‘Beat Street’ with musician Ralph Rolle

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Title: Beat Street (1985)
Rated: PG
Directed by: Stan Lathan
Written by: Steven Hager (story) and Andrew Davis (screenplay)
Tagline: “The music and break-dance explosion of the summer!”
Starring: Rae Dawn Chong as Tracy Carlson
                     Guy Davis as Kenny ‘Double K’ Kirkland
                     Jon Chardiet as Ramon
                     Leon W. Grantas Chollie

By Rob and El Ron

Rob’s pre-screening memories: You can’t let the streets beat you.

…Even though, for me, those streets were next to manicured lawns, smack dab in well-lit suburbia.

walkmanThe whole hip-hop culture hit my generation like a cultural tsunami, creeping into our fashion, our cassette-playing Walkmans (Walkmen?), and our films.

What was this form of dance called ‘break,’ and this new music called rap?

Actually, nothing. It had been alive and well for more than a decade, but it took a little while to make it to my slice of white-bread suburbia.

When it did, we could not get enough. Parachute pants, a slab of cardboard (in case someone stepped to you in a threatening breakin’ challenge), and, of course, the inevitable “ghetto blaster” that had more buttons than we knew how to operate. Though I never could force myself to spend money on that Alfonso Ribeiro Poppin’ and Lockin’ how-to book:

Of course, our boom boxes were never without the soundtrack Beat Street: Melle Mel, Afrika Bambaataa, even actor Ruben Blades (who wasn’t even in the movie!) got in on the action. It wasn’t just rap music, but entire seismic shift in our listening behavior.

And the film itself not only introduced us to breakdancing, but rapping, scratching and “tagging.”  In other words, it was immersed in the culture it demonstrated it, whereas Breakin‘, which was released a month prior, seemed to merely capitalize on the craze (what the hell’s a Boogaloo Shrimp, anyway?).

This film led to Wild Style, Krush Groove and a host of other films, but, for me, Beat Streetwas my first brush and what felt as close to the real deal. Now, step back, yo. And watch me kick out some def poprocking on your punk ass!

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El Ron’s pre-screening memories: I always felt bad for those who came of age in the early 1990s. We had all those awesome breakdancing movies that Rob listed above. But if you wanted to jump aboard the latest dance craze, what did you have?

The Lambada, that’s what. (There’s a reason that dance is forbidden.)

Anyway, when the breakdancing craze spun into my area, I can remember a lot of the older local kids competing in area and regional competitions (break-offs? break-downs? break-fasts?). They were the gods of the neighborhood. They would be decked out in their bucket hats, shiny zippered pants, matching jackets (sleeves pushed up, of course), and usually a headband with a spare in the back pocket.

I, of course, had my signature move, but was never bold enough to bring it to the next level.

Now my breakin’ would be broken, but I am still excited to revisit this film that I remember as being the crib-sheet for many of the moves that we attempted in my youth (with decidedly mixed results!).

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Podcast Ep. XLVII: ‘Beat Street’ with musician Ralph Rolle

Pop and lock right here for some the Beat Street Podcast, or moonwalk down below:

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bio_pic_ralphOur featured guest: Ralph Rolle

Where do you even begin with a talent like Ralph?  He’s performed with some of the top names, performed on some of the most prestigious stages and performed some of the most memorable numbers in the past three decades.

He has performed with Nas, Chaka Kahn, Joss Stone, Freddie Jackson, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Eryka Badu, Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo, Little Steven Van Sandt, Groove Theory, Notorious B.I.G., Vanessa Williams, Jill Scott, Aaliyah.

It’s Showtime at the Apollo, David Letterman, BET Awards, The Chris Rock Show, The Cosby Show, A Different World, and more are just a few stops on Rolle’s resume. Or, perhaps you remember a little song he cut in the 1980s in an attempt to put an end to all that “Roxanne” nonsense that was cluttering the airwaves at the time:

We can’t thank Ralph enough for joining us for this bodyrock back in time and for his contribution to music throughout the years. And yes, Ralph, you will see us up on stage at the Apollo!

Thank you, Ralph! Please check out Ralph’s latest project, called Im Giggin, where you can pre-register and get networked into the entertainment community.

‘Brewster’s Millions’ with writer Herschel Weingrod

brewsters_millionsposter

Title: Brewster’s Millions (1985)
Rated: PG
Directed by: Walter Hill
Written by: Herschel Weingrod and Timothy Harris (screenplay)
                         George Barr McCutcheon (novel)
Starring:  Richard Pryor as Montgomery Brewster
                    John Candy as Spike Nolan
Tagline: You don’t have to be crazy to blow 30 million in 30 days. But it helps.

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By El-Ron

Pre-screening memories: There’s a bit that Eddie Murphy does in his film ‘Raw,‘ in which he recounts the times he crept into his basement to listen to old Richard Pryor albums. It was a scenario that was often duplicated in my own household.

When not under the watchful eye of my grandmother, I used to revel in Pryor’s profane musings. Of course, when it came to seeing him on the big screen, there was absolutely no way in hell my grandmother would allow me into one of his R-rated films, such as Stir Crazy, Bustin’ Loose or Some Kind of Hero.

My prayers of seeing him in the theater were answered in 1985, when he appeared alongside John Candy in the comedy Brewster’s Millions. It was not the same man I remember spewing obscenities into my impressionable eardrums late at night, but, to me, he was every bit as funny. It was also an opportunity to see my hero on the big screen and not just hear him on a scratchy recording.

It was a film that brought laughter to both my grandmother and me. From Pryor’s wild ramblings to John Candy’s exuberance, I will always remember just how light and good-natured the film seemed to be.

New memories: One of the best parts about revisiting this film is that I got a chance to watch this again with the same woman with whom I watched this more than 20 years ago — my grandmom. Did we find it as funny with this much distance? I guess you’ll just have to listen to the podcast to find out…

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Episode XLVI: Brewster’s Millions with writer Herschel Weingrod

Listen to the podcast by dowloading the link above, or click the player below…

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herschel3Our featured guest: Writer Herschel Weingrod has penned and produced some of the most memorable films of the 80s and 90s: Trading Places, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Falling Down, and the featured film of this podcast, Brewster’s Millions.

That means, his words have been spoken by Eddie Murphy, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Danny DeVito, Bugs Bunny, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Michael Douglas and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not too shabby.

The Wisconsin native has spend more than a quarter century in the business and had many a fond memory of Brewster’s and its star Richard Pryor. He also operates the site Scriptmaven.com, for all of you aspiring filmmakers out there. Through this site, he helps evaluate and lends his expertise to those who seek to submit a screenplay.

A big thanks to Herschel for lending us his expertise to us for our little podcast!

‘Ski Patrol’ with star Roger Rose (by Eric Filipkowski)

ski_patrol

By: Eric Filipkowski

Pre-viewing thoughts: Ah, the 1980’s. Where the bad guys were bad and the good guys always had a snappy comeback.

I’ve never met a ski instructor in my entire life, but thanks to Ski Patrol,I hate all those rich jerks… with their cocky, entitled, attitudes, their frosted blonde hair and their fuscia, day-glo sweaters! You think you’re better than me?!

I’m honestly not sure what to expect from this movie. When I was a kid, we had an 8mm camcorder and my brother and I figured out that we could tape movies we rented at the video store using the rca inputs. This was one of those movies, so realistically, I’ve probably seen this movie 20-30 times, though not once in the last 15 years.

I mean, it’s just one example in a long line of “Animal House on <x>” movies that were so popular in the 80’s; this one being “Animal House on Skis“, of course.

It’s got to be cheesy, right?

I came into this thinking I was gonna blow this thing to pieces with my Hollywood Hipster irony bazooka, but the more I dwell on it, the more I start to think that I actually like this movie.

In a non-ironic way!

I mean, here are some highlights that come to mind:

  • Some rich white guys frame the lone Mexican ski patroller (George Lopez, in one of his first roles) for shoplifting in a hardware store. They tell the owner that they think “the ethnic fellow” is pulling a “Frito Bandito number”.
  • There’s a scene with an obese woman of ambiguous sexual orientation taking a dump with her pants around her ankles when the bathroom door gets blown off.
  • The ski patrollers roofie a tweener (a guy who’s really short but not quite a midget) and when he’s passed out, they stick him in a slightly scaled down, exact replica of his bedroom, to trick him into thinking he’s grown into a giant over night. Then, when his head bursts out of a Santa’s Village house they’ve stuck him in, they all laugh and take pictures.

I mean, that’s funny, right?

Sure, there’s some awful parts, too. Most of these revolve around the black guy from Punky Brewster and his magic powered, yet super cheap-looking karaoke machine that we’re supposed to believe has enough power to have an outdoor concert to, complete with sing-along, ski jumping exhibition, lip-syncing and dancing. But not everybody hates that stuff as much as I do.

If that’s not enough, it’s got Martin Mull, Ray Walston and the guy who created Freaks and Geekswho’s not Judd Apatow!

At the very least, I think this experience will have shown me that I should have an open mind.

Post-viewing impressions:

Well, my sneaking suspicion was right! I love “Ski Patrol“!

Sure, the middle drags a bit, but the only real fault with this movie is timing.

It is a quintessential 1980’s movie that just happened to come out right at the end of the 1980’s. I really believe that’s why this thing isn’t a bigger hit. You can’t even buy it on DVD, unless you get a DVD copy of a VHS tape, complete with tracking issues, like I did. (Thanks, Rob!)

Plus, I think my mom threw out all my old 8mm tapes!

Everything I thought was going to be funny was, plus there was a whole bunch of stuff I forgot.

The farting dog. The runaway wiener shack. The small tree that whacks unsuspecting skiers in the nuts.

And how could I not remember the stereotypical Japanese tourists taking rapid-fire pictures with their cameras! That could have been the next “Dong, where is my automobile?” if not for the fact that this movie was released at a time where people wanted things like moral ambiguity, tough decisions and realistic, emotional reactions to actual problems. What’s funny about that? Well, just watch something like “Reality Bites” and I’ll tell you what: NOTHING.

Instead, you have a movie rife with cliches, casual racism and slapstick comedy. All the stuff you find now in a hit show like Family Guy.

So, while you might find this movie dated, I say it’s actually ahead of it’s time and that’s why I give it my famouse, patented thing that I just made up: 7 comedy snowmobiles out of 8.

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Download the podcast here: ‘Ski Patrol’ with Roger Rose
Or stay right here and have a listen:

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ski_patrol01Our featured guest: Roger Rose
As the star of Ski Patrol, Roger had many memories to share about the making of this film, but Roger also dips into his long career in show business, including his past roles in front of and behind the camera. Though you may have missed his role here or in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, chances are pretty good you have heard his voicework on television. In both animated shows (in which he has reached god-like  status is geek culture for a reoccurring role in The Tick) or in countless commericals and trailers for both film and tv, Roger has been omnipresent. His love for animation and comics has spilled over into producing Comic Book: The Movie:

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ericOur featured contributor: Eric Filipkowski
Actor, writer, comic, cartoonist and blogger extraordinaire, Eric can be found at his home at Hollywood Phony as well as various other web and television endeavors. We are extremely excited to have Eric reflect on his cinematic memories here at Natsukashi.
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‘Night Patrol’ with actress Kitten Natividad

nightpatrolposter

Film: Night Patrol
Rated
: R
Directed by: Jackie Kong
Written by: Murray Langston, William Levey, William Osca, and Jackie Kong
Starring: Linda Blair as Officer Sue Perman
                  Pat Paulson as Officer Kent Lane
                  Jaye P. Morgan as Kate Parker
                  Billy Barty as Captain Lewis
                  Murray Langston ( The Unknown Comic) as Officer Melvin White
                  Pat Morita as Rape Victim

By Efferdent Johnson

Pre-screening memories: I have the attention span of a squirrel. You drive down the road and one of those little suckers sprints to get out of your way, then, at the last second, decides to dart in the opposite direction…right in front of your car.

This is why films like Night Patrol seemed to be envisioned with someone like me in mind. If  the shiny object they just dangled failed to get my attention, there was another just waiting in the wings.

Youtube is custom tailored for my span of concentration.. “Ha ha ha… look at that hedgehog!” Click.  “Ow. They guy got it right in the babymaker!” Click. “I wonder if I have any Mentos in the kitchen to put in a bottle of Coke?”

I can’t say how my life would have been different if I had never been subjected to “The Unknown Comic”. A comparison is difficult. Who knows how anything in their life would turn out given some miniscule change in direction or decision about having a Diet Pepsi or a Yoo Hoo.

I’ll try and explain just a little more.

Like, for example, what would have happened back in junior high if my friend Scott Stihl had not pulled my shorts down to my ankles during a co-ed physical education class. Shrinkage my ass! My adolescent turtle head disappeared into its shell faster than a Venus Flytrap closes around its prey. I only guess that my dating life for the following few months was adversely affected. But really can anyone know for sure? I do know Scott did just fine.

I first recall the Unknown Comic from the Gong Show . With a paper bag in place over his head telling jokes that while not really being funny, still made me laugh due to his manic behavior. Maybe I’d be able to construct some sort of logical joke if not for that mysterious humorist.

How many New Orleans Saints fans would there be today if not for the ability to hide there faces during home games? My question is though, are they covering their domes due to shame or is there an ulterior motive? I think they may be getting around the high cost of beer by using that bag to sniff a little model airplane glue during the game.

I didn’t know how Night Patrol would affect my life when I saw it decades ago. I didn’t think there would be any influence, but I was so wrong. I tell you now that it wasn’t the humor of the flick. It certainly wasn’t how many movies after it followed the same incongruous, shtick-inspired, thematic methods. It didn’t help me forget my good friends Scott’s cute little trick.

From what I recalled, the film was more than just a sexed-up Police Academy knock-off. Sure, there were breasts, but there was also an large amount of left-field humor to keep my attention-deficited brain happily rolling along.

The only explanation I can give is directly connected to the podcastI was almost a part of with Mr. Rector, our illustrious host, and, of course,  Kitten. I will be able to laugh about Night Patrol for the rest of my life, and I won’t have to recall the movie in any way.

Kitten, thank you so much. I have just recently been able to remove the Ace bandage that I put in place to repair the damage from all the belly laughter.

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A note from the editor:As though we’ve channeled Salt N’ Pepa for this broadcast, let’s talk about sex, baby! Look, people, we’re talking to a former Russ Meyer gal and former porn star, so if you think this podcast is going to be the typically family-friendly -bad-words-bleeped-out endeavor, you are sadly mistaken. There would be little left.

In other words, don’t come crying to us and tell us we did not warn you when your child learns some spicy new words because you forgot to turn the speakers down. Anyway, on with the show…

‘Night Patrol’ with Kitten Natividad R-rated podcast:You can download the podcast here, or listen in the player below:

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kitten_natividad_russ_meyerOur featured guest: Pinup icon. Russ Meyer gal. Actress. Stripper. Dancer. Legend.

Francesca “Kitten” Natividad
has endured in an industry not known for its kindness. Using her gifted measurements to launch her career, Natividad received the attention of legendary boob man Russ Meyer, who cast her in two of his films, as a narrator of Up!, then as the star of Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (penned by a certain esteemed Chicago film critic).

Natividad and Meyer lived together for the about 12 years, and continued to dabble in film acting (48 Hrs., Night Patrol) as well as nude modeling. Ms. Natividad was not shy in revealing the roller coaster that was her history and we are quite thankful for all the tales she tells to us while recounting her cameo role in the underground comedy Night Patrol.

Thank you, Francesaca for being so honest and open and we certainly wish for you the sexiest years ahead.

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