The Surprise of Jurassic Park

In 1993 I went to see Jurassic Park and was blown away. I went back two more times and took my Dad to one of the showings.

I’ve always liked dinosaurs since I was a kid but on film they never looked like I imagined. They usually were claymation or men in suits. I really like claymation a lot on most things but the dinosaurs just never looked right. I’m not one who craves great special effects…the original Star Trek is great to me with its red beams stunning people. They were always able to convey the story and that is enough for me…but dinosaurs were not beams of light or the transporter.

When this movie was released it was shocking. It was a game changer in so many ways and brought CGI to the forefront. Today younger people can not imagine what it was like seeing dinosaurs come to life that actually matched our imaginations. This is what we were used to.

To see a T-Rex with the then new DTS surround sound in a theatre was frightening…in a great way though. The most significant change was the way the dinosaurs interacted with their surroundings.

Was the movie a Gone With the Wind? Not at all but it looked and sounded real…well it came closer to matching our imaginations. This movie benefitted from the newer technology…where I think the original Star Wars was not improved by Lucas’s tinkering with CGI trying to improve them.

I do believe that CGI can be overused at the expense of a story but in Jurassic Park, they got it right. It still stands up today but now we are so accustomed to CGI that the movie doesn’t get noticed as much…but when it was released everyone took notice and it upped the game in special effects.

 

The 50’s Revival in the 1970’s

When the Beatles arrived in 1964, the short hair and car hops of the fifties were going away. The sixties in some ways liberated people from the fifties for better or worse. The crew-cuts and simple times were giving way to Vietnam and the social unrest of the sixties.

Related imageImage result for Hippies 60s

Slowly as the sixties started to come to a close the fifties started to peak in again.

In the late sixties, Sha Na Na started their act and even toured with well-known acts. Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis’s popularity grew and Elvis started to make music again instead of soundtracks with his 1968 comeback special. In 1971 a disc jockey name Jerry Osborne started an “oldies” format on FM radio in Phoenix, Arizona and it was successful and other emulated it around the country.

Image result for elvis comeback

In 1972 “Grease” a musical that took place in 1959 debuted on Broadway. In 1973 George Lucas came out with  American Graffiti and boom really started. The soundtrack to American Graffiti peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100 in 1973. Happy Days debuted the following year and fifties music was gaining in popularity.

Image result for american graffiti musicImage result for happy days

A spin-off from Happy Days Laverne and Shirley, also set in the fifties, was a huge success and still is syndication to this day. In 1974 the 50s era movie The Lords of Flatbush with the pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler of Happy Days.

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In 1977 Sha Na Na started a variety show…unfortunately I remember this…

In 1978 two big fifties era movies were released. Grease and American Hot Wax which featured performances by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Styles seem to recycle every 20 years or so but in the 1970s the fifties revival was really strong. Maybe it was a want for a more simpler time.

The 1972 London Rock and Roll Show

Birth of the Beatles 1979

As a 12-year-old, I waited for this and couldn’t wait to watch it. The film started out with The Beatles about to take off to America…and then flashed back to 1961 and followed them until their Ed Sullivan appearance. It was made by Dick Clark Productions. There is a Pete Best slant to the film…with good reason. They used Pete as an advisor and you can tell. Many things slant his way.

For a fan like me, some things bother me about it…like The Beatles in Hamburg playing “Don’t Bother Me” which wasn’t written until at least 2 years later (I just looked up trivia in IMDB and this was listed…so others noticed). They mixed some facts around and left some out but with the length of the movie, they could not include everything. When making a movie about someone, events will get exaggerated and some things made up.

The movie I would make would be around 10 hours long and heavily detailed…in other words unwatchable by the general public.

I did like the spirit of this film and the actor playing John Lennon (Stephen MacKenna) I thought did a good job.

Overall it was a good try for the time and the film did do the early Beatle highlights… Stuart Sutcliffe, Astrid Kirchherr, Hamburg, Brian Epstein, Cynthia telling John she was pregnant, Paul and Pete lighting the Cinema (though heavily exaggerated), the comedy of the Beatles, George Martin, Rory Storm, Aunt Mimi and more. The group “Rain” did the soundtrack and that is maybe the highlight of the film

It was the only movie about the Beatles made when John was still alive. John, Paul, George, and Ringo…the real ones…tried to get the movie stopped but were obviously unsuccessful. The film was released to theatres in Europe but on television in America.

There are wince moments throughout the film…when in 1961 Hamburg, you see a little of seventies clothing and hairstyles plus some rushed acting. It’s full of flaws but they were on a budget and they tried to highlight the big moments. It’s a fun watch anyway even though they did get some of the story wrong.

From Wikipedia, these are the songs that were performed in the movie. Below these songs is the movie from youtube.

  1. She Loves You – Opening titles version
  2. My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean)
  3. Oh Baby Doll – Performed by a different group at the Liverpool audition and not by the Beatles themselves.
  4. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
  5. Blue Suede Shoes – Performed by Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
  6. I Saw Her Standing There – featuring Pete Best on drums
  7. Don’t Bother Me
  8. Johnny B. Goode
  9. Lawdy Miss Clawdy – Performed by Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
  10. Roll Over Beethoven
  11. Kansas City
  12. Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
  13. Shake, Rattle and Roll!
  14. Ask Me Why
  15. Love Me Tender
  16. Twist and Shout
  17. P.S. I Love You
  18. Dizzy Miss Lizzy – Reprise, a different recording featuring heavier drums and a more raw-sounding guitar
  19. Cry for a Shadow
  20. Please Mr. Postman
  21. Long Tall Sally
  22. Love Me Do
  23. Rock and Roll Music
  24. I Saw Her Standing There – Reprise, featuring Ringo Starr on drums. The drumming styles differ between versions for story reasons
  25. Please Please Me
  26. Thank You Girl
  27. I Want to Hold Your Hand
  28. She Loves You – Ending titles version

The quality is not great but here is the movie on youtube.

 

Sextette 1978

This movie is bad…I mean turn your head away bad. I’m not sure if it passes for so bad it’s good… Once you see this movie… you want to un-see it. I cannot believe the powers to be thought it would be a good idea to portray an 85-year-old Mae West as the sex symbol Marlo Manners. I’m not knocking Mae West because she made some good films in her career…this was not one of them. I’m in no way knocking Mae West…but this movie should not have been filmed.

Mae looked fine for being 85…but acting like she was in her twenties or thirties… was not a good idea. It was like someone doing a bad Mae West impersonation. Playing her soon to be husband in the movie was the pre-Bond Timothy Dalton.

To pour on some more badness…it was a musical! I won’t go there but you can imagine.

The movie did have star power. I will give it that. The cast included

Timothy Dalton, Alice Cooper, Tony Curtis, Dom Deluise, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, George Hamilton, Rona Barrett, and Regis Philbin.

For me, the only bright spot is two small appearances by Keith Moon who plays a dress designer. He is refreshing and goes wonderfully over the top in his small scenes. He could have been a decent character actor.

I would hate to see the movies that were passed over for this one to be made. I usually like bad 70s movies but you just feel embarrassed for Mae West in this one.

If you want to see a good Mae West film watch “My Little Chickadee.”

I found this line from a review… “Bad comedies are painful, bad musicals are worse, and combining the two, then adding in liberal sexual innuendo involving a woman who is eighty-four or eighty-five years old is agony. “

Keith Moon in Sextette

Keith-Moon-Sextette-1978.JPG

 

Lindsey Buckingham – Trouble

This song was released in 1981 and I bought the single. It peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100, #31 in the UK, #7 in Canada. The song was off of Lindsey’s debut album “Law and Order.

The song is in the movie  Just One of the Guys

Trouble

Two, ah-three, ah-four!
Two, ah-three, ah-four!
Two, ah-three, ah-four!
I really should be saying goodnight.
I really shouldn’t stay anymore.
It’s been so long since I held ya.
I’ve forgotten what love is for.
I should run on the double 
I think I’m in trouble,
I think I’m in trouble.
So come to me darlin’ and hold me
Let your honey keep you warm
Been so long since I held ya
I’ve forgotten what love is for.
I should run on the double
I think I’m in trouble.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

This is a 2010 comedy/horror movie. I just watched it 2 years ago on a recommendation from a co-worker. It is more comedy than horror. If you like dark humor combined with stupid humor you might like this movie.

It’s a parody on horror movies and the film goes over the normal cliches. Tucker and Dale are West Virginia mountain men that bought a cabin in the woods and are excited for their “vacation cottage.” It is an old beat up cabin but they plan to fix it up.

They meet some college kids that are staying near them and the kids think Tucker and Dale are killers. You have sympathy for Tucker and Dale right away. They are nice guys just happy to have their cabin. Tucker is trying to teach Dale with his limited knowledge on women and how to be social.

The movie surprised me and I really liked it. The director is Eli Craig, Sally Field’s second son.

If you are looking for another Gone With The Wind…this is not it but if you are in a mood for a stupid comedy/horror that is funny…give it a try.

This review is from Screen Rant.

https://screenrant.com/tucker-and-dale-vs-evil-reviews/

 

 

 

 

Eddie and the Cruisers

This movie was based on the 1980 novel by P. F. Kluge. I’ve always liked the 1983 film. At the time the movie came out the rumors of Jim Morrison still alive and Elvis sightings were everywhere and the movie fulfilled some fantasies of “What If.”

It’s about an early sixties band that played fifties type music and were gaining a following. They meet Frank Ridgeway an awkward backward pianist that played classical music. Eddie Wilson sees his potential and starts teaching him how to play rock and roll.

Eddie’s musical vision is ahead of its time. He uses Frank’ classical background to start working on an album called “Season in Hell.” When you hear snippets of the album it is years ahead of their time period. Most of the band hated the new music. The record company rejected the album because it was to “dark and strange.”

After that Eddie’s car crashed through a railing on a bridge and his body was never found. Did Eddie die?

The film picks up in the 80s when a reporter is asking the former Cruisers questions about the lost album.

I really liked this movie. The sequel not as much.

The soundtrack was by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. A hit song was released off the soundtrack. “On The Darkside” peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The movie flopped at the box office but when played on HBO it became a cult classic.

The Cast…

Tom Berenger
Michael Paré
Joe Pantoliano
Helen Schneider
David Wilson
Kenny Hopkins
Michael “Tunes” Antunes
Ellen Barkin
Kenny Vance

“On The Dark Side”
The dark side’s callin’ now, nothin’ is real 
She’ll never know just how I feel 
From out of the shadows she walks like a dream 
Makes me feel crazy, makes me feel so mean 

Ain’t nothin’ gonna save you from a love that’s blind 
When you slip to the dark side you cross that line 
On the dark side, oh yeah 
On the dark side, oh yeah