Over at Cult Film Club last week, we covered the classic 1986 BMX movie Rad (which, by the way, has managed in just a few days to become one of the most downloaded episodes we’ve ever recorded) and, weirdly, I’m starting to see references to the movie pop up everywhere.
For example, take the recently-released 1980s nostalgia bombPing Pong Summer, whose main character’s name is Rad Miracle. Rad. Fucking. Miracle! Though lacking any sweet BMX action (sadly), the nod to Rad is clear. It’s even more apparent when his friend Teddy calls him “Radical Miracle,” which, if you can recall, is what Cru Jones said it would take to beat Bart Taylor at Helltrack.
Then the other night, I watched a hilarious movie from 2013 called Coffee Town on recommendation from Twitter. If “Radical Miracle” is too subtle a reference, then behold this GLORIOUS re-creation of the infamous bike dancing scene:
And I quote: “Ecstasy is awesome. I don’t know what it looked like on that dance floor, but I know what it felt like–like the dance scene in the 1986 movie ‘Rad’, when love could only be expressed with BMX freestyle.”
Honestly though, I’ve found slow-motion bike dancing to be appropriate for most life situations, so this wasn’t really a revelation.
What does surprise me, however, is the response I’ve been seeing to everything Rad-related. With no official DVD or Blu-Ray release in sight and crappy VHS transfer bootlegs as the only means to watch the film, it’s a radical miracle the fandom has remained so strong over the past three decades. Rad rarely gets mentioned in the same breath as iconic 80s sportsploitation flicks like Karate Kid, but perhaps its time.
If you’re a fan of the movie Rad and want to know what actor Bill Allen (who of course played the leading role of Cru Jones) has been up to lately, as well as get a never-before-seen glimpse into the making of the film, you’ll want to check out his new book “My Rad Career”, which you can purchase directly from Bill Allen’s website. My boyfriend Shawn, who’s the biggest Rad obsessed fan I know, also wrote a great book review which you can check out here.
As someone who’s lived my entire life in Baltimore and spent the many summers of my 1980′s youth in Ocean City, Maryland, I kind of feel like it’s my civic duty to spread the word about Ping Pong Summer, a new indie film out this weekend. Filmed entirely on location in Ocean City and set in the year 1985, the film is director Michael Tully’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale of awkward family vacations, nerdy friendships, bullying, puppy love, rejection, and yes, ping pong.
While Ping Pong Summer does have a plot, it’s not exactly original. Think Karate Kid, except replace karate with ping pong. Pretty much everything you need to know about it you can learn by watching the trailer:
The plot, however, is not why I was drawn to this movie. I first heard about it on my morning commute (which is generally terrible and the bane of my existence) when Michael Tully gave a brief interview for local news station W-BAL. By 6:30 PM, my ass was parked in a cushy seat at the AMC in Owings Mills–a good 45 minutes out of my way, but one of the only two theaters showing this very limited release. I invited my older sister, who is probably the most ideal person I could have picked to watch this movie with, having shared many awkward family vacations to Ocean City of our own. If anyone understands the soul-crushing disappointment of having to “stay bayside”, or the sheer mortification of unexpectedly seeing the exposed crotches of close relatives, it’s her.
Though it stars a cast of mostly unknowns, the movie does include a few recognizable faces like Susan Sarandon and Lea Thompson, who get top billing despite not having much screen time. Newcomer Marcello Conte who plays the ridiculously named main character Rad Miracle (just go with it, ok?) seemed a good fit for the kind of shy, awkwardness most nerdy teenage boys seem to exhibit. His interactions with new best friend Teddy Fryy (Myles Massey, another unknown actor) were especially fun to watch, being both innocently funny and oddly uncomfortable. (Sidebar: I nearly shit my pants when the Miami Connection song “Friends Forever” started playing over a montage between these two.)
There was also a healthy dose of bullying and humiliation, provided by a couple of Ocean City native douchebros named Lyle (Joseph McCaughtry) and his sidekick Dale (Andy Riddle), a scene-stealer who provided some pretty memorable quotes (“Inseminate him!”) because he apparently doesn’t understand what certain words mean. Also, what is it about guys with flaming red hair that makes me want to instantly punch them in the face?
Ping Pong Summer is full of the types of cringe-worthy moments you probably experienced growing up, from finding out you’re dressed like a total dork to overhearing your parents have sex. With some of the strangest dialog I’ve ever heard, there’s something almost endearingly “off” about this movie, in the same way that Napoleon Dynamite is “off” and yet completely awesome at the same time. I should have expected as much with Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy) in the cast.
The delivery of completely WTF lines by a cast of weirdo characters (“Crush his nads off!”) had me laughing uncontrollably at times, and at others wishing I could press rewind on my top-loading VCR to comprehend what I had just heard. After a couple of these moments, I gave up trying to understand what kind of movie this was and just embraced the delicious absurdity of it all. Breakdancing while playing ping pong? Penis sculptures made from seashells? Yeah, this movie’s got that.
Tully did a great job with what I imagine was a limited budget making me feel as if I were actually back in the 80′s. Clever set dressing and perfect costume choices, like t-shirts that could ONLY have come from local places around Maryland as it existed three decades ago. Did he dig that Hammerjacks t-shirt out of a time capsule or what!? And did I just see a Deloreon??
Much of the movie plays like a living postcard of Ocean City, a love letter that highlights many of the famous landmarks that dot the ten mile-long stretch of Maryland’s only beach. If you’re from around these parts, it’s hard not to watch this movie while excitedly pointing out all the things you’ll recognize, like The Carousel, Old Pro Golf, the Paul Revere Smorgasbord at the infamous Plim Plaza Hotel, and Dumsers Drive-In. I was especially happy to see the Tidal Wave at Trimper’s amusement park, a roller coaster that I’ve ridden more times than I can count. Some places, like the gloriously tacky OC Gallery, still look the same today. At the same time, it also made me a little sad for all those places in Ocean City that have long since disappeared, like Alaska Stand, the Wax Museum, and the old haunted house at the end of the boardwalk.
Though it certainly won’t win any awards, I can totally see Ping Pong Summer becoming a cult classic, especially for Maryland natives. The John Waters force is pretty strong within us, and Tully seems to have followed Waters’ example of making a movie that directly appeals to the local culture, perhaps most exemplary during the scene when a pile of hot steamed crabs spills out ceremoniously over a newspaper-covered picnic table while overly-tanned relatives expose their crotch at the dinner table to explain how to get “full coverage.”
I already can’t wait to watch this movie again with my Cult Film Club co-hosts Shawn and Pax, who are exactly the sort of guys who would appreciate this craziness.
As someone who was raised on hot dogs and chicken McNuggets, it wasn’t until later in life that I really began to broaden my culinary horizons. Nowadays I love trying new and exotic foods and experimenting with recipes. I’ve been called a “foodie” before, but I hate that label as it implies I’m snobby about the food I eat, when in reality, I can just as easily chow down on some off-brand fishsticks as I could freshly caught mahi mahi with ginger glaze. If you know me, this is nothing new. I drink wine from a box.
The other day I got to thinking about how my first exposure to many of the “snobby” foods people like to eat came from movies, and this list was born. It’s fun to go back and watch these movies today, and think about how much my taste and knowledge of fine cuisine has changed since the first viewing.
#1 – Sushi
What it is: Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice combined with other ingredients, usually raw fish or other seafood
Movie that introduced me to it:The Breakfast Club (1985)
Even though I love the stuff nowadays, I have to admit it took me a long time before I was brave enough to try sushi, thanks in no small part to this scene in The Breakfast Club. For a long time I was under the impression sushi was synonymous with raw fish, which of course is false, as there are many different varieties of sushi, both raw and cooked, and plenty that don’t include fish at all. I suppose I could also blame the Ninja Turtles for further beating that misconception into my head, since in the cartoon they’d always turn their nose up at Splinter’s sushi and tell him how gross it was. John Bender agrees.
#2 – Vichyssoise
What it is:A French soup made with potatoes, leeks and cream.
Movie that introduced me to it:Batman Returns (1992)
Thanks to Batman Returns, I know precisely 2 things about vichyssoise, besides the fact that it’s really hard to spell:
It’s supposed to be cold
It’s the color of baby poop.
I almost can’t blame Batman for acting like an unappreciative dick when it’s served to him. I like to imagine that Alfred gets pretty bored hanging around the Wayne mansion day in and day out, waiting hand and foot a brooding, temperamental man child, and likes to flex his culinary talents by dreaming up ever more exotic and potentially disgusting recipes to serve just so he can get reactions like this one, and lord over Bruce his superior knowledge about world cuisine. It’s a very passive aggressive thing he does.
#3 – Pâté
What it is:A mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste.
Movie that introduced me to it:Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
I must have eaten hundreds of braunschwieger sandwiches for lunch during my grade school years, so by the time I saw Ace Ventura and learned what pâté is, the concept of “spreadable meat” didn’t gross me out all that much. One day I hope to be able to eat it as elegantly as Ace Ventura does.
#4 – Caviar
What it is:The pickled roe of sturgeon or other large fish, eaten as a delicacy.
Movie that introduced me to it:Overboard (1987)
Caviar is one of those foods I will never understand why people eat. I can really only tolerate it on sushi, and even then it has to be the tiny bead-sized variety and I still end up scraping most of it off. My first introduction to caviar was the movie Overboard, and I have to say I agree with Goldie Hawn’s “gelatinous muck” description–but then again, maybe that’s just because I’m not mega-wealthy and I’ve never had the luxury of knowing what “good” caviar is. Also, I didn’t get the dick joke until I was much older.
#5 – Chilean Seabass
What it is:An endangered and expensive type of fish.
Movie that introduced me to it:Jurassic Park (1994)
Because of Jurassic Park, whenever I go to a fancy seafood restaurant, I always check the menu for Chilean Sea Bass. I’ve never found it, but I swear the day I do, I’m going to order it. In the movie, Mr. Hammond gives the impression it’s very expensive, which for me has always added to its mystique. Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that Chilean Seabass isn’t bass at all, but a cold-water species called Pantagonian Toothfish that’s marketed under a different name to be more appealing to Americans. And according to Seafood Watch, “real” Chilean sea bass from the actual country of Chile is endangered. So if I ever do get the chance to order it, I will ask a million questions about its country of origin and by what methods it was caught, Portlandia-style.
#6 – Escargot
What it is:Cooked snails, usually served as an appetizer.
Movie that introduced me to it:Pretty Woman (1994)
Eating snails? A world of nope! Out of all the foods on this list, escargot is the only one I don’t think I’d be brave enough to try if given the chance. Admittedly it makes no sense, considering I eat other slimy things that have shells (clams, mussels, etc.). I’m also kind of against the level of pretentiousness that comes with any food requiring its own specialized set of utensils to eat, although I wouldn’t mind using them to fling a snail across the restaurant, like Julia Roberts does in Pretty Woman. That looked kinda fun.
#7 – Lobster
What it is:Lobster (no shit!)
Movie that introduced me to it:Splash (1984)
Because of Splash, I used to think this is how you were actually supposed to eat lobster! Five-year-old me was pretty dumb, I know. Having grown up in Baltimore, lobster was never really something I cared about anyway, since eating crabs is so ingrained into our culture. Lobster just tastes like butter anyway.
#8 – Flan
What it is:Open pastry or sponge cake containing a sweet or savory filling
Movie that introduced me to it:Envy (2004)
I admit, I had no idea what flan was before I saw Envy. Up until that point I thought it was crème brûlée, but apparently they are two different things. My only question now is how could you NOT want to eat flan after watching this scene?
#9 – Champagne
What it is: Sparkling white wine produced in the Champagne region of France
Movie that introduced me to it:Waynes World (1992)
Ahhh, Wayne’s World. You have given me so much knowledge. Without you, how would I know the difference between champagne and sparkling white wine, or that Milwaukee is Algonquin for “the good land”? Thanks to Benjamin’s wine snobbery, I’ll always have this fun factoid at the ready to impress people at fancy parties–that is, if I ever get invited to one.
Either way, I wasn’t able to join my co-hosts Paxton Holley and Shawn Robare down in Jacksonville, FL today for a real-life meetup of the Cult Film Club. That makes me sad-faced, and not only because Shawn tells me I missed out on delicious barbecue and Mountain Dew cupcakes topped with crushed Doritos. Seriously, I’m not making that up.
But I was there in spirit, and even made it into a group photo. Sort of.
Maybe it’s for the best. All three of us in the same room could be dangerous.
Hey, look at me doing a League post! As some of you know, life just keeps throwing me curve balls covered in dog shit carrying communicable diseases that have kept me from blogging and being social (okay, I admit some of my time away was for gaming, too), but after realizing I’ve been missing out on a slew of awesome assignments–especially this one–today I decided to get back in the saddle.
This week The League celebrates the official arrival of summer with another broad but appropriate topic, “Summer Vacation.” Being a Cult Film Club co-host and movie buff in general, I always like to usher in the changing seasons with ritual viewings of my favorite weather-appropriate films. Around this time of year it’s stuff like Summer School, National Lampoon’s Vacation, One Crazy Summer, and a movie that doesn’t seem to get nearly as much love and attention as it should, The Great Outdoors.
Written by John Hughes, this classic summer vacation comedy stars John Candy and Dan Aykroyd as bickering brother-in-laws (or is that brothers-in-law? Eh, guess it doesn’t matter, I’m just pleased I finally learned how to spell “Akyroyd” without having to google it) whose families share a lakeside cabin in the north woods. As you might imagine, personalities clash, nothing goes right and all sorts of wacky hijinks ensue. Lucky for all of us, we learn some valuable life lessons along the way. Quick example: don’t eat hot dogs because they’re made from lips and assholes!
Here are 10 summer vacation survival tips I learned from The Great Outdoors, in order of importance:
#10 – Let go of the goddamn rope!
If you go waterskiing and run into trouble, let go of the rope! Seriously, unless you can waterski while jumping sharks like the Fonz, LET GO OF THE GODDAMN ROPE! I cannot stress this one enough.
#9 – It’s not a good idea to eat a steak that’s bigger than your ass.
Don’t be tempted by the promise of a free dinner for you and your entire party if you finish. Ninety-six ounces of steak is TOO MUCH STEAK for anyone, even John Candy. But if you are foolish enough to try, it’s definitely not a good idea to fill up on something called the “Bucket of Salad” first. It is, however, advisable to call dibs on any bathrooms you happen to be sharing. Like, for the entire evening.
#8 – Don’t drink well water or you’ll get “the shits.”
Better stick to bottled water when you’re roughing it in an old cabin, or boil anything that comes out of the tap. Also, never trust an old innkeeper named Wally who’s service bell is an old hunting horn with a sign attached that says “For prompt service, blow me.”
#7 – Do NOT feed the bears!
Not feeding bears is pretty sound life advice no matter what the circumstances. In this instance, it was a waste of a good Zagnut, too.
#6 – When vacationing with family, don’t fool around outside of a locked bedroom.
Especially in this day and age where everyone has an iPhone in their pocket. You just never know what embarrassing life moments your asshole relatives are capturing on video, and where it will end up. Granted, it was a little more obvious back in 1988 when camcorders were the size of small children.
#5 – If you go fishing with leeches, don’t fall asleep in the boat.
I guess it should also be said, don’t leave an open container of leeches laying about either. Never trust a leech, that’s what I always say.
#4 – When hunting giant bats, wear proper attire.
Wastebasket helmets and tennis racquets will do, but you may want to consider full body armor. Then again, none of this really applies to me since I think bats are adorable. Seriously, LOOK AT THESE CUTE EFFING BATS, ya’ll.
#3 – Never kiss old people who look like they’re asleep.
Because they’re probably dead. This isn’t so much a tip about summer vacations as it is a tip about how not to ruin them. The takeaway being, of course, don’t go on vacation with old people.
#2 – Old mineshafts are not good places for your children to play.
Then again, if your children are creepy red-headed twins with rhyming names, you might want to consider leaving them down there. Just sayin’.
Last week the crew from Nerd Lunch needed a last-minute fill-in spot for their show about 90s sitcoms, and I, having nothing better to do on any given night, obliged. Also I figure I’m not sitting on all this useless Roseanne and Full House knowledge for nothing. I’ve gotta let it breathe every now and then, like a fine $4.49 bottle of Arbor Mist.
Filling in for Jeeg, I was joined by show regulars CT, Pax (sup, homie?), and fourth-chair guest William Bruce West. Hear us try to talk over each other about our favorite 90s sitcoms, why every show on TGIF sucked, the age-old debate of whether or not Seinfield was any good, and forgotten, lesser-known shows like Herman’s Head (you’re welcome) and Phenom. All your favorite shows are present and accounted for, and then some.
Plus, in a rather awkward fashion, I bring up that time on Rosanne when Darlene catches D.J. jerking off. If I can offer one selling point for this episode, it would be that.
I’m hoping the all caps will make up for my lackadaisicalness (it’s a word, I checked) and put me back in the good graces of my co-hosts Pax and Shawn who’ve been (probably) talking behind my back.
Take a look at these bad boys:
These limited run stickers were designed by our own Shawn Robare and feature his original artwork (again, I do nothing around here). Instead of begging you guys for tips and donations to help with production and hosting costs, Shawn had the brilliant idea to win you over with “no tipping” Steve Buscemi stickerlust.
Each pack is $7 and includes the Cult Film Club logo, Official Member Badge, Phantom Ticket Taker, and Mr. No Tipping himself, Steve Buscemi.
All proceeds go directly toward our production and hosting costs, and not, I repeat NOT toward cans of Four Loko, which is how we make the magic happen.
This week The League is all about first impressions. Though I’m certain this won’t be a popular choice, my mind immediately went to a movie that has one of the best opening monologues in cinematic history:
My favorite Johnny Depp movie isn’t Edward Scissorhands or Pirates of the Carribean: Jesus Christ Please Stop Making These Movies.
It’s this lesser-known gem from 2004 called The Libertine, in which Depp gives one of the best performances of his career. He also says “The C-Word” quite a lot–something like 50 times by my count.
In 17th century London, Depp plays John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester during the prime–and eventual fall–of his societal reign under King Charles II (John Malkovich). John is a gifted writer, but a misanthropic snob whose fondness for alcohol and insatiable lust become his undoing.
His slow decline in both health and social status is brilliantly portrayed by Depp, culminating in a spectacularly uncomfortable speech, in which he looks like this:
Normally I have a very sweet disposition around children and can usually find a way to relate to them on some level, being an overgrown child of 31 myself. However, there are some kids–the bad seeds–that do their level best to annoy the crap out of me, to the point where I can’t help but fantasize about introducing them to my fist. Of course I would never do that, but if entertaining the idea makes me a horrible person, so be it. Also, hi, are you new here?
In the meantime I’ll safely take out my frustrations on the kids who annoyed me in the movies and TV shows I grew up watching. Here’s five child stars from the 80s who played the roles of bastard kids I want to punch in the face!
#5 – Billy Lombardo
It’s a shame Billy Lombardo quit acting after 1986′s The Money Pit, he was so good at playing the precocious teen pop star “Benny,” who, according to his manager Walter (Tom Hanks) was Billboard’s Artist of the Year. Benny himself, who last year alone sold a million records! His exchange with Walter is brief but easily one of the funniest scenes in the movie. Having more money than he knows what to do with, Benny spends his days lounging around his mansion while chicks wait for him in the Jacuzzi, berating servants, and getting waited on hand and foot by his mother–who is also his maid. His outright refusal to loan Walter money and subsequent temper tantrum that would make a 2-year-old proud reveals a spoiled-rotten but insecure little boy who could have benefited from a severe ass-kicking. This is not too far off from what I image Justin Bieber’s home life is like.
#4 – Emily Schulman
Small Wonder was a show FULL of kids I wanted to punch in the face, but the clear frontrunner was pesky next door neighbor Harriet Brindle, played by Emily Schulman. Twenty-four years later, I still can’t figure out how they were able to get her hair to look like a perfect bowl with two pigtails coming out of it, and sometimes still think about how if you chopped them off she’d totally look like a boy. Why do I still think about these things? That’s the real small wonder.
#3 – Jason Hervey
Jason Hervey is a pro at playing kids I want to punch in the face. Most memorable for his role as the obnoxious Wayne in The Wonder Years, he lived to torment younger brother Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) and welcomed every opportunity to ruin his life. However, his most punch-in-the-face-worthy role for me was in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure where he plays a child star (so meta!) named Kevin Morton in the midst of shooting what appears to be a heartwarming movie about a sweet, young orphan boy finding his parents–but when the camera stops rolling he unleashes a world of shit on poor director Jerry and his co-stars. His on-set meltdown is what I assume working with most child stars is like, and kind of makes me think hitting kids isn’t so bad. You don’t have to tell me I’d make an awesome mom.
#2 – Miko Hughes
Miko Hughes is another actor whose early career has included multiple bastard child roles, all of them worthy of a cold-cock. Most famously, Hughes was fond of pointing out that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina; arguably the most important takeaway from Kindergarten Cop. If you were a Full House fan, you might remember him as Aaron Bailey, the brattiest of Michelle’s school friends. At least in Pet Semetary you could claim self-defense as there are few things more threatening than a creepy baby returning from the grave with a vengeance and a really big knife.
#1 – Michael Oliver
Okay so Problem Child is from 1990, but my list would not be complete without Michael Oliver, better known as “Junior.” A poster child for red-headed stepchildren everywhere, the mere sight of him makes me want to plant my fist right in the middle of his ugly, freckled face. I can’t be alone in my irrational hatred, can I? Even though we’re kind of supposed to hate him, it’s gotta be a tough break for Michael Oliver, who’ll forever be known as that bastard kid from Problem Child. That kind of notoriety does things to a man.
Case in point:
If you never ask me to babysit your kids after this, I’ll completely understand.
The 80s had no shortage of weird and uncomfortable children’s shows featuring costumed performers, but this week’s League topic was to write about something I hated as a kid, so I feel it’s my duty to bring the atrocities of Zoobilee Zoo to your attention.
For those who don’t remember it, Zoobilee Zoo was a terrifying children’s show starring a bunch of overly-enthusiastic people dressed up like animals known as “Zoobles” who sang, danced, and introduced young children everywhere to what they would later learn was furry porn. Also Ben Vereen.
The show ran from 1986 – 87, which means I was about five or six when I watched it. But even as a child squarely within the show’s target demographic, I can remember feeling embarrassed whenever it came on. Like somehow I could sense the performers were all rejects from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, or that the show was endorsed by The American Federation of Teachers even without knowing it was marketed as such (thanks random press release I found online!). Things that teachers like are lame, and I, clearly a kid who was too cool for school, recognized this. Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers Neighborhood this show was not.
Let’s introduce the Zoobles to you!
Here’s the main cast of characters, including each Zooble’s job, because apparently Zoobilee Zoo is so broke all the animals have to work. And I thought the Baltimore Zoo was ghetto.
Sandy Grinn as “Bill Der Beaver” The Zooble with the most practical job and least clever name, Bill Der Beaver is a BUILDER and inventor. Get it?
Louise Vallance as “Whazzat Kangaroo”
The bimbo of Zoobily Zoo. She’s not a very talented musician, but gets by on her (good?) looks. Guys dig chicks with fuzzy pink tails.
Forrest Gardner as “Van Go Lion” He’s a painter just like Van Gogh, but still has both his ears. He’s also the reason I once misspelled “Van Gogh” in a school report. I thought this show was supposed to teach us shit?
Karen Hartman as “Talkatoo Cockatoo” Easily the most annoying resident of Zoobilee Zoo, she’s a vicious gossip who “spreads the news” as well as bird flu.
Gary Schwartz as “Bravo Fox”
He’s a juggler and magician. Unofficially, he’s also kind of an asshole.
Michael B. Moynahan as “Lookout Bear”
I guess he’s supposed to be a scout of some sort who looks out for danger. I told you Zoobilee Zoo was ghetto.
Ben Vareen as “Mayor Ben” In Zoobilee Zoo, one of the perks of being the Mayor (besides dressing like a pimp!) is you don’t have to identify yourself with a specific animal. To this day I still don’t know what the hell Mayor Ben is supposed to be, besides token black guy.
The Zoobles are supposed to resemble animals, but whoever designed the costumes opted not to go full-furry. So instead we have an awkward mix of costumes, theatrical make-up and prosthetic noses I find extremely unappealing, almost repellent. There’s just something about people in bright costumes and make-up with big noses I can’t get past. I don’t know if there’s an exact phobia for whatever this is, but maybe if you’re one of those people who are afraid of clowns, you can understand. I guess this explains why I never wanted to get my face painted as a kid.
Oddly, I’m not bothered by people wearing costumes that fully cover their faces, or anthropomorphic animals in puppet form. Muppets and I are cool. Zoobles and I? Not cool.
My main problem with Zoobilee Zoo (besides being creepy as hell) was that it tried too hard. Everyone on this show acts like they just snorted ten lines of coke.I refuse to believe anyoneis that enthusiastic about wearing shitty animal costumes while spoon feeding dumb kids all the typical social values and moral lessons you’d expect from a show like this, including the obligatory “people in wheelchairs are just like all the rest of us!” episode that seemed to be a popular theme in 80s shows. Even Saved by the Bell was guilty of that one.
By far the worst thing about Zoobilee Zoo, however, is the theme song which I’m convinced was conjured up in a Satanic ritual. I don’t recommend listening unless you want it stuck in your head. All day.
Zoobilee Zoo, Zoobilee Zoo Magic and wonder are waiting for you
It’s as close as a dream
And as bright as the brightest blue Welcome to Zoobilee Zoo
Really? As close as a dream? As bright as the brightest blue? They weren’t able to come up with any better similes? All these animals with jobs and not one of them is a writer.
P.S. Did the show ever say what animal Mayor Ben is supposed to be? Does anyone know? I’d look up some more episodes on YouTube to try and find out, but frankly that’s too much effort for a show I’m supposed to hate.
It’s ridiculous how hard it can sometimes be to find soundtracks for the movies you love, especially from older movies with out-of-print soundtracks. Sometimes there aren’t even legal ways to acquire it. Other times, the “official” soundtrack that was released is incomplete, lacking many of the key songs that made the film so memorable to begin with.
Such is the case with John Waters’ Hairspray, the campy 1988 dance movie set in racially tense Baltimore during the 1960s. Being from Baltimore myself and a fan of cult movies in general–especially ones that involve lots of cheesy dancing and kitschy humor–it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hairspray is one of my favorites. (And just to be clear, I’m NOT talking about the 2007 movie based on the musical starring John Travolta in drag.)
The official soundtrack that was released for John Waters’ Hairspray only contains twelve songs. You could buy it from Amazon for less than $8 if you really want, but you’re only getting less than half the songs featured in the movie. For example, none of the four Chubby Checker songs are included. Oh, you want Gravy for your Mashed Potatoes? Don’t even think about it.
What’s a Tracy Turnblad wannabe hair hopper to do?
Luckily, I was able to find almost all of the original songs on Spotify, which is surprising given the rarity of some of them. Although Spotify has a ton of playlists for the 2007 Hairspray, it seems nobody yet bothered to make one for John Waters’ original (ahem, superior) version of the movie. I did what had to be done.
Now let’s get all ratted up like a teenage jezebel!
P.S: These are the songs I’m missing that Spotify doesn’t have:
Supposedly Spotify adds 10,000 new tracks to its music library every single day, so I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time before these lost gems show up. When/if that happens, you can be sure I’ll add them to this playlist! Also, if you have any of these tracks, you can always import them into Spotify yourself to supplement what the service lacks with your own library.
It’s not often something that’s actually educational sneaks into my feed reader, and even less often when that something perfectly aligns with one of my weird interests in some way and I end up giving two shits and posting about it. Today is one of those days.
On this day in 1933, only eight days into his presidency, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his national radio debut with the first of his famous “fireside chats.” Presidential speeches and addresses were propagated to the masses all the time, but what made FDR’s fireside chats different was their intimacy. They were broadcast via radio from the White House to the radios of every American who tuned in.
You can go read the whole article if you really care that much, or, if like my own high school days, American History was just another period in which you could safely take naps (stay awesome Mr. Holbrook!) and you’ve forgotten why our 32nd President of the United States was so bad ass.
Luckily I’m here to remind us all:
On January 30th, 1882, a man was born that would go on to change the course of world history as we know it. This man was a true American Badass.
I know…because I am him.
Badassery is not born, but often thrust upon you. The film you are about to see is dedicated to Badasses everywhere. If you have to ask yourself if you are one, you’re probably not.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
I had the privilege of seeing this movie over Valentine’s Day weekend (really, can you think of anything more romantic?) and I’ve been dying for an excuse to post about it ever since. How can I not love a movie about Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a rocket-powered wheelchair controlled with Atari joysticks doing battle with an army of Nazi werewolves? At one point he gives an inspirational speech that directly quotes Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer.” That was the exact moment I knew my love was true.
It also has this guy and his charming wife/cousin:
He is slightly less awesome than FDR himself. But only slightly. Whenever he graced the screen, my heart swelled with a natural warmth that invigorated me and caused me to be able to do things I could only do when I was a fetus–I am sorry, I am quite inebriated and I was unaware that I was speaking out loud just now.
FDR: American Badass is ridiculously funny, and not even in a you-need-to-be-high-to-enjoy-it kind of way. I would recommend it to anyone who loves America, peaches, shitting in vases, and not giving any fucks.
Come along and ride on a fantastic voyage, back to the early 90s when a lesser-known music video channel known as The Box used to exist. With the tagline “Music television you control,” The Box let viewers call a 1-900 number to pay $1.99 to play any music video through its automated phone system, using numbered codes that flashed on the screen in between songs. The entirety of The Box’s programming consisted of full-length, uncensored music videos that other viewers had paid to request and there were little to no commercials. It’s not hard to understand why this was totally fucking awesome compared to, say, MTV, which edited the hell out of their videos, if they were even playing videos at all.
Here’s a circa early 90s promo for The Box that someone uploaded to YouTube:
As you might expect, the most popular music videos on The Box seemed to be the ones with the most explicit content–the ones MTV would cut down to practically nothing, or outright ban. The Box was educational, to say the least, for curious, young teenagers like myself. I can remember many hot summer days spent hanging out at my friend Gina’s house, glued to The Box on the 19″ television in her basement, well out of earshot from her mom who would have grounded her and sent me home if she had known what we were watching. (My parents, on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind if their thirteen-year-old daughter was exposed to simulated sex and close-ups of booty sweat. Thanks Mom and Dad, for being you.)
Here’s a round-up of the top five dirtiest videos I can remember getting frequent rotation on The Box (and it should be obvious that extreme NSFW warnings apply):
#5 – “Short Dick Man” – Gillette
Just in case you aren’t clear on what these lyrics are supposed to mean, Gillette helpfully acts them out by scrutinizing a number of different men’s crotches with a magnifying glass, measuring tape and video camera as they dangle and thrust their man parts in her face. Thanks to this song and video, I knew that size mattered before I even really knew why.
#4 – “Come Baby Come” – K7
Yo dawg, this song is STILL slammin’ in 2013! That’s what I’m planning to say in my YouTube comment, anyway. K7′s (whatever happened to this guy, by the way?) video for “Come Baby Come” is typical of the period and starts off relatively tame, you know, despite being for a song called “Come Baby Come” which means exactly what you think it means. Just a couple of bros shootin’ some b-ball and dancing around in matching outfits while scantily-clad women jiggle their breasts and K7 licks ice cream off her–WAIT, WHAT? You tricked me, bros!
#3 – “Put ‘Em On the Glass” – Sir Mix-a-Lot
Sir Mix-a-lot was evidently a big fan of the 1992 sexsploitation flick The Bikini Carwash Company, or at least that’s what I gather from this video. Only the rapper of “Baby Got Back” fame could write a whole song about women rubbing their big, soapy breasts–oh excuse me–lungs up against the windshields of luxury cars.
#2 – “Pumps and a Bump” – MC Hammer
This is the infamous M.C. Hammer video that was banned from MTV for being too sexual, as Hammer is shown prancing around in only a tightly-fitting speedo that barely conceals his raging hard-on. He thrusts and gyrates his banana hammock around a harem of girls who all have spectacular bumps as they dance poolside in pumps. In some of the shots Hammer turns to the side and you can totally see it, not that I was looking that closely or anything, or pausing the video after I taped it just to make sure.
#1 – “Pop That P*ssy” – 2 Live Crew
Here it is, the mother of all dirty rap videos. If I have to explain this one, you might be asexual.
In last month’s poll, I asked you guys who should be kicked out of Full House. Personally, I threw in a vote for Joey, because what does Joey even do? Sure, he’s supposedly there to help raise the girls and be the comic relief, but what does he really contribute besides wearing the most god-awful shirts you’ve ever seen and making shitty jokes? Even Kimmy Gibbler does that job better.
My idea of hell is sitting through a two-hour long Joey Gladstone comedy special co-starring Mr. Woodchuck. “Say, I don’t hear anyone laughing! Are you people made of…” *looks around* “…WOOD!?” It’s not that I dislike Joey as a person, I just think it’d be better for everyone involved if he moved out. At least then the poor guy might have a chance at getting laid.
But if there is one character–ok, two characters, but not by much of a stretch–that deserve to get the boot from Full House more than Joey Gladstone, it is Nicky and Alex. If you don’t remember them, they’re the cute but talentless shaggy-haired twins who were foist upon us from Becky’s gaping womb in Season 5, carrying on the grand tradition of adding babies to TV shows because everyone loves babies, right?
I offered them up as a package deal, which 47% of you jumped on:
Sorry little guys, but the two you were never as cute or interesting as one Michelle Tanner. We love our over-exploited twin child stars, but only when they’re playing the same person. Otherwise it’s confusing and things just get boring.
Pop quiz: which one is Nicky and which one is Alex?
Answer: Nobody fucking cares!
Also of note:
Your animosity was divided evenly between DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle, who each got 10% of the vote. DJ’s a resourceful girl, so I’d be the least worried about her living out on the streets. She did, after all, move into the garage that one time because she was upset about not having her own room–which brings me back to Joey and why he’s kind of a selfish prick for sticking around so long and taking up valuable bedroom space.
Not surprisingly, nobody voted to kick out Uncle Jesse and Becky, because HAVE MERCY!
I am, however, a little shocked that someone actually voted to kick out Danny. Really? Not only does he make shitpiles of money (or at least we have to assume so, given his Wake Up San Francisco gig almost single-handedly supports eight other people) but that motherfucker can cook AND he actually enjoys cleaning up after everyone. Plus, BOB SAGET. Respect.
With the 85th Annual Academy Awards having come and gone, this week’s League topic was an Oscar-worthy one. But the thing is, I don’t really care about the Academy Awards like I once used to. I can’t stand the pretentiousness, the media hype, the scripted jokes. Not even Seth MacFarlane hosting this year was enough to get me excited about them, so I was more than happy to spend the evening catching up on video games and casually monitoring my Twitter feed as friends reacted to the winners and Ann Hathaway’s nipples.
Anyway, for this post I thought it would be fun to look back on The Oscars of a time when they mattered more to me: the 1980s. More specifically, I was curious about past Oscar winners for Best Original Song. (Another post about 80′s music? Gee that never happens around here.) What were the big 80s movies that spawned the most memorable songs of the decade? And looking back on them, do I agree with the winners? It was a fun exercise and trip down movie memory lane. I mostly came to the realization that the 1980s Academy had a hard-on for what we consider today as “soft rock” or “easy listening”–you know, the kind of music you’d hear at your dentist’s office.
I rounded up all the winners for each year and posted them below for, um, easy listening. I also shared a couple of my random thoughts on each song, and whether or not I think it should have won for Best Original Song.
As much as I love 80′s movies about dancing AND musicals, I’m actually not a big fan of Fame–hard to believe, I know. But I do love the title song by Irene Cara, which clings to that dying era of disco for all its worth. In 1980, Fame won Oscars for Best Score and Best Song (in fact, two Fame songs were up for the award: “Fame” and “Out Here On My Own”, both by Irene Cara), but lost for Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Sound. That sounds about right. This is one of those movies I think is more memorable for the music. (For what it’s worth, my 80′s musical movie about musicals of choice is A Chorus Line.)
My mom had a huge obsession with Dudley Moore back in the 80s, which means I’ve seen almost every Dudley Moore movie there is to see, including Arthur, multiple times. I’m not sure I would have picked Christopher Cross’ “Arthur’s Theme” over, say, “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie, but Christopher “I’m so sensitive because I’m kind of ugly” Cross seems to have had a lock on on those smooth, early 80s love ballads that made women like my mom drop their panties at the first slow, drawn-out string note.
How to win an Oscar for Best Original Song in the 80′s: perform your song in a duet with Jennifer Warnes. This song won an Oscar, along with her other famous duet, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing, which we’ll get to in a minute.This is another song that makes me think of my mom, who was really into those cheesy 80s love songs. In fact, at one point she owned a whole set of pastel-colored cassette tapes she bought from Time-Life Music called “Secret Love” that was full of songs just like this. She’s also the reason I’ve seen this movie more times than I care to admit. It’s not so bad, I guess; I like Deborah Winger. But if I were in charge of the Oscars that year, you know I would have chosen “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, which lost out to this gag-fest of a ballad.
YESSSSSSSSSSSS. This song, you guys. Not only do I love Flashdance, I LOVE THIS GODDAMN SONG. Like, you have no idea. It’s #1 on my list of cheesy motivational songs of the 1980s and every now and then, if you get enough drinks in me, I’ll belt it out at karaoke. I definitely agree it should have won that year, considering it was up against yet another song from Flashdance (“Maniac” by Michael Sembello), some crap I’ve never heard of, and fucking Yentl. A+, Academy.
Wow, this was a tough year for Best Original Song. Look at the other contenders here:
“Against All Odds” - Phil Collins (Against All Odds)
“Footloose” – Kenny Loggins (Footloose)
“Let’s Hear it for the Boy” – Deniece Williams (Footloose)
“Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker, Jr. (Ghostbusters)
I know you fanboys would have wanted me to declare Ghostbusters my fantasy winner, but I would have gone Phil Collins on this one. I’m sorry, but that song–along with most Phill Collins songs–is just fucking fantastic. To steal a joke from my buddy Scott: My friends thought I’d never get over my Phil Collins obsession, but take a look at me now.
I love ya, Lionel, but NO to this song. Not when I know “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future could have won. I don’t care how luscious your mustache is–I’d rather ride Huey Lewis’s train even if I have to pay with a credit card.
Who doesn’t love Top Gun? I’ll try to understand if you don’t, but just know you’re not anybody I could ever be BFFs with. I’m not a huge fan of this song, which I always found kind of depressing, but I can understand the Academy wanting to give an award to Top Gun for something.However, this was another one of those years where some really tough decisions had to be made. “Take My Breath Away” was up against “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail and Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” from The Karate Kid Part II. I would have fought for Glory of Love’s honor, all the way. It’s one of my favorite songs of all time. In fact, I’m listening to it on Spotify and singing it like a damn fool as loud as I possibly can RIGHT NOW. My cat is more than a little freaked out.
NOBODY PUTS BILL MEDLEY & JENNIFER WARNES IN A CORNER! Again, another duet with Jennifer Warnes, another Oscar. You know, I don’t even know what the hell Jennifer Warnes does outside of singing shitty duets that win Oscars. I suppose I could look her up and what she’s all about, but I just can’t muster the enthusiasm. While I do love me some Dirty Dancing and “The Swaze,” I actually loathe this particular song on a deep, deep level. However, I used to love this song when the movie first came out, but so did the rest of America, which means it was EVERYWHERE. Back in 1988, my elementary school even put on a talent show where no less than ten acts all used songs from Dirty Dancing, and guess which one was the most popular? It haunted my life, it haunted my dreams, and nowadays it haunts my television every time I see one of those fucking Sandals commercials.
Do I think it should have won for Best Song that year? Eh, sure, why not. I try to remember that I too once loved this song, but if I could go back in time, I’d definitely pick Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” from the movie Mannequin instead. That’s right up there with Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” in my book.
Here’s something you probably don’t know about me because I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it on this blog, but Working Girl is one of my favorite movies of the 80s. I love Melanie Griffith, who I just find adorable (pre-plastic surgery, obviously), and of course Harrison Ford and the always great Sigourney Weaver. And Joan Cusack! And Alec Baldwin! And a coked-up Kevin Spacey! And the fact that this movie takes place in New York City in the 80s. I love films that take place in 80s-era NYC. It’s just a great movie all around, and I love the big “fuck you” moment Tess gets to have at the end.
Anyway, it was slim pickins for Oscar music this year, with only two other contenders, both from movies I’ve never seen. I have no problems with Carly Simon’s inspirational “Let the River Run” winning for Best Original Song. When you hear it in the movie accompanying those breathtaking shots of the Twin Towers, it’s almost enough to make me cry.
Ah, the start of Disney’s comeback era! This year there were two songs from The Little Mermaid up for Best Song–this one, along with “Kiss the Girl.” Personally I would have picked “Kiss the Girl,” but both songs are pretty good. I’m certainly glad Randy Newman didn’t win.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this look back at Oscar-worthy music from the 80s as much as I enjoyed pretending to have better taste than The Academy!
Because you know you still love Top Gun and that damn song…
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was simply, “The Oscars.” Here’s how my fellow Leaguers interpreted the topic:
Over at Cult Film Club, things are getting personal (and a little weird) as I relive the days I spent in my bedroom daydreaming about hot young actors from my favorite movies. In my list of Top 10 Movie Crushes of the 80s, I reveal all the movie stars who captured my nerdy, pre-teen heart and whose photographs decorated the pages of my “Crush Book.”
Long-time readers shouldn’t be surprised who my #1 crush is, as I mentioned him in my first post and many times throughout this blog since. There’re a couple of unconventional picks too, and by unconventional I mean please don’t judge me–I CAN’T HELP WHAT I FEEL!
In what is possibly the BEST COMMENT EVER on this blog, Shawn Robare humbly suggests, “Maybe they hired her simply as the molding model for the Turtles hands, they’re going to mold her toethumbs and use them to make more accurate fingers for the Turtles.”
I didn’t have to fight very hard with my co-hosts Paxton Holley and Shawn Robare when I suggested we cover it in Episode 4. A half-naked, oily-chested Marc Singer? Bone-crushing bird creatures? Bare asses hanging out everywhere? FERRETS? If The Beastmaster isn’t Grade A, top-quality Cult Film Club material, I don’t know what is.
ShezCrafti Funfact #27: I totally had a crush on The Beastmaster when I was a little girl. There’s just something about that leather jock strap that does it for me.
Episode #4 – The Beastmaster
Head on over to the Cult Film Club podcast to hear us blather on about how much we freaking love this movie, or you can listen right here.
Bare ass optional.
Last week I was emailed by a friend who admitted to never having seen The Goonies, which I have preserved in a screenshot because I’m still having a hard time believing it’s true:
My immediate reaction:
Now bear in mind, this person (who shall go nameless) is over 30, loves comics, adventure, the 80s–basically all the same stuff you’d expect your typical Goonies fan to like–and what’s more surprising, my friend is even more dialed into pop culture than I am. SO HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone I’d consider my peer who hasn’t seen The Goonies. Right now I kind of feel like one of those National Geographic explorers who discovered an uncontacted tribe from an isolated region of South America. Saying you’ve never seen The Goonies is kinda like saying you’ve never eaten a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
In my friend’s defense, at least they’ve recognized the lack of Goonies in their life as a rather serious pop culture blind spot and has sought help from a professional such as myself. As I’ve mentioned on the Cult Film Club podcast, and many times throughout this blog, The Goonies is one of my favorite movies of all time. In my dream pop culture road trip, I travel to Astoria, Oregon just to do the truffle-shuffle outside Mikey’s house. “Man…you smell like Phys Ed!” is one of my favorite six-word movie quotes. I try to yell HEY YOU GUYS! whenever an appropriate opportunity arises. And if you participated in my recent Goonies poll, you’d know I am Team Mouth. I fucking love The Goonies, is what I’m saying. And I am honored to have been asked for my opinion when this person is someone who’s own opinions I greatly value.
To that end, I am going to make good on my friend’s request. I am going to explain exactly why I think The Goonies is so awesome, and what’s more, I’m going to do it in a way that I know is extremely relevant to this person’s interests.
So here you go, my uninitiated friend. These are the Top 10 reasons why I feel you NEED to see this movie:
#10 – Because you’re always fighting for truth and justice.
So I know you will appreciate The Goonies’ plight. It’s about a group of misfits who find a centuries-old treasure map and go on a wild adventure to find the “rich stuff” in order to save their houses from a pair of rich, greedy developers who want to turn their neighborhood into a golf course–and did I mention they’re chased by a family of mobsters along the way?
#9 – You will learn how to say useful things in Spanish.
Because I know you are a person who values education above all else.
#8 – It’s full of things that just don’t look safe.
You’re always taking the time to warn me about the unforeseen dangers of this world, which I certainly appreciate. This movie positively oozes unsafe. So much so that you might even learn some tips yourself.
#7 – This catchy-ass Cyndi Lauper song.
And more importantly, this Cyndi Lauper video because it has a cameo by ANDRE THE GIANT:
#6 – These girls.
You will have fun deciding which one you like/dislike more.
#5 – It’s easy to relate to.
Because deep down we are all outcasts, just like The Goonies.
#4 – It’s also a superhero movie.
Well, kind of. Okay, not really. But I assure you this guy is SUPER.
#3 – There’s toys!
I don’t feel an explanation is necessary here.
#2 – It’s the best non-pirate movie about pirates ever.
Going by the stuff you post on your blog, I know you are a fan of pirates. You owe it to yourself to see this movie if only for the awesome pirate-y action toward the end.
And you just gotta love a pirate named “One-Eyed Willie.” You’re a perv like me, so I know you’ll appreciate the penis joke.
#1 – The Goonies hate cephalopods, too.
Never forget who’s on your side!
The infamous Giant Octopus attack only appears in certain televised versions of The Goonies, but is included on the DVD as a Special Feature. And hoo boy is it special! Data (whom you’ll recognize as “the Asian Goonie”) defeats it with a motherfucking cassette tape that plays 80′s music underwater. Like I said, SPECIAL.
Well there you have it, friend. If none of this convinces you The Goonies is awesome and that you are less cool for not having seen it, then I have failed as your designated 80′s movie spirit guide and must now go eat a Baby Ruth to cope with my shame.
Welcome to February, the month you don’t care about unless you’re black, in a relationship, or live in New Orleans. (February can fuck off as far as I’m concerned, but GO RAVENS!) Since we’re in a new month, I’ve officially closed my Goonies poll which asked, “Who is your favorite Goonie?” Thanks to everyone who voted.
All in all, I wasn’t really surprised at the results:
For most of the month, Data and Mouth were locked in a dead heat, but in the last few days The Pinchers of Peril finally clinched in Richard Wang’s favor. (Just for the record, I am Team Mouth.) Chunk truffle-shuffled his way into third place, and the rest of the votes were divided between Mikey, Brand, and Stef, who were–ahem–good enough. Which means…
Nobody voted for Andy.
NOT A SINGLE ONE. At the very least I thought she’d get “the hot vote” from one of you fools who used to crush on her, even though Stef strikes me as more experienced (protip: ugly girls are insecure, and thus more likely to put out), otherwise Troy wouldn’t be throwing pennies down wells wishing he could get laid. No wonder Andy doesn’t know how to play the bones, if you know what I mean.
Then there’s her annoying habit of screaming at anything that moves (omg a rake!) and setting off booty booby traps because like all dumb bitches, she’s incapable of following simple instructions, especially if there’s something sparkly and expensive nearby. Speaking of sparkly and expensive, HOW DOES SHE NOT KNOW BRAND DOESN’T HAVE BRACES? That’s how I know she’s stupid.
There can be no other conclusion: Andy is the most worthless Goonie.