Film: Vision Quest (1985) Orginally starring: Matthew Modine, Linda Fiorentino Rumored to be attachedto remake: Taylor Lautner, New Moon producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen
Perhaps best known for Madonna’s Crazy for You appearance, the ’80s coming of age tale is an underrated gem in this writer’s eyes. (You can read our entry and listen to our interview with Vision Quest’s author, Terry Davis, right here.)
Even though we interviewed him back in April of 2009, Davis made no mention about a remake, only penning a sequel, so we’re not sure his level of involvement.
I dare not venture a guess as to whom would be fill those form-fitting jeans of Fiorentino, but if it could coax Michael Schoeffling out of retirement, I might at least give it a cursory glance.
But if they throw Red Rider’s Lunatic Fringe to some lame emo band, it’s over.
In an effort to further fuel that nostalgia gland, we here at Natsukashi will feature a new periodic column entry called “Messing with Memories,” in which we will highlight various films slated to be remade/sequelized in the years ahead.
If you have any information of upcoming projects, please feel free to let us know and we will certainly include it. Please realize that not all films will wind up at a theater near you, but we will do our best to provide you with current information on them at the time of the post.
First up is a film that takes us back to a time before Drs. Drew and Phil made us feel guilty about our wily, drunken ways:
Original: 1981 Starring: Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud Remakescheduled: 2011 Starring: Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Original: Irascible millionaire party-boy Arthur Bach was a fun drunk. The kind who would invite hookers to swanky parties, and caught between the moon and New York City. It was Dudley Moore’s first big film after reaching worldwide acclaim falling for a jiggily Bo Derek in 10 two years prior. The film won two Oscars and was named one of Bravo’s top 10 funniest films of all time.
Remake: Former naughty millionaire party boy Russell Brand is scheduled to fill Moore’s expensive loafers in a bit of casting that may seem a tad too close to home, were it not for the addition of writer Peter Baynham, frequent collaborator with Sacha Baron Cohen and Lee and Herring. Brand has said he wants to remain true to the original, including the soundtrack songs (though chances are good the Jonas Brothers or Bob Geldolf will not be featured on the soundtrack). Add to this a chance for Brand to poke fun at his own storied past and there perhaps could be reason to pop open the bubbly.
And, Christopher Cross has an album slated for release in 2010.
Sigh. Yes, apparently there was a need to “urbanize” the Karate Kid remake, starring Will Smith’s spawn and Jackie Chan. Here is the next, next Karate Kid, catching flies at a theater near you summer 2010.
Dirty Rotten Socundrels (1988)
Stanley Shapiro (original)
Dale Launer (update)
Steve Martin as Freddy Benson
Michael Caine as Lawrence Jamison
Glenne Headley as Janet Colgate
Dana Ivey as Mrs. Reed
Anton Rodgers as Inspector Andre
Ian McDiarmid as Arthur
By Bo from Last Blog on the Left
Pre-screening memories:The film trailer is a dying art. There was a time, not so very long ago, when the trailer was its own entity, less a preview of the film advertised than a separate entity, possibly containing no actual footage from the film, whose raison d’être was to capture the tone of the film. The trailer for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was of this type, featuring Steve Martin and Michael Caine strolling along an elegant seaside path, dressed to the nines. As they pass woman at the edge of the path, Martin casually extends his arm and gives the woman a shove into the waters of the Mediterranean.
It was at that moment I knew I had to see the film.
And what a film it was… Filled with cons, deception and a monkey-boy obsessed with Oklahoma. I was already a fan of Martin’s, and Caine brings a touch of class to any production, but to see a film move deftly between broad comedy and sly wit was a revelation to a young film-goer who had yet to see the sophistication and silliness of a Billy Wilder film, or the bawdy wit of the Marx Brothers. In many ways, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was a gateway film, one that led to the aforementioned comedic classics, but it still maintained its own lofty stature in my recollection.
New memories: Returning to the film after far too long away, it remains a gem. Martin’s assumed elegance curtailed by the genuine sophistication of Caine, the reed across the legs, the revelation of just how good Glenne Headly is in the film… seeing the movie again is like reuniting with an old friend and finding that the chemistry is still there, awaiting the slightest breath to rekindle it fully. Better still, this old friend had moves that a younger viewer missed entirely, and it’s nice to discover that movies one remembers fondly are not only as good, but better, than memory describes. I don’t believe it will be quite so long before I put the cork on my fork and revisit this genuinely funny film again.
Only his second (credited) film, Dale had certified himself as a go-to name for comedy with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. His first film, Ruthless People garnered him much attention (including from Mick Jaggar, the details of which you can find out about in this podcast).
Dale details the tale of taking a 1964 script from Stanley Shapiro from a David Niven-Marlon Brando comedy called Bedtime Story and its path to the screen.
Dale went on to help Marissa Tomei win an Oscar as the screenwriter to My Cousin Vinny, then stepped into the director’s chair himself, helming a young Sandra Bullock in Love Potion No. 9.
Dale’s original plans for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels were a bit different than what played on screen. Just what were they? Guess you’ll just have to listen to the podcast.
Steve Lisberger and
Steve Lisberger Starring:
Jeff Bridges as Flynn/Clu
Bruce Boxleitner as Alan/Tron
Cindy Morgan as Lora/Yori
David Warner as Dillinger/Sark
Barnard Hughes as Gibbs/Dumont
Pre-screening memories: It’s hard to tell a story about a play, like it’s hard to perform a play about a book, like it’s hard to write a book about a movie, like it’s hard to make a movie about a video game. I was too young to understand the subtleties of that idea as a child, but I think I grasped the general concept. An avid fan of video games, I would watch or read anything even vaguely video-game related, and even then I found myself underwhelmed by what Hollywood had to say on the subject. By their very nature video games demand to be played, rather than watched, and movies that featured them could never seem to conceive of a way to engage their audience as viscerally as handing them a controller could.
And then there was Tron. While I may have missed the film in theatres, I was absolutely aware of Tron, and enthralled by what little I knew of it. The film’s creators hit on two important ideas. The first was to look deeper than just the surface of the games – to instead ask just what a videogame was, giving people an imaginary look inside a world that they didn’t understand. The second idea, which is both more mundane and eye-catching, was to make sure that the games themselves look far better than anything available when the movie was made. Watching people play video games that I have access to? Dull as dirt. Watching people play videogames so far advanced that I can’t imagine them – now that’s a compelling experience for a 5-year-old.
Which is most of why I watched that movie 50 times once I managed to tape it off television. It was such a ubiquitous presence in my viewing schedule that there wasn’t a moment of the film that I couldn’t recall immediately, or re-enact if necessary. Which I often found it to be, if I’m being perfectly honest. So when I went to watch it for this podcast I assumed that my ability to quote the film verbatim would mean there would be no surprises when I went back to it. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that I hadn’t seen something in the neighborhood of half of it.
I’m speaking, of course, about seeing the film widescreen for the first time. Growing up with standard televisions and before the takeover of letterboxing, it was only when I sat down to watch my new DVD that I realized that for my entire childhood I’d been watching just a fraction of the film I loved. The story was exactly as I’d remembered it, a classic adventure in the “ConnecticutYankee” mold, but the visuals blew me away to a degree that I’d never expected.
I’d always known that the movie was visually arresting, but seeing it widescreen was an entirely new experience. Only now do I really understand just how brilliantly composed every frame of Tron was. And beyond the improved look of the film, I was missing jokes by watching it pan-and-scan – a hidden Pac-Man, one of the first references to cubicle farms in fiction, and the true size of that door.
Maybe it’s a little strange, but the only new feeling I took away from this most recent viewing of Tron is that I didn’t get a chance to see it on the big screen when I had the chance. Now I just hope that the upcoming release of Tron: Legacy will give me another one.
Cindy makes her return visit to our podcast, this time to discuss her other iconic role, that as Yori, the shapliest computer program of its time.
With Tron: Legacy in the works, there is a movement afoot to get her into the picture, and you can do your part by signing the Facebook petition here. In this edition, Cindy shares with us the experience of working with some of the screen’s earliest CGI, the video games they played on the set, the film’s fervent following, and her own inner nerd.
We also hear of a few hidden elements in the film that only the keenest eye would observe.
We are grateful to Cindy for hopping on her time-traveling Light cycle and remembering her time spent behind the scenes of Tron.
Title: Critters (1986)
Stephen HerekWritten by:
Stephen Herek and
Dee Wallace Stone as Helen Brown
M. Emmet Walsh as Harv
Billy Green Bush as Jay Brown
Scott Grimes as Brad Brown
Nadine Van Der Velde as April Brown
Billy Zane as Steve Elliot
Terrence Mann as Johnny Steel
Lin Shaye as Sally
By Erin Tanner
Erin could certainly identify...
Pre-screening memories: To protect myself from the merciless teasing I’m going to receive for admitting how deeply scarred I was by this film, I have to explain that I saw fewer movies growing up than most other kids my age. I grew up on a farm surrounded by nearly a thousand acres of woods, fields, and rivers; its remoteness created a near-idyllic backdrop for my formative years, but it also meant shitty television reception. The most harrowing things I’d seen on large or small screen before 1987 consisted of the ending of The Last Unicorn, the episode of Little House on the Prairie in which Mary goes blind, and an upsetting few seconds of hard-core pornography I glimpsed after I punched in the wrong coordinates on my grandmother’s Hubble-sized satellite dish.
Did someone say 'hardcore porn?'
Until Critters, I don’t think I was even aware of horror films at all. Even had I been familiar with most of the mid-1980s horror fare, its protagonists were usually horny teenagers driving around and necking in suburbia – not exactly characters that resonated with me in fifth grade.
But the farm-dwelling family in Critters was uncomfortably similar to my own, and indeed to that of most of my friends: wise, hardworking father; devoted, protective mother; a son who loves explosives; a daughter who’d like to make out in the hayloft with a young Billy Zane. I first saw it on VHS with four of my friends at a slumber party (there was no slumbering that night, I can tell you), the film’s parodical elements soaring well over our heads as we watched the ravenous Crites of Prison Asteroid Sector 17 Maximum Security Holding Facility make their diabolical way to Earth and rain furry hell down upon its inhabitants.
"Leonardo DiCaprio, we're waiting for you!"
New Memories: What struck me first during my second viewing of Critters is that a lot of the acting is surprisingly good. Dee Wallace holds a special place in the hearts of most people my age after playing Elliott’s mother in E.T. and that kid from Who’s The Boss’s mother in Cujo. She’s the quintessential screen mom: blonde, attractive, always exuding a querulous, waffling charm at the film’s outset but proving by the end that she’s got a steely core of don’t-mess-with-my-family badassery.
Dee Wallace, like your mom...only more ass-kickier.
If you’re in an ’80s movie and suddenly find yourself facing an attack from an unexpected quarter – government agents in spacesuits, a rabid St. Bernard, or red-eyed, pompadoured aliens – you want Dee Wallace at your back. Not only will she save you and kick a little tail while doing so, but she’ll probably make you hot cocoa afterward.
I had completely forgotten that the intergalactic bounty hunters were pseudo-Body-Snatchers-style shape-shifters, and had also forgotten that the bounty hunter Ug was played by Bob Geldof (just kidding—it’s Terrence Mann). I don’t remember how I felt about Ug/Johnny Steele/Geldof back in 1987, but I’m pretty sure that once I got an eyeful of that deliciously frosted mullet and Duran Duran-style duster jacket, I must have thought he was pretty rad.
Holding the magic House Rebuilding Button, designed by the Amish.
Ultimately, I had assumed that the intervening decades between my first and second viewings of Critters would allow me to look back on the completely irrational fears it inspired and laugh. And while I did laugh at them (and at many points in the film – how can you not?), it turned out to be an erroneous assumption, because I spent most of the second viewing watching through my fingers like I did the first time.
Then again, fears are relative: If I had to choose today between facing a cellar full of slavering, poison-spine-shooting alien monsters and a living room full of sleep-deprived 11-year-old girls hopped up on warm Jolt Cola, Pixy Stix, and horror films, I’d grab Dee Wallace and a handful of firecrackers and take my chances with the Crites.
Oscar-winning legend and legacy Gene Warren has spent a lifetime in the special effects industry. Under the tutlage of his Oscar-winning father, Gene picked up odd jobs while planning his path to be a stuntman. But something funny happened on the way to the explosion. From his early days of working on such touchstone series as I Dream of Jeannie, Gidget, and Land of the Lost (where he got to manipulate the dinosaurs!).Since then, he has moved on to add effect to everything from the miniscule-budgeted features (Killer Klowns from Outer Space, anyone?) to some of the biggest films in box office history (T2: Judgement Day). His company Fantasy II Film Effects was brought on to the Critters set after initial production had wrapped, but created perhaps one of the most memorable sequences of the film. Find out more about Gene’s handiwork in the podcast.
Thanks to Gene for your memories and sharing your Critters tales with Natsukashi.