Leo’s Hidden Masterpiece – The Basketball Diaries

The Basketball Diaries (1995) Photo by Caitlin Black.

It is an undeniable fact that Leonardo DiCaprio is one of today’s most talented actors. He is known for many huge roles in blockbuster Hollywood films, however, one of my personal favourite movies of his is actually the lower budget, less popular movie: ‘The Basketball Diaries‘.

This is the film adaption of the book of the same name which is the true story of Jim Carroll as a teenager. The story follows Jim and his three closest friends as they become less involved in school and their basketball dreams and become more involved in a world of drugs and crime.

The acting from Leo is incredible, he perfectly demonstrates the downfalls and negative effects of drugs and crime and does not romanticise this lifestyle in any way. He certainly does justice to Jim Carroll by portraying his struggle so well. Another standout actor in this film is Mark Wahlberg, who was still early into his acting career. He plays a tough teen who is still very weak when it comes to drugs and he sadly loses control over his life and his fate.

This movie is definitely a classic as it is an excellent story with incredible acting. It is definitely worth watching especially if you are interested in the subject area. It is a cult favourite as the movie did not receive many rewards or attain high commercial success yet there are many fans of the film. It is a gritty film which is not to everyone’s taste but something everyone should experience at least once and perhaps learn something.


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) photo by Caitlin Black

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure‘ is a film that almost anyone can enjoy at almost any age. The film follows the two (not so bright) teens who are on the verge failing a their high school if they do not pass their history report. Luckily they come across a time machine and a man named Rufus. The travel to different times of history and bring the historical figures home with them in order to help them with the report, but not everything goes to plan.

Something which makes this film so iconic are the two main characters. Bill S. Preston (played by Alex Winter)  and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan (played by Keanu Reeves) are the guitarists of the band ‘Wyld Stallyns‘. They are not very intelligent but are very dedicated to becoming a famous rock band and are the best of friends. They are both extremely funny but usually this is due to their dimwitted nature as opposed to them making jokes.

I did not know what to expect when I first heard of the plot of this film, as to me it sounded like a very stereotypical cheesy children’s film of the ’80s. However I believe it played on these stereotypes very well, whilst it is cheesy and very child friendly, it is safe to say there are jokes in there for everyone, and I was laughing throughout the entire film.

Bill and Ted or both such iconic and quotable characters who are guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face. Of course this film was not a big box office hit and is not critically acclaimed. However, it is widely recognised as a cult classic due to it’s massive deserved fan base. (And do not forget about the sequel: ‘Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey‘)

The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys trilogy 1987 – 2010. Photo by Caitlin Black

For many people, they will think of teenage romance when they hear the words ‘vampire movie’. For me, I think of films such as ‘Interview with the Vampire’ and of course ‘The Lost Boys‘.

‘The Lost Boys’ follows Sam (played by the late Corey Haim) and his older brother as they move to a new town and have encounters with the local vampires and the local vampire hunters, the Frog brothers.

The reason I believe this film works so well is that it uses the perfect mixture of both classic ’80s cheese and some very dark elements. It is not a scary movie but at the same time it is not family friendly, it plays on different clich├ęs but at the same time keeps the plot interesting and unique.

Corey Haim will be remembered for several of the films of his career but I think this one holds a special place, especially for me, as this film shows his acting talent at such a young age, he shows a massive amount of ability which he continued to improve on for many years, but in this film we also see his funny and lighthearted side which is a wonderful way to remember him.

I believe this is a cult classic for many reasons, it of course did not reach commercial success, but for many people it is an iconic movie which does not romanticise vampires but is still very intriguing. The film is for people who want something lighthearted but dark at the same time. Plus the film makes excellent use of the song ‘People are Strange‘ by ‘The Doors‘ in a version by ‘Echo and The Bunnymen‘.

David Bowie – The Goblin King

Labyrinth (1986) Photo by Caitlin Black
Labyrinth is a movie which many people turn to for a bit of nostalgia, it is a family friendly film which many people will have grown up with. Personally, I only came across this film due to being a massive David Bowie fan and was interested in any acting work he had done.

When I watched this film I did not have high expectation but I found myself very entertained and my respect for David Bowie as an actor as well as a singer had grown. Throughout the movie, I found myself laughing at several moments and my heart was warmed.

Something I think makes this film so unique is the use of puppets and the creativity it used for each and every character. Nowadays, we would look back and think of the special effects used as poor but I think they were very ahead of their time and even though the editing is dated, I believe it adds to the nostalgic quality of the film.

The acting in this film is very good from both Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie. Jennifer, who was still fairly new on the acting scene at the time the film was made, shows us her emotional range and her acting abilities. Whereas David, shows us he truly can do anything, whether it is acting, singing or being a fashion icon.

Although it was not the most successful movie, I believe there is something in this film that everyone can enjoy. It is a must watch for any David Bowie fans.  Adults can watch it and feel nostalgic and have some laughs, or it can be introduced to younger generations and remain a cult classic.

It’s Only After We’ve Lost Everything That We’re Free To Do Anything.

Fight Club (1999) Photo by Caitlin Black
For me, ‘Fight Club‘ was always one of those films that I heard people referencing or talking about but for some reason I had just never gotten around to seeing. I don’t know if this was down to my sheer laziness or if I was afraid I wouldn’t enjoy it very much after how hyped up it was. When I finally got around to watching it, I was very pleasantly surprised, it was nothing like I had imagined it would be.

In my opinion, the acting from the entire cast could not be faulted, especially from Edward Norton. I believe the film would not have become a cult classic without the casting of Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, and even those in small roles such as Meat Loaf and Jared Leto. The acting abilities of these incredible actors are what I think makes the film so captivating.

The film is a rollercoaster which takes the audience on it’s journey, it keeps building up and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats fighting for answers and explanations on what has already happened and what is yet to come. The final scene, is the perfect end to the film, it’s chaotic but calm with ‘Where is My Mind‘ by ‘Pixies‘ playing throughout and left me feeling very satisfied with the film.

Some may question whether this is really a cult classic as it received high ratings and was nominated for an Oscar. Yet, I believe it’s the type of film some people love while others may hate it. Maybe, it’s a style of film you need to have a certain taste for. There is definitely a cult following for this film and it’s message and for me, it is definitely a cult classic.

I see you shiver with antici…pation

DVD of the 1975 Classic. Photo by Caitlin Black
It would not be a cult classic blog without the mention of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The musical which over the past four decades has influenced thousands and has even resulted in audience involvement at midnight screenings with viewers dressing up and bringing props.

For me, the songs are one of the factors which really make the film. The opening number ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature‘ sets up the film well, with only a pair of lips being shown on screen for the majority of the number. The song makes use of several references to culture in order to foreshadow some events of the film. This song is used again at the end credits with the lyrics adapted in order to summarise the plot. Every song featured in this classic is very catchy and deals with the issues of the film in a lighthearted manner which I think is very clever as it helps the audience deal with the themes of the film whilst remaining enjoyable to watch.

Tim Curry, who in his feature film debut, gives the performance of a lifetime playing the eccentric Frank-N-Furter, a role which I can only imagine was both mentally and physically challenging (considering he spends the entire film wearing heels). Curry’s character is truly inspirational to many as he demonstrates how important it is to be yourself. As Frank-N-Furter says; “Don’t dream it, be it”.

To summarise, for me this film is a massive classic and very enjoyable to watch, the acting from the entire cast is incredible and the songs are never boring. I recommend that everyone gives this film a watch at some point in their life and if it’s not your cup of tea then hopefully you are still able to appreciate the originality of the film.