Happy Birthday to Phil Collins! He turned 58 years old (January 30, 2009). I have to admit that he is probably one of my favorite musical artists of the 80s. Some people hate his music, but I find myself most often liking it (especially his stuff from the 80s).
Collins is a Grammy and Oscar-winning solo artist who also was the lead singer and drummer for the band Genesis. After Peter Gabriel left Genesis back in 1975, Collins took over lead vocals resulting in greater commercial success for the band. This would also soon lead him to a successful solo career beginning with his 1981 debut album Face Value.
He is the only recording artist that has ever been a principal member of a band that has sold at least 100 million albums worldwide and sold at least 100 million albums worldwide as a solo artist. According to Billboard, when you count his work with Genesis, as well as his work with other artists, with his solo career, Collins has the most top 40 hits on the Billboard charts for the 80's (including eight #1's - 7 solo and 1 with Genesis). That's impressive!
This would be the perfect opportunity to publish my top 10 list for Phil Collins. (Hope you have noticed by now that I often use birthdays as an excuse to publish a new top 10 list). Between his solo work and with Genesis, there are enough songs to actually give you a top 20 for just the 80s alone. Video links will be included for many of the songs and, as you will see, many also appear on other Old School lists. So here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 PHIL COLLINS & GENESIS SONGS OF THE 80's (+ Bonus 10):
Honorable Mentions. "A Groovy Kind of Love" (1988) from the Buster Soundtrack & "Another Day in Paradise" (1989) from ...But Seriously - Both of these songs were extremely popular, just not some of my favorites. In fact, both of these songs went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 counting as 2 of his 8 during the decade.
20. "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" (1989) from ...But Seriously
19. "Do You Remember" (1989) from ...But Seriously [link to video]
There's my list. That makes quite a play list right there and it does not even include one of my favorite Genesis songs "Follow You, Follow Me" because that was from 1978. Did I miss any of your favorites from the 80s? I don't care if it is cool or not, I like Phil Collins music from the 80s and I am not afraid to admit it.
That will do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: Why parents should always check their children's homework before they hand it in.
A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment.
After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:
Dear Ms. Davis, I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This photo is of me selling a shovel. Mrs. Harrington
Now that is pretty funny stuff!
Quote of the day: "The question is, ‘How badly do you want to be successful?' If you want to be successful, study other successful people. They have certain characteristics in common: 1. They accept complete responsibility for their lives and don't make excuses. They don't expect something for nothing. They don't expect anyone else to do it for them.
2. They have very clear goals and written plans.
3. They are continuous learners. They recognize that whatever they know is already becoming obsolete or is being eliminated by their competition.
4. They are very persistent. They are tenacious. They keep at it. They just keep working and working. Anybody who will do these four; is going to have a wonderful life." -Brian Tracy, author and speaker
Where were you? Where were you on January 28, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded?
There is lots of footage of that fateful day, but I could not find a video which also allowed me to share the emotional roller coaster that the onlookers went through on what was supposed to be an exciting and joyous event.
I was in 7th grade at the time and the event is one that I remember relatively distinctly. We were allowed to watch the tragedy in our classrooms. Now I can't remember for sure if we saw it happen live or whether they allowed us to watch the coverage after the fact. I want to say that we saw it happen live. Either way, I can still recollect that moment when the explosion occurs with the smoke and debris shooting out in all directions. I was in complete shock (and awe). It was like a special effect from the movies, only this was VERY real.
Many viewed the launch live due to the presence on the crew of Christa McAuliffe, the first member of the Teacher in Space Project. Media coverage of the accident was extensive (one study reported that 85 percent of Americans surveyed had heard the news within an hour of the accident). As a 12 year old kid who was a big fan of Star Wars, the Space Shuttle was always very intriguing and this event was quite devastating to see (to say the least). It is one of my most indelible memories of the 80s.
On the night of the disaster, President Ronald Reagan had been scheduled to give his annual State of the Union Address. He initially announced that the address would go on as scheduled, but under mounting pressure he postponed the State of the Union Address for a week and gave a national address on the Challenger disaster from the Oval Office of the White House. It was written by Peggy Noonan, and finished with the following statement, which quoted from the poem "High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.: "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God."
The aftermath of the Challenger disaster brought about an intensive investigation by the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Led by William Rogers, the committee included such well-known members as Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, and Chuck Yeager. The investigation uncovered a number of troubling facts about the Shuttle program, including design flaws, mismanagement, poor communications within NASA and with contractors, and inadequate safety procedures. Most obvious of the changes to come out of the investigation were a redesign of the SRB O-ring joint seals, addition of a crew escape system, and greater restrictions on conditions in which the Shuttle can be launched. A complete copy of the Rogers Commission report and its recommendations can be found at the NASA History site.
With Kickin' it Old School usually covering 80s related topics and today marking the anniversary of one of my most unforgettable memories of that decade, I thought it was worth doing a quick issue on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Let me know in the comments your memories of this event.
That's all for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading any of my other 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, please spread the word and also PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: Ever wonder how corporate or government policy happens? Just read about the famous "monkey cage" example of groupthink development, and I thought it was worthy of passing along. "Start with a cage containing five monkeys...
Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana.
As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.
After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him.
After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.
The monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water.
Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know, "that's the way it's always been done around here."
And that, my friends, is how company policy begins." Not sure if this is based on a real experiment (in fact, I highly doubt it) but a good story nonetheless.
Quote of the day: "There's no disaster that can't become a blessing, and no blessing that can't become a disaster" -Richard Bach
Happy Birthday to Eddie Van Halen! He turns 54 today (January 26, 2009). There are three things that I think of when I think of Eddie Van Halen. First, he is the co-founder (and namesake) of the band Van Halen. Second, he was married to Valerie Bertinelli back in 1981 (though they separated back in 2001 and were legally divorced in 2007). Third, he can rock out on an electric guitar. Other than the obvious examples from Van Halen songs, my favorite example is Eddie's solo in Michael Jackson's hit "Beat It" which you can hear in the video below:
That video only includes the guitar solo section, but you can see that entire video in my Top Michael Jackson Songs from the 80s list. You can bet that there will be a Van Halen top 10 list coming up which will also include links to many other examples of Eddie's outrageous guitar riffs.
One thing many people do not know about Eddie Van Halen is that he was born in the Netherlands. He was born in Amsterdam, but in 1962, at the age of seven, he emigrated with his family to the United States. He would help form the band Van Halen (originally called "Mammoth") in 1972, they were offered a recording contract with Warner Bros. in 1977 and they would release their first album in 1978.
The band really became huge in the 80s despite having two different lead singers during the decade. David Lee Roth sang lead up to 1984 (both the year and the album). Then Sammy Hagar would take over until 1996. As of 2007 Van Halen has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and during the 1980s they had more Billboard Hot 100 hits than any other hard rock or heavy metal band. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Van Halen is the 19th best selling band/artist of all time with sales of over 56 million albums in the USA and is one of five rock bands that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in the USA.
Those two albums would be their debut self-titled Van Halen (1978) and then 1984 (1984) which both featured Roth on lead vocals. They would also have major successes with every release in the 80s and early 90s, but especially with 5150 (1986) which went 6x platinum and was the first to feature Hagar on lead vocals. There is widespread debate (and argument) over which version of Van Halen was better. Most people stubbornly take one side or the other. I have to say honestly that I enjoy both incarnations and this is likely due to the common factor of Eddie Van Halen.
In celebration of Eddie's birthday, I decided this would be the right time to publish my favorite Van Halen tunes from the 80s. They had a few decent songs in the 90s, but their best work was definitely in the 80s. I am not a die hard fan, so you won't find any deep cuts or surprises on my list. Video links are included with each song, though most will take you to a live performance. So, here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 VAN HALEN SONGS FROM THE 80s:
10. "Everybody Wants Some!" (1980) from Women and Children First - Also featured in the 1985 film starring John Cusack, Better Off Dead which is where the video is from [link to video]
9. "Hot For Teacher" (1984) from 1984 - Loved the video [link to video]
There's my list. As you can see, there are 6 songs from the David Lee Roth years and 4 songs from the Sammy Hagar years. If I had to vote, it would probably be for Roth, but I still enjoy Hagar as well. The current band consists of Eddie, his brother Alex, his son Wolfgang and David Lee Roth. To me, I will always remember them how they were back in the 80s. Happy Birthday Eddie and I hope you have many more!
That will do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: I came across this interesting comedy routine about using pop songs to promote products in commercials. Made me chuckle, so I thought I would share it with you...
Quote of the day: "It's always a Catch-22 situation. They hate you if you're the same, and they hate you if you're different." -Eddie Van Halen
I will fully admit that I still enjoy the music of Huey Lewis & the News. The band is really pretty tight and there is something about their sound that just has always appealed to me. Here is a link to the issue where I published my Top 10 Huey Lewis 80s Songs. If you are a fan, I highly recommend you go check that out and it includes links to the videos for the top 4 songs on the list.
One of my most popular lists is my Top Songs from 80s Movies. Huey Lewis & the News ranks in the top 10 there with "The Power of Love" from Back to the Future. You can click on that link to go back and see the other 54 songs on the list and read what I had to say.
I recently came across an article posted on Overthinkingit.com on the topic of Huey Lewis and Back to the Future that I thought was interesting enough to share with you. You can click on that link to take you the actual article or I have taken the liberty to include it here below as well.
Huey Lewis? Where we're going we don't need Huey Lewis! posted by sheely on Sunday, January 18th, 2009
Over the past week, the Overthinking It team has subjected the Back to the Future trilogy to a level of scrutiny it definitely deserves, pointing out a wide variety of paradoxes, inconsistencies, and unanswered questions regarding the series. Because these analyses have focused on the logical, metaphysical, and technological aspects of time-travel within the plot of the three BTTF movies, they haven't touched on what I consider to be one of the most interesting puzzles in the series: The Huey Paradox.
The Huey Paradox is jointly produced by two features of the BTTF trilogy: the overwhelming number of references to Huey Lewis throughout Back to the Future, along with his near absence in the other two films in the series. Songs by Huey Lewis and the News are the first and last music that you hear in part one of the trilogy: Marty listens to "The Power of Love" as he skateboards to school (and again after getting a kiss from Jennifer under the clock tower), and "Back in Time" plays on his clock radio the morning after he returns from 1955 (and is reprised over the end credits). In addition, Huey Lewis himself makes a brief cameo as one of the high school teachers who deems Marty's band "too loud" to play at the school dance, cutting off their instrumental noise-metal rendition of "The Power of Love" after about 30 seconds. Huey also reappears briefly as a fedora-wearing man who briefly stares at Marty's "life preserver" puffy vest in 1950s Hill Valley.
In many ways, using Huey Lewis and the News as a shorthand for 80s popular culture was an inspired choice by the filmmakers; by the early 80s the band had really come into their own, commercially and artistically. The band's sound and on-stage personas managed to tie together the three of the biggest elements of early eighties pop music: the Soft-Soul of artists like Hall and Oates, the synthesized sheen of new wave, and many of the classic hard rock influences that informed their spandex-clad pop metal contemporaries. The amalgamation of these three musical elements led to the critical and commercial success of their 1983 release Sports, and even inspired Ray Parker Jr. to rip off one of their melodies for the Ghostbusters theme song (eventually leading to a lawsuit and settlement in favor of Lewis).
The selection of Huey Lewis as a representative element of 80s pop culture in Back to the Future was also a self-fulfilling prophecy: on the strength of their inclusion in the film, both "The Power of Love" and "Back in Time" became hits in 1985, giving Lewis his first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. On the strength of these singles, the band's next full-length album, Fore! became a mega-hit, reaching the top of the Billboard albums chart and producing five top ten hit singles.
Given Huey Lewis's prominent placement in Back to the Future, and the role that the film had played in his chart dominance in 1986 and 1987, it would have been logical to expect more Huey in Parts II and III of the series... maybe another theme song or four, a few more period-relevant cameos, another music video tie-in? Instead, almost all evidence of Lewis's association with the franchise is erased in the sequels: in Part II, the 2015 version of Marty plays a barely recognizable version of the chord progression to "The Power of Love" after getting fired for engaging in white collar crime, and at the end of Part III, Needles is listening to the song in his truck when he challenges Marty to a drag race.
Why is Huey Lewis inescapable throughout much of the original Back To The Future, but nearly absent from the other two movies in the series? The underthought answer is that because the last two movies in the series spend very little time in the 1980s, there is simply no opportunity to bring in Huey Lewis in those films. However, Lewis's appearance in the first installment isn't limited to the appearance of his songs as diegetic music in 1980s Hill Valley: Huey himself has a cameo as a resident of the 1955 version of the town. Moreover, 1980s pop culture manage to make their way the depictions of both 2015 and 1885 by way of the nostaglia-driven 80's cafe in Part II and the appearance of ZZ Top as the hoedown band in Part III.
Instead, the main reason that Huey Lewis disappeared faster than Marty's brother's head is that the popular culture had already moved on in the four years following the release of Back to the Future. By the time of the release of BTTF Part II in 1989, "The Power of Love" was already old news and Small World, the band's follow-up to Fore! flopped commercially. Indeed it is telling that even by 1988, Huey barely cracked the Hot 100 or the Modern Rock charts, instead achieving his biggest chart success on the Adult Contemporary chart. Although the rise of alternative rock in the early 90s was the final nail in the coffin, by 1989 it already seemed that Huey's pop culture relevance would be limited to the nostalgia industry and roles in movies about karaoke hustlers.
And yet, pop cultural time doesn't always move in a neat, unilinear way. When Seth Rogen and David Gordon Green tapped Huey Lewis to write the theme song for Pineapple Express, it definitely seemed that all of the elements had aligned for a major Huey renaissance. The theme song did receive a bit of attention from music and film blogs, but the real pop culture breakthrough from that film was M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes", which became a top 10 hit, a YouTube sensation, and earned a Grammy nomination, all as a result of the song's inclusion in the Pineapple Express trailer. Even though 2008 wasn't to be the year where Huey Lewis became the king of cool once again, M.I.A.'s unlikely Apatow-driven crossover success managed to carry on the spirit of his 1985 Back to the Future heyday in an unexpected way.
I would be all for a Huey Lewis comeback into prominence, but I will probably have to settle for my favorites from the 80s. I really thought this article was an interesting look at the "Huey Paradox" and, looking back now, I am surprised he did not have a theme song or more prominent role in the sequels. I am not sure if that would have made any difference, but the article makes an intriguing observation. I am a fan and will continue to be a fan of Huey Lewis & the News regardless.
That'll do it for another issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading any of my other 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: I was recently sent this rant by someone and I found it to be humorous and mostly true. I would think you have to be at least in your mid-30's to appreciate it, but most of us 80s fans will definitely be able to relate. It reminded me of some of the Child of the 80s posts I made a while back. This one is quite a rant, so enjoy...
When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking Twenty-five miles to school every morning.. ... Uphill...BOTH ways....Yadda, yadda, yadda And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it! But now that... I'm over the ripe old age of Thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it! I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, We had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalogue or in an encyclopedia, not on Wikipedia!! There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter, with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there! There were no MP3's or Napster! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your Bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister! We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE! Sure, we had cable television, but back then it was only channels 2 thru 13, and sometimes if you were lucky, you got a few channels between 14 and 63. There was no on screen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel. There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you Hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rats! And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove ... Imagine that! If we wanted Popcorn, we had to use that stupid Jiffy Pop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot. That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids Today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted Five minutes back in 1980! Regards, The over 30 Crowd
Quote of the day: "My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require." -Edward Elgar
James Earl Jones just celebrated his 78th birthday (January 17, 2009). Jones, whose acting prowess and iconic voice are world-renown, will receive the Screen Actor Guild's most prestigious accolade, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. Jones will be presented the Award, given annually to an actor who fosters the "finest ideals of the acting profession," at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards which will air live on TNT and TBS this Sunday (January 25, 2009).
In an announcement by SAG President Alan Rosenberg, he said "James Earl Jones' distinguished career on stage, in film, on television, in commercials and as a vocal presence without peer commands our admiration and respect. His long and quiet devotion to advancing literacy, the arts and humanities on a national and local scale deserves our appreciation. It is our honor to bestow the Guild's highest tribute on this extraordinary actor."
Jones is a very accomplished actor on the stage and screen, but as the statement also read, "Today, Jones' voice is known by people of all ages and walks of life-the Star Wars fans who know him as the voice of Darth Vader, children who know him as Mufasa from Disney's The Lion King and those who hear him intone 'This is CNN' while watching the news." Click on this link if you want to hear him say "This is CNN" (which I really remember hearing myself for the first time when Operation Desert Storm began back in January 1991).
I figured this would be as good a time as any to publish my top 10 list for James Earl Jones movies. Though he made quite an impact on 80s movies, I decided to do a more comprehensive list. So without further ado, here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 JAMES EARL JONES MOVIES:
10. Soul Man (1986) as "Professor Banks" - A horrible premise for a movie. Does anybody really think C. Thomas Howell looks like a black man even with the makeup on?
9. The Great White Hope (1970) as boxer "Jack Jefferson" - He received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for this role
8. Conan the Barbarian (1982) as "Thulsa Doom" - This was my brother's favorite movie for a period of time growing up, so we probably watched it more times than I am willing to admit. His character ends up getting his head chopped off by Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Conan" and we get to see his head roll down hundreds of stairs. Seeing that left quite an impression on me. Here is a link to the original trailer for Conan the Barbarian which features a little footage of "Thulsa Doom" in it.
7. The Hunt for Red October (1990), Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994) as "Admiral James Greer" - Not sure why, but I have never been a big fan of this series based on the Tom Clancy novels featuring the "Jack Ryan" character.
6. Sneakers (1992) as NSA Agent "Bernard Abbott" - Part of an outstanding cast which includes Robert Redford, Ben Kingsley, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, David Strathairn and Sidney Poitier.
4. Coming to America (1988) as "King Jaffe Joffer" - Plays the father of Eddie Murphy's "Prince Akeem" character. Ranks highly on my Best Eddie Murphy Movies list and is definitely one of my very favorite 80s comedies.
2. The Sandlot (1993) as "Mr. Mertle" - This movie also ranks highly on my Best Baseball Movies list, but also ranks on my Most Underrated Movies list. Jones plays a small role mostly near the end of the film as a now blind, former baseball player who owns the dog known only as "the Beast."
1. Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) as the voice of "Darth Vader" - There are not many sounds more recognizable than the voice of the dark lord from the revolutionary George Lucas trilogy. Here is a link to watch one of the first scenes from the original Star Wars where we are introduced to "Vader" and witness that powerful voice. Jones was not even originally credited in the first two movies because he felt he was part of the 'special effects' since his voice was added in later. He finally agreed to take credit in the third movie since by that time the voice had become iconic.
There's my list. Six of the movies listed above were from the 80s, so obviously James Earl Jones made a significant impact on movies of that decade. Can you imagine "Darth Vader" with any other voice now? I can't. Here is a short video discussing how Jones came to get that unforgettable role:
As mentioned earlier, Jones has been an advocate for advancing literacy. In fact, back in 1969 he participated in making test films for a proposed children's television series called Sesame Street. Some of his segments were included in the show when it debuted that year including the short video below featuring a bald-headed Jones slowly counting to 10:
To think that Jones actually overcame a childhood stutter that became so severe he refused to speak out loud all the way until he began high school. A teacher helped him to gain confidence through forced public speaking. Now, that voice is instantly recognizable and Jones is credited as an outstanding orator. It is simply amazing how life plays out some times.
Jones was appointed to the National Council on the Arts in 1972 and to the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress in 1993. He currently serves on the Actors Fund of America's Board of Advisors. He introduced President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Lincoln Memorial during the 1993 Inaugural festivities. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Michigan (his alma mater) in 1970 and Honorary Doctorates in Fine Arts from Princeton University in 1980 and Yale University in 1982, He is the recipient of the Medal of Spoken Language from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1981), the Joseph Plateau Life Achievement Award from the Flanders Film Festival (1995), the Eleanor Roosevelt Center Val-Kill Medal (1998) and a career award from the National Board of Review (1995). In 2004 he was honored with the Harvard Foundation Humanitarian Award and the Actors Fund's Julie Harris Lifetime Achievement Award. ...And he got to be the voice of "Darth Vader" too!!!
That will do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: I came across this performance from the show America's Got Talent which I thought was a pretty amazing illusionist. I have no idea how this guy pulls this one off. Wanted to share it here...
Quote of the day: "When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language." -James Earl Jones
This does not really have anything to do with the 80s, but it's a sports story that crosses over into the real world. Last year about this time, I told you about Coach Hunter and his association with the Samaritan's Feet organization helping provide shoes to those who need them all over the world. You can click on that link to read what I had to say about it last year.
IUPUI basketball coach Hunter again helps Samaritan's Feet charity IUPUI's Hunter builds on his effort in 2nd year supporting shoe charity By Jeff Rabjohns Posted: January 18, 2009
Ron Hunter exhorted his team. He stomped. He even got a technical foul for stepping too far onto the court while disputing an official's call.
For the second year in a row, the IUPUI men's basketball coach did it all barefoot to raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet, a charity that aims to raise 10 million pairs of shoes in a 10-year span for children living in poverty around the world.
Hunter, who was named a Person of the Year for 2008 by ABC News for his efforts, said his goal is to raise 1 million pairs of shoes this weekend.
"When I go to bed tonight, I know a million children in this world will be getting their first pair of shoes, and I know the hope that's going to give them," Hunter said after IUPUI's 58-56 loss to Centenary on a basket at the buzzer.
"I didn't win a basketball game, but we probably won some souls and won some fans we don't even know about. From the generosity of people around this state and this country, a million kids are going to be happy."
This time, Hunter knows firsthand the impact of his efforts. Over the summer, he took thousands of donated shoes to Peru. Instead of simply making deliveries at various locations, Hunter, his assistants and several players washed children's feet, then fitted them with shoes.
"It changed our lives," Hunter said earlier this week. "What I never really realized is this: A pair of shoes is a mode of transportation to those kids. They don't just get on a bus or get in a car to go somewhere.
"So for us to deliver them shoes, it brings them hope. You see them smile and see their faces light up and that sticks with you. I can tell you that we'll never forget that." IUPUI assistant coaches Todd Howard, Matt Crenshaw and Austin Parkinson also were barefoot for Saturday's game. Members of IUPUI's student section stood and cheered barefoot the entire game. Jaguars radio voice Greg Rakestraw broadcast the game barefoot.
Before tipoff, Centenary coach Greg Gary joined the cause, walking to his bench without shoes. Four members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem barefoot in front of a full house at The Jungle on a night labeled "Barefoot For a Cause." IUPUI women's basketball coach Shann Hart coached barefoot in her team's 65-53 victory over Centenary on Saturday afternoon. A shoe collection bin in the concourse outside the gymnasium was overflowing with donations before tipoff of the men's game. Earlier in the day, Butler's Brad Stevens and Illinois-Chicago's Jimmy Collins both coached barefoot in the Bulldogs' 59-52 victory in Chicago. Butler's assistants and trainer Ryan Galloy went barefoot for the game televised on ESPN2.
Stevens said the gesture is typical of college basketball coaches. "It's one of the most giving groups of people you've ever been around," he said. "They care about people. They're talking about 'team' all the time. It's kind of what our livelihood is.
"The chance to serve somebody else is certainly meaningful. Whatever we can do to raise awareness on a small platform is worth it." Before this season, Hunter challenged his coaching colleagues to join the effort. Twenty-six of them either coached barefoot over the weekend or plan to do so this week, according to samaritansfeet.org. Among them are Detroit and former Indiana University assistant Ray McCallum, Benny Moss of North Carolina-Wilmington, Missouri-Kansas City's Matt Brown and Scott Nagy of South Dakota State.
The movement has gone national, with high school and youth coaches from California and Arizona to Pennsylvania and North Carolina going barefoot for a game. Indiana State coach Kevin McKenna said he will coach barefoot Wednesday against Southern Illinois.
"This is a great cause to get involved with," McKenna said earlier in the week. "There are a lot of things in life we take for granted, like having a pair of shoes on our feet, but there are millions of people less fortunate in this world than we are."
Coaches lose shoes for a good cause By Kyle Whelliston Special to ESPN.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- Ron Hunter sat in his office Wednesday afternoon, staring into his inbox on a blinking computer screen. As has been the case for the past year, most of the messages were about shoes.
"I can't keep up with all of these," said the IUPUI head coach enthusiastically. "We've had 80,000 pairs donated just today. And here's one from a guy in South Carolina who coaches seventh graders ... all the coaches in his league are going shoeless this weekend. Isn't that great?"
One Thursday evening in January 2008, at the request of Samaritan's Feet, Hunter spent a game walking the sidelines without shoes or socks to raise awareness for a charity which collects shoes for impoverished children around the world. It was a simple act, intended to generate 40,000 pairs of sneakers for African children to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's death.
But the gesture's effect resonated and rippled outward from Indianapolis -- national media coverage and word of mouth helped the organization collect more than three times the expected haul, which was redistributed in Africa and South America last summer. All because a college basketball coach spent a game last season without wearing shoes.
"What Coach Hunter did that day was an enormous blessing to our organization," said Samaritan's Feet spokesman Todd Melloh. "A coach is one of the most respected positions in this society; people look up to them and follow their lead. So when a coach decides to perform an act like this, it shows that this powerful platform can be used to reach those who are less fortunate."
When Hunter takes his shoes off again, for the Jaguars' Jan. 17 conference home game against Centenary, he won't be the only one. Samaritan's Feet reports that over 300 coaches nationwide -- from Division I to high schools to rec leagues -- will take their shoes off for a game at some point during the coming week. The charity's goal for this campaign is to bring in 1 million pairs of shoes from coast to coast.
"This was always bigger than just me," said Hunter. "Todd and I went to the [National Association of Basketball Coaches] last summer, and we recently sent out a video to every coach in the country showing how to do this. It's been wonderful to see so many of my colleagues choosing to join us and do this, to help us reach our goal."
One of the coaches who heeded the call was Matt Brown of Summit League foe Missouri-Kansas City, who will expose his toes during his team's Jan. 17 game against North Dakota State. Fans who bring a pair of new shoes to the game will receive a pair of lower-level seats.
"I read a lot about Samaritan's Feet after what Ron did last winter," said Brown. "I have a very young family, we have six kids. I can't imagine the idea that there are families in the world that can't afford shoes for their children. I wanted to help however I could." And the offers of assistance aren't just coming from the basketball community. The Jaguars' bench boss receives e-mails from representatives from other sporting communities hoping to help.
"I've heard from people involved in soccer, football, hockey," said Hunter, ticking off sports with his fingers. "Here's the really crazy part ... everyone has different twists they want to add. I heard from a swim team that wants to put their shoes on for a meet! I'm telling you, this whole year has been really unbelievable and overwhelming."
But with the success stemming from Hunter's simple act of unselfish shoelessness comes an unforeseen issue. "A year ago, Samaritan's Feet didn't have enough shoes," said Hunter. "That's less of a problem now. With a million pairs of shoes potentially coming in, it's a new kind of question ... how do we get a million pairs of shoes to the kids who need them?"
In Charlotte, Emmanuel "Manny" Ohonme is contemplating that very question and preparing for the charity's new math. A Nigerian native, he received his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 from an American stranger and used them to begin building the basketball skills necessary to earn him a full scholarship from the University of North Dakota. Ohonme later left a high-paying executive job and dedicated his life to Samaritan's Feet, helping ensure that the generosity that set him on his path is repeated over and over. Hunter's involvement has helped that life-changing script play out hundreds of thousands of times.
"It's phenomenal how much this has grown in the last year," said Ohonme. "That one coach could help raise over 140,000 pairs of shoes shows how one man can make a difference, that one man can help give a voice to thousands of voiceless children around the world. Now imagine hundreds of coaches unified towards that same goal."
Hunter's two hours without shoes resulted in an avalanche of leather, rubber and canvas, and the upcoming shoe drives in gymnasiums nationwide mean there's a lot more coming. In the past 12 months, the operation has struggled to keep up with the complex logistics of redistribution -- incoming shoes must be organized by gender and size, catalogued and stored. Then they're sent by truck, boat and airplane to final destinations around the world.
Corporate and civic leaders have helped make sure the charity's back-channels operate properly. The state of Indiana donated the use of a 75,000-foot warehouse, easing the storage burden on Hunter and IUPUI (the coach's home and office had been awash in shoe boxes for much of the past year). Governor Mitch Daniels declared Jan. 16 "Barefoot Day" in the state, a day he'll go without shoes himself.
"That's a testament to the heart of the Hoosiers," said Ohonme. "Throughout this whole process, people in Indiana have shown that their level of generosity is as high as their love for basketball."
But Samaritan's Feet will still require plenty of additional resources to handle the upcoming inundation and has put out the call on its Web site, www.samaritansfeet.org. Ohonme is seeking transport partners, an army of volunteers to help with cataloguing and distribution, and tens of thousands of square feet of warehouse space in California to store hundreds of thousands of shoes -- mainly so that the charity doesn't have to bear the unnecessary cost of sending shoes raised in drives on the West Coast all the way to Indianapolis or Charlotte.
"Getting the shoes is only the beginning of the process for us," Ohonme explained. "There are a lot of opportunities to help out in other ways, and we need more help." Even as large as the operation has become in so short a time, the end result is still the same small and humble transaction.
"The children line up and each puts their feet on a sizing mat," said Hunter, who travelled to Peru last summer with IUPUI assistant coaches and players to distribute shoes. "A volunteer marks the correct size on the child's hand, and then they go on to the place where they receive shoes and socks. We carefully wash their feet, then put the socks on, then the shoes, and spend some time with them ... we aim to show them that they're loved and cared for."
According to Samaritan's Feet, there are 300 million children worldwide who lack shoes. With the expansion of the campaign into many different parts of the world, the charity has given participating coaches the opportunity to choose where the shoes they collect go to, even including American destinations. UMKC's Brown has chosen to send the shoes that his school raises to locations in West Virginia.
"It's not an urban state," said Brown, who previously spent five years as a John Beilein assistant in Morgantown. "There's a level of poverty in West Virginia that's just heartbreaking. There are plenty of kids who need shoes domestically as well." And for at least one head coach, the charity's global reach hits a chord that's very close to home.
South Dakota State's Scott Nagy, like Brown, didn't know about the organization until Hunter brought its mission to the nation's attention in January 2008. But when Hunter asked the coaching community for help last summer, Nagy was one of the very first to contact Samaritan's Feet and sign up. When he paces the sidelines in his bare feet on Jan. 23 against rival North Dakota State, many of the shoes generated by the Jackrabbits' drive will go to Haiti, the birth home of his 5-year-old adopted daughter, Naika.
"My wife and I have four children of our own," Nagy explained. "We weren't able to have another one, so we chose adoption. A family from our church adopted kids from Haiti and kept showing us pictures. After a while, it was obvious to Jamie and I that we couldn't not do it."
Three years ago, as part of a 10-month adoption process, the Nagys travelled to Haiti, where they met Naika for the first time at an orphanage and witnessed the world she was born into -- a country with a long history of political instability, guerilla attacks and uprisings that had sustained Hurricane Jeanne and unmanageably high food prices shortly before their arrival.
"It's an endless war zone, poor people on top of poor people," said Nagy. "The poverty there is unimaginable. It's really important to me that a lot of these shoes we collect go there."
While Nagy already has a first-person encounter with devastating poverty, Hunter is hoping that some of his shoeless colleagues accompany him on future trips to distribute shoes and see for themselves the positive effects of their actions during the coming week. "My next step is to find volunteers, 10 coaches who will come with me," said the IUPUI head coach. "I want to bring them to a place where they can look in a child's eyes and see the direct impact of what they're doing, by going shoeless for a game and being a part of this."
And Hunter, who made such a trip last summer, is driven forward by his memories of his trip to Peru. "We'd get there at around 5 a.m., and there would already be lines that would go on forever," Hunter recalled. "Families, children, for miles. And we'd have around 20,000 pairs of shoes. Inevitably, it'd get to be afternoon and we'd run out, so it'd be time to go. But those lines would still be there, and everyone who was still waiting would be crying when they realized what was going on.
"That's the reason I will never stop doing this as long as I live. We'll never have enough shoes."
Pretty amazing story. I am also very happy to see some of those shoes going to those in need right here in the United States this time as well. There are lots of people out there doing amazing, generous, charitable things. There are not nearly enough of those stories told. With Martin Luther King day to be celebrated tomorrow (Monday, January 19th), I find Coach Hunter's actions particularly relevant. Dr. King was a great proponent for equality, but he also preached kindness, generosity and helping those in need. This effort with Samaritan's Feet is one small step in fulfilling Dr. King's dream.
If you want to donate shoes to Samaritan's Feet, you can find them at www.samaritansfeet.org or (866) 833-SHOE. That's all for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. I will get back to some more 80s topics real soon. You can always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here was a picture that made me look twice and I did not know whether to laugh or shake my head, so I did both. It goes without saying that this is NOT a safe way to work on your truck.
Quote of the day: "You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give." -Winston Churchill
I was surfing around some of my favorite sites and came across an interesting posting on the List of the Day blog which I thought was worth sharing. Click on that link to take you to this blog which is updated regularly with some interesting stuff. For your reading pleasure, I have included this particular posting below...
Where Are They Now? Lost 80s Movie Actresses Of The Day It's not too hard to keep up with the big stars of 80s movies. We get regular updates on Molly Ringwald, Phoebe Cates, Elisabeth Shue, etc. But I was watching Better Off Dead not long ago and thought, I wonder whatever happened to Diane Franklin? And then I started thinking about some of the other supporting actresses of 80s movies that I liked, and wondered what happened to them, too. And then I started working on this post. And then it took forever to finish. And now here it is. I hope you like it. If not, I quit.
DEBORAH FOREMAN 80s breakthrough A former Maybelline model, Foreman is best remembered as the title character and object of Nic Cage's affection in Valley Girl (1983). After That Played weekend party host (and killer?) Muffy St. John in April Fool's Day and had small parts in Real Genius and My Chauffeur. Foreman continued to work sporadically through the late 80s and early 90s, but never had another hit. Today Foreman is a yoga and pilates instructor in L.A., and returned to the screen after 13 years to appear in 2008's Beautiful Loser.
DIANE FRANKLIN 80s breakthrough Made her 1982 film debut in The Last American Virgin (though not as the titular virgin), followed by a role in Amityville II: The Possession. After That Played exchange student Monique in Better Off Dead (1985), and has continued to work in film and television off and on since the 80s, including parts in "Matlock," "Charles In Charge" and "Murder, She Wrote." She also played Princess Joanna in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). Today Franklin is married with two kids and does occasional acting gigs. In a nod to her Better Off Dead character, the L.A. Dodgers-loving Monique, Franklin sang the National Anthem at a Dodgers game in 2004.
HAVILAND MORRIS 80s breakthrough As high-school hottie Caroline Mulford in Sixteen Candles (1984), the obstacle between Sam (Molly Ringwald) and her crush, Jake (Michael Schoeffling). After That Morris has worked consistently in movies (Who's That Girl, Gremlins 2, Home Alone 3) and TV series ("Family Ties," "Cosby," "Sex And The City"). Today Married with a daughter, Morris recently appeared in "One Tree Hill" and "Canterbury's Law," and has parts in the upcoming films, Fighting Fish and Adam. She also sells real estate in New York City.
KERRI GREEN 80s breakthrough A cum laude graduate of Vassar College, Green was discovered by Steven Spielberg and cast as Andy Carmichael in The Goonies (1985). After That Another 1985 hit, Summer Rental, and a memorable performance in David Seltzer's Lucas (1986). Since then Green has appeared in Three For The Road (1987), and episodes of "ER," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Mad About You." She also wrote and directed Bellyfruit in 1999. Today Producer, screenwriter and mother of three, Green lives in L.A.
AMANDA WYSS 80s breakthrough As Judge Reinhold's girlfriend Lisa in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, although she'd already been in several TV shows and movies before that. After That Became Freddie Kreuger's first-ever victim in 1984's A Nightmare On Elm Street. Also appeared in Better Off Dead and Silverado in 1985 before dropping off the radar and appearing mostly in low-budget films and guest roles on TV series ("ER," "The Division," "Cold Case," "CSI"). Today Wyss will appear later this year with Joe Pantoliano in To Live And Die, and recently did an episode of Showtime's "Dexter."
CATHERINE MARY STEWART 80s breakthrough As Maggie Gordon, girlfriend of Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) in 1984's The Last Starfighter, although she had appeared in several TV series and movies prior to that, including a bit part in Sylvester Stallone's Nighthawks. After That Catherine continued to work after Starfighter, with parts in Mischief, Weekend At Bernie's, "The Outer Limits" (TV), "The Guiding Light" and more. She also married and became a mother to two children, a boy and a girl. Today On her blog, Catherine says that after taking time off to raise her kids, she is now focusing on work again. She appeared in 2008's Generation Gap, a made-for-cable movie starring Ed Asner, John Heard and Rue McClanahan.
CLAUDIA WELLS 80s breakthrough As Marty McFly's girlfriend, Jennifer, in Back To The Future. Wells did not appear in the sequels, choosing instead to take care of her cancer-stricken mother. (Elisabeth Shue took over the role for Back To The Future II and III.) After That Wells appeared in only a handful of projects, including the short-lived TV series, "Fast Times," based on the movie, Fast Times At Ridgemont High. She left show business in 1986, but recently appeared in Still Waters Burn, a low-budget indy film. Today Owns Armani Wells, a men's clothing store in L.A.
MIA SARA 80s breakthrough Her first movie was Legend (1985) with Tom Cruise, but her breakthrough was Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) as Ferris' girlfriend, Sloane. After That Sara has enjoyed steady work since the 80s: A Stranger Among Us, Timecop, "Time Trax," The Pompatus Of Love, "Chicago Hope," "CSI: NY," a recurring role on the WB series, "Birds Of Prey," and more. Today Still working; recently appeared in "Tinseltown" (2007) and "Nightmares & Dreamscapes" (2006). Has one daughter, 11, with ex-husband Jason Connery.
HELEN SLATER 80s breakthrough 1984's Supergirl, followed by The Legend Of Billie Jean (1985) After That Scored two more hits with Ruthless People (1986) and The Secret Of My Success (1987), and has continued to work steadily in movies (City Slickers, Happy Together, Betrayal Of The Dove), TV ("Seinfeld," "Will & Grace," "Grey's Anatomy") and Broadway. Today Slater is married with a daughter and still acts; she appeared last year in episodes of "Crossing Jordan" and "Smallville." An accomplished pianist, singer and songwriter, she has two CDs out, "One Of These Days" and "Crossword."
Just a reminder that the above was a posting on the List of the Day blog which I thought was worth sharing and not originally from Kickin' it. So after I read that, I was pretty impressed with the list he compiled. There were a few more 80s actresses that jumped to my mind, so I thought I would do my best to give you a similar take on those ladies. I tried to include a "then" and "now" picture for each of them, but unfortunately I could not find a "now" picture for all of them.
AMANDA PETERSON She was the lovely "Cindy Mancini" as a 16 year old in Can't Buy Me Love (1987). She played the popular girl who Patrick Dempsey's character pays to pretend to date him, but during that time a love connection is made. She played one of the orphans in Annie (1982) and even played Ricky's girlfriend in a first season episode of the TV series Silver Spoons (also in 1982). She also had a role in 1985's Explorers (with River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke). After Can't Buy Me Love she made a few more movie and TV appearances then unfortunately left acting after her last role in 1995's straight-to-video movie Windrunner. She is 37 years old now, but I could not find a confirmed account of what she is up to today.
CINDY MORGAN She had the memorable role of "Lacey Underall" in the outstanding comedy Caddyshack (1980). She was 26 years old when she went skinny-dipping with Chevy Chase's character in that movie. She would also go on to be in the cult favorite Tron (1982) as "Dr. Lora Baines/Yori." After that, she made a couple appearances on television (Falcon Crest, Matlock) and has done some voice over work as recently as 2006. She is 54 years old now. According to her myspace page, she's now finishing her first book, a story about how a nice Catholic girl became Lacey Underall in Caddyshack.
IONE SKYE She was in the amazing film by Cameron Crowe Say Anything...(1989) as "Diane Court" when she was 19 years old. She is the love interest and obsession of John Cusack's character. She had made her film debut three years earlier (1986) in River's Edge (with Crispin Glover and Keanu Reeves). Her first marriage was to Adam Horovitz (King Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys) but was divorced and just re-married in December 2008 to musician Ben Lee. Skye has a daughter, Kate, with ex-boyfriend designer David Netto. She still acts and has appeared in movies regularly though in smaller roles including 2007's Zodiac. Skye is 38 years old now.
SUZANNE SNYDER and JUDIE ARONSON Everybody remembers the beautiful Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science (1985), but what about Gary and Wyatt's girlfriends from that movie, "Deb" (Snyder) and "Hilly" (Aronson). Snyder was 23 in the movie and went on to appear in Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) and a couple episodes of Seinfeld. She is now 46. Aronson, who had previously appeared in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), was 21 in Weird Science and would also appear in the movie American Ninja that same year. She has had other minor film roles, has made many guest appearances on television series since then and even appeared in the music video for "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" by Nelson in 1990. She is 44 years old now.
MICHELLE MEYRINK I remember her best as "Jordan" from Real Genius (1985) when she was 23 years old. Before that, she appeared in The Outsiders (1983) as Cherry's friend "Marcia," Valley Girl (1983) as "Suzi" and in Revenge of the Nerds (1984) as Gilbert's girlfriend "Judy." Those are some of the great 80s movies and she had small roles in all of them. She even appeared in a 1984 episode of Family Ties. Retired from acting now, her last film role was in 1988's Permanent Record. She is 46 years old now and as of 2003, she lived with her husband and three children on Bowen Island, a short ferry ride from Vancouver.
LORI SINGER She has to be best known for her role as the rebellious preacher's daughter "Ariel Moore" in Footloose (1984) when she was actually already 27 years old playing a high school student. She had first broke through in the TV series Fame from 1982-83 where she portrayed cello player "Julie Miller." Singer came from a musical family and is a Julliard-trained cellist who made her debut as soloist at age thirteen with the Oregon Symphony. She was once voted one of the "Most Beautiful People" by People Magazine. After Footloose, she starred in a number of other movies, including The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), The Man with One Red Shoe (1985 with Tom Hanks) and the Robert Altman film Short Cuts (1993). In 1995, she was involved in the creative conception of and played the lead character in the science fiction TV series VR.5. Married to New York civil liberties attorney Richard Emery way back in 1980, the couple had a son before divorcing in 1996. Her cousin is film director Bryan Singer (X-men). Singer is now 51 years old.
APOLLONIA KOTERO She left quite an impression on me after starring along side Prince in Purple Rain (1984) as "Apollonia" when she was 25 years old. She had taken the place of Vanity in Prince's entourage and thus received the role in that 80s classic. She sings on Prince's "Take Me With U" from the soundtrack and also was leader of the short-lived all girl group called Apollonia 6. She would leave Prince's side in 1985 to join the cast of the TV series Falcon Crest where she would play the girlfriend of teen heartthrob Lorenzo Lamas. She released a solo album in 1988 with little fanfare and starred in some straight-to-video movies. She made a few TV series appearances in the mid-90's. More recently, she received some attention when Kanye West's 2007 hit song "Stronger," used her name in the lyrics. She is 49 years old now.
There were some others that I will save for another issue another time. (If you have any specific actresses that come to your mind, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.) It is amazing how these young women seemed to be headed for bigger things, but for most of them, they had to settle for something much less and many are not even acting at all anymore. On the brighter side, they are all immortalized in these classic 80s movies so even though they may be gone now, for some of us they will never be forgotten. I do plan on doing a similar "Where Are They Now" issue for 80s male actors.
That'll do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. This issue has gotten me in the mood to go watch some of these 80s movies starring the actresses above. If you are interested in reading any of my other 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: Ricardo Montalban passed away today (January 14, 2009) at the age of 88. Montalban is the Mexican-born actor known best for some significant 80s contributions like "Mr. Roarke" on the TV series Fantasy Island (1978-84), "Khan" in the 1982 motion picture Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, "Vincent Ludwig" in the first Naked Gun (1988) and those Chrysler Cordoba commercials when he described the "soft Corinthian leather." I was going to discuss these topics a little further but someone beat me to it and I shall recommend you click on this link to go to Stuck in the 80s and read his tribute which also includes some videos of Montalban in those 80s moments. Our thoughts and prayers are with Montalban's family.
Quote of the day: "Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard." -Dave Mustaine
I think most people know that actor Patrick Swayze is battling pancreatic cancer. Most are pulling for him to win that difficult battle and some signs pointed to that happening with a new television series, The Beast, set to debut soon. Now, there is a recent story that Swayze needed to be hospitalized. Here is that story from newsday.com (which has a video to watch too if you click on the link for the original article).
Actor Patrick Swayze hospitalized for pneumonia Los Angeles Times 5:45 PM EST, January 10, 2009
HOLLYWOOD -- Patrick Swayze, who has been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, checked into a hospital Friday morning.
Swayze, 56, was supposed to appear on a panel at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles to promote his new A&E show, "The Beast." But when introducing the panel, A&E's Abbe Raven announced that Swayze has pneumonia as a result of the chemotherapy treatments he has been receiving.
Earlier this week, Swayze appeared on "20/20" in an interview with Barbara Walters, his first TV appearance since he was diagnosed with the often deadly cancer last March. He told Walters that statistically he might have two years left to live. "You can bet that I'm going through hell," Swayze told Walters of his treatment. "And I've only seen the beginning of it."
As that article mentioned, this hospitalization came on the heels of his emotional and inspirational interview with Barbara Walters. I know there are thousands of people out there going through a similar battle, but there is something about this Swayze story that really inspires and seems to put things into perspective. Here is video of a portion of the Barbara Walters interview with Patrick Swayze:
Now, I figured I would include a Top 10 list for Patrick Swayze in this issue. As usual, I think I will just focus on the 80s for this list, so films like Ghost and Point Break won't be eligible. The only problem is that I do not have 10 movies to put on the list just for the 80s, so I am only going to give you my top 5. So, here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 5 PATRICK SWAYZE MOVIES OF THE 80s:
5. Uncommon Valor (1983) as "Kevin Scott" - A minor role in this film which starred Gene Hackman
4. Red Dawn (1984) as "Jed" - This movie was a result of the Cold War and depicted a World War III situation. It also starred other young actors like Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey.
3. Dirty Dancing (1987) as "Johnny Castle" - This is obviously more of a chick flick and if a female was making this list it would no doubt rank at #1. Swayze sings on the soundtrack with the song "She's Like the Wind" which was surprisingly a success hitting #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The soundtrack album was #1 on the charts for 19 weeks. The iconic dance scene at the end ranks on my popular Best Dancing Scenes from 80s Movies list.
2. Road House (1989) as "Dalton" - This movie has always been sort of a guilty pleasure of mine because it is not very good, but I have still seen it more times than I would like to admit. It has all of the components of a cheesy 80s action drama. Here is a link to watch a trailer for this movie.
1. The Outsiders (1983) as "Darrel 'Darry' Curtis" - This is one of my very favorite movies of the 80s and will rank highly on that list when it is published. The film is based on the fantastic novel by S.E. Hinton. Swayze plays the older brother who has to take on the responsibility at a young age of raising his two younger brothers after their parents die in a car crash. Here is a link to watch a promotional trailer and you can see the tremendous cast that worked with Swayze to make this special movie.
There's my list. It does not include his critically acclaimed work as "Orry Main" in the 1985 television Civil War mini-series North and South. His work in the 80s was memorable, but probably my most memorable Swayze moment was in the 1990 episode of Saturday Night Live which he hosted. The skit was a Chippendale's Dancer Audition against the late Chris Farley. I start laughing just thinking about it. I don't know how Swayze is able to keep a straight face through the skit. I could not find a video online which shows the original skit which was set to "Working for the Weekend" by Loverboy, but I did find a video which shows a short portion. Here is that video below (by way of Anderson Cooper) though you lose some of the funniest parts and Swayze's monologue at the end:
I will continue to pull for Patrick Swayze in his battle against cancer. If you want to find out more about pancreatic cancer, here is a link to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. I truly hope they find a cure to all cancers in my lifetime.
That will do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Like". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: One of the most iconic pieces of pop culture from the 80s is the music video (short film) for "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. It ranks #1 on my popular Top Music Videos of the 80s list - which, incidentally, you should check out if you have not before. I came across a video from 2007 featuring Philippines prison inmates performing the dance from the "Thriller" video. I thought I would share it here in case you have never seen it yourself. Enjoy!
Quote of the day: "It's amazing...The love inside. You take it with you." -Patrick Swayze as character "Sam Wheat" in Ghost (1990)
The show is not about the 80s, but the characters grew up in the 80s and they seem to slide several 80s references into each episode. New episodes return again tonight (Friday, January 9th) which I am quite happy about because in my opinion there is so little TV worth watching right now. I came across this interview with the two stars of Psych which was published in The Who's News Blog from USA Weekend. You can click on that link or for your convenience I have included it below.
'Psych' stars dish on new episodes By Lorrie Lynch December 16, 2008
One of the USA Network's best comedies, Psych, returns on Jan. 9 at 10 p.m. EST with new episodes. Our TV editor T.J. Walter is a fan of the show and jumped on a conference call today with stars Dule Hill and James Roday, who play the hilarious crime-solving duo of Gus and Shawn, respectively. Calling in from California, both had plenty to say about continuation of season three, which will feature an interesting slate of guest stars, from Ted McGinley and Justine Bateman to Rachael Leigh Cook and Jonathan Silverman (he evidently likes to be called "Johnny Silver" while on set - who knew?) And after you finish taking all that in, check out this cool widget where you can see pics from the show, get a show schedule and play a neat concentration game! *(I have included this in the CHECK THIS OUT section at the end of the issue)
How have the characters and the show evolved over the past three seasons? Dule: I think as the seasons have gone on, we finally started to find out what works and doesn't work, and we have started to find our groove. I think you learn and see which relationships work, which storylines work and which directors work.You get the sense of what the show is about and the longer you do this you can begin to refine the process. Also, after three years together, the cast really started to gel together and feed off each other.
Why did you choose to incorporate more drama into the show? James: I think for any show to really have a real life, you have to challenge yourself and that starts from a writing standpoint, because everything starts with writing. We got ourselves a self-mandate: Let's see if we can start to earn our comedy a little bit more. That means giving each episode more of an emotional spine, mixing in some drama and giving our actors a chance to flex some different muscles. We also have to acknowledge that we might miss sometimes, but when we hit, it will be much more rich and fulfilling.
What was it like working with Cybill Shepherd? James: Once you get past the multiple personality disorder thing and you really get a handle on that, she is an absolute doll and a joy to work with - I am absolutely kidding, she does not have multiple personality disorder. Cybill is a pro. She is an iconic figure and anytime you work with someone of her stature, you have to get over that initial "wow" and then you realize that she is jazzed to be here with us. She really is a joy to work with.
How do all of the pop culture references play into the show? James: The show is a reflection of what these characters grew up with, we are both kids of the '80s and '90s, the show is basically a free-for-all and we try to find the most obscure reference or something that was cool for two seconds. Half the time, Dule doesn't know what I am talking about, and that's good because it's education for him while it's a trip down memory lane for me. Dule: I would say 83.2 percent of the time, I have no idea what James is talking about, and after the scene is done, I then go and ask what the heck he is talking about. On screen, I act like I know but I really don't have any idea.
Have you become trivia masters because of all those nuggets in the show? James: There are definitely some categories, entertainment and sports, in Trivial Pursuit where I am very competitive. If you land on green, yellow or brown, you can pretty much count me out. There might be a special version that is all '80s stuff, which I haven't played yet, but I would venture to say that I bring a pretty big stick to that game.
So who is the jokester on set? James: Dule likes to hide equipment. Dule: I like to hide the boom and have fun with the crew. I have been known to hide the gadget that the focus puller uses. I will stick that in a drawer somewhere and not tell anyone. Also, I hide the slate whenever they lay it down and walk away.
What are the chances of Shawn having a relationship on the show? James: You might see something like that sooner rather than later. I have no idea how it's going to go but we will start looking at that soon. The idea of Shawn trying to negotiate a relationship with a woman is something that I think everyone will get a kick out of. I don't think he will get locked into a long-term relationship, but I think he will give it a try.
Dule, will Gus ever loosen up, and are you actually like your character off-screen? Dule: I am right in the middle in real life. I do like to plan things out and be responsible, but I do like to have fun once I handle my business. In matters of Gus, he does start to loosen up more and more. Gus continues to challenge Shawn to be more responsible, and Shawn challenges Gus to loosen up. The one thing you will never see is Gus to the point of Shawn when it comes to responsibility.
What do you guys think about the comparisons being made about The Mentalist and Psych: Dule: I see their show and I don't see anything similar about it. I think it is completely fresh and innovative. I think it is great. James: I think imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I think the fact that we are a cult cable show and they somehow saw something about our show that they thought was worth reproducing on a much larger scale, I think it is pretty cool and in many ways it is a kudo to us. There is really no point in trying to pretend that we didn't influence the show, but if you look at any show on television, they are usually derivatives of another show on TV that came before it. So all you Mentalist fans, it is OK to like your show. Have fun watching - just don't deny where it came from. Dule: I think at some point, you might see Shawn and Gus make some references to this on the show.
Friday is typically a tough night for TV, ratings-wise. What makes Psych worth staying home for at the end of the week? James: The short answer is Dule's head. Dule: It is a great show that after a hard work week, you can just come home, be with your family and kick back and watch it. Our show allows you to laugh off the stress of the week, and I really think a drama probably wouldn't do that as well. It brings people back to the memories of their childhood. We are truly big kids in a candy store and I think a lot of people can relate to that.
The question about "pop culture references" (4th question above) was particularly interesting and probably explains why I enjoy this show so much. One of my very favorite episodes was Season 3, Episode 2 titled "Murder?...Anyone?...Anyone?...Bueller?" The episode revolved around a high school reunion and included lots of John Hughes 80s movie references which I thoroughly enjoyed. The entire episode used to be available on line, but does not seem to be anymore. Here is the ending scene from that episode with the obvious nod to The Breakfast Club.
Here are videos for a couple of the other 80s pop culture references that I also particularly enjoyed. The first was a performance by "Shawn" and "Gus" at an American Idol-like show.
The second is a short Psych-Out moment (outtake that is featured at the end of the show) which includes the 80s song, "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell.
The last is a commercial promo which features them singing the Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney duet "Ebony & Ivory"
80s fans, like me, will usually get a little treat like that in most episodes! As I have said before, I highly recommend this show. It can be a little silly, but I have never watched an episode that wasn't at least somewhat entertaining. If you have never seen it before, I actually would recommend that you go back and watch it starting from season 1, so that you can see the characters evolve. You can watch some of the episodes for free on hulu.com or at psych.usanetwork.com or are now available on DVD.
That's all for this short issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks for reading. If you are interested in reading any of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: As I promised earlier in the interview, here is the Psych concentration game (you may have to click on the photo gallery button first to get the picture lined up- at least that is what I have to do to get it to work right)...
Quote of the day: "In order that all men may be taught to speak the truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it." -Samuel Johnson
I want to thank Adam over at i80s.com for calling this to my attention. There are full episodes of the 80s TV classic Family Ties available to watch for free online.
Family Ties aired for seven seasons (1982-89) and was extremely popular for most of them. It starred Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross as liberal, baby-boomer former hippies from the 60s raising their children in the 80s. The real star of the show was Michael J. Fox as the one and only "Alex P. Keaton" who ranks highly on my Top TV Characters of the 80s list. Fox won the Emmy three years in a row (1986-88) for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. "Alex" was a conservative Young Republican who represented the exact opposite of his parents' political and socio-economic views.
I saw a quote that described the core of the show very well. The Museum of Broadcast Communication entry states, "this highly successful domestic comedy explored one of the intriguing cultural inversions characterizing the Reagan era: a conservative younger generation aspiring to wealth, business success, and traditional values, serves as inheritor to the politically liberal, presumably activist, culturally experimental generation of adults who had experienced the 1960s."
Family Ties was a sitcom, so there was a lot of comedy sprinkled in as well. The show was extremely well written and even won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (1987). The show also had its share of emotional drama. I can't hear Billy Vera's song "At This Moment" without immediately remembering the episode when "Alex" and his girlfriend "Ellen" broke up. I could not find a video of this scene, but here is a link to the song being performed live if you do not remember the tune. We witnessed a lot of coming of age stuff since we saw these kids grow up on our TV sets for 7 years of their lives.
Family Ties is truly one of my favorite shows from the 80s. And now you can watch episodes for FREE online! Even though the series originally aired on the NBC network, the episodes are available on CBS.com. Click on this link to take you to the Family Ties page where you can watch episodes from the first four seasons.
The theme song for the show, sung by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams, ranks on my popular Top TV Theme Songs list. If you were a fan of Family Ties like me, I am sure were pleased to hear these episodes are available online now. Enjoy! If you did not read my issue on hulu.com, click on that link to take you there because that site has a huge catalog of other great TV series (and movies too) available to view for free on line. You would be surprised what you can watch for free right from where you are sitting reading this right now.
That will wrap up another short issue of Kickin' it Old School. I have some Family Ties episodes to catch up on now. Thanks for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: Now, I am not saying that this movie is all that great as a whole, but in my opinion this particular scene from the 2000 comedy Dude, Where's My Car? starring Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott has to be one of the single funniest scenes I have ever seen. I hope you enjoy it, too...
Wii Sports is best-selling game ever Jock blockbuster topples Mario. By Ben Silverman
Well, that didn't take long. According to game-tracking website VGChartz, sales of Nintendo's pop-culture phenom Wii Sports have surpassed those of legendary platformer Super Mario Bros., making the breakout Wii title the best-selling video game of all time. And it only took two years and two months to do it. The data is based on cumulative worldwide sales figures ending the week of December 27, 2008, which indicate that lifetime sales of Wii Sports have exceeded Mario's staggering 40.24 million units. Shocked? Don't be. Unlike most video games that can be bought at retail, Wii Sports comes bundled with the Wii hardware in every territory other than Japan and Korea. In other words, if you bought a Wii, you bought Wii Sports whether you liked it or not (chances are, you liked it). With over 45 million Wiis sold worldwide to date, it's only logical that Wii Sports would start smashing records sooner or later. And before you brand Wii Sports a false champion due to being bundled with hardware, consider that Super Mario Bros. was also sold as a bundle with the original Nintendo Entertainment System during its mid-80's heyday. Plus, Wii Sports has been a major hit even in non-bundled form, topping Wii sales charts in Japan at over 3.2 million copies sold in 2008 alone. A new version of the game, Wii Sports: Resort, is due out later this year.
Super Mario Bros. is a fond memory of mine from the 80s. Just think that 40 million copies of that game cartridge were sold! Super Mario Bros. ranked #1 on two of my very popular video game lists. If you have not seen either of these before, please check them out:
I have nothing against the Wii or any ill will towards Wii Sports for knocking my 80s favorite out of the top spot. In fact, I feel that Wii promotes more exercise and more family interaction than other video game systems. If a kid is going to sit in front of the TV playing video games, they might as well get a little exercise out of it. It also gives families and friends a way to interact and have fun together which is always a good thing.
I just wanted to take a moment to recognize the long reign that Super Mario Bros. enjoyed as the best selling video game. It was released for the NES back in 1985, so it has had the title for over 20 years. Records were meant to be broken, but it still saddens me just a little to know Super Mario is no longer at the top.
That will do it for this short issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. Hope you checked out the two top 10 lists I mentioned above, but if you want more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here was a cartoon about setting a computer password that made me chuckle...
Quote of the day: "If you're successful in what you do over a period of time, you'll start approaching records, but that's not what you're playing for. You're playing to challenge and be challenged." - Lou Brock, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player
I don't know about you, but commercials can sometimes take me back to the 80s as quickly as any song or movie can. That is why I thought I would begin a feature on 80s commercials that I considered particularly memorable or interesting. This issue will cover the Seagram's Golden Wine Cooler campaign from mid-to-late 80s which featured Bruce Willis.
I was a big fan of Bruce Willis because of his character "David Addison" on the television series, Moonlighting (1985-1989). The starring role, opposite Cybill Shepherd, helped to establish him as a comedic actor, with that show lasting five seasons. I have the couple ranked on my Top TV Characters of the 80s list. During the height of the show's success, beverage maker Seagram hired Willis as the pitchman for their Golden Wine Cooler products. The memorable ad campaign paid the rising star between five and seven million dollars over two years. In spite of that, Willis chose not renew his contract with the company when he decided to stop drinking alcohol in 1988.
These commercials pre-dated his role as "John McClane" in 1988's blockbuster Die Hard which really made Willis into a superstar. I was obviously not old enough to drink alcohol at the time of these commercials, but man did he make wine coolers seem cool. I was just 13 years old but would be singing "Seagram's Golden Wine Coolers. It's wet and it's dry!" just because it was a catchy tune. If I was able to drink at the time, I was sure that Seagram's Golden Wine Coolers would be the drink I would have to order.
Wine coolers are not exactly a common drink for most men, but Bruce Willis made it seem like the coolest thing in the world. Here are a few of those commercials. The first one is probably my favorite with him just singing on the front porch.
This one did not include singing, but does include actress Sharon Stone before she became a star.
This one also does not include any singing, but resembles much more his Moonlighting character.
This one might be one of the final commercials featuring Willis. It has a song, but not sung by him and introduces a new tagline "This is where the fun starts." (It is also by far the lamest of the four).
There you go, a trip down memory lane in the form of TV commercials. I was just going to include the first one, but since they all were kind of different I thought including four gave a better perspective. The man starred in my favorite movie of all time (Pulp Fiction), one of my favorite action movies of all time (Die Hard) and one of my favorite television shows from the 80s (Moonlighting). It is hard to believe he was pimping wine coolers, of all things, back in the day. He probably could have been trying to sell anything and it would have seemed cool.
With that, we come to the end of another issue of Kickin' it Old School. I have to go check the fridge because I seem to be craving a wine-like beverage that is both wet and dry. Thanks for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here's something I came across on collegehumor.com that I thought was humorous (yet a little crude) and worth sharing. It is a Disciplinary Report sent home to the parents of what seems to be an 8th grader. It might be a little hard to read. There are two boxes checked, "Annoying to classmates" and "Rude, discourteous." Then hand-written below is "egregious and stentorian flatulence." For those that do not know, "egregious" means outrageously bad or reprehensible. "Stentorian" means extremely loud. If you do not know what "flatulence" means, then look it up and you will find the humor. Another funny part is that this student's punishment is writing a 300 word essay why his behavior is unacceptable in English class. Pretty funny stuff...
Quote of the day: "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it." -Lou Holtz
Below you can see that Amanda Peet, Katie Holmes and Rachel Bilson (from left to right respectively) take a casual cue from the 80s in their distressed and pegged jeans.
Could this 80s trend be coming back into vogue? Looks like it might to me.
I came across this sort of odd video by the musical group Relient K which demonstrates how to tight-roll your jeans. It was appropriate for this topic, so here it is:
That started to make me think of the other 80s fashions that could start to come back: - Shoulder pads - Blue eye shadow, mascara and/or eyeliner - Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor shoes - Neon colors - Teased hair (lots of Aqua Net) - Collar up on your polo shirt - Swatch watches (I still wear mine sometimes) - Leggings or stirrup pants - Jelly sandals - Slouch socks or no socks - Acid wash, stone wash, ripped jeans - Fat/thick laces for your shoes - Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses - Michael Jackson Thriller jacket - Leg warmers - Side pony tail - Parachute pants and Flight pants - Polka dots - Spandex shorts or pants under skirts - Jelly bracelets and slap bracelets - Guess jeans, Jordache jeans, Calvin Klein jeans - Skinny ties (for men or women including knit with squared off bottom) - Run-DMC Adidas shoes - Ocean Pacific (O.P.) - Vaurnet, Esprit, Benetton - Off-the-shoulder sweatshirts or blouses - Members Only jackets - Banana clips - Checker-board Vans shoes - Mesh shirts - Kangol hats - Suede Puma shoes and Puma windbreakers - Oakley Frogskins - Clothing with Japanese symbols and/or writing on them - Long dangling earrings and mismatched earrings - Fingerless gloves or lace gloves - Clipping or tying an oversized t-shirt up on one side - Aviator jackets and sunglasses (Top Gun) - Docksiders (Sebago, Eastland, Sperry) and Penny-loafers - Miami Vice look - Comb sticking out of back pocket - Button-fly jeans - Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts - Coca-cola Branded clothing - Crimped hair - Bandanas tied around leg - Jams shorts - Friendship pins - Argyle socks - Buttons/pins on your jacket - Denim jackets - Feather roach clips - L.A. Gear - Units Knit clothing - Vision Street Wear and Airwalk - Z Cavaricci pants
That's all I could think of right now. Did I miss any that you feel were memorable? As much of an 80s fan as I am, believe me, I am NOT condoning that any of these fashion trends come back in the near future. I love everything about the 80s, but fashion was definitely not one of that decade's strong points. What do you think?
That will do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. I need to go practice tight-rolling my jeans (if I remember how). Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". If you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Peace and much love.
Check this out: I thought this picture was a little ironic. What do you think?
Quote of the day: "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." -Edward Everett Hale
The top grossing films in the U.S. of 2008 have something in common. Three of the top four were based on super heroes (and the fourth is Indiana Jones who is not far off from being a super hero).
1. The Dark Knight - $530 million + 2. Iron Man - $318 million 3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - $317 million 4. Hancock - $228 million 5. WALL-E - $224 million
Also coming in at #14 on this year's list was The Incredible Hulk ($134 million). Heck, even Superhero Movie (a spoof of the superhero genre) came in at #100 grossing $26 million. It was definitely a year dominated by super hero movies.
The Dark Knight and Iron Man were outstanding movies, but their success along with the full slate of new super hero/comic book movies scheduled to be released in the coming years reminds me of a line from Kevin Smith's movie Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. One character said, "After X-Men hit at the box office, the movie companies started buying out every comic property they could get their dirty little hands on."
This gave me the idea of doing a top 10 list of what I consider to be the best super hero movies released. I was going to focus just on the 80s (like I would normally do) but then I would have been limited to pretty much Superman II and Batman, so I needed to expand the criteria.
Making a super hero/comic book movie is big undertaking with great responsibility to the fans. As an avid comic book reader as a kid, seeing these super heroes come to life on the big screen includes high expectations. The comic book community seems to have even higher expectations. I have to say that most of them do not meet my expectations and I will have to even include a couple of them towards the bottom of my list.
Instead of judging sequels from the same franchise separately, I decided just to rank them all together. The only exception to that is Batman since that franchise was re-launched with 2005's Batman Begins. So let's get on to OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 SUPER HERO MOVIES/FRANCHISES OF ALL TIME (as of 1/1/09):
Honorable Mention. Mystery Men (1999) - This movie is a comedy about a group of super heroes with relatively unimpressive and strange powers who need to come to the rescue anyways. Some of these powers include using a shovel as a weapon, throwing silverware, rage/anger, superpowered flatulence and bowling to name a few. It stars Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria among others. Had a lot of potential and is very funny, but just misses becoming a true comedy classic. I thought it deserved at least an honorable mention (if not ranked on the list itself).
11. Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) - I found the original quite disappointing, but the sequel had some redeeming qualities which allowed it to squeak on to the list at #11.
10. Hulk (2003) - This was going to be tough to pull off since the big green guy had to be entirely computer generated, but the choice of Ang Lee as director really did not make any sense. I was not all that crazy about 2008's attempt called The Incredible Hulk either.
9. Hellboy (2004) - The film starred Ron Perlman in the title role and I like what Roger Ebert had to say about his performance, "And in Ron Perlman, it has found an actor who is not just playing a superhero, but enjoying it . . . he chomps his cigar, twitches his tail and battles his demons with something approaching glee. You can see an actor in the process of making an impossible character really work."
8. Daredevil (2003) - This was one of my very favorite comic books as a kid, so I already liked the character and he was played by Ben Affleck, who I am also a big fan of. So I hold this film in a little better light than most have. The only major complaint I had with this film was the costume they made him wear. I thought performances by Jennifer Garner and Colin Farrell, but I did not buy Michael Clarke Duncan as "Kingpin." I would like to see a sequel or re-launch on this franchise.
7. Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980) - Notice that I do not list III and IV which were released in 1983 and 1986 respectively because I felt both were not worthy of being included. The first two movies, on the other hand, were great especially for the time that they were released. Christopher Reeve starred as the man of steel and Gene Hackman starred as his arch-enemy Lex Luthor. The original was the first epic superhero film to be made as a feature film and was quite successful. There would not be another successful franchise introduced until Batman in 1989.
6. Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) - If I was ranking all of the movies separately, the original Batman with Michael Keaton as the caped crusader and Jack Nicholson as "The Joker" would rank near the top. As a franchise, though, the later movies did not hold up that standard though they were all entertaining in my opinion. Some of my favorite villains include Michelle Pfeifer as "Catwoman", Jim Carrey as "The Riddler" and Tommy Lee Jones as "Two-Face."
5. Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007) - This is one of the most commercially successful franchises and I admit that they have been extremely well done. For some reason though, I just can't get myself to love these films as much as many others do. Tobey Maguire has done an excellent job portraying Peter Parker and I can't criticize anything specific, so I still have to keep it barely in my top 5.
4. The Incredibles (2004) - Not the same sort of film as the others on the list, this film is a digitally-animated family oriented superhero film by the Pixar/Disney team that has also brought us such films as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars and WALL-E. It is about a family of retired super heroes who are forced back into action. I like, again, what Roger Ebert had to say that the film "alternates breakneck action with satire of suburban sitcom life" and is "another example of Pixar's mastery of popular animation." You might be surprised that I have it ranked this highly, but watch it again and you will agree.
3. Iron Man (2008) - This was unexpected since this character was previously nowhere near as popular as Spider-Man, Batman or Superman. I was a fan of the character from my comic book days, so I was looking forward to the movie, but could not have anticipated the film being as good as it was. Robert Downey Jr. was fantastic as Tony Stark and they created a new blockbuster franchise based on the box office success it achieved. I am not anticipating the sequel, but probably even more eagerly awaiting The Avengers (of which Iron Man is a founding member) which is scheduled for release in 2011.
2. X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) - I thought these movies were great and I was not even a big fan of the comics. The best character is "Wolverine" played perfectly by Hugh Jackman who will have its own film X-Men Origins: Wolverine released in May 2009. The only downside to this franchise is that there are so many interesting characters that none of them really gets the proper development. Despite that fact, these movies do an excellent job whether you are familiar with the mutant back-story ahead of time or not.
1. Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) - These were not sequels to the original franchise which was ranked at #6. I was surprised that I liked these films as much as I did, but Christopher Nolan did an exceptional job. To be honest, I am not crazy about Christian Bale as Batman, but the story and action is so strong that it does not matter who is in the suit all that much. The Dark Knight, as mentioned at the beginning of this issue, was the highest grossing movie in the US in 2008. It was also #1 in the world bringing in just short of a billion dollars. Unadjusted for inflation, The Dark Knight is now the second highest grossing film in North America of all time behind only Titanic. It features an outstanding performance by the late Heath Ledger as "The Joker." This performance was deserving of attention even if it wasn't for his tragic passing shortly before its release in theaters. These are outstanding movies period, whether they are super hero movies or not, and I highly recommend them to anyone who has yet to see them.
There is my list. Please leave your comments below with your thoughts on this subject. I look forward to any and all feedback and hope to get lots of it on this topic. In 2008, the box office was dominated by super hero movies. With the copycat trend that seems to be rampant in Hollywood these days, this is sure to mean lots more super hero movies coming to theaters in the coming years. There are several in the works already (Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Green Lantern, JLA) with several sequels in progress as well. This list is sure to change as new movies are released, but this is how I see it as of the end of 2008.
That will wrap up another issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary of those. You can also click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". If you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Peace and much love.
Check this out: I thought you might enjoy this little exercise... WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL???
Try it without looking at the answers......
Please don't look down until you do it, you'll love it I promise
GET A CALCULATOR (YOUR COMPUTER HAS ONE ON IT)
1) Pick your favorite number between 1-9
2) Multiply by 3 then
3) Add 3, then again Multiply by 3
4) You'll get a 2 or 3 digit number....
5) Add the digits together
Now Scroll down ..............
Now with that number see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below:
1. Albert Einstein
2. Nelson Mandela
3. Abraham Lincoln
4. Sarah Palin
5. Bill Gates
7. George Clooney
8. Michael Jordan
9. Old School
10. Mother Theresa
I know....I just have that effect on people....that is so kind of you..... Believe it! P.S.: Stop picking different numbers. I am your idol, just deal with it!!!!
Quote of the day: "We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." -Will Rogers
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