‘Westworld’ featuring Jared Martin

westworld

Title: Westworld (1973)
Rated: PG
Director: Michael Crichton
Writer: Michael Crichton
Starring:  Yul Brynner as The Gunslinger
                     James Brolin as John Blane
                     Richard Benjamin as Peter Martin

By Gurn Blanston

Pre-screening memories: I first saw this movie at a matinee showing with my father in the mid 70’s. We had a tradition of going on Saturday afternoons and seeing films that my Mom and sister would not have enjoyed, The Four Musketeers, Scaramouche, The Pink Panther movies. I truly believe that this is the only Sci-Fi flick my Pop would admit to enjoying.

You see, he is a cowboy at heart. He has two 22-caliber pistols and a leather holster rig to carry them in, and took horseback riding lessons a few years back, just in case there was a sun set somewhere that might need riding into. So the idea of a resort where you could actually pretend to be a cowboy and you could even shoot people – well robots that looked like people – was hugely appealing to him. I admit that the idea was not unappealing to me either, although I was more interested is visiting Medievalworld and waving my sword at the kitchen wenches.

shootoutIn the film, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin, who looks a lot like a young Josh Brolin, are two city slickers that head to a resort where they can play at being cowboys and drink, gunfight and carouse with a plethora of human-appearing robots and other guests; a shout out to Dick Van Patten who plays the meek banker turned homicidal gunslinger. There are three areas you can visit, Westworld, Medievalworld, and Romanorgyworld. I’m not sure why the Roman area didn’t attract a 13-year-old Gurn more then the Medieval one did, but I’ll work that out later with my therapist. Yul Brynner stars as the black clad gunslinger robot, the original Paranoid Android, and they all have a great time shooting him full of holes. Afterwards, they retire upstairs in the saloon with some robofloozys while Yul is carted back to the tech center to be repaired so that he can appear again to be shot up again the next day.

yul-robot-faceSimilar storylines are transpiring in the other areas, but it turns out that the robots are a little pissed about the abuse and turn on the vacationers. Mayhem ensues as Yul tracks Benjamin and Bolin across the park attempting to even the score. Good wins in the end, unless you were pulling for the mechanical shootist, and the robots are controlled and eliminated, only to appear in the sequel Futureworld three years later. Michael Crichton wrote and directed Westworld, not the sequel though, and I remember it being my favorite Sci-Fi movie up until Star Wars came out and blew everything else away. I have fond memories of those Saturday afternoons with Dad, just the two of us seeing films together was very important to me at the time, and Westworld will always remain one of my favorites.

yul

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Download the podcast: ‘Westworld’ featuring Jared Martin

…or, mosey over here to listen online:

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Our featured guest: Jared Martin

jaredJared was the man in command when all hell breaks loose in Westworld, perhaps it was his character’s preference of ordering lunch while the robots began their murderous rampage. Regardless, Jared continue to make an impression on viewers on television, starring in series such as Fantastic Journey, as “Lusty” Dusty Farlow in Dallas, and, Martin’s personal favorite, as the lead in the popular syndicated sci-fi series War of the Worlds as Dr. Harrison Blackwood.

Martin is the co-founder and creative director of the Big Picture Allience in Philadelphia, a non-profit youth development media program which fosters an appreciation of film in underserved communities.

Martin has many a story to share, and we were grateful to have him do so with us in this edition of Natsukashi.

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Episode XL: ‘Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man’ (with actor Jordan Lund)

harley_davidson_and_the_marlboro_man

Title: Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)
Rated: R
Directed by: Simon Wincer
Written by: Don Michael Paul
Starring: Mickey Rourke as Harley Davidson
                   Don Johnson as The Marlboro Man
                   Daniel Baldwin as Alexander
                   Vanessa Williams as Lulu Daniels
                  Tom Sizemore as Chance Wilder
                   Jordan Lund as ‘The Stagecoach Driver’
Tagline: “When the going gets tough…the tough take the law into their own hands”

By Rob R.

Pre-screening memories: The ’50s had their Brando and Dean, the ’60s had their McQueen, the ’70s had Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, and, to a lesser extent, Chuck Norris (sorry, Norris nerds).

But once the ’80s bounced in, things changed. It was tough for a young lad on the scrawny side to envision himself as any particular big-screen action star. All of the big box-office heroes inflated to such bulbous sizes, there were no legal ways to replicate their physique. And besides, I really did not want the veins in my forearms to resemble garden hoses under my skin.

Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme, Bosworth. These monsters of muscle paraded across the big screen like Macy’s Day floats. And for a kid who could barely hold a tether, it was all rather disheartening. It’s not to say that I did not enjoy these films, it’s just that I could never envision that my scrawny sack of skin could ever inflate to their levels of heroics.  (Sure, I had Dr. Jones and his archaeological adventures, but there were only three films of his released over the entire decade!)

These guys were loud and proud. All seething sinew and bulging biceps. Where were the svelte rebels? Where was the smoky mystique and normal physique of James Dean? The ornery playfulness of Reynolds? The normal human build of McQueen?

There was an actor emerging in this decade who seemed to rumble in like my cinematic savior. I first caught Mickey Rourke on HBO during a broadcast of Rumble Fish as the tortured Motorcycle Boy. He had but a few whispered lines, but each one mattered: “Blind terror in a fight can easily pass for courage.”

Yes, I thought. That’s me! I’m blinded by terror in fights! If he threw in a line about wetting one’s shorts, it would have fit to a ‘T.’

I loyally followed Rourke as the years progressed, though most of his films I had to sneak in late-night viewings of, like 9 ½ Weeks and Angel Heart. This was the guy responsible for the on-screen deflowering of the eldest Cosby kid! I’m sorry, but you do not get much cooler for a child of the era.

I can honestly say that I learned about international relations and poetry through his next films, Barfly, based on the life of street poet Charles Bukowski and his IRA assassin in A Prayer for the Dying. My devotion remained as his box-office dropped: the criminally underrated Homeboy (which he co-wrote, and featuring a killer Eric Clapton soundtrack), Walter Hill’s lovably grimy Johnny Handsome, the minor-but effective Desperate Hours, the sun-drenched sexcapades of  Wild Orchid (OK, perhaps even I cannot defend that one, but it still convinced me to buy the sexy soundtrack in the hopes that merely playing the CD for girls might get me laid. It didn’t.).

But for many, Rourke’s big-screen kiss-off was his role in Harley Davidson and Marlboro Man, which teamed him with Sonny Crockett.. er, Don Johnson in this wildly erratic mash-up of science-fiction, western, buddy flicks and motorcycle genres.

And for all the TNT Roadhouse devotees, you can have your Zen-spouting mullet master, give me Rourke and Johnson zipping down a desert highway on a hog and roughing up a gaggle of clichés dressed as bar patrons any day. I would call this a guilty pleasure, but I don’t even feel that guilty about my love for this film.

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jordanlund_beard_small1Our featured guest: Jordan Lund: Star of stage and screens both big and small, Mr. Lund had one of the film’s most memorable lines (you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear what that was!). Roles include such projects as Lonesome Dove, Doc Hollywood, The American President, Law and Order, Firefly, ER, and The Bucket List, among many, many others. We were very fortunate to snag Mr. Lund to join us for this episode and please visit his site, as well as go check him out on stage in California in Circus Theatricals’ presentation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, February 21 through April 26 at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles. (You can get tickets here.)

Mr. Lund has many a story to share about the filming of Harley Davidson, as well as reflections of some of his other memorable screen roles. Thanks, Mr. Lund, for your time and tales. We welcome you back any time you wish to join us!

You can hear us all hit the open road right here, or shift down a little on the throttle and listen to the podcast below.

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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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