Now that our galaxy far far away has relocated to Cinderella's castle, a lot of fans are probably asking themselves (and anyone else who will listen) what the new Star Wars movies -- now produced by Disney -- will feel like. The Hollywood Reporter has a fantastic story on that very subject today. Here are three of their conclusions:
THE AVENGERS?!? George Lucas had always planned nine Star Wars films, according to THR, but sources tell the trade newspaper that the new ones could focus on individual characters and storylines, a la The Avengers franchise.
A RETURN TO HOTH: Ask any fan what the best movie of the trilogy is (because seriously, no original fan would name any of the prequels in this argument) and you'll likely hear The Empire Strikes Back. Well, good news. THR theorizes that the next Star Wars movie will have that same grittiness. Why? Because like Empire, Lucas has provided only the treatment for the next three movies; other directors and screenwriters will carry them through. Sorry, Jar-Jar. …
Who wants another list of great horror movies of the '80s? I tweak and recycle this list every year or so -- just about as often as I recycle the "Dr. Fink" costume from Purple Rain for a Halloween get-up. Still, I maintain that only two movies scared the every-loving-hell out of me in the '80s: Halloween 3 - Season of the Witch (really not good at all, but I still get chills from that creepy commercial jingo) and Poltergeist (for just about every scene from start to finish, but particularly the scene-that-shall-not-be-named yet.)
The list is generated by reader suggestions, reviews of the movies and a little personal opinion here and there. It's not as long as our previous lists of best comedies, worst songs, best videos and worst films. But it'll still give you a great guide to picking movies to watch tonight since we're all too old to go out and beg for candy.
Excerpts from critic reviews are only included in the top 5 for this list. Critics are traditionally harsh on horror movies and their comments weren't pretty beyond the very best of the movies. I picked the "taglines" for the rest of the flicks.
Rush rolls into Tampa's 1-800-Ask-Gary-Why-Parking-Is-So-Bad Amphitheatre on Saturday for this 2012 tour, and fans have been praising the band's setlist on their latest trip through North America. But not me. And spoiler alert: If you don't want to see the setlist song by song ahead of time, stop reading now.
Rush is one of the few bands out there that sticks to their setlist like glue from opening date to closing night, so I'd be shocked if the song list you see below isn't replicated verbatim on Saturday night. But not as shocked as I am to see that Limelight, off Rush's Moving Pictures album, is missing entirely. Personally, I always thought it was a great show-opener, but I understand the Holy Trilogy wanting to mix it up. Still, cutting it out entirely? Sorry, I cannot go along with that. …
So George Lucas has cashed in his Star Wars fortune and turned the keys to the Millennium Falcon over to Disney? Well, that explains. As I was driving right past the Magic Kingdom on Interstate 4 today, I swear I could hear a million voices cry out only to be suddenly silenced. Or maybe that was just Disney Hollywood Studio's Tower of Terror.
According to the AP, the Walt Disney Co. announced Tuesday that it was buying Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion and will begin work immediately on a seventh movie -- Episode 7 -- that will carry on the story of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. Episodes 8 and 9 will follow with an additional Star Wars movie every two of three years.
So just like the James Bond 007 franchise. Only with more Ewoks.
It's just my own speculation at this point, but I'd be shocked if Disney didn't create a Star Wars-themed amusement park as well, just like Universal Studios Orlando did with Harry Potter. Anyone need a Fast Pass for "Mouse Eisley?"
It's hard to keep up and attend every '80s show rolling through towns on tours these days. For every Adam Ant show that I manage to catch, there's a Bananarama show that I can't make it to. The latest miss: The Bangles, who played Tampa on Sunday night. But luckily, our good friend Chris Stainton of Rubix Cubed (the official '80s cover band of Stuck in the '80s) was there and he filed this review.
The ‘80s rock/pop starlets, The Bangles, played for almost 75 minutes at the Hard Rock Cafe on Sunday night in Tampa. There was not a bad seat in the house, with official attendance reporting 500, it looked about half that number were there. The Bangle-philes that was there, however, had a truly special and intimate night, as Vicki, Debbi, and Susanna played hit after hit after hit from their 30-year catalog. …
Celebrating birthdays is a Stuck in the '80s tradition, but usually we stick to those actors who helped define our beloved decade. So where does that leave us with Richard Dreyfuss, who turns 65 years old today? The award-winning actor is a legend, but was he a legend of the '80s? Off the top of our heads, you're probably thinking Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Holland's Opus.
Great choices. None of them are from the '80s, HOWEVER, I would argue that Jaws and Close Encounters invented the Hollywood blockbuster model upon which most of the great '80s movies are based. In fact, I'm about to argue that the very best Dreyfuss acting job of the '80s is only a spoken-word perforance.
Still, it feels like we nemed a specific list. So get ready to blow out five candles, Richard. Here are ...
RICHARD DREYFUSS' TOP 5 MOVIES OF THE '80s:
5. MOON OVER PARADOR (1988): "Why couldn't you get Bobby DeNiro or Dustin Hoffman?"
4. STAKEOUT (1987): "Ah - we have a letter. 'Dear Maria, I hear you are doing okay. I hear you are seeing a couple of guys. Sometimes I get so mad I could wipe out the entire world, and enjoy myself doing it'. Now how could she have dumped a charmer like him?" …
Joss Whedon really isn't an '80s fixture; his biggest achievement came with TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer series in the '90s, which is beloved enough by the '80s generation that he gets a free pass to appear on the blog anytime. So it's with great delight that, on the same day we report that Madonna is riling up the masses with an Obama endorsement, Whedon is praising GOP candidate Mitt Romney. Oh, wait, there's one small detail I shouldn't leave out: Whedon says he adores Romney because of the politician's commitment to a zombie apocalypse.
"Romney is ready to make the deep rollbacks in healthcare, education, social services, reproductive rights that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting -- all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland," he said in a video released Sunday night. "But it's his commitment to unregulated corporate privilege that will nosedive this economy into true insolvency and chaos."
Whedon continued, "Mitt's not afraid to face a ravening grasping hoard of subhumans -- because that's how he sees poor people already." …
Let's get this straight. Over the years Madonna has been criticized for pretending to be crucified during a concert in Rome. For posing nude in a BDSM themed book. For making out with Britney Spears during the MTV Music Awards. More recently, for superimposing a swastika over her face during a video montage. And in September, for calling the U.S. president a "black Muslim."
But what really sent fans at a concert in New Orleans over the edge this weekend was the Material Girl telling them "I don't care who you vote for as long as you vote for Obama." The UK's Guardian says the "request" was met "with a mixture of cheers and loud boos."
Is Louisiana a swing state of something?
Actually, odder to me was hearing Madonna talk in a relatively normal voice for a few minutes. No phony British accent. No cooing melody to her words. Maybe she's not so robotic afterall. But, Madge, I'm sure the politicians of both parties would be happier if you left the endorsements to more serious musicians.
What is best in life? It's certainly not the Conan the Barbarian movie franchise, which peaked in 1982 with the first film starring that one former politician who's pushing his autobiography these days. But Hollywood slept on the wrong side of its brain again and is facing screenplay numbness so here comes The Legend of Conan.
"Universal Pictures has made a deal for The Legend Of Conan, an action film that will star Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his signature roles as Robert E. Howard’s mythic barbarian," Deadline.com reports. "The deal brings Conan and Schwarzenegger back to Universal, which released the first film that launched Schwarzenegger’s movie career back in 1982. Universal has world rights on the film."
Okay, but what about the actual story? It's got one, right? …
Any Stephen King fans out there? We don't talk books here very often at Stuck in the '80s, so hang with us on this one: King's 1984 short story Gramma, from his 1985 collection of stories titled Skeleton Key, is about to be made into a movie called Mercy, not to be confused with a half dozen other movies named Mercy in the last 20 years and certainly not to be mistaken for Misery, the 1990 movie also based on King's work.
Anyone need a flow chart? Good, because I've done one since 8th grade.
The Hollywood Reporter says Universal Pictures and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions are behind the project, which will star British actress Frances O’Connor and be directed by Peter Cornwell.
Now that we have the industry stuff out of the way, here's the storyline: The plot follows a mother, played by O’Connor, with two young sons who come to discover their ailing grandmother, Mercy, is a witch. Hardcore '80s fans will also remember that Gramma was an episode of TV's The Twilight Zone back in 1986.
Depeche Mode has finished its latest album and teasing fans by releasing this clip from an untitled, presumable upcoming song. (Slicingupeyeballs.com says it'll be called Angel of Love.)
Fans can expect the album, and a world tour this spring. And what might the album sound like?
"It’s got a bit of a feel of Violator on some of the songs and a feel of Songs of Faith and Devotion on other songs," Martin Gore said at a recent press conference in Paris. "It’s a bit of a hybrid of those two for me."
Sounds about perfect. And as for that tour, the European dates have been released. Here they are: …
Nah, Han Solo was never conceived as a female character in Star Wars, but you probably clinked on the headline anyway for that reason, so I'll reward you with this: A photo of a female blogger who just designed her own Han Solo costume for Halloween.
Chelsea Bloxsom from Loveandasandwich.com came up with this idea in her spare time. Actually it doesn't sound that difficult. Chelsea made the the vest, holster/belt and pant stripes herself. As for the wookiee on her back, I'm betting she bought it here for $38.99.
Last night, when I should have been packing up and getting ready to move to Orlando, I found myself watching The Natural again for the billionth time on cable TV. I can't quit it. It's got laughs. Tears. Smiles. Exultations. It's life, that's what it is.
And it all made me start thinking: "Damn, Robert Redford has created one of the great heroes of the decade with Roy Hobbs." Which of course got me thinking, "Yeah, but where does Roy Hobbs rank in a list of the greatest movie heroes of the '80s?" Which of course got me thinking, "Do I have enough Diet Coke to make one more drink with Wild Turkey?" But that's not important right now. (Editor's note: I did.)
It's time for us to compile a list of the best movie heroes of the '80s. (Remember when we did the best movie villians? Clancy Brown!) Some rules of course. The hero needs to appear in an '80s movie. (He or she can be in other years, if the movie franchise overlaps decades). The character can be flawed, but not so much that it overshadows the good deeds. Contribute your nominations in the comment area. Want some examples? Here are five that would be on my personal list:
ROCKY BALBOA (Rocky): Sure, the first two movies are in the '70s, but he takes out Mr. T and Ivan Drago in the '80s. Eye of the tiger, Rock. Eye of the tiger.
Today marks the end and a new beginning for Stuck in the '80s, an idea that came to mind seven years ago when I wanted to invent something to do at work that wouldn't feel at all like actual work. After 16 years at the Tampa Bay Times, today is my final day. Tomorrow, I begin packing up hundreds of '80s movies on DVD, my beloved Ferris Bueller poster, a framed poster of Live Aid's final moments and try to transplant it and all the memories 90 miles away in Orlando. On Nov. 5, I will trade one dream for another when I start a new job as Digital Content Director at Bonnier Corp. My other passion -- travel -- will be the focus of the new job, and I couldn't be more excited.
But Stuck in the '80s will endure. And it will remain right here. At least for a while. The Times has asked me to continue writing the blog as a freelancer, and I've happily agreed. There's still so much to say about what I constantly call "our beloved decade." There are birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate, Hollywood remakes and sequels to mock, new albums by our aging heroes to be cheered, and -- sadly too -- passings to be mourned. And as we have for seven years, we'll do it all together.
You'll notice that my blog biography has changed a little, marking my move from "editor" to "correspondent." And the e-mail to reach me is new too: firstname.lastname@example.org. Other things will remain the same. You can still find Tampa Bay (and now Orlando) concerts by '80s bands to the right. And I hope to still be able to give you the latest touring news along with interviews with the people we love from our decade.
As for the podcast, we've posted our last "studio-produced" show online. You can find it right here. I emphasize "studio-produced" because I believe the Stuck in the '80s podcast will find a second incarnation in the coming months. But first, allow me some time to summon the energy and vision for it while I start my new future in Orlando.
In the meantime, you'll see my "heart on the sleeve" five days a week right here on the blog (and at our Facebook page). And now more than ever, I welcome your contributions as well. Concert and album reviews, top 5 lists, you dream it up, I'll find a way to make it work online.
As Stuck in the '80s transitions, I take your kudos and compliments with the greatest humility. When the sliver of the idea of honoring a decade that was already buried in 20 years of history first came to me, I figured it would be a solitary adventure. I could never have conceived that hundreds of thousands of friends would join me on the journey and make it part of their own lives.
I loved to finish each podcast with the words "hopelessly stuck in the '80s." But now I'm not sure those are the right words for this particular moment. "Proudly stuck in the '80s" fits better. And now, let's turn to the next page together...
Relive the '80s music, movies and culture with Tampa Bay Times correspondent Steve Spears. A teen during the greatest decade ever, Steve is obsessed with everything from Duran Duran to Journey, John Hughes to John Cusack, and parachute pants to big hair.