…and we’re back (and some updates!)

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.

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‘Continental Divide’ with cinematographer Richard Walden

movie poster
Film: Continental Divide (1981)
Rated: PG
Written by: 
Lawrence Kasdan
Directed by: 
Michael Apted
Starring: 
John Belushi as Ernie Souchek
Blair Brown as Nell Porter
Allen Garfield as Howard McDermott
Carlin Glynn as Sylvia

By Efferdent Johnson

belushifingerPre-screening memories: There were many reasons I was excited to see Continental Divide many years ago. And while it may seem strange those same reasons applied when given the opportunity to view it again.

Growing up in Colorado, just an hour or so west of the continental divide, I was hoping some of my extended backyard would be in the movie. As my friends and I watched the flick for the first time we argued about locations. “Oh, that’s just above Wagon Wheel Gap,” Scott said. “No, that’s just off Slumgullion Pass near Lake City,” was my ill-informed retort. We looked for landmarks throughout the film and not one of us had a clue.

belushimountainsNow with the advantage of IMDB I found that we were all off by a few hundred miles. We all picked the wrong mountain range. Any of you familiar with the Sangre De Cristo range in southern Colorado might recognize some vistas. I sure didn’t.

Familiar landscapes aside, I would have set patiently for a chance to watch any flick that included John Belushi. He was a hero for my friends and I. We all imitated his Samurai Tailor from Saturday Night Liveor Blutarsky from Animal House. In fact, Dave Wilson did such a spot-on impression of Blutarsky running deceptively to avoid detection on the Faber Campus that we all would do spit takes just recalling it. After 25 years, I still grin when I recollect Wilson’s impersonation.

hikingMost people choose predictable role models. Men like John Elway, Han Solo or John Lennon are obvious choices. Me, I chose guys like Belushi, Bill Murray and John Bonham. Have you ever heard the quote “Fat dumb and stupid is no way to go through life”?  Well, my role models seemed to do a pretty good job of it if only for a short time for two of them. Me, I haven’t done as well. Don’t get me wrong though, fat, dumb and stupid are not an issue for me.

I was the only one in our group not disappointed by the movie so many years ago. My friends wanted debauchery and drunken profanity laced with pratfalls and catch lines. I was satisfied with, “It’s so quiet up here you could hear a mouse get a hard-on.” To this day it is my favorite movie quote and usually the only one I can remember. I watched the film any time it came on HBO and each time found something new to latch onto.

brownsmileNew memories: Ernie Souchak was a window into just how much charisma resided within Belushi’s body. A body obviously built by ingesting copious amounts of “Little Chocolate Donuts”. He was a man of the people, approachable, funny and sarcastic. A model I wish to emulate to this day. In this window you can glance of what might have been Belushi’s future if not for a tragic end.

Now, as I live on the East Coast I will watch Continental Divide for the same reasons as I did in the 1980’s. I’ll watch hoping to rekindle fond memories of the Rocky Mountains and of my long gone hero. I also look forward to seeing Blair Brown’s very pretty smile.

Download Natsukashi’s ‘Continental Divide podcast with Richard Walden here

Or you can hike a little further down the screen and listen to it online:

 __________________________________________________________________

Our featured guest: Cinematographer Richard Walden

dream onNow in his third decade behind the lens, Richard has been a part of some seminal films in our memory’s library,  including: Heaven Can Wait, The Bad News Bears Go to Japan, 1941, American Gigolo, Xanadu, Cat People, 48 Hrs., War Games, Top Gun, Lethal Weapon, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and many, many more.

Walden  got his start on the 1972 TV movie Fair Play as a painter, and his worked steadily in the business since. His extensive resume (and memories) has been a wonderful advantage to us here at Natsukashi, and we thank Richard for sharing them with us.

He has also worked on TV, serrving as   cinematographer on the popular HBO series, Dream On.

‘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.

 _____________________________________________________

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:

_____________________________________________________

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.

Episode XXXI: The Outlaw Josey Wales

outlawjoseywales

Title: The Outlaw Josey Wales
Rated: PG
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Forrest Carter (book)
                  Philip Kauffman (screenplay)
Starring: Clint Eastwood as Josey Wales
               Chief Dan George as Lone Waite
               Sondra Locke as Laura Lee
               John Vernon as Fletcher

Tagline: …an army of one.

By: Efferdent Johnson

Growing up in a small town the options for entertainment were few and far between. Watching tractors endlessly at work back and forth through fields of potatoes, barley or wheat was a spectator sport for the residents of my backwater hometown. Blessed as we were with an abundance of amusements, the frosting on the potato chip had to be the local drive-in-theater. During the summer, family outings to the dusty “Movie Manor Drive-in-Theater” were frequent. Back in the days of double features most of my memories are of waking up while on the way home in the back of my father’s pickup truck.
Equipped with a mattress across the bed of the truck and enough pillows and blankets to bed down the family the “comfy factor” was high. In the great outdoors, it made it easier to get into the feel of the film. Jeremiah Johnson, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were the best kinds of movies to see at the Movie Manor. I could look up at the screen and see a desert or sagebrush or mountains and look away from the screen and see the same things around me. Add a cool breeze and I was instantly carried into the story.

Of all the movies we went to see at the drive-in, the most memorable is still one of my favorites.
The Outlaw Josey Wales…what a treat for a kid. It felt like I was one of the small caravan that glommed onto Clint as he moved west to a better life. Eastwood, in my young mind, was the toughest, coolest badass in history. Clint made the Marlboro Man look like a pussy. As a kid, all I understood was that Clint was always in the right, always justified. If Josey killed someone well that scumbag had it comin’. I wanted to be just like him.
What kid didn’t want to have a wise old American Indian as a sidekick? Not only was he wise but he was funny. “You’re not supposed to be able to sneak up on an Indian.” He was old, tough, clever and even gets laid. What a great sidekick. Josey though was the man, the myth, the spittin legend of all time in my young mind.
Josey would spit and wield two six shooters like they were natural extensions of his arms. He had a mean dog that always had his back and a horse that never got tired. The greatest thing about being at the drive-in – every time Josey would spit I would crane my head over the side of the truck and do the same thing. Josey, though, wasn’t admonished by his mom and so I had to be careful to pick my opportunities.
I do remember being a little confused through the movie. I had not seen a movie in which the Union Army were the bad guys. The boys in blue were always the good guys. I struggled, only briefly, with this odd turn. I guess in its way the movie taught me that good is good, bad is bad and some of both live in all of us.
On the surface, the movie was perfect for me as an 8-year-old kid – lots of action and a story easy enough for my pre-teen brain to grasp. Eastwood was great. Grunt, spit, shoot then turn and walk away. I wanted so much to do the same thing. “Jeff, take out the trash,” Mom would say. “Urrrr.. me hungry,” then spit on the house cat and a quick spitball right into my little brother’s ear. I’d pull my hat down a little tighter and walk off into sunset with trash bag in hand and a brother and mother in tow.

Listen to Efferdent’s return down that dusty below or download it here.

 

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‘Eddie and the Cruisers’

 

Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)


Directed by: Martin Davidson
Written by: Martin and Arlene Davidson
Based on the novel by P.F. Kluge
Starring: Michael Pare as Eddie Wilson
               Tom Berenger as Frank Ridgeway
               Ellen Barkin as Maggie Foley
               Joe Pantoliano as Doc Robbins

Tagline: Rebel. Rocker. Lover. Idol. Vanished

By Rob Rector

If you were a teen during the first few years of MTV (which we now forget, but the ‘M’ once stood for Music, not M-barassingly shallow youth). The release of a new video was treated like a movie premier. You would gather around a friend’s house to watch that spaceship launch as it debuted a new favorite-to-be.

You would make sure the VCR was recording the right channel so after that three-minute movie, you could immediately rewind it and watch it over and over again to perfect your air instruments.

And if you were even the most casual viewier, the name Bruce Springsteen was certainly no stranger. There are not enough gigs on my hard drive to summarize my slavish devotion to all things Bruce – from spending summers as an early teen dancing on a roof of an outdoor bar as the raucous strains of “Rosalita” played in the salty beach breeze; being old enough to attend concerts in which I could worship my idol up close; the excitement of meeting a guy who wired Bruce’s home security system (Bruce and wife Patty Scialfa have their help all over their home every year for a barbecue where he cooks for them! How cool is that?); choosing “If I Should Fall Behind… (Wait for Me)” as my wedding song and inviting Bruce to attend (astonishingly, he declined).

During all this time, there were droughts where we would get no tunes from The Boss, so we would settle for anything even remotely similar.

Enter John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, aka the voice of Eddie and the Cruisers for the film of the same name. It wasn’t Bruce, but it was about the eighth- or ninth-best thing to listening to actual Bruce tunes.

In 1983, the little film came and went to the theater (I don’t even recall it appearing on local screens), but it was one of those lightening-in-a-bottle instances in which it received a breath of new life courtesy of one Home Box Office, which I think ran it on a loop with Beastmaster for months on end.

Music aside, there is very little of the film I recall. I remember it starring the dude from another favorite “Streets of Fire,” cementing Michael Pare’s place as the coolest living actor of the time for me. I think Diane Lane was in this or the sequel, but that could be “Streets of Fire” devotion bleeding over in my brain and the fact that I wanted Diane Lane to star in every film of my youth.

What I do recall is the video phenomenon that accompanied the film. There were two videos released: one featuring Pare lip-synching the entire song, as in the movie, the other starring the song’s real vocalist Cafferty and his bandmates aping “Springsteen style,” right down to the muscle shirts, bandanas and even the larger saxophonist who bared more than a slight resemblance to one Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons. I remember how disappointed I was when the latter version was screened, for I wanted to live in the dream. At least Pare vaguely resembled the rough-and-tumble look of a hungry-hearted rocker, not the scrawny incarnation that sang through his bangs into the mic, ala Cafferty.

Even though it was all some Milquetoast copy of Bruce, for a young kid, it would do. The accompanying cassette tape of the soundtrack would ultimately meet its demise in my boom box after succumbing to exhaustion (as did its followup “Tough All Over”. I did not want the videos, nor the liner notes to remind me of the actual ridiculously named band. I just wanted to close my eyes and pretend that it was the same artist that made me climb onto the rooftops and dance in the dark on those hot summer nights.

How dark was this trip ‘on the dark side? Will it ruin Rob’s memories of his ‘tender years?’

As always, you can download it here, or just listen online:

 



‘Jaws’

 

Film: Jaws
Rated: PG
Directed by: Steven Spielberg

 

Starring:
Roy Scheider:  Sheriff Brody
Richard Dreyfuss:  Hooper
Robert Shaw:  Quint

 

Tagline: Don’t go in the water

 

By:  Efferdent Johnson

 

Past memories: In 1975, I was doing my best to propagate the best hair helmet any pre-teen had ever hoped to wear. My interests were few and my fears were many. Some of which were brought to the surface by a frightening grey machine with a zillion teeth and a thirst for blood. By my tenth year of life, the most frightening movie experiences were the ever-so-scary villains of Disney. I can remember sinking in my seat during Willy Wonka’s boat ride, or almost all of Chitty Chitty Bang AHHHHHHHHH!!!

 

Jaws would never affect me… or so I thought. The chances of me seeing the movie were less than my chances for a Senate seat. My mom would make sure that her young sons would not be turned to evil, sexually confused or exposed to the violence of the cinema. The following summer Rocky came to town and my brothers and I were not permitted to go. “It is way too bloody and violent. No. I will not tell you again.” I can remember hearing that daily for two weeks.

 

 Mom, though, couldn’t censor every facet of a 10-year-old’s life.

 

The commercials started and it led to a frenzy of attention in our tiny land-locked community in southern Colorado. Every conversation both of adults and kids seemed to begin and end with some reference to a man-eating shark. On the play ground while sneaking up on the girls, my friends and I would be revealed by our own musical accompaniment, “Dunt Dunt, Dunt Dunt”. After the movie played in town and moved on to the drive-in theater, the book appeared on every shelf not already packed with Rockem Sockem Robots, Hardy Boys lunch boxes or Billy Beer. I even remember the local sporting goods store with a Jaws display in the window next to the fishing tackle and baseball cleats. 

 

Never seeing the movie juiced every waterborne fear a 10 year old could have. As an avid swimmer on the swim team, my paranoia was limitless. If a teammate was to scrape at my toes while swimming laps, the chance of something other than urine coming from my Speedo was possible. I guess Spielberg my have been responsible for some of my best times.

               

I am sure the first time I saw the movie was on network TV probably five years later. Robert Shaw has always been the salty fisherman in my mind while reading books about the sea. I can imagine him now as Hemingway’s old man or Melville’s whale-obsessed, one-legged captain. Ah, what a glorious time before Stakeout, Another Stakeout or a terrible Poseidon remake when Richard Dreyfuss was cool. Or to see Roy Scheider  ( R.I.P) as something more than a douche bag flying a fictitious helicopter.

               

Ultimately, the movie didn’t live up to the expectations of my 10-year-old imagination. It was years later while in high school after watching the horrible sequels that I realized why the original had transfixed my tiny hometown. People from every walk of life could relate in some way to a story that was chock full of the human experience. Man vs Man, Man vs Beast, small town politics and obsession that ultimately leads to a bad and bloody end or just having the crap scared out of you, take your pick.

 

If nothing else my friends and I had so much fun replaying the Saturday Night Live skit “Land Shark” that to this day the mention of it will bring us all too contagious belly laughter.

 

And what did Eff think about his most recent screening of a film he had not seen in more than a decade?

Or to download: Here’s Episode V:Jaws.

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