Monday, May 29, 2006

"The Next Time I Have To Come In Here I'm Crackin' Skulls."

Sad news blog fans, beloved character actor Paul Gleason died over the weekend. Though best known for his role as Principal Richard Vernon in the John Hughes classic, The Breakfast Club, Gleason had roles in almost 100 different movies as well as appearances in numerous TV shows. He will be missed.

Select Filmography:

[1983] Trading Places
[1985] The Breakfast Club
[1985] Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
[1987] Morgan Stewart's Coming Home
[1988] Die Hard
[1993] National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1
[1994] Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love
[2001] Not Another Teen Movie
[2002] Van Wilder

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's My Blog-O-Versary

Yeah, sorry about that title. But today marks one year of blogging for the old Quamster. And what a year it's been... Anyways, I have some good news. I got a job. It's by no means a glamorous job, but seeing as I've been unemplyed for some nine or ten months, I'm not one to make waves at this point. Also, I just read about the Sappy Records music festival going on in August in Sackville, NB. There's gonna be lots of good music, including a reunion performance from one of my favorite bands, Eric's Trip! So, I'm gonna do whatever I can to get out to Sackville this August to check out that festival. And finally, a quick thank you to anyone who has been reading my blog. I don't know who you are, but you make it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"How About A Nice Game Of Chess?"

There's a lot of things I miss about the '80s: the cold war, working Pac Man arcade machines, Ally Sheedy, and the almost complete absence of cellphones (to name a few). It was while watching WarGames that all these fond memories came flooding back to me. For those who don't remember, WarGames was a precautionary cold war tale in which Matthew Broderick comes within seconds of causing World War III. Using technology that predated the Nintendo, Broderick manages to hack into NORAD computers and set in motion the mutually assured destruction of both Russia and the United States.

WarGames is a prime example of what makes watching '80s movies so enjoyable today. It's like watching a time capsule full of antiquated technology, products, popular culture and politics. In one brief scene Broderick and Sheedy are sitting in front of Broderick's computer (a beastly machine that uses 8" floppy discs) drinking cans of Tab and playing a computer game with graphics just slightly ahead of Pong. Broderick even uses one of those modems that you have sit the phone's receiver on.

The movie is also full of notable '80s character actors like Barry Corbin, Eddie Deezen, Maury Chaykin and Alan Blumenfeld. There is even a scene at the beginning of the movie with a young Michael Madsen, a full nine years before he cut the ear off a cop in Reservoir Dogs.

Bonus Section

I had been thinking a lot lately about the song "Any Sense of Time" by the old school Halifax band The Inbreds, so I was quite blown away when I heard it on the season finale of Trailer Park Boys. So, for your enjoyment, I present:

[MP3] The Inbreds - Any Sense of Time

(FYI: I'm stealing this download link, so I don't know how long it will be good for.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

They Don't Make Bootlegs Like They Used To

In an effort to free up some space on my computer, I've been trying to get rid of as many old files as I can. It was it this spirit of PC cleanliness that I stumbled across a copy of Within The Woods, the "prequel" to the Evil Dead trilogy. It's likely that I downloaded the file some three or four years ago but never got around to watching it. I know I've made numerous attempts to watch it before, but the incredibly poor video quality has always kept me from going the distance.

Within the Woods is more or less a condensed version of Evil Dead. At just over 30 minutes, it touches on a few plot points that would eventually surface in the later Evil Dead movies along with a few 70s horror movie cliches. A group of young people get together at a creepy cabin in the woods. Said cabin happens to have been built over an old Indian burial ground (a fact that they are well aware of). In the process of digging a fire pit for a weenie roast, a grave is disturbed, all hell breaks loose, and the remaining twenty minutes are full of screaming and gore.

Now, the version that I downloaded was very dark and blurry, so I had to assume I knew what was happening from time to time. It's possible that there are some decent quality copies of Within the Woods out there, but I can't see myself making too much of an effort to track one down. Some fans on IMDB claim that they're willing to pay up to $50 for a copy, but my guess is that they haven't seen it yet. "Lost" classics are always worth more before you find out why they may have been lost in the first place.

If you like to know more, consult your local library, or read this article.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Happy Life Day."

I have seen something that no sane human being should have to ever see, The Star Wars Holiday Special. Shown on TV once in 1978, the special was supposed to reward eager Star Wars fans as they waited for Empire Strikes Back to be completed. The result was a televised atrocity of unimaginable proportions. If you never see the Holiday Special, consider yourself lucky. Long considered a rare lost gem among Star Wars fans, the special does more to harm the legacy of Star Wars than to help it.

The Holiday Special centers around Chewbacca's family as they await his return to the Wookie home world for "Life Day." Not an entirely bad premise, until you remember that Wookie's don't talk like you and I. So, what you end up with is an hour and a half of Wookies growling at each other like tortured llamas at a zoo. Worse yet is the fact that one of the Wookies, Itchy (Chewbacca's father), looks like roadkill.

You might be asking yourself, "how could it get any worse?" Two words: Jefferson Starship. That's right, Jefferson freakin' Starship. Nobody likes Jefferson Starship, not now, not ever. If you say you like Jefferson Starship, you're a filthy liar.

I guess, in an effort to pad out a story that would have been better done with mimes, the producers of the Holiday Special decided they needed some variety acts. Throughout the Special there are songs by Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, and Bea Arthur (a freakin' Golden Girl for God's sake). There's also some juggler/tumbler types that make Cirque du Soleil look like God's gift to the masses.

Also, periodically throughout the Special, the Wookies would check in with various members of the cast of the original Star Wars movie. We get to see Harrison Ford hugging Wookies (he literally hugs every Wookie three times each). We also get a look at a coked-out Carrie Fisher, who sings a song so bad it would make a deaf person cringe. But most famously, we get to see Mark Hamill fresh from his disfiguring car accident. They put so much makeup on Mark Hamill to hide his scars, he is almost unrecognizable.

Now, it must be said that there is one (and only one) redeemable aspect of the Star Wars Holiday Special and that is the fact that it introduced Boba Fett into the Star Wars universe. At one point during the Special, there is a brief cartoon interlude where we see the first encounter between Boba Fett and our other favorite Star Wars characters. The animation is pretty weak, much like the early Droids cartoon series itself, but the fact that we got to see some kickass bounty hunter action in the middle of a major crapfest makes up for the sloppy work of those Korean animation house slave laborers.

So, if nothing else, you now know that the elusive Star Wars Holiday Special was a television event that far surpassed the suck factor of Fonzie jumping the shark and the last episode of Seinfeld combined. I can't stress this enough, the Special is so bad, it cannot even be enjoyed on an ironic level. For your own mental health and personal well being, never EVER watch the Star Wars Holiday Special.


They're finally going to release the original theatrical versions of the classic trilogy on DVD. This means no more CGI X-Wings, no new musical numbers, Boba Fett's original voice and Han shoots first. This is a great time to be fan of the classic trilogy who was pissed off by all the changes Lucas made in his "Special Editions." The DVDs won't be out until September and they will apparently only be available until Dec. 31st 2006.

And finally, George Lucas has been immortalized in action figure form. A younger, bearded Lucas has been made into a Stormtrooper, proving once and for all which side of the Force Lucas is really on.