Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #87



TV

Manhunt: Unabomber

True-crime series are very “in” these days and now comes a Discovery Channel true-crime drama Manhunt: Unabomber which began last week. If you’re not aware, between 1978 and 1995 the “Unabomber,” a man named Ted Kaczynski, send bombs through the mail to people at universities, airlines and other organizations killing three and wounding 23. Since Kaczynski was very good at covering his tracks he was able to get away with bombings for nearly two decades before he was captured by the FBI.

The first episode of Manhunt: Unabomber deals with recently graduated FBI profiler Jim ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald (Sam Worthington) who’s brought onto the Unabomber task force to create a profile of the killer in the late 1990s. But what the FBI really want is for Fitz to tow the company line and expand their already moldering profile to something longer and more media friendly. But Fitz full of “piss and vinegar” instead wants to start from scratch and redo a profile from the ground up. Which is met with a lot of hostility since at that point the FBI had been developing profiles on the bomber for nearly 20 years and were still no closer to catching him than they were in the late 1970s. But Fitz is firm on it either being his way or no way and when the Unabomber’s manifesto is released, giving the FBI much more material than they ever had before to create a profile, Fitz gets his way in creating a new profile to help the FBI catch the killer.

Which they do — it’s in the history books so I’m not spoiling anything but the FBI does end up catching the Unabomber and putting him in jail for life. That being said, I was interested in how the creators of Manhunt: Unabomber was handling the story of the Unabomber and they pace at which they were telling it.

For example, in the first episode we really don’t get to see the Unabomber at all. We do see him typing things and a few shadowy glimpses of a figure, but we never get to see his face which I thought was brave. With a show like Manhunt: Unabomber you just know one of the major acting roles in the series is going to be that of the bad-guy, so to not show him in the first episode, played by Paul Bettany in later episodes, took some guts. It has the effect of putting us, the audience, in the “heads” of the FBI who at that point didn’t know who the Unabomber was or even what he looked like other than from a witness sketch that was drawn years earlier.

I think Manhunt: Unabomber is closest in tone to the film Manhunter (1986). In each there are FBI agents trying to develop a profile of a serial killer, an FBI agent who walks the scene of a crime at night talking to himself to help develop a profile and the idea that the villain isn’t around for a good chunk of the start of the piece. But I mean this in a good way. If a TV series creator is going to find inspiration in something, they could do much worse than to find inspiration in something like Manhunter.

The big difference between Manhunt: Unabomber and the other true-crime series like Serial, Making a Murderer and The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story is that part of the story of those true-crime documentaries and drama is that there’s a question on whether the person arrested for the crime is guilty or not. In fact, that’s pretty much the whole theme of Making a Murderer. But that’s not going to be present in Manhunt: Unabomber since when they caught Kaczynski there was never any doubt on who did that crime. So, I’m assuming that most of the eight episodes of Manhunt: Unabomber will be to find a reason why he built bombs and killed people, rather than there being any question as to “who done it.”

The Guest Book

2017 has been a very interesting year for sitcoms. There’s been a variety of series like People of Earth about a support group for people abducted by aliens, The Santa Clarita Diet about a zombified wife/realtor and even the now cancelled The Carmichael Show that’s a sometimes twisted look at life in the 21st century from the perspective of an African American family. And now comes the new series TBS The Guest Book by Greg Garcia who also created the series My Name is Earl and Raising Hope.

This comedy series about a rental cabin at the top of a mountain has the hook that each episode features different visitors to the cabin with a different story played by different actors each week while the locals, played by the likes of Garret Dillahunt, Kellie Martin and Charles Robinson remain the same. The first episode featured Tim and Sandy (Danny Pudi and Lauren Lapkus) a young couple with a troubled marriage who rent the cabin to spend a weekend away from their baby who’s marriage gets even more troubled after Tim’s visit to a strip club is recorded with the owner threatening to show the tape to Sandy if Tim doesn’t pay $700.

I enjoyed the first episode of The Guest Book a great deal and am very interested in seeing how this series unfolds with half of a different cast each week. I think it’s a great idea for a sitcom that hasn’t been tried in a while — even if HBO recently debuted a drama series about a motel room with a rotating cast called Room 104 the other week. Mostly, I’m just happy to see Garcia having another series on TV since I’m a big fan of his style of TV show.

Mindhunter promo

Narcos season three promo

Movies

Masters of the Universe

I kind’a feel like I shouldn’t be including Masters of the Universe in my reviews of movies that came out in 1987. Whereas with every other movie on this list I either liked at the time, like now or can see some glimmer of something interesting in the film looking back on it. With Masters of the Universe I thought it was a bad movie in 1987 and I think it’s a bad movie today.

I was exactly at the right age to love the Masters of the Universe toys when they debuted in 1982 and was a huge fan of the cartoon series when it debuted a year later. I used to run off the bus each day after school to watch our local kid’s show Happy’s Place that featured that animated series. And over the years I had many He-Man toys and remember friends of mine having many more. But while I might have been exactly the right age for the Masters of the Universe toys, I was exactly the wrong age for a He-Man movie. In 1987 I was at the age of transitioning out of playing with toys and wasn’t too interested in seeing a feature film about toys.

Still, it must’ve been in either late 1987 or 1988 that we rented Masters of the Universe on VHS and I finally saw the movie. Which to say was a letdown from even my low standards at the time wouldn’t be an understatement.

With the classic Masters of the Universe toys and cartoon, much of the action takes place on an alien planet known as Eternia with He-Man and allies like Man-at-Arms and Teela doing battle with evil Skeleton and his minions like Beast Man and Mer-Man. It was simple stuff, good vs evil but it worked for the pre-teen set. But because I’m assuming budget reasons, most of the Masters of the Universe movie takes place not on far-off Eternia but on a 1987 Earth. Here, He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) and his allies accidentally arrive on the Earth after Skeletor (Frank Langella) conquers Eternia. And on the Earth He-Man teems up with two teens, one of which is played by Courtney Cox, in order to keep Skeletor from conquering the Earth next.

Masters of the Universe was another Cannon Films movie that also produced Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and much like with that one Masters of the Universe looks very cheap. Though it is ironic that the movie Aliens made a year earlier had a reported similar budget to Masters of the Universe and looks many times better than Masters of the Universe does. So when people complain that Masters of the Universe didn’t have a good enough budget I wonder if it’s more it didn’t have a good enough production team for the movie?

Masters of the Universe would mark the end of movie studios trying to turn 1980s cartoon properties into feature films — for a time anyway. With animated Transformers: The Movie having flopped in 1986 and G.I. Joe: The Movie not even getting a theatrical release in 1987 and the live-action Masters of the Universe having also flopped in late 1987.

While both Transformers and G.I. Joe saw live-action movies in the last few years with two Joe movies and five Transformers films, so far the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie is the only one from that line.

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1960: David Duchovny, Fox Mulder of The X-Files is born
  • 1968: Gillian Anderson, Dana Scully of The X-Files is born
  • 1981: Heavy Metal permiers
  • 1985: Real Genius premiers
  • 1985: My Science Project debuts
  • 1986: The Transformers: The Movie (1986) opens in theaters
  • 1987: Masters of the Universe opens
  • 1989: The Abyss opens in theaters
  • 1995: Escape from L.A. opens
  • 1999: The Iron Giant premiers



Direct Beam Comms #84



TV

Salvation

I am a sucker for Earth vs asteroid movies. When I first started covering movies here back in the late 1990s two films that I was most interested in were Deep Impact and Armageddon. And even just a few years ago I found myself drawn to and again writing about Deep Impact and another similar movie Meteor too. I’ve essentially been writing about Earth vs asteroid movies the last 20 years so when it was announced that CBS would begin airing the series Salvation this summer that’s a Earth vs asteroid show I was very interested in checking it out.

But still, while I might be interested in Salvation it is on CBS which doesn’t have a good track record of interesting sci-fi series with the likes of Under the Dome, Extant and Zoo all being dull and lowest-common denominator sci-fi the last few years. But regardless of what had come before I was going to check out Salvation no matter what. Unfortunately, not unexpectedly, Salvation is more Under the Dome than Deep Impact.

Much like with both Deep Impact and Armageddon, in Salvation an amateur scientist (Charlie Rowe) discovers that an asteroid in the far-off reaches of space has a 97% chance of hitting the Earth in six months. And when he reveals this fact to the government they tell him that they too have known about this fact for some time and have a contingency plan for stopping the asteroid with a space probe designed to bump the rock off course to miss the planet. But when an engine test for the rocket meant to blast this ship on its journey ends in an explosion, billionaire Darius Tanz (Santiago Cabrera) realizes that his plan to one day send a ship to Mars full of people might have to happen a lot sooner than he planned.

Salvation is interesting but it’s CBS-ness keeps getting in the way of it being a good show. All of the characters have model good looks, they all work in these super-high tech labs with holographic projectors and computers waaaaay too advanced for present day, no one has any real personality flaws and is more TV character than real person.

Basically, Salvation is CSI + Deep Impact / Tony Stark and his technology from Iron Man.

Mr. Mercedes TV spot

Movies

RoboCop

I remember reading an article in the long far off past of the late 1990s about movies that had what has come to be called a “director’s cut.” This version of the movie was different then the one that was released in theaters, it was the director’s preferred version of this movie. And just the idea that there might be different versions of the same movies I could see excited me. While different cuts of certain movies had been available for years at that point via LaserDisc, I didn’t know anyone who had a LaserDisc, let alone had ever seen a different cut of a movie like RoboCop that I had watched on VHS.

One of the articles I read talked about Aliens that was longer and had additional scenes, The Abyss with a totally different ending than what got released in theaters and a gorier version of RoboCop.

Nowadays it’s common for R-rated movies on home media to be released with a director’s cut of the film since the ratings system that applies to movies released in theaters doesn’t apply to home media. But back in the late 1980s when RoboCop was released on VHS the best we could hope for was the version of the movie that ran in theaters cropped to fit square TVs.

In the mid–1990s there was a push from movie fans for films to be released in their original aspect ratio, not with the sides cropped away*. And with the advent of DVD and the promise that format would feature the movie in its original aspect ratio, include things like commentaries and making of documentaries… more and more movies started being released with director’s cuts as bonus features. With DVDs becoming popular and everyone buying them looking to replace their VHS tape collections, for a brief moment movie studios began looking at their back catalogs thinking what could they do to get fans to buy the same movie yet again? And one of the things they did was to release more “director’s cuts” of movies.

By the time of DVD I had bought a few director’s cuts of movies on VHS that were dubbed from LaserDisc at comic book conventions with the likes of Aliens and Independence Day. But one of the movies I didn’t have much success finding the director’s cut of was RoboCop. In fact it wasn’t until years later when the movie was out on Blu-ray that I finally saw that version of the film.

To be honest, Paul Verhoeven director’s cut of RoboCop is less about having additional scenes that add story but is instead about turning a movie that’s known for having a decent amount of gore for a sci-fi film to one that has an incredible amount of gore and violence period.

If in the theatrical cut of RoboCop someone is shot once, then in the director’s cut they’re shot twice, once more up close and always squirting blood. And if someone shoots a gun in the theatrical cut, in the director’s cut they shoot again and again and again. So much so that the director’s cut is almost verging on comedy because of the over-the-top gore.

The iconic RoboCop image

I end up watching RoboCop about once a year but honestly I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the director’s cut. I own that on Blu-ray but for whatever reason I end up catching the theatrical version unedited on TV somewhere and end up watching that instead. So I’m honestly not sure what I think about the director’s cut since it’s been a very long time since I’ve last seen it.

What I find interesting is that for the longest time the only way to see a director’s cut of any movie was on home media. The version of the film that played on TV at best was always the theatrical cut, at worst the dreaded “edited for television” or super-dreaded “edited for television and formatted to fit your screen.” But recently I’ve noticed that starting to change with several films airing as the “director’s cut” on cable outlets and not the standard theatrical version.

It must be jolting for the casual movie fan to sit down one day to watch a favorite movie they know by heart and have watched year after year to instead see something ever so slightly different then before. Then again, maybe “the casual movie fan” doesn’t pay as much attention to their movies as I do, and maybe most people simply watch movies to be entertained rather than to examine and write about the material.

*Though slowly at first since even in the early 2000s I still remember people coming into a big-box store I was shopping at to yell at the clerk in the electronics department about those “damned black bars at the top and bottom of the movie.”

The Dark Tower trailer

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1967: Vin Diesel, Riddick of Pitch Black is born
  • 1984: The NeverEnding Story premiers in theaters
  • 1985: Day of the Dead premiers in theaters
  • 1986: Aliens debuts
  • 1987: RoboCop premiers
  • 1988: Akira premiers
  • 1996: The Frighteners opens in theaters
  • 2011: The TV series Falling Skies premiers



Direct Beam Comms #82



Movies

Near Dark

In 1987 there were two teen vampire movies, the first of which was The Lost Boys released at the end of July and the other was Near Dark in September. Both films are dealing with essentially the same subject of a young man being lured by a woman to become a new member of a vampire family but each movie approaches that plot in wildly different ways. While in many regards The Lost Boys is almost a perfect 1980s horror movie time capsule from actors used, fashion, soundtrack, etc. Near Dark instead was a horror film that took its inspiration from the southwest and cowboys with all the references those entail, and rather than being teen-friendly flick was instead a gory horror movie.

And while I’m a sucker for 1980s gory horror movies, I’m don’t think that Near Dark has stood the test of time the last 30 years. But I will say that two scenes in Near Dark* alone make it worth checking out that movie today.

Co-written and directed by Kathryn Bigelow who today is known for films like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark is about Caleb (Adrian Pasdar). Caleb’s a cocky 20-something kid living with his dad and sister in Texas who one night is seduced by a woman named Mae (Jenny Wright), is bitten and is inducted into a family of vampires who roam the backroads of the south and pick off the stragglers of society in order to feed their need for blood. Headed by Jesse (Lance Henriksen) the family consists of members Dimondback (Jenette Goldstein), Severen (Bill Paxton), Homer (Joshua John Miller) and Mae. Giving off a Manson family vibe but in an RV, these modern vampires are on a road trip from hell stopping at every small town they cross to have a little fun and drain some people of all their blood. These aren’t the flashy vampires of The Lost Boys wearing cool, modern clothes. The vampires of Near Dark are dirty, smelly and have no use for modern society.

The crux of the movie is even though Caleb’s been turned to a vampire, he’s not yet a member of Jesse’s family until he’s killed someone on his own. And because the vampires need to feed is like a junkie’s need to get a fix, it’s all Caleb can do to not act on his impulses and end someone’s life for a little blood and cross over to the dark side.

To be honest, Near Dark is a decent movie, if a little too earnest in tone. The movie does have a surprising amount of blood and gore considering that it’s a film that’s directed at teens. But otherwise, Near Dark isn’t a bad movie, but it isn’t a very good one either.

However, there are those two scenes that elevate Near Dark to something else.

The first scene is of the vampire family in a bar there to help Caleb make his first kill. Inside are a few patrons, and since you really can’t kill a vampire by conventional means the family are totally unafraid of anything the patrons can throw at them be it billiard balls or shotgun blasts. Don’t think this scene takes place in a melee of action. It’s a surprisingly slow burn as the people inside the bar think they have the upper hand on these crazy out-of-towers but slowly realize they don’t and finally are slowly, shall we say, consumed one at a time some frozen in place with fear.

The other scene is of a gunfight in a motel after the bar scene. Here, one of the patrons escaped the bar and has brought the police to the vampire’s room. The family aren’t scared of the cops and their guns, but what they are scared of is that the police have arrived during the day and daylight hurts them. So there’s this big shoot-out and the cops are shooting into the room and the family out. Bullets hurt the vampires but can’t kill them. What really hurts the vampires are the shafts of sunlight that’s let into the room from all the bullet-holes in the walls. These shafts hit harder than any bullet and hurt worse than any rifle shot. And at one point Caleb has to run out of the room to get the group’s car and catches fire before he’s able to get back into the shade and put himself out. Since he’s a vampire the burns hurt, but they go away.

Near Dark isn’t the perfect movie but it’s got a lot going for it, if you can look past a slow start and a head scratching “would that really work?” ending. In recent years marketing materials have shied away from those used 30 years ago, which featured a blackened, bloodied and shot full of holes Severen to instead feature the faces of Caleb and Mae doing their best imitation of the characters from Twilight. Now there are some elements of Romeo and Juliet in Near Dark like Twilight, but on the whole Near Dark is more The Evil Dead 2 than something sappy like Twilight.

I don’t think The Lost Boys* has either.

Logan Lucky trailer

TV

Halt and Catch Fire season 4 TV spot

Inhumans TV spot

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1945: Burt Ward, Robin, of Batman is born
  • 1978: The TV series Battlestar Galactica (the original series) debuts
  • 1985: Back to the Future premiers in theaters
  • 1995: Species opens in theaters
  • 1996: Independence Day opens in theaters
  • 1997: Men in Black opens
  • 2003: Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines premiers in theaters



Direct Beam Comms #73



TV

Powerless – First, and apparently only, season Grade B-

The NBC comedy series Powerless unexpectedly ended its run a few weeks back. “Unexpectedly” since the series was pulled from the schedule before the last two episodes could air which effectively marks the end of Powerless.

Taking place in the DC universe, Powerless was about workers at Wayne Enterprises headed by Bruce’s Cousin Van (Alan Tudyk). Wayne Enterprises invents things to keep people safe from the superhero battles that are constantly going on all around them. In a clever twist, it turns out that some of their inventions turn up as gadgets used by Batman to fight the bad-guys, but most of Powerless was centered on the employees including Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) as a new girl in town enamored with all the goings-on of superheroes, Teddy (Danny Pudi) and Ron (Ron Funches) two engineers and Jackie (Christina Kirk) Van’s assistant.

Powerless was an enjoyable show and an interesting, comedic look at life of people living alongside superheroes and villains who see them mostly as an annoyance like traffic or bad weather than something to aspire to. I’m not sure why Powerless didn’t click with the general public? My guess would be that since it was half-comedy and half-superhero show, it didn’t really appeal to the people who might have tuned in for just a comedy OR a superhero show.

Regardless, I enjoyed Powerless and felt that the show was finding it’s legs as it were and was interested to see how the first season was going to wrap up.

Movies

The Lost Boys

When I first caught The Lost Boys on cable probably sometime in 1988 I was immediately hooked. This story about a family that moves to Santa Carla, California and finds that it’s infested with vampires was always one of my favorite movies as a teen. But I have to say watching the movie today 30 years after its release was a bit of a letdown.

I remember when The Lost Boys came out the big draw to it at my middle school was that it starred “The Corey’s” of Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. If either of those two actors are remembered at all today it’s because of their substance abuse problems in the 1990s which would lead to the untimely death of Haim in 2010. But in 1987 those two were the biggest teen heart-throbs on the planet with Feldman having just come off of movies like The Goonies and Stand By Me and Haim Lucas.

I remember Haim being the guy most girls at my school wanted to be their boyfriend and Feldman being the guy most dudes at my school wished was their best friend. In The Lost Boys, Haim plays Sam, younger brother to Michael and I so wanted to be Sam with his cool quips, driving cars without licenses and killer of vampires. A year later and both Haim and Feldman would star in the movie License to Drive which was a big hit in its day but now is mostly an unknown movie to anyone under the age of 35.

The Lost Boys also starred a few actors who would go onto have big careers including Jason Patric as Michael in an early role who would go onto films like Rush and Narc and Kiefer Sutherland who then was just entering the big movie-stardom phase of his career which would lead to roles like Young Guns and Flatliners and is a TV star these days. The Lost Boys also co-stars Jami Gertz as the one lost girl of the bunch who’s had a long career on film and TV and Alex Winter too who would go onto co-star in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in 1989.

If anything, The Lost Boys has loads of style. It’s a movie that college professors today could use as an example of how films from the late 1980s looked with costumes, set designs and colors. And that’s one of the reasons I think that the The Lost Boys hasn’t aged that well the last 30 years. It’s a fantastic movie to look at and is very fun to watch but is lacking in the story department. It’s one of those movies that works the first time through when the viewer doesn’t know the trick/twist of the film coming, but after that future viewings are mostly style over substance.

So much style that the design of the vampires from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series owe a great deal to the heavy forehead and freaky eyes vampires of The Lost Boys.

The Lost Boys is a pretty spectacular film in the gore and gross-out department, though. When the vampires kill, they bite into the heads of the unlucky ones which causes a gush of blood almost like they’re popping the top of a frosty beer. And when the vampires start meeting their ends, it’s pretty gruesome as well with them bursting into flames, receiving horrific burn wounds via holy water and even dissolving into green blobs of skeletal puss when immersed in the stuff.

In fact, The Lost Boys is rated “R” which I couldn’t ever see happening today. If it were released in 2017 instead of 1987 The Lost Boys would be rated “PG–13,” would feature a lot less gore and would be more focused on the action. I guess even if The Lost Boys isn’t a great movie it’s still great that it was released in 1987 instead of 2017 since I can only imagine it would be more Twilight than Evil Dead.

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1937: George Takei, Sulu of Star Trek is born
  • 1940: Lance Henriksen of Terminator, Aliens and Near Dark
  • 1984: The TV mini-series V: The Final Battle premiers
  • 2008: Iron Man opens in theaters
  • 2013: Iron Man 3 premieres in theaters



Direct Beam Comms #70



TV

Brockmire Series premiere episode 1 Grade: B-

The new series Brockmire debuted on IFC last week. The series stars Hank Azaria as the title character, a baseball announcer for the Kansas City Royals who had a drunken on-air meltdown a decade ago that effectively ended his broadcasting career. Fast forward to today and Bockmire has returned to the US after having been around the world finding work where he can like announcing cockfights as well as having some serious addiction issues of which booze is the least of his worries.

But what Brockmire doesn’t know, but Jules (Amanda Peet), owner of the minor league baseball team the Pennsylvania, Morristown Frackers, does, is that he is an internet celebrity because of his on-air meltdown and subsequent post-meltdown press conference that became one of the first internet viral videos. Jules wants Brockmire to announce the Frackers games that feature stunts like having obese players who get hit at bat because their gut sticks out of the plate and always get a walk to hiring a “celebrity” like Brockmire to announce their games and drive attendance.

The first episode of Brockmire was interesting, if we’ve seen the character type a few times before. He’s a person addicted to some substances who tells it like it is but who’s personal life is a mess/in shambles which seems to be a theme of many dramas over the last few years. And honestly the first half of Brockmire as the broken man who returns home to find that while others see him as a celebrity but he sees himself as a joke, is all right. Things do pickup in the second half of the episode where Brockmire goes from an unwilling participant in the Frackers organization to someone who’s excited about baseball again.

That and Jules promises him free booze at her bar if he agrees to stay.

Angie Tribeca Season 3 episode 1 Grade: B

The third season of the TBS series Angie Tribeca is set to debut April 10 but the premiere episode debuted a bit early a few weeks back. I’ve enjoyed Angie Tribeca the last few years and this third season seems to be shaking things up a bit. In previous seasons, the show was structured around self-contained episodes with a sort’a season-long story arch taking up some of the second season. But this new third season looks like it’s going to instead focus on a single story about a serial killer who’s kidnapping trophy hunters and is taking the hunter’s skins in order to cloth the animals.

Think The Silence of the Lambs with Chris Pine as a hilarious stand-in for Doctor Lector meets Naked Gun and that’s the basic vibe for this season of Angie Tribeca.

Movies

Spaceballs

When Spaceballs was released on June 24, 1987 I can happily say that I was sitting in the theater that day with a great view of the screen with my brother and cousin. Unfortunately, that day we chose to see the movie Dragnet instead of Spaceballs. The reason we probably saw Dragnet was that the little two screen theater within bike riding distance of home usually showed one film that was for the kids, Dragnet, with the other film being for adults. My guess is that other screen was showing something like Roxanne or The Witches of Eastwick which we would have had no interest in seeing and chose the sensible Dragnet instead.

Which is a shame since the 1987 Dragnet has been all but forgotten to time but Spaceballs remains a cult classic film to this day.

A Mel Brooks spoof of sci-fi movies, more specifically Star Wars, even today Spaceballs is still pretty funny. And I think the reason I say, “pretty funny” and not “hilarious” is because I’ve seen Spaceballs so many times on VHS and HBO and TV that I know most of the jokes by heart. And it’s hard to laugh at joke you know is coming. Still, when there were jokes I didn’t remember, especially the whole sendup of the Spaceballs movie within a movie, that did get me laughing.

Looking at the movie now I’m surprised that it was rated PG. There’s quite a bit of cursing in Spaceballs, so much so that I’d assume today it would be rated R for language alone. It’s interesting to see what people 30 years ago thought was acceptable for a movie the whole family could see, some cursing, whereas today we’re so averse to that we think cursing happens in movies only adults should see. Then again, I feel that the levels of violence in our PG–13 movies would surly make them rated R 30 years ago.

After watching Spaceballs, or really anything he was in, I come away really missing John Candy. I’m not sure there’s been a comedian like him to come along since he died who has his level of physical comedy and sweetness mixed with his unique timing. At this point Candy’s been gone longer than he was around in pop-culture, but he’s a guy I still really miss.

The Mummy trailer

Alien: Covenant TV commercial

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1976: Jonathan Brandis of the mini-series IT and TV series SeaQuest DSV is born
  • 1979: Mad Max debuts
  • 1983: The Evil Dead premiers in theaters
  • 1986: Critters opens