Rock Hudson stars as a pervert coach. Hudson's career was basically over in 1971, so I guess he was taking what he could get. In the film he looks rather haggard and unhealthy... a far cry from his Pillow Talk days.
Make a list of what you think was the best movie from every year since you were born.
1971: Pretty Maids All in a Row
This one deserves a post on all its own. It was directed by none other than Roger Vadim (Barbarella) with a screenplay by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry! Even better, it stars Rock Hudson as a sexually deviant coach, Telly Savalas and the beautiful Angie Dickinson. Like the previous year's selection, this one hasn't been released on DVD - probably due to some highly irreverent and irresponsible plot points which I won't give away.
This was a very good year in film (and I'm not talkin' about the overrated The Godfather). Imagine my dilemma having to choose between Dracula A.D. 1972, Deliverance and The Last House on the Left. Well, let's just say Curtis Mayfield had a lot to do with my decision.
I can remember not being allowed to see this when it came out, but hearing my aunt and uncle describe scenes to my parents... and that gave me nightmares! Just the thought of this relentless and faceless bogeyman will stir the primeval scaredy cat deep within all of us. Perfectly executed by John Carpenter, this is the film that launched a thousand bad imitations.
1979: Phantasm and Rock 'n Roll High School
I told myself that I wouldn't have any ties on this list, and I'm not even out of the 70's and I've got a tie. I can't help it. To ask me to choose between the silver balls of death and The Ramones is asking the impossible.
1980: The Shining
I love every single millisecond of this film. This is the perfect picture - I wouldn't change one line of dialogue or a single camera angle (although, I hear Stephen King has a much different opinion). Note: It saddens me to not put The Empire Strikes Back on the list, but you just can't compete with Kubrick's nightmarish masterpiece.
Look, I know it's no Citizen Kane, but let me throw some names at you: Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Dean Martin, and Dom DeLouise as Captain Chaos. 'Nuff said.
1982: Fast Times at Ridgemont HighI realize there's not a lot of Oscar winners on my list, and Leonard Maltin's list would be a whole lot different. What can I say except "All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine."
1983: National Lampoon's Vacation
I'd love to impress you with some obscure independent film from Brussels, but I've got to go with the Griswolds.
1984: This Is Spinal Tap
The Stonehenge segment has to be one of the funniest moments in movie history.
"In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, an ancient race of people... the Druids. No one knows who they were or what they were doing... "
Notice the great string of comedies in the early 1980's! (Note: Revenge of the Nerds came out this year as well.)
1985: Better Off Dead
Another incredibly funny movie from the early 80's. This one kind of got lost amid the flood of John Hughes films and other teen comedies like Porky's. But if you haven't had a chance to see it, you're missing out.
1986: River's Edge
A rather bleak look at teenage life as compared to its contemporaries (Pretty in Pink, Can't Buy Me Love, etc.) with Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover, Dennis Hopper and Ione Skye. A very enjoyable film... in a nihilistic kind of way.
1987: Evil Dead II
Ah, yes. The year of Ishtar and Dorf on Golf. I had to go with Sam Raimi's innovative horror film over Full Metal Jacket because the second half of Kubrick's film sucks (to put it bluntly).
I can tell I am getting way out of my "retrospace" element now because it is getting harder and harder to find a movie I really liked. Most of the horror films are lame sequels and I was never much of a Rain Man fan. Check out The Ten Best Things About Scrooged at I-Mockery.com. My favorite is the adaptation of A Christmas Carol featuring the Solid Gold dancers!
Here comes two back to back Stephen King adaptations.
1989: Pet Sematary
1991: Terminator 2: Judgement Day
This year's films really sucked. Hook, King Ralph, JFK - I hate 1991's movies! Smokey and the Bandit where are you?
1992: Bram Stoker's Dracula
Captain Ron, Sister Act, Stop or My Mom Will Shoot... help me!! I don't even really like Bram Stoker's Dracula! Please tell me there's a few good movies this year that I'm just missing. Of course Reservoir Dogs and El Mariachi stand out as a new breed of film in stark contrast to the blandness of cinema this year. Foreshadows of things to come certainly, but I just don't enjoy either one of these films no matter how hard I try.
1993: Dazed and Confused
At last, after a bleak few years, a movie that I can sink my teeth into! I have watched this film easily a hundred times and it gets better each viewing. I have an entire post devoted to this film, so I'll spare you any further ravings. Suffice it to say that Matthew McConaughey's character is my role model for life.
1994: Pulp Fiction
Things are certainly looking up at the ol' cineplex once again. Pulp Fiction gave Hollywood a much needed kick in the ass.
1995: Tommy Boy
I'm starting to feel really old at this point. It seems like only yesterday that Tommy Boy came out, and I've still got thirteen years to go!
1996: Bottle Rocket and Fargo
Another tie... sorry, but I wouldn't feel right leaving either of these amazing films off the list.
1997: The Ice Storm
An excellent depiction of where the hedonism and amorality of the 1970's ultimately lead you: depressed and alone. This was the year Titanic came out, but I've never been much of a fan of this movie.
1998: Buffalo '66
Independent films had become really popular by this point. This one, starring queen of the independents, Christina Ricci, is one of the best low budget productions to come out of the 90's. Another great independent flick to come out this year was Slums of Beverly Hills.
1999: Office Space
If you want to know what my life is like from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, look no further than this near perfect comedy. I mean it nails "the cubicle life" with its TPS reports and "two Bobs" perfectly. I would love to hatch a plan from Superman 3 like Peter, Samir, and Michael Bolton. Of course you just might wind up in federal "pound me in the ass" prison.
2000: Meet the Parents
There's probably something better than this, but I'm just not finding it. You have to admit though, the painfully awkward scenes between Stiller and DeNiro are fun to watch. Watching Gaylord Focker explain how to milk a cat is priceless.
2001: The Royal Tenenbaums and Mulholland Drive
Both, in my humble opinion, are works of genius. I'm tempted to put Donnie Darko on there as well, but having two on one year is pushing it.
2002: Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones
2003: Kill Bill
2005: Sin City
2007: Planet Terror
2008: Iron Man
Whew! That took a lot longer than I thought it would (I guess I'm just old). At any rate, I had a lot of fun doing it, and look forward to looking at anyone else's movie meme. If I have a glaring omission on this list, or you can recommend something for me to drop in my Netflix queue, please let me know.
Logan's Run is set "sometime in the 23rd century"
Teleportation devices in three hundred years? I guess it's far enough away in time that I can go along with it.
Land of the Giants is set in 1983. This is one of the more blatant errors in calculation. Fancy tourist spaceships are still nowhere in sight, and we're twenty five years past the show's setting.
The TV series U.F.O. (see image below) was actually set in 1980! That's even less believable than Space:1999.
Blade Runner is set in 2019.
Wow, eleven years to go before we have to start worrying about those pesky replicants.
The year is 2084 in Total Recall. Damn. I was kind of hoping that virtual reality thing would come around a bit sooner.
Forbidden Planet is set in the early 2200's.
The original Jetsons was supposed to take place in 2062. Man, my grandchildren will have it made!
The crew in Planet of the Apes left earth in 2006, went into hibernation and crash landed in 3978.
Here's the tag line for Escape from New York: The year is 1997. The Big Apple is the world's largest penitentiary. Breaking out is impossible. Breaking IN is INSANE.
The 1927 film Metropolis is set in 2026.
2001: A Space Odyssey was right on the money for a lot of things, but was off the mark on artificial intelligence and suspended animation.
Alien is set in 2122. Again, filmmakers have a tendency to underestimate the time it will take to develop this suspended animation thing.
The Buck Rogers TV series is set in 2491.
Back to the Future II is set in 2015. Only seven more years till the hoverboard!
The best method to avoid having your film or TV show woefully outdated may be to set it far beyond the present date like Dune, which is set thousands of years ahead. Or, opt for the Star Wars plan and have it set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
I can just hear the little tykes now: "I'll trade you a Governor and J.J. for your Rockford Files and Rhoda comics."
What bothers me most about this one is not Robin's ridiculous hybrid costume. It's the awful close-up of a groin punch . Ouch!
In this exciting and action-packed issue the Man of Steel... has to eat lots of hamburgers. Excuse me? Did they run out of ideas or bad guys that this was the best they could come up with? Don't miss the next issue: Will the South Beach Diet help Superman get the weight off? The suspense is killing me.
Okay, I apologize for the juvenile humor here. I couldn't resist. Come back soon!
So, let's start with the true original. Glen Campbell on his variety show, bringin' us the goods, many years before he became a Rhinestone Cowboy.
Now that you've seen "Wichita Lineman" as it was meant to be sung, let's look at various covers of the tune - some good, some horrifically awful. The first is from Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66, who covered this song perhaps better than anyone else. Instead of recreating the song, they brought their own unique flavor to it, and I love it. Please don't discount this version outright - give it at least a good thirty seconds of your time. It'll grow on you.
Here we have a moog version of the song. Our song, "Wichita Lineman", is the first track on Nashville Gold: Switched on Moog. For some odd reason, I actually enjoy the moog version. I think it is because the hollow feeling emitted by the moog fits in well with the mood of the song. But be forwarned, I am easily the only living person on the planet that feels this way.
RecordRobot has a good helping of "Wichita Lineman" cover versions. Here's a sampling. I encourage you to browse on over to this awesome blog for a second helping. All Electric Love really has going for it is the cover, but, again, there's a certain something here that I like.
Here's a version by Sammy Davis, Jr. courtesy of RecordRobot. I wonder if this was during his Church of Satan phase. A couple posts back I talked about Sammy and his fling with Beelzebub. But enough about that, here's Sammy doin' what he does best... singing other people's material.
One of my favorites, possibly simply for its rarity, is a version recorded by Campbell himself with the Stone Temple Pilots. The recording never made it to an album, and all that survives is some grainy black and white footage.
Needless to say, the song's been covered countless times. R.E.M. did a version, and I think the song suits their style, but they really didn't add anything to the song except maybe make it more depressing. Andy Williams and Tom Jones also provided a rendition of the tune, which I'll spare you from. Suffice it to say, there's been plenty of tries to capture the magic of the Jimmy Webb song, but no one has come close to Campbell.
It's fascinating to think that Jimmy Webb's lonely drive down an Oklahoma road in the late 60's would result in a timeless classic and an endless supply of cover versions. I for one am mighty glad he took that trip.
How could this abomination actually exist? Well, for starters it was brought to you by Sid and Marty Krofft (the same fellas that gave us H. R. Puffinstuf ), so we shouldn't be too surprised.
An interesting fact is that the show was actually named "Pink Lady" (Jeff's name was never really part of the title). It seems Pink Lady was quite the popular act in Japan, and their manager wasn't about to let them share the marquee with some two-bit comedian.
The writer for the show was Mark Evanier. Prior to "Pink Lady", Evanier wrote comic books with the legendary Jack Kirby. Evanier was also the writer for "Welcome Back, Kotter". He's quoted as saying, "I still think that if we could have gotten rid of the Pink Lady part and gone with just Jeff, it would have been a darn good show." Good one, Mark.
One of the worst things I remember from the show was that it ended each week with Pink Lady dragging Jeff fully clothed into a hot tub. It was obviously a flimsy excuse to have the two women in bikinis, but got embarrassing after a while. For this, Mar Evanier should be prosecuted in a court of law.
Despite the shows abysmal failure, Pink Lady returned home to Japan no worse for wear. They were simply too popular in their home country to let a crappy American variety show cramp their style. As you can see from the ad below, they even endorse air conditioners.
Anyway, there's a plethora of information on the show on the internet, so there's really nothing new to tell. However, if you're considering renting or buying this DVD just so you can witness TV at its worst, I beseech you to refrain. It is oh so horribly bad that I'll wager you can't make it through the 8 minute YouTube clip at the end of this post.
In an earlier post I commented on a couple horrible renditions of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album: namely the attempts made by The Bee-Gees and Bill Cosby. I guess I should have included Pink Lady. Their "Pepper Keibu" apparently translates to "Sergeant Pepper" and contains the following profound lyrics:
"Sergeant Pepper! Don't interrupt me. Sergeant Pepper! We are in a verygood mood to have fun more. Your words like injections soaking deep into my heart."
A thanks to Platypus Comix for their nice scans of several Pink Lady TV Guide ads. View them here. Pink Lady also has a great site which contributed the advertisements above.
From Forbidden Planet on, Robbie enjoyed appearance after appearance in both print and screen. He made several appearances on "Lost in Space" and "The Twilight Zone". In addition, he made cameos on "Columbo", "Mork & Mindy", and "The Addam's Family".
Robbie is in the films Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (he's in Watto's junk shop), Gremlins, Earth Girls Are Easy, and Cherry 2000. He's been on "Wonder Woman", "The Banana Splits", "Hazel", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E", "The Simpsons" and even "Stacked" in 2005. Robbie also made a cameo alongside Mr. Whipple in a Charmin commercial.
During the late 60's and 70's, there was such a massive outpouring of new and brilliant music, that sadly many bands got lost in the shuffle. Some were popular for a brief moment, but for one reason or another, are lucky to be a footnote in the history of music. I hope that I can bring forward a few bands that deserve a second look.