‘Turner & Hooch’ with writer Jack Epps

Film:
Turner & Hooch (1989)
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Roger Spootiswoode
Written by:
Jack Epps, Jr.
Jim Cash
Dennis Shryack
Daniel Petrie, Jr.
Michael Blodgett
Starring:
Tom Hanks as Scott Turner
Mare Winningham as Dr. Carson
Craig T. Nelson as Chief Hyde
Reginald VelJohnson as Det. Sutton

By E Dagger from CruJonesSociety

Pre-screening memories: As a kid, Turner & Hooch looked funny because the trailer told me it was supposed to be funny. The truth was, I didn’t grow up with a dog and was sort of afraid of them, so this movie where Tom Hanks’s life gets turned upside down by an unruly canine sure didn’t seem like much fun to me.

When I watched it, I sympathized with Tom Hanks’s Scott Turner and it took me a long time to warm up to Hooch because he was just such a disobedient force of nature. Our house was calm, clean, and organized just like Scott’s, and watching Hooch ransack it gave little 8 year-old me the closest thing to a panic attack a little kid can have.

I was pleased that during the stakeout Scott asks Hooch if he’s ever watched “Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp” because my dad and I used to watch that ridiculous show together. I also remember turning to look at my mom when (SPOILER ALERT) Hooch dies and seeing her cry her eyes out. I’ll admit to feeling sad because the story does a good job of ingratiating Hooch to even the most tenacious holdouts (i.e. me), but since I’d never had a pet die, I didn’t really get it.

Post-screening memories: Damn this movie, and damn getting older. Like my mom 20 years before, when Hooch sacrifices his life for Scott, I joined the long line of people who shed tears at the end of this movie. In my life I’ve lost two parrots and a dog, which were, until last year, the only ones close to me I’d ever lost. Thankfully that’s just the end, and the sadness quickly washes away as we see Scott giving the same spiel to a new rowdy pooch who we find in his closet with one of Scott’s socks in his mouth.

What struck me most about watching this movie again was just how much I missed light, comedic Tom Hanks. I nearly doubled over myself when Tom Hanks is out on his patio wearing his underwear yelling at Hooch to shut up at 2:30 in the morning. Like the famous “There’s no crying in baseball” scene from A League of their Own, Tom Hanks shouting “Eat the buns!” at Hooch reminds you that few do comedically exasperated hollering as well as Tom Hanks. I could watch him slowly unravel and erupt with volcanic hilarity all night and all day, and Turner & Hooch gives you a nice fix if that’s your thing. It’s definitely mine.

ESPN writer Bill Simmons calls this Tom Hanks’s finest performance since he has to play off a dog for nearly the entire movie, and pulls it off brilliantly. While I wouldn’t quite go that far, I would say that I enjoyed this a hell of a lot more now that I’d had a couple of dogs (and now two cats). The movie is clearly written by animal lovers, but they don’t neglect to include all the ways they can be a pain in the ass. As our guest alludes to in our conversation, no one remembers the convoluted embezzlement scheme that serves as the plot’s basic clothesline, but everyone remembers Turner & Hooch.

Download Natsukashi’s ‘Turner & Hooch’ podcast right here.

or you can take it for a walk right on our site:

Our featured guest: Dr. Jack Epps Jr.

Jack has his name attached to some of the most memorable films of the ’80s: The Secret of My Success, Dick Tracy, and the iconic Top Gun.

The award-winning writer teamed with his screenwriting professor from Michigan State, Jim Cash, with whom he collaborated on some of his most notable films.

Dr. Epps in now a professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts and is currently penning storylines for a few upcoming videogames.

Listen to the good doctor share his thoughts about working with animals, the scadalous tales of Hollywood bad-boy Tom Hanks (kidding, folks. He’s squeaky clean), and just how many Hooches it took to make a movie.

Thanks, Jack. You deserve a slobbery smooch for hanging with us.

‘The ‘Burbs’ with fx artist Peter Kuran

poster

Film: The ‘Burbs (1989)
Rated: PG
Written by: Larry Brezner and Michael Finnell
Directed by: Joe Dante
Starring: Tom Hanks as Ray Peterson
                   Bruce Dern as Mark Rumsfield
                   Carrie Fisher as Carol Peterson
                   Corey Feldman as Ricky Butler

By E Dagger from CruJonesSociety

hanksPre-screening memories: When I was a kid, I think I felt obligated to like The ‘Burbs. One of my favorite movies as a young lad was definitely Big, although that was mostly for the sweet apartment he had in Manhattan with the basketball hoop, soda machine, and huge trampoline. But Tom Hanks still served as that movie’s icon and got to live out every young boy’s fantasy by trying out toys for a living, getting to have a Pepsi whenever he wanted, and feeling a boob with the lights on.
 
I remember hoping he’d do more awesome stuff like that in The ‘Burbs, but what I got instead was one creepy, weird-ass, maddeningly uneven jaunt through the anarchic imagination of Joe Dante.
 
Parts of it were still childishly funny to 9 year old me, like when Tom Hanks runs face first into the screen door and angrily crushes the beer cans or Rick Ducommon getting hit by a pickax flying over the fence, but I vividly remember being more than mildly freaked out by the unshaven Hans, the ghoulish-looking Reuben, and bizarre scene of Tom Hanks looking out his bedroom window to see the three shadowy Klopeks next door digging what appears to be graves in the pouring rain.
 
coreyThis was a dark movie. And having grown up in the suburbs, I had a decidedly rosier perception of life in a seemingly idyllic hamlet on the outskirts of town, but here was Rick Ducommon talking about the local ice cream man losing his mind due to suburban monotony-turned-madness and butchering his entire family. As a third grader, what the hell am I supposed to do with that? This was supposed to be a Tom Hanks movie, dammit!
 
bruceNew memories: This movie is still dark, but compared to some of the really dark comedies I’ve seen and enjoyed since (the borderline-evil Death to Smoochy comes to mind), The ‘Burbs comes off as mostly tame. It strikes me more as a live action satirical comic book than anything else. The plot moves along briskly, macabre situations contrast against the bright, picturesque background and perfect weather of suburban tranquility, and we’re treated to some genuine laugh out loud moments along the way.
 
Special mention must go to Bruce Dern and Corey Feldman who give my favorite performances here. Bruce Dern has the funniest lines delivered with a brusque, confrontational assertiveness all ex-military guys have. He doesn’t have time for your crap and let’s you know as much. When nosy neighbor Ricky (Feldman) asks him what he’s doing on the roof, Dern responds gruffly, “Shut up and paint your goddamn house.”
 
Feldman as Ricky almost serves as Dern’s counterpoint. He’s the surrogate for the audience to experience the action. At one point, he narrates the story of his street and all its players to a date, and at another invites friends over to watch the proceedings. He and his friends applaud, cheer, and “call the pizza dude” as Ricky’s neighbors go completely insane acting. Ricky and his friends serve as a Greek chorus to the action, or perhaps more appropriately, as a less sardonic Crow, Servo, and Mike.
 
The ‘Burbs is still an unusual movie, but expecting anything less from certified weird dude Joe Dante would be foolish. As an adult, I think that’s what I like about it best. Sure it’s uneven and the “suburbanites are repressed lunatics” theme is hideously tired in 2009, but it’s got a vivacity and anarchic spirit missing from a lot of today’s offerings. It’s weird. It’s fun. It knows it’s a movie. It’s not Shakespeare. But it is a great freaking time.

Download Natsukashi’s ‘The ‘Burbs” with Peter Kuran podcast right here

Or, you can hop the fence and merely listen to it online below:

Our Featured Guest: Peter Kuran

kuranAt the tender age of 17, while most kids are contemplating colleges, struggling to find out just what the hell they want to do with the rest of their lives, Peter (pictured far left, next to that robot guy) decided he would kick it with some new friends on a little movie “made from the guy who made American Graffiti. ”

Yes, before he was old enough to vote, Peter was hustling around the set of Star Wars as part of the Industrial Light and Magic crew. That endeavor obviously left an impression on his young mind, and kick-started a career in film that reads like a fantasy film geek’s fever dream: The Thing, Conan the Barbarian, RoboCop, BeetleJuice, Critters 2, Gremlins 2, Ghostbusters 2,Edward Scissorhands are but a few of his more than 250 films.

In 1982, he founded VCE Entertainment, which went on to provide effects work for numerous mainstream features, ranging from X-Men 2 and Men in Black to Thirteen Days and The Last Samurai, ultimately earning an Academy Award.

Kuran has also produced and directed five award-winning documentaries on Atomic testing, history and weaponry.

‘Three O’Clock High’ reunion with Caitlin O’Heaney, Scott Tiler and Liza Morrow

three_o_clock_high

Title: Three O’Clock High (PG-13)
Directed by: Phil Joanou
Written by: Richard Christian Masterson and Thomas E. Szollosi
Starring: Casey Semazko as Jerry Mitchell
                   Richard Tyson as Buddy Revell
                   Jeffrey Tambor as Mr. Rice
                   Liza Morrow as Karen Clark
                   Scott Schutzman Tiler as Bruce Chalmer
                   Caitlin O’Heaney as Miss Farmer

By Bo from Last Blog on the Left

Pre-screening memories: When you announce anything as “high”, it can mean only one of two things – either you’re talking about your old school buddy who still lives in his parents’ garage, or you’re referring to the time of a duel.  It is in the spirit of the latter that we come to the minor classic Three O’Clock High, directed by Steven Spielberg protégé Phil Joanou and starring Casey Siemaszko.

The movie made barely a splash when it hit the local movie houses in 1987, but the movie quickly found a home amongst burgeoning cinephiles who had never seen avant-garde moviemaking techniques applied to the more commonplace teen comedy.

Boasting talents behind the lens such as director of photography Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Richard Christian Matheson, it is little surprise that a rabid movie lover such as myself would stumble across this film and find that rare diamond in the rough – a movie that transcends mere plot and character and becomes the cult classic. 

(Ed. Note: This podcast marks a first for us here at Natsukashi, in that we were able to track down Scott Schutzman Tiler (Bruce Chalmers), Liza Morrow (Karen Clark) and Caitlin O’Heaney (Miss Farmer) to join us for a little ‘High’ school reunion of sorts. It’s a tad longer (1 hour), but well worth every second to hear what the gang is up to today and have them share their memories of working on the film.)

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Download the podcast here: Three O’Clock High with Caitlin O’Heaney , Scott Tiler and Liza Morrow

Listen to it online:

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Our featured guests:

  • caitlinoheaneymodernageCaitlin O’Heaney (Ms. Farmer) Star of stage, television and film, Caitlin has worked with the greats in all areas: Katherine Hepburn, Norman Lear, John Houseman, Tom Hanks. In the 80s, Caitlin was ominpresent with a hit sitcom (The Charmings), hit adventure show (Tales of the Gold Monkey) and a burgeoning film career. Her role as Miss Farmer was one of the most indelible of the film.
  • tilerScott Schutzman Tiler (Bruce Chalmer): Sergio Leone, John Sayles, Speilberg protege Phil Juanou: these made up half of the directors young Schutzman Tiler had worked for in his career. He is now completing his master’s and coaching a new generation of acting talent. His role in Three O’Clock High was inspired by the film’s producer, some guy named Spielberg
  • Liza Morrow (Karen Clark): Now happily out of the business, Liza made her screen debut as the object of desire in Three O’Clock High, then went on to join the cast of Dynasty as Virginia Metheny in its final season. She is now happily out of the business, but was kind enough to relive her time spent working on the film.

A big thanks  to all of our guests for reliving their time spent on working in this fondly remembered 80s cult classic!

‘Bachelor Party

Bachelor Party (1984)

Director: Neal Israel
Writers: Neal and Bob Israel (no pun intended… well, maybe by their parents)
Starring:        Tom Hanks – Rick Gassko
                      
Tawney Kitaen – Debbie Thompson
                     
Adrian Zmed – Jay O’Neil
                     
Robert Prescott – Cole Whittier

Tagline: Shocking, Shameless, Sinful, Wicked. And the party hasn’t even started.

By: Gurn Blanston

The original appeal of this movie to me in 1984 would be obvious to anyone who knew me then, I wanted to be one of these guys. I wanted to go to this party. I wanted access to those Hollywood style hookers. The working girls in my hometown all looked like Ernest Borgnine in drag, so I’m told. I wouldn’t know that for a fact or anything cause I never went to a hooker and paid for her services, only to have her jump out of the car at the first light and make off with money it took weeks to earn……but I digress.

I saw this film with friends at the local dollar theater, which seems to be a pattern at this stage of my life, and we all left hoping to recreate this party at home the next time someone’s parents were out of town. It never happened, Dad, so don’t worry.

Tom Hanks plays the lovable doofus Rick, who is engaged to a rich girl named Debbie, played by Tawney Kitaen, who some of you may remember doing splits on the hood of a Camaro in the band Whitesnake’s video, I miss the 80’s. This is the pre-cocaine-abusing, husband-assaulting train wreck Tawney that we know and love; in this film, she is still hot.

Rick’s friends, namely Jay played by T.J. Hooker star Adrian Zmed, decide to throw him The bachelor party to end all parties at the local 5-star hotel. Debbie’s well-to-do parents and her uptight jock ex-boyfriend Cole, played to the tee by Robert Prescott, are not pleased with the match and decide that the bachelor party is a good time to break the two up.

First Cole re-routes two call girls intended for the bachelor party to the house of Debbie’s parents, where the woman are throwing her a shower. When they arrive and see a room full of well dressed woman they nod knowingly and one say’s, “so it’s that kind of party” and they begin to put on a girl-on-girl sex show for the mortified upper-class matrons. Good fun.

I only knew Tom Hanks before this movie as the tall guy from the “Bosom Buddies” TV series, but this flick made me a fan. From what I remember, he was the funniest thing in it, and could still come off as sincere when the scene called for it. This is not a great piece of cinematic art by any means, but it sure was fun to party vicariously with this group of misfits for a couple of hours.

Is Gurn still ready to Party after all these years? You can dowload the podcast here to find out or:

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