Mrs Doubtfire 

Cringe Comedy >> Rainbow Randolph and the fake penis scene in front of the kids in Death to Smoochy - humour comes from characters in the most embarrassing situations or of whom say the most offensive things 

Straight Man >> Armand Goldman (The Birdcage) - the guy who sets up the joke so that the funny guy can deliver the punchline 

Cowardly Lion >> Leslie (Toys) & perhaps Alan Parrish (Jumanji) - characters who become nervous, timid, reluctant to go anywhere near danger, but when push comes to shove they do whatever it takes to help them & their team-mates out alive 

Action Survivor >> Alan Parrish (Jumanji) - innocent bystander in dangerous circumstances, might find themselves trapped or pinned down

Coming of Age Story >> Alan learns to face his problems and sees his father as a source of inspiration, rather than childish egotistical fear - story about an adolescent making a leap from child to adult. In film form, this is compressed to several months

Character Development >> Leslie Zevo, Alan Parrish, Peter Banning/Peter Pan - the change in characterisation of a person with a different outlook or personality from when they started 

Insult Backfire >> General Zevo tells Leslie ''you're as big a fool as your father ever was'', Leslie feels touched and says ''Really?.... You think so?....Thanks - when a person's comments that are intended to sound negative - but instead of being insulted, s/he feels flattered

Straight Man & Wise Guy >> Sonny (The Survivors), Armand (The Birdcage), Jack (Fathers' Day) >> straight man & Donald (The Survivors), Albert (The Birdcage) & Dale (Fathers' Day) >> wise guy - odd couple duo who play off each other for comedy. Straight man approaches everything seriously, wise guy is a jokester who uses puns, wisecracks and wackiness 

Luke, I Might Be Your Father >> In Fathers' Day, both Jack and Dale are each told by the same woman, an ex-girlfriend, that either of them might be the real father to her son, Scott -  when the revelation exists not that a person in question is a character's but that he might be. Turns out he had sex with the character's mother; therefore possibility might exist. Thing is, they are not the only person who did so 

Buddy Picture >> Fathers' Day, The Birdcage and The Survivors - films or stories about 2 friends/people and their adventures. The 2 people also serve as dual protagonists

Linked List Clue Methodology >> when on the lookout for Scott, Dale & Jack go from one place to another, thanks to the clues they are given by the people they meet. They eventually find him - the main characters/heroes must investigate something through a system of distributed clues with each clue telling the heroes where the next clue should be found with the next clue leading to the next clue & so on until they get to the solution

Running Gag >> Dale crying or weeping (Fathers' Day)

Sensitive Guy and Manly Man >> Dale Putley is a depressed sensitive guy who is a bit of a poet also, whereas Jack Lawrence is a lawyer who likes to fight & is very sarcastic. Their ship is played straight as strangers who become best mates - two male characters with conflicting personalities in the hopes that hilarity will ensue. One is the macho guy who is rough, aggressive, loves sports, cars. The other is softer and loves poetry, literature & is more in touch with his feminine side. They may have an odd friendship.

Mirror Monologue >> Dale preparing for his meeting with his potential son by practising in front of the mirror & putting on silly voices & talking to himself (Fathers' Day) - a character talks to their reflection in the mirror. Tends to be a pep talk
Is also a 'Trick Dialogue' >> when a character is talking to someone else or not (see above for example) 

Everyone Hates Mimes >> when Jack mentions to Dale he hates them & if he ever sees one, he says he would 'smack' em' in Fathers Day - mimes are universally hated in fiction and are deemed an acceptable target, given their pure White faces and & refusal to speak. No real reason is actually given by the character/s for hating them

Concert Climax >> Dale, who is later joined by Jack tries to find Scott, only to run into the drug dealers, of whom he gets into a big fight with at a huge rock gig in Fathers' Day & Smoochy aka Sheldon is a public figure who is about to get shot by a guy at the rafters during a children's ice show arena full of kids. Only to be saved by Randolph (Death To Smoochy) - when climax of a TV show or movie takes place in some big public event such as a concert, performance or public gathering that the heroes, for whatever reason, have been brought to 

I Want My Beloved To Be Happy >> Weebo helps Phillip get back with Sarah (Flubber) and Tinkerbell tells Peter she loves him, only to be told he loves his wife, Moira & the kids. She tells him to go and save Maggie and Jack (Hook) - where character Y loves character X but realises a relationship between them cannot happen, so s/he decides to put character X's happiness above their own

Fairy Sexy >> Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell. Her crush on Peter is also a main text as since she outright says that this is why she became his fairy companion, & kisses him after assuming human size near the end

First kiss >> Tinkerbell has her first ever kiss with Peter, & at first, he seems to ask for ''more''

Manic Pixie Dream Girl >> Hook's Tinkerbell towards Peter - attractive, high on life, full of wacky quirks and invoking a childlike playfulness who is obsessed with the stuff-shirted hero, whom she will focus her crazy antics until he learns to live freely and love madly. May be featured as the protagonist's second love

All Love is Unrequited >> Tinkerbell confessing her love to Peter to him, only for Peter to say that he loves his wife, Moira in Hook - when one isn't allowed to reciprocate any romantic interest shown in them by the other person 

Bunny-Ears Lawyer >> Patch Adams in Patch Adams - character who is steadily employed because they are too good at what they do, despite displaying noticeable personality quirks 

Comedy As A Weapon >> Patch Adams dressed as a clown (Patch Adams) - character who uses jokes, puns, slapstick to fight an enemy or achieve a common goal

Gender Flip >> Carin is based on who was actually a man in real life and a male best friend of Patch (Patch Adams) - switching male characters into female ones, female ones into male ones 

Driven To Madness >> In The Fisher King, Parry's reaction after seeing The Red Knight appear is a condition that stems from an incident where he saw his wife being shot and murdered right in front of him - someone or something that attempts to drive another person to madness & to attack his/her's sanity 

Cutting the knot >> Peter Pan is about to fight Captain Hook - only to hear Maggie's cries for help and thus, she needs to be rescued (Hook) - hero only has limited amount of time to do something but has a problem: the very complicated problem that they need time to resolve 

Forceful Kiss >> Peter Pan and Tinkerbell in Hook (she doesn't grab him, she takes his hand, moves forward and kisses him but still) - character loves the other character so much s/he (or in this case it's a she) grabs them, pulls them closer and plants a kiss 

All Work vs All Play >> Miranda and Daniel (Mrs Doubtfire) and Peter Banning and Peter Pan (Hook) - balance between responsibility and having fun


What happened to the mouse? >> Stuart disappears right after the restaurant debacle in Mrs Doubtfire - minor character, plot line is suddenly dropped from the story without explanation, and without resolution

Foreign Remake >> The Birdcage & Fathers' Day are both American remakes of French Comedies, La Cage Aux Folles and Les Compares - movies, TV shows remade in a different country

Honest John's Dealership >> used car salesman Joey O'Brien of Cadillac Man - a guy who tries to sell you something, mostly used items & for shady prices, just to get more money out of the customer 


Abnormal Ammo >> The Lost Boys firing fruit and veg at Captain Hook's cronies (Hook) - ammunition that isn't bullets, real-life weapons such as guns

Ham to Ham Combat >> Robin Williams as Peter Pan duking it out against Dustin Hoffman's Captain Hook in Hook - when 2 actors/characters try to out over-dramatic each other 

Blade Lock >> Peter Pan and Captain Hook both lock their swords during their duel and Peter mocks Hook's voice by going,''Good form old chap'' - at any given time during a sword fight, expect the two blades to lock together, usually works best if the swords are crossed horizontally between the combatants, who stand close together and push, each trying to knock the other person off balance

Not that kind of doctor >> Dr Malcolm Sayer (Awakenings) is a researcher, not a clinician yet he accepts the job in looking after patients - guys with doctorates in Law, Science, philosophy distinguished from real doctors with titles such as professor 

Man Child >> Jack (inverted) who is actually a child and looks like a man, therefore child-man (?) (Jack) - an adult who possesses a very child-like demeanour. Emotionally, s/he is both simple and fragile though is almost always male 

Shrinking Violet >> Jack when he goes to school in Jack- is painfully shy and quiet who walks through the school hallways with their head down and avoiding all verbal contact, so to avoid attention. May result in bullying by other kids

Never Trust A Trailer >> Jack was marketed as Big with Robin Williams and the official trailer for Fathers' Day starring Robin Williams and Billy Crystal - often a form of mismarketing (it's been said movie trailers reflect the movie the studio wanted to make, rather than the one that actually got made), may drive away people who would've actually enjoyed the movie

Mood Whiplash >> Jack is both a child-friendly comedy and an emotional drama, Mrs Doubtfire is a family comedy that is also a serious drama about parents divorcing and separating. In Good Morning, Vietnam, the film starts out as being humourous and irreverent but ends on a bittersweet downer - Contrasting moods evoked in a film or TV show

Protagonist/Character Title >> Jack, Patch Adams and Mrs Doubtfire - film or TV show named after their protagonists 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...