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Okay, so Matt Weiner and company topped off tonight’s episode with some Dean Martin song, but I’m going with something much more quintessentially 1970s. After all, our celebration of the decade is winding to a close (but I’ll continue these posts until Mad Men delivers it swan song), and Dino’s last top40 hit was way back in 1967. In contrast, Michael Jackson and company were just hitting their stride in 1970. “ABC” was just the second of what would be 20 hit singles for the brothers act over the course of the decade, a run of success that included three other #1 hits and six more that were top 10. And I’m not even mentioning the five top 10 hits Michael had on his own before the 80s landed. Despite all of that success, you’ll find an awful lot of people naming “ABC” as their favorite of his whole career (I’d go with “I Want You Back,” which sat at #1 on New Year’s Eve). These early recordings feature the infectiously powerful and joyful sound that made the Jacksons appealing as the stars of their very own Saturday morning cartoon show on ABC, debuting in September of 1971.
The show consistently featured the boys following through on marketing ploys dreamed up by a cartoon version of the real life Motown legend Berry Gordy. None of the Jacksons provided their own speaking voice, and neither did Gordy, who was voiced by the great Paul Frees, known as the Ghost Host from Disney’s Haunted Mansion and as Boris Badenov from the Bullwinkle cartoons. The animated version of the Jacksons lasted until 1976, when a live action show moved them to Wednesday evenings.
Since Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t officially open in the US until May 1, I am going to keep this review spoiler-free. So feel free to read on.
The first Avengers movie was an event. It was the historic first meeting of characters we had gotten to know in their own movies. Nothing like it had ever been attempted before. That gave the movie a thrill that can’t be duplicated. The sequel, Age of Ultron, has a lot of the strengths and weakness of the first movie. If you liked Avengers, odds are, you will like the sequel too. But like a lot of sequels, it can’t help but feel a little like a retread. The thrill of the new is gone.
The success of Star Wars ushered in a wave of science fiction that included The Black Hole, Battlestar Galactica and the return of Star Trek. Star Trek had originally been intended to return as a new TV show. But after Star Wars showed how much money could be made with a science fiction movie, it got promoted to the big screen.
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had high ambitions for the first Star Trek movie. He envisioned something akin to 2001: A Space Odyssey. What he ended up with was lots of scenes of the crew watching now-dated special effects on the ship’s monitor. A friend of mine jokingly refers to it as Star Trek: The Motionless Picture which I think is an apt description.
Over at That Moment In, they take a look at one of the better scenes in the movie in which characters actually get to interact instead of just staring forward at a big TV screen looking at swirling space.
Originally posted on THAT MOMENT IN.COM:
In the far reaches of space, a trio of Klingon warships fire upon a strange blue-ish geometric cloud, though their proton torpedoes have no effect. The squad leader calls for evasive action, suspecting a retaliatory volley. He’s not disappointed. Nearby, Epsilon IX, a Starfleet monitoring station picks up the exchange and witnesses the destruction of the Klingon vessels, one-by-one, each by powerful bolts of blue plasma energy emanating from deep within the anomaly. Worse, the crew of the station make a terrifying calculation: the massive cloud appears to be on a fixed heading straight for Earth! Cue the music.
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It may sound like Creedence. But it isn’t. It is however featured in quite a few movies such as The Lovely Bones, Trouble With The Curve and perhaps most famously Remember The Titans.
In focusing on the Networks, Chinatowns and Raging Bulls of the 70s, it’s easy to overlook another great aspect of 70’s filmmaking: the horror genre. The decade is frequently cited as one of the best in cinematic history. That doesn’t just apply to prestigious dramas like The Godfather. The seventies were also one of the best decades for horror. The films listed here are proof of that.
The original WTHH to Michelle Pfeiffer article was written almost four years ago. This update contains around 80% new material including Pfeiffer’s beauty pageant background, her time in a cult and whether or not she fired Denzel Washington.
Originally posted on lebeau's le Blog:
Michelle Pfeiffer was one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood. She starred opposite Al Pacino, Harrison Ford, Sean Connery and Jack Nicholson. The image of Pfeiffer cracking a whip as Catwoman is iconic. And then, she disappeared for seveal years. Recently, Pfeiffer has resurfaced. But her days on the A-list appear to be behind her.
So, what the hell happened?
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The 70’s were all about dystopian futures and roller skates. Norman Jewison’s 1975 sci-fi/sports movie, Rollerball combined the two and mixed in a little ultra violence to boot. But does its vision of the future hold up 40 years later? Cinema Parrot Disco finds out.
Originally posted on Cinema Parrot Disco:
Directed by Norman Jewison
Running time: 129 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In a corporate-controlled future, an ultra-violent sport known as Rollerball represents the world, and one of its powerful athletes is out to defy those who want him out of the game.
I’d been meaning to watch Rollerball for years. 70’s dystopian sci-fi is so very ME! Yet I’d never gotten around to watching this one for some reason (or THX 1138 – another one that’s been on my list for years). So, I had fairly high expectations. Well… Damn. I’m sorry if there are any fans of this film but Rollerball is, for the most part, a bit boring.
Some sci-fi films age well but this isn’t really one of them. Its dystopian view doesn’t seem…
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Apocalypse Now is less a war movie than the greatest fever dream ever put on film. It doesn’t back away from showing how awful war is. But unlike Oliver Stone’s Platoon, it’s not a realistic depiction of Vietnam. It uses the war as a metaphorical comment on human nature much like the previous years The Deer Hunter. But in some ways it’s more effective than Cimino’s film.
This week, Mad Men wrapped up its newest episode by blessing us with Roberta Flack’s recording of the Ewan MacColl song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” a tune with a twistier path to #1 than most. MacColl wrote it way back in 1957, putting its origin prior to even the first season of Mad Men. He gave it to Peggy Seeger to sing, who he was having an affair with at the time, and the couple would eventually marry. It was recorded several times throughout the 1960s, including this version on Roberta Flack’s debut album “First Take,” which was performed slower than previous attempts. Although “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” was first released on her 1969 album (making it technically appropriate for Mad Men’s 1970 setting), it did not get released as a single until 1972 after it was featured in Clint Eastwood’s own debut as a director, Play Misty For Me. With the exposure from the film, Flack’s version became a smash hit, grabbing the #1 spot on the Billboard top40 in April of 1972 and staying there for six weeks.
The song resonates with the themes of this week’s episode, touching on the long-term and short-term first encounters between characters and the power of physical beauty. Glen is back tonight, and it turns out that the little boy who asked Betty Draper for a lock of her hair way back when is still looking to trade up to his first love. The creepy little kid who Betty banned from the Draper household and fired a well-loved caretaker over is now a handsome 18-year-old man ready to do his duty in Vietnam. Betty is now flattered by the adulation she remembers and can hardly pull herself away from him. Later when he makes an actual pass at her she “does the right thing,” but she isn’t kidding anyone. She did subtly encourage his advances and was delighted to find that a decade later her own looks still held a little cache. Don has a similar experience, failing to discourage another friend of Sally’s over a lunch before a class trip. He sees his willingness to play along as chivalrous in that he didn’t embarrass the girl, but Sally identifies it clearly for what it is: a largess that Don and Betty are given because of their physical beauty, one which neither of them is handling as well as they should. The look on his face after a similar accusation from an ousted underling at the office lets us know that Don himself suspects the very same thing. Maybe he’s not really that special after all. Maybe he’s the football player in a suit that Jim Cutler identified him as just last year.
This weekend was opening day at Kings Island. The weather was beautiful. The park has added two new family-friendly rides to its award-winning kids’ area. But we weren’t there. Why not? Because as Gold Pass holders who renewed our passes last fall, we were invited to start the season a day early at Kings Island’s Passholder Preview Night!
We started with sixteen really good movies from the 70’s and now we’re down to one winner. It was a battle of two pop culture phenomenons. In 1972, The Godfather became the highest-grossing movie of all times. In 1977, Star Wars took the crown from Jaws. Both movies launched lucrative franchises and both are well-regarded four decades later. The Godfather had the edge in terms of prestige, but Star Wars is untouchable in terms of pop culture saturation. Ultimately, the more acclaimed movie won out. The Godfather is our winner.
I want to thank everyone for participating in our 70’s bracket game. It’s been a fun one. I need to give Daffy credit for all the hard work he put into putting the game together. I think it was one of our better ones to date. Lots of hard decisions and good conversations.
I’m going to keep this write-up short and sweet. Obviously, the announcement of the winner came a little late this time around. That’s a reflection of the real world intruding on blogging time. So instead of doing a long write-up about the importance of The Godfather, I’m going to turn it over to you guys in the comments section.
Although this game is wrapped up, we still have more seventies-themed goodies coming to you for the rest of the month. And of course there will be another bracket game coming soon.