Category Archives: Movies

Dead or Alive: George Gaynes

Although George Gaynes was alive at the time of this original posting 6 years ago, sadly, he passed away at his home in North Bend, Washington on February 15, 2016. He was 98.

6392-15044 George Gaines, best known for playing the eccentric Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy series and Henry Warnimont on Punky Brewster is…ALIVE.

George Gaynes was born in in Helsinki, Finland on May 16, 1917. He played Commandant Eric Lassard, who was in charge of the police academy. He travelled by golfcart, and tended to destroy things while golfing in his office.

He also played John Van Horn in the movie Tootsie, in which he was a horny old soap star, who tried to put the moves on “Dorothy Michaels,” not knowing that Dorothy was really a man.

He was more well known to television viewers for playing the lovable curmudgeon Henry Warnimont, who took in Punky Brewster.

I never watched General Hospital, but Gaines played a mob boss called Frank Smith, who was brought down by Luke Spencer. Maybe fans of that soap could give us more information.

George Gaines has been married to actress and dancer Allyn Ann McLerie since December 20, 1953, and they have two children – Matthew and Iya. George and Allyn live in Calabasas, California.

Summer Movies of the ’80s

Yesterday was the list of top 5 songs about summer. Now, here is the top 5 summer movies of the ’80s.

5. Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing was released in 1987, and starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. It takes place in 1963, and Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is vacationing with her family at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. Baby develops a crush on the resort’s dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), who is from the wrong side of the tracks. This is a coming of age story for Baby, who learns to loosen up and be true to herself. And Johnny learns that he really is worth something. And Baby’s father (Law & Order’s Jerry Orbach) learns that nobody puts Baby in a corner.

4. Summer School
This movie was released in 1987, and starred Mark Harmon. The movie begins with the last day of school before summer vacation. The gym teacher, Mr. Freddy Shoop, is a slacker, and is ready to go on vacation to Hawaii with his young girlfriend. However, Shoop is forced to teach summer school remedial English when the original teacher wins the lottery and immediately quits teaching. The students included easily distracted Pam (Courtney Thorne-Smith), ‘nocturnal’ Larry, who happens to be a male stripper, football jock Kevin, pregnant Rhonda , geeky Alan, dyslexic Denise (and two horror-film-obsessed underachievers, Dave and Francis, a.k.a. ‘Chainsaw’.
Shoop’s girlfriend goes to Hawaii without him. He then meets, and falls for Robin Bishop (Kirstie Alley), who is teaching next door to his class.
Shoop is forced to learn responsibility when he finds out that he will be fired unless his students pass the end of the term test.
Not all of the students passed, but the parents came to Shoop’s defense because of the great improvement the students made. Happy ending all around.

3. The Great Outdoors

This was a 1988 movie starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. Chester “Chet” Ripley (John Candy), his wife Connie, and their two sons go on vacation at a lake resort in Wisconsin.
They are all ready to enjoy themselves when Connie’s sister Kate, Kate’s snobby know-it-all investment broker husband Roman Craig, and their creepy twin daughters crash the family vacation.
Roman constantly got on Chet’s nerves really bad. It turns out that the reason why Roman, Kate, and the twins crashed the vacation is because the Craigs are broke because of a bad investment, and Roman was planning to hit Chet up for $25,000.
This was a great family comedy. And who could forget John Candy’s crazy water skiing, and the bald headed grizzly?

2. Meatballs

This movie was released in 1979, but I’ll grandfather it in. This was Bill Murray’s first starring role. Murray plays head counsellor Tripper Harrison and also follows the counsellors-in-training (CITs) at Camp North Star. The main plot involves Rudy Gerner, a lonely kid who is sent to summer camp by his father. Noticing Rudy is unable to fit in, Tripper takes him under his wing and each morning they go jogging and bond as friends. Tripper helps Rudy gain confidence while Rudy encourages Tripper to start a romance with Roxanne (Kate Lynch), the female head counsellor.
Camp North Star has a rivalry with Camp Mohawk, a wealthier camp located across the lake. Every year they have an olympic type of competition, which Mohawk carries a 12-0 record against North Star. Camp Mowhawk cheats a lot to win their competitions, but Camp North Star starts winning some competitions of their own. Then it comes down to a 4 mile race,where Rudy’s jogs with Tripper pay off.
Here is Murray’s great “It just doesn’t matter” speech:

1. Vacation

This was Chevy Chase at his best. National Lampoon’s Vacation came out in 1983. Chase played Clark Griswold, and Beverly D’Angelo played his wife Ellen, and their two kids, Rusty and Audrey were played by Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron. Clark, wanting to spend more time with his family, decides to lead the family on a cross-country expedition from the suburbs of Chicago to “Wally World” — billed as “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park” — in Los Angeles. Hi-jinks ensue all the way through.
And here is the incredible end of the movie:

And I love Lyndsay Buckingham’s theme song – “Holiday Road

So what are some of your favorite summer movies?

Trivia Tuesday – 7/13/10

Question: What 80s pop star got her start on Star Search, but did not win, but came in second?

Last Week’s Question: What 1983 big-screen smash was hyped with the line: “Take your passion and make it happen”?

Answer: Flashdance

Flashdance was released in 1983, and was the 3rd highest grossing film of the year (behind Return of the Jedi and Terms of Endearment) by taking in almost $93 million.
Jennifer Beals starred as Alex Owens – a welder at a steel mill in Pittsburgh by day, and a dancer at a tavern by night. She wanted to become accepted by a prestigious dance school, the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory. During one of her performances at Mawby’s, the bar where she works, she attracts the attention of Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), who is her boss at the steel mill, and he soon learns that Alex is one of his employees.

Alex’s best friends also work at Mawby’s, and they have their own aspirations to fame. Jeanie Szabo (Sunny Johnson) is a waitress who aspires to be a professional ice skater, and Jeanie’s boyfriend Richie Blazik (Kyle T. Heffner) is a cook who wants to be a professional stand-up comedian.

Alex needs professional dance instruction, so she gets a dance teacher and mentor who is a retired ballet dancer – Hanna Long (Lilia Skala), who encourages Alex to pursue her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. After Jeanie falls twice while auditioning for an ice show, she loses confidence in herself and becomes a dancer at a strip club, where she performs in the nude, and Alex goes there to rescue Jeanie.

Alex and Nick become lovers, but she later learns that he has an ex-wife named Katie (Belinda Bauer), and they have a hostile encounter in a local restaurant. Nick uses his contacts at the Conservatory to secure an audition for Alex, and just before the audition she goes to Hanna’s house and learns that Hanna died the previous night.

At the audition, Alex falls at the beginning of her routine, but starts over and completes the routine successfully. In the final scene, Alex runs out of the Conservatory building with a smile on her face and is hugged by Nick, who gives her a bouquet of red roses.

The Music

“Flashdance… What a Feeling” was performed by Irene Cara, who also sang the title song for the similar 1980 film Fame. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as a Golden Globe and numerous other awards. It also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1983. Despite the song’s title, the word “Flashdance” is not used in the lyrics. The song is used in the opening title sequence of the film, and is the music used by Alex in her dance audition routine at the end of the film.

Another song used in the film, “Maniac”, was also nominated for an Academy Award. It made Michael Sembello a one-hit wonder.

Here is Irene Cara’s video for “Flashdance… What a Feeling”:

While that was a great song, and she had great success with “Fame”, here is my favorite song by Irene Cara – “The Dream (Hold On To Your Dream)”. This is from the movie D.C. Cab:

Footloose Remake is a go…again

The remake of the classic 1984 is on track to be made again, as the cast has been put together. Paramount Pictures said on Tuesday that Kenny Wormald, 25, who appeared in the MTV series DanceLife will play the role of Ren (made famous by Kevin Bacon). High School Musical star Zac Efron and Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford had both been attached to the remake but later dropped out. Thomas Dekker, who played John Connor in the excellent television show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, had recently been rumored to be in the running for the lead role. Dancing With the Stars champion and country singer Julianne Hough will play Ariel, and Dennis Quaid will play the role of Reverend Moore. Paramount said the planned release date for the movie was April 1, 2011.
Not only has there been a problem locking down an actor for the lead role, but there has also been issues with retaining directors. Hairspray director Adam Shankman and Kenny Ortega, who directed High School Musical, both dropped out. Now, Craig Brewer, who also directed Hustle & Flow will be directing the remake. Brewer said he had been a fan of Footloose, which features hit songs Let’s Hear It For the Boy and Holding Out for a Hero, since he was 13 years old.

“I can promise Footloose fans that I will be true to the spirit of the original film. But I still gotta put my own Southern grit into it and kick it into 2011,” Brewer said in a statement.

If only I had a dime for every ’80s remake – Arthur remake is in the works

I know the ’80s was the greatest decade ever, but what is with all the remakes lately?!? And to make matters worse is that Dudley Moore’s iconic character will be played by Russell Brand. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jennifer Garner and Nick Nolte are in talks to join the cast. Helen Mirren is also set to star in the movie.

Arthur is the story of a rich, happy drunk with no ambition. He is also an heir to a huge fortune, which he is told by his mother that will only be his if he marries a woman of her choosing. He does not love the woman, but she will make something of him the family expects. Arthur proposes to her, but then meets a poor girl who he falls in love with.

The original movie was a huge hit in 1981, and John Gielgud won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in his role as Arthur’s butler, Hobson. The film also earned another Academy Award for Best Original Song with “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” which was performed by Christopher Cross. There’s no truth to the rumor that Justin Bieber will remake the theme song for the new movie.

Here are some memorable quotes from the original movie:

Arthur: All I can tell you is, I wish I had a dime for every dime I had.

Susan: A real woman could stop you from drinking.
Arthur: It’d have to be a real BIG woman.

Susan: Arthur, will you take my hand?
Arthur: That would leave you with one!

Arthur: [while taking a bath] God, isn’t life wonderful, Hobson?
Hobson: Yes, Arthur, it is. Do your armpits.
Arthur: A hot bath is wonderful… Girls are WONDERFUL!
Hobson: Yes, imagine how wonderful a girl who bathes would be. Get dressed.

Hobson: Thrilling to meet you, Gloria.
Gloria: Hi.
Hobson: Yes… You obviously have a wonderful economy with words, Gloria. I look forward to your next syllable with great eagerness.

Arthur: It’s terribly small, tiny little country. Rhode Island could beat the crap out of it in a war. THAT’S how small it is.

Hobson: Would you remove your helmet, please?
Arthur: Why?
Hobson: Please.
[Arthur hands him his helmet]
Hobson: Thank you. Now your goggles.
Arthur: Why?
Hobson: Please.
[Arthur hands him his goggles]
Hobson: Thank you.
[slaps him across the face repeatedly]
Hobson: You spoiled little bastard! You’re a man who has everything, haven’t you, but that’s not enough. You feel unloved, Arthur, welcome to the world. Everyone is unloved. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself. And incidentally, I love you.

Hobson: I’ve taken the liberty of anticipating your condition. I have brought you orange juice, coffee, and aspirins. Or do you need to throw up?

Here is the original movie trailer:

So what are your thoughts? Is this remake going to be any good? Is it really necessary? Is anybody else annoyed with all the remakes recently? It costs around $10 a ticket for a movie now. You can probably buy the original movie for less than that, and watch it as much as you would like. And there’s a very good chance that the original is better anyway.
Or does anybody feel that the remakes are introducing a new audience to the stories we grew up with and loved?

The Karate Kid is the box office champ this weekend

It must have been my review!! The Karate Kid had a great weekend, grossing $56 million. It made more than twice as money than The A-Team, which came in second. The A-Team didn’t do bad either, making $26 million. It got very good reviews, so it should do well over the next few weeks.

Here is the article from Entertainment Weekly:

Who would have thought a 12-year-old descended from Hollywood royalty would be the summer box office savior? Such is the case as Jaden Smith and his starring role in The Karate Kid propelled the box office to 11 percent up from last year at this time, when everyone was talking The Hangover and Up. He also dominated over the macho A-Team, more than doubling the opening weekend gross of the ’80s television adaptation. In a summer that’s been primarily dominated by misfires, we’ll take the good news even if it means Mr. Jaden Smith is going to command quite a paycheck the next time he lands a starring role.

From director Harald Zwart, The Karate Kid grossed an estimated $56 million and earned an A grade from audiences, according to exit pollster CinemaScore. It seems not even the 2 hour and 20 minute run time thwarted moviegoers from the China-set underdog story. And with such a strong score from audiences, Karate Kid is now on track to become one of summer’s biggest hits. Don’t be surprised if this film with the $40 million budget grosses well over $200 million before the summer is over.

In contrast, The A-Team, earned $26 million for its opening frame. It’s not a terrible start, but it is well beneath expectations. Its solid B+ grade from audiences should help the film hold in throughout the upcoming weeks. That’s an outcome studio Twentieth Century Fox will be counting on. After a disappointment last weekend with Marmaduke, Fox needs both A-Team and the upcoming Knight & Day, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, to be hits.

Shrek Forever After is still holding in well. The Dreamworks Animation film earned another $15.8 million, 38 percent less than what it made last weekend. That puts the film’s cume at $210 million, a number that, while solid, will still likely end up far beneath any of the other Shrek releases.

In fourth place was holdover Get Him to the Greek which performed almost exactly like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the film where these lead characters originated. Earning another $10.1 million, the film dropped 43 percent for a total take of $36.5 million. The Ashton Kutcher-Katherine Heigl-starrer Killers also fell off less than 50 percent for a fifth place slot. The romantic actioner that’s been panned by critics grossed another $8 million, putting its total at $22.5 million.

Holdovers dominated the rest of the top ten with Prince of Persia grossing $6.5 million, a 53 percent drop that puts the film’s three-week gross at $72.3 million. Marmaduke took the seventh slot, falling 48 percent for its second session in theaters. The talking dog movie earned $6 million its second weekend in theaters for an anemic two-week gross of $22.2 million. Sex and the City 2 dropped 55 percent its third weekend, grossing another $5.5 million for a total cume of $84.7 million. It’s practically impossible for this sequel to match the original which earned $152 million two summers ago.

Iron Man 2 is on the verge of $300 million with an additional $4.5 million added to its coffers this weekend. And poor Splice rounded out the top ten with another $2.8 million for the well-reviewed but poorly received horror film. Losing more than 60 percent of its value its second weekend, the Warner Bros. release has only grossed $13 million after two weekends in release.

The Karate Kid in Theaters Today

One of the most anticipate movies of the summer comes out today – The Karate Kid. It stars Ralph Macchio, who was last seen in the awesome movie The Outsiders. In this movie, Macchio plays Daniel LaRusso, an Italian boy who just moved from New Jersey to California with his mother (Randee Heller). He has a difficult time adjusting to California life. But things appear to get better when he meets a high chool cheerleader, Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue in one of her first movie roles, may have a good career ahead of her). But as it turns out, her ex-boyfriend Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), is the best karate student at the Cobra Kai training school. Daniel gets bullied by Johnny and his fellow hoodlum students. After one of his beatings, Daniel is rescued by Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita – best know as Arnold from Happy Days), as Mr. Miyagi defeats all five Cobra Kai easily. Daniel asks Miyagi to be his teacher. Miyagi refuses, but agrees to go with Daniel to the Cobra Kai dojo in order to resolve the conflict. They confront the sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove), an ex-Special Forces Vietnam Veteran who sneers at the concepts of mercy and restraint.
Kreese and Miyagi agree to a match between Johnny and Daniel in two months’ time at the All Valley Karate Tournament.

Mr. Miyagi becomes Daniel’s teacher and a father figure. He begins Daniel’s training by having him perform laborious chores such as waxing cars, sanding a wooden floor, painting a fence, and refinishing Miyagi’s house.

Daniel becomes frustrated because he wants to learn how to fight. After a while Daniel becomes angry with Mr. Miyagi, then Miyagi throws several punches at Daniel. But, much to his own surprise Daniel is able to block all of the moves without think about it. By doing such particular chores as painting a fence, sanding a floor, and waxing a car (“Wax on. Wax off.”), he was really learning defensive moves.

As their bond grows, Daniel learns that Mr. Miyagi’s wife had died giving childbirth. So the loss of Daniel’s father, and the loss of Mr. Miyagi’s family strengthened their father-son relationship.

Daniel does well in the tournament, and comes face-to-face in the finals with Johnny. I don’t want to spill any spoilers about who won the match. But, I will say that a “Crane Kick” stance plays a factor.
I give this movie an A.

Here is the movie trailer:

A-Team in Theaters Today

Here is the movie review from Entertainment Weekly:

Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman | Jun 10, 2010

The A-Team, a testosterone-on-steroids big-screen blow-up of the popular schlock commando TV series of the mid-1980s, was not — repeat, not — produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Yet the picture might almost have been designed to make the Bruckheim-meister jealous. It’s arguable that he has never produced a movie that’s this jam-packed with bluster and noise, hurtling metal, preposterous hair-breadth escapes, eyeball-filling explosions, snark-under-pressure one-liners, and so-gung-ho-it’s-almost-nostalgic American ass-kickery.

The movie introduces its characters with witty comic-book touches, like slow-mo shots that reveal how the Mohawked B.A. Baracus (Quinton ”Rampage” Jackson) has ”Pity” and ”Fool” tattooed on his fists (he never actually says the words). For the next two hours, The A-Team rockets forward on little bits like that. The director, the cheerfully shameless and undeniably talented Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces), works hard for the money. One of Carnahan’s favorite tricks is to stage an elaborate chain reaction of an action sequence, the sort of thing that would have been a major piece of overkill in a movie like Con Air, and treat it as just one more casual movie moment — another sandwiched-in, throwaway thrill in a film that’s addicted to them. When Col. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson), the jaunty, cigar-chomping leader of the A-Team, plots out an operation to recapture a collection of top-secret American-currency printing plates that have been smuggled out of Iraq, the movie cross-cuts between two things: his explanation of the plan, complete with little models on a game board, and the actual carrying out of it — a speeding-truck chase sequence full of perfectly timed wisecracks and firepower. That overlap between planning and execution lends the sequence a breathless, leaping-forward quality, and that’s what the whole movie has. That’s the fun of The A-Team, and its limitation, too. The movie is such a relentless action windup toy that it’s never about anything but its own high-megaton ingenuity.

On TV, The A-Team was like The Dirty Dozen made prime-time clean, and the movie preserves that basic hero/outlaw go-USA wholesomeness, but crazies it up a little. The team itself, a squad of U.S. Army special-ops soldiers who are found guilty of a crime they didn’t commit and carry on anyway as good-guy renegades, are entirely one-dimensional characters, but they still pop on screen. Liam Neeson has reinvented himself as an action star, and he’s a natural at it: loose, funny, and physically imperious, a middle-aged bruiser who always looks like he’s enjoying himself immensely. Bradley Cooper, as Face, the group’s hotshot and lothario, has some fast, funny lines (as when he impersonates a British reporter to filch a TV babe’s ID card), but he grins so smugly that he looks like he’s just seen the grosses of The Hangover. Quinton Jackson, as B.A., is stuck updating an iconic yet anachronistic character (Mr. T played him like an angry action figure), and he’s a little innocuous, if likably quick. Sharlto Copley, the star of District 9, completes the quartet as the manic, meshugana Murdock; he’s like the missing unhinged Wilson brother, and very amusing when he impersonates Mel Gibson in Braveheart or breaks into perfect Swahili to talk his way past a customs gate.

The team tangles with a whole welter of antagonists and authority figures: Patrick Wilson as a CIA stooge; Jessica Biel as a frowning Defense Department officer who’s still in love with Face, her former flame; the excellent Brian Bloom as a mercenary gone very, very bad. The movie itself just keeps whizzing by — it’s entertainment on hyperdrive. Carnahan is obsessed with action logistics: dogfights and fistfights, last-minute rescues by missile attack, bullets fired through skyscraper windows at the exact right moment, the insane image of a tank plummeting to earth while dangling from a parachute. At times, it can all grow wearying, but Carnahan works in a way that’s much lighter than, say, Tony Scott. He really does see blowing stuff up as the ultimate extension of playing with toys. After all its tossed-off climaxes, The A-Team finally finishes with a real climax in which piles of colorful train cars get blown up as a ”diversionary” activity. But who’s kidding whom? The whole movie is a diversionary activity. It’s trash so compacted it glows. B+

That is a really good rating. Click here to see the movie trailer.

May 12, 1980: The Empire Strikes Back is released

30 years ago today, The Empire Strikes Back, one of the greatest sequels of all time was released as part of one of the greatest movie franchises of all time. It was the darkest movie of the original trilogy, but it is usually listed as the most popular of the Star Wars films among fans. The movie started 3 years after the destruction of the Death Star. Darth Vader was obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker, and tracked him along with the Rebel Alliance on the planet ice planet Hoth. While patrolling near the base, Luke is attacked and captured by an ice creature called a Wampa. The you see Luke use the force to free himself. He then saw a vision of his friend and mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi who told Luke to go to the Dagobah system to train to become a jedi under a Jedi Master called Yoda.

He is rescued by Han Solo, and it isn’t long before a great battle on Hoth begins. The rebels escaped from the evil empire, and Luke and R2-D2 go their separate ways from Han, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO.

We are introduced to one of the most popular characters of the franchise – Yoda. He was a green puppet who was voiced by Frank Oz.
While Yoda was training Luke, Darth Vader was looking for Luke’s friends to capture them and draw out Luke.

He blackmails another new popular character in Cloud City – Lando Calrissian, Han’s best friend, played by the smooth Billy Dee Williams – and is able to capture Han, Leia and Chewie.

Luke senses that his friends are in danger and leaves his training early, so that he can rescue them. As he is leaving, Obi-Wan and Yoda are talking, and Obi-Wan said, “That boy is our last hope.” And then Yoda replied with the bombshell – “No. There is another.”

Han is frozen in carbonite, so that Darth Vader could confirm that the freezing process worked before he tried it on Luke. Han survived, and was taken to gangster Jabba the Hutt by another new Star Wars character – Boba Fett, who is a fan favorite.

Luke and Darth Vader battle it out in a light saber duel. Vader cornered Luke, chopped off Luke’s hand, and then dropped another series bombshell by telling Luke that he was Luke’s father. And that he wanted Luke to join him to destroy the Emperor, and rule the galaxy as father and son. Rather than surrender, Luke jumped down the pit that he was standing over, and was eventually rescued by Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca. The movie ended with Lando and Chewie leaving to go find Han Solo.

Even though the movie was dark, with Han being captured, Luke getting his hand cut off, and C-3PO being shot into pieces (then being put back together), this is considered by many to be the best Star Wars movie.

At the time, people were wondering who Yoda was talking about when he said there was another. People were guessing that Princess Leia was Luke’s sister, but nobody knew for sure at the time. And nobody was certain if Darth Vader was really Luke’s father, or if he was just saying that to trick him.

We had to wait three long years for The Return of the Jedi, to come out. And then we finally found out that Luke and Leia were brother and sister (and forever scar you when you see them kiss in The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars. And we also found out that Darth Vader wasn’t lying, and was actually Luke and Leia’s father.

UPDATE: 5/24/10 – Check out The Empire Strikes Back Commentary
from the ForceCast