Friday, May 11, 2018

For My Mom: "That Girl"


My mom used to love the old 1960's era sitcom "That Girl." As Mother's Day is upon us, I want to again pay tribute to my mom. Although we have sometimes disagreed about things, I always knew that she did her best to be a wonderful mom, and she succeeded. "That Girl" is a show that I always associated with my mom, because it, like my mom, seemed to derive from a gentler and nicer time. Of course, perception is not always reality, as all times have had harsh elements, especially the turbulent '60s. But "That Girl" showed a willingness to suspend belief for a short time, and to look at things in a more beautiful way, something that I know my mom was given to do. 


My mom passed away several years ago, but I know her spirit lives on, and I continue to love her. Here's to you mom. You are "That Girl."

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Explorers (Re-post)


One of my favorite '80s movies is a somewhat forgotten sci-fi flick from 1985 called Explorers

Explorers was part of a plethora of hopeful, positive sci-fi movies that came in the wake of the original Star Wars trilogy (1977, 1980, 1983), and the Spielberg classic E.T., the Extra Terrestrial (1982).


Explorers was about a trio of boys, all three misfits in different ways, who become friends and go on to do something fun and extraordinary. (It is a sci-fi flick, after all). The three boys were: Ben Crandall (played by a young Ethan Hawke), Wolfgang Muller (played by an equally young River Phoenix), and Darren Woods (played by Jason Presson). They were all different from one another: Ben was a dreamer who was into science fiction and fantasy, Wolfgang was a nerdy sort who was all into science and logic, and Darren was a practical sort who was into mechanics.


Yet they all found common ground in being outsiders in their school, and found a common goal when something very sci-fi-ish and remarkable happened: they started getting communications from extra terrestrials. This was the '80s, so were talking friendly aliens. Using the knowledge provided by the aliens, as well as their own various skills, they built a ramshackle spaceship.


You know what comes next: they go up in their ship, dubbed the "Thunder Road" (from a Bruce Springsteen song) and meet up with the alien ship.


It all ends with a wild a wacky meeting with the aliens themselves. Of course, you have to see the movie to know the rest.

One of the things I loved about this movie was that it was all about disparate misfits who join together, despite their differences, to overcome their problems and to do something extraordinary. It also came around at a time when some hopeful messages were very helpful, given that I was 15 at the time. And I loved sci-fi, so this movie just seemed wonderful when it came out. 



Explorers has gained a cult following over the years, even though it was not as well remembered as so many other '80s films. But it will always remain a favorite with me. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Last Starfighter (Re-post)


The '80s were an era full of wonderful sci-fi movies. One great little movie that has developed a solid cult following is The Last Starfighter, a 1984 movie which exemplified the '80s in a number of ways. It was, along with Tron (1982), one of the first movies to feature computer animation. It was one of many space-related fantasy movies out at the time, and it featured the '80s fascination with video games.



The film's protagonist, Alex Rogan is a typical '80s teen with dreams and ambitions who lives in a trailer park with his mother and younger brother. He longs to leave for greener pastures, but in the meantime, he bides his time while engaging in that very '80s passion: video games. In particular, he becomes adept at a space oriented Starfighter video game located at the trailer park, where he gets very good at beating the bad guys in an epic space battle.


One day, he is approached by Centauri, who claims to be the inventor of the Starfighter video game. It turn out Centauri is actually a disguised alien who is scouting for starfighters to save the universe from the clutches of an evil space bad guys the Ko-Dan Empire.  The part of Centauri was played by famed actor Robert Preston, most well known for playing traveling salesman Harold Hill in The Music Man (1962).


Alex is taken to the faraway planet Rylos, reluctantly recruited into the Rylan Star League, and introduced to Grig, a friendly repitilian alien who is to be Alex's navigator.




The Ko-Dan Empire is led by the evil Emperor Xur, who leads a sneak attack on Rylos, decimating the ranks of the starfighters, and leaving only Alex and Grig to fight for the freedom of the universe.



It is now up to Alex and Grig to save the universe.

 

Alex is trained to be a pilot and sent off with Grig to fight the Emporer Xur in a fighter craft called a Gunstar.  Caution: Spoilers immediately ahead!


Thankfully, the Gunstar is equipped with a powerful new weapon, called the "Death Blossom."


Suffice it to say, the universe is saved and Alex returns to Earth a hero. Here he is with his girlfriend.

The movie has quite a following, and its a fun and positive little sci-fi adventure that was truly of its time. And true to its time, it encouraged you to look to the future with hope.

Monday, February 12, 2018

For Valentines Day: "Hello"


I've posted this one before on a prior Valentines Day, but it just fits so well. Lovely song. For my love.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Billy Ocean - "Loverboy"


Here's a fantastic example from the era of music videos, Billy Ocean's very sci-fi video for "Loverboy." The '80s were the MTV era (when MTV really was "Music Television"), but it was also the era of E.T. and Steven Spielberg and many sci-fi/fantasy movies. This video clearly draws inspiration from them. Good fun '80s stuff!