Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hollywood Remade "CHiPs" and It's Going To Suck

Note: Damn you, buggy Blogger template! It put this entire post on the home page again without showing the title or comments section. Time for a new template. In the meantime, to leave a comment (I know you want to!) please use this link to the properly formatted blog post:

As I'm sure you know, Hollywood has been running out of original ideas over the past 20 years or so. In that time, it seems there's been an excessive amount of remakes of TV series and older movies and most of them have sucked.

The latest show to get the big screen remake treatment is CHiPs. I didn't even know this was an actual thing, until the preview showed up in my Facebook feed the other day. I'd embed the trailer but to be honest, some of the content may violate Google's rules. So I'll link to it here.

Well, then. OK, the first thing is they didn't even "spell" CHiPs correctly. The movie poster and IMDB listing for it spells it in all caps: CHIPS. The proper spelling uses a lowercase "i" and "s". But that's the least of this movie's problems...

I feel just a little hypocritical right now because I wasn't a CHiPs fan. I remember watching only a handful of episodes in the late '70s and early '80s. And let's face it: most vintage shows are a little bit cheesy, especially when it comes to injecting humor. CHiPs would usually end an episode with Ponch trying to impress a lady that he met, and failing miserably as the boys were off duty and socializing. But my first thought after watching the trailer (and I couldn't finish it the first time I viewed it) is that the movie looks like it's going to be really disrespectful to the series. Not just the series, but the original actors--Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox--as well. And worst of all, it seems very disrespectful of law enforcement professionals.

The trailer portrays "Ponch" (Michael Peña) and "Jon" (Dax Shepard)  as two goofballs doing tricks on their motorcycles and carelessly damaging other vehicles while they sing along to a horrible auto tuned song about the California Highway Patrol. Actually, from what I've heard, these two guys are actually undercover and merely posing as characters named Ponch and Jon. Jon is covered with scars (not to mention Shepard's tats) and is shown popping painkillers. And what's up with the crotch shots and implied homophobia? This is supposed to be funny?

It was reported yesterday that Erik Estrada (who became a real-life reserve officer for the town of St. Anthony, Idaho last year) deemed the new movie "pure trash" and he also retweeted tweets from people condemning the film. (He has since tried to downplay his thoughts on the movie, but I shared his original knee-jerk reaction.)

Now, the original CHiPs had a lot of humor in it, and it gets classified as a "light drama" that showed very little violence. It didn't take itself too seriously. But, much like Adam-12, it still portrayed police officers as helping ordinary citizens in dangerous situations and it also inspired some fans to pursue a career in law enforcement.

The CHIPS reboot focuses on catching corrupt cops within the highway patrol division, and Jon trying to impress his wife (played by Dax Shepard's real-life wife, Kristin Bell) with his uniform.

Speaking of Shepard, we can blame this train wreck on him; not only does he star in CHIPS, but he wrote the script, directed the movie, and produced it as well. I'll be honest -- I never watched Shepard's series Parenthood and I've never seen any of his films including Employee of the Month, Let's Go To Prison, and Without a Paddle. I've seen some interviews with him and find him likable, despite his awkward first name (his mother named him after a character in a cheesy romance novel) and the fact that his face reminds me at times of Barry Manilow once he started to get plastic surgery. He's also into vintage wheels, and posted a photo of a gorgeous 1960s Lincoln on his Instagram page, so I give him props for that. But if he's as funny and talented as everyone (or at least, the comments on YouTube) say he is, then I think he could have approached the CHiPs project with a little more decorum. I don't get how a scene where Ponch accidentally bumps his face into Jon's underwear-covered genitals is supposed to be funny.

Audiences of my generation don't need another movie remake filled with frat-boy humor, we need films with original story lines. And not to sound like a superficial girl, but let's face it -- Pena and Shepard are not as cute as Estrada and Wilcox were:

Oh, well. When will Hollywood learn? Even if this movie bombs, they'll just continue to remake shows into pap. Let's just hope they never do this to Adam-12.

For nostalgia's sake, here's the cool opening theme to the TV series. Wonder if the movie will eft that up, too.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Whatever Happened To Patience?

We live in very impatient times. Just the other day I was watching a DIY YouTube video on how to trim your own hair (don't tell my stylist!) when I noticed the same person left these three comments:



Ugh I'm going to go punch a baby, bye!

Really??? Did it not occur to this person that other options were available; namely, fast-forwarding through the video...or finding a new one to watch altogether?

Likewise, there's a video clip currently being passed around Facebook, that you may have already seen, where an author named Simon Sinek is being interviewed on an online talk show called Inside Quest and starts listing everything wrong with Millennials, particularly in the workplace. Among the points he makes is that Millennials are an impatient bunch; having grown up with the Internet, social media, and texting, they've come to expect instant gratification--he says their brain actually gets a hit of dopamine every time someone likes their social media post--and unfortunately, this is causing problems when it comes to forging a career and forming relationships, as these goals usually do not happen overnight.

Here's the clip in question--it's 15 minutes long, so get some popcorn first. And, if you're not a patient person (heh heh), he starts his point about patience at the 7:20 mark. :)

It may seem like I've been coming down hard on Millennials on Go Retro lately. To be fair, I don't think it's just younger people that haven't learned the virtue of patience. I think older generations are losing it, too.

You can see it for yourself first-hand every time you get behind the wheel of your car. One thing I don't miss while not working an out-of-the-house job is driving on the highway. The posted speed limit is a joke; very few drivers abide by it, and if I only had a dollar for every time I saw someone drive in the breakdown lane during congested traffic I'd probably never have to work again. Speeding, tailgating, switching lanes constantly, and cutting other drivers off has become normal, everyday occurrences. So is refusing to yield to oncoming traffic when entering a highway or rotary. People do not want to wait for anybody or anything. That includes refusing to pull over for ambulances and fire trucks. I'd like to ask some of these fools if there is a trophy or prize money waiting for them at their destination.

But perhaps one of the saddest and most dangerous signs of impatience on the roads is refusing to stop for a school bus. Last year the news reported on numerous close calls; too many to count. Lots of kids were almost hit by cold, uncaring drivers that ignored the bus' stop sign and lights and sped by just as children were either waiting to get on a bus, step off of it, or cross a street to board one.

What is wrong with people?

I get that people have places to get to, particularly the office, but causing a car accident or someone's death is too high a price to pay to make it to work on time. Or maybe they're just late for their pedicure appointment, or on their way to go shopping at the local mall.

Technology now spins the world at warp speed; we text instead of sending an email, the thought that we once used dial-up access to get online is ancient and painfully slow compared to instant WiFi access, and we can brew a cup of coffee in less than 30 seconds with our Keurig machines. There's nothing wrong with this kind of speed, but we shouldn't expect it to spill over into every single area of society in order to make us happy.

When someone is trying to lose weight, it seems most people expect to drop 10 pounds in a couple of days....and when they don't, they give up. It takes a lot of time and work to change an overweight coach potato body into a sculpted, slender one.

Instant gratification is like a drug, as Sinek says in the video above. But there's something to be said about biding your time and working towards a goal. When I was a kid, I loved saving my allowance money to buy a special toy I'd had my eye on for a while. My parents didn't give me the money in one fell swoop; I earned it by doing chores and socking it away. Even today, as an adult, it feels a lot more satisfying in most instances to have to wait for something; you appreciate it a lot more and know you worked for it, vs. having something handed over to you right away.

Luckily, there are still some things about modern life that still require patience. A human pregnancy still lasts, on average, for nine months (although I'm sure some Dr. Frankenstein out there will figure out a way to speed up the gestation period.) Relationships, whether of the platonic or romantic variety, still need time to blossom. Nature, for the most part, is still on her own timetable -- seeds don't sprout and emerge from the soil overnight.

We need to be reminded of this, and relearn how to savor life while waiting for something. Or, to put it more bluntly, a lot of people really just need to chill out.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Scenes From a Few Vintage Restaurants

Porpoise Room Cocktail Lounge, Marineland Of The Pacific, California
Have you ever noticed how the inside of virtually every restaurant today, especially nationwide chains, all kind of look the same? One of my favorite restaurants in my area is one that used to be a Howard Johnson's back in the day, and while the interior has been updated, it's quite beautiful, modern, and unique compared to so many other places in the suburbs. A few months back I did a search for "vintage restaurants" on Flickr and ended up falling down a rabbit hole of mid-century design eye candy. The photos I uncovered reminded me of a couple of now-defunct restaurants I went to as a kid. Although some of these places may be tacky by today's standards, at least no one can say they weren't original.

Most of these came from Flickr users William Bird and SwellMap; they have plenty more where these came from (including a ton of great old travel images) so check out their pages sometime if you desire more. In the meantime, let's take a trip back in time to the '50s, '60s, and '70s when many restaurants (and there's some lounges in here as well) had their own unique theme and look...

El Toro Steak House, Trenton, Ontario

Everglades Roof, Miami, FL

Rubaiyat Continental Dining, Ann Arbor, MI

Manning's Cafeteria and Buffet, Seattle, WA

Marineland of the Pacific, California

The cocktail lounge at the Mountain Shadows Hotel, Scottsdale, AZ

Christmas at Mrs. K's Toll House, Silver Springs, MD

Castaways Wreck Bar, Miami, FL

Le Palais, Atlantic City, NJ

Michelle of the Denver Hilton, "Bridge In the Sky" -- this restaurant was located on the bridge in between the Denver Hilton and the May D&F department store, and sold Michelle's ice cream and pastries. In Denver, CO (obviously.)

Howard Johnson's on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, PA

Purple Tree Manger Vanderbilt Hotel, New York, NY

Trott Inn Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA

Swiss Chalet, Bismarck Hotel, Chicago, IL

Canfield's Big Rock Cafe, Malibu, CA

The Clipper Room, Yankee Clipper, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dutch Youngman's Famous Drive-In Restaurant, Monterey, CA

The Acapulco Room, South Of The Border, SC

King's Arms Tavern, Williamsburg, VA

The Ramada Inn Coffee Shop, Los Angeles Airport, CA

Bush Garden Japanese Restaurant, Seattle, WA

Jacques French Restaurant, Chicago, IL

So. Many. Plants.

If this post brought back memories of an unforgettable restaurant, please let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

I'm Still Standing: Looking Ahead to 2017

Happy New Year, Go Retro readers! I think this is about the fifth time I've attempted this post. I simply wasn't sure whether I really wanted to do a "year in review" post. My year wasn't so hot, but then again it wasn't a hot year for a lot of people I know (it also wasn't a great year for Democrats and  Harambe the gorilla.)

The main thing that happened to me got mentioned on here a few months ago; namely, that I was laid off from the new job I got in 2016 after only five months. I didn't say too much about it at the time for fear one of my former coworkers was reading this blog, but since I'm pretty sure none of them have ventured on it at all, I can open my mouth a little bit. I worked for an ego maniac and quite possibly the worst boss I've ever had. He was the CEO, and he was completely disrespectful to me with zero feelings for any of his employees. Even though my interview with him went well, I sensed something was off the first week -- and things went downhill from there. I knew something was really wrong with him when an employee's boyfriend died suddenly over the fourth of July weekend; the guy had fallen, hit his head, and then was on life support for a week before his family made the decision to remove him. When the announcement was made, it came from the CFO, not the CEO (who was present in the room but clearly had some issue with announcing it to the staff.) The wake and funeral arrangements were not shared with us, and no sympathy card got passed around to be signed. The CEO was supposed to attend the funeral, but he didn't leave the office until a half hour before it was going to be over. The way the whole thing was handled really bothered me; it seemed very cold and so much different than other companies I've worked for.

Needless to say, I was not happy. I should have been; it was the ideal job I wanted for what initially seemed like a nice company and I was making a steady salary again. But no matter how hard I tried, it was like trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole: my boss, for whatever reason, simply did not like me.

And things got worse from there. Believe me, I'm not whining or looking for sympathy because that first weekend after the layoff (it happened on a Friday) I was relieved to know I wouldn't have to return to that place on Monday morning. By the way, they hired a pretentious woman about ten years younger than me to take over my duties. She still hasn't managed to grow the company's Twitter followers beyond 800, when I grew it to that amount in five months.

Right now I'm freelancing through the winter and will pursue a full-time job in the spring, but it won't be in marketing. I'm leaning towards a more administrative role that will allow me enough time for freelance writing on the side.

2016 was definitely the year that some BS and people that were not good for me and did not have my best interests at heart got swiftly and quietly culled from my life, including that CEO, so it was all totally for the best. In the past couple of weeks I've been learning to be happy again day by day, no matter what seems to be currently lacking in my life. I've been more patent with my mother, and not sweating the small stuff (because so much of it is small stuff.) Not long ago, I sent an intention: 2017 is an amazing year for me and sooooo much better than 2016 was. I want to meet some cool new people, continue making some great friendships, and finally watch the online magazine freelancing course I purchased right after I lost my job and put the teachings into practice. I want to go roller skating with my Meetup group (a resolution I declared here last year that I never followed through with.) I want to be working again, this time for someone that appreciates my work and can actually say "thank you" and "great job."

It's going to be a year full of fun, love, laughter, happiness, peace, health, and abundance.

Now, onto Go Retro! It's hard for me to believe, but the blog is going to be turning 10 years old this summer. I'm not planning anything drastic for the content, but I think the layout is starting to get a bit old. I've been looking around at other Blogger templates and found one I really like, so don't be alarmed if you see the design change within the coming months (and if anything looks out of place.)

Something else worth noting: two excellent retro-themed blogs I was following both hit the skids: Retrospace and The Glamorous Housewife. Retrospace was sold (and the new owners aren't posting content that is up to snuff with the original content) and The Glamorous Housewife is now debating politics on her Facebook page instead of demonstrating vintage style updos. With these two sites now stagnant, I sense an opportunity (as I rub my palms together in delight.)

I'm still here. I'm still standing, as Elton John sang. That's what matters. I wish all of my readers a happy, healthy, prosperous 2017 and look forward to more retro times with you all!

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