Welcome back to the Kurt Russell Blog-a-Thon. If you missed Day 1, you can go check it out HERE. We have been having some incredible entries so far. And there is much more to come today! All this Kurt Russell goodness makes me want to go and rewatch all his movies now!
It is not to late if you would like to make a submission yourself. You can check out the information and rules HERE. And if you would like to see a list of who’s doing what, you can check out that list HERE.
Now, let’s go check out some Kurt Russell movies. We’ll start with my submission about a movie I had not seen before – The Mean Season (1985)
It’s the best of both worlds in the blog-a-thon as Paul S of Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies, adds a post on a movie that also stars the eponymous Michelle Pfeiffer in her film with Kurt Russell in Tequila Sunrise (1988).
Kurt Russell week has arrived! This blog-a-thon, hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews and myself, has had some totally awesome submissions. And we are thrilled to share them with you. And if you would still like to submit something to us, it is not too late. You can check out the information and rules HERE. And if you would like to see a list of who’s doing what, you can check out that list HERE.
If you have not submitted the article, you can have a blast reading and listening to these great submissions. And you can feel free to give some feedback and follow these people.
Here is my contribution to this week’s Kurt Russell Blog-a-thon, hosted by RealWeegieMidget and me. I decided to cover a movie I had never heard of before, let alone see. This movie is The Mean Season, which was released on February 15, 1985.
Run Time 1 hour 43 minutes
Summary/Review Kurt Russell plays Malcolm Anderson, a burnt out reporter of the Miami Journal. Having just returned from a vacation in Colorado, he felt like it was time to move somewhere more quiet, instead of covering grisly murders that take place in Miami. In the meantime, he covers the murder of a teenage girl. You can understand how he is burned out by seeing him go to the crime scene, along with photographer Andy Porter, played by Joe Pantoliano (The Goonies, The Fugitive), and going to the murder victim’s house to interview the mother. Malcolm goes back to the newsroom to write his story, with his boss, Bill Nolan (played by character actor Richard Masur, who you would recognize from many movies and television shows), hanging over his shoulder. An interesting fact about this newsroom, is that it was filmed in the actual newsroom of the Miami Herald, and not a sound stage. Actual reporters were consultants on the film, and even played some of the extras.
Malcolm’s girlfriend, Christine (Mariel Hemingway) is a school teacher. He visits her at work and promises to quit the paper, so they can move to Colorado. Of course, if he actually was able to quit right away, this would have been a very short movie.
While at the newsroom, Malcolm receives a phone call from a strange dude who said he killed the girl from the story that Malcolm had just written about. The killer says that he will kill again, and wants Malcolm to cover the story. He gave a clue about the murder to prove that he was telling the truth. So Malcolm went to see his friend Ray (Andy Garcia), who is a cop, and Ray’s partner, Phil (Richard Bradford), who Malcolm butts heads with throughout the whole movie. Ray confirmed that the killer’s clue was true, so they knew that this was indeed the real killer who was contacting Malcolm.
And sure enough, there is another grisly murder. Malcolm is torn. He doesn’t want to cover the murders because it could encourage the killer. On the other hand, he could try to help figure out who the killer is, and put a stop to it. Then it turns out that Malcolm doesn’t have a choice but to write about the killings because he was starting to get calls at home from the psycho.
It turns out that the killer was reproducing murders that he had done in another state. He was angry that he didn’t get credit for the murders. So, he was hoping to get attention in Miami. However, instead of the killer getting the attention, Malcolm began getting the attention for covering the murders. So, the line was blurred between Malcolm covering the story, and being part of the story. And as you can imagine, this does not go over too well with the killer. The movie then turns into your classic suspense film.
I really enjoyed this movie. I can safely say that I still haven’t seen a Kurt Russell movie that I didn’t like. Kurt Russell was as likable as you would expect Kurt Russell to be. He really stood out among a great cast. Mariel Hemingway was OK. She really didn’t have much to work with. Her character was a typical 80s female romantic partner/nag/woman in peril. She did as well as anybody could do with that role. The killer was creepy, which was cool. He kind of reminded me of a Dirty Harry villain.
I did really enjoy how the movie made a solid social commentary statement, and at the same time, was a sold suspense story. The movie title refers to the late summer months in Florida, where they get nasty storms every day at the same time.
Does the movie stand the test of time?
Story-wise I feel it does stand the test of time, between the theme and the suspense. However, there is a lot of outdated material, such as the newspaper itself. The phones are very old school as well. As much as I despise remakes, I think this is one instance where an updated version wouldn’t be too bad of an idea. It seems that a lot more people are looking for attention these days. Malcolm could be an online reporter or a blogger.
Worth the Return?
I would definitely recommend this movie. Especially, if you are a Kurt Russell fan. The cast and story are great.
This is the most wonderful time of the year for me! If you have not noticed, Every Quote of the Day, that I post here in October, comes from a horror movie. And in the spirit of the Halloween season, The Banzai Retro Club is hosting a crossover event covering the first horror movie that scared them.
I’m going to take a little step back out of the ’80s to start with my horror movie history.
We Return to the summer of 1978. I was 7 years old at the time, when I saw this movie trailer that scared the crap out of me…
I said to my parents that there’s no way I’d ever want to see that movie! That looked so scary! I was not aware of the first Jaws film. My first memory of Jaws was the game I had when the movie came out.
I must have been on summer vacation from school, so not long after I vowed never to watch Jaws 2, my grandfather decided to take me to the movies. You can see where this is going, right? And yes, my family is full of ball busters! Anyway, he took me to Apple Valley Cinemas to see Jaws 2. My ego got the best of me, and I decided to suck it up and watch the movie, and do it without closing my eyes. And I’m so glad I did! The movie started off with a bang, as scuba divers were attacked. Since it was not gory and graphic, I was not scarred for life. Quite the opposite. It gave me an adrenaline rush.
I was intrigued with how Roy Scheider’s Brody tried to convince everybody that there was a shark out there. I felt so bad for him when he was in the watch tower, and spotted the shark, and got everyone out of the water in a panic – just to find out it was a school of bluefish.
Another thing that drew me in to the movie was the group of kids. They were mostly teenagers, with the exception of Brody’s son, Sean. I was around the same age as Sean, so I could relate to him. They were all having fun on their boats and rafts, until Jaws decided to crash the party.
The kills were not graphic, yet the movie was still scary and intense. Can you imagine?! A movie can be scary without somebody being tortured for 2 hours! I was so into the movie, that I got Jaws 2 trading cards so I could relive the movie over and over in those pre-VCR days.
Last week, I watched the movie again for the first time in years. I still enjoyed it. I didn’t find it as scary this time. And even if I hadn’t seen it before, I could have predicted what would happen in a lot of the scenes. But, it was still a fun movie.
As it turns out, instead of being scared to death of Jaws 2, it became a gateway to my love of horror movies. And boy, did the ’80s have a a boatload of them!
Do you have any memories of Jaws 2? What were your first scary movies?
If you’d like to buy or watch this movie on Amazon, click on the movie poster below:
I recently posted an article covering my favorite music videos as part of an ’80s Crossover event with the ’80s League. Now, Robert is sharing his favorite video. Please check out our fellow members of the ’80s League who participated in this event:
Recently (August 1) MTV celebrated its birthday. Thirty-six years ago the channel that changed pop culture and affected the way all of us listened to – and watched – music played the first notes of The Buggles Video Killed the Radio Star and followed that with Pat Benatar’s You Better Run. The rest, as they say, is history. The channel that many thought could never work definitely worked and influenced music sales for the next two decades. Not everyone liked the shows MTV would add later and not all of them were successful, but that beginning, that core of music videos, concerts, and interviews with the artists left an indelible impression on all of us who sat glued to that cable channel.
Personally, I did not truly watch MTV until I moved back to the United States after living on an army base in Frankfurt, (then) West Germany for six years. Music videos did become a very precious commodity, though. In those years before MTV Europe, friends and/or acquaintances would travel back to the United States for holidays and summer vacations. Whenever anyone came back to the U.S., they always returned to Germany with a six hour VHS tape full of MTV – commercials and all. Those tapes made the rounds and were dubbed and dubbed and dubbed. We watched these videos until the tapes broke. Do not forget that these were the days before YouTube and there was really no other way to get a hold of these sacred clips. I vividly remember the all night sessions of Atari video games (that would later evolve into Commodore 64) with these VHS tapes of MTV rolling in the background. We would be mashing the buttons on the joysticks and singing at the top of our lungs. And when it was not our turn to play, we turned around and watched those videos – and sing at the top of our lungs.
Like most teens in the ‘80s, MTV was a major part of my growing up and I do really miss it now. Just a month ago I was visiting my best friends in Louisville. We did not turn on MTV as that would be a futile effort today. We went to Youtube and found a playlist of ‘80s hair bands and feasted on those classics!
Simply put: MTV helped form me into the adult I am today. Now as I am faced with a crossover event with our fellow ‘80s brothers and sisters, I am able to write about my favorite ‘80s video. There are so many choices, but my choice is an easy one. To me, despite all of the possibilities, my favorite ‘80s video begins and ends with a-ha’s Take On Me.
Yes, I briefly considered a few others like, well, no I really didn’t. a-ha’s song was the first one that popped into my head and stayed there. Yes, I am an a-ha fan. Growing up in Germany in the ‘80s made this a natural. I saw the band in concert in November of 1986 at the Frankfurt Festhalle shortly after the release of their second album Scoundrel Days. I have always felt they have been unfortunately labeled as one-hit-wonders here in the U.S. I know it is true here, but they had twenty consecutive top ten hits on the European continent – just nothing else here. Despite their clearly European sound that is not a rousing success for many here in the States, the video propelled this song to number one for the week of October 19, 1985. I love the song, but there are better, for sure. In 1985 alone Money for Nothing, Power of Love, Shout, and Broken Wings all hit #1 and are all songs that are better. But the videos are not (although Money For Nothing is an extremely close second). Remind yourself and watch the video again:
The story is simple: lonely girl falls for a cute boy in a comic book; boy pulls the girl into the comic book; boy gets into trouble; boy helps girl get back to real world; girl sees boy get beat up; boy escapes the comic book and rejoins girl in real world – that old chestnut. The story is not a complex one, but I do have a preference for videos that tell a story. There is not much time to develop character or plot in three to four minutes, so the video’s creators must rely on archetypes and stock characters and situations, as this one does. It is the creative twist of enhancing a regular comic adventure and combining it with live action that makes this one stand out. The aspect that really makes this one jump out, though, is this combination of drawn scenes and live action scenes within each other – not just as clever cut away edits.
The hero (Hartek), after winking at the girl, reaches out and brings her into his comic book world.
In the above scene lead singer live action Morten Hartek sings the chorus to the comic book version of the girl.
Now reverse the scene as the girl looks amazed at a comic book Hartek. Note that in both stills the panels of the comic book remain, giving the viewer the sense of remaining in the comic book with the characters.
Here, the hero Hartek breaks out of the comic book and into the real world.
Clearly, technology today is way better than it was in 1985, but the creativity used in the creation of this video is a clear hallmark of what videos could be and what they will become. I give the slight edge to a-ha’s video over Dire Straits’ Money for Nothingbecause of the lack of the burgeoning computer technology. I absolutely love both the Dire Straits video and You Might Think by the Cars and the way computer graphics are used. Both are clever and original, but both are also missing the clear story and characterization. Neither have a clear series of events that lead to a true climax. To me, Take On Mecombines the “story-ness” that I love in videos with comic book cartoonish graphics, and live action that is cleanly originally blended in to heighten the overall video experience. All of this packed into a whopping 3 minutes and 43 seconds. It will always be my favorite video of all time.
It’s time for another ’80s crossover event! This time we are talking/writing about some of our favorite music videos. Here are the entries from the rest of the ’80s League. Please check all of these people out, and leave comments.
We were fortunate enough to grow up in a time where we saw the birth of MTV, and watch it become one of the most influential entities of the decade. Before cable TV arrived, we had 3 major networks (and some UHF channels, that only had a little static if we were lucky). Then cable TV opened up a whole new world for us. I loved having HBO and Showtime. Being a sports fan, ESPN was great. You Can’t Do That on Television on Nickelodeon became one of my favorite television shows.
However, most of my television viewing went to MTV. The day I came home from school, and cable was newly installed in our home, the first station I put on was MTV. The first video I saw was “Little Red Corvette” by Prince. I don’t think I was the only person glued to MTV at the time. It was so different than anything else we watched. And if there was a song you loved, if you watched long enough, the video would come back on within a couple of hours. MTV helped out several artists who arrived on the scene at the perfect time – Michael Jackson, Prince, Duran Duran, Madonna. Unfortunately, it ruined some artists who were huge before MTV – buh-bye Christopher Cross and Billy Squier.
Now, for this #Fave80sMusicVideos crossover event, I’ll present some videos that stand out to me. There are many, many more. But, it would take days for this page to finish loading on your screen if I listed all my favorite, and groundbreaking videos. So, we’ll start from the beginning:
As any ’80s fan knows, this is the one that started it all. Not only is the song title appropriate for the first video to ever air on MTV, but it has that perfect ’80s sound. I still love this song to this day. The video itself isn’t too bad either. It doesn’t have that movie production value. There were some really cheesy and cheap videos in those early days, and this was above most of them.
ZZ Top Eliminator trilogy
While a lot of great acts from the ’60s and ’70s faded away with the dawn of the MTV generation, ZZ Top adapted extremely well. There was no mistaking their signature guitar sound of the ’70s, which made them wildly successful. But, instead of riding off in the sunset, they rode a customized 1930s Ford coupe, called the Eliminator, all the way to the stratosphere. They took advantage of the music video age, and made a marketing coup. While they weren’t the only singles released from the Eliminator album, these trilogy of videos are the most memorable. There is a storyline that runs through all three of these videos. First up…
Great introduction to this series! I love how the first thing we see, even before the music starts) is the Eliminator. The car pulls up to a gas station, where we meet our protagonist dude, and we are introduced to the 3 Eliminator babes. The dude is a gas station attendant, who has a boss that’s a prick. The band tosses the keys, on the iconic ZZ Top keychain, to the dude, and he goes for a ride, while we listen to this awesome song! At the end, it appears the whole thing was a dream…or was it???
Protagonist dude is changing into a tuxedo. He must make a lot of money at the gas station! Oh, wait. He’s a valet who gets treated like crap by coworkers and snooty, rich patrons. Then the Eliminator and Eliminator girls arrive, and the dude goes on another drive. He comes back in a new suit, and parties with the snoots, putting on the dance moves.
The third and final video of the Eliminator series features a woman as the main protagonist. She’s a mousy girl with glasses who goes to a burger joint, and is harassed by everyone there except for one guy, the cook, who is also harassed. She escapes the joint, leaving behind a food container and her glasses. The cook grabs the stuff and goes after her. She arrives at the shoe store where she works, where she is treated pretty much the same as at the burger joint. The cook gives the poor woman her stuff, then he is unceremoniously thrown out the the door by an asshole. But, he is thrown right in front of the arriving Eliminator. The Eliminator girls step out of the car, help the guy out, and go in the store, and exact revenge on the assholes in the store. Then our protagonist girl gets a makeover. After her makeover, the ladies all head over to the burger joint and rescue the guy, again, exacting revenge on the assholes in that place. The Eliminator drives off into nothing, and ZZ Top waves goodbye to us and fades away.
Sit down, Waldo! As with several of David Lee Roth’s solo videos, this Van Halen video begins with a kooky skit before it gets into the song. As much as I love Sammy Hagar, there have been very few showmen like David Lee Roth. The whole band was at the top of their game right here. The song starts with that iconic drumbeat, and of course when you have a legend on guitar, you can’t go wrong. Not only is the song awesome, but as a teenage boy when this song came out, I did not mind the hot bikini clad teachers. At all. Looking at it now, it seems just as creepy as Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” video where a boy watches Madonna strip and dance. I also liked how they got kid versions of the band members who liked just like them. This was a very fun and funny video.
Another great song accompanied by an awesome video. Even though this video got constant airplay, I never got sick of it. This was my introduction to the caricature puppets by the British television show Spitting Image. I know that Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” and Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” are heavily promoted as innovative videos. But, this is the one that fascinated me. In the age of CGI, I doubt we’ll see the likes of this again.
What were some of your favorite music videos? And don’t forget to visit the other pages and podcasts of my fellow 80s League (soon to be Banzai Club) members .
Hi Everybody! It’s time again for our monthly ’80s crossover event, brought to you by The ’80s League. As you can tell from the title, this month’s selection is on ’80s crushes. As part of this event, we also contributed a podcast episode. Marissa, Robert, and Paul discussed their ’80s crushes. You can download the podcast from iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts from. And you can also go to the show notes, and listen directly on this site right here. The picks we made on the podcast will be different from the crushes I list in this article.
In addition to Return to the ’80s, other participants include:
80s Reboot Overdrive Blog and podcast Rediscover the ’80s Realweegiemidget Killer Kitsch
Now, let’s check out more of my ’80s crushes.
In the summer of 1982, there was a movie I, and apparently the rest of the world, wanted to see – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It was playing in a nearby theater that only had 2 screens. And E.T. was only showing on one of them. Of course, when we got to the theater, the movie was sold out. Instead, we saw the movie that was being shown on the other screen – The Pirate Movie. I don’t remember knowing about that movie going into it. Coming out, this 11 year old was in love. I thought Kristy McNichol was beautiful, and I was really drawn to her. Several years later, she starred in The Golden Girls spinoff, Empty Nest. And I found that my feelings had not changed. She still made my heart skip a beat.
Unfortunately, Kristy has not really been in anything in almost 20 years. In 2001, she officially announced her retirement from acting. And years after that, I was dealt another crushing blow. Kristy McNichol revealed that she is gay, in the hopes that her openness would help young people who are bullied because of their sexuality. It’s great that she’s open about it now. But, it killed any shot of us ever getting together. Well, as Samantha’s father says in Sixteen Candles, “That’s why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they’d call ’em something else.”
Growing Pains is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. It was already a great show on it’s own. But, my crush on Tracey Gold (and her character, Carol Seaver) didn’t hurt either. I thought she was so cute, and smart. It used to annoy the crap out of me when her brothers picked on her. And this was made even worse when they made fat jokes about her. That’s so stupid as it is. But, she wasn’t even fat, so it made no sense to me. Then to find out that Tracey battled anorexia made things even worse. She even had to miss several episodes of the show due to her condition. Luckily, she was able to recover. Ah, cute, smart, and strong. Not a bad combination
Throughout the ’80s, and to this day, my music taste tends to lean toward Rock. I also love me some R&B and old school Rap. But, I got tired of most pop music. That changed with the arrival of Samantha Fox. I thought she was gorgeous. And I actually liked her music too! Her first album, Touch Me, was mostly pop, but some of it had a little rock edge to it. I loved the title track as well as “Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)“. Actually, I liked every song on that album. Next was her self-titled album. “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)” was the first single released in the U.S. The song opens with her saying “Maybe, just maybe
Naughty girls need love too.” in her British accent. Love that accent!
Her third album, I Wanna Have Some Fun, was also a fun album. The title track always got us all out on the dance floor.
I could go on and on with my crushes. But I’ll stop here, and I’d love to hear from you. Who were some of your crushes – real life or celebrity.
Once again please check out the posts from the rest of the 80’s League: