Sunday, 12 July 2020

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Episodes

Gremlins (1984)

GremlinsEpisode 211 is the second in our pairing of films which can be linked three different ways! It's a Christmas film that was moved up six months so that its production company could compete against Ghostbusters. Released on the same day, it's director Joe Dante's 1984 horror comedy "Gremlins!" Written by Chris Columbus and starring Hoyt Axton, Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Polly Holliday, Dick Miller, Francis Lee McCain, Corey Feldman, and Judge Reinhold, with a cameo by animator Chuck Jones, and the voice of comedian Howie Mandel, this is the story of a cute little creature, a Mogwai named Gizmo, who joins the Peltzer family one Christmas. Billy (Galligan) is the recipient of the gift, and he is told the three rules for keeping the Mogwai: No bright light, don't get him wet or give him any water, and never, ever, under any circumstances, feed him after midnight. And, as you might guess, each of these rules gets broken, unleashing calamity upon the sleepy little town of Kingston Falls. The film that helped create the PG-13 rating! Plus, the trio reveal how they intend to honor the passing of the great director Joel Schumacher with their next pairing!



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Ghostbusters (1984)

The Color PurpleFor this pairing, we could label this several ways: Horror comedies, films released on June 8th, 1984, or movies starting with "G." Whatever way you like, for episode 210, our first film is the blockbuster that endures, the paranormal comedy with a heart, the love letter to New York City that is "Ghostbusters!" Directed by Ivan Reitman, this film boasts a script by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis that was used mostly to give the stars a starting point to improvise from. Starring Aykroyd and Ramis, along with Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, and William Atherton, this is one of the best U.S. film to come out of the 1980s. Apart from its superb cast (who improvised most of the film's dialogue and turned in superb performances) the film features a great score by the renowned composer Elmer Bernstein, an Academy Award-nominated song by Ray Parker Jr., and special effects that are still impressive even in 2020! Plus, it's one of the most quotable (and quoted) films in cinema history!



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The Long Walk Home (1990)

The Color PurpleEpisode 209 is the second in our pairing of films that detail the African-American experience in the United States, as well as the second appearance of our Guest Geek, Annette, as we take a look at one of the pivotal events of the 1950s, the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott in 1990's "The Long Walk Home." Directed by Richard Pearce, the story follows Miriam (Sissy Spacek) and Odessa (Whoopi Goldberg). Miriam is the mother in a middle-class white family, while Odessa is the mother in a working-class African-American household, and Miriam's housekeeper. Shortly after the start of the film, we hear about Rosa Parks historic refusal to give up her seat on a public bus to a white person. This results in the African-American residents of Montgomery staging a complete boycott of the bus system. This does, however, cause many problems as a significant portion of those boycotting live far enough away from their workplaces as to make walking not really feasible. They do it anyway, however, and Miriam starts turning her back on the systemic racism that infects the other white adults she normally associates with. An incredibly moving film that doesn't sugarcoat anything, making it a must-see for people of any race! Plus, the trio reveal which films, released on the same day in 1984, they'll be reviewing next!



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The Color Purple (1985)

The Color PurpleWith all the unrest in the United States over the past month or so, we wanted to do our part... but we review movies. So, episode 208 begins our investigation of the African-American experience, as captured in popular film, with the first of two films starring Whoopi Goldberg, 1985's "The Color Purple!" Directed by Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay written by Menno Meyjes (based on the best-selling book by Alice Walker), the film co-stars Danny Glover, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Willard E. Pugh, Akosua Busia, Rae Dawn Chong, and Adolph Caesar. The story follows a young woman named Celie as she is married off to an older man, assigned to take care of his three poorly-behaved children, and separated from her only friend, her sister Nettie. It isn't until a juke joint singer named Shug arrives that her life begins to change for the better. This is the first on-screen appearance for both Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg, and it's an absolute triumph for both!



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The Court Jester (1955)

maverickEpisode 207 completes our two-week look at the films of the great Danny Kaye, with a review of what is likely his best-known film, 1955's "The Court Jester." This film netted Kay a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (this film is both). Kay plays Hubert Hawkins, a former circus performer turned bandit, part of the crew under the lead of the infamous Black Fox. Hawkins wants nothing more than to be useful in the fight against the usurper King Roderick the First. Unfortunately, the Black Fox feels he's not manly enough, and assigns him to work with his Captain, Jean (Glynis Johns), in keeping hidden the rightful king, an infant with a telltale birthmark on his... cheek. He ends up meeting Giacomo, King of Jesters and Jester of Kings, who is headed for Roderick's court. Hubert and Jean waylay Giacomo and Hubert takes his place. Arriving at the palace, he meets both the evil Sir Ravenhurst (Basil Rathbone) and the beautiful Princess Gwendolyn (Angela Lansbury). Unfortunately for Hubert/Giacomo, things are not as simple as he'd hoped, and the story takes several turns before it's over. The film contains many scenes demonstrating both Kaye's singing and dancing talent and his abilities with physical comedy. A classic for the whole family, and a look at how beautiful both Lansbury and Johns were in their heyday! Plus, the trio reveal how they're trying to help the civil unrest in their own filmic way through their next pairing.



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