G.I. Joe: A Real American Stroke of Genius

 

G.I. Joe

Being a child of the 80’s, I can safely say that we had the best after-school cartoons EVER. Seriously, we had giant transforming robots and laser-gun-toting paramilitary forces kicking the crap out of bad guys on a daily basis. And it was beautiful.

That sweet hour between 4pm and 5pm was a sacred time, the longest distance on a given weekday between you and more school. First up, the Transformers, followed by the amazing, the glorious, the spectacular, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.

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Looking Back on Star Trek: Insurrection

Star Trek: Insurrection

 

Let’s face it. Star Trek: Insurrection, the third installment in The Next Generation’s film run, is not one of the most loved in the franchise. Though enjoyable on many levels, its light-hearted tone, short run time, and the absence of Industrial Light and Magic in the effects department has led many to see it as little more than an extended episode of the TV show rather than a rousing cinematic experience.

But was that always the plan? Continue reading

The Last Jedi: A Theory

The Last Jedi

The much-anticipated Episode 8 of the Star Wars saga has landed, and much like the rest of the movie going public, I have thoughts. But rather than simply discuss my likes and dislikes, I thought I’d use this opportunity to talk about a theory I have, one that I hope – for the sake of the Star Wars legacy – is at least somewhat true.

Ready? Here we go. Continue reading

Touring the Christmas Story House

A Christmas Story

Tis the season for watching holiday movies. It’s practically a tradition, right up there with wrapping presents, trimming trees, and slurping down copious amounts of eggnog – spiked or otherwise. Wherever your tastes reside – be it Die Hard or Bing Crosby – we can all look forward to revisiting some of our favorite holiday-themed films each year.

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about one of my favorites. A film that, as it turns out, I happen to have a regional connection to. Continue reading

House of Wax (1953)

House of Wax (1953)

This will be a quick entry. After all, it’s the middle of October and I have a ton of creepy flicks I need to catch up on before another spooky movie season passes us by.

Speaking of which, I recently had the opportunity to see the horror classic, House of Wax, the way it was intended to be seen: on the big screen. I love it when theaters re-release classic films. As much as I like the home viewing experience, there’s something special about the idea of watching an old move in the theater. It offers something that you just can’t get from home video. Continue reading

Visionaries of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead

The recent passing of film legend George A. Romero inspired me to take another look at his groundbreaking debut, Night of the Living Dead.

Prior to this film’s conception, the idea of zombies was rooted in Haitian and Voodoo lore. Their appearance in early films was sporadic at best, often depicting them as mindless henchmen under the spell of some evil overlord as is the case in the 1932 classic, White Zombie, staring Bella Lugosi.

But it wasn’t until Romero and his writing partner, John A. Russo, came on the scene, that the idea of the modern zombie tale was born. These guys were true visionaries and responsible for many of the basic characteristics that we associate with zombies today. The idea that they gather in hordes, are driven by an uncontrollable urge to devour human flesh, and can only be taken down with a blow to the head, can all be traced back to this ghoulish classic.

I’d like to mention a few cool things that I managed to glean from a few sites and documentaries that I checked out recently, but first I wanted to say a few words about why this film is important to me. Continue reading

Why We Love Coming of Age Tales

Welcome to Retro Time. In this blog, I’ll be covering topics related to film and television from past decades. These won’t be reviews, but rather a selection of memories, thoughts, and ideas designed to spark a little nostalgia and maybe inspire a conversation or two.  Spoilers will likely come up, so please keep that in mind. Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to chime in. I’d love to get your feedback. Now, let’s get ready to take a look back…

Great Coming of Age Tales

Last summer’s release of the Netflix series, Stranger Things, as well as the recent trailer for the upcoming adaption of Stephen King’s It have shined a new light on an old theme: the coming of age tale. There’s a reason why we gravitate toward stories featuring adolescents facing hardships while on the cusp of young adulthood. Much of it has to do with the fact that we’ve all been through something similar in one way or another.

We’ve all experienced those awkward years of twelve…thirteen…fourteen…when our bodies and minds begin to morph into something far more complicated then we’d known up to that point. For some, the transition is relatively smooth. For others, it feels like chaotic clashing of cymbals loud enough to wake the dead. But no matter which degree of severity we experience, we all end up coming through that time with a real and profound understanding that things have changed. Continue reading

Kong: The Eighth Wonder of the Cinematic World

Welcome to Retro Time. In this blog, I’ll be covering topics related to film and television from past decades. These won’t be reviews, but rather a selection of memories, thoughts, and ideas designed to spark a little nostalgia and maybe inspire a conversation or two.  Spoilers will likely come up, so please keep that in mind. Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to chime in. I’d love to get your feedback. Now, let’s get ready to take a look back…

King Kong (1933)

For me, the original 1933 King Kong is one of those reliable films that has always just been there.

I couldn’t tell you the first time I’d seen it any more than I can tell you the first time I ever poured tap water into a glass or petted a dog. Likely, it was playing on the family TV during a time when my infantile mind had yet to form (as Lt. Commander Data would put it) any long-term memory engrams. In my mind, it’s always existed. I’ve always know it. It’s always just…been there.

To this day, I have a copy of it on DVD and am known to throw it on whenever I’m in the mood for some good stop-motion monster carnage from yesteryear. But recently, it dawned on me that I’ve never really taken the time to look into the film’s history. This is funny because I’m usually pretty interested in that sort of thing. I love to read about tales of early Hollywood and learn the backstories of some of my favorite classics. But for some reason, the story of King Kong’s creation has eluded me.

With that in mind, I decided to do some searching and I came across a few interesting tidbits that I felt warranted discussion. Keep in mind, this is basic stuff that anyone can find on IMDB or Wikipedia. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of any of it. All of the “facts” listed here are presented in the spirit of fun.

So with that said, let’s begin. Continue reading