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Friday Film Fest: Bill Paxton

Clyde the bartender (Bill Paxton) fills Tom in on what happened at the Ellen Aim concert

Clyde the bartender (Bill Paxton) fills Tom in on what happened at the Ellen Aim concert

Streets of Fire- 1984

Chances are if I didn't have cable, I probably would never have recorded this movie, but when you had cable in the '80's you pretty much set your VCR up to record everything.

And while it was a box office flop it has become a cult classic.

Hometown girl Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) has come to do a benefit concert and while in the middle of her performance, she's kidnapped by The Bomber's leader Raven (Willem Dafoe) and held in a rough section of town at his hangout, Torchie's.

Ellen's friend, Reva (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) sends her brother Tom (Michael Pare') a telegram requesting him to come home since she needs his help.

When he gets to her diner, local greasers The Roadmasters (led by Paul Mones) come in looking for trouble since everyone in Richmond is on edge following Ellen's abduction. Although Tom's outnumbered by the hoods, he manages to fight them off and while they lay unconscious in the diner, he takes their car and heads over to the bar.

After finding a seat, his friend Clyde (Bill Paxton) takes his drink order and starts telling him about what happened at the concert. He conveniently leaves out the fact that during the chaos, he ran onstage and was assaulted by one of the Bombers.

Sitting next to Tom is McCoy (Amy Madigan) who tells Clyde that she wants another drink and the two of them get into an argument, where she decks him and while he's on the floor, she hops behind the bar and gets a shot for her and Tom.

When Tom gets ready to leave, she asks if she can crash at his place, but he tells her no. She tells him she's just looking for a place to sleep and he tells her that she can sleep on Reva's couch. He wakes up Reva and tells her that he'll meet with Ellen's manager/boyfriend Billy Fish (Rick Moranis) in the morning.

At the diner, Tom agrees to get Ellen for ten thousand dollars and McCoy wheedles her way into the deal. Tom tells her that he'll give her one percent and they take Fish along since he knows where the Bombers are more than likely hanging out at.

Even though Fish moans about having to go back to his roots, he goes with them and when Tom gets up on the roof of a neighboring building, he sees Ellen tied up.

McCoy goes inside and flirts with one of the bombers and finds out where Raven is and busts in on his card game. Fish drives the car away and Tom busts into the room where Ellen is.

Once they get her out of the building, Tom has McCoy drive to an underpass and wait for him.

With as much chaos as at Ellen's concert, Tom takes aim at the bikers outside the club and eventually meets Raven before he steals a motorcycle and heads off to find the trio.

They ditch the car and while walking, Baby Doll (Elizabeth Daly) spots Ellen and joins up with them. Fish tries to get rid of her and she tells Ellen that she's her biggest fan. She also tells the group that the police are looking for them.

Tom stops a bus, and they pile on, which is the transportation for the music act, The Sorels. After they find out who they are, they tell them that the police are looking for them and are stopped at a roadblock, where one of the cops, Harry (Peter Jason) takes a bribe from Fish, but Tom has other plans for the cops.

Later in Ellen's hotel room, Tom goes to get the money, but only takes what's owed to McCoy and Ellen chases after him.

Tom has been warned by police officer Ed Price (Richard Lawson) to get out of town because Raven is after him and Raven said that he's only going to bring two of his club members. Raven tells Ed that he wants Ellen and will be happy if he can get at Tom.

With the help of McCoy, Tom gets Ellen out of town and faces Raven where the two fight with sledgehammers, as the Bombers and Richmond residents are in a standoff with their guns pointed at one another.

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While Ellen hopes for a reconciliation with Tom, both know that it won't work, and he leaves her to perform as McCoy drives up in her "new" car.

Billed as a rock and roll fable (in another place and time) everything about this movie is great and works well. The vibe of the movie is great, plus it has a soundtrack that's still popular today with Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream About You."


When asked to leave their house, Marc (Jonathan Penner) is held at knife point by stranger Zach Cody

When asked to leave their house, Marc (Jonathan Penner) is held at knife point by stranger Zach Cody

On a dark and stormy night, Paulie (Annabeth Gish) runs into her house after picking one measly tomato. She had hoped to make salsa, but in a few weeks, she won't be having that tomato shortage.

As she and her roommates wait for Pete (Ron Eldard) to bring over their dinner guest, the others Jude (Cameron Diaz), Marc (Jonathan Penner) and Luke (Courtney B.Vance) hope that Pete's guest will spur some good conversation during dinner.

Pete comes in while Zachary Cody stands at the door.

When asked where his date is, Pete tells them that his car broke down and Zach happened to drive by. He tries to give him some money, but he refuses and Marc invites him for dinner. Zach doesn't feel like imposing, but they reassure him that they've already set an extra plate for dinner and he might as well enjoy a homecooked meal.

After accepting the invitation, the roommates try to get to know Zach and they tell him that every Sunday night, each one invites a friend over for dinner for a discussion regarding current events or whatever the guest wants to talk about.

Zach doesn't like the roommates and he doesn't like being in a room full of liberals, since none of them have defended the country. He specifically doesn't like Luke (and vice versa) as the two of them stare one another down.

As Zach becomes more obnoxious, they ask him to leave and he accuses them of making fun of him. They think his view of them is funny and while there are muffled comments made about him, they didn't expect him to take a knife to Marc's throat and threaten Paulie with rape.

After getting away from him, Marc steps away and Pete pulls a knife on Zach. Pete thinks he's doing himself justice for the group until Zach manages to break his arm. With Zach distracted, Marc stabs him in the back while Pete withers around on the floor in pain.

Following the initial shock of the murder, Luke comes up with a calm plan and the others go along with it.

The next day, Luke and Marc are at a coffeeshop going through local and national newspapers for any information regarding Zach (as to if anyone has reported him missing). A customer (Matt Cooper) bumps into another customer (Amber Taylor) and knocks everything she has to the floor. He makes a snide remark to Marc and Luke and continues on his way.

As a painter, Marc is interested in time travel and asks a hypothetical question about murder. Having cited the incident at the coffeeshop and discussing the topic all night, they decide to rid the world of evil by inviting people over for dinner where they will poison them if they can't change the guests mind.

Jude invites Rev. Gerald Hutchens (Charles Durning) over first and they discover that he has no compassion for AIDS victims and he's also the founder of a religious organization, God's Way. Since he can't prove why he should be murdered, he becomes their first victim.

They bury his body next to the mound of Zach and plant more tomato plants, since the plants are thriving on Zach's mound.

After each guest (and burial) they begin to overload on tomatoes and their personalities begin to change. Those who were against it at first now seem empowered and those who were against it slowly begin to crack.

Meanwhile, Pete is called into an interview with Sheriff Alice Stanley (Nora Dunn) who's looking into the disappearance of local girl Jenny Tyler (Elizabeth Moss). She shows Pete pictures of some men and Zach's is one of them. He lies and tells her that he's never seen him, but trips himself up.

She later goes over to the house where one of the "guests" an illiterate Liberian (Pamela Gien) struggled and Jude ended up stabbing her. Sheriff Stanley asks Marc, Pete and Paulie what the commotion is and they brush her off.

Later she returns to the house and overhears Jude and Luke in the garden and when they head into the house to continue their argument, she climbs the fence and. has an encounter with Luke.

Pete and Luke are planning on leaving for break and when they get to the airport, their plane is delayed due to bad weather.

They notice political pundit Norman Arbuthnot (Ron Pearlman) also waiting for the weather to clear and they invite him over for dinner, since he's looking for a good meal.

Victims who dine at the students' house include Mark Harmon, Rachel Chagall, Warren Hutcherson, Nicholas Sadler, Amy Hill, and Bryn Erin as Heather.

With all of the strife in today's world, it's strange that this movie seems to have predicted everything that we're going through. Also, if you are offended by language, then you should skip this movie, but everyone does a great job and its definitely loaded with tension.



Bill tries to tell Jo (Helen Hunt) that she has to let go of the past

Bill tries to tell Jo (Helen Hunt) that she has to let go of the past

Twister- 1996

Hardheaded soon to be divorced storm chasers Jo (Helen Hunt) and Bill have one thing left to do before their divorce becomes final. She needs to sign one piece of paper, but that's going to take longer than expected.

Bill, is preparing to become a television weatherman and has tracked Jo down in the field, where she hopes to get his design for an early warning tornado device into a twister. Her motley crew thinks that he's coming back to chase storms, but he lets it slip that he's going to marry Melissa (Jamie Gertz) a reproductive therapist.

Jo finds out his upcoming marriage and meets Melissa just as they get notification of a storm.

They pack everything up and head off to the location and are soon followed by professional storm chaser Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) and his team. With a corporate sponsorship, Jonas has also developed an early warning device but Bill knows that he's only in it for the money.

After an unsuccessful attempt, Bill talks Melissa into joining them and they spend much of the day chasing dreams for the device.

With Jo's crew hungry, they talk her into going to her Aunt Meg's (Lois Smith) for some food. Bill and Jo take a shower after the unsuccessful attempt of the first tornado and while eating, the crew trade stories about Bill and Jo which makes Melissa uncomfortable.

Before they leave to chase another tornado, Meg tells Jo that she should follow her heart since she can tell that both of them still have feelings for one another. Jo ignores her advice.

Later in the day, after nearly getting the device in the air, Bill and Jo are arguing on the road when he slips and tells her how he feels about her and that she can't continue chasing storms, even though she can't bring back her late father, who was killed by a tornado.

Melissa overhears the argument and pretends that she didn't.

Without having much success during the day, they go to a motel next to a drive-in and await the next twister. Before they know it, there's one literally on top of them and they save everyone by seeking shelter in an auto shop.

Having had enough of this lifestyle, Melissa tells Bill that she's going home and he tells her that he'll come with her. She tells him it's not necessary and that Jo needs him. He then tells her that once they get DOROTHY up in the air, he'll be back, but she breaks up with him and confesses that she isn't sad about it.

Once Melissa gets ready to leave, they get a report that the town in which Meg lives in was hit by a twister and she tells Bill to go and save the world.

Bill leaves with Jo and her crew and when they get to town, it's been leveled, and they head over to Meg's house. Meg's trapped in the house and agrees to go to the hospital, but finds out that her car is in a tree a few blocks away.

She tells Jo that they didn't have adequate warning and Jo figures out what the problem is and as they hear of an F-5 tornado, they reassemble the "wings" of the device and once daybreak hits, they see the tornado.

They're able to get it up in the air, but with Jonas' ignorance, he doesn't listen to Jo and winds up dead.

Not wanting to find themselves in the same predicament as Jonas, they seek shelter and in true disaster fashion, they save the day and are able to gain valuable information regarding twisters.

This is pretty much the granddaddy of all tornado movies since the lead character has a parent who was blown away at the beginning of the movie and they've made a vow to get inside a twister and figure it out.

But if you live in a tornado prone area, well, you don't want to be reminded of them and that's why I don't live in the tornado belt.

Give me an earthquake any day.

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