Friday, May 30, 2014

35 Years Later, and Still No One in Space Can Hear You Scream

(Author's note: this post spares everyone trivia tidbits about this movie; instead this is about my observations on the film and its lasting impact on me. Also please note that I have not seen the film Prometheus, although I understand it's a prequel of the Alien franchise and have heard spoilers here and there.)

I was in the 5th or 6th grade when I first heard about the chilling "chestburster" scene in Alien, and still remember the moment to this day. One of my classmates--who was also one of the class bullies--had brought his Kenner Alien action figure to school and described to us in disturbing detail, and with much gusto (which included swinging his arm hard, with a closed fist, in a punching motion) about the scene where the baby alien bursts out of John Hurt's chest. Some of my female classmates actually gasped. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Land of the Lost TV Series #7: Pink Lady (also known as Pink Lady and Jeff)

So I was doing some research into television variety shows of the past (in lieu of Maya Rudolph's flopped variety special on NBC a few weeks ago) when I came across some mentions of "the worst variety show ever" and "one of the worst shows in television history." A show so horrendously bad that it only lasted for 5 weeks and its 6th episode never aired on TV. We're talking about the 1980 variety show Pink Lady (later called Pink Lady and Jeff. To be honest, I had never heard of this show--but its name and quick death intrigued me. More amazingly, I also learned that this flop had been produced by our old friends, Sid and Marty Krofft. Well, that did it. I had to learn more about it!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Junior High Dance

Note: none of these kids are my former classmates; it's just a random photo I grabbed.
It's prom season, and I've seen a few bloggers waxing nostalgia about their big high school night. I actually don't remember too much about my own high school prom, because it was so normal. I went with my clique of equally dateless (and awesome) girlfriends, and from what I do remember, everyone was nice to each other. No, the prom that is still a hangnail in my memory is my junior high school prom, because it was one of the worst and humiliating nights of my life. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

So Long, Barbara Walters

Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of Barbara Walters. My distaste for her began sometime in the 1990s, when she started interviewing (and therefore bringing attention to) incarcerated perpetrators of high profile crimes and overexposed celebrities. Her "10 Most Fascinating People of (insert year here)" TV special started off innocently enough, but in recent years became a personal punching bag for me, when I would fantasize about interviewing the most fascinating people of, say, other words, people with actual talent who deserved the publicity. And don't even get me started on some of the cackle-hens she hired to share the table with her on The View. So why even post about her retirement at all?

Because if it weren't for Barbara Walters, there may never have been an Oprah Winfrey, a Jane Pauley, a Katie Couric, a Joan Lunden, a Diane Sawyers, and countless other female reporters/ get the idea. I can't deny that Walters broke a glass ceiling for her industry and it wasn't always easy; she had to share the ABC anchor desk with the curmudgeonly Harry Reasoner, who would often voice his displeasure by throwing on-air barbs at Babs. Larry Flint was hoping she'd accept his $1 million offer to pose nude in Hustler. Over on Saturday Night Live, the writers poked fun at Walters' distinctive speech pattern (and mild impediment) via Gilda Radner with her "Baba Wawa" character. In Walters' 2008 autobiography Audition: A Memoir she tells of how her daughter told her about the character and insisted that she watch the sketch because she thought it was hilarious. Walters admitted to being less than amused. 

Speaking of her autobiography, if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. Walters' childhood was fascinating. Her father was involved in show business, booking talent, producing the Ziegfeld Follies of 1943 and running the New York version of the Latin Quarter nightclub. He'd gain and lose fortunes through the years, but Walters enjoyed a close relationship with him and grew up surrounded by celebrities, which would come in handy later on since she said she never felt intimidated by them. Indeed, I can't deny that Walters knew how to talk to people, and often asked celebs and world leaders the questions that the public wanted to know (well, except for maybe what kind of tree Katharine Hepburn would be.) One of Walters' early accomplishments was writing a magazine article that later became a book called "How to Talk to Practically Anyone About Practically Anything" that she felt would help socially awkward, tongue tied people in social situations. 

And because of that I have no choice but to wish Barbara Walters well with her retirement. It's the end of a television era, for sure. The View is going to a bit less cackling without Walters' presence. 

By the way, click here for one of Gilda Radner's Baba Wawa skits.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Movie Review: Tuff Turf (1985)

So I just finished watching this movie called Tuff Turf and I have a bold yet exciting premonition to announce: keep your eyes on this James Spader kid, because I have the feeling he's going to be huge! I'm telling you, this blonde dreamboat has got the Hollywood "it" factor and he's gonna be a bona fide star and the thinking women's sex symbol. Just remember that you heard it here first on Go Retro! You're welcome.

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