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.
Title: Berry Gordy’sThe Last Dragon (PG-13)
Directed by: Michael Schultz
Written by: Louis Venosta
Starring: Taimak as ‘Bruce’ Leroy Green Vanity as Laura Charles Christopher Murney as Eddie Arkadian Julius Carryas Sho’nuff
Tagline: He’s a martial arts master… oh, hell. Just read it on the poster above. It’s too long to write it again.
By El Ron
Pre-screening memories: I was never the most threatening kid in school. I was no pushover, mind you, but I was never one to pack on the pounds. It did not help that I was never really motivated to put effort into developing a physique that would instill fear.
I was always looking for shortcut.
I enlisted at the local karate studio, but the “master” always seemed a tad too overzealous for my casual approach to martial arts. Lucky for me, tutelage came in a much more entertaining package: enter, TheDragon. TheLastDragon, or, more specifically, Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon.
All I had to do was follow Taimak’s moves and I could attain my own “Glow,” right?
I quickly learned that more went into the martial arts than just watching Bruce Leroy and Sho N’uff battle on a loop in my VCR. But what I did glean from my multiple viewings was a fleeting love of DeBarge, a poor sense of fashion and a love for all the action contained within.
New memories: I had no idea of just how funny this film was. A lot of the broad comedy connected back then,but until I learned more about film, I had no idea on just how many levels this film worked for me. It was great to be able to share those memories with Mr. Eddie Arkadian himself, Chris Murney.
Whether it’s his voice or his face, Chris Murney has carved out a memorable career on radio, videogames, television and film. He has won numerous CLIO awards for his memorable adverting work, perhaps most notable as the voice of Chester Cheetah from the Cheetos commercials. He television works included spots on Miami Vice, M*A*S*H, One Life to Live and was also a regular on the beloved AMC series Remember WENN for its four-season run. In film, he has worked with the Coen Brothers on Barton Fink,Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Secret of My Success, Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive and the Paul Newman cult classic Slap Shot.
Mr. Murney was a great guest and a lot of fun, and we hope to hear many more of his tales on future films selected by our Natsukashi readers and writers.
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.
The 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!
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!).
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.
Title: Brewster’s Millions (1985)
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.
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’ Looseor 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…
Our 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!
Film: Troll (1986) Rated: PG-13
Directed by: John Carl Buechler Written by:John Carl Buechler and Ed Naha Starring: Noah Hathaway as Harry Potter Jr. Michael Moriarity as Harry Potter Sr. Shelly Hack as Anne Potter Jenny Beck as Wendy Anne Potter Sonny Bono as Peter Dickinson Tagline: Come closer…
By Jason Plissken and El-Ron Jason’s pre-screening memories: As mentioned before, I was a fan of scary movies. Ironically, I would always get scared and turn them off. Troll was no different. I was perhaps not even in high school when I first started to watch Troll on television, and I can remember watching it up until the part where little Wendy Anne has become inhabited by the eponymous monster and her voice morphs into his guttural growl.
I guess I could blame Poltergeist, or perhaps even The Village of the Damned or The Bad Seed, to know that when a cherubic little blonde girl shows up on screen, bad things follow.
Troll was no different.
El Ron’s pre-screening memories: Trollwas released during the evil puppeteering heyday of the mid- to late-80s, which included Ghoulies, Gremlins, Critters and Munchies, and I ate all of those films up, despite being terrified by them. There was more than one evening that I swore one was trying to push his was up past the floorboard under my bed, causing me to sleep with the lights on.
Troll stood out, though, for I remember its mix of fantasy in the everyday world. Was our old neighbor a former witch? How about our mailman? Did he possess some supernatural power that I was unaware of? What about my Uncle? Was that a magic potion on his breath, or just whiskey?
I remember all the faces familiar to me at the time — Michael Moriarity, Moe from The Stuff, Sonny Bono, Gary Sandy from WKRP in Cincinnati.
But it was not until I sat down to rewatch this that I realized…Holy Crap! It’s Harry Potter! I had no idea that the main character’s name was shared by a certain literary creation that has received some press as of late. Not only that, but as I recall, the Harry Potter of Troll was also practicing to be a wizard of some sort as well. I suppose my updated viewing of this will answer all these questions for me.
All I know is that I have the light close to the bed tonight, just in case I hear a rumbling under my floorboard.
His name is mentioned alongside such stop-motion legends as Willis H. O’Brien, Randall William Cook and the master himself, Ray Harryhausen. Jim also wrote and produced his own feature, Planet of Dinosaurs, where he was able to live out his childhood dream of bringing dinosaurs to life.
We were very fortunate to have Mr. Aupperle for this little podcast and hope to have him back to discuss other films in his expansive resume.
Come venture under memory’s bridge for a trip to Trollhere, or listen to below.
Title: The Stuff (1985) Directed by: Larry Cohen Written by: Larry Cohen Starring: Michael Moriarity
Danny Aiello Tagline: Are you eating it…or is it eating you?
By: El Ron
This edition is a podcast only version of reflections and reminiscence, as El Ron and Rob reflect on a long-forgotten horror/social satire flick from 1985 starring the underrated Michael Moriarity, Garrett Morris and directed by Larry Cohen. The film features killer pudding, so why wouldn’t you want to listen?