Archive for January, 2013

Muppet Treasure Island and it’s awesome soundtrack

Posted in movies, music, pop culture with tags , , , , , on January 31, 2013 by Paxton

LEB

So, this week’s topic for the League is “pirates”. Unfortunately, I’ve already extolled the virtues of one of my favorite pirate movies of all time, The Pirate Movie, during it’s 30 year anniversary last year. So, I can’t un-pop that cork. My next best option is to talk about Muppet Treasure Island.  And more specifically, the soundtrack.

Muppet Treasure Island was released in 1996.  It was the second of the Muppet movies, after Muppet Christmas Carol, to be made in partnership with Disney and after Jim Henson’s death.  It starred Tim Curry as Long John Silver and Kevin Bishop as Jim Hawkins.  The movie, financially, was a success earning a higher gross than the last three movies.

The movie itself is funny and clever.  Curry is great as Silver.  Bishop is, well, not awesome.  His voice is really high, like a 6 year old girl.  It’s really sort of annoying.  Other than that I enjoy this movie as much as I enjoy Muppet Christmas Carol.   In general, I see Muppet Christmas Carol as a better movie but Muppet Treasure Island has the better soundtrack.

Now, let’s take a look at that awesome soundtrack with a bunch of very catchy, totally Muppet-style songs that are all pirate themed.

Muppet Treasure Island soundtrack
This exists. And I own it.

Here are some of my favorite songs from the soundtrack.

Shiver My Timbers is the song that plays over the opening credits featuring pirates burying treasure on an island. Treasure Island. It’s very dark and is very chant-like. It’s probably my favorite song, and it’s totally pirate-y.

Cabin Fever is my second favorite song. It features the cast singing about having “cabin fever” while sailing out at sea. It’s absurd and over-the-top and completely bananas. That’s why I love it. It has a distinctly “islands” feel to it with the steel drums. My favorite lyric in the song:

“Cabin fever has grabbed us all aboard,
This once fine vessel has become a floating psycho ward.”

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Nerd Lunch Episode 70: Non-Super Hero Comics

Posted in comic books, podcast, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Welcome to Episode 70 of the Nerd Lunch podcast. This week we are joined by Michael May of Michael May’s Adventureblog and Robot 6. Michael joins us on this episode to talk about comics. Non super hero comics.

Lady Cop Seeker 3000

You know, the stuff without super heroes. Yes, there are comics without super heroes. We talk about stuff like Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, Y: The Last Man, Groo, Conan, monster comics and a bunch of other sh*t I never read.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

Bionic Review: Wine, Woman and War (1973)

Posted in Bionic Man, movies, pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on January 28, 2013 by Paxton

Bionic Review
SMDM Movies

After the original Six Million Dollar Man TV movie, there were two more produced and both of them aired in 1973. The first was called Wine, Women and War and aired on Oct 20, 1973.  Here’s an ad from a 1973 newspaper featuring the TV listing for this movie.  Lee Majors’ picture is on the right, the blub about the movie is in bold in the far left column.

SMDM - Wine Women War

Wine, Women and War doesn’t go directly to the action, it actually has an opening title sequence. And it’s an awesomely 70s opening sequence with an awesomely 70s theme song by Dusty Springfield. Check it out.

“Catch him if you can, feed him if you can, love if you CAAAAAAAAAAAN!  He’s the Six Million Dollar MAAAAAAAN!”  Amazing, isn’t it?

So, right off the bat we see a few things that are new.  Richard Anderson debuts as Oscar Goldman and Alan Oppenheimer debuts as Rudy Wells taking the place of Martin Balsam.  You also notice the absence of Darren McGavin as Oliver Spenser.  This movie was sort of an overhaul of the Six Million Dollar Man as far as the cast goes.  Only Lee majors would remain.  The weekly television series would have been in production at this point as its debut was only months away in Jan 1974.  I assume the player pieces were falling into place.  The story concepts were still being worked out, though, as the story for this movie is essentially, “What if James Bond were bionic?”.  This movie is a complete rip-off of the Bond franchise.  Austin is treated as the debonair super-spy.

smdm_www_title2

So the story begins with Austin on assignment in Egypt to steal an arms dealer’s catalog. In classic Bond fashion we see Austin pull off his wet suit to reveal a fully dry tux underneath.  Later, during the action, Austin’s female companion is killed. Afterwards Steve is reluctant to go out on another assignment so Oscar arranges for a vacation. However Oscar doesn’t tell Steve that the vacation is actually his next assignment, just manipulated by OSI agents that are following along to look like a vacation. Oscar can be kind of a dick. Although we do get to see Steve mistake a lady who is flirting with him on his plane for a prostitute. That was pretty funny.  And plenty of other Bond-like double entendres ensue throughout the movie.

So Steve discovers Oscar’s ruse and stumbles upon the trail of the previously mentioned arms dealer and Steve goes after him hoping to get revenge for his companion’s death.  Like I said, all very Bond-like.

Honestly, on one level it totally works.  It’s just so absurd and contrary to the Austin we come to know in the TV series that it’s almost fun to watch.

I can recommend this, but honestly, you can’t really watch it as a Six Million Dollar Man movie/episode. It’s a spy movie that just happens to have Steve Austin, the bionic man.

Review of Oz Book 12: The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)

Posted in books, Classic literature, pop culture, Wizard of Oz with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2013 by Paxton

Following the Yellow Brick Road

The twelfth book in Baum’s Oz series was The Tin Woodman of Oz and it was published in 1918.

Tin Woodman of Oz

This was a surprisingly good book that actually has a very relevant title as opposed to a few other books in this series (I’m looking at you, Tik-Tok of Oz).  And the book’s plot fills in a lot of back story to the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Ol’ Nick Chopper and The Wizard (he actually has no name and is only ever called The Wizard or Little Wizard) are telling tales in Chopper’s palace in the Winkie country.  A wandering Gillikin boy named Woot arrives at the palace and begins asking how Tin Man became tin.  Nick tells his origin in more detail about the witch Mombi cursing his axe and having his limbs cut off one by one.  After each limb is cut off, he goes to a tinsmith friend of his named Ku-Klip to replace the limb until he was entirely made out of tin.  After his accidents, Nick felt it wasn’t fair to marry his sweetheart, Nimmie Amee, since he didn’t truly love her any more due to not having a heart.  So he leaves.  This reminiscing causes Chopper to wonder what Amee is doing and to realize that he really should have married her like he promised.

So Nick Chopper, the Scarecrow, the Wizard and Woot travel to Munchkinland to see if Amee will still marry the tin woodman.  They meet lots of adventures on the way and even come upon another tin man in the munchkin forest.  This new tin man was a soldier named Capt Fyter who also fell in love with Nimmie Amee and had his sword cursed by Mombi in the exact same way as Nick Chopper.  Which of course led him to Ku-Klip.  He was caught in the forest many years ago and rusted in a rain storm.  Obviously shocked by the similar circumstances of their creation this leads the group to seek out Ku-Klip the tinsmith to discover the whereabouts of Nimmie Amee.  They also discover that Ku-Klip used the cut off human body parts of Nick Chopper and the Tin Soldier to create another person, Chopfyt (combination of the two names Chopper and Fyter).

From there they travel across Oz to where Nimmie currently resides to see if she wants to marry one of the tin men.

Aside from the copious amounts of back story we get on Nick Chopper, we also get a lot of back story about the Land of Oz itself.  We learn that Oz wasn’t always a magical fairyland in which no one ages or dies.  We learn that a fairy queen named Lurline bestowed upon Oz the fairy status and left one of her fairies to be its guardian.  That fairy is Ozma.  This sort of flies in the face of the second book, Marvelous Land of Oz, in which it was said that Ozma was just a long lost royal who was rightly returned to her family’s throne.  Regardless,  I really like this new back story.  It was interesting from the beginning and Baum had a few nice surprises in store.  I also really liked meeting Ku-Klip, the tinsmith who created the Tin Woodman.

From what I’ve read, the Oz books had begun to decline in popularity right before this book, but it became a huge hit and started a resurgence in Oz popularity.  It even carried over into some of Baum’s other non-Oz books like John Dough and the Cherub.

Below is my checklist of Oz books.  I’ve crossed off the ones I’ve currently read.  Next up, The Magic of Oz. Oz books checklist

Nerd Lunch Episode 68: Failed movie toy lines

Posted in movies, nostalgia, podcast, pop culture, toys with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This week we are joined by Kirk Howle from Schlock Treatment who follows his podcast colleague Doug from last week. Unfortunately, Jeeg was not able to join us so we called in 4th chair regular Shawn Robare to fill in. The topic this week is failed movie toy lines.

The Shadow figure

We talk about a few movie toy lines that work and why we think they work.  We then parlay that into some movie toy lines that failed and why we think they failed.  Movie toys we discuss involve Star Wars, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Dick Tracy and several more you probably didn’t even realize existed.

Get your fix for both movie and toy nostalgia with this week’s episode and download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online here.