Debuting to the world in April 19th, 1987, thirty years later, The Simpsons has never been afraid to take a look back at their history and mock the absurdity of it all. While the show has been quite excellent in its formative years, back in 1990, the show reached the height of its popularity to where it had oodles of merchandise. There were dolls, shirts, comic books, books, video games, et al. and the show took the opportunity to mock that period back in the “Behind the Laughter” episode. In it the narrator looks at how obscene the merchandising for the show was to the point where the characters went so far as to release birth control and, yes, two cheesy hit novelty albums.
Hilariously enough in 1990, The Simpsons did release a “legitimate” music album named “The Simpsons Sing the Blues!”
Ellory Elkayem’s “Eight Legged Freaks” came out during a horrendous time. First it was a limited release, unleashed around the time another Spider oriented movie was breaking box office records, and it was released during a time where audiences were still bruised from 9/11 and weren’t too keen on welcoming horror comedies in to their lives quite yet. It’s a shame since “Eight Legged Freaks” is a pitch perfect horror comedy that celebrates everything from B movies, slasher movies, disaster movies, and the classic monster movies like “Them!” and “Mosquito.” Ellory Elkayem based a lot of “Eight Legged Freaks” on his short film “Larger Than Life,” which is very much in the spirit of what we see on the big screen. It is a black and white ode to the sixties monster movies with Elkayem conjuring up what’s so gross and icky about spiders. I originally saw “Larger than Life” on television in 2000 when it premiered on the short film television series “Exposure” on the Sci-Fi Channel here in America.
It’s been twenty years since “Batman & Robin” was unleashed in theaters, prompting a lot of folks that were there in 1997 to think back on what is easily one of the most unwatchable movies ever made. And I don’t mean unwatchable in that you can see it with a laugh, or unwatchable in that it hurts so good. I mean it’s unwatchable. The last time I popped in a Blu-Ray for “Batman & Robin” I had a very difficult time making it through the first half hour, and I admittedly shut the movie down right when Barbara finds the conveniently placed suit Alfred made for her.
1997 was a big year for me, and one of the most memorable of my life, it was a year of big movies, big music, and big changes and “Batman & Robin” is that movie that’s remembered for being so unbearably awful. What was once a childhood favorite is a movie that hasn’t aged well. At all. It’s putrid. But in honor of the twentieth anniversary of Joel Schumacher’s toy commercial, I thought I’d ponder on five questions the movie’s badly written script left me asking.
Not many directors are able to capture the “mania” in Beatles Mania, but director Ron Howard is not only able to capture how much the Beatles ruled the world, but how their influence continues to echo in new generations. “Eight Days A Week” isn’t so much about the entire story of The Beatles, but more about their tumultuous days following their debut in America and how hellish it was to perform live. The Beatles were so popular that performing live became too much of a burden for the “fab four.” The audience was so rabid, in fact, that they just stopped performing live altogether since the people in the crowd spent more time screaming and charging the stage than actually listening to the music they were performing.
Not many people know this, but both of my parents are hardcore fans of “The Honeymooners” and growing up I must have seen every episode of the Jackie Gleason sitcom at least a thousand times. I have every quote memorized, I remember every episode, and yes, I’ve even sat through the painfully unfunny, and boring “Lost” Episodes. I’ve also never seen the cinematic reboot with Cedric the Entertainer since, as a fan, I have to draw a line somewhere. In either case, 2016 marks the sixtieth anniversary of when Jackie Gleason voluntarily cancelled his sitcom “The Honeymooners” after thirty nine episodes.
The series lived on in syndication for decades after, becoming a cult classic and garnering an immense following of loyal fans. There was even at one time a convention for the fans of the series. “The Honeymooners” is a New York staple, and every single year the local TV station in New York (WPIX/Channel 11), plays a twenty four hour marathon of all thirty nine episodes. Since it’s been almost a hundred years since the show bowed out, I thought I’d list my top five favorite episodes of the series. It was not an easy feat, at all. With great pain, I had to omit a ton of great episodes in favor of this five, including “The Worry Wart,” “Trapped,” “A Matter of Record,” “Mama Loves Mambo,” and so many more.
In spite of that, these are the top five episodes of “The Honeymooners” that always stand out most for me. If you have never seen “The Honeymooners,” I highly suggest these five.
“Juvenile delinquency is the product of pent up frustrations, stored-up resentments and bottled-up fears. It is not the product of cartoons and captions. But the comics are a handy, obvious, uncomplicated scapegoat. If the adults who crusade against them would only get as steamed up over such basic causes of delinquency as parental ignorance, indifference, and cruelty, they might discover that comic books are no more a menace than Treasure Island or Jack the Giant Killer”.
I often describe “Creepshow 2” as a mean spirited sequel, but I think that’s why it stands apart from the original. And granted the original movie was also a bit mean spirited in and of itself, so I don’t know why I continuously give it such a label. The whole janitor and med student being eaten by the yeti in “Creepshow” just pour cruel, harsh deaths. Anyway, I love “Creepshow 2” and my re-watching it in its crisp restoration from Arrow Video confirmed that. There are a ton of movies I adored as a kid that just hasn’t held up very well, but “Creepshow 2” still maintains its inherent quality.
What puts you in the Holiday Spirit? What puts me in the Holiday Spirit? Honestly, as I grew up in and near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, some of my traditions are a tad different from those I live surrounded by now in Southern California. Growing up, every Holiday Season, some movies and TV shows were broadcast in Quebec for all of us to watch as an odd little community spread out over a huge, snowy territory.
Nowadays, these movies and TV shows help me get in the mood for the Holidays and as I am having a hard time getting in the Spirit this year, I figured I’d watch a bunch of them and share them with you all.
There are too many movies!
It’s unbelievable, but we’re in the tail end of 2016, and I didn’t even see most of the movies I fully intended to. And I also want to try to catch “Edge of Seventeen” and “Rogue One” before the beginning of 2017.
2016 was a rough year. It was a tough year. It was a weird year. It was hell most times. I suffered through summer, I lost a best friend I had for eighteen years, and I had to endure a ton of health problems. However, it wasn’t all bad.