Archive for December, 2010

Holy crap, I just ran a marathon!

Posted in exercise, life, movies, running with tags , , , , on December 22, 2010 by Paxton

So, I ran my first marathon on Sunday. It was the culmination of many, many months of preparation and training. I officially signed up for and started training for this race back in May, so I’m glad that it’s all over now and I can say that I have now run a full marathon (26.2 miles). And I am even happy with my time; 5 hours and 10 minutes.  The marathon was not as soul crushing and hard as I expected, but that’s not to say it was easy.  I think the key for me was running the actual race with a buddy.  My friend Mike and I ran the race together and provided each other with much needed distracting conversations and encouragement especially in the later miles (20+).

The marathon I ran was part of a larger group of races called The Tri-2B Tuff Challenge.

The Tri-2B Tuff Challenge consists of three distance races in three months.  You can either do three half marathons or two half marathons and a full marathon.  I did the latter.

The first race was the Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon on Oct 2. Mike and I mistakenly believed that race started at 8am so we showed up ready to run at 7:30am. However, when we showed up people were dismantling the starting line. After asking around we discovered that the race actually started at 7am. Undaunted, we backed our butts up to the dismantled starting line, started our watches and ran the race anyway. It took a while, but we wound up catching up with some of the stragglers and finishing the race anyway.

The second race was the Outback Steakhouse Distance Classic Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day. We double checked the starting time for that race and showed up early so we started with the official clock. This race was awesome. I enjoyed the course and it was actually fun to run it.

The last race was the Jacksonville Bank Marathon (or you could run the half marathon) on Dec 19 (this past Sunday).  Finish those three races and you win the Tri-2B Tough Challenge.  I’m glad I did it.  Since I was training for the marathon anyway the two half marathons in Oct and Nov kept me from slacking off too much on training.

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Held Over! A new blog showcasing vintage movie print advertisements

Posted in 80s, advertising, movies, pop culture with tags , , , on December 20, 2010 by Paxton

Held Over

I’ve been planning this for a year or so, and now I can finally get it out there.  I’m starting a new blog called Held Over! As you can see from the banner above, it will showcase old movie advertisements.  Many of the ads will be from newspapers (hence the Held Over! catchphrase), but I’ll also include other print media like magazines and comic books.  I’ve been stockpiling movie adverts since the mid 80s, and I finally am getting my s**t together and starting to share them online.

Don’t worry, I’ll continue posting movie anniversary articles on this blog.  The new blog will mainly showcase the scanned movie ads as well as a little commentary (historical context, relevance, interesting trivia, etc) from me.  I’ll even aggregate some of the scans on the new blog into articles on this blog.  When I do that, you’ll see the above banner and the article will be tagged with Held Over.

So, where did this come from?  Well, when I was growing up I loved going to the movies.  I loved them so much, that I would cut out advertisements for my favorite movies from newspapers and magazines.  I also spent a good amount of my time in college at the Auburn University library combing through old newspapers on micro phish looking at movie advertisement sections.  Well, I was also looking up old 80s NBA box scores featuring Larry Bird and John Stockton, not just movie adverts. Wow, could that confession have sounded any dorkier?  No, probably not.

Anyway, throughout the 80s and early 90s, newspapers contained a wealth of awesome movie ads in their movie sections.  Movie sections could take up two or three full pages advertising what movies are currently playing.

For instance, here’s a movie section from the day I was born, May 9, 1974.  Click it to see it bigger on Flickr.

Toledo Blade 5/9/1974

Nearly two full pages are taken up with movies of the day. And there are some good ones like The Sting, Blazing Saddles and The Exorcist. There are also some stinkers like Zardoz and Great Gatsby. Hmm, actually, I just this moment noticed there are three movies playing starring Robert Redford; The Candidate, The Sting and The Great Gatsby.  You don’t see that too often these days.

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Clue: The Movie was released 25 years ago today

Posted in 80s, movies, pop culture with tags , , , on December 13, 2010 by Paxton

Clue the Movie Starts Today

Clue the movie was released 25 years ago today; December 13th, 1985.

Clue was the first movie directly based on a board game.  It was filmed with three different endings (Ending A, Ending B and Ending C).  However, there was a fourth ending scripted and shot but dropped at the last minute.  You can still read the fourth ending in the movie novelization and the Clue Storybook.  The Clue Storybook even has a few photos of the missing ending.

Clue Novelization Clue storybook

The structure and story of Clue was taken from two different movies; Murder by Death and Ten Little Indians. Murder by Death was a 1976 murder-mystery spoof by playwright Neil Simon starring Peter Falk, Alec Guiness, James Coco, Truman Capote and Eileen Brennan (Mrs Peacock). Five of the world’s greatest detectives are invited up to a mansion and asked to solve a murder that will take place at midnight. Ten Little Indians was a 1974 murder-mystery based on Agatha Christie’s famous novel. Many of the kills in Clue the Movie are homages to Ten Little Indians.

Murder by Death Ten Little Indians

Clue is one of my wife and my favorite movies. We quote it endlessly. As a matter of fact, to celebrate the 25th anniversary, we watched it this weekend. And loved every minute of it.

Somewhat a review of the movie Ninja (2009)

Posted in movies, ninjas, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on December 10, 2010 by Paxton

Ninja Day Banner

Well, I was debating about delving into the final Sho Kosugi ninja movie Enter the Ninja today the same way I covered Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III: The Domination the last few days, but I realized I have not the time nor the energy to do it. At least not today.  So, I’m going to review another ninja movie, this one from 25 years later in 2009.  It was a smaller release and the title was just Ninja.

Ninja

I’m pretty sure this may have been a DVD only release. Especially in the US.  It may have opened in theaters elsewhere.  I got it from Netflix a few weeks after it was released.  One of the reasons I was kind of excited to see this movie was because it was a smaller B-movie release that was supposed to be in the style of the mid-80s ninja movies.  I thought that was a great idea, and settled in to watch some “so bad it’s good” ninja awesomeness.

But I couldn’t get into it.  And this is coming from the guy that just sat through, watched, loved and reviewed, in agonizing detail, the movies Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III.  So to say my tastes are discerning would be less then accurate.  And I still had trouble enjoying myself.  Granted, there are over 20 years of nostalgia coloring my perceptions of those ninja movies, but still.

Plus, this movie definitely feels like it was written and filmed in 1985, then lost for 25 years and found in some dank, dirty corner of the film vaults.  The suits then decided to put this lost ninja film out to capitalize on the release of Ninja Assassin.  The script and acting are cheesy and awkward.  The film logic is odd.  However the fight scenes are nicely shot and choreographed.  I really need to give it another watch.  I feel like I’m not giving it the latitude I give a Sho Kosugi movie.  And I’m not sure why.  The story is just as flat, the acting just as bad and the ninja scenes are just as good.  I don’t know why my knee jerk reaction is that I don’t like it.

The star, Scott Adkins, is a capable action star.  Before this he had roles in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (as Weapon XI) and The Bourne Ultimatum (as Agent Kiley).  The female lead is a little irritating because she seems helpless.  She’s constantly having to be saved despite the fact that in the beginning of the movie they establish her as the daughter of a ninja teacher and every bit as deadly as the Scott Adkins character.  I don’t know.

Trust me, I’m going to give this movie another shot.  When I do, I’ll let you know if I change my mind.  Until then, this gets a not recommend.

I become a man by watching Ninja III: The Domination (1984)

Posted in 80s, movies, ninjas, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on December 8, 2010 by Paxton

Ninja Day Banner

Okay, Sunday was Ninja Day, and I’m extending that into Ninja Week here on the blog. On Monday I discussed in detail the reality rendering awesomeness that is 1983’s Revenge of the Ninja starring Sho Kosugi. Today, I want to discuss that movie’s followup, Ninja III: The Domination.

Ninja III

I want to say I saw this in the theater, but there’s no way my father would have let me see the R rated Ninja III when I was 10 years old. I must have rented it a few years later when I was renting Revenge of the Ninja over and over again from the local video store.  How could I not?  It was a ninja movie with Sho Kosugi and that hot chick from Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2.  Also, this movie’s director, Sam Firstenberg, also directed Revenge of the Ninja.  As a matter of fact, from 1983 to 1985 Firstenberg directed Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja III:  The Domination, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo and American Ninja.  I don’t know about you but that alone deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award or something.  I have to ask why this guy isn’t a household name.  Well, he followed up his Hall of Fame line up of 80s action movies with American Ninja 2:  The Confrontation and Delta Force 3:  The Killing Game which probably ended his career as quickly as a katana to the neck.  But no one can take way those 4 awesome 80s movies.  No one.

Anyway, this movie is completely fun, weird and absurd.  So let’s take a look.  I’m going to delve into the best aspects of this movie like I did Revenge of the Ninja because this movie deserves it.  There’s a lot of zany 80s awesomeness going on in this movie.  And I’ll be sure to point out all the gratuitous shots of Lucinda Dickey in skimpy clothes while sweatily dancing (happens more often than you think).  So grab a seat and let’s do this.

Ninja 3 titles
And so the awesome begins. The opening sequence is the best. A Japanese dude walks into this hidden cave, dons a ninja suit and heads to a nearby golf course to wreck complete havok. It’s never explained why he attacked the golf course. He just does it. And it’s awesome.

golf cart
Here’s the ninja stopping a golf cart by lifting the back wheels off the ground. He couldn’t let the attractive couple get away because he really needed to kill them.

bodyguard with gun ninja blowgun blowdart into gun gun explodes
A group of bodyguards show up because I guess one of the golfers is famous (no explanation). One of the bodyguards pulls a gun, but before he can fire, the ninja whips out a blowgun and shoots a dart directly into the gun barrel causing the gun to explode awesomely in the bodyguards face.  This movie is so ninja.

Outrun a car
The ninja then outruns a cop car.

ninja trapped ninja smoke ninja disappears ninja underground
The ninja is caught by like 5 cops and they open fire riddling him with bullets. In the midst of the gunfire the ninja ignites a smoke bomb and disappears. The cops have no idea where he went so they all just decide to leave. Then the ninja pops up out of the dirt. He had dug himself under the ground like a mole proving once again that, yes, he is a badass ninja.

Christie Ninja possession
While filled with bullet holes, the ninja crawls away and finds Lucinda Dickey as Christie, the hottest telephone repair person EVER. The ninja grabs her and does some ninja voodoo to put his spirit inside her (he wants to be IN her).

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