Category Archives: john hughes

Glory Daze

TBS, now that they have Conan O’Brian, is thinking forward toward other new programming to show off and entice viewers while they are dropping by to see Conan. One of their new shows is “Glory Daze,” a comedy drama set at a frat house in the 1980s, obviously trying to cash in on nostalgic forty year-olds.

The idea has such promise and has been done before, successfully mining other nostalgic decades in shows like “Happy Days” and “The 70s Show,” and even less so in the latter’s largely forgotten and sadly underrated spin-off, “The 80s Show.”

The main problem with “Glory Daze” however is not ratings or stars leaving or even jumping sharks. It’s that it’s just like every other similar show about young folks getting into trouble on television. Adding in clichéd fashion, chronologically out of order music, John Hughes-like formulas and some ridiculous slang doesn’t make it any better.

I love the 80s, I grew up in the 80s, sometimes I even get nostalgic for the 80s, but wow, one episode of “Glory Daze” was all I could take.

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Quickies 8-31-2010

Batman: Under the Red Hood ~ This direct-to-DVD animated film from DC Comics follows the story of the second Robin who was murdered by the Joker and then mysteriously returns from the dead years later as Batman’s adversary the Red Hood. I didn’t actually read the comics this was based on so it was all new for me, and as I am not much of a Bat-fan these days, surprisingly good. I especially loved the fight early on with Batman and Nightwing vs. Amazo. Even though it’s not Mark Hamill doing the voice, the Joker is exceptionally scary here. Great stuff. Not for kids, but recommended.

Hot Tub Time Machine ~ This really wasn’t as bad as it sounded when I first heard of it, in fact this was a pleasant surprise. Yes, the title, and the previews pretty much give it away, but this flick has a heart, and a funnybone. Anyone who loved all those 1980s movies like Better Off Dead or Just One of the Guys or anything by John Hughes will get a kick out of this. Might be a bit rough for kids, lots of sex and drugs, but still a good romp. Fun, nostalgia and John Cusack. You can’t beat that.

Big Fan ~ You might think of Patton Oswalt as just a comedian, but he’s not. He’s also a very good actor. His semi-dramatic peripheral role in “United States of Tara” is only the tip of the iceberg. I just saw him in Big Fan and he is a tour de force portraying a lonely middle-aged guy obsessed with New York Giants football and sports radio. We know these guys, and this is an intimate and chilling look into their world. This is a hell of a movie. Recommended.

The Road ~ Based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, this post-apocalyptic drama stars Viggo Mortenson and briefly Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. It’s about a father’s quest to show his son the ocean by traveling across the country dodging psychos and cannibals in a world without sunlight. It’s visually intriguing, but very little else, and at some points, downright boring. Read the book, and only see the movie if it’s on free TV and there’s not much else on.

Igor ~ Anything with John Cusack’s name on it is worth checking out in my opinion. He has rarely let me down. This overlooked computer-animated flick about the hunchbacked assistants to mad scientists, called Igors, is quite a gem. A bit predictable in some places and unexpectedly outrageous in others is definitely worth a look. Good for the kids, and the adults as well.

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Random Thoughts on the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

The best, absolute best, part of the whole thing was the opening number with Neil Patrick Harris. After only five minutes with co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, I was bored to sleepy tears. Why the hell couldn’t NPH have hosted? At least I could have stayed awake – and I was even rocking the fast-forward button and was bored with Martin and Baldwin. There was no chemistry and especially no humor. NPH for next year’s show, folks, okay?

I thought the animated bit was brilliant, and as I said, if Up won, it took it out of the running for Best Picture. More bits like this would be welcomed. On the presenters, I found them more engaging and refreshing by far than Martin and Baldwin – why not next time just have a dozen different presenters and no hosts? And why didn’t they have each song performed live on the show? That’s something that folks look forward to – why get rid of it? Hopefully not to make more time for Martin and Baldwin’s nonsense…

The entire presentation for Best Screenplay with Tina Fey and Robert Downey, Jr. was brilliant. If we’re talking about how to make this show better, this is a step in the right direction. But, who dressed Downey? Wow. Also on the right track was the tribute to John Hughes. Double wow.

On the bad side, halfway through the Awards I was becoming increasingly annoyed with the clips that frequently were cut rife with spoilers and misinterpretations. These were done for each acting and Best Picture presentations mostly but I really wonder how the folks involved in those films and performances felt about them. Stanley Tucci was visibly shaken when the clip of his Supporting Actor bit was shown.

Ben Stiller should join Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as unfunny people who should never host the Awards. Mo’Nique gave a near perfect Oscar speech, just enough of what should be in there, and not too much of shouldn’t. I see the tradition of playing folks off when they go too long is still in place – and still very selective. The tribute to Horror was a bit odd. And wasn’t Silence of the Lambs quite some time after The Exorcist? Someone on the Oscar writing staff needs to do their research better.

The intentional inclusions of clips of Martin and Baldwin in the tributes for no other real reason other than they were the hosts were becoming quite irritating as well. Not as much as their actual hosting however. The dancers doing their thing to the scores was no satisfying substitution for song performances, in my opinion. On the other hand, James Taylor singing “In My Life” during the memoriam was a really nice touch, another highlight. But where were Bea Arthur and Farrah Fawcett?

It was cool for me to see two of my favorite directors, Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino giving away the Best Foreign Film Oscar, a real treat. And what was up with the lamp background? Did the Academy run out of money when it came to stage backdrops?

On the winners, I was glad Michael Giacchino won for Best Score, as he’s my favorite composer these days. I had at least a few of my guesses right. You guys were close but not quite right with the poll to the right, as The Hurt Locker won Best Picture. All in all, this was a tolerable show, not great but not abysmal either. Remember, next year, get Neil Patrick Harris for the whole show.

And oh yeah, go, Sandra!

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Quickies 8-11-2009

Bam Bam and Celeste ~ In the week after the death of John Hughes, it was very difficult to watch this one. Margaret Cho, who not only starred, but also wrote, wants badly to channel John Hughes here. High school misfits, after a decade or so, declare independence and fight back against their rivals from school on a reality TV makeover show. It would be a perfect 1980s teen flick but the main problem is that it was made in 2005. There are moments. As long as it doesn’t get preachy (which it unfortunately does at times) you can root for the leads. Margaret is good, as is Alan Cumming in a sadly small role, but the rest you’ve seen all before, and done better. Worth a watch if nothing else is on.

Gacy ~ This serial killer bioflick about the infamous John Wayne Gacy tries far too hard to be everything at once. Starring Pee-Wee Herman’s bike-swiping nemesis Mark Holton, it covers a very short period of Gacy’s life between his wife leaving him and his arrest, but skips over other areas of interest. When the flick tries to be arty toward the end the effect is unfortunate. Worth watching for folks interested in the subject matter.

Moon ~ The less said about this, the better – and that’s a good thing. Like The Sixth Sense this scifi thriller set on the moon in the near future is a film best seen with no prior knowledge of the plot. This is an Oscar caliber performance by Sam Rockwell that the Academy had better not forget come December. Definitely don’t miss.

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John Hughes 1950-2009

John Hughes, the man who revolutionized teen cinema in the 1980s passed away of a heart attack this morning in New York City while on a walk.

His movies Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful and The Breakfast Club not only keyed in on the teenage audience for film, but also made stars of a younger generation of actors – including Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwold, Matthew Broderick and other members of 80s Hollywood’s ‘brat pack.’

Also in Hughes’ cabinet of wonders are the Vacation movies, the Beethoven movies as well as the Home Alone movies. As someone whose movie-going experience began in the 1980s, I gotta say that for me and my friends, a new John Hughes film was an event. We knew it would speak to us, make us laugh, and make us think. One of my favorites was She’s Having a Baby, which was not only written and directed by Hughes, but was also an inspiration to me as a writer.

John Hughes will be missed.

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