Anniversaries aplenty here on the ol’ Shelving Unit with the Golden year for the movie that broke into this year’s Oscars, and also the Pearl year (had to look that one up) for one of the definitive high school movies of all time. It’s also a week with a black-and-white puppet sci-fi TV show with the best theme song, I’m not even kidding, in history of anything ever. Sooooo, enjoy friends.
The Breakfast Club 30th Anniversary
It’s become a cliche now, but we really can’t overstate the cultural impact John Hughes and his films had on young people, all the way from the ’80s to now. What kid didn’t watch things like Sixteen Candles or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off a billion times? Hell, you still can’t even turn on basic cable TV without seeing Matthew Broderick lip syncing to Wayne Newton on a float in Chicago. (Although, now that I think of it, it was mainly on WGN that I’d see that… those damn Chicagoans sure do love movies about their city.) While many of his films are classics, I’d say probably his biggest contribution to cinema, if we could point to one as his legacy, it would have to be 1985’s The Breakfast Club.
The story of five teenagers, all from different backgrounds and family situations, none of whom seemed to want anything to do with each other, forced to spend a Saturday detention together, and learning to coexist, quickly struck a chord with young people and, thanks to cable TV again, continues to do so. And, yes, each of the kids fit into a stereotype but that’s exactly the point. You had the jock expected for greatness (Emilio Estevez), the misunderstood rich girl (Molly Ringwald), the picked-on dork (Anthony Michael Hall), the super-weird outcast (Ally Sheedy), and the one rebelling against everything (Judd Nelson). They’re the epitome of suburban every-kids. And, again, they do not like each other; they, as the tagline suggests, have nothing in common, and probably they won’t stay friends after detention ends, but for that one day, they learn something. That’s such a crazy-great idea, and is totally universal despite the style and slang. “Don’t You Forget About Me” could not be a more apt theme song.
Also out this week is a box set of three John Hughes movies: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Weird Science, in case one just isn’t enough.
John Hughes Yearbook Collection
The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary
The hills are alive, people. They don’t have eyes, though, which is slightly more comforting. One of a handful of really epic, lush, and glorious movie musicals from the golden age of them, Robert Wise’s The Sound of Music, a big screen version of the stage hit, was perhaps the biggest and most impressive of the bunch. Shot on location in Austria gave the movie a huge expansive landscape to inhabit and a level of “realism” not normally seen in musicals of this nature, or of any nature. Wise had already won an Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture for another big movie musical, West Side Story in 1961, but in filmmaking terms, Sound of Music was a real step up. Whether you like the music or not (and who doesn’t like listening to lists of favorite things or about the travails of lonely goatherds?), there’s kind of no denying the grandeur and craftsmanship of the production. It is a SUPER long movie, very nearly 3-hours, but Von Trapping takes a long time to depict.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary, there is a 5-disc collectors set Blu-ray/DVD/Soundtrack which, needless to say, has tons and tons of extras, including a whole disc featuring a brand new documentary wherein Julie Andrews returns to Saltzburg, Austria to visit filming locations. If you like this movie, or haven’t seen it in awhile, this is certainly a set worth a look.
Fireball XL5 The Complete Series
Last summer I wrote an article about the worlds of Gerry Anderson which talked about the British television pioneer who invented Supermarionation, which was a means of making sci-fi and action programming using, as you might have guessed, marionettes. These shows were the basis for Team America World Police, though were not full of swearing, violence, or sex. ITV and Shout! Factory have been putting out Gerry Anderson shows on DVD over the past few months, having already delivered the complete series of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and the earlier Stingray. This time, they’re releasing the second of these action shows, and the last of them to be made in black-and-white.
Fireball XL5 ran for 39 episodes from 1962-1963 and gave us the adventures of Steve Zodiac, a handsome, lantern-jawed hero who flies in a rocket of the name of the show. He works for the World Space Patrol, based out of the improbably-named island nation of Space City. Each week, he, the glamorous Doctor Venus, middle-aged engineer and navigator Professor Matic, and co-pilot Robert (a robot who sounds like he had his larynx removed from smoking too much) travel through space fighting off the dangers of alien menaces and things. It’s a rather silly set-up but the storylines are surprisingly fun and complex, all of them coming to an end in 22 minutes, of course. While not the best or most innovative of the Supermarionation shows, Fireball XL5 remains one of the most enduring worldwide, due in no small part to the extra-’60s theme song (which you can hear below).
I love these releases, and am especially excited for the Blu-ray release of Thunderbirds in a few months’ time. These shows rock.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb – Because money.
Legend of Korra Book Four: Balance – On balance, it’s legendary.
Pee-wee’s Playhouse Seasons 3, 4, & 5 – Includes the special Christmas special.
Wolfcop – It’s just what it sounds like.
Dark Haul – A horror movie about a monster in a semi-truck.