You know what would be awesome? A battle to the death featuring the 80s versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Andre the Giant. And that awesome thing happened. Well, sort of. It turns out that Andre the Giant was inside the costume of the god/monster Daggoth which Arnold as Conan fights at the end of Conan the Destroyer. So we do have an Arnold-Andre deathmatch. At least a kind of one.
Did you know you can see some of the best movies from our childhoods on YouTube in their entirety? They are
Okay, this one is pushing the retro label a little bit, at least it is for me. 1994 is a little past what I consider retro prime. But it is based on a retro property, and it has Alyssa Milano in it. Alyssa Milano! That’s retro cred right there. Plus, it has the Martial Artist Presently Known As The Chairman in it. I give you Double Dragon.
And pushing the retro envelope even further, let me suggest another movie with the present Chairman, one I just discovered. It’s Drive from 1997. Yeah, that’s way out of the retro era, but it is a retro-ish buddy action film, far more Tango and Cash than Cop Out. It also has Dwayne Wayne and the Chairman busting out some Jackie Chan-worthy moves, and is worthy of watching.
One of my earliest actions figures memories is of playing with a Star Wars Hammerhead figure during a church service. The next earliest is a vague memory of a set of action figures. There were four of these figures, they had something to do with something that was happening on TV, and one was a lion. As it turns out, this is not another of my phantom memories. It is instead a quite accurate recollection of Mattel’s Flash Gordon action figures.
Mattel put out these action figures in 1979 to capitalize on the new Flash Gordon animated movie/series (which you can read more about here). I don’t remember the series, but I seem to remember the movie running in prime time and having a good degree of hype. I also remember watching it while having the action figures in hand, which might mean the figures were released prior to the show. The four figures I had were most the four figures in the line’s first generation: Flash, Ming, Prince Thun (the lion I remembered), and a Lizard Woman. The fact that I had all four seems odd to me, as I rarely had a full set of anything, and I seem to remember (but may be wrong) that Mom bought them as a set as some discount store.
Wherever they came from and however I got them, I enjoyed them quite a bit. Though the figures seem to lack some detail and features, they were still fun to play with, especially while the movie was on, and they made an impression on me. I guess humanoid lions and bipedal lizards have a way of doing that.
The Scottish games are this weekend. As you can tell by the fully-Scottish name Douglas McCoy, I am a games enthusiast. I’ve never gotten to participate in the heavy events (fingers crossed for one day!) but I hear lots of bagpipes and eat lots of haggis and head home happy.
This year, the games got me thinking about how many of our retro heroes were Scottish, Irish, or some other sort of Celt. So it is with no small amount of ancestral pride that I offer this list.
R. J. MacReady
(Quaid is a variant form of McCoy. It is the Coy part without the Mc and with the original Aiodh spelled in a much different way. That means that I am really the hero of Total Recall!)
“Dirty” Harry Callahan
There are so many Mcs, Macs, and other Celts in the retro hero world that they were parodied by The Simpson’s McGarnagle.
As always, I’m sure there are a few I forgot. But this is enough to prove how vital we Celts are to the righting of wrongs and the survival of the human race. At least in the 80s.
I think there is a cycle to cinema. There seems to be years when classic movie after classic movie is filling the theaters, and other years when you can’t find a good film to save your life. An example of the former would be 1984. Goonies, Gremlins, Karate Kid, Temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop, Police Academy, Night of the Comet, Electric Dreams, Terminator, Romancing the Stone, and tons of others. The Retroist even mentioned this in the Revenge of the Nerds podcast.
An example of the latter would be the early 90s. Man, were there a ton of really bad films in those years. Not only did these films seem to have lost the heart of the mid-80s movies, but they all had bizarre plots and a really weird look, almost like they were shot on video. Here’s a couple notable examples:
I probably wouldn’t remember these movies at all except for the fact that I had seen them in the theater. Sad, I know, but I had just gotten a car and a job at this time and was seeing just about everything that was out. Even sadder is that I still have a fondness for these movies for the simple fact that I saw them in movies. I have a fondness for this time, too, even though it just seems odd and dead in comparison with the mid-80s. You can’t have the good without the bad, and I guess that in turn makes the bad kind of good, these movies included.