Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Novelizations Galore!!


For us movie fans there is just an endless supply of movies(in many formats) and movie related memorabilia to collect. It's mind boggling how much is out there. My interest in novelizations probably stems from my early love of Choose Your Own Adventure paperbacks. To this day I still love the artwork on those CYOA covers. Also, it's a lot of fun to see a film that you are familiar with translated into text form. So a while back a friend of mine gave me a novelization of CALIFORNIA SPLIT that he came across. I was immediately hooked. I picked them up whenever I saw them at thrift stores. I came across a CHARLEY VARRICK which I was very excited about. Next, THE NICKEL RIDE. Then I cooled off on them for a bit. Recently I've been reinvigorated and started looking around on Paperbackswap to see just what they have in terms of these. I started with a MIDNIGHT MADNESS book and later found a copy Alan Sharp's book of NIGHT MOVES, based on his script for the fantastic Arthur Penn film. After that I moved on to trashier stuff like THE PACK, THE FOG, HALLOWEEN III(?!) and ROLLERCOASTER. Books of THE CAR, THE LAST ACTION HERO and SUPERGIRL are on the way. Strange mix eh? That's just how I roll. I love these things. Oh and then there are Fotonovels. Even more fun! Basically movies and tv shows set up in almost comic book form, with color photo stills. Highly recommended for you collectors that need just one more thing to pile up on your not so empty shelves. Movie comic book tie-ins are next for me!










Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My favorite Childhood Cartoons


To say I watched a lot of cartoons as a kid is a gross understatement. I was full on addicted to them. At a certain age, I watched cartoons on Saturdays from like 6:30 AM(after the detestable New Zoo Review) to about noon(when Looney Tunes ended). Sometimes Sunday mornings had a few cool things to offer to(the amazing THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN for example). Several of these shows informed my toy buying habits for years and years(G.I. JOE and M.A.S.K.). The fact that they were always intended to do just that still kind of irks me. It is a bit shocking to look back on those Saturday mornings only to realize that they were like some sort of stream of consciousness infomercials meant only to sell all kinds of products to kids. Nonetheless, I took great joy from my Saturdays and on weeknights I'd often be glued to USA Cartoon Express' glorious mix of oddball shows. I have to acknowledge the classics though. Looney Tunes, though they were already 20 or 30(or more) years old when I'd see them, were(and still are) endlessly entertaining. Those characters are still so wonderful to this day. On the lesser side of character development(beyond speculation of drug use) there was of course the gang from Scooby Doo. Not sure why, but even right now, whenever I hear the bit of interstitial music that plays over the episode titles it has this warming nostalgic calming effect on me. Like I've just been told a bedtime story and am drifting off to sleep. Scooby Doo seeped into my consciousness so much I even went as far as to have a "Scooby Doo chase" in one of my student films in college. Along with cartoons, another of my biggest interests as a child was video games. I loved arcade games from the first time I laid my eyes on their gloriously hypnotic flashing lights. Whenever my family went on trips and stayed in hotels, I'd stake out the gameroom right away. So when Saturday Supercade started airing in the early 80s, it was a dream come true of sorts. Looking back on the few episodes I've been able to get my hands on in the past 5 years, I see just how poorly constructed and written the show really was(despite a catchy theme song). It was just a cheap cash in on the arcade game craze going on at the time. Pac-Man was a slightly better show, but I never really got into it all that much. One thing I didn't notice too much as a kid was how much cannibalization went on from one show to another. Jabberjaw is just a cheap Scooby Doo knockoff or there's a musical lick from the Scooby Doo theme in Richie Rich's intro. M.A.S.K. seems to be clearly trying to mesh both The Transformers and G.I. Joe into one show. As a kid I know I didn't care. Just funny too look at now, how much the cartoon "industry" observed successes in the same way that movies and other TV shows did. Lots of imitation, very little in the way of inventiveness. All that being said, they still gave me hours and hours of enjoyment as a youngster and I really do appreciate that. I should mention that this post is inspired by and a direct tie-in to a Top 7 Tuesday post I was asked to do for the wonderful Cineawesome site.

1. Looney Tunes

2. G.I. Joe
3. Superfriends

4. Scooby Doo

5. Thundarr The Barbarian

6. M.A.S.K.

7. Saturday Supercade

8. Spiderman and His Amazing Friends
9. Jonny Quest

10. Space Ghost

11. Dungeons and Dragons

12. The Herculoids
13. Hong Kong Phooey

14. Help!... It's The Hair Bear Bunch

15. Grape Ape

16. Dynomutt Dog Wonder
17. Speed Buggy

18. Richie Rich

19. Shirt-Tales

20. Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch


Below, please enjoy many of the opening themes to some of my favorite shows. First and foremost, my current favorite theme, the one from M.A.S.K.




Saturday Supercade:



Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch:



Richie Rich:



Dynomutt Dog Wonder:



Shirt-Tales:



Thundarr The Barbarian:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Netflix Instant "Gems" Vol. 25


Lots of Warner catalog titles just popped up today. I'm all for that. One of my favorite movies, Martin Brest's(MIDNIGHT RUN) 1979 film GOING IN STYLE. Wonderful story about three seniors who become bank robbers. I absolutely adore this film. So much so that I chose to cover it on an episode of The Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema a while back. At the time we recorded the episode, the film was OOP on DVD and not on Netflix even as a disc rental so I am ever so pleased to see it show up on Instant. It comes with my highest recommendation. I'm also excited by the appearance of Joseph H. Lewis' THE BIG COMBO, which I think I first became aware of through VISIONS OF LIGHT a long while ago. Great noir from a still under-rated director. Plenty of other wacky stuff here too from Zappa's 200 MOTELS to THE GUMBALL RALLY & GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN. Also DAFFY DUCK'S FANTASTIC ISLAND and the stunning STROKER ACE! Some newer films of interest are LET ME IN & the culty film RUBBER.



AMERICAN PIMp(2000; Allen Hughes/Albert Hughes)
BOBBY DEERFIELD(1977; Syndey Pollack)
BUFFALO '66(1998; Vincent Gallo)
THE BIG COMBO(1955; Joseph H. Lewis)
THE CHOCOLATE WAR(1988; Keith Gordon)
CINEMA PARADISO(1988; Giuseppe Tornatore)

DAFFY DUCK'S MOVIE: FANTASTIC ISLAND(1983; various)

FLATBED ANNIE & SWEETIE PIE: LADY TRUCKERS(1979; Robert Greenwald)
GOING IN STYLE(1979; Martin Brest)
GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN(1985; Alan Metter)
THE GUMBALL RALLY(1976; Chuck Bail)

LET ME IN(2010; Matt Reeves)

THE MAN FROM NOWHERE(2010; Jeong-beom Lee)
MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID(2011; Mary Lambert)
THE OMEGA MAN(1971; Boris Sagal)
POISON(1991; Todd Haynes)

PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE(2002; Paul Thomas Anderson)

RUBBER(2010; Quentin Dupieux)

SLAP SHOT(1977; George Roy Hill)

THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS(1957; Billy Wilder)
SPORTS NIGHT(1998; Series)

STAR TREK (1966; Series)
STROKER ACE(1983; Hal Needham)

SUPERFLY(1972; Gordon Parks)

SWITCHBLADE SISTERS(1975; Jack Hill)
YEAR OF THE DRAGON(1985; Michael Cimino)











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