You may have seen this elsewhere, but I'm going to post it anyway
A nine minute musical number from the 1988 Oscars featuring the then brightest stars of the future. You will see Patrick Dempsey (dancing with his then stepson Corey Parker), Corey Feldman, Keith Coogan, Christian Slater, Ricki Lake and many others. Even a few candidates for "What Ever Happened To" stories.
The biggest surprise, Melora Hardin, Jan from THE OFFICE. I had no idea she has been around since the 80's. In fact, checking her credits, she was in IRON EAGLE (???), SOUL MAN, and in TV shows since the 1970's.
Why can't the Oscars be like this again?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
You may have seen this elsewhere, but I'm going to post it anyway
Posted by TALKING MOVIEzzz at 9:16 PM
Monday, August 25, 2008
Quick, what is the zip code for Boston?
If you answered by singing “0-2-1-3-4” you probably grew up watching ZOOM.
ZOOM was the PBS kid’s show that aired throughout the 70’s.
It began in 1972 from WGBH Boston. Made up of a cast of 7 kids that all wore striped shirts, commonly known as rugby shirts, but I will always know them as Zoom shirts. The cast changed each season. (They would all be candidates for my “What Ever Happened To” series, but for just about everyone, it was their only acting gig).
Each episode would have them singing, doing skits, and even discussing different topics. There was a sort of intelligence to the show that isn’t there today. It was about creativity, and not a mindless commercial for products (even though I did have the Zoom book and soundtrack album).
There was the ubbi-dubbi language, which I won’t even try to explain or speak in. I was never very good at that.
In researching this, I was a bit surprised to see that the final season of the series was the 1977/1978 season was one of my favorite seasons.
They would air episodes from all the season for a few years after, and I kept hoping for the season with Carolyn and Nicholas.
The thing I liked most about it was the music. Each episode ended usually with the cast singing some Broadway song. When they sang “Everybody Rejoice (Can You Feel A Brand New Day)” from THE WIZ, it became a favorite song. I think I first heard their rendition of “Octopus’s Garden” before the Beatles.
One song they sang has stayed with me.
“I am a city child / I live on the tip top floor / of an old apartment building / with a very creaky door”
I STILL can’t get this song out of my head. Living in the city, I'll often see an "old apartment building" and start singing.
ZOOM disappeared in the early 80’s. In the mid 90’s, they tried to revive it. A new version (which I never saw) aired from 1999-2005.
Back in the 90’s, PBS released a VHS tape (ZOOM: BEST OF THE 70's) of some of the best moments from the show, along with complete opening credits for all seasons. Because of music rights, it doesn’t have most of their musical numbers, but is a fun reminder of what the show was like. As I write this, the tape is STILL in print and available on Amazon!! Kind of surprised by that. But where is the DVD?
EDIT: I wrote the above on Wednesday 8-20. On 8-21, TV Shows On DVD announced that in October, WGBH will be releasing ZOOM BACK TO THE 70's on DVD!!! It runs two hours, so it will have more material than what is on the BEST OF THE 70's VHS.
I wish things like this would happen with more of these FORGOTTEN TV entries.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Several years ago, when the special edition of HEATHERS was first released on DVD, it was offered with several different covers. Each character from the film had their own cover. When it came time for me to buy a version, there was really no question about which one I wanted, Kim Walker.
Kim played the lead Heather, Heather Chandler. As much as I loved Winona Ryder in that film, Kim Walker was the real star of the film for me.
She attended the High School for Performing Arts in New York before going to L.A. There was some TV parts (CRIME STORY and TV 101) before her first, and still best, film HEATHERS.
Most of her lines are unprintable here. I can probably get away with “Such a pillowcase”, or “Transfer to Washington. Transfer to Jefferson. No one at Westerberg is going to be playing any of your reindeer games”.
But her most famous quote? The one about the chainsaw? Here’s a clip
She was so great in that film.
Kim also had a small, but memorable role in SAY ANYTHING.
Seen at a party, I always wondered if her role ended up on the cutting room floor. She commands her one scene, like we are supposed to know her, and then disappears. I thought she would have been a better lead than Ione Skye.
In 1989 she also appeared in the TV film THE PREPPIE MURDER, the true story about the New York killer.
Despite being a fan of her at the time, and a fan of the original film, I never saw an episode of the TV series THE OUTSIDERS that aired in 1990. She played Cherry Valance, Diane Lane’s role from the film. That only lasted one season.
There was an episode of HUNTER, THE JULIE SHOW (an attempt to translate Julie Brown’s great MTV series JUST SAY JULIE to network), the pilot episodes of PICKET FENCES, MATLOCK and THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY.
She starred in a few more films, NERVOUS TICKS (which I have to admit I never even heard of even though it starred Julie Brown and Bill Pullman). And in 1994, THE FAVOR was released. Made in 1991 (but kept on the shelf due to problems at Orion), Kim had a blink or you’ll miss it part (although funny) at a lamaze class.
One of her last acting roles was in 1995’s A REASON TO BELIEVE. This very serious film about date rape on a college campus starred Allison Smith, Jay Underwood and Keith Coogan.
There were a couple more films, that don’t appear to have been given much if any release.
So, What Ever Happened To Her?
In 2000, during the making of her last film, KILLING CINDERELLA, according to internet reports, Kim collapsed on the set. It was then determined that she had a brain tumor.
On March 6, 2001, Kim passed away at home.
She is buried in Farmingdale, New York at Pinelawn Memorial Park.
In many ways this seems like a sick joke. After all, one of Kim’s most quoted lines in HEATHERS was “Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?” Sadly, it isn’t a joke.
The documentary on the DVD was dedicated to her, although they didn’t talk about what happened to her.
I was always waiting for Kim to have her big break. I thought she should have become bigger after HEATHERS. While Ryder and Slater went on to become stars, she acted in smaller projects.
Still, her performance as Heather Chandler won’t be forgotten.
Monday, August 18, 2008
If you only know Juliana Hatfield for her mid-90’s hit “My Sister”, or “Spin the Bottle” from REALITY BITES, or her appearance on MY SO-CALLED LIFE, you have been missing out.
Since that period, she has continued to be a very prolific singer / songwriter / performer (and even blogger), turning out an album or so a year. And, she has remained my favorite artist.
Her latest album is HOW TO WALK AWAY. She is releasing this through her own label, Ye Olde Records.
It is one of her best.
Like many artists, she has mellowed a bit since the loud and angry 1997 CD BED (which along with the still unreleased GOD’S FOOT are my favorite of hers). This is a quieter album, beautifully produced by Andy Chase of Ivy.
Standouts on the album are the first single “This Lonely Love” (which samples her own “It Should Have Been You” from IN EXILE DEO) and “Remember November” co written with her brother Jason Hatfield, a fine musician of his own.
But the song that may make it into the greatest songs she has ever recorded is “So Alone”. I could listen to this one on endless repeat for days, it is that good.
To say these songs are the standouts isn’t saying the other ones aren’t very good as well. The thing about Juliana’s music is that the songs stay with you. They aren’t just listen to once and then forget. There is no such thing as “filler” on one of her albums. I often find myself having a new favorite every time I listen to it.
Check back with me in a couple months. I’m sure I’ll still be listening to it and have new favorites.
The CD, releasing this Tuesday, is available at Amazon, iTunes, or from Juliana’s website. There, you can also order it with a 20 song limited edition CD of demos that is equally as good.
However you buy it, do pick this up. It is the CD of the year.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Dirk Benedict had such success in the 1980’s that you often forget that you haven’t seen him in much recently.
He got into acting accidentally, accepting a dare in college to try out for a production of SHOWBOAT. He got the part, and continued with it.
Dirk made his film debut in a 1972 film called GEORGIA, GEORGIA (which was written by Maya Angelou) and starring in the killer snake film SSSSSSS.
He quickly moved into starring in a network series, CHOPPER ONE, a series about a helicopter that ran on ABC for one season in 1974.
There were supporting roles in TV series like HAWAII FIVE O and CHARLIE’S ANGELS before the role that some still know him best as.
Starbuck on the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Who could forget him as the wisecracking, cigar chomping pilot.
What I still have trouble realizing is that the show, while very popular if you were a certain age, only lasted 21 episodes, from 1978 to 1979. With all the toys I bought you would have thought I could have financed another season.
There were a few more films, SCAVENGER HUNT which seemed to always be on cable in the early days. He starred in FOLLOW THAT CAR and UNDERGROUND ACES.
In 1981, he made a film called RUCKUS with Ben Johnson and Linda Blair. A favorite of mine on cable, this told pretty much the same story as Stallone’s FIRST BLOOD about a Viet Nam vet returning home and taking on an entire town. Only, it was made before. (NOTE: I was just surprised to find out the DVD of RUCKUS is now out of print and going for $175 on Amazon. Worth looking for as it contains a great commentary with the director, Dirk and Blair).
Dirk starred in a few more TV movies and episodic guest starring roles until 1983 when he got another of his iconic roles.
THE A-TEAM where he played FACE. Those fans of his who remembered him as Starbuck were now able to see him in another role, making him a favorite actor for many.
This series ran from 1983 to 1987, longer than GALACTICA. But it would also prove to be one of the last major roles of his career.
Most of his following work consisted of more guest stints on shows (from BAYWATCH and THE COMMISH to MURDER SHE WROTE and WALKER TEXAS RANGER). He starred in a few films (most notably 1996’s ALASKA), but most of them had little if any release.
So What Ever Happened To Him?
Dirk’s behind the scenes life seems to have been even more interesting than his feature film roles.
In 1974 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Rather than doing the treatment the doctor suggested, he switched to a macrobiotic diet that was introduced to him by Gloria Swanson, who he was starring in a Broadway production of BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE with. He claims that this cured the cancer.
Dirk has written two books. CONFESSIONS OF A KAMIKAZE COWBOY tells the story of his career and macriobotic diet. The second, AND THEN WE WENT FISHING, is a more personal family story.
He also hasn’t finished his work on the screen. He wrote and directed the 2001 film CAHOOTS (starring Keith Carradine, David Keith, Wendie Malick and Janet Gunn). It doesn’t appear that the film made it out of the film festival circuit as it isn’t on DVD.
He appeared in this very funny 2006 YouTube in video as himself:
And while it didn’t air in the US, he appeared on the 2007 UK version of CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER, sharing the house with Jermaine Jackson among others. He came in third.
So, he has kept busy over the years. While his film work hasn’t quite gotten the exposure that his earlier work did, it is good to see he is still out there.
EDIT 5-18-10: In a 2010 interview, Dirk claimed that no one took him seriously after THE A-TEAM. Despite having fun making it, the show was thought of as "stupid" and none of the cast members really got much work after.
Instead, he concentrated on being a father full time, raising his kids in Montana.
Today, he is on stage in the UK.
Friday, August 08, 2008
1965's THE SLENDER THREAD may not be completely forgotten by some, yet even though it has been on my "To See" list for years, only recently did it turn up on TV.
Sidney Poitier plays a college student. Wanting to study for a final, he goes to his volunteer job at a Crisis Hotline. He expects a quiet night. His boss, Telly Savales, has even left since he doesn't expect anything either.
Then, he gets a call from a woman (Anne Bancroft). She has just taken pills and has less than an hour to live. Poitier has to keep her talking while the police track her down. He gets her to tell the story of what led her to this act (which is told in flashbacks).
Written by Stirling Silliphant, THE SLENDER THREAD is probably best known today as the feature film debut of Sydney Pollack. It is a fairly solid debut as well. Pollack uses to Seattle locations extremely well. It opens with an aerial shot of the city, slowly zooming down to where each character is located while Quincy Jones' score plays on the soundtrack. There are several suspenseful sequences where Pollack's camera follows the various phone calls back and forth between the police and the fire departments being dispatched to try and track down Bancroft.
The supporting cast includes Steven Hill, Edward Asner, even a mustache-free Dabney Coleman.
I'd say this would be a good candidate for a remake, only with today's technology, it is pretty much outdated. In one long sequence, they are attempting to trace the phone call being made. This actually requires people running down corridors of phone wires, tapping into different ones, driving to other switchboard locations to find the correct number. Today, with CALLER ID, it would be done right away.
Released by Paramount, THE SLENDER THREAD was available on VHS but has still not made it to DVD. Turner Classic Movies showed a letterboxed black and white print that looked very good. It is worth a release on DVD.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Like films and TV, the music video was an artform that was popular in the 1980’s. It is essentially extinct today, with music videos relegated to Youtube or iTunes.
Back then, MTV spent 24 hours a day playing them. “All day every day” as they used to proclaim.
While a few stars came from music videos (Courtney Cox in the “Dancing in the Dark” video is the best example, and Gina Gershon appeared in an early Cars video), the rest of the people in these videos were and still are anonymous. There is no IMDB.com to list the credits of music videos.
So, I got to thinking, what ever happened to these music video stars. Or, an even better question, just who were they?
I thought I would look back at some of the more memorable music videos
“Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band - I think it is safe to say this will always be my favorite music video. It was the first video I ever saw. And, as far as impact goes, I don’t think this will ever be duplicated. It was ALL that was talked about in 4th grade. The song was HUGE. So, who were all the anonymous girls dancing in the background? What are they doing today? One looks like Martha Quinn. It wasn’t. Another looks like Lucinda Dickey. I don’t think it is her. They are all part of music video history, but no one knows their name.
“Jenny 867-5309” by Tommy Tutone - Almost as important as “Centerfold” I spent hours watching MTV waiting for this video. What is Jenny doing today? Who was she? Do people get residuals for appearing in music videos?
“Legs” by ZZ TOP - The ZZ Top girls were always popular. Some people may prefer the video for “Gimme All Your Lovin” but the video for “Legs” was more popular. Before all the makeover TV shows, this can be seen as the original. Is the girl still with the guy? Did the makeover work?
“Boys of Summer” by Don Henley - The video for “Boys of Summer” was hugely popular. Beautifully photographed in black and white, it swept the MTV Video Awards (back when they mattered). A case could be made to list the volleyball guys in this, but what about the girl on the bed, watching TV? What is she doing today?
“Heaven” by Bryan Adams - With his album RECKLESS, Bryan Adams took the video format in a different direction. He made a series of videos all tied in together. They all featured the same girl, and his relationship with her. In “Summer of 69”, it covered their meeting at a drive-in. Then came “Heaven” where she sees him in concert, and wishes she was with him. The video ends with Bryan running after her, only to find the doors locked and it snowing outside. “Run to You” continued from their. Same girl in every video.
“Your Love” by The Outfield - I never really appreciated the band The Outfield back in the day. They were on the radio so much, I was kind of sick of them. Looking back, they were on the radio so much because they were actually pretty good. The video for “Your Love” had the band performing while a girl (who looks like E.G. Daily, but isn’t) painted in the audience. The shot I absolutely loved in the video was the end, as she leaves the hall and walks down the street. As she rounds a corner, the setting sun gives a shadow to her.
“Walk on Water” by Eddie Money - This was one in a series of people looking at the camera and yelling videos, but the one thing about it that always got to me is “Who is that girl?” She looks very familiar, like a model, like Paulina Portizkova, but she isn’t.
“My Heart Can't Tell You No” by Rod Stewart - Like Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart had a series of videos telling a continual story. This time, his jealousy of woman in a club where he is a bartender. Same actress in both videos.
“Should’ve Known Better” by Richard Marx - Marx I guess can be thought of as the John Mayer of the 1980’s, only with better music. Every girl was in love with him, even with the mullet. The girl in this video I always thought looked familiar. At one point I thought it was Sheryl Lee of TWIN PEAKS. It wasn’t.
“Free Fallin” by Tom Petty - Petty really came of age in the MTV era. I could have also included “Alice” from “Don’t Come Around Here No More” but “Free Fallin” I thought was a better video. Following a girl in three eras.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
With PINEAPPLE EXPRESS opening this week, I decided to look back at my favorite artist from the 1980's, who is singing the theme song, Huey Lewis.
In the 1980’s, I guess we are all supposed to say we were big fans of the Replacements, or X, or some other “hip” group.
My favorite band was Huey Lewis and the News.
They were pretty much all I listened to for the second half of the decade. I may have listened to the radio as well, but when it came to my tape collection, it was pretty much all Huey.
Like many others, I discovered the band through their SPORTS album. Listening to it today, it is essentially a greatest hits album as just about every song on it was released as a single. “Heart of Rock N Roll”, “I Want A New Drug”, “If This Is It”, and “Heart and Soul” were big hits. Even “Walking on a Thin Line” and “Bad is Bad” got some airplay.
I would obsessively listen to one song on the album. Maybe it was because it wasn’t a single but “You Crack Me Up” was always a favorite. I remember being on vacation in the summer of 1985, and being by the water listening to that song, rewinding it, and listening to it again and again. I spent so much time listing to it there that just a few weeks ago, I was at the same place, right by the water, and the song came back to me.
This was also the summer of BACK TO THE FUTURE, with “Power of Love” on the radio. Huey’s cameo (“I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud”) was of course one of my favorite moments of the film.
I think you can also name "Back in Time" as their best video, made up of bloopers from their previous videos.
After wearing out SPORTS, I went back and listened to their earlier stuff. This is something fans of his really should do if they haven’t since, arguably, their first two albums are just as good, possibly better than SPORTS.
PICTURE THIS was their second album. It featured “Do You Believe in Love” which is a great song no matter how many times you hear it. “Workin for a Livin” is also on the album.
“Change of Heart is the biggest discovery on this album. Great song. “Is It Me” and “The Only One” are songs that deserve to be played as much as anything on SPORTS.
Right there, you have two great CDs. What I wasn’t quite prepared for was the first, self titled debut album, of which you probably don’t know any songs. It is another fun one.
“Some of My Lies Are True”, “I Want You”, “Don’t Ever Tell Me That You Love Me”. “Hearts”, “Who Cares?” and “If You Really Love Me You’ll Let Me”. Again, they are as catchy as anything on SPORTS. Yet no one heard them. “Trouble In Paradise” was rerecorded for the USA FOR AFRICA album.
By this time, I was a huge fan and the release of a new tape was like the release of a new James Bond film, a big event. I got them all on release day.
1986’s FORE had a big hit with “Jacob’s Ladder”, along with “Stuck With You”, “Doing It All For My Baby” and “Hip To Be Square”. I was always partial to “I Never Walk Alone”.
The videos also got to be bigger things. While “Jacob’s Ladder” was a simple live performance, both the videos for “Stuck With You” (featuring Huey and a girl on a desert island) and “Doing it All For My Baby” (in a mad scientists lab) were big productions, with dialogue (showing that Huey may have wanted to go into acting from early on). They each even had their own “Making Of” videos of the band creating the video. I have to admit though I never really cared for the extreme close ups of the “Hip To Be Square” video.
In 1988, SMALL WORLD was released. “Perfect World” had been the single before the album came out, and a good one at that. I was on vacation the day the tape was released, and I remember getting off I-95 to go to a mall in Virginia to pick it up on release day. It was an odd mix for the band, more of a jazz album. There were even a few instrumental songs.
But, “Perfect World” would turn out to be the only hit single. They tried to release “Gimme the Keys” as a single. It didn’t go anywhere. I saw a clip of the video on Entertainment Tonight. I never saw the full video until YouTube came along.
The album had a few really good songs. “Old Antones” was a zydeco number and “Better Be True” might be my favorite.
One good thing about the album, it was during the tour of this that I first got to see them in concert.
I had wanted to see them during SPORTS, they came to my little town’s Civic Center. However my mom said “Oh no. There may be drugs there!”.
I know, I couldn’t believe it either.
Cut to a few years later, when I’m away at college, she lets my younger sister go to see a RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS / JANE’S ADDICTION show at the same place.
I’ve never gotten over this.
Anyway, seeing them in concert was a bit disappointing, at a packed amusement park, standing far far away. They were saying this was supposed to be a big event, a three hour concert where they played songs through their whole career. Instead, due to a concert at the park that night by Stevie Ray Vaughn, it was a short concert. Oh well. I haven’t seen him live since.
In late 1990, Huey released a still to this day underrated single “Couple Days Off”. It was a sequel of sorts to "Workin for a Livin" Once again, I became obsessed with it. In college, without a proper stereo, I recorded it off by walkman speakers onto a micro-cassette to listen to until in January of 1991 the CD was released.
The CD, HARD AT PLAY, can probably be named as the last Huey Lewis and the News CD. “Couple Days Off” is probably the only known song from it, but they kind of screwed up. While the song was still on the charts, they sold the rights to a Budweiser commercial (who was sponsoring their tour). Radio stations didn’t play it, not wanting to tie into the ads and airplay pretty much stopped. They made a video for “It Hit Me Like A Hammer” but no one saw it. The CD is still pretty good, with “Don’t Look Back” and “Time Ain’t Money” worth listening to.
At this point, Huey began his acting career, with his role in 1993’s SHORT CUTS. Maybe he had given up the music, because his next album, 1994’s FOUR CHORDS AND SEVEN YEARS AGO, was a cover album of 1950’s R&B. Fine album, but it kind of played to his stereotype.
Bobcat Goldthwait used to have a joke in his act “If you see Huey Lewis walking down the street, do you say “Hey, is that America’s leading rock star” No, you say “Uh, is that a friend of my dad’s?” Since he was singing your dad’s music, he had finally crossed the line.
And that was pretty much it for music. Huey made some B movies (most notably DUETS which really wasn’t bad and featured a very nice duet with Gwyneth Paltrow), and appeared on TV shows.
There was a comeback attempt with 2001’s PLAN B, an album I listened to once and then put aside.
Will PINEAPPLE EXPRESS bring him back? I hope so, even though I can’t say I love the song as much as his earlier work.
Still, those early albums were some of my favorites. I can’t imagine the 1980’s without Huey Lewis and the News.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Living in the Northeast, we really don't have that much of a connection with the stars of Old Hollywood. That is except for one notable exception.
In 2009, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center will be opening in Old Saybrook CT, where she lived for many years.
To get ready for this, they have launched a daily blog. It is filled with lots of great information about her and the plans for the Center.
Be sure to visit, subscribe, and donate if you can.
Posted by TALKING MOVIEzzz at 5:50 PM