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Category Archives: Nostalgia

Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman


In late June of last year I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

This puzzle sure has a lot of genre and “B” pictures represented, doesn’t it? It’s sort of a mixed bag, including the aforementioned populist fare alongside Oscar bait pictures, classic comedians, and yes some truly great films. Aside from pointing out that there’s nothing here from after the 1970s, you can’t really complain that it isn’t trying to be genre inclusive. Today we’re looking at a movie that, in my personal experience, is actually more famous for its poster than for the film it was created to promote. During my twenties I seem to remember this poster cropping up on the walls of plenty of my female friends’ apartments. I’m not sure how many of them had actually seen the movie, but the poster in itself could certainly be interpreted as an expression of female strength. Being that it was written, directed, and produced by men in 1958, I don’t think it should be much surprise that Attack of the 50 Foot Woman doesn’t quite live up to its iconic advertisement’s implied promises.
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Spring Break at Walt Disney World: Gojunoto – Daffy Does Disney


After another afternoon nap, I return to World Showcase in Epcot for my scheduled dinner at Teppan Edo. Come join in as I wander around the Japan pavilion, see some of its “cute” culture, then notice a toy I can’t remember seeing since I was pretty young. Will you be able to sing along with me? After dinner I watch the fireworks and run across a curious bit of detritus. And of course it will then be time for another installment of Pillow Talk with Daffy Stardust!

15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “When You Wish Upon a Star”


Yeah, you had to know this one was coming. Get over it.
If you’re looking for real substance you’ll want to visit my article about Jiminy Cricket and Cliff Edwards, the man who provided his voice. There isn’t much I could offer here that would rival that. So what you’ll get this time around is a series of cover versions – – some lovely and unique…others just unique.
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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “The Way We Were”


When you’re a music fan who was born in 1970 it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the period of time between the social unrest of the late sixties and the cynicism and despair which were expressed by punk was mostly made up of soft rock platitudes. Obviously that wasn’t completely true…but some people didn’t go out of their ways to disabuse us of the notion. The fact that I was a small child at the time definitely limited my access to any of the edgier popular culture that was out there. Not that these romanticized expressions of love, sadness, and nostalgia I’m talking about were all bad. They clearly weren’t. People like Barbra Streisand and Marvin Hamlisch don’t have to be your favorites. Believe me, I get it. But if you dismiss them and their ilk out of hand you might be in danger of favoring style over substance rather completely.
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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Take My Breath Away”


Today’s example of a great Oscar-winning song comes from the era when cross-promotional use of songs from popular artists was perhaps at its peak in the movie/music business. Just take a look at the nominees and winners of the Oscar for Best Original Song starting in 1977 and stretching until the Disney renaissance took hold in 1989. What you’ve got here are songs meant to market the movie and at the same time maybe piggy back on a successful film for added exposure. Sure, this still happens every now and then (last year’s Bond song seems to fit this description), but the sheer dependability of top chart success for so many of the songs throughout my childhood and into my first year of college points to shifts in how the songs have been voted on.

Just about as successful as any song to ever win the award was the recording of the Giorgio Moroder tune “Take My Breath Away” by pop band Berlin for the Tom Cruise blockbuster Top Gun.
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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Chim Chim Cher-ee”


I’m realizing as I go along that I have personal attachments to some of these songs that go back to childhood. That’s the case again this time around, with “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins. Back in elementary school our music teacher chose me to sing this as a solo as a part of a school-wide variety show that included performances by each of the grade levels. For my school that meant everyone from kindergarten to seventh grade. As a fourth grader I wasn’t yet eligible for a lead in the yearly musical, but this solo gig as a singing chimney sweep meant that I was in line for that sort of thing in a couple of years. It was also the first time I remember getting positive reactions from the kids around me related to my performing aspirations. Boys who I knew mostly as grubby playground antagonists suddenly seemed to be recognizing that I had value. It was weird. Unfortunately because this performance happened back in the olden days of the Carter administration all photographic records of the event have been lost in the sands of time. I know we’re all really sad about that.
The rest of this article will actually be about the song itself. I promise.
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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”


This is one of those songs which is pretty strongly tied to the era in which it was recorded. I personally can’t hear it without thinking of standing next to my Dad and singing it from the sheet music while he played the piano. It is forever associated with that part of the post-hippie era in which there was an attempt to create quite a lot of feel-good content. With Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid‘s October 1969 release date, the song seems like a sort of kick-off to the early 1970s, the decade which brought us the “Love Is…” comic strip and quite a few of our Cheesetastic Classics. The fact that it was written by one of the more honored and loved songwriting teams of the last fifty-plus years does go a long way to softening any scorn a person might be tempted to heap on it. Besides, it’s kind of an undeniable gem.
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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Lullaby of Broadway”


Well, that was weird, wasn’t it? That was how audiences were introduced to this very famous jazz era ode to the bustle of modern New York City and its working/leisure class. It’s certainly visually arresting, but the image of singer Wini Shaw’s illuminated face slowly getting bigger and bigger in the surrounding darkness seems more suited to a murder ballad or ghost story than to this toe-tapper about the most romantic notions of urban life.
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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Boogie Nights vs Jackie Brown


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Here we are in our final four, so it’s nothing but the cream of the crop from here on, right? Well, that certainly the case in this particular contest. Both started the bracket among my favorite five overall in the game, so I’m pretty pleased to have to make the tough decision when I cast my vote. Both movies feature top notch artistry from their actors, directors, cinematographers, and designers. For our final four round I’m going to be featuring members of the casts, covering not just their work in the films in question, but also in some other notable appearances.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Titanic vs Boogie Nights


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Can it possibly have already been 20 years? That’s what I find myself asking when I look at this set of movies. Sure, ten years easy, maybe even fifteen. But 20? My math must be off. That’s what it is.

With the 1987 bracket now in the books, next up is a decade’s move up to the most memorable movies of 1997. We were slap dab in the middle of the Bill Clinton Presidency, the internet was the new hip thing, the Green Bay Packers returned to the top of the American football world, the Teletubbies premiered on BBC, Princess Diana was killed in an auto accident, the U.S. economy was booming, and the world began to slowly come to an end when The Spice Girls and Hanson became top-selling musical artists. Was this an important year for you? How did our movies here reflect that? Come along as we talk about two of them!
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Daffy Stardust takes on Haunted Mansion theories


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It’s just a few days after Christmas, so obviously the natural thing to do is to compose another post about Disney’s Haunted Mansion. The topics I’m going to cover here were touched on a bit in last year’s tour of the Walt Disney World version of the Mansion, but since I’m still finding these fan theories lingering I thought I’d talk about them in a little more detail than before. I’ll be asking three central questions, with a little bit of crossover. Who is Master Gracey? Is he the Ghost Host? Do you die on the ride? Some fans will give you a “yes” to those last two questions, but I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look, shall we?
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LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics: Rick Astley vs Starship


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Welcome to the next matchup in our continuing search for the most satisfyingly cheesy pop songs of all time! A LeBlog Cheestastic Classic should be both undeniably corny or over-the-top while also possessing some quality that makes some of us grin and pump our fists in gleeful irony. Some people might also use the term “guilty pleasure.” But I’m not going to. For our purposes here, these are “LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics.” The skill and talent involved in producing some of these songs may, in fact, be quite impressive and at their core these songs might actually be rather superior to some which are considered cool. But somewhere along the way the songwriter or performer took that wrong turn at Albuquerque and landed themselves in the land of cheese.

Okay people, here it is. The ultimate matchup of cheesy ’80s pop songs that have become more and more notorious as the years have worn on. If you had asked members of the graduating class of 1988 about these two songs you probably would have gotten one of a couple of responses. One would be some version of “Ugh. Those mass-produced pieces of fluff? Who cares about them. I’m trying to forget them.” The other would go something like “Oh, those are fun songs! Have you heard ‘Together Forever’ yet?” Both of these responses might have suggested that “We Built This City” and “Never Gonna Give You Up” would have relatively short lives in the collective pop culture consciousness…but that’s not what happened.
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Building my Movie Posters Puzzle: Creature From the Black Lagoon


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In late June I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

Up to this point in my coverage of this visual celebration of classic movies, what we’ve seen have been largely either legendarily great films, or top-notch examples of genre forms. Even something like Pillow Talk holds a significant place in the history of the romantic comedy and still stands as an excellent example of that kind of movie. Today’s entry Creature From the Black Lagoon, though plenty famous and possessing of some admirable qualities here and there is the first of a few flicks that will be part of this project which will mostly be considered memorable as just being fun.
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