Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quick Observation - Back To The Future III

Just watched Back To The Future Part III for the 100th time this morning and realized two things.

1.) Marty McFly's character suffers three major concussions in a matter of weeks (1. getting hit by the car in the first film; 2.) getting punched out by Biff's gang in the second film; and 3.) getting knocked out when he hits his head on a fence. I'm not sure what Marty's long term prognosis would be but if he was a football player, he'd probably be living today with seizures and tremors. This is ironic since Michael J. Fox actually does have Parkinson's disease....but that's probably a coincidence.

2.) When Marty comes to in the third movie, he sees an ancestor Maggie McFly who is played by Lea Thompson who plays his Mom in the trilogy. This always seemed normal to me because he always wakes up to some version of his Mom in the first two films but this one is weird. Follow me here:

- If her last name is McFly, then that means she is from Marty's DAD's side of the family.

- That means that someone who looks very much like Marty's Mom is an ancestor of Marty's Dad, George McFly.

- George McFly then mates with Lorraine, Marty's Mom, and they have Marty.

All of this means is that an ancestor of Marty's looks EXACTLY like Marty's Mom, who technically has no blood ties to the McFly name. Unless Lorraine is a third cousin or something.

I won't even get into the creepy fact that Maggie McFly's husband Shamus is played by Michael J. Fox. What if Marty heard them getting it on? How would you feel if you went back in time and you heard someone who looks exactly like your Mom having sex with someone who looks exactly like you?

These are the things that come into my head while watching movies sometimes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Saturday Night Randomness

I was digging through unfinished ideas that I started to write but gave up and come across this post I started a few weeks ago. Let's just say I gave up due to too much pumpkin ale. I'll just let the below speak for itself...


The Missus is away, I've been in lockdown mode all day, but as Sting once sang with the Police "Bring on the night...I couldn't stand another hour of daylight". Time for a running diary of me being on my own with a twelve pack of beer and about 200 music DVDs. The night started with a dinner out with the folks where I probably drank one too many pumpkin ale beers. It eased me right into an hours worth of Beatles Rock Band...but now its time to breeze through some random DVD's I have. My only self-imposed rule is that I can't play more than 15 minutes of a single DVD. Let's see how far I can go. In running order:

10:15pm - Let's start with a video collection I have called "New Wave Videos from the 1980's". If I only have 15 minutes, I can only play 3 videos. First up is Steppin' Out by Joe Jackson. The plot of the video is terrible. A maid at a hotel wishes she could live the good life of a wealthy person by pretending to wear said person's cocktail dress. Joe Jackson somehow goes from being a hotel guest with a piano in his room to lounge piano player. Again, this is the 1980's. I'll give somebody $5 if they can logically explain what happens in the last 25 seconds of this video.

10:20 - Let's go with "The Safety Dance" next. Good lord, I'm watching the end of the world. A guy with perfect hair, a midget rocking out to a ukelale, and a blonde haired woman on crack. Gotta love the Safety Dance move where one spells out the letter "S" midway through the video.

10:25: Last video here...Bananarama's "Cruel Summer". Sadly, there's no footage from Karate Kid (watch the soccer scene from that movie) but you get a nice pastiche of when overalls were on top of the fashion world. God, I love that guitar riff from the chorus and the bass riff during the mini breakdown part towards the end. These have to be worst car mechanics ever but I love shots of the classic NYC skyline. Also love the cop breaking it down at the end of the video.

First DVD switch: Moving on to another set of MTV videos I have called "Awesome Idols". Again , I can only choose three so I pick:

10:35 - Styx's "Mr. Roboto" - The song that pretty much destroyed Styx's career yet it was the one that got me somewhat into them. The first 50 seconds include a robot, an Elvis impersonator, and the band Styx...acting as robots. I love the expression of the blond haired guy in the can tell he knows he's in a terrible video. Cool robot moves through out though. I love Dennis DeYoung (the fro haired singer) but he defintely took the wrong colored pills when he made this video at the 3:40 mark.

10:45 Pat Benetar's "Love Is A Battlefield": I'm a sucker for 80's videos but I'm a HUGE sucker for 80's vidoes that include a dance sequence. This video is a close second to most Michael Jackson video's as well as Murray Head's "One Night In Bangkok" in terms of a great dance sequence. Not sure what the plot is other than Pat Benetar's character is upset with her home life. She also seems to like to dance with random men yet hate them at the same time all the time wearing a green dress. Prepare for 80's bliss at the 3:20 mark...I am mesmerized.

10:51 - Taking it down a notch here for "Hello" by Lionel Richie. Lionel is telling a handful of students about the author "Billy Boy". I love how the main theme of the song fades in and out during the beginning of the video...when does it really start? Anyway, Lionel's got a hard on for the blind student in his class. She's talented for a blind person though...she's smart, likes to talk acting, and likes to dance. Poor Lionel. I also have to say that this is one of the greatest acoustic guitar solos ever as well at the 3:30 mark. That has to be coolest head ever at the 4:38 mark too. I'm living in the wrong decade...time to switch DVD's.


As you can see, I never did change DVDs. So much for a running diary, I made it barely 45 minutes. Still, I ended up going to bed with an old episode of the Transfomers on the TV. Thank God I'm married because I'm afraid what I'd turn into if I did this every night I was by myself. Yeesh...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Great Movie Speeches - The Rock Biter

Of course, I wake up this Saturday morning with hundreds of things to do today and The Neverending Story is on. There goes my next 90 minutes of the day.

I've talked about this movie before but wanted to quickly give an ode to one of the more underrated speeches in movie history...The Rock Biter farewell speech.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Scary Movie Villains - Zoltar from "Big"

OK, so maybe Zoltar isn't too scary now but when the movie Big came out in 1988 my 11year old self was expecting a typical PG rated comedy. After all, Tom Hanks was well known to me at the time in my young life. He was very funny in the movie "The Money Pit" with the blonde lady from the TV show "Cheers" that was on WPIX almost every month. "Splash" was my first exposure to grainy nudity. He also was in that goofy show "Bosom Buddies" which at the time I had no idea what the premise of the show was about other than the fact that two guys seemed to want to dress up as women. Tom Hanks also had some coolness about him because he played raging alcoholic Uncle Ned in the show "Family Ties". Lastly, he was in a movie I wasn't allowed to see at the time..."Bachelor Party". That video rental box of that movie always caught my pre-teen eye...after all, there was nudity to be found in that movie....but I digress.

So anyway, Big starts and it seems like a good movie. Poor Josh can't go on the roller coaster to impress to the girl he likes because he's not "big" enough. Enter stage left, a mysterious machine that appears to grant Josh a wish to be "Big"...I give you Zoltar.

Zoltar didn't seem too scary at first...until Josh put the quarter in the machine and Zoltar's mouth started moving and its eyes lit up red. I tried to find a video clip of this scene but came up empty so I can only throw a few pictures of that scene up there. I think you get the gist of it.

Good lord look at that face! I used to scare easily as a kid (see an earlier post I did of movies that used to make me cry)so this broke me down pretty good within seconds. The music was pretty scary here too if I remember right. Zoltar only appears twice in the movie and is onscreen for less than 5 minutes but my nightmares lasted for months.

I guess in hindsight, Zoltar wasn't a bad guy. He granted wishes and Josh was all set to live to a happy and successful life if not for his best friend continuing to guilt him as he was turning his back on his old life.

Anyway, if I see a Zoltar machine today, I will definitely wish for a few extra zeroes added to my income but I'll also be a slightly afraid to look into his cold red eyes. I'd also make sure to see if he's plugged in or not.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Awesomely bad videos from the 80's - "Africa" by Toto

When I was 8 years old I moved from the town of West Bay Shore to the town of West Islip. Along with the demographics going from 40% white, 30% black, 20% hispanic, and 10% asian to 99.9% white/.01% every other race, I also discovered something new....cable TV.

Cable TV was rudimentary in the mid-80's. There weren't too many channels but I'll always have channel 25 burned into my brain until the day I die. That was the original channel number for least on Long Island. I'll also forever remember channel 26 but that's for another time. Anyway, before the days of MTV not playing a single video...they actually played videos. This is one of the first to go into heavy rotation and although the song is definitely dated, I'll admit its one of my favorites. Today, we take a look back at Toto's "Africa".

As in past video reviews, here is the video. Just follow along the time stamps for the highlights below it.

0:00 - 0:20 - Ah yes...those famous jungle beats and that little synthesizer rift. If you weren't ready for 80's music by the time this was released in 1982, then you were about to have it force fed to you by a spoon. We appear to see the largest globe ever created and then find ourselves in an old library.

0:22 - 0:35 - Toto had three main singers...this is one of them. I don't any of their names but I called this guy "full blown neck beard" guy. The woman in the background looks a little like the girl running around the "Hungry Like The Wolf" video by Duran Duran but I don't think that's ever been confirmed.

0:37 - Full blown neck beard guy is a little overweight for your typical rock star back in the day and you can tell by the fact that he's sweating at this point in the video.

0:43 - I love in every music video, they always try and include clips of the band player. Toto had a ton of members so its hard to work them in but they do their best here. The first shot of the drummer playing a bongo with drumsticks is awesome...but that awesomeness is surpassed by the drummer's glasses.

0:52 - Another band member...he's also a singer as you'll see shortly. He's a dead ringer for the Blue Oyster Cult guitarist but I think its because they have the best mustaches other than Ron Jeremy. He's playing some kind of wicker maracas that probably don't produce a sound in real life but looks neat here.

0:57 - I love this guy...the keyboard player. He's actually the brother of the drummer...if you can't tell by their somewhat similar looks then you'd definitely know because he also is rocking huge glasses.

1:02 - I'm not sure what library uses a kerosene lamp.

1:04 - Its the lead guitar player and half of the bass player!

1:11 - The first group shot of the band. I think they blew 90% of the video's budget to make it look they were playing on a giant stack of books.

1:16 - I'll talk more about this later but I don't know anybody that plays the bass guitar and holds it up that high. Its almost parallel to his body. I'm taking my technical music hat off now.

1:26 - There's the bass guy getting his solo moment. Again, it looks like he's playing the bass over his head.

1:35 - Love the gong hit.

1:42 - 1:56 - I can't tell what kind of library this is. There seems to be leaves on the ground and torches going on in the background. Maybe the library is supposed to actually be in a African jungle.

1:58 - 2:00 - Out of the hundreds of thousands of songs written, I give you the only one that uses the words "Kilimanjaro" and "Serengeti" the same line. I find this awesome.

2:18 - One of the other lead singers of Toto...the wicker maracas playing guy rocking the mustache. I love his face getting into it.

2:33 - Another sign the 1980's were here...wrist sweatbands for the keyboard player.

2:40 - 2:47 - There seems to be some sort of plot going on here. The neck beard guy has a scrap of paper and he seems intent on finding the book it belongs too. Meanwhile the librarian seems to be getting sweaty and there's a guy with a spear lurking.

2:50 - And so begins the most deliciously awful keyboard solo of 1982.

3:02 - Well hello there Mr. Percussionist of the band!

3:10 - 3:20 - It seems our hero is getting too close to finding his book because someone throws a spear, though it doesn't seem to come anywhere close of hitting him. It does lead to a huge stack of books to fall. IT would have been funny if it was the stack that Toto was playing on.

3:24 - I love these few shots before the end. Imagine going to a library, you take a book off the shelf, and there's a long haired mullet guy playing a guitar at you.

3:33 - Hey, its the page the protagonist has been looking for!

3:36 - This shot scared me when I was younger. This guy is super intense.

3:39 - Oops, someone drops the kerosene lamp on the book and it goes up in flames in two seconds.

3:42 - As much as the guy at the 3:36 mark scared me as a kid...this guy's expression scares me more as an adult.

3:48 - 4:06 - A bunch of shots are recycled...probably because Toto blew the budget on the book illusion.

4:17 - The main guy appears to be posing for Africa's version of Playgirl.

4:20 - end - Cut to the book burning and then fade to black...

Well, there you have it. Not a great song or video when you look at them by themselves but when you put the two have classic 1980's bliss.