1980s

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standy-guys

This seems like something Tim and Eric copy the look of exactly.

 

mime babe

If you guessed this might be a still from a French 80s music video, you are both stereotyping and absolutely correct.

 

magazine-dancy

Magazine-dancy-dance

That guy is not even trying to pretend he’s playing the guitar. At one point he magically plays a synth flamenco riff by slapping the top strings.

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More stuff sitting on the ol’ hard drive.

ohcathy

just like the hemmingway story(click for a larger image)
This one reminds me of that Hemingway 6-word baby shoes story, but much, much sadder. ‘Cathy shirt, 2X, NEVER WORN.

 

heathcliff in charge

heathcliff in charge cu
It’s the background that really takes this to Spencer’s Gift-level depressing. Remember when Spencer’s Gift was more a dad-joke/gag/cheap magic trick store? Now it’s like walking into Tommy Lee’s head, or a bachelorette party underway at Egypt on the Waterfront in Jersey.

 

king of nothing
Why announce it as a title then?

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Tuff Turf

It’s taken me over 10 months to process seeing the James Spader/Robert Downey, Jr. vehicle ‘Tuff Turf’ (1985), and I’m still trying to fully comprehend what I saw. This is a genuinely strange film from surface to structure  - as if an 80s movie algorithm put a script together and no human bothered to give it a pass before filming.

Let’s start with the script:  the movie opens extraordinarily high-concept and just keeps piling it on: our protagonist is the young black sheep of a wealthy Connecticut family. Well, they were wealthy; as the movie opens the family’s living in the lower-middle class part of town with former-banker-dad now driving a taxi and mom mourning the family’s fall from yuppie grace. So within this family adjusting to a new income bracket, our protagonist rebels against his family’s former upper-class and current bourgeoisie values. Got that? MOVING ON.

Our young rebel, Steff Morgan, played by James Spader, is forced to start over at dreaded public school in their upper-lower-class town after being kicked out of all available private schools, much to his mother’s chagrin. Said school, populated by every 80s trope save skiing (I’m pretty sure someone was radboarding over their breakdancing friends in the parking lot) is ruled by the most shirtless gang this side of the Warriors.

shirtless gang

Hazing involves renouncing buttons.

Unfortunately for Morgan, he’s already on the gang’s bad side/in love with their alpha girl after interrupting their nighttime mugging kicks on his bike (adding in the 80s trope of bike shenanigans). Inquiries concerning the becrimped young lady lead to an oddball friendship with Jimmy Parker (Robert Downey Jr. still in the ‘goofy punk sidekick’ phase of his career) and his bike getting destroyed by the gang leader’s car after school.

Jimmy’s in a punk band with Jim Carroll (checking ‘punk’ and ‘band’ off the list) and invites Morgan to the show. It’s the 80s and every town has a warehouse set aside for The Punk Club, just like the other side of town has its Posh Club for Toffs on the water. Who should Morgan run into but Frankie, the crimped love of his life (her hair is a marvel unto itself- that must take HOURS every day, and constant vigilance not to get it caught in every door). At first, Frankie’s resistant to Morgan’s confident insistence they date despite her already having a gang-leader boyfriend. Only through the magic of awkwardly choreographed line dancing, a la Pat Benatar videos and ‘Footloose’, does he begin to win her over. Their dancing is interrupted by fight-dancing on the part of said boyfriend’s heavies, leading to a ‘don’t mess with my girl’ car theft. Joke’s on the gang though, as they get pulled over and the boyfriend’s arrested for car theft! Hah! Now that he’s out of the way, nothing can stand between Morgan and his crimped woman. Well, nothing save CLASS ISSUES.

At first, everyone wins everyone over after taking a tour of ‘their world’ – Morgan takes Frankie and her trashy friends to crash the Rich Kids Regatta and irk the maitre’d, Frankie takes Morgan to some weird club featuring the jazz stylings of  a lesser-Doobie Brothers, shows off dance skills likely reflecting her future employment opportunities, and everyone falls in love.

a lesser Doobie Brothers
Popular Youth Music.

JUST THEN Frankie’s boyfriend gets out of jail (I’m assuming he wasn’t charged as a minor because he’s definitely over 23) and proceeds to chainwhip Spader in a fairly brutal scene (few PG13 movies feature the nearly-nude lead getting chain-whipped by a group of shirtless dudes. Hell, few porn movies do).

so damn shirtlessPictured: not a porn movie.

But the physical brutality is nothing compared to the icy emotional rain showered down upon Frankie at the family dinner Morgan invites her to. Frankie isn’t  upper-middle class (forget the fact Morgan’s mom isn’t either, at the moment), and she never will be. Leaving distraught, the message for Frankie to stop striving for upward mobility’s reinforced by her solidly criminal boyfriend, who decides to vengeance-whomp Morgan’s taxi-driving dad in a misplaced bout of rage. Do you see? DO YOU SEE HOW QUICKLY CONVOLUTED THIS GETS?!

Morgan’s dad turns out to be surprisingly good at self-defense for someone who presumably spent decades as a soft, white-collar office drone. He takes on all three punks at once and is kicking ass, so Frankie’s boyfriend pulls out a gun AND SHOOTS HIM (more on the ridiculous escalations of violence in this film in a moment). Morgan’s family blames The Lower-Class Girl, but Morgan still cares for her (shown via requisite slo-mo love scene. Ew). Frankie’s boyfriend’s on the run and has a taste for blood now. After Frankie scotches his second attempt at adding ‘murder’ to his rap sheet, he calls Morgan and demands he meet him for a final showdown at The Warehouse (checking….warehouse…off the list). The remainder of the movie is the final, extraordinarily bloody showdown between Frankie’s lower-class thug boyfriend and Spader’s yuppie rebel doing his best ‘Straw Dogs’ impersonation. Not surprisingly, Morgan comes out on top and everyone ends up in the Doobie Bros. strip club dancing like no one’s watching (at least that’s the best explanation we canhope for that sort of flailing), but NOT before the following happens:

- James Spader holding two guns while kicking a man down the stairs

down he goes

- Pistol whippings for everyone!

- Robert Downey is revealed to be apparently Latino, shows up with large, convenient attack dogs (because he’s Latino), gets shot in leg

Attack, ye dogs!

(told you so.)

- Frankie proves willing to shoot her boyfriend; gun, alas, is empty

- Soon, they’ll make a board with a nail so big it will DESTROY THE WORLD!

- Seriously though, don’t bring a board with nails in it to an axe fight.

Now. There is already A LOT to unpack here, but let’s focus first on this movie’s wild leaps in violence. Moving from ‘win the girl’ to ‘shooting your dad’ to ‘gang fight in the abandoned warehouse with attack dogs’ – This is Morgan’s THIRD DAY OF SCHOOL, WHAT THE HELL. Also, Robert Downey Jr. was shot in the leg, and the next day (I’m presuming it’s not the same day) he’s back dancing at the club! HE’S NOT EVEN LIMPING. The strange bubble of extreme brutality this movie exists in is hinted right from the start – the second scene of the movie features Morgan watching beetles crawl the walls of his family’s new slum before popping up (shirtless, of course), guns blazing, to shoot them into blue oblivion. And yet no one comments or calls the cops after hearing shots fired, nor does his family seem to mind/care their rebellious son has two guns of his own.

 

An aside: so much teen shirtlessness. It’s an epidemic in this town. Hot pants, no shirts,  half-shirts, just vests, unitards. Is there no dress code at this school?

meets the dress codePictured: A totally acceptable school outfit.

Maybe that’s the heart of this town’s violence issues, along with poor curriculum centered around woefully out of date fictional history films teaching Gunfighters had to save The Settlers. “They brought a new code to the Old West…a code written in their blood and the blood of the men they faced!” So, getting back to the violence, the lesson Morgan learns first day at his new school from this film is ‘bad people have to die for things to get better’. And he meets his new best friend as the young man hands him a switchblade to deal with a ‘problem’ that hasn’t even happened yet. Yep, seems on par for this movie’s universe, and definitely helps explains the ending where everyone’s hanging at Club Wacky Band like Morgan DIDN’T JUST KILL FRANKIE’S BOYFRIEND IN A WAREHOUSE. But hey, the boyfriend was ‘bad’ and wouldn’t ever change; he didn’t even show signs of upward class mobility and so he had to die. It also didn’t help the guy he went up against, Morgan, also overreacts with toughness no matter the situation, leading to the aforementioned deadly nailboard/axe face-off.

 

James Spader. James Spader, the very concept of Preppie so courses through your veins, they had to make it part of your character’s background even if it went against all logic. I’m not sure I could’ve even believed him coming from a working class family. It’s no coincidence one of  his most memorable roles is jaded preppie Steff in ’16 Candles’ – he is that character, wallowing in the horror of realization money can only buy things he’s already bored with.  Given the intensity of his performance towards the end of this movie, stealthily kicking ass and Gymkata-ing the bad guys, his blood-smeared, malevolent smile brandishing that axe (again with the escalation in this film), oh, they should’ve used him in a horror movie. They should have cast  him in an 80s version of ‘American Psycho’. I suppose it would have been too soon, too on-the-nose. Still, he technically killed Robert Downey in Easton Ellis’s ‘Less Than Zero’; close enough.

psycho spader

He also killed my personal sense of dignity when in ‘Tuff Turf’ he sits down to sing his lady a ballad (checking emotions through song/dance off the list). I must admit, I didn’t actually watch this. Couldn’t actually watch this. You try watching a man who excels at projecting detached, smug superiority project raw, earnest endearment. It just doesn’t work, and I got the sense while watching even he didn’t buy it. Still, he plays along gamely, and given his solid portrayal of an overly-enthusiastic Egyptologist in ‘Stargate’ 9 years later, the fault seems to be with the singing, not the acting.

spader singsSpader Sings!

 

Given Morgan and his family were bland yuppies before all this, where the hell did he and his dad learn their superfighting skills? I’d like to see the prequel where Morgan’s older brother (beloved preppie golden boy of the family) was sacrificed to mom’s wish for a lawyer in the family; while mother and son have a disturbingly close relationship in the background, father and Morgan band together to take on their town’s bad guys, one fistfight at a time. Maybe that’s why dad lost his job and seems so mildly concerned by it in ‘Tuff Turf’; his family was run out of town by some no-good fat-cat sheriff and the rich jerks under his protection in the prequel. That movie ends on more of a ‘Chinatown’ feel, then we pick up with ‘Tuff Turf’. Which somehow must belong to the same space as ‘Breakin’ Two: Electic Boogaloo’, due to sheer quantity of half-shirts. Wait…The principal does warn Morgan away from ‘holding rock concerts on the roof’ when he gets called into the office…’Breakin’ 2′ came out a mere year before…the rich jerks from ‘Breakin’ 2′ could be the same rich jerks who screwed over Morgan’s dad’s business in the prequel! WE’RE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS HERE, PEOPLE. I’d like to see a follow-up movie as well, where Morgan and Robert Downey, Jr. go off to college, and it’s a direct cross between wacky screwball college romp and Falling Down. Those scum are gonna get a higher education….in pain. Something like that. We’ll workshop it.

 

Turns out this movie has its fans:

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Remember several months ago, when I posted about this sniveling thief bythelightofthemoon (toknittowoo on Etsy), who stole patterns from me, Bex and a number of other free pattern sites to sell on Ebay? Remember how I put up the stupid watermark so this wouldn’t happen again? Well, it turns out just because you have no morality doesn’t mean you can’t figure out Photoshop. Behold, a pattern put up AFTER the watermarking:

CLICK FOR BLATANT, ‘COPYRIGHT INFRINGING’ THIEVERY!

Here’s the link to the original FREE pattern, which I will again clarify is for personal use only, NOT FOR RIPPING OFF AND BADLY PHOTOSHOPPING INTO A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BACKGROUND. Also, for the briefest lesson in pattern copyright – the pattern is not just for the image, IT IS FOR THE PATTERN INSTRUCTION, so guess what sister, you’re still stealing even if you did make some collages. And you also just blatantly stole a bunch of my patterns and stuck your stupid name over the top.

What’s even worse, this louse has set up her own website full of stolen patterns, presumably as a hedge against the inevitable shutdown of her completely stolen Ebay store. If you’d like to contact her through her new shop, as the email she lists for the ebay store, mariella@coolers.fsbusiness.co.uk, doesn’t seem to work (or perhaps she’s just blocked my email, possibly the only intelligent thing she’s done), please feel free to click here and write away.

I am absolutely crushed by this. This is the second time, after personally contacting them to stop no less, patterns have been stolen from my site. Until I can figure out a better way to share these images with good honest folk without getting burned again, I won’t be posting any more free patterns. Sorry guys. If anyone out there slightly better at watermarking or protecting images has any suggestions, please do let me know.

Also, be sure to tell as many people as you can, internet or in person, that thanks to the generosity of a large group of vintage pattern lovers, so many wonderful patterns are available absolutely free on a variety of sites. In fact, there are several sites out there that exist just to aggregate free patterns. Some have ads and probably derive revenue from clicks, but they at least link people back to the original and don’t try and sell them hogwash. It just boils my potatoes to think not only is someone making a profit off of stolen goods, but someone on the other end of the transaction is getting bilked out of their hard-earned money. Or if they’re a kept man or woman, someone else’s hard-earned money. And this person has already had over 14,000 sales. Times the ridiculous $5.00 for a PDF, that’s quite the stolen income, and until I can figure out a better way, I’m not helping them make another dime.

Again, that thief’s name is:

Mariella Shearer
24A Silver Street
Dursley
Gloucestershire
GL11 4ND
sims@coolers.fsbusiness.co.uk

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