Author Archives: jeffthewildman
Jeffthewildman wonders where all the big movie stars went.
In the mid-90’s Skeet Ulrich seemed like a likely candidate for heart-throb status and A-list stardom. After making some noise in a couple of cult films, Ulrich was poised for success. While few would deny the actor’s status as a heart-throb, movie stardom proved elusive. These days, Ulrich has gone from dangerous teen to TV dad.
What the hell happened?
The title might catch people’s eye considering that even with the under-performance of Transformers: The Last Knight at the box office, Michael Bay’s franchise is still going relatively strong. But we’re not here to focus on that. No, we’re here to focus on the original Transformers movie. The 1986 animated film.
When it was released in August of 1986, it didn’t set the box office on fire the way many people were hoping it would. It opened in 14th place and was the 88th highest grossing film of that year.
As most hip-hop fans know, two of the most famous rappers in rap history were friends turned rivals. This rivalry would lead to a war of words that may have escalated into a shooting war that cost them their lives. Of course, the rappers I’m referring to are The Notorious B.I.G (Biggie Smalls) and Tupac Shakur. A lot of times when musicians create lasting work and die young, they are destined to sooner or later get the biopic treatment. Biggie received it in 2008 with the disappointing Notorious. Two years ago, gangsta rap pioneers NWA got one of the better biopics with Straight Outta Compton. Now it’s Tupac’s turn. The result, while not quite the full-fledged disaster a lot of reviews have made it out to be, is far closer in quality to Notorious than Straight Outta Compton.
In a crowded summer movie season, Ridley Scott’s latest entry in the Alien prequel series has gotten squeezed out at the box office despite decent reviews. What does that mean for the future of the Alien franchise? It’s hard to say at this point, but it seems like as good a time as any to rank the Alien movies from worst to first.
Hugh Jackman hung up his claws earlier this year with his final performance as Wolverine in Logan. The ending of the Jackman-as-Wolvie era got me to thinking about the X-Men movies on the whole. How do they rank when you stack em all up together?
Here, as opposed to other series tackled in the Worst To First series, the overall quality is somewhat higher. When you add together the 10 X-Men movies , 6 are very good, two are passable and the other two are a toss-up as to which is worse. Here, we will sort out the good mutants from the bad and the ugly. And of course, you will get to share your rankings as well.
It’s very rare that the final entry in a series is the best. For proof of that, consider Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, The Godfather 3 or Jaws The Revenge. However, there are exceptions to that rule. Logan, the third and final effort in the solo Wolverine trilogy, is one of those. Of the three of those released between 2009 and now, it is by far the best. Included with the X-Men movies as a whole, it ranks near the top of that as well.
Since I saw a trailer for Get Out back in October of last year, I’ve been looking forward to Jordan Peele’s contribution to the horror genre. Knowing his background in comedy (he’s half of the duo Key And Peele, who had their sketch comedy show on Comedy Central) I expected a horror film with some humor. What it turned out to be was even better.
1997. The year yours truly graduated high school. The year of the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. The year Bill Clinton began his second term as president. A loose cross between the calm and the chaotic.
1997 was pretty great cinematically, an improvement over 1996, the weakest year of the 1990s. Musically though, it was a step-down. If in 1996, there was still a sense of possibility that the “alternative rock revolution” might lead somewhere, 1997 offered definitive proof that the moment had passed and all the possibilities that had leapt forth following the early 90s breakthrough had reached an impasse or petered out totally.
Shane Black may not have invented the buddy movie (Butch And Sundance were there first). But he did create the modern version of it. When Lethal Weapon, made form his script, was released in 1987, the most recent buddy cop movie of that type was 1982’s 48 Hours, which made a movie star of Eddie Murphy. The earlier film was great. But it didn’t develop a whole sub-genre. Lethal Weapon did. It also launched the career of its screenwriter.
The early 80s were kind of a weird time for pop music. On one hand, you had a ton of post-disco stuff and much AOR (album-oriented rock) like REO Speedwagon and Foreigner. Yet there was also the beginnings of rap and the resurgence of R&B. And of course post-punk and new wave.
It was the new wave scene that gave birth to the band focused on here: The Motels. Yeah, they were the group led by the talented Martha Davis who scored a big hit in 1982 with “Only The Lonely” only to have no more hits. Right?
Cameron Crowe started writing for Rolling Stone magazine at age 15. At 24 he went back to high school undercover and wrote a book about teen mores in the early 80s. He then adapted that book into a script for a high school comedy that helped define the genre. From there it was a short step to directing. Crowe went on to write and direct a series of character-driven films that were popular with critics and audiences. Then he began to fall off. His most recent film was one of the year’s biggest flops and was widely derided for a crucial piece of miscasting.
What the hell happened?
1996. On the surface, one of the more relatively calm years of the chaotic 1990s. There was an election, an Olympics, a plane crash in the Everglades, the Unabomber was captured, Dolly The Sheep was cloned and so on. So 1996 may look calm compared to the previous year and the following ones. But it was just as chaotic as any other.
Music? On one hand, if you look solely at the top 40, it would seem pretty dire. 1996 was the year of Hootie And The Blowfish, numerous one-hit wonders (Duncan Sheik and Donna Lewis) and a little ditty you may remember called The Macarena. But if you look beyond the mainstream, you’d find some pretty damn good stuff.