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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monkey in Me
This movie is like all those old movies where the performing kids save the day (you remember...."we've got the barn...gran can make the costumes...we'll put on a show!!"). I LOVE this movie! I scrounged around until I found a copy of it back in the 80's (which wasn't easy to do). The movie is humorous, but the music is great! I especially love "I Want to Live in House"...
Published on August 4, 2004 by Meerkat

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2 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fascinatingly Awful...
I saw this film in my teens and couldn't believe just how bad it was. Now in my 40's, it's a stunner of a bad film that belongs right up there with the Golan-Globus musical disaster "The Apple". Every musical number is jaw-dropping bad. This film is a product of the 80's and should have remained there.
Published on December 13, 2006 by R. Rivera


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monkey in Me, August 4, 2004
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This review is from: Starstruck [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This movie is like all those old movies where the performing kids save the day (you remember...."we've got the barn...gran can make the costumes...we'll put on a show!!"). I LOVE this movie! I scrounged around until I found a copy of it back in the 80's (which wasn't easy to do). The movie is humorous, but the music is great! I especially love "I Want to Live in House" done by Angus and the Wombats, not to mention the song from crashing the Sydney Opera House "Monkey in Me". If you like irreverent humor and 80s semi-punk music as well, this movie is for you. The soundtrack for this movie (although hard to find) is also well worth the price if you can find it as well.

Update 12/31/05: I am thrilled this movie has been re-released with a two disc special edition. It is still a favorite even after all these years. Now, I can stop wearing out the VHS tape I have. However, like other reviewers, I want to know...where is the CD soundtrack?! My album is just about worn out. Bring on the CD!!

09/30/06: STILL waiting for the soundtrack to be released on CD. Who do we have to petition/cajole/threaten to get the soundtrack released on CD?
:-)

04/26/08: Seriously... is there any chance that I will be able to purchase this soundtrack on CD or as an MP3 before I'm eligible for Social Security? (still waiting......) :-)

07/08/09 tap-tap....is this thing on? ...haven't gone away. There simply MUST be a soundtrack released.

12/21/10: Just checking in on my more or less annual rant. What do we want? Starstruck soundtrack on CD or MP3! When do we want it? NOW!

08/13/12: Come on iTunes!! Surely someone can acquire the rights to this soundtrack and make it available to people like me who are still in love with "Starstruck" after all these years.

08/11/2014: I still want a better copy of the soundtrack. What's a girl gotta do to get a quality copy of the Starstruck soundtrack? :)

01/03/2015: My annual viewing of the crashing of the Sydney Opera House reminds me that the soundtrack is missing one of my favorite songs from the film, Surfside Tango (Angus' attempt to make the world dance). Since the soundtrack is not likely to be released on iTunes anytime soon - or anytime at all, I am doing the next best thing...I'm going to Sydney to visit filming locations of one of my favorite films. I wonder if Angus and The Wombats could arrange a performance of "I Want to Live in a House" for me? :)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good re-issue version - this is the one to get, September 7, 2005
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This review is from: Starstruck (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
This movie was finally re-released (summer of 2005) on a new two-disc DVD collection with the "extras" it deserves -- interviews with the producer, director, screenwriter; an audio commentary track; and deleted and extended scenes. More importantly, the sound and picture quality on this DVD release are light years ahead of the previous releases that were in the US (both of which I've previously purchased but gave up watching half-way through because the quality was so horrible). In short, the picture looks great, and the sound does the music justice. If you're a fan of Australian cinema in general...or movie musicals...or just want to see an Australian take on movie musicals in (roughly) the same era that the US was putting out "Grease" -- this is definitely worth seeing.

Also, if you're a fan of the movie or of director Gillian Armstrong, you'll enjoy the interviews. Gillian Armstrong talks somewhat wistfully about how she rejected two other "unknown" bands to do the soundtrack (INXS and Men at Work), both of whom went on to be huge hits in America about 6 months after the movie opened to modest business in the US. As she notes in her interview, this movie probably never really caught on with the teen audience in the US because "they don't go to foreign movies" and "at the time they couldn't imagine that there was any new wave music in Australia."

The audio commentary from the producer is an interesting insight on the movie-making business; he spends a lot of his time explaining what it took to get a movie made in Australia at the time (e.g., fund-raising from investors was driven by a mix of government funding and favorable tax laws for investors), and how it affected the creative process. Very different from most of the audio commentary tracks on the other movies.

All in all, a lot of fun.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starstruck has "that certain something extra!", February 28, 2007
By 
Kenton Larsen (Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starstruck (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Starstruck is one of the great forgotten flicks of the 80s.

Its name should be uttered with quiet reverence in the same breath as Valley Girl, Sixteen Candles, and the Breakfast Club, but - sadly - namedrop the film in North America, and you're likely to get a resounding "Huh?," even among 80s aficionados.

I've probably watched my old, decrepit VHS of this movie about 100 times over the last 20 years, and the thing that's always brought me back for more is how the sincerity and quirkiness of the family scenes plays against the spirited and energetic new wave musical numbers - sure, they're amateurish by today's standards, but the complete conviction and enthusiasm with which they're executed is a giddy (not guilty!) pleasure.

The song highlights here are many, but my personal favorites are "Body and Soul," the Split Enz song from the band's best CD, Frenzy, and the irrepressible "I Want to Live in a House," which lays bare the link between punk rebellion and nerdy frustration; Ross O'Donovan and his merry band of misfits "oi, oi, oi" their way through a sarcastic and convincing rave up with more nervous energy than an early Elvis Costello video; if you don't have goosebumps by the key change, or you don't immediatlely watch it again, congratulations: you're clinically dead.

The DVD is a huge improvement on the VHS edition. It's great to finally see the film in all its widescreen glory with much-improved sound and picture quality. I was a bit worried that part of the film's charm lay in the nostalgia of watching it on washed-out videotape, but that's definitely not the case. The greatest sin of the VHS edition, as it turns out, was that it obsured the fantastic production design. I must've paused the DVD 15 or 20 times last night to take a closer look at the background. Bravo!

The extras are interesting, but -- where are the interviews with Jo Kennedy and Ross O'Donovan? It's impossible to watch this film without wanting to find out more about both of them. As Gillian Armstrong notes in the extras, O'Donovan was 17 when he made the film (playing a 14 year old), which would make him 41 today. How does he feel about the film and his performance today? An expanded edition, please.

The discussion with screenwriter Stephen MacLean is interesting, in that he doesn't seem to like the film very much; ahh, the classic grouchy screenwriter who wanted to direct his own work! He cultivates the image, as he's interviewed on the beach getting a leg massage.

Interestingly, MacLean says that he thinks O'Donovan's performance is weak(!), and he wishes he could've chosen the songs himself. He also recalls a time he saw the film in a theatre and found himself sitting next to a six-year-old girl, who attempts to explain what's going on to her two-year-old sister. Good stuff.

All the interviewees say the film did better in the U.S. than Australia, which is hard to believe. However, I do recall Siskel and Ebert giving Starstruck two thumbs up, so that might've done the trick (hey, it worked for My Dinner with Andre).

The deleted scenes aren't so great; they're mostly extended scenes, and by "extended" I'm using the term liberally -- they're about five seconds longer than the originals.

I join the (building?) chorus of fans demanding a CD of the music; and, while we're at it, why don't we also demand the DVD release of Modern Girls, the other great forgotten 80s flick (notable for featuring Depeche Mode's should-have-been-a-hit But Not Tonight)?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal feel good movie. Where is the Soundtrack???, March 4, 2006
This review is from: Starstruck (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
This is a great movie for those days when you need a pick me up. The acting is over the top but in this case and movie it works as they come off as larger then life. The scenes in the movie and the set design are surreal and over the top, so the actors made their characters larger then life and surreal and this is a very good thing as it allows the whole film to blend. The world this movie takes place in and the type of people it has living in it do not actually exist, but those of us that love this movie sure wish they did. The music choice could not have been better for this film.

If you listen to the commentary during the movie you will hear the director lammenting about how INXS was one of the bands possible for the movie and they instead went with the Swingers, with the future leads of Crowded House and Phil Judd. Thank god they went with the Swingers, their music style matches the entire rest of the movie to a tee. Had INXS been the band they used the whole movies feel would have suffered. The music in this is one of the major keys to its success and I find it funny that the director has missed this point. She should be thankful they went with the Swingers, otherwise this movie would be long forgotten. Phil Judd is a extremely quirky guy, and his screen persona matched this surreal movie very well along with his phenomenal mix of pop classics. The songs on this movie such as Monkey in Me, Body and Soul, Starstruck, One Good Reason (which can be found on "Counting the Beat" a Swingers CD that was recently available on Amazon), I want to live in a Box.

This movie came together as good as possible, despite the director. Thank god we cannot go back, and it seems that hindsite may not always be 20/20.

Now what do we need? THE SOUNDTRACK! Seriously, there is not a bad track on this whole movie, some of the best songs ever made, I would say the best the Swingers ever produced are actually on this movie instead of on their CD's. I really really hope the soundtrack is finally put onto CD. I got my $20 ready. This is the only movie I have ever attempted to record via a microphone and my TV's speakers, it did not work so well. This movie really needs a soundtrack release on CD.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Be my hero, be my star...", August 1, 2005
By 
Jackboot (Silver Spring, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Starstruck (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
I had hoped to be the first one to review this DVD release - mine arrived on July 29 (released on the 26th, placed my order that day, and it arrived on the 29th using Super Saver shipping!). I'm happy to see that there is someone else out there who was just as eager as I was to get their hands on this DVD!

I saw this movie four times in the theatres, back in '83, in its initial USA release. It was one of those exceptional films that really stuck with me. I found a VHS copy later in the 80s and was happy with that for a many years. I never saw any other DVD versions for sale, so I was very excited to see that this release was coming out.

If you are a fan of this film, you will be very gratified to see this DVD! The quality is wonderful. By the climactic end of the story, I was in tears - of pure joy! There were so many details I was never able to see before - it's a beautiful print of the film. The music sounds fantastic - truly amazing from start to finish!

If you have never seen this film, it is a pearl! And this new DVD edition brings it all across clean and clear. Put it on, crank up the sound and get ready for a rocking good time!

Especially interesting was the interview with Armstrong and Elfick! This was not an easy film for them to make. Hearing the stories behind the making of the film and its music only served to enhance my enjoyment of the movie.

And yes, I second that motion: Where's the CD???
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best!, December 21, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Starstruck [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Is there a better rock n' roll movie? NO! This is it! It captures everything about being young and fearless and full of intelligence and love and it's just great in every way. Director Gillian Armstrong is a genius (see High Tide for a stunning Judy Davis performance) and creates extraordinary atmosphere for the cast, who are just bloody marvelous. I love this film about as much as any other movie ever made. It's visceral energy at 24 frames a second and it's a blast.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Starstruck Rocks, July 6, 2000
By 
This review is from: Starstruck [VHS] (VHS Tape)
It would be hard to call this the world's best movie. The acting can be spotty. But the characters make it for me, and the wry angle on family relationships, and the sheer cheek of it all.
There hasn't been a scene in years and years as perfect as the rooftop swimming pool scene -- depending on your taste for Ziegfield.
I saw this when it came out, and owned the LP for years, though I lost it with some other belongings in a flood, thanks to El Nino 1997 :) The coolest songs are "Tough" and "I Want to Live in a House."
Nana is such a loving character. I want a Nana like her :)
This movie is pretty cheap for what you get. It's a fun "video night" movie to impress your friends with, as most of them hasn't seen it and they'll all think you're really cool.
Everyone's library should have Starstruck in it.
Mary (someone let me know if the soundtrack is released on CD!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overjoyed it's out on DVD, December 16, 2005
By 
Katherine McCarthy "kath e. miller" (Forest Hills, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Starstruck (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
I saw this wonderful little movie in the theater during its first run in NYC with a group of Aussie friends. And promptly went back and saw it again the following day. I fell in love with the corny plot - we've got to put on a show to save the pub! Went out and bought the cassette soundtrack because the New Wave pop songs are great - memorable, bouncy, sing-able, and delivered with gusto. It's a charming film that can be watched over and over again. One of the great movie musicals. If you like the slightly wacky slant on the world from Oz, Gillian Armstrong's films, early '80's New Wave power pop, take a chance on Starstruck. You won't regret it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starstruck, May 13, 2002
By 
The Book Doctor (Stanford, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Starstruck [VHS] (VHS Tape)
One of my all-time favorite films. Silly, over-the-top, but absolutely delightful. The water ballet doubles me up every time. The characters are endearing and enterprising--you'll cheer for them and for the gorgeous scenes at the Sydney Opera House. Infectious music will have you humming long afterwards, and might even inspire you to get a parrot for your shoulder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Fresh -- Great Show, November 29, 2005
By 
Joshua Koppel (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starstruck (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
I first saw this film many years ago when it first came to my city. I had been told it was the Australian Fame. Well, that description does it a great injustice. This is not a simple Aussie version of an American film, but a unique twist on some old standards that seems as fresh on this DVD as it do all those years ago when I saw it on the big screen.

This is the story of Jackie Mullens who has a dream of being a singer. She has talent but needs a break. Her 14-year-old cousin Angus acts as her agent and sets up the stunts that get her a chance at the fame she seeks. The road is rocky with all sorts of roadblocks and detours including family, work, sexual orientations and just getting where she needs to be.

At more than twenty-years-old this film remains fresh in ways other simply can not. Musical numbers pay tribute to many styles from the opening which might remind viewers of films like David Bowie's Absolute Beginners to a number that feels like an Annette and Frankie beach number even though it is in a pub. Plenty of good extras round out the two disks in this set.
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Starstruck (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Starstruck (Two-Disc Special Edition) by Gillian Armstrong (DVD - 2005)
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