2022 In Review!

The Year That Lightning Struck!

2022 was certainly a banner year for my blog. I am deeply honored that so many of you read my posts and click on the photos that I share. It amazes me how people from all over the world check out my blog and put up with my silliness. This was a record-smashing year for my blog and I thank and love all of you for making this year so successful! Due to the massive success this year, I will be expanding and updating my blog at some point in 2023. Please be on the lookout for a few changes coming up in the near future.

Let’s take a look at the year’s most clicked pics:

Coming in at #1 is this photo of KISS and a few of their closest friends:

The second most clicked pic was this photo from the film Weird Science:

The third most clicked photo was surprising, as it’s of voice actor Hynden Walch:

Hynden Walch

Sitting at number four is this classic from Flash Gordon:

The fifth pic that my readers clicked on was this photo that I took of a Spin Master figure of Batman without his mask:

The sixth most clicked photo on my blog was this one of KISS with their second drummer, the late Eric Carr:

Number seven, for reasons that I don’t know (cough, cough), is this lovely still from Edward Scissorhands:

Number eight belongs to Christie Brinkley from National Lampoon’s Vacation:

The ninth most clicked photo from my blog this year was of KISS:

At number ten we have the lone returning photo from previous years. Ivy DoomKitty definitely touched a nerve with my readers as she has consistently appeared on this list ever since I first posted this photo from a post from November of 2020:

When it comes to my posts, last year’s winner and runner-up for views remained in first and second place, respectively. For some reason people really, really love my posts on the Wizards of Waverly Place and 3-2-1 Contact!. The post from 2022 that received the most views was my The Year Of KISS post that focused on their album Hotter Than Hell.

As far as overall views are concerned, 2022 blew every other year out of the water! In total my blog posts were viewed 22,745 times! That’s about twice as many views as it received in 2021. Last year I had three months with over one thousand views. This year I had over one thousand views for EVERY SINGLE MONTH! Of those months, five featured over two thousand views and August had a whopping 5,452 views! Thank you so much for these amazing numbers! I was only hoping for one or two months with more than two thousand views but all of you blew me away with your dedication to my blog!

People from sixty-nine different countries visited my blog this year! In first place was the United States of America with 14,571 views. That’s over twice as many views as the US gave me last year! The United Kingdom came in second with 1,494 views followed by Canada with 1,031 views. Australia and Germany chipped in over four hundred views apiece. Mexico and Brazil came next with over three hundred views each. 242 good people of France also checked out my blog. From there, countries like the Philippines, Ireland, India, Spain, and Russia viewed my posts just under two hundred times each. Thanks to all of you across the world for checking out my posts!

I fell three posts shy of my goal of one hundred and fifty posts this year. That’s okay, however, as I hope to reach that goal next year. I plan on writing more Throwback Thursday posts and plan on bringing back Dimestore Reads, Tunes, and November Noise. That will definitely get me close to my goal.

Google proved to be the primary way that people came across my blog this year. It was followed by Reddit, Google Image Search, WordPress Reader, Facebook, and two newcomers to the list, Twitter and Instagram.

This is the fifth year in a row where I had more views and more clicks on photos. THANK YOU!!!!!! I hope that I can continue to post interesting film, toy, book, and music reviews. I also plan to attend more conventions. Let me know if you want me to check out anything specific in 2023.

Again……THANK YOU!!!!!

Throwback Thursday: Riding The Bullet (2004)

“The Bullet is constant.”

Released in 2004, Stephen King’s Riding The Bullet is a generic thriller that tries desperately to be more than it is. The film has flashes of brilliance that are spread too far apart by long sequences of awkward interactions, failed attempts at art house-styled scenes, and mundane moments. It was directed and adapted by Mick Garris and starred Jonathan Jackson, David Arquette, Barbara Hershey, Matt Frewer, Erika Christensen, and Nicky Katt.

In the film, Jackson portays Alan Parker, an art student who gets into an argument with his girlfriend, tries to commit suicide, and then ends up hitchhiking home to see his dying mother. While hitchhiking, Alan meets a number of unique characters, may or may not have a few hallucinations, gets chased by murderous rednecks, and eventually rides shotgun with a phantom who gives him a choice: your life or your mother’s life.

Garris was already familiar with adapting and directing King’s work for both the big and small screen. He directed the 1992 film adaptation of King’s Sleepwalkers and also directed and/or wrote/produced a number of television shows and mini-series based on King’s work including The Stand (1994), Quicksilver Highway (1997) and The Shining (1997). He also worked on shows like Amazing Stories (1985) and She-Wolf Of London (1990), so his bizarre direction of Bullet has me a bit perplexed.

The film just can’t seem to find its rhythm. It throws in bizarre sequences where Alan has a conversation with his conscious, a literal second Alan that pops up throughout the film, that become increasingly more annoying with each interaction. It has a lot of misplaced or just plain dumb jump scares as well.

The film’s acting is pretty bad as well. Jackson isn’t a bad actor. He just cannot carry this film for some reason. Matt Frewer’s brief appearance feels forced and is poorly executed. Erika Christensen never really gets to show off her acting chops. Cliff Robertson’s role as an extremely creepy, elderly fellow that picks up Alan is awkward. Perhaps confusing everyone with bizarre characters was Garris’ intention. If so, he nailed it. If he was doing anything else, he failed miserably.

Not all of the performances were bad. Nicky Katt shines as a draft dodger who picks up Alan on his way to see his mother. Barbara Hershey is also quite excellent as Alan’s mother. The real star here is David Arquette, who plays against type as George Staub, a fifties-styled greaser who gives Alan the last ride to the hospital. The kicker? Staub is dead and is in town to take a soul with him to the afterlife. He uses fear, humor, and rage to manipulate Alan and he does a fine job of it in this film.

It’s a shame that this film is such a dud. It has a solid cast, an experienced director, and source material from one of horror’s living legends. It ultimately doesn’t translate well to the screen, however, and makes this one of my least favorite Stephen King adaptations.

Did you enjoy Riding The Bullet? let me know in the comments section. As always, thanks for reading.

Throwback Thursday: The Mist (2007)

“There’s something in the mist….”

Frank Darabont adapts a Stephen King story for the fourth time with 2007’s The Mist. Darabont already did The Woman In The Room, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile, but this was the first time that Darabont tackled a full blown tale of terror from King. With amazing performances from the likes of Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher, Marcia Gay Harden, and Toby Jones, it’s no wonder that this film is so amazing. Top it all off with four future members of the cast of The Walking Dead and that show’s make-up supervisor, and you’ve got the perfect storm for a great film.

In the film, a powerful storm blows through a small town in Maine. David and Stephanie Drayton and their son, Billy, assess the damage to their home and David and Billy head into town for supplies. Along for the ride is their occasional neighbor, Brent, an attorney who has had a number of run-ins with David in the past. While all of this is happening, a mysterious and thick mist rolls across the small town and the surrounding areas. While in the grocery store, David, Billy, and Brent become trapped inside the building after the mist covers everything and everyone. Alarms sound, screams and roars are heard, and a small group of store employees and patrons hunker down to battle an unseen enemy. As the day grows long, factions begin to form throughout the group. Brent heads up one of these factions, the “Outsiders,” made up of vacationers and visitors from out of town. Mrs. Carmody, a local religious fanatic, begins to make proclamations and prophecies about what is happening and quickly forms another, more bloodthirsty group. A third group headed up by David also forms. It features level-headed members of the local community and a few of the store employees. Brent’s group heads out into the fog, hoping to find help. Carmody’s group seeks out sacrifices to the beasts and turns on David’s group. David and his faction make a desperate attempt at escape. Who lives? Who dies? Who are what are the real monsters in The Mist? Watch it to find out what happens!

Darabont does an amazing job of showing us just how quickly humanity can spiral out of control. The people in the store initially help one another fight off the beasts that attempt to kill them but quickly turn on one another. All of this is delivered in a chaotic fashion that only adds to the suspense and terror of the film. The CGI creatures look pretty good, but Nicotero’s practical effects really shine in this film. Thankfully the mist manages to hide many of the shortcomings of the CGI.

The cast is amazing. Everyone delivers an amazing performance. Thomas Jane carries the film as David, but he gets a ton of support from Andre Braugher, Sam Witwer, Alexa Davalos, Toby Jones, Frances Sternhagen, and many others. Marcia Gay Harden steals every scene that she appears in as her character, Mrs. Carmody, embraces her divine destiny as the leader of religious zealots. Rounding out the brilliant cast are four future castmates from The Walking Dead. Laurie Holden and Jeffrey DeMunn have prominent roles in the film and it also features Juan Gabriel Pareja and Melissa McBride in small roles. McBride is of special note, as her character is only on the screen for a few minutes but they are very powerful minutes.

This film’s ending is brutal. I won’t spoil it here, but do know that if you’ve read Stephen King’s novella, Darabont took some major liberties with the film adaptation. In fact, King loves the ending that Darabont used in the film. The first time I saw it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s simply wonderful.

The Mist (2007) Directed by Frank Darabont Shown from left: Laurie Holden, Thomas Jane and Nathan Gamble

This is definitely one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations. The story is interesting, paced extremely well, and shows us all that the worst monsters in the world are actually folks that look just like you and me. Be sure to check out the madness that is The Mist.

Thanks for checking out my review! See you again soon!

Throwback Thursday: The Blood Suckers (1967)

“In spite of this dreadful accident, I welcome you to my villa.”

Whether you call it La Isla De La Muerte, Maneater Of Hydra, Le Baron Vampire, or Island Of The Doomed, 1967’s The Blood Suckers is quite the messy flick. It’s plot centers around a mad scientist, Baron von Weser (Cameron Mitchell), and his passion for plant life…..and not humanity. In the film, the baron welcomes a small group of tourists to his secluded island villa where he shows them various types of plants that he either transplanted to the island or concocted in his own laboratory. The tourists begin to die off one by one due to an apparent “blood disease” that seems to be running rampant on the small island. Soon enough, survivors start to wonder if one of them is a murderer or even a vampire. Who lives? Who dies? Whodunnit? Sit through The Blood Suckers to find out!

The film was directed by Mel Welles who, ironically, portrayed Gravis Mushnick in 1960’s The Little Shop Of Horrors, another film about a carnivorous plant. To be completely honest, that film is exactly what came to mind when I started watching The Blood Suckers. Also credited as directing the film (at least on IMDb.com) was Ernst Ritter von Theumer who, along with Welles and Stephen Schmidt, is credited as writing the film. Welles’ direction was okay, but the editing was atrocious. Many scenes abruptly ended and went right into another scene set somewhere else on the island.

The acting was also off kilter. Star Cameron Mitchell did a decent job as the wicked baron and I really liked the performances of George Martin as David, Elisa Montes as Beth, and Hermann Nehlsen as Professor Demerist, but the other players in the film seemed to be either poorly directed, poorly written, or just underwhelming. Matilde Munoz Sampedro was annoying as Myrtle, a lady hellbent on taking photographs of everything. Rolf von Nauckhoff and Kai Fischer were totally bipolar as the married Robinson couple who would fight with one another and then speak sweet nothings to each other with the flip of a switch.

The film did manage to find itself on Elvira’s Movie Macabre, so that should tell you how excellent this film is, but I must say that the special effects and gore were top notch for such a low budget production. It ultimately falls flat, though, and while I won’t tell you to watch this film, I won’t stop you from viewing it. There is something oddly appealing about it that I just can’t put a finger upon, but it’s definitely not a must-see film.

Thanks for taking a look back at The Blood Suckers with me. It is available on a number of free streaming services and has been released on numerous home video platforms over the years. My suggestion to you is that if you’re going to watch it, check it out on a free streamer first.

Throwback Thursday: Halloween II (1981)

“There’s a file on Michael Myers that nobody knew about…”

Hated by many, loved by few, 1981’s Halloween II picks up where 1978’s Halloween ended. The film is a direct sequel to its predecessor and opens with a flashback sequence that catches viewers up to the events of the previous film. After Dr. Loomis puts six bullets in him, Michael Myers falls off of the second floor balcony. Dr. Loomis runs out to see the body and it is gone. He checks on Laurie and then quickly heads out to find Michael Myers. From there, ol’ Mikey swipes a knife from an elderly woman, kills a young woman named Alice, and then sets out to track down Laurie at the local hospital in order to finish the job he started in the first film.

John Carpenter refused to direct the film because he simply didn’t want to rehash the original story. He suggested Tommy Lee Wallace, the original film’s art director, but Wallace also refused to direct the film. Carpenter’s second choice was Rick Rosenthal who, at least in my opinion, did a fine job of mimicking Carpenter’s vibe and direction of the original movie. Carpenter teamed up with Debra Hill, who also wrote the original film and many others with Carpenter, to write the sequel. Apparently he wasn’t that into writing the film, either, because his and Hill’s initial screenplay was shot down by the producers. In order to spice the story up a bit, Carpenter injected perhaps the most argued over bit of Halloween mythos: Laurie Strode is Michael Myers’ sister. It also makes Michael Myers a seemingly supernatural being.

Almost all of the core cast from the original film (including one of Mikey’s victims) returned to reprise their roles. Jamie Lee Curtis returned as Laurie Strode. Donald Pleasence starred once again as Dr. Loomis. Charles Cyphers and Nancy Loomis returned as the Sheriff Brackett and his dead daughter, Annie. Nancy Stephens also came back as Marion Chambers. Dick Warlock took on the role of Michael Myers in the film. Lance Guest, best known for portraying Alex and Beta in The Last Starfighter, portrays Jimmy, an ambulance driver who becomes smitten with Laurie while she is in the hospital. Other cast members included Leo Rossi, Pamela Susan Shoop, Ana Alicia, Ford Rainey, Tawny Moyer, Gloria Gifford, and Lucille Benson. Anne Bruner portrayed ill-fated Alice. Dana Carvey, who would go on to become a star on Saturday Night Live, also has a bit part in the film.

L to R: Dick Warlock, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Donald Pleasence.

The film perhaps best remembered for its amped up violence and gore. Michael Myers has free reign over a hospital with a skeleton crew and he uses everything at his disposal to kill them. From draining people of blood to slashing throats with a scalpel, Mike does it all. I actually liked seeing the various ways that Michael Myers dispatched his victims.

The film is far from perfect but I really enjoyed it. It was especially cool seeing Lance Guest in an early role. The pacing was a tad slow but the music, kills, and acting were all very well done. Let’s be honest, there are much worse Halloween sequels out there, and while this one isn’t five stars, it’s definitely better than most of them.

Thanks for revisiting Halloween II with me. I am absolutely positive that its star, Jamie Lee Curtis, will return for Thirty-One Days O’Horror in October of this year. See you again soon!

Throwback Thursday: The Librarian: Quest For The Spear (2004)

Noah Wyle and Sonya Walger star as Flynn and Nicole.

Cable network TNT has been cranking out original films since 1989 when it released Nightbreaker starring father/son duo Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. The company has produced one hundred plus original films. Some of their most successful releases have been science fiction and adventure films. One film stands out above the rest of them, however, and that would be 2004’s The Librarian: Quest For The Spear. Despite an overall light atmosphere and questionable CGI, the film started a franchise that would include two sequels and a popular television series as well as comics and tie-in novels.

The Library.

In the film, perpetual student and all-around annoyingly intelligent nerd Flynn Carsen is forced out of college life by one of his professors in order for him to “see the world.” Upset that he can’t enroll for more classes for six months, Flynn heads home to his mother who has attempted yet again to set him up with a young lady. When that meeting goes south, Flynn heads to his room full of books in order to be miserable. His mother slips the mail onto a bookshelf for him. After stumbling over, a letter falls on him that invites him to the Metropolitan Public Library to interview for a position.

Flynn and his mother.

At the library, Flynn is chosen to be a Librarian, a member of a secret society that protects ancient artifacts, historically important items, and a number of legendary items that are real. Some of the items that Flynn is now responsible for include a unicorn, the Holy Grail, a jet pack, and the real Mona Lisa. Flynn is told about some of the other librarians that protected the items before him including the recently deceased Wilde.

Charlene and Judson.

Things go sideways when a secret group known as the Serpent Brotherhood sneak into the library on Flynn’s first night and steal a piece of the Spear of Destiny, the spear that pierced Jesus’ side while he was on the cross. Flynn is then sent on a mission to recover not only the stolen piece, but the two other pieces that are hidden across the world. High adventure sets in as Flynn travels from the library to the Amazonian Rain Forest where he teams up with one of the Guardians, protectors of the Librarians, named Nicole. The duo run from the Serpent Brotherhood, receive help from a local tribe, and eventually find the second piece of the spear only to learn that the previous Librarian, Wilde, is alive and well and part of the Serpent Brotherhood. He plans on uniting all three pieces of the spear in order to take control of the world. To find the third piece, however, he needs Flynn to translate a book written in the “Language of the Birds” to find the third piece. This leads the group to Shangri-La. Does Flynn save the day? I won’t spoil that part of the film for you. You’ll need to check it out for yourself.

The gang’s all here in Shangri-La.

The film has an amazing cast. Noah Wyle, one of the biggest stars on the long-running ER series, heads up the cast as Flynn. He portrays the character with awkward perfection. Wyle would go on to appear in the successful series Falling Skies after leaving ER and would also appear in both of the Librarian sequels and its television series spinoff. Wyle was nominated for the Saturn award for Best Actor in all three of his Librarian films and for Falling Skies. Nicole is played by the breathtakingly gorgeous Sonya Walger, no slouch on the screen herself, as she would go on to star in Lost, the very controversial Tell Me You Love Me, FlashForward, and For All Mankind. Kyle MacLachlan plays the wicked Wilde in the film. He’s probably best known for his work in Twin Peaks, Dune (1984), and Blue Velvet. For every lovely heroine there has to be a dastardly diva and Kelly Hu fits that perfectly as one of Wilde’s sidekicks, Lana. Hu has starred or co-starred in a number of television series and highly successful films over the years including Sunset Beach, X2, Warehouse 13, Hawaii 5-0, and The Scorpion King. Three legends round out the cast in supporting roles. Olympia Dukakis portrays Flynn’s mother and Jane Curtin and Bob Newhart portray Charlene and Judson, the administrator of the Library and a former Librarian that guides Flynn.

Lana gives a sheepish grin to Flynn. Despite being enemies she is a “fan of his work.”

This is a really fun, light adventure film. It’s somewhat of a mixture of the Indiana Jones films, The Mummy films featuring Brendan Fraser, and pretty much every cliched jungle adventure that has been produced over the years. The film knows this, however, and happily plays through its sequences knowing that it’s meant for nothing more than entertainment. Apparently it worked, based upon the film’s success and the success of its sequels and TV series spin-off.

A scaled down version of one of the Egyptian pyramids which ultimately plays an important role in the film.

There are hints of John Williams all over the place in Joseph LoDuca’s score. Known for his work in shows such as Xena: Warrior Princess and Spartacus, it should come as no surprise that he knows how to work his music into adventure stories. CGI was still fairly new in 2004. Its limitations are quite noticeable in this film but it doesn’t distract the viewer as much as you’d think.

Wilde and Lana size up the new Librarian and his Guardian.

It’s fun. That’s really all that I need to say about this film. It’s light, imperfect, and exactly what a made-for-TV movie should be but with a slightly larger budget. It has a great cast, fun cliffhanger moments, and knows its audience. If you have never watched The Librarian: Quest For The Spear before, give it a look. You won’t regret it. I’ll also be reviewing the other films in this series in the near future. All three of them are available on the free streamer Tubi and also on Blu-ray/DVD. The television series is available on a few different subscription services. Peacock also carries all three of the films.

Thanks for checking out my post.

Throwback Thursday: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

“People are scared of things that are different.”

Tim Burton is one of my favorite creators. He’s an amazing director, writer, animator, and artist and I love his unique style. He has had a hand in many of my favorite films including Batman (1989), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Big Fish (2003), and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007). While I was growing up, his work inspired me. I saw a lot of myself in him. He was the outsider with a wild imagination. He was the weird guy that made cool things. The only difference between him and myself, at least in my mind, was that he made being weird cool and people wanted to hang out with him. Little did I know that he also struggled with being wanted or included much like I did growing up and still do to this day. His 1990 film, Edward Scissorhands, was a therapeutic retelling of his youth and how he desired to belong in the “normal” world.

The film stars Johnny Depp in the titular role. Edward is a young man that is created by a loving inventor (Vincent Price) who gives him everything for a human body except for hands. Instead, Edward is fitted with scissor-like appendages until the inventor can create a pair of hands for him. Sadly his creator passes away before attaching Edwards hands and Edward is eventually discovered living alone by the neighborhood Avon saleswoman, Peg (Dianne Wiest). Realizing that he is all alone and wanting to help him, Peg brings Edward to live with her and her family in a suburban neighborhood.

As Peg attempts to blend Edward into his new surroundings, they become the talk of the neighborhood. In an attempt to stop the rumors and to properly introduce Edward to the community, Peg and her husband, Bill (Alan Arkin), have a barbecue for the neighbors. Edward befriends most of the neighbors. One neighbor in particular, Joyce (Kathy Baker), becomes infatuated with him. As he continues to get to know the neighborhood and its residents, Edward develops relationships with many of them and he falls in love with Kim (Winona Ryder), Bill and Peg’s daughter.

Edward becomes popular for his sheering skills as he trims hedges into different designs for the neighborhood. He also does ice sculptures, grooms pets, and eventually begins cutting and styling the hair of the neighborhood’s women. His entry into their bland, cookie-cutter world breathes new life into the neighborhood’s residents. He’s something strange and different that most of them come to love and accept.

As the story continues, Edward acquires a few enemies. Kim’s boyfriend, Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), a jock with a huge ego, becomes jealous of Edward’s budding relationship with Kim. He gets Edward in trouble with the law. The town’s religious nut, Esmerelda (O-Lan Jones), fears Edward, believing that he is demonic. Joyce, after failing to seduce Edward, spreads a rumor that he tried to sexually assault her and is believed despite the fact that everyone in town knows that she’s the local “desperate housewife” who chases men. Eventually things come to a head and the neighborhood, save for a few people, turn on Edward and chase him back to the lonely castle where Peg found him. He remains there in hiding after Kim lies and tells everyone that Edward died in an altercation with Jim. I won’t spoil what really happened in case you haven’t seen the film.

This film is simply amazing. It features a ton of stereotypical characters and in a brilliant move, in my opinion, Burton cast actors against type. For example, Anthony Michael Hall was primarily known for playing high school nerds. In Edward Scissorhands, he plays the jock. Kathy Baker was known for her dramatic roles and for portraying strong women or the backbone of a family. She’s a seductress in this film and, might I say, very convincing in the role. Depp was best known for playing heartbreakers and love interests at the time and he completely embraced his role as the outsider. Even Winona Ryder, known for her “weird” roles, was cast against type as the generic popular girl. To see these actors work against type was wonderful.

This film marked the first time that Burton would work with Depp. The duo would go on to work on tons of films with one another (usually with Helena Bonham Carter in tow). Production Designer Bo Welch took a neighborhood in Tampa, FL and coated it in pastels. It was the perfect generic world for Edward to play in and disrupt. The cinematography was excellent. The music by Danny Elfman was amazing. Nothing at all was bad about this film. It’s simply a masterpiece and I love it.

Aside from the attempted sexual assault of Edward by Joyce, a murder done in self defense, a little bit of strong language, and the tragic death of a key character at the beginning of the film, Edward Scissorhands is pretty safe for the entire family. It’s a movie about an outsider who wins over new friends but is ultimately driven away from them just for being different. It doesn’t have the happiest of endings, but I believe that many people will be able to identify with Edward, Kim, Peg, or some of the other characters. If you identify with Joyce, well, I fear for your neighborhood’s repairmen!

This film has a special place in my heart. It’s an outsider’s film that outsiders will completely understand. It has references and callbacks to tons of classic films, the most obvious of which is Frankenstein (1931). It’s also the final major film role for Vincent Price, whose career spanned seven decades.

Thank you for reading this post and thanks to Tim Burton for making a film for freaks like us. See you again real soon.

L to R: Tim Burton, Vincent Price, and Johnny Depp.

Throwback Thursday: Wayne’s World (1992)

“Shuh?!?!? And monkeys might fly out of my butt!”

In my teen years, few things made me laugh as hard as watching Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar on their iconic Saturday Night Live sketch, Wayne’s World. The sketch combined two of my favorite things, comedy and metal music. It spawned catch phrases such as “Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!” “Schwing!,” and the header for this post about monkeys flying out of butts. The duo were a massive success and it was only a matter of time for SNL to cash in on them on the big screen.

The film version of Wayne’s World was released in 1992. It was the second film to be released based upon an SNL sketch. It became and remains the highest grossing SNL film. It starred Myers and Carvey in their respective roles and added a ton of stellar actors in supporting roles. Rob Lowe co-starred as Benjamin Kane, a crooked TV producer that manipulates and exploits shows similar to Wayne’s public access show in order to make as much money as possible no matter what happens to the actual program. Tia Carrere co-stars as Cassandra Wong, lead vocalist and bass player for Crucial Taunt, and Wayne’s eventual love interest. The rest of the cast includes Brian Doyle-Murray as Noah Vanderhoff, the sponsor of Benjamin’s version of Wayne’s World, Colleen Camp as Vanderhoff’s wife, Lara Flynn Boyle as Stacy, Wayne’s slightly insane ex, and a ton of other actors including Ed O’Neill, Michael DeLuise, Kurt Fuller, Donna Dixon, Dan Bell, and Lee Tergesen. There were also a number of cameos including Chris Farley, Meat Loaf, Ione Skye, and Frank DiLeo. Alice Cooper and his then current band appear in one sequence as well. That sequence spawned the catchphrase, “We’re not worthy!”

In the movie, Wayne and Garth are taken advantage of by Benjamin, who takes full control of their show in order to make money off of it. Benjamin also tries to steal the love of Cassandra by helping her make a music video. He succeeds in breaking up Wayne and Cassandra but Wayne teams up with his friends to win her back by staging a concert for record producer Frankie Sharp and exposing Benjamin for who he really is. All of these events are laced together with hilarious moments throughout the film including the now iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody” ride through Aurora, Illinois, an homage to Lavergne & Shirley, a run-in with the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) from Terminator 2, and the memorable film “endings” sequence that includes a Scooby-Doo ending.

The film was a major hit and so was its soundtrack. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. It featured classic songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen, Foxy Lady by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Dream Weaver (new recording) by Gary Wright. It featured contemporary tracks from bands like BulletBoys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Alice Cooper. Tia Carrere is also featured on tracks that she performed in the film. Other artists included Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Cinderella, and Eric Clapton, among others.

The film, directed by Penelope Spheeris, best known for her trilogy of music films, The Decline of Western Civilazation, catapulted Myers into a successful film career. It pulled Rob Lowe back into the spotlight after having almost killing his career in the late 1980’s with a scandalous sex tape. It also brought significant attention to the careers of Tia Carrere and Dana Carvey as well as re-sparked interest in classic rock bands, most notably Queen.

You can’t deny the many things that Wayne’s World did for its stars, its featured musical artists, and pop culture in general. The film’s influence is still felt to this day. A sequel was released the following year but SNL couldn’t catch lightning in a bottle twice, as that movie proved to be a failure. Thankfully, the original film lives on and can be watched on numerous streaming platforms and good ol’ fashioned VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray.

Thanks for checking out my post. I recently shared this film with my son and he loved it. It’s one of my favorite films of all time and I’d love to know what you think about it in the comments section. See you again, soon!

Throwback Thursday: National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

“Sorry, folks. The park’s closed.”

Arguably the launching pad for Chevy Chase’s successful cinematic career, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) spawned multiple sequels, introduced us to numerous actors who would go on to bigger things, and became a cornerstone for screwball comedies. The film tells the story of Clark Griswold (Chase) and his family as they drive from Chicago to California in order to enjoy a few days of fun at Walley World, an amusement park based upon the adventures of a lovable moose not unlike Disneyland (the destination of the family in the original script that was scrapped to avoid the fury of the Mouse).

The film wastes no time delivering laughs, as Clark and eldest child Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) go to pick up the family’s new ride at a local car lot. Due to an error by the car dealer (Eugene Levy), the family is saddled with the clunky Wagon Queen Family Truckster, an unreliable behemoth that proves to be pretty tough on multiple occasions throughout the film. Rounding out the family is Clark’s gorgeous wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and their young daughter, Audrey (Dana Barron). The group heads out in the Truckster and experience numerous mishaps on their journey.

At one point in the film, the family meets up with Ellen’s cousins, Eddie and Catherine, and their children. Eddie is played by Randy Quaid and is an iconic character in his own right. He and Catherine (Miriam Flynn) prepare a meal for the Griswolds and let them stay the night. Eddie and Catherine’s oldest daughter, Vicki (played by a young Jane Krakowski), introduces Audrey to marijuana and their son, Dale (John P. Navin, Jr.) teaches Rusty about self love. Before leaving Eddie and Catherine’s home, Eddie springs a surprise on the Griswolds. He tells them that Ellen’s crazy Aunt Edna (the legendary Imogene Coca) will be riding along with them in order to drop her off in Phoenix, AZ.

The family gets in more trouble on their road trip. From getting “shot” by a bartender in Dodge City to losing everything from cash to tires, they get into numerous funny situations. One recurring issue is a mysterious woman in a Ferrari that Clark continues to see on the road. Things come to a head at a hotel one evening when the lady, played by Christie Brinkley, convinces Clark to go skinny dipping with her.

When the family finally arrives at Walley World, the park is closed for repairs. Desperate to have some fun with his family and needing a break from all of the insanity from the road trip, Clark pulls a BB gun on the park’s security guards (John Candy and Frank McRae) and demands that they allow him and his family to have fun. It all leads up to a wacky ending to a wacky film and it’s definitely worth putting on your “must see” list.

While Chase was already an established celebrity thanks to his work on Saturday Night Live and in films like Caddyshack and Foul Play, Vacation opened the door to films such as Fletch, Spies Like Us, and Three Amigos. D’Angelo was already an established actor and even had a Golden Globe nomination under her belt for portraying Patsy Cline in 1980’s Coal Miner’s Daughter, but Vacation launched her into bigger roles in films throughout the 80’s, 90’s and she is still a successful working actor today. Hall went on to star in a string of hit films including Edward Scissorhands, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, The Dark Knight, and the TV series The Dead Zone. Dana Barron went on to have a solid career as a guest star in multiple television shows and is the only Griswold child to reprise her role in more than one Vacation film when she starred in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. The film also starred the aforementioned Coca, Candy, Krakowski, and Levy, and numerous other actors that were either already established or on the cusp of stardom like Brian Doyle-Murray, Mickey Jones, John Diehl, and Eddie Bracken.

In each sequel that followed the original film, only Clark, Ellen, Eddie, and Catherine are portrayed by the same actors. It’s a running gag of the film series that the adults age but the kids always remain young. The film spawned four sequels and one spin-off sequel (the Cousin Eddie film) and has consistently made multiple Top 100 Comedy lists over the years. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

Thanks for taking a trip back in time with me on this post. I’ve had a major crush on Beverly D’Angelo ever since I saw this film and hope to meet her one day. I’d also love to meet any other member of the cast, especially Chevy Chase. See you all again real soon!

Throwback Thursday: Krull (1983)

“The Black Fortress…where does it rise?

My relationship with the 1983 film Krull is an odd one. I didn’t actually see the film when it was first released in theaters but my parents bought me the Atari 2600 game that tied into the film because I was enthralled with the movie. I also had a cousin who saw every single fantasy and science fiction film that hit theaters during those days and she bought me the Parker Brothers Krull card game because she knew that I would love it. Thanks to the video game, I had a basic understanding of the film’s plot. The card game featured some amazing artwork and made me long to see the film. For whatever reason, my parents didn’t take me to see the movie and when it was eventually released on VHS, I didn’t get to see it until I spent a summer at my sister’s old apartment in Alexandria in 1993. The local Blockbuster had a copy of the movie so I rented it and watched it over and over again.

I love this movie. Yes, I know that it isn’t necessarily the greatest film to ever hit celluloid, but there is something extremely appealing about this movie. It basically takes Star Wars, a film that fuses fantasy with science fiction elements, and leans harder on the fantasy aspects. There’s a battle in a swamp, an oppressive army of soldiers known as Slayers who have laser firing weapons, a Cyclops, a massive spider web, fire mares (more on this later), and a cast loaded with characters that all deserve their own action figure in my opinion.

In the film, Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) is about to marry the beautiful Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) in order to unite their respective kingdoms in order to battle the invading Beast and his Slayer army (Slayerrrrrrrrrr!). Instead, the wedding is interrupted by the Slayers who kill Colwyn and Lyssa’s fathers, kidnap Lyssa, and cause general disarray. Colwyn manages to survive the attack and is aided by Ynyr (Freddie Jones). Ynyr tells Colwyn that the Beast can only be defeated by using the Glaive, an ancient and powerful weapon. Colwyn rounds up a few less than respectable outlaws to aid him on his quest, and the film plays out as a traditional fantasy questing film with a slight twist at the end. I won’t say what that twist is, but I will say that it sort of dismisses the necessity of the Glaive.

In any case, I love this film. It’s clunky but the music and special effects are very well done. The cast is loaded with popular British actors, some already established and others that would go on to bigger and better things. American Ken Marshall portrayed Colwyn and he has had a prolific career on television in guest starring roles. He also portrayed Marco Polo in the 1982 miniseries of the same name and guest starred on shows such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Baywatch. Much like Marshall, English actress Lysette Anthony has had a long and successful career that saw her in many supporting and guest roles. Alun Armstrong portrayed the bandit named Torquil. His career includes roles in major films such as Sleepy Hollow, The Mummy Returns, Eragon, and Van Helsing. He has also had a very successful career on television. Bernard Bresslaw, who portrayed the Rell the Cyclops, was already well known as a member of the Carry On comedy team in Britain. He was no stranger to science fiction or fantasy, however, as he had already worked on Doctor Who.

The two actors that most viewers these days would recognize are Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane. Both of these actors had relatively small roles in Krull, but they would both go on to have massive careers, especially Neeson. Coltrane is probably best known for his work in the Harry Potter films as Hagrid and his work in James Bond films. Neeson has done everything from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace to the Taken franchise to cult films like Darkman and Disney films such as the Chronicles of Narnia series.

Like I said earlier, I loved this film entirely based on how much I loved the Parker Brothers card game and the Atari 2600 video game that I was given by family. The cards were amazing and the video game hooked me with the fire mares, horses that ran so fast that they would actually catch on fire and leave a trail of flames behind them. The Beast’s castle, which doubled as a dematerializing spaceship, would randomly appear across the surface of the planet and the only way that Colwyn and his friends could get to the castle before it moved again was by riding the insanely fast fire mares.

So is Krull worth a look? It is in my opinion. It’s not a brilliant film but it is a fun adventure to watch. Plus, it’s pretty cool to see Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane in two of their earliest roles. Give it a shot. I don’t think that you’ll regret it.

I want to give props to the Pop Ninja Podcast for their most recent episode that brought up Krull. That episode triggered so many memories for me that I had to blog about it. Be sure to check out their podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts. Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!