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Posts Tagged ‘David Newman’

I Love Trouble

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024


June 29, 1994

I LOVE TROUBLE is a romantic comedy mystery thriller about two reporters at rival Chicago newspapers competing to get the scoop about a series of deaths of people connected to a particular project at a chemical company. Peter Brackett (Nick Nolte, 48 HRS.) is a womanizing columnist so famous and “off the charts hot” that he’s in Gap ads and constantly recognized in public. We meet him when he’s dropped off at work by a very satisfied groupie he picked up at a signing for his new novel White Lies. Meanwhile, Sabrina Peterson (Julia Roberts, THE PLAYER) is new in town, introduced into the movie pumps and legs first, noticed for her looks but quickly establishes herself to the point of having a full-sized photo on the side of a delivery truck that crosses paths with the one that has Peter’s photo on it. I wondered if somebody saw the introduction to Siskel & Ebert and thought, “Hmmm. What if one was a lady, and they fell in love? And solved a mystery?”

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The Cowboy Way

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

June 3rd, 1994

I should’ve known better after BEVERLY HILLS COP III, but I was kind of excited to watch a ‘90s studio action comedy that I’m not really familiar with. I might have seen THE COWBOY WAY on video back in the day, but I don’t remember for sure, so it was basically new to me. Could’ve been an unheralded gem! But it wasn’t. Just some competently produced, very dumb bullshit. I always think of ’94 as a great year for film, but so far, I gotta tell you, the summer movies are not contributing to that impression.

The story is about two bickering New Mexico rodeo pals, Sonny (Kiefer Sutherland, TWIN PEAKS: FIREWALK WITH ME) and Pepper (Woody Harrelson, DOC HOLLYWOOD), who go to New York City to look for their missing friend Nacho Salazar (Joaquin Martinez, JOE KIDD). Nacho turns out to have been killed trying to save his daughter Teresa (Cara Buono) from traffickers, so they try to save her. Both the action premise and the comedy premise are that they only know how to live “the cowboy way” so they don’t really understand the city much but also can punch better than any mere city boy on account of cowboy ruggedness. (read the rest of this shit…)

Superman III

Thursday, June 15th, 2023

On May 5th, 1983, future Superman actor Henry Cavill was born in St. Helier, Jersey. While he was in his crib, on June 17, 1983, the definitive cinematic Superman met Richard Pryor.

Boy, I hope I’m not trying people’s patience too much with this series. I believe 1985 is the earliest retrospective I’ve done previously, and I thought that went well, but what I’ve really realized looking at 1983 is how many of these movies feel just a little bit before my time. I remember being alive then, but I was only aware of a little kid-sized slice of pop culture. I was hearing all about Salacious Crum, but not BLUE THUNDER or anything starring Burt Reynolds. My friends born a few or several years before me, people who are older than Generation Ewok, have attachments to some of these movies, characters and actors that I just don’t.

So I hope it’s not getting annoying. Even if you forgive me for not caring about James Bond or TRADING PLACES, the camel’s back could break when I confess that I don’t really care that much about the Christopher Reeve Superman movies either. I’m so sorry! Let me explain. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure / Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE (1989) is one of those beloved comedies you take for granted. I hadn’t seen it in 20+ years, so I was kinda afraid it might not hold up. It’s kind of hard to put your finger on why it works so well, and it would be hard to explain why it’s funny if somebody asked. I’m not sure if you had to be there or not.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s a pretty straight forward comical premise: what if a couple of dumb guys got a hold of a time machine and recruited actual historical figures to help with their history test? But for the most part that’s not really what’s funny about it. It’s the particular personalities of the dumb guys, and the reasons they have access to time travel.

Bill S. Preston Esquire (Alex Winter, DEATH WISH 3) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves, THE NIGHT BEFORE) are a Californian version of what we used to call “rockers” and some regions called “heshers” – guys whose lives center around heavy metal and/or hard rock. In the wild you’d expect them to have longer hair and leather jackets, smoke lots of pot and drink lots of beer, but Bill and Ted mostly just idolize Van Halen, talk about “babes,” and laugh at the number 69. They have a band called Wyld Stallyns, which features only the two of them on guitar, an instrument neither of them knows how to play. Still, their worst fear os for the band to be broken up if Ted fails his history test, in which case his dad (Hal Landon Jr., ERASERHEAD), who is a police captain and wears an NRA jacket while off duty, will ship him off to Oats Military Academy in Alaska. (read the rest of this shit…)


Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

Frankenweenie is a 26-minute long black-and-white Disney live action short that was not quite, as far as I can tell, a Summer of 1985 release. It was made in 1984, planned to play with a re-release of THE JUNGLE BOOK that summer, then production was delayed, moving it to PINOCCHIO in December, but when it received a PG rating they couldn’t play it with a G-rated movie, so it got shelved until playing with only the U.K. release of BABY: THE SECRET OF THE LOST LEGEND. I couldn’t find proof of a date, but if it was the same as the U.S. then it was in March of ’85.

But I decided it was an important backstory to fill in, because it keeps coming up. It was one of the projects then-25-year-old Disney artist Tim Burton switched to after the company didn’t use any of his designs for THE BLACK CAULDRON. It was the short they considered releasing with MY SCIENCE PROJECT. And it was what brought Burton to the attention of Paul Reubens to direct a classic Summer of 1985 movie we’ll be discussing tomorrow.

It’s a simple story. Barret Oliver (D.A.R.Y.L.) plays Victor Frankenstein, a normal suburban kid who enjoys making Super-8 monster movies with his dog Sparky. But one day while playing fetch, Sparky is run over by a car – off screen, in a beautifully crafted sequence of visual storytelling that ends with a baseball rolling to the curb and Victor rising to his feet in shock. (read the rest of this shit…)

Superman: The Movie

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

tn_supermanSUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (not to be confused with Superman: The Imitation Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread) is an important movie. It was the first big comic book super hero picture, and an early entry in the world of post-STAR WARS blockbusters that shaped today’s generation of filmatists. By casting Marlon Brando as Joe L. Superman (plus  Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Glenn Ford as Pa Kent), director Richard (LETHAL WEAPON) Donner set the precedent, still in place today, that big respected actors in supporting roles can add credibility to a super hero picture. And by casting only-one-movie-under-his-belt Christopher Reeve as Kal L. “Clark Kent” Superman he showed that sometimes a fresh face is better than a familiar veteran to play an iconic character. That later worked for Wolverine (whose first movie was executive produced by Donner), Thor and two subsequent Supermen. (Other actors who were supposedly on the producers’ wish list: Al Pacino, James Caan, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman and [why not?] Muhammad Ali. Any one of those would’ve automatically been a completely different movie.)
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