For all three who noticed we were gone for a little bit, thank you.
To ensure a more regular posting schedule, I would like to pose a question. As some may know, I also run a site Use Soap, that I use as a repository for my weekly review column at a local newspaper. I would like to propose that I run my reviews from that site on here, along with the regular features in Natsukashi. I still will post the podcast, as well as “Messing with Memories” and other various and sundry nostalgic movie morsels.
Please drop me a line and let me know what you think, I welcome any and all suggestions.
Also, you will notice a certain little logo at the top right of this blog. That piece of artwork is from none other than Flixster.com, one of the largest (and coolest) movie sites on the internet.
Our little blog has been invited to become part of the Flixster fam! Go us!
We are certainly excited about this move and hope that our incredibly inflated egos do not become even more drunk with power and end up snorting blow off the sweaty ass cracks of Malaysian ladyboys…again.
Sorry, where was I?
So we look forward to getting back into things, keeping everyone updated on upcoming remakes, hobnobbing with those in the industry who helped create the movie memories of our youth, and looking at films currently in release.
Thanks for sticking with us and, as always, your suggestions help keep us going, so please let us know what you think.
Never Cry Wolf (1983)
Carroll BallardWritten by:
Farley Mowat (novel)
Richard Kletter (screenplay)
Curtis HansonSam HammStarring:Chales Martin Smith as Tyler
Brian Dennehy as Rosie
Zachary Ittimangnaq as Ootek
Samson Jorah as Mike
Pre-screening memories: Never Cry Wolf was an important film for me when I was a child. An animal lover at an early age, I found myself seeking out those books and movies that focused specifically on dogs and their ilk. Sounder was my favorite book, and when Never Cry Wolf arrived on home video, I was quick to find it. What I wasn’t prepared for was the beauty of the film, the quiet and somber tone that was such a revelation to a young viewer.
At that time, there was nothing political or environmental in my thinking, having been raised on a steady diet of cartoons and Sesame Street. When I followed Tyler into the Alaskan Arctic, his revelations were my own. The natural world, until then a patch of woods behind my home, became a reality, a world that I could only visit, at the time, through film, but one that I learned to value. Additionally, the film inspired a love of the wolf that has remained to this day, admiring their familial and societal nature, the lonely howls, the eerily perceptive and intelligent eyes.
New memories: To this day, I am a dog lover first and foremost. Some of that, I think, is based on my first encounter with Caroll Ballard’s Never Cry Wolf and my fixation on the domestic canine’s wilder cousin. There is a playfulness coupled with instinct that I still find fascinating in the wolf. Looking back on the film, now, I have discovered the same amazement, the same awe that I first felt upon my initial viewing of the movie. It is a stunningly gorgeous film, one that begs for a Blu-ray transfer, and a somber story of man’s progress and the effects of that progress on the world around him.
There is a sadness in this film, too, made more melancholy by the exacerbated problems we see in the remaining wilderness. I am forever torn between the Carlin-esque hopelessness for our species and the nagging belief that maybe, under the right circumstances, we could live in concert with nature. This film poses no answers to this dilemma, but Never Cry Wolf beautifully illustrates the problems without lapsing into moralizing, and gives us a glimpse into a world of wonder that shrinks each day.
…or listen in the right in the comfort of this very site
Our featured guest: Screenwriter Richard Kletter
Richard Kletter began his film career as a producer on independent films including Cannes Festival winner, Northern Lights. Since then, he has written, directed and/or produced more than 20 films and TV movies. His films have received Golden Globe nominations and won awards at various festivals.
Kletter teaches screenwriting at USC School of Cinematic Arts. His feature credits include Dangerous Indiscretion (with C. Thomas Howell and Malcolm McDowell), and The Black Stallion Returns. Some of his television credits include the series The Magnificent Seven, the Lifetime movie She’s Too Young (with Marcia Gay Harden) the acclaimed films Odd Girl Out and Queen Sized.
He’s currently working on a script about a young girl of privilege kidnapped by a biker gang. Hell, yeah! We are soooooo there, Richard! Thank you for joining us.
The Last Starfighter (1984)
Jonathan BetuelDirected by:
Lance Guest as Alex
Robert Preston as Centauri
Catherine Mary Stewart as Maggie
Dan O'Herlihy as Grig
Barbara Bosson as Jane
Norman Snow as Xur
Pre-screening memories: Sure, the plot seems familiar now: A young man, trapped by circumstances of economics and class, struggles to be something more, something different. He knows there’s an “out there,” a world that he could conquer if he could only get free and find the opportunity. That’s the situation that Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) represents, and, to an eleven year old boy in 1984, it was a projection, quite literally, of everything that a pre-teen felt.
Add to that healthy mix of angst the element of technology, specifically the home video game revolution, and you’ll find that same pre-teen, filled with a vague wanderlust, debating with his friends in the schoolyard whether the Atari 2600 translation of Donkey Kong could hold a candle to the arcade version (it can’t) or if Yar’s Revenge was the best in the 2600 library (it was). So, when a movie made escape possible through the medium of video games, the scales had lifted from my eyes. This was a movie I had to see.
I saw The Last Starfighter a lot as a kid, where it found a lot of screenings thanks to premium cable channels and a brand-spanking-new VCR. I still have the tape on which The Last Starfighter resides, alongside The Terminator. Even as a child, I enjoyed juxtaposition. At every viewing of the film, it reinforced the idea that you can truly excel, if only given the opportunity to do so, and it’s a belief I still subscribe to.
New memories: Seeing it as an adult, it’s hard to quiet the thrilled child still inside, the one who still believes everything is possible if given the chance and that Yar’s Revenge is the best Atari 2600 game. Roughly halfway through my mature, well-considered viewing of The Last Starfighter, I gave up trying to silence him. This was and remains a movie that encourages a sense of wonder, a sense of possibility, and, if you remembered it as a special movie when you were young, seek it out. The optimism of the film is there, and a real sense of magic, managed by genuine emotion thanks to a very talented cast. Sure, the effects, revolutionary at the time, haven’t aged so well, but they fit the imagination of the movie. And it’s that part, the spirit of opportunity in the face of adversity that makes this a treasure.
Catherine Mary Stewart returns to Natsukashi to revisit yet another indelible role from her resume.
She had first joined us for a chat about Mischief and also spoke about her other cult classic of 1984, Night of the Comet, but Last Starfighter hold a special place in her memories for reasons she recounts for us in the podcast.
After taking a stretch to focus more on being a mom, Catherine is reigniting her career with roles Rising Stars, a film with Fischer that she describes as an anti-American Idol, and a just-announced A Christmas Snow, which she details on her Facebookpage (where she personally connects with her fans). You can also follow her at her blog.
Catherine is always a fun, engaging guest and has several tales about working on the set of The Last Starfighter, and we thank her for letting us share them with her.
In a great start to the New Year, our friend Dan at Top10Films.co.ukhas given us a Kreativ Blogger Award. The “award” is more a virtual pat on the back, which is actually much nicer to receive (well, that and a nice fat check). So, first, a big thanks to Dan and his hard work across the pond. We are very grateful. Second, the award stipulates you must “pay it forward” by listing seven other blogs that you deem worthy of such accolades.
So, here is a list of bloggers out there whom I frequent and who have helped to make Natsukashi what it is today (which, I am not really sure what that is, but thanks nonetheless).
Last Blog on the Left: Fans of horror, both mainstream and indie, need look no further than Last Blog on the Left. Run by a true aficionado, Last Blog is serious about horror, but approaches it with wit and wisdom. It features reviews of theatrical releases, the latest in DVDs, interviews and podcast interviews with up-and-comers in the genre.
He Shot Cyrus: A fun, irreverent exploration into the world of film from its host, El Gringo, whose approach to films goes beyond mere reviews. Gringo, who is also a contributor to Film Threat online and frequents festivals such as Sundance, covers films old and new, mainstream and independent with a zeal and passion that true film nerds would enjoy.
Cru Jones Society: Film is just one of the passions of the crew at Cru Jones. They also looks at television, music, politics, and general online mayhem that make it tough to be focused throughout the work day. But it does not merely provide links and laughs, its thoughtful, engaging approach is what sets things apart at CJS.
Castle Vardulon: The Count is always in, and seemingly always on in his witty dissections of film and television. Whether he is tearing apart the legend that is Indiana Jones, eviscerating “CSI: Miami,” or analyzing some of the greatest panels in the history of comics, Count is never at a loss for words. The site also provides aural candy as well, where Count and his partner in crime,The DiveMistress, deftly discuss horror, fantasy ans sci-fi.
Dear Jesus: Don’t let the title fool you. The only proselytizing this film does is in its worshipping at the altar of film. Whitney, one of the site’s contributors (Brian being the other), is also a writer for Film Threat and also ventures to film festivals to report on the seldom-seen cinema and the emerging films screened within. In her frequent “movie marathons” she gorges on celluloid from across the spectrum (expect such divergent films as “X-15,” “Dirty Harry” and “Rocky III” to be included in just one of them).
CinemaFist: Joe Campenella loves film. He loves watching it, he loves making it. See how both of his passions are covered in CinemaFist, where he devotes blog entries to both the creation and the appreciation of movies. He’s also pretty damn funny.
Foywonder: Scott Foy wallows in film’s underbelly, plucking out the seamy obscurities few dare to witness. He rocks out with his schlock out, examining all the B-movies currently creeping under your radar that fill the vaults of such companies as The Asylum and those released directly to the SyFy network. It’s a tough job, but Scott approaches it with the right amount of enthusiasm and humor.
Now, the award also states that you must name seven interesting things about yourself. So here goes:
1) These lists always make me nervous
2) As a child, I was in a fashion show hosted by Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop
3) I was Spider-Man, a Care Bear and Big Bird — professionally (long story, and no, I was not a “furry”)
4) In high school, I got to interview John Frankenheimer, Halle Berry and Jerry Seinfeld.
5) I have been sky-diving and leapt from a hot air balloon.
6) I am friends with a guy who dated Uma Thurman… in the sixth grade.
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.
Directed by:Mike Marvin
Mike MarvinStarring:Charlie Sheen as Jake /The Wraith
Sherilyn Fenn as Keri
Nick Cassavetes as Packard
Randy Quaid as Sheriff Loomis
Matthew Berry as Billy
Clint Howard as Rughead
Chris Nash as Minty
Griffin O'Neal as Oggie
David Sherrill as Skank
Jamie Bozian as Gutterboy
Pre-screening memories: It’s the same old story… boy shows up on a motorcycle, runs afoul of the local toughs, gets involved with the main baddie’s girlfriend and cleans up the town. But what made The Wraith so special was the fact that the boy in question is a ghost (sort of) and the manner in which he sweeps the streets is with a cutting-edge (at the time) pace car while wearing a jumper with tubes attached. What these tubes are for, where they go… all part of the mystery and majesty of The Wraith.
The Dodge Interceptor
When I first saw the film, I was confused and bewildered by the oddity of its characters, the vague back story of a young boy cut down in his prime by the town’s marauders, and, mostly, by the appearance of Charlie Sheen as a ghost with the coolest car I’d ever seen to that point. In all honesty, it’s still a pretty sweet ride…
New memories: Far from a technically perfect film, The Wraith is proof that no one sets out to make a cult film. It’s too weird to be simply a racing movie, and too chockfull of racing to be a sci-fi thriller. It creates its own subgenre – the ghostly vengeance by car film. And, for that alone, it deserves to be seen by any cynic who claims there are no new tales to tell.
Though he originally came to Los Angeles in his teens to further his passion for music, Nash’s chiseled good looks soon landed him roles in television and, soon after, film.His big break was 1985’s underrated comedy Mischief, in which he played the new bad boy in town who struck up a friendship with his nerdy high school neighbor.He followed that film with a series of “almost was” features, including Modern Girls with Virginia Madsen and Daphne Zuniga, Satisfaction with Justine Bateman and Julia Roberts and our featured film, The Wraith, the debut film of a young Charlie Sheen.
Chris continued to work in front of the camera in various series, TV movies and films, but soon disengaged from the industry and returned to his true passion music.He has since worked behind the scenes, writing music, helping with film scores and supporting his 10-year-old son Dylan, who fronts the acclaimed band Automatic Youth.
We are very grateful to have Chris return to recall his time spent working on this film and wish him and his son much success in their future endeavors.
We here at Natsukashi love sharing our memories, but sometimes it’s good to go out and create some new ones.
So, as we venture off the grid for seven days (we promise, we will be back with some great new guests, and boy do we have some good ones!), please check out our new Natsukashi Facebook page designed by our wonderful contributor Scott Knopf from HeShotCyrus.com. Sign up and become a fan, so we can get to know our base and hear what you want us to cover here at Natsukashi. Plus, we will fill it with all goodies that we could not pack into our tightly designed format and perhaps give away a T-shirt or two (not that we have any made, I was referring to the ones in our hampers).
Also, be sure to check out our contributors’ blogs, as they celebrate October, our favorite of those 12 months.