Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “The Lost Boys.”
The Movie: “The Lost Boys”
Starring: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest
Director: Joel Schumacher
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 74 percent
Brown: Welp, I think we know who to blame for the “Twilight” series now. Stupid, sexy vampires.
A week after watching perhaps the ‘90s most iconic movie in “Pulp Fiction,” I wanted to revisit a movie from the young days of the Brown household.
Much like when we reviewed “Dirty Dancing,” I went with “The Lost Boys” this week because of how much I remember it being on in the background thanks to my sister.
One of these days, I need to pick a movie my brother loved. We did “Big Trouble in Little China” thanks to him. What else did he watch a lot? I remember he liked “Kids” … … You know what, forget that idea.
It’s been years since I saw anything involving “The Lost Boys.” All I remembered was the commandment chanting from the song “Cry Little Sister,” the faces when they turn into vampires and the climax of the movie.
While I grease myself up for my saxophone solo, give me your “Lost Boys” thoughts, Froemming.
Froemming: Well, this movie was a little terrifying to me as a kid when it came out in 1987, when I was 6 years old. Sure, the vampires with the hair metal mullets were terrifying enough on their own, but in my hometown of St. Cloud, Minn., some punk saw this movie, was inspired, and he and his crew proceeded to murder a homeless man and drink his blood. We called it the Vampire Killings, and yeah, another piece of the puzzle that is me has been handed to you, Brown.
As to the movie itself? I know I will anger a lot of my friends with this statement: This is one of the dumbest (REDACTED) movies I have ever sat through. From our protagonist, Michael, being the most useless character in cinematic history (what does he even do in this movie besides being Jami Gertz’s #MeToo moment and sleeping), to our antagonists looking like roadies for Poison, to the god awful cover of “People are Strange” by Echo & the (REDACTED) Bunnymen, this movie filled me with the rage of a million fiery suns.
Brown, as I confuse wine for, you know, blood somehow, why don’t you kick this off.
Brown: Well first, we get treated to this song that creeped me out as a kid. Nowadays, not quite a banger but not a bad listen.
Second, and this was infinitely distracting, was seeing that Alex Winter, aka William S. Preston, esq, is in this movie. Is this how Wyld Stallyns became so big, because Bill became the head vampire or something? Dude’s ultra-curly hair doesn’t quite fit the Winger roadie motif the rest of the group had. But I digress.
We get an opening where some random teens are getting abducted by something in the sky. And as I’m sure you did, Froemming, I watched this on Amazon and happened to see on X-Ray that the characters were called “Surf Nazis.”
Wait, what? That’s a conundrum, movie. If the vampires are riding Santa Clara of Nazis, then I agree with their blood lust. But if we’re calling teenagers with bad hair “Surf Nazis” because Joel Schumacher’s an idiot, that’s just irresponsible. I need more context, movie. Does Santa Clara have a vampire problem or a Nazi problem?
An aside: “Surf Nazis” sound like a JOE-DOWN movie.
Froemming: It also calls the people they bring Michael to feed off of later in the movie “Surf Nazis,” so this was not a mistake on Amazon’s part.
So we see a family moving to Portland, Ore.
Where the punk scene, the metal scene and the family carnival scene all blend together in some way that still makes little sense to me. Also, this is a pretty white town, Santa Clara is somehow more white than my new home, North Dakota.
It is also the murder capital of the world. If that is the case, why do parents just let their kids wander around town at all hours of the night?
Lucy, Sam and Michael are moving to Lucy’s dad’s place and honestly, I wished this movie was about the grandpa because he was the most interesting character in this whole thing.
Brown: I’d love a movie about the grandpa. He’s basically Doc Brown if Doc got into taxidermy instead of time travel. So, I guess nothing like Doc Brown.
Lucy and the family move because she’s recently divorced. And instead of being a compassionate son, Sam is all “Uggg… we moved from Phoenix to this?”
Really, dude? I just went to Phoenix last month. California is an upgrade. Weather isn’t 100 degrees every day in the summer. You have ocean. And, you’re not in a city that has a million people yet feels as empty as a town in “The Walking Dead.”
And then there’s Michael. And I need your insight on this, Froemming: What was everyone’s obsession with Jim Morrison in the ‘80s-’90s? Michael looks like a poor version of him. We see later in the vampire cave a big photo of him. Hell, even my brother had a big Jim Morrison poster in his room growing up. Why did everyone love the frontman of Worthington, Minnesota’s favorite band (according to our mutual friend Aaron)?
Froemming: Because people are stupid, that’s why. Look, The Doors have some decent songs, but Morrison was somehow a worse poet than Bob Dylan, and I never understood the fascination with him.
And Michael tries to emulate Morrison’s mannerisms here, almost to the point that I was like “He’s just as bad as Val Kilmer at this.” Again, Michael is useless in this movie. He stares at Star like Ted Bundy eyeing his next victim. He tries to be tough in front of David (Sutherland), and it is laughable. He is not much of an older brother. He sleeps through everything. WHY IS HE EVEN IN THE (REDACTED) MOVIE?
So they are now in Sunny California, and they hit the never-ending carnival that is going on in town. Michael stares at this woman, Star, like a serial killer. And Sam meets the Frog brothers, thus introducing the world to the 1980s powerhouse that was The Coreys™. Yes, this was the first movie to have both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman in it, and the magic would last another two years or so with straight-to-video classics.
Brown: I did laugh briefly when Michael told Star that he had hippie parents and was almost named Moonchild. I laughed because hippies are sub-human.
So I feel like I could spend the entire review talking about what the hell goes on at the Santa Clara boardwalk. There is a fully-formed comic book store and Sam thinks he’s going to find an ultra-rare comic sitting in some store that is unprotected from the elements.
There is a concert going on where the world’s most jacked saxophone player is just playing away, being a fire hazard with the overwhelming amount of baby oil he’s wearing. Speaking of fire, I think the Santa Clara city council cheated the city by seemingly removing the lights in lieu of flaming barrels like it’s the (REDACTED) first level of “Donkey Kong.” Hey city, you’re already the “Murder Capital of the World,” why make it worse by making your city look like every pod of homeless people Rocky runs by in Philadelphia in every “Rocky” movie?
Froemming: This movie showed me Schumacher can make dark, gritty movies. Hell, I looked into this and he demanded it be more adult than the original script had in mind. So how did he (REDACTED) up Batman?
Also, I want a whole movie on saxophone guy. Apparently he was Tina Turner’s sax guy and did pushups and curls in between takes so he was jacked when the camera was rolling.
Anyway, Sam wants some Batman comic but the Frog brothers want him to read some vampire title instead, despite his constantly stating he doesn’t care for that genre. No wonder print media is dying.
Brown: So when you heard Corey Feldman say he and his brother are the Frog Brothers, did you react like Frank Reynolds to finding out they’re the frog kids?
Froemming: I felt the Frog brothers also had donkey brains.
Michael decides to talk to Star and ends up in some crazy motorcycle race with David. Also, nice tidbit, the name “Michael” is said more than 100 times in this 90 minute movie. No wonder that name angers me so much now.
It seems like David and Michael, racing at top-speed to woo Star, who later would be so rude as to deny Elaine a square to spare in a NYC bathroom, are about to fly off a cliff, thus making this the perfect ending to a flawed film I have ever seen. But, alas, they survive and I had to sit through the rest of this mess.
Brown: Yeah, I thought David and co. would drive off the cliff and reveal “LOL, vampires.” Instead, we got this weird initiation scene which felt like it was shot the same way the orgy scene from “Zoolander” was shot. I legit asked twice in my notes if Kiefer Sutherland was seducing Michael.
Froemming: I actually liked the idea that he was seducing Michael. Makes for a more interesting take on vampire movies, and it should have gone further. But this movie sucks, so it remains ambiguous.
So they are all eating Chinese food that turns into maggots and worms, because that’s how vampires roll I guess. And to all the people I know who ragged on “Twilight” for not being as edgy as “Lost Boys,” let me clue you in on something: Both sets of vampires suck. One is not better than the other, they all are equally garbage.
Brown: Hey man, you’re to blame for us watching “Twilight” in the first place!
Froemming: Watch it, or we are heading back to Forks, Wash. soon.
Now, during all this, Michael is given a bottle of what looks like wine. But because Michael is an idiot who must also be “taste blind” he drinks what turns out to be David’s blood.
Now, I am not a wine expert. I have had it and enjoyed it here and there. I am also no blood expert, though I have knocked teeth out and know what it tastes like and the texture is.
Blood and wine are nothing alike. How the hell did Michael not know the difference. This was the 1980s, soda commercials did blind taste tests all the time. People knew the difference between things like Coke and Pepsi, but we are to believe blood and wine are one and the same?
Brown: Like April Ludgate, I think all wine tastes the same. That is to say, not blood.
Also, why is David keeping a bottle of his own blood around like he’s a (REDACTED) Jolie child? And this is the first time I’ve heard of someone becoming a vampire via drinking vampire blood.
Regardless, the initiation continues as the group of vampire hoodlums go to a train bridge and hang from the bottom. All of them start letting go and falling into a seeming abyss. Michael loses his grip and falls into the fog and… … lands in his bed?
OK, sure. Getting blood drunk is apparently as potent as an all-syrup Squishie bender.
Now, he’s waking up late in the day and wearing sunglasses indoors. And apparently that’s the sign of a vampire. No, that’s a sign of alcoholism, movie.
Who cares, though? We have to go from the useless kid to the annoying one as Sam keeps getting these vampire comics like the Frogs are trying to regift a bread maker like Will Farrell in “Old School.”
Froemming: So we end up with Sam taking a bath and Michael realizing he is not normal, and wants to murder his brother. Good thing their trusty dog is there to attack Michael. I had hoped the dog would have murdered Michael, which would have been an OK ending to a flawed film, but Michael survives and is bleeding from a dog wound.
Vampires are undead right? Why is he bleeding? Why do vampires bleed?
I hated this movie so, so much.
Brown: With that said, Nanook is the MVP of this movie. And it’s not even close.
Froemming: Michael somehow convinces Sam to not, you know, freak the (REDACTED) out at the idea that he is now a vampire. According to Sam, because Michael hasn’t killed yet, he is a half-vampire like Blade or something. Where did Sam get this information? I have no idea, first I ever heard of this line of logic.
Brown: You’re right. Michael has half a reflection, so he is looking like Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future.” Does that mean Marty McFly was a half-vampire?
So when a late teen has a lust for blood and a random ability to fly, what is he to do?
Why, go back to the gross underground hotel/vampire lair and have unprotected sex with Star! Because nothing makes a person hotter than (I assume) the smell of bat guano and the sight of Jim Morrison’s dead eyes watching.
Also, not that it matters in this instance because Michael and Star are both apparently half-vampires, but would having sex with a vampire result in one becoming a vampire via this whole swapping fluids mess? Is this movie an allegory for HIV/AIDS? If so, that’s really irresponsible of Schumacher.
Well, it’s a Schumacher movie, so I need to take the nihilist approach.
Froemming: What does their vampire love making accomplish? Exactly what Reagan accomplished with the AIDS crisis: Nothing.
But hey, their mom is dating Max, a nerdy guy who owns the video store she works at. And we have the worst dinner date ever when Sam is convinced Max is the head vampire. He invites the Frog brothers, so that’s awkward. He offers Max parmesan cheese, but it is nothing but grated garlic. He then throws a glass of water on the guy.
Brown: OK, who mistakes minced garlic for parmesan cheese? Garlic is (REDACTED) overbearing to smell and dude just douses his spaghetti with it. You would think for a kid like Sam, who dresses the same way as Eleven did in season 3 of “Stranger Things” would be as smart as Eleven. Instead, he’s hanging out with frog kids.
Also, question about Corey Feldman: What (REDACTED) accent is he going for? I think he listened to a Megadeth album and thought “That Dave Mustaine guy, I’ll talk like he sings.” Kid has a deep smoker’s voice which… isn’t a surprise for Corey Feldman. Also, the Frogs seem like the kind of kids who would let people pay to party with them, which is on brand for Feldman.
Sorry, Corey Feldman. Don’t sue.
Moving on, Max passes the vampire test so the kids are back at square one to finding the head vampire. So, they get hungover-ass Michael to drive them to the vampire lair by stealing their grandpa’s car. They see Star and a young half-vampire named Laddie sleeping, so Michael takes them to the car in hopes of saving them before they go full vampire.
And the Frogs find Kiefer and co. sleeping upside down because subtlety is now out the window for this movie. The first vampire they kill: Bill S. Preston, esq. Hopefully God gave Rock n’ Roll to this young lad before he took a stake to the heart.
Froemming: RIP Bill S. Preston, esq.
But this awakens the other vampires, and David gives these kids chase. Now, I am not a scientist, but the sun literally burns through David’s skin as he is reaching for Sam’s pant leg. I mean, isn’t the moonlight also made of the same stuff as sunlight in a sense?
Brown: Yeah, the moon in the sky is the sun’s rays hitting the moon.
Froemming: So no matter what the situation, these vampires should just be dead if they are outside for any reason.
(REDACTED) you, vampire lore.
Brown: What would happen with artificial sunlight? If that worked, I’d be carrying around a happy lamp like Ilana in “Broad City.”
Froemming: Worst case of SAD ever.
Well, now they have upset the nest of roadies who happen to also be vampires, Sam, Michael and the Frog brothers realize they may have made a huge mistake.
So, Sam and the crew go full-on “Home Alone” with their house to kill any intruders. And much like the Rube Goldberg gimcracks of the John Hughes classic, these traps should kill intruders dead.
Did Kevin McCalister watch this movie and get inspired?
Brown: I have never seen so much garlic in one place ever. Like, Sam’s Club doesn’t sell that many garlic cloves. And yet, they’re filling a bathtub with one part water and 20 parts garlic. That house will never smell the same again.
Froemming: If I were the grandpa, I would be pissed my house not only smells of animals that have been stuffed, but garlic too.
Brown: Sam and Michael were right at the beginning: That house is a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” hellscape.
They’re prepared for a fight with the vampires. Except, Sam left Nanook, our hero of the (REDACTED) movie, outside like an asshole. So he and Michael run outside to free our good boy and that gives the vampires the opening they need to be hokey horror movie villains.
Horror movie villains that are thwarted by holy water squirt guns. (Facepalm)
Like how he attacked Michael earlier, Nanook saves the Frogs by knocking a vampire into the tub of garlic (which is apparently useless) and holy water (graphically effective).
I will give this movie credit in that when it uses gore, it uses it effectively.
Froemming: And Michael’s contribution…
Michael is literally SLEEPING when the house gets attacked by roadies for Warrant. Was he like Bran in “Game of Thrones,” using some BS “warg” power, when everyone knows he is napping at the wrong time?
Well, he wakes his candy-ass up, and now has to face David, who keeps saying “Michael” in this movie like it is a new word he has discovered and wants to show off to his buddies.
And they fight, all right, and Michael impales David on deer antlers or something, which are just as effective as wooden stakes.
Earlier, David said they cannot die. Yet, this movie makes killing vampires pretty damn easy. Pierce their hearts, bathtub water, whatever. Say what you will about “Twilight,” but at least I saw some impressive baseball from those vampires. These? They kinda fly I guess and hang off train tracks.
Brown: I will say for Kiefer and the rest of this cast (save for Michael): They give their all. I’m not questioning whether they’re trying or not like I do constantly with “Twilight.” Kiefer really doesn’t have many lines in this movie but he makes everything he does matter.
With that said, yeah, this movie plays fast and loose with vampire lore.
So while there’s three dead bodies in the house, a half-vampire boy turning and a water pipe system that has gone full “Shining” on the house, Lucy and Max return to see a house in shambles.
And here it’s revealed that Max is indeed the head vampire and was hoping to have the Emerson family join his “family” like, as Corey Feldman puts it, “a blood-sucking Brady bunch.”
Apparently, because Michael invited Max into the home during Sam and the Frogs’ plan earlier, he was immune to all the vampire stuff before.
… What kind of (REDACTED) is that? Note to everyone out there: Good manners get you killed. Be a bully like you’re a Trump and you’ll escape the vampire apocalypse.
Froemming: Max is the worst villain in a horror movie. Nobody is scared of a lnky loser with glasses. Even when he turns, he is laughably not frightening. And like any bad guy at the end of a level in a video game, Max is slightly more difficult to defeat. Good thing grandpa just drives his *checks notes* car with a crap-ton of wooden spikes on the front to impale Max.
Brown: We see him earlier putting wooden stakes in the ground like they’re a fence or something. So he knocked over the fence and they moved enough to impale Max? There’s a lot of (REDACTED) in this movie but this part was probably the most insulting.
Grandpa does drive what essentially is the “Beverly Hillbillies” automobile that happens to have “La Cucaracha” as the horn tone because racism?
Froemming: Turns out grandpa knows all about the town’s vampires. Would have been nice if he said something about that at the start, so his house wouldn’t be, you know, completely totaled by the big fight here at the end.
Brown: Or, you know, put his daughter and grandkids in danger?
Froemming: Let’s also point out the kids put their grandfather outside, in a town with vampires, so they could be safe inside from them. Like, that is some cold (REDACTED) there.
Brown: Hell, why does Grandpa drive through his own house in the first place? I fear the man has dementia.
Woof. Let’s take a sip from a strange bottle and go to recommendations.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: This movie is all sorts of dumb. But to its credit, it’s entertaining. So yeah, watch it.
Froemming: This movie is garbage. I say avoid it.
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