Daily Archives: April 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday- Mom And Dad Save The World (1992)

The science fiction genre can sometimes be taken a little too seriously.

Mom and Dad Save The World (1992), is the perfect movie to shake up the genre.

Marge Nelson (Teri Garr) and her husband, Dick (Jeffrey Jones) are the average middle aged married suburban American couple. On a distant planet, Emperor Tod Spengo (Jon Lovitz) spies Marge through his telescope. He kidnaps Marge and Dick, planning to blow up the Earth and force Marge to marry him. Reliving the episodes of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon that he enjoyed as a boy, Dick, with the help of the planets inhabitants will rescue his wife, save the planet and return the natural heir to the throne.

This is one of those movies that is so ridiculous, that I wonder what the executive who green lighted this movie was smoking. The fun of the movie is how completely absurd it is. But it is a very funny movie and isn’t that what we all need every once in a while? A deeply absurd movie that makes us laugh?

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Bicentennial Man (1999)

Science fiction has an eerie way of predicting the future.

The 1999 film, Bicentennial Man, based on the 1976 book by Isaac Asimov is about a robot who over time, changes from machine to man.

Andrew Martin ( the late Robin Williams) is purchased to be the home robot of the Martin family. He watches as the family grows and changes. He is especially close to the youngest daughter,  Amanda Martin (Embeth Davidtz), whom he refers as Little Miss. Andrew is no ordinary robot. While he is entirely machine, his emotions and reactions are closer to that of a human being.  When a scientist, Rupert Burns (Oliver Platt) offers to completely change Andrew into a human being,  Andrew jumps at the chance.  But he will soon learn that being a human is not as black and white as it seems.

There are some actors that are unfortunately stuck in one genre. As much as they try, they are unable to step out of that genre and into another. Robin Willliams was not one of those actors. While this movie does have some of the manic, humorous moments that the audience expects from a Robin Williams film, there is dramatic tone underneath. The film asks the audience to ponder about what it is to be a human being and what happens when we take chances, even when we don’t know what the outcome will be.

I recommend it.

 

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Throwback Thursday-James Dean Double Feature-Rebel Without A Cause (1955) & Giant (1956)

Every generation has that actor. He or she is the icon of that generation and that time. Their lives and career are often tragically cut short, but their work lives on.

James Dean will always be remembered as the rebellious young man who lived fast, died young and is still revered, 60 years later, as one of the greatest actors of his era.

In 1955, he starred with Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo in Rebel Without A Cause, the ultimate teenage rebellion movie.

Jim Stark (James Dean) is a rebellious young man with a colorful past. He moves to a new town with his parents. They hope that with this fresh start, the past will be behind then. But where Jim goes, friends and foes alike are made.

This movie was one of the first to give a voice to the then teenage generation. 60 years later, the clothes, language, music and technology may have changed, but the emotions and the experiences of teenagers are the same.

A year later, Dean starred in Giant, opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Based on the novel of the same by Edna Ferber, it is the  multi-generational story of a Texas cattle rancher and his family. Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) is a Texas cattle rancher who is in Maryland buying horses. He falls in love with Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor), the daughter of the man that he is buying horses from. A rivalry with cowboy (who will later on strike it rich as an oil tycoon), Jett Rink (James Dean) stretches over two generations.

This movie has it all. Multi-layered characters, an engaging story and three of the best actors of all time.

I recommend both.

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Are There No New Ideas In Hollywood?

There is no story that will ever be completely brand new. Every story has it’s origins in another story.

Hollywood, for better or for worse, is a business. Any business man or woman will tell you that when an enterprise is successful, the enterprise is repeated, hoping that the success is repeated.

Hollywood has taken that idea and reformed it in their own image. That would explain the endless amount of sequels, prequels and re-makes that have been released over the years.

As much as I enjoy sequels, prequels and re-makes, certain movies are so perfect that there is no need for a re-make. And if there is a sequel, prequel or re-make and something is not right, fans of the original will not be shy about sharing their opinions.

According to the Wrap, a re-make of She’s All That will be premiering on the big screen.

I understand the reasons for the re-make, but as a writer, it is disappointing. There are many writers (myself included, hint, hint), who would love to see their work on screen or on stage. Unfortunately, some in Hollywood are blind to this idea.

There are new ideas in Hollywood. It is just a matter of the powers that be opening their eyes and minds to new writers with new stories instead of re-hashing the old ones.

 

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Throwback Thursday-Evita (1996)

It is often said, that behind every great man, is a great woman. What happens when that woman decides to step up and stand next to or in front of the man, instead of behind him?

Evita (1996), based on the life of Eva Peron, premiered on stage in 1976. 20 years later, Madonna played the titular role on screen.

Eva’s childhood was not a happy one. Her mother was the mistress of wealthy man who was already married, she and her siblings were illegitimate. Denied the right to see their father one last time during his funeral, Eva turned her back on her past as a young woman and set her sights on the stage.

Meeting her husband, Juan (Jonathan Pryce) during a fundraiser to help the victims of an earthquake,  Eva sees the potential in him and their relationship. Eventually, Juan Peron will become president of Argentina. Depending on whom one spoke to, Eva would either be loved or hated.

Narrated by Che (Antonio Banderas), he follows her along in life as she moves from the life of an illegitimate child to the wife of the most powerful man in the country.

A the time, there were many comparisons to the stage production and some were not so positive. Fans of the stage production could argue that Madonna’s performance does not hold a candle to either Elaine Page (West End production) or Patti LuPone (Broadway production). Is Madonna the best actress in Hollywood? I would argue no, but the producers knew what they were doing when they cast Madonna.

Is the movie that bad? No, but that depends on whom you speak to.

Do I recommend it? Sure.

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Throwback Thursday-The Shadow (1994)

Superheroes, contrary to popular opinion, don’t always need a cape. All they need is the ability to control minds and become invisible.

Based on the 1930’s radio serial of the same name, The Shadow (1994) is a superhero who must stop his nemesis from building an atomic bomb.

Lamont Cranston (Alec Baldwin) has a secret identity. He is the Shadow, a superhero who must stop his nemesis, Shiwan Khan (John Lone) from building an atomic bomb that will destroy the world.

As superhero movies go, it’s certainly different. It’s not the Marvel or DC comic superhero movies that audiences have become enamored of over the last decade.  But the differences are good. Maybe it’s time that the Shadow deserves as much attention as Batman, Superman or the X-Men.

I recommend it.

 

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