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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Johnston’

The Rocketeer

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017
a survey of summer movies that just didn’t catch on

June 19, 1991

THE ROCKETEER has all the right ingredients for an aw schucks old timey circa-1938 super hero yarn. The hero, Cliff (Billy Campbell, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD), is a pilot for air shows – small time enough to be an underdog, but cool enough to strut around in his brown leather pilot’s jacket and clock a guy when necessary.

The setting is Los Angeles, so his girlfriend Jenny (Jennifer Connelly, CREEPERS, LABYRINTH) is an aspiring ingenue, the villain is suave, swashbuckling “#3 box office star” Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton, BRENDA STARR), and the experimental technology they’re fighting over was originated by Howard Hughes (Terry O’Quinn, THE STEPFATHER). Also involved are mobsters (because Sinclair hired them), Nazis (because he is one), G-men (led by Ed Lauter, DEATH WISH 3, THE ARTIST) and a giant named Lothar (former Austrian basketball pro Tiny Ron Taylor [ROAD HOUSE, SASQUATCH MOUNTAIN] made up by Rick Baker to look like Rondo Hatton).

The random way Cliff becomes a jet-packing hero is pretty cool. During a test flight of the craft he and his mechanic/mentor Peevy (Alan Arkin, FREEBIE AND THE BEAN) have been working on for years, he flies over a chase between the mobsters and the FBI. The mobsters think he’s with the feds and turn their tommy guns on him! Some kind of mixup causes the gangsters to get away without the jetpack they stole from Howard Hughes, but Cliff accidentally finds where they stashed it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ewoks: Caravan of Courage / The Battle For Endor

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

tn_ewoksYou may not pick up on it, but I sense a strong anti-Ewok sentiment in our culture, even to this day. It might seem like an insignificant hatred compared to that of Gungans and Prequels, but it exists. I think it’s mostly people who were in their teens or early twenties when RETURN OF THE JEDI came out, and had to prove they were big boys by rejecting what they thought the kids liked. To this day they call this proud people who helped defeat the Empire “teddy bears” and other slurs. The Ewoks were just product placement to sell dolls and they ruined Star Wars by being too furry and cute, they say bitterly, before clicking “favorite” on an adorable cat video.

As I’ve argued before, this viewpoint is ludicrous. The cuteness is a deliberate juxtaposition – they’re cuddly, but they try to roast Han on a spit, they bludgeon Stormtroopers to death with rocks and use their helmets as drums. Saying they shouldn’t be cute is like saying Rocket Raccoon shouldn’t be a dumb little raccoon, he should be a big muscular tiger man. It’s missing the point. Furthermore, it’s not the first time this trick was used in the Star Warses. The Jawas were cute little dudes who make adorable squeaky noises, but also they were sleazy Droid-poaching pricks. It’s a Star Wars thing.

So I am staunchly pro-Ewok, but I can’t really defend CARAVAN OF COURAGE (or THE EWOK ADVENTURE as I seem to remember it being called when it was a TV movie in November, 1984). Still, I thought it would be worth revisiting before Disney’s Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens rewrites history so that the war never ended, robbing the Ewoks of their signature victory.

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Captain America: The First Avenger

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

tn_captainamericaCAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER is the last of the Marvel Comics soda can labels before next year when all the separate labels will be united into one all-star label called THE AVENGERS (the comics one, not the one with Sean Connery in the teddy bear costume). The IRON MANs, THOR and INCREDIBLE HULK were all on Dr. Pepper I believe, though, and this one’s on 7-UP. So it’s a whole new ball game. I think it dips a bit into the cheesy side visually and filmatism-wise, but it’s an enjoyable story that’s a little different from the other super hero guys and stands on its own better than THOR. In fact the way it leads up to this AVENGERS movie allows it to end on an odd emotional note that it wouldn’t have otherwise.
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programming note: Jurassic Park 3

Monday, July 18th, 2011

tn_jurassicpark32001posterOkay, I’m confusing myself here. In preparing for my Summer of 2001 10th Anniversary Retrospective I skipped watching JURASSIC PARK III (which was released July 18th, 2001), because I watched it again last summer to re-evaluate and my opinion had not changed from my original review.

Except the thing is now I cannot find any original review. Did I never write about it? I thought I did but I can’t find it in the review list or using Google. So I’m not sure why I didn’t write it up last summer. Whoops. This is not a review because it’s not fresh in my mind, but I will say a few things about it so we can discuss it in context of the other ’01 joints. This is the 10th anniversary and director Joe Johnston has a new movie coming out too so this is a good time to hash it out.

(read the rest of this shit…)