Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Legend of Billie Jean, Billy Ocean & Two Coreys

Okay, two things... first, Facebook! Find the Clouds in My Coffee page and become a fan! My goal is 100!

Secondly, this blog was intended to only be about the music list... however, I have found myself going everywhere--Billy Ocean, "The Legend of Billie Jean", Pat Benatar, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and more... so don't be surprised when I just trains of thought rapidly.

The Lovely Steph Leann and I were sitting at Dale's Southern Grill tonight, the one over on Hwy 280, having dinner... this is one of our favorite places to eat, with much apologies to Hurricane Rhett and his wife Lily, who seem to have miserable experiences about 84% of the time when they eat out. Lily has told me she's visited the location over on Vestavia, but I think thats the Red Headed Stepchild of the Dale's world, so I'm hoping she ventures to the other two... then again, maybe not.

Anyway, the song "When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" comes on overhead, and we're both kinda quietly singing along... leading to this exchange:

Me: She brushed by me in faded ol' jeans
The Lovely Steph Leann: Um, I think that's "painted on" jeans
Me: Whatever

It got me thinking of the artist, Billy Ocean... he's one of those now-obscure 80s artists that no one under the age of say, 24, has ever even heard of. For example, I just asked Lily, "What's your favorite Billy Ocean song?" and immediately, she answered, "Get Out of My Dreams". Then I asked the same question to my somewhat younger friend Amanda Tuck, who then replied,"I don't know who Billy Ocean is!"

There is a select group of artists that you think to yourself, "Yeah, I think I like one of their songs..." Like, Simple Minds--"Don't Forget About Me" is everyone's standard, and a much smaller minority (like myself) also enjoys, "Alive & Kicking", but beyond that, you got nothing. Maybe The Pet Shop Boys, and beyond "West End Girls" and perhaps that duet with Dusty Springfield, "What Have I Done to Deserve This", and that's it.

But Billy Ocean? You'd be surprised at how many songs by this guy you know, and probably like. I have the same issue with Pat Benatar... its like, "Yeah, I like 'Heartbreaker'... wait, she did 'We Belong', right? Yeah, I like that one too. Oh yeah, I forgot about that 'Legend of Billie Jean' song, I really like that!

SIDEBAR... When you were a kid, was there a cooler movie than "The Legend of Billie Jean"? Let's not fool ourselves--this is a pretty bad film. Helen Slater is this chick who gets in trouble in a situtation that is not her fault, and she and her brother Binx (Christian Slater, in his first movie role, and is actually NOT related to Helen Slater) go on the lam with their friend Putter (Yeardley Smith, who is the voice of Lisa Simpson) and become these heroes to millions of young people everywhere and yell "Fair is Fair!" a whole lot and... well, its crap. But its awesome crap.

The first 3 minutes of "The Legend of Billie Jean"... Its not even available on DVD, so if you ever see it come on USA or Spike or MyNetworkTV on a random Tuesday afternoon, DVR it.

Here are my favorites...

"When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going"... its featured in the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner flick "The Jewel of the Nile", and as you can see from the video, which I'm sure you will enjoy, it features Douglas, Turner and Danny DeVito as background singers...

"There'll Be Sad Songs"... when I put a song on the Clouds site, I try to listen to the whole song first to make sure its an acceptable copy. Legal? Who knows. Quality? Of course. Anyway, when the music started, and then Billy started singing, I, without even thinking, sang aloud, "Sometimes I wonder by the look in your eyes, when I'm standing beside you, there's a fever burning deep inside..." I haven't heard this song in about 15 years, until tonight.

"Carribean Queen (no more love on the run)"... it was a #1 smash in 1984, and all these years later, a song you can still hear on the radio. There are some songs that are hugely popular in their time ("Better Than You" by Lisa Keith in 1994 comes to mind) that after the initial year or two of radio play, you never hear again. Like tonight at Dale's Southern Grill, this is one you can hear over and over.

"Get Out of My Dreams (get into my car)"... Back when I was growing up in Samson, AL, not only did we have HBO and Sho-time, I had HBO and Sho-time in my room, with a tv and VCR, so I was able to record movies. I had at least 100 movies recorded, each tape holding 3 on Lengthened Play. And yes, I had "The Legend of Billie Jean" recorded. And I also had this Corey Haim/Corey Feldman classic flick, "License to Drive".

It was this silly little comedy about Les (a pre-drug, pre-life has fallen completely apart Corey Haim) failing his drivers test, but lying to his parents and sneaking out to go out with the hottest chick in school, Mercedes (Heather Graham, who's poofy hair alone is worth the price of admission). Who names their kid Mercedes? Seriously? Anyway, "...what could go wrong?"

Of course, a lot goes wrong, and Dean (a pre-drug, pre-life has fallen completely apart Corey Feldman) joins up and they have the proverbial night of their lives. Its a stupid movie. Stupid and totally re-watchable, stupid and totally enjoyable, stupid and totally fun. This is on DVD, so I recommend getting this one.

Oh, Careers of Corey & Corey, where for art thou gone to?

SIDEBAR... While we are on the subject, much is made of the joke that has become Corey Feldman. From Surreal Life to A&E's "The Two Coreys", with Corey Haim, his life has spiraled off course in so many ways. But I gotta tell ya, I was reviewing his IMDB page, and from 1981 to 1989, he had like a Murderer's Row of awesome movies...
In 1981, he was the voice of Copper in "The Fox & the Hound" for Disney, not one of their best, but still considered one of the Disney Classics. (It also featured Keith Coogan, who starred in another one of my favorite films as a kid, "Adventures in Babysitting", but that's an entirely different post) He had a misstep in 1984 with a "Friday the 13th" sequel, but bounced back that same year with "Gremlins". He did another crappy "Friday the 13th" movie, but then, hid his stride... in 1985, he became the envy of every 80s kid when he became a "Goonie", then was in the absolute classic "Stand By Me" in 1986. The next year, he did a vampire film before "Twilight" was even an overrated gleam in Stephanie Meyer's eye, that being "The Lost Boys". In 1988, he did "License to Drive", and then finished his run in 1989 with the underrated Tom Hanks comedy "The 'burbs".
Later in 1989, he also did "Dream a Little Dream" with Corey Haim, at the height of the "Switcheroo Movies" like "Big" and "18 Again" (discussed this phenomenon in my review of "17 Again" in "Jennifer Garner & the McGriddle Effect"). It was a movie not seen by many, but I still really liked it. Anyway, if you take out the two Friday the 13th movies, I dare you to find a string of movies that tops the scale on guilty pleasure and re-watchability.

Where was I?

Ah yes, the songs of Billy Ocean.

"Suddenly"... threw that on the end because its one of his classics.

"Invincible" by Pat Benatar... figured I'd put this on the playlist too. I've heard that at Benatar concerts, when she goes into this song, she says, "Here's one from the worst movie ever made". She apparently wasn't a fan of "The Legend of Billie Jean" like I was.

"Don't You (forget about me)" and "Alive & Kicking" by Simple Minds... also classics, and figured since we were on an 80s tear, I'd add them too.

And if you aren't a fan of The Ocean, or the other 80s stuff I've put up this time, though I can't imagine why, never fear. I'll change it up in a few days...


  1. "The Legend of Billie Jean"...that was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid!!! Love it!!

  2. fun post!

    I remember all of this stuff--and I would actually argue that Legend of Billie Jean is a genuinely great movie (rather than simply a nostalgic favorite--although it is that too, for a lot of people, including me!) Someday I'll have to see if I can defend that statement on my blog...



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