‘The Last Starfighter’ with Catherine Mary Stewart

Title:
The Last Starfighter (1984)
Rated: PG
Written by:
Jonathan Betuel
Directed by:
Nick Castle
Starring:
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

 

By Bo Ransdell from Last Blog on the Left

Pre-screening memoriesSure, 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. 

Download Natsukashi’s ‘The Last Starfighter’ podcast here

or venture to our online player below:

Our featured guest: Catherine Mary Stewart

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 Facebook page (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.

‘Mischief’ with stars Doug McKeon, Catherine Mary Stewart

mischief-poster

Film: Mischief
Rated: R
Directed by: Mel Damski
Written by: Noel Black
Starring: Doug McKeon as Jonathan
                   Kelly Prestonas Mailyn
                   Catherine Mary Stewart as Bunny

By Rob R.

mischief1Pre-screening memories: Every kid has a list of films they can recall that were placed near the top of their parents blacklist.

Mischief was one that was vaulted to the top upon its release.

Perhaps it was the timing. The early 1980s had saturated the screen with temptations of “t and a” and the promise of illicit thrills for the hormone-drenched males.

Or, perhaps it was this trailer…

“There’s no time like the first time,” was the end tag. Seven words the sealed the deal for my parent’s watchful eyes.

The film could have walked off with more Oscars than Titanic, but there was no way in hell their son was going to see it. They would happily accompany me to another screening of Rambo, where flesh was on display the way it was meant to be seen: sweaty, bloody and being shredded apart by shrapnel.

Throughout the years, I was able to catch pieces of the film, but never in its entirety, only through late-night,interrupted airings and watered-down made-for-TV edits.

When I was old enough to see it, it had faded from memory and was no longer help the illicit thrill that it had been for the underage version of myself.

Kelly_Doug_MischiefPost-screening memories:I cannot express how wildly off the mark not only my parents were, but the entire marketing department at 20th Century Fox. For it was not the Porky’s-esque romp in raunch that it was purported to be, but possessed a tenderness uncommon for films of the era. Even today, its Wikipedia entry unfairly classifies this as a “teen comedy,” noted for a “full frontal” by one of its female stars.

Sure, as a youngster, this may have been the only mental notes I would have taken during a screening, but its grossly underselling a film that could soundly stand toe-to-toe with similar comedies at the box office today.

This crass bio unjustly lumped a film that overflows with heart, humanity, and male bonding seldom seen since.

___________________________________________________________

A note about the Natsukashi‘Mischief’ podcast:We had such a great time chatting with the fim’s leads, we had to break it into two podcasts. BothDoug and Cathy were more than gracious with their time, so we had to break  it up and make it a two-parter. We think their tales will make it well worth the listen.

Download the Natsukashi ‘Mischief podcast with Doug McKeon’ right here,

or listen in our player below

 

Download the Natsukashi’Mischief with Catherine Mary Stewart’ podcast here

or listen to part two in our player below

Our featured guests: Doug McKeon and Catherine Mary Stewart

doug and chrisDoug McKeon: Breaking into show business at an early age, McKeon had worked with the a number of industry legends before he was even old enough to graduate high school.

After starring in the soap The Edge of Night, Doug graduated to television films, in which he co-starred with Burt Young, Susan Dey and John Ritter. And for his first two cinematic projects (Night Crossing and On Golden Pond), he shared the screen with John Hurt, Jane Alexander, Jane Fonda, Kathryn Hepburn and Henry Fonda.

Mischiefwas his next big-screen role, but McKeoncontinued to share his demonstrate his talents on the small screen as well, starring as Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and co-starring with Jason Robards and Eva Marie Saint in Breaking Home Ties.

Doug has since ventured behind the camera, writing and directing the well-received The Boys of Sunset Ridge and directing the family drama Come Away Home.

____________________________________________________________________________

cathyCatherine Mary Stewart: If there was a cult-classic poster girl for the 80s, if Stewart did not have the crown, she was certainly in the running, starring in such beloved films as The Apple, The Last Starfighter, Night of the Comet, Dudes and Weekend at Bernies.

On television, she starred alongside Anthony Hopkins, Roddy McDowall, Candice Bergen, Angie Dickinson and Rod Steiger in the popular Jackie Collins mini-series Hollywood Wives.

Stewart continued to star in film and television in the years following, starring alongside some of the greats, but her primary focus was on raising her children. She has recently starred in the controversial The Girl Next Door and 2009’s Love N Dancing with Amy Smart and Billy Zane.

Thanks to both Doug and Catherine for lending us their time to chat about their film.

‘Night of the Comet’ with star Kelli Maroney

nightof-cometposter

Title: Night of the Comet
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Thom Eberhardt
Written by: Thom Eberhardt
Starring: Robert Beltran as Hector
                   Catherine Mary Stewart as Regina
                   Kelli Maroney as Samantha
                   Mary Woronov as Audrey
                   Geoffrey Lewis as Carter
Tagline: It’s the last thing on earth they ever expected.
Trailer

By: Shelley Stillo

Pre-screening memories:  I was never a rebel. I usually maneuvered through my childhood with little friction.  Perhaps that is why I found myself gravitating toward those who broke the rules on the big screen.

I envied those who flipped authority the bird and damned the consequences, for it was something that I secretly desired to do as I walked the straight and narrow.

screencapPerhaps that is what drew me to Night of the Comet, for it featured not one, but two female leads who embodied strength, power, courage and conviction. Oh, and they battled Comet-scarred zombies to boot.

I recall its heady mix of science fiction, dipped in horror, frosted with comedy and sprinkled with a little romance, as well. All of these elements sweetening the package of Comet all the more for a pre-teen such as myself.

It was all just a thrilling mix that felt like the perfect blend of everything I enjoyed separately in my movies of the time. I can recall just how real Regina and Samantha felt to me when I watched them battle their way for survival. Though I had not yet entered high school, these were the kind of girls I could envision myself hanging with, even though I may have quietly ridden in the back seat while they raced through the empty post-apocalyptic California freeway.

They were the high school equivalent to Aliens‘ Ripley, and they were able to carry with them their femininity while effortlessly whooping a mess of zombie ass at the same time.

I know that witnessing a comet is usually a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I have to say that I am grateful for the chance to see this one blaze in front of me once again.

_________________________________________________________________________

Download the podcast: ‘Night of the Comet’ with Kelli Maroney

Listen to it here:

_________________________________________________________________________

kelli_maroneyOur featured guest: Kelli Maroney

We are honored to have the star of the film, Ms. Kelli Maroney, join us for a return to her ‘Night.’  Kelli has become a cult heroine for her roles in this film as well as her role in Chopping Mall. Kelli got her first big break in film as a cheerleader in Fast Times at Ridgemont High ( a role that landed her the lead in Comet), and has worked on stage and screen ever since — most recently seen in the hit HBO series True Blood.

But her role as the no-nonsense cheerleader Sam in Comet that is perhaps her most iconic so far. It has earned her legions of fans, including many of us here at Natsukashi.

Kelli spoke about her experience on the set, as well as some of her other works and the overall state of the female cinematic heroine. We are very thankful to Kelli for sitting down and chatting with us and sharing her thoughts and memories and eagerly anticipate her slate of upcoming features. For updates on Kelli, please swing on over to her myspace page, or check out her website.

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