Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday-The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

When a film is adapted from a comic book, it must two serve purposes and two masters. It must please the comic’s core fanbase while appealing to new fans. It must also, as best as the creative team can, full transplant the narrative and characters from the page to the screen.

In 2003, the film adaptation of the comic book The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen hit the big screen. In an AU (alternate universe) Victorian era, a group of heroes from famous novels must come together to save the world. The group includes Tom Sawyer (Shane West), from the classic Mark Twain novel, The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, and Mina Harker (Peta Wilson) from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Led by Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, this band of adventurers and heroes must save the world from a villain known as the Fantom.

Bear in mind that I have never read the comic book and when I saw the movie, I was unaware that the source material comes from a comic book. As a standalone movie, it’s ok. It’s just the run of the mill film adaptation of a comic book that is top-heavy on special effects and light on both character and narrative.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-That Old Feeling (1997)

Divorce is the last thing on many couple’s minds as they repeat their wedding vows. But sometimes divorce is for the best.

In the 1997 movie, That Old Feeling, Lilly (Bette Midler) and Dan (Dennis Farina) have been passionately divorced for years. Nothing makes their skin crawl more than to be around each other. Their daughter, Molly (Paula Marshall) is getting married and Lilly and Dan have to find a way at least pretend to be civil for their daughter’s sake. What once was hate turns back in lust between Dan and Lilly. Molly freaks out and hires a paparazzi (Danny Nucci) to find her parents.

This movie is interesting. The narrative goes beyond the standard romantic comedy. Still it is a little predictable, even for a genre built on predictability. Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-Good Morning Vietnam (1987)

The Vietnam War was one of the most brutal and controversial wars in recent memory.

In 1987’s Good Morning Vietnam, it is 1965. Adrian Cronauer (the late and sorely missed Robin Williams) is a Airman and a radio DJ sent to Vietnam to entertain the troops and bring some reminder of home. His unorthodox personality and on air persona does not go over well with some of the military higher-ups on the base. Though he is not on the front lines, he will experience the war in a very real and raw manner.

What strikes me about this movie is that while it is very funny at points, it is very dark and hard to watch at other points. The brutality and destruction that war brings is not lost on either the audience or Adrian.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Mannequin (1987)

Sometimes, when we are lonely and desperate, it’s easier to create a vision of perfection instead of going out and fighting for what we want.

In the 1987 movie, Mannequin (which is basically a 1980’s reboot of Pygmalion and My Fair Lady), Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy) is an artist who seems to lose more jobs than he can get. He finally hits a career high when he creates the perfect mannequin, Emmy (Kim Cattrall) who only comes to life in his eyes. He also falls in love with her. Will this utopia last or is Jonathan just fooling himself?

What is interesting about this film is that it speaks to the question of what is reality and what is fantasy. It also speaks to the deep need for companionship and love when we feel that we have neither.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Reading Rainbow (1983-2006)

Books are more than pages sewn and glued together with words printed on them. Books are magic. They can take the reader to another place and time and they can open the mind the reader. Many book worms (myself included) started their love of books early in life.

For several generations, a love of books was assisted by the PBS television program, Reading Rainbow (1983-2006). Hosted by Star Trek actor LeVar Burton, the genius of the show is that instead of speaking down to its young audience, it spoke to the audience. The children watching were encouraged not only to read, but to explore, imagine and to grow, using books as a means to explore, to imagine and to grow.

The show was cancelled in the 2006, but it has since been revitalized for the modern digital age.

I come from a literary family. My parents encouraged their children to read from a very early age. But not every child is so lucky. For many children, reading is an unappealing chore that has to be done or it is an activity pushed aside for something else. I have fond memories of watching this show and knowing that it’s ok to be a bookworm. Books can change the world.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-10,000 BC (2008)

When tragedy strikes us, we have two choices: fight or die.

In the 2008 film, 10,000 BC, D’leh (Steven Strait) is a member of a prehistoric tribe. When members of his tribe are kidnapped, D’leh goes on a journey to bring them home. Among the kidnapped is Evolet (Camilla Belle), D’leh’s secret crush. Along the way, D’leh and others who join him will encounter fearsome prehistoric beasts, man-eating birds and other obstacles.

Let’s be honest. This is a Roland Emmerich film. While the action and the special effects are expected for a film of this nature, it is a little short on plot from my perspective.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-Law And Order (1990-2010)

The cop/courtroom drama has been around since the beginning of television. The question is, will the television program be the same dry procedural show that audiences have become so used to, or will there be a twist that keeps the audience engaged until the credits roll?

Law And Order was on the air for twenty years, between 1990 and 2010. Covering a multitude of crimes in New York City, the focus of the show was split evenly between the police who are investigating the crime and the prosecutors whose job it is to argue that the accused should be found guilty. Over the show’s 20 year history, the roster of actors who played the detectives and the prosecutors included the late Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston, Jesse L. Martin and Elizabeth Rohm.

Law and Order is one of those television shows that everyone has watched at least once. It has multiple spin offs, an impressive list of guest stars and always leaves the audience to answer an ambitious, grey zone question that makes us think.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Drop Dead Fred (1991)

Many of us have imaginary friends during our childhoods. As we grow older, the imaginary friends are replaced by real friends. But what would happen if the imaginary friend from our childhood came back to us during adulthood?

In the 1991 movie, Drop Dead Fred, Lizzie Cronin (Phoebe Cates) is dealing with the very adult situation of a less than faithful husband and a helicopter parent of a mother. Just when the chaos seems to be at its peak, her childhood imaginary best friend, Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall) comes back into her life and creates more chaos.

This movie is an interesting one for me. There are comedic elements that appeal to the young ones in the audience, but there is also a message about being an adult and finding your way as an adult when everything seems murky and unclear. If there is one thing that I take away from this movie is that is it possible to traverse the uncertain mountain that is adulthood and still come out reasonably sane.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Bringing Up Baby (1938)

There are romantic comedies and then there are romantic comedies. Some are so horribly predictable and forgettable that it makes bad, predictable action films look good. Then there are the classics, that after generations, still make audiences laugh and are still as highly regarded as they were when they first hit theaters.

One of these classics is Bringing Up Baby (1938).

Good natured Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) is a paleontologist and a professor who has spent the last four years putting together a Brontosaurus skeleton. With the skeleton completed, he needs only the intercostal clavicle bone and one million dollars to complete the project. Wealthy and widowed Mrs. Random (May Robson) can provide the money, but first David has to go through Mrs. Robson’s lawyer, Alexander Peabody (George Irving). In addition to getting past Mr. Peabody, David also has to deal with Susan Vance (Katherine Hepburn), Mrs. Random’s ditzy niece who always seems to make trouble for David and make him look bad. Susan has recently adopted a leopard, named Baby, who seems to get David in as much hot water as his human mother.

Can David finish the project or will Susan (and his slowly to burn affection for her) for her stop him from seeing the skeleton in its complete form?

This movie is one of the essential romantic comedies. It is funny, it is charming and it has two of the best actors of the era playing the leading characters. Cary Grant was one of those actors whose good looks belied a comedic sense that is often repeated today, but never duplicated. Katherine Hepburn was not just a smart and independent woman off camera, but on camera as well. There are very few performers, especially female performers, who have the ability to smartly play down their intelligence to play up the comedy. Katherine Hepburn was one of those performers.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday- 54 (1998)

Studio 54 is one of the most notorious and infamous nightclubs in New York City’s history.

In 1998, the movie 54, told the story of Shane O’Shea (Ryan Phillippe), a young man who was employed at the nightclub during’s its heyday in the late 1970’s. Parallel to Shane’s downward spiral is the club’s downward spiral.

This movie is interesting. It is interesting because from outside of the velvet rope, Studio 54 was the hottest nightclub in town that most people could only dream of seeing with their own eyes. Inside, it is another story, especially from the point of view of a young man who is still growing into himself and unaware of the temptation that exists once he walked in the door.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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