In today’s installment of the Journal, we’ll be looking at the fantasy flick DRAGONSLAYER, the teen comedy EUROTRIP and the acclaimed documentary THE IMPOSTER. Can’t get much more random than that, can you?
DAY 21: FEBRUARY 12, 2013
DRAGONSLAYER (1981) – A young wizard’s apprentice is left to fend for himself when his mentor is slain. He travels to a kingdom that has been offering virgin sacrifices to a dragon in order to save the townspeople. Hoping to master his magic and find his courage, the apprentice sets out to become the dragonslayer.
Dungeons & Dragons was really big in the early 1980s and after some noodling, Hollywood finally took notice. This was made as a co-production between Paramount and the Walt Disney Company, back before the days of Touchstone. At this time, Disney was experimenting with mature entertainment, but wasn’t quite ready to put their company logo on it.
The film is hardly perfect, but it is entertaining and captures the fantasy spirit quite well. As far as pure D&D-inspired entertainment is concerned, this and SWORD & THE SORCERER would be the two best films Hollywood had to offer for some time. Great special effects for the time as well. ★★★ (out of ★★★★)
EUROTRIP (2004) – A guy gets dumped at his high school graduation from his backstabbing slut of a girlfriend, so legendary in her exploits that she inspires a douchebag punk band (led by Matt Damon!) to write an ode to her. He confides in his pen pal from Germany, who expresses a romantic interest in him. Thing is, he’s been working on the assumption that his pen pal was a guy and not the gorgeous woman in the picture. He decides to travel to Germany in order to explain himself and profess his love to her. And of course, his friends tag along.
Yeah, it’s not a smart film, is it? There’s really not a lot I can say to defend my love of this film except that it is one of those films that I watch with my friends and we enjoy it. We quote it. We laugh at it. And yes, I have very little critical clout when it comes to this one. All of you have a similar film you can point to with those same qualities. It’s funny, it’s entertaining and I dig it.
Also, much like the film SAVED!, the film could have been even better if they had kept in the deleted scenes (teased in both the end credits and on the DVD extras). It also would have been nice if the studio allowed them to have their own identity under the film’s original title UGLY AMERICANS, rather than attach it to an awful Breckin Meyer comedy.
It was quite a revelation seeing this film for the first time back in the early 2000’s. Michelle Trachtenberg is in this film and was playing someone close to her own age. However, at the same time she was also playing the 15 year-old sister of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. As a huge fan of the series, I was shocked to see a more mature performance and I’m still a little conflicted about it now. Sorry, just needed to come clean about that. Trachtenberg is awesome in the film by the way. ★★★½ (out of ★★★★)
THE IMPOSTER (2012) – first viewing – This documentary focuses on an unsympathetic adult who pretended to be a fifteen year old American boy who had been reported missing several years prior. The parents took the kid in and authorities were initially quick to believe him, despite the person looking nothing like the boy and having a very thick French accent. And then things get really weird.
This documentary keeps things moving by unveiling each and every twist and turn in the story with stunning urgency. At times, it actually gets a bit too flashy and I was hoping it would slow down a bit and let me absorb the information that was being presented. And like many docs, it stops just as it really seems to be going in an interesting direction, just like life. Oh well, still worth a look. ★★½ (out of ★★★★)
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING (1985) – In 1984, Paramount decided to end the FRIDAY THE 13TH series by killing off Jason in FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER. As soon as the weekend box office was in, the person who came up with that idea was likely taken outside and shot. Within a year, Paramount released a follow-up, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING. It follows Jason’s killer as he’s sent to a special retreat for emotionally disturbed teens. And that’s when the murders start happening again.
It’s also a 1985 film, which means it will be covered on our podcast, FILM GEEK CENTRAL PRESENTS: THE FILMS OF 1985. Oh, don’t look at me like that. I promise it will be worth the wait and you have plenty of episodes to check out in the meantime.
Total films watched in 2013 so far: 67
My soundtrack for February 12, 2013: “You and me ’til the wheels fall off.”