Archive for June, 2010

Flipping through the Back to the Future Official Book of the Complete Trilogy

Posted in Back to the Future, books, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Paxton

Time Travel

Back to the Future turns 25 years old this week. It was released on July 3, 1985. This week on the Cavalcade of Awesome we are celebrating this anniversary with several Back to the Future related articles. On Monday I discussed the Back to the Future Official Souvenir Magazine. Today we are looking at the Back to the Future Official Book of the Complete Trilogy.

BTTF Trilogy Guide

The cover for the official book of the trilogy is above.  It was published in 1990 to coincide with the release of Back to the Future Part III (which celebrated its 20th anniversary this past May). As far as I know, Part II and Part III did not receive an official souvenir magazine like the original Back to the Future.  The closest we got would probably be the Back to the Future Fan Club newsletter which I discussed back in May.  So, with the release of the final movie in the trilogy, Universal compiled this “souvenir book” and had it cover all three Back to the Future movies.  The articles and pictures in this book are what you would normally find in a souvenir magazine, but here it’s on a nicer paper stock and bound in hardback.

The book is chock full of on-set pictures and details about the making of one of the greatest trilogies of all time.  The book has a lot of the photos from the Back to the Future souvenir magazine but it also includes lots of pictures from the other movies.  One of the cooler articles in the book is a two page spread on the Mattel Hoverboard (click the image to make it bigger and easier to read).

Mattel Hoverboard

This page is a great resource for one of the trilogies most memorable, and controversial, props.  The text describes how they filmed the famed hoverboard chase in downtown Hill Valley 2015.  The chase was filmed in at least five different ways and no two consecutive takes were done the same way.  Some takes were done with the actors suspended from wires with the board attached to their feet, other takes required the actor to stand on a board that was suspended from wires.  Still other takes required a crane rig with a steering wheel to be piloted by a crew member while the actors were suspended from a harness.  This last one was used to execute turns and spins while on the hoverboard.  It’s amazing the amount of work that went into this one sequence.  The page even makes a mention of the infamous Zemekis interview in which he stated that hoverboards were real and the only reason we didn’t have them was because parent groups were blocking their distribution.  This, of course, resulted in kids all over the world to lose their damn minds over the idea that parents were actually keeping something as awesome as a hoverboard from becoming a reality.  For years afterwards kids wondered, “Why?  Why, if my parents loved me, would they not want me to be happy.  Because clearly, I won’t be happy until I have a f’n HOVERBOARD!!!”  Zemekis eventually had to crush all the kids’ hopes and dreams of a happy life by telling them that he was, in fact, lying and hoverboards are not real. And neither is the Easter Bunny.  Or Santa.  Now get a job.

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Looking at the Back to the Future Souvenir Magazine

Posted in 80s, Back to the Future, magazine, movies, pop culture, time machine, time travel with tags , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Paxton

Time Travel

This week is Back to the Future week on the Cavalcade of Awesome to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the original Back to the Future movie on July 3.  Today we look at the Back to the Future Souvenir Magazine.

Goonies souvenir mag Batman Souvenir mag Gremlins souvenir mag

In the ’80s it was fairly common practice to release souvenir magazines and books with the release of big tent pole movies. These magazines would provide story details, lots of movie stills and some behind the scenes info to help promote the movie. Along with these magazines studios would release poster books as well as novelizations.  Movies like Aliens, Rambo, Superman II, Star Trek IV, Gremlins and many others received both souvenir magazines and poster magazines.  As an example, I myself have the 1989 Tim Burton Batman official souvenir magazine (see above) as well as the movie novelization.  I also have the James Cameron directed Aliens movie magazine (to be used in a future article).  Shawn on Branded in the 80s did a great writeup on the Goonies Official Souvenir Magazine.  The Goonies magazine that Shawn talked about was a goldmine of deleted scenes and concepts as you can see here.  The Aliens and Batman magazines I have don’t have as much behind the scenes or deleted scenes depicted in the many, many movie stills within.

Anyway, talking about movie souvenir magazines, today I want to take a look at the Back to the Future Souvenir Magazine.

Back to the Future magazine front

Released in the Summer of 1985, this was used to promote the movie’s release (as all souvenir magazines tend to do). I bought it off the rack at our local Western Supermarket because I loved the movie (which I literally saw 10 times in the theater).  However, my copy was read so often it literally disintegrated in my hands after a few years. It took me a while, but I finally was able to replace my copy with a new, very near mint copy (including the poster!).

As you can see, the cover is nice and bright with a great image of the Drew Struzan poster art.  It’s interesting to note that the logo for the movie on this magazine is missing the light blue outline that can be found on the finished theatrical poster.  It makes for a visual difference and I like it.

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Back to the Future turns 25 this week

Posted in 80s, Back to the Future, movies, pop culture, time travel with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Paxton

Back to the Future

The original Back to the Future opened in theaters on July 3, 1985.  That’s right, people, my favorite (and hopefully yours) time travel trilogy turns 25 years old on Saturday.   Crazy, right?  Especially since the 20th anniversary of Back to the Future Part III happened just this past May and the 20th anniversary of Back to the Future Part II happened in November.  Wow, I’m getting old.  I saw all three of these movies in the theater.

In celebration, this will be Back to the Future week on the blog.  In much the same way I did for the Part III celebration, I’ll have two or three articles pertaining to Back to the Future this week culminating in a review of the original movie on Saturday.  So sit back, relax, and let me get this blog up to 88 mpg, where you’re going to see some serious sh*t.

Ordering “secret” fast food menu items

Posted in fast food, food, McDonald's, pop culture with tags , , on June 25, 2010 by Paxton

Fast food menus are constantly in flux. They will add and remove things as times and tastes change. However, since everything uses the same basic ingredients, it’s usually still within a fast food restaurant’s power to make these discontinued items if they are so inclined. This is how a “secret menu” is created. Items that have been discontinued but can still be ordered because they still have the stuff there to make it, they just don’t advertise it. Many of our favorite fast food places have these “hidden” menu items, and if you Google hard enough, you’ll find them.

Or, you can just have me do it for you.  Here are some of the “hidden menu” items you can still find at some of our favorite fast food places.

In n Out Burger
In ‘n Out Burger has the most well known of the “secret menus”. It’s most well known because they actually posted it on their website (thereby negating the “secret” part). You can get a grilled cheese, “Animal Style” burgers (mustard grilled burgers, cheese, grilled onions) as well as “Animal Style” fries (same toppings as the burgers) and burgers labeled like they were lumber; 3×3 (3 patties and 3 cheese slices) and 4×4 (4 patties and 4 slices of cheese).  They even go all the way up to a 100 x 100 burger which you need two friends to help you carry out of the restaurant.  And in a great reference to a Blues Brothers song (Rubber Biscuit) In-n-Out has a secret sandwich called a “Wish Burger”.  As the song says, a “Wish Burger [sandwich]” is the kind of a sandwich, “where you have two slices of bread and you, hehehehehe, WISH you had some meat!  Bow, Bow, Bow!”  The buns are piled high with lettuce, onions, double tomatoes and sauce.

Starbucks in Chicago
If you go to Starbucks there are a plethora of options for you to choose from that aren’t specifically on the menu. Tired of feeling hemmed in by the size choices and paying $5 for a small? Order the original small size (before Starbucks supersized their choices) — it’s called Short (currently the kid’s size).  How about a Cap’n Crunch Berry Frappuccino which involves a Strawberries & Cream Frappucino with a pump of hazelnut flavoring?  It supposedly tastes just like the cereal. For you caffeine cowboys out there order up The Red Eye which is a normal drip coffee with an extra shot of espresso. Want two shots of espresso? It’s a Black Eye. Don’t feel like sleeping the next two days? Try a Green Eye (3 shots of espresso).  FYI, if you want an extra shot of espresso at Dunkin’ Donuts it’s called a Turbo Hot Coffee.

According to the McDonald’s employee group at Live Journal, there are tons of creations you can order “off the menu”. How about a Neopolitan milkshake? It’s a mixture of the strawberry, vanilla and chocolate shakes.  Or the awesomely named McGangbang, which is a McChicken sandwich in the middle of a double cheeseburger.  If you think your arteries are getting a bit loose, try the Monster Mac which is a Big Mac with 8 burger patties.  That’ll harden up those loose arteries in no time.  Also try the Chicken & Waffles; it’s a McGriddle sandwich with chicken instead of sausage.  Or, if you want a sampling of everything, try the Land, Sea & Air Burger which consists of a hamburger patty, a Filet-O-Fish and a chicken patty stacked on top of each other, separated with cheese and between two buns.  See all the fun you can get into at Mickey D’s?

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Review of the new Karate Kid

Posted in movies, reviews with tags , on June 18, 2010 by Paxton

new karate kid poster

Okay, last week I watched the entire Karate Kid collection in preparation for the new movie. Now I’ve seen the new movie. How is it?

Let’s look at what I liked and disliked.

I’m not sure if this is a like or dislike, but it’s surprising how much this new movie lifts from the original movie. I mean the situations, the scenes and the dialogue are oftentimes directly lifted from the original Karate Kid. I’m not surprised since, like I said last week, the original Karate Kid was a nearly perfect movie with nary a scene or line of dialogue wasted. I’m probably 50-50 on whether this movie worked. It was entertaining, but again, it really added nothing new as the story and much of the dialogue is exactly the same, so I have to ask, why bother?

Han and Dre

Secondly, Jackie Chan as Mr Han makes this movie. Totally worth seeing it for him. Unfortunately he really only gets one fight scene, but that’s not what his character is about anyway. His one fight scene is the scene where he fights off the bullies.  It’s amazing.  At first you wonder, how is this going to look with Han beating up a bunch of 12 year olds?  But it comes off great.  Han doesn’t actually throw any punches, he uses all defensive moves then uses the punches and kicks of the bullies against themselves.  It’s seriously amazing and Chan, as usual is awesome.

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Watching the EncoreHD Karate Kid marathon

Posted in 80s, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , on June 15, 2010 by Paxton

EncoreHD showed a marathon of all four Karate Kid movies this past weekend.  In preparation for the new movie, I sat down and watched the entire series.  From Crane kick to the new chick I endured the entirety of this series in one fell sweep (of the leg).

I originally saw the the first three movies in the theater.  I didn’t see Next Karate Kid until several years after it hit video mainly because it looked terrible and secondly, I’m a misogynist.  I remember loving the original, liking Part II but thinking it was a bit boring and really enjoying Part III.  When I watched Part IV on video, I thought it was as bad as I expected it to be.  Let’s see if my thoughts on these movies have changed over the years.

The Karate Kid
The Karate Kid (1984) – This is a nearly perfect movie.  I enjoyed every moment of every scene.  Despite being just over 2 hours, the movie felt slim and trim.  It starts off with several good action scenes then it begins a slow burn with Daniel’s training finally finishing in a whirlwind set of scenes at the All-Valley Karate Championships.  Macchio is great as Daniel and Elizabeth Shue is cute and fun as Ali.  The best people in the movie, however, are Pat Morita as Miyagi, William Zabka as Johnny and Martin Kove as Kreese.  Morita is wonderfully subtle and humorous as Miyagi.  You always enjoy watching him on screen.  And his fighting scene where he kicks the Cobra Kai’s asses is perfectly done.  Zabka totally owns as the rich douche Johnny Lawrence.  As with his other “bully” roles (Just One of the Guys and Back to School) you almost feel like he enjoys terrorizing and harassing other kids.  And the collection of teens he hangs out with are just as good in their supporting roles.  In this, Zabka is sneeringly wonderful.  And what’s to say about the despicable John Kreese?  He sulks his way through this movie spouting macho platitudes about no fear and no pain and generally getting the audience to hate him.  And he does it well.  This movie most definitely still holds up and I can wholeheartedly recommend this movie even today.  I hope the new movie is as charming and funny as the original (a tall order, I know).

Karate Kid Part II
The Karate Kid Part II (1986) – Okay, like I said, when I originally saw this in the theater I thought it was only okay and a tad boring.  The first ten minutes which picks up immediately after the karate tournament is fantastic and may have set the bar a little high.  In that first ten minutes we see John Kreese and the Cobra Kais (yes, all five of the boys return in what is essentially a cameo) arguing about Johnny’s second place.  Kreese starts beating them up then Miyagi steps in and finishes it.  Totally awesome and pretty much better than the rest of the movie.  Anyway, after this, Daniel tags along, uninvited mind you, with Miyagi to visit Okinawa to see his dying father.  While there we meet Sato, Miyagi’s former best friend who now wants to kill him and that best friend’s mean and douchey nephew Chozen.  Sato and Chozen are kind of setup as John Kreese and Johnny Lawrence characters in that they terrorize Miyagi and the village.  This movie reveals an interesting fact about Miyagi’s karate; he enjoys punching people in the crotch.  There’s a scene in this movie where Miyagi teaches Daniel a move where you drop a rag (or something) on the floor and and when you pick it up you use your lower position to punch your opponent in the balls.  Daniel even uses this maneuver on Chozen later on in the movie.  If you remember in the first movie, when Miyagi is beating up the Cobra Kais he totally kicks Dutch in the nuts.  So, essentially, a “shot to the pills” is an official move in Miyagi-Do karate.  That’s good to know; if you ever fight someone taught by Miyagi then protect your loins.  Anyway, everything comes to a head during a hurricane, Sato switches over to the good guys and at the final festival, Daniel has to fight Chozen in a “death match” (why it’s Daniel’s job to fight in this death match, I have no idea).  The fight is slightly better choreography-wise than the first movie, but again it’s straining my own personal believability that Daniel would be able to beat Chozen.  I do like that Daniel actually tries to Crane kick Chozen and it gets blocked.  Makes sense because Chozen was taught by Sato who was taught by Miyagi’s dad, so that technique would be familiar to him.  But the “new” Crane kick, the drum maneuver, is dumb.  And I hate the nose “honk” at the end.  HATE IT.  So, I still think this movie is a bit boring.  I don’t honestly care a lot about the story, it’s not as personal to me as the first movie.  And I have trouble understanding why it’s Daniel’s responsibility to fight Chozen to the death.  Daniel has nothing to do with it.  For me, except for the first 10 minutes, this movie was mildly entertaining at best and boring at worst.

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Horror Movie Marathon: Human Centipede and Sex and the City 2

Posted in Human Centipede, movies, reviews with tags , on June 11, 2010 by Paxton

Okay, so I girded my loins the past few days and I watched two movies that I really wasn’t looking forward to watching. Let’s see if they were any good.

The Human Centipede
The Human Centipede – This movie has been getting a lot of internet buzz lately. You could almost say it was this year’s Snakes on a Plane. Except instead of the concept of Sam Jackson saying “…snakes on a muthaf—in’ plane!” you get the idea of a mad surgeon sewing people together ass to mouth. The film is playing in less than 20 theaters across the country, none of which are here in Jacksonville, but Comcast is simultaneously offering it On-Demand. So my friend Jason was visiting and we thought we’d give it a shot and bought The Human Centipede from On-Demand, in HD, no doubt.

This movie is flat out horrifying. Plain and simple. But it’s the idea of what’s happening that’s horrifying, not so much the images in the movie. This isn’t Saw, or Hostel. There’s not buckets of blood and gore. It’s just the idea of the mechanics of this “human centipede” that are completely disgusting. I mean, I was thinking about the concept of the “human centipede” for a few days after I watched the movie. That’s how disturbing it was. The plot is thin, a demented surgeon has decided to take on the challenge of combining three people through their gastro-intestinal systems and creating this horrific living “pet” for himself. Connected mouth to anus, the idea of being within this sick creation is enough to make you nauseous and your skin crawl. And the doctor is successful much faster than you would expect. 46 minutes into the movie the full centipede is revealed in all of its revolting glory and you get this bizarre celebratory scene by the doctor as he cries over his new creation and kisses himself in a mirror. Next come some horrifyingly weird scenes where the doctor tries to train his new pet to fetch the newspaper. I kid you not, this movie is weird, gross, horrifying and disturbing. I’m glad I watched it, but I will never watch it again. They are currently developing the sequel right now, so maybe I’ll watch that, but considering who lives and who dies at the end of this movie, I’m not sure how they’ll continue this.

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