Sunday, December 20, 2020

Chip's Holiday mixed tape 2020!!!

                                                        Chip's Holiday mixed tape 2020!!!

I'm sure over here at Staystillreviews we're not alone in believing that 2020 has been one HELL of a nightmarish ride. With the holidays approaching, we've tried our hardest in keeping up with some traditions, to keep us somewhat sane, as well as making a few good memories in the vast ocean of shit 2020 has given us. Holidays certinaly have looked different, but this year is a prime example more than ever, in keeping things safe and simple while trying to have a little fun at home, and keep up the spirit in holiday fun. I for one plan on having a non-stop movie marathon of all of my favorite Christmas movies and TV episodes. Drink egg nog and watch vintage Christmas commercials, and best of all while writing, attempting to wrap gifts, or just petting Sir Winchester, I'll be playing my yearly holiday playlist aka Chip's Holiday mixed tape with killer Christmas and holiday tunes that Chip himself blasts whenever he's riding around Southern California, living his best December life!

It's called fashion. Look it up.

Happy Holidays!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

How the Abyss could have been one of the best films of 1989

How the Abyss could have been one of the best films of 1989?

There are certain movies that just standout for you. Perhaps they were viewed during an important time in your life? Maybe it holds certain memories of whenever that time was when you either saw it in theaters, or viewed it at home. I have a laundry list of movies like that for me. I saw countless films which were mostly classics growing up both in the theaters and at home. In kindergarten I was the only little girl who was obsessed with Terminator 2 Judgment Day. Some could say, the movie was inappropriate for my mother to have shown me such a violent and action packed film at such a young age. But, just last year a co-worker who has a young son, asked me advice on if she should take him to see IT Chapter 2 in theaters? She was torn since he's so young, but already seems to have a large obsession with movies, especially horror and science fiction. I simply told her see what he can handle. That's what my parents did. Both huge movie lovers, Stephen King fan, and always went totally out for Halloween. The video store was one of my favorite places to visit as a child as a reward. I grew up watching the classics. The Goonies,  The Monster Squad, The Lost Boys, ect. My mother always made sure my sister and I spent plenty of time outside playing with our awesome jungle gym set up, using our imaginations, but she also loved showing us classics for the first time ever. For me my main bond with my late mother was movies. 

We loved them.

So I told my co-worker, even though my mother raised me on the classics, and took me to theaters to see such films as Urban Legends, and Scream 2 and 3, she always told me I had to stay appropriate at school since not everyone was allowed to watch these movies, and as soon as I started having nightmares I was finished watching these movies until I was MUCH older. Besides being a little scared of the original Pennywise, and Freddy (who knew years later I would be such a huge Elm Street fan?!), I handled myself quite I told my co-worker to say fuck it, have the talk with him, remind him it isn't real, and if he freaks out and has nightmares that's the last time he'll ever see a horror movie for a VERY long time. If he can handle it, then you just made an awesome memory with him that I'm sure he'll never forget.

So going back to kindergarten, I was obsessed with Terminator 2. It was my favorite movie. I would watch it over, and over, and over, always amazed at the liquid metal man, or the high speed chases. Sure I had seen the original, but it was the first that stood out to me. I believe I even had T-1000 action figures and even a T2 sweatshirt. Man...I wasn't your regular little girl.

As I grew older I became obsessed with Aliens, watching it on a constant loop, quoting the film, and even receiving that HUGE fold-out boxset for my birthday. I even named one of my dogs Ripley. But for me, the James Cameron movie that really left a dent with me was the 1989 underwater action sci-fi drama...

The Abyss.

Yep, that's night. I bought the special edition DVD back in 2003? I believe when I returned a shitty DVD a friend gave me (Changing Lanes maybe?) and was curious about The Abyss, having never seen it. I bought it and instantly became obsessed. I seriously watched this movie every night before going to sleep.

No...I'm not kidding, and yes I know it's an awful movie.

I'm a massive Cameron fan, MASSIVE! I grew up with the two Terminator movies as well as Aliens, but for some strange reason The Abyss was the DVD that I constantly watched over and over in my pre-teen/teen years. I feel it was because I was puzzled by Cameron's choices with this film. I know maybe he wanted to head more into the science fiction direction and clearly he had big massive plans (Avatar, which I'm sorry, that was SUCH a bad movie, and WHY WHY is he making what three more films? We didn't ask for them?! *rolls eyes*) I guess I'm just sour. I feel Cameron was at his best when he was doing the action/science fiction. I'll be the first to admit, the script of Titanic hasn't aged very well. The dialog was "eh" but who am I to say? Cameron is tripping over his Oscars he's won, and I have none, so it really just comes down to options. Nevertheless really when it comes down to brass tacks, Cameron is a GREAT writer and director. I heard he's a massive prick, and the horror stories behind the production of this film. I've watched all the docs on it, all the interviews, fascinated that it took TWO years to make. 

I'm telling you, watch all I believe 5 parts of this. Poor Steve Johnson, I would of had MANY MANY breakdowns working on this. There's a video floating around after the film where Steve and his assistants start breaking the glass aliens that cost roughly 40 thousand dollars. Steve's stories are things of nightmares and I love the man even more that he had to deal with the perfectionist like Cameron.

Cameron had a vision, and sadly I think with the Abyss...or Son of Abyss, or life's an Abyss and then you die as the cast and crew like to call it just missed the mark. Cameron was SO close to making his record on flawless amazing action science fiction films and instead I feel with The Abyss the script just sort fell flat. I understand he wanted to do something different, but let's be honest...this movie is 55% a piece of shit.

This is how I feel Cameron could have made The Abyss SOOO much better...

1) Cut out the aliens -
Like WTF was Cameron smoking?

I KNOW! I KNOW! But hear me out here. I actually really like the movie Leviathan. Despite being a cheesy B movie. This past summer due to COVID-19 a bunch of my friends from college decided to start a Zoom film club. One of the movies my friend Anthony picked was Leviathan. I really love this movie. GREAT cast, pretty solid script, and AMAZING effects. I kept talking when we got online to talk about it how this was what I felt The Abyss was supposed to be. Why make the Aliens good? Yes Cameron didn't wanna get trapped with just making horror alien movies. Still, instead of the whole "Peace and love" Aliens with a message that we got in both cuts of the film, I feel if Cameron didn't want to get stuck making Alien horror movies, just cut them out completely. Show that you can do a psychological thriller instead of another science fiction movie.

2) Make Coffey the main villain. - 

I will forever be on team Biehn, This man honestly could of had ONE HELL of a career. Nevertheless he did score some pretty great roles and always stole the show in them no matter what the script or production was like. Biehn was a huge crush of mine back in my pre-teen years, which had probably had a lot to do with why I was constantly watching this movie over and over again. Think of Biehn in Tombstone. That movie hands down is one of my favorite westerns and had a GREAT cast. Besides maybe Val Kilmer who killed it as Doc Holiday, the next big standout was Biehn was Johnny Ringo. I love Beihn was Reese/Hicks (Hell I have even a Hicks tattoo) but my favorite roles of his is when he plays a "villain". I loved him in Tombstone, and in this. I heard the studio tried super hard to get him nominated for best supporting actor which sadly didn't happen (sorry Kevin Kline = who won that year.) but Biehn STOLE the show in this movie. In fact, I feel he's the best part. It's almost like he's in a completely different movie, and when (spoiler) he's killed, the movie just takes a super weird turn. I actually used to shut the movie off as soon as cab 3 gets crushed under pressure (one HELL of a death for a misunderstood "villain", but the movie just felt "lacking" after he was killed off.) The Coffey character is complicated instead of the typical cookie cutter storyline of the couple (Bud and Lindsey) working wit the blue collar underwater drillers and dealing with the Seals. I feel the first half of the movie was actually well written. In fact one of my favorite scenes is when Ed Harris (Bud) fights Biehn (Coffey). It's a tense well filmed scene, and I feel that should have set the tone. They have a trained killer, a Navy Seal who is suffering the the HPNS. Slowly suffering a complete mental breakdown, feeling he's under orders, and there's a "threat" that really doesn't exist as the crew are isolated, cut off due to the storm. Cameron I feel should have made the film about Coffey losing his mind. Who started off as an actual good man, who sadly became ill and just lost it. How he starts hunting and killing off the crew one by one as they try to figure out how to survive as the time is slowly ticking away. Sounds like a bad horror movie? Nope. With Biehn in the front seat I feel he really could have made The Abyss "his" movie. Think of the scene of Lindsey talking about the aliens and Coffey sitting, clearly looking ill, sweating, pale, eyes darting around like a wild animal, and all these clueless idiots not noticing what's happening to him as he's slowly cutting his arm underneath the table. LOVED how they filmed it in reverse (which I believe they did several times) his huge green eyes, how he says "About face." to Lindsey with the lisp, little details he added made him clearly the best performance out of a cast of stale characters. *Shrugs*. The sub chase scene is insane in this movie, and I always feel so bad right before Coffey's sub falls off the ledge the look of him almost "snapping" out of it and locking eyes with Bud and Lindsey before falling and both reaching out touching the glass. The rage of him scream as the glass starts to shatter, such an epic death to a great character. After he dies the movie is basically a very long uncomfortable CPR scene, Ed Harris breathing liquid, and the underwater aliens showing them the the violence and war needs to stop (remember that big wave in the SE) Dear Lord, what a complete mess. I feel it should have been about the crew trapped in the wrecked rig during the storm, cut off, with a trained Navy Seal suffering trim HPNS breaking down, and believing there are threats (aliens, Russians, ect.) coming to attack and him believing he's killing the threats when in reality he's really killing off the crew.

3) Recast Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio -

Last night I was speaking with two friends and we basically talked about this movie, and both were stunned that I really didn't care for Mary. Nothing against the actress. I really enjoy the shit show otherwise known as Robin Hood, and The January Man, but I feel she missed the mark with Cameron's strong leading women. Maybe it was just the script but I really hated this character and I feel maybe the blow would have been softened by another actress. Maybe it's just me.

So in closing, basically cut out the fucking aliens, make Biehn the main "villain" have it be a underwater psychological thriller (think of the original Alien, there's a threat killing off a trapped crew one by one until they need to stick together and figure out how to survive.) So yeah, love the first what? Hour of the Abyss, but as soon as Coffey dies, I'm out. Cameron this really could have been something...instead we got...

Son of Abyss.