Friday, April 23, 2021

Where You Been All My Life, Streets of Fire?

I am as ancient and jaded as a carving from the Qin Dynasty -- Antiques Roadshow shout-out! -- and so I often feel as if I have, if not seen it all, at least heard about it all. Which is to say that I know there are tons of movies out there for me to see still, but I think I mostly have a handle on what they are, at least -- for example I might have only watched my very first Andrei Tarkovsky film a month ago but I could rattle off the titles of a dozen films that he directed anyway. Know what I mean? So when I "discovered" the existence of Walter Hill's 1984 crime-musical Streets of Fire yesterday -- yes, just yesterday -- and watched the thing jaw agape, well, it felt wonderful. 

And yes I'm perfectly aware that I didn't "discover" anything -- the replies to the above Twitter thread (seen in full here) as I burned my way through the film last night let me know this movie has a longstanding cult. (It's even one that's been in the news lately, since the musician and composer Jim Steinman died.) But somehow Streets of Fire existed in its lane and my lane never bisected it. Not once. Not twice. Not thrice. How? How is that possible? I'm a big fan of Hill's The Warriors, the film in his filmography that this one's the closest to. And I'm familiar enough with its star Michael Paré that I did a big gratuitous post on him once in 2015 here on the site...

And the supporting cast of this movie is literally (literally) insane. Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, Bill Paxton, E.G. Daily, Robert Townsend, Rick Rossovich (aka the dude who does the legendarily ridiculous shirtless pose in the volleyball scene in Top Gun), Ed Begley Jr, and most importantly of all -- MOST of all -- Willem Dafoe as a leather-overalls rocking greaser bad-guy with a big hammer and a bad disposition named Raven???

Suffice it to say the fact that a movie this 80s-Whackadoo existed up until the year 2021 and I'd never heard or known anything, not a single friggin' thing, about its bone-deep insanity, that shit gives me hope, son! Hope that there is still magic in the world -- hope that there are still wondrous things waiting for me out in the cinematic world! What a feeling!

So have I got any Streets of Fire fans in the house?


ceregon said...

Of course the Jim Steinman songs are the highlight, but SoF has some of the best editing in a mainstream movie I've ever seen.

joel65913 said...

I certainly don't love it as much as you did but it is gonzo craziness. I remember when it came out in the 80's to much fanfare.

Diane Lane was white hot at the time coming off of both The Outsiders and Rumble Fish and deep into the filming of The Cotton Club and it looked like she was set to be one of the preeminent actresses of the decade, but then both this and CC tanked and it set her back and she had a dry spell until Lonesome Dove restored her lustre.

I think the film was just too outre and ahead of its time. It does have that great supporting cast but none of them were established at the time so instead of what it seems now it was just stocked with promising newcomers certainly nothing that would pull in a crowd.

par3182 said...

i saw it in a theatre in 1984 - i still quote “this place is the shits” when somewhere doesn’t meet with my approval

Unknown said...

The movie is burned into my 1980s youth like Breakfast Club, but with an edge. It is like Xanadu. Not good. But still a pleasure to watch, like a non-fatal, fender-bender car accident on the side of the road. At least the 90 minute tie up was for something. Like Xanadu, it’s all about the sound track. The king of rock opera Jim S., Maria, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Iovine. My car’s tape player ate this soundtrack alive. Literally.

bdog said...

As a wee lad, I saw The Warriors, and became a Walter Hill fan, so of course I saw this. I had the soundtrack on cassette! I need to do a rewatch.
The 'How Did This Get Made' podcast on this is hysterical.
Funfact-The greenish hue is due to a huge tarp that covered the set, so they could shoot night during the day.

dre said...

"I Can Dream About You" is one of the few shitty 80s songs that's not quite shitty.

Also? Michael Pare was the hottest man ALIVE back then. Even my ten-year-old self recognized that.

Anonymous said...

Me looking at Michael Pare and thinking "Carter Dane is that you"