Of course I was spoiled growing up. We didn’t just have The Muppet Show (and Fraggle Rock!) on TV- we knew the name of the man who brought the Muppets to life; Jim Henson. We even knew that the man who voiced “Miss Piggy”, Frank Oz, guest-starred in one of the biggest sequels of all time, as a little green alien called “Yoda”.
Oh, and that sequel? We all knew whose baby it was. George Lucas. His film-school buddy Steven Spielberg was the mastermind behind E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, and the classic-styled anthology show Amazing Stories. (Just to name a few.)
So. As an adult, you have a problem with a movie that you loved as a child. I see on social media that this is a common grievance. I don’t need to name a film. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of motion pictures that don’t stand up to the intense scrutiny and overthinking of 2017.
It’s not them. It’s you. You are the problem.
I’ll begin with a contemporary example: any current superhero movie. Marvel, DC, independent degeneracy like Deadpool and Kick-Ass; it’s all the same. Permit me to make another assumption- you got all worked-up over seeing the latest hero flick, and you left the theater three hours later feeling empty and disappointed, without knowing why.
For your benefit, I will begin this article with a warning: 18 seconds of this movie consist of Shia LeBeouf swinging from vines with CGI monkeys.I know 18 seconds doesn’t seem like a long time, but apparently it’s an eternity for some people. It all depends on your perspective, or lack thereof.
The sequence is so brief, it was hard to screencap.
In 2008, Harrison Ford returned to the screen as globe-trotting archaeologist Henry “Indiana” Jones, Junior after a 19-year absence. I myself have been (to be kind) fanatical about Indy since Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, so before I saw Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I knew several things.
1941 is a not-very-good comedy from 1979, directed by a young Steven Spielberg. It has an all-star cast; John Belushi, Robert Stack, Slim Pickens, Ned Beatty, and Christopher Lee, just to name a few. The score, from the dependable John Williams, is rousing and bombastic, with a great send-up of Glenn Miller that plays before a “zoot-suit riot”. The movie is a farce about a small California town that descends into chaos when a Japanese sub appears off the coast, just after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The destruction effects, and Slim Pickens faking a forceful shit by chucking a boot in a toilet, greatly endeared 1941 to me as a boy, to the point where I drove my dad nuts with it. He knew it was a stupid, leaden bomb. I saw Dan Aykroyd with nylon hose on his head and oranges in his eyes screaming “I’m a bug”, and I lost my mind. Then I tried it myself one day, and I almost lost my eyesight. Continue reading →
For the past ten years, one Rhode Island company has made me so deliriously happy, I’ve considered corporate personhood, so I could ask for its hand in marriage.
They even threw in a rubsign. Hasbro is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
2006 was the year this little toy company had a subline of their Transformers toys called “Classics”; new figures of favorite characters from the 1984 cartoon. And a funny thing happened- these robots from an old show sold very, very well. Characters like “Bumblebee”, “Megatron” and “Optimus Prime” were familiar to a enviously broad range of people. They had staying power equal to Superman or Batman. The world was on the cusp of finding this out. Continue reading →
Lao Che (1885-19??) was a Chinese crime lord, who made several attempts on the life of archaeologist Indiana Jones in the 1930s.
Lao Che (c.), with sons Chen (l., Chua Kah Joo) and Kao Kan (r., Ric Young)
Lao’s nightclub, the Club Obi-Wan, was a front, and the headquarters of his criminal empire. The Manchurian government hired Lao to secure an urn holding the cremains of the first Manchu emperor, which had been stolen by thieves in 1903. Jones brought the urn to Club Obi-Wan, trading it with Lao for a huge diamond, but Lao double-crossed Jones by poisoning his drink. Thus begins a thrilling action sequence as pandemonium and balloons overtake the club, while Jones flails to recover the antidote Lao had taunted him with. Continue reading →
Forrestal (?-1936) was a competitor of the archaeologist Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (1899- ). He was good. He was very, very good.
On June 12, 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in theaters. It was rated “PG”, which stood for “Parental Guidance”. The basic idea behind this MPAA rating was that parents should be ready to provide guidance for any offspring that might be negatively affected by the film. When things get too “scary”, it’s time for a parent or guardian to step in and say “it’s only a movie.” Which it is. It can in no way physically or mentally hurt you, and anyone who tells you differently is an escaped lunatic. Continue reading →
(This article originally appeared in a less edited form on Mike The Pod, 7/11/11. Please note that since then, there has been a fourth Transformers, which grossed over a billion dollars, and there’s a fifth on the way in 2017. There is a schedule of yearly releases stretching a decade into the future, the same as Marvel, and Disney’s Star Wars.)
SPOILERS covers all three movies in the Michael Bay Transformers trilogy (until it becomes a quadrilogy, or quintology, which I wouldn’t complain about).
If this article becomes too insular for you, dear reader, may I heartily recommend you to tfwiki.com. Mostly because I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to link every whatsit on this page. If you’re a repeat visitor that doesn’t like it when I go off about robots, this is going to make you hate my guts. Continue reading →
If you’re reading this on Christmas afternoon because your family is driving you nuts, and you have the technology, I suggest that you legally download The Iron Giant, from 1999. Gather everyone around, and watch it with them. It will make your holidays extra wonderful.