Last Action Hero Burger King Cups

Burger King’s Last Action Hero Cups

Last Action Hero is the type of movie that Hollywood execs would eat up. It made sense that Burger King would hawk Last Action Hero collectible soft drink cups.

The movie plot’s sees a young boy transported into his favorite movie. He meets his favorite action star and together they hunt down an evil villain. Sounds like box office gold!

Even with the big guns of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the guy who directed Die Hard (John McTiernan), Last Action Hero wasn’t a huge success.

Arnold had conquered the box office in 1992 with the success of Terminator 2. He was an unstoppable machine, but Last Action Hero was his first real box office disappointment. Released in the summer of 1993, it simply couldn’t compete with Jurassic Park. Luckily for Arnold, he teamed up with James Cameron in 1994 and bounced back with True Lies.

Collect all 4 Cups at Burger King!

While it didn’t live up to expectations, it’s a fun movie with an excellent supporting cast.

It’s filled with one-liners and Arnold never hesitates to make fun of himself or his supporting cast. There’s an amusing joke involving F. Murray Abraham’s character killing Mozart.

Charles Dance is the evil villain Benedict and has a collection of crazy glass eyes. Bridgette Wilson, Tom Noonan, and Anthony Quinn round out a star-studded cast.

Keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by an animated cat (bonus points if you recognize the actor voicing this MC Skat Kat knockoff).

The film also boasted a rockin’ soundtrack with some of the biggest bands of the day: AC/DC, Alice in Chains, Megadeth, Def Leppard, and many other hard rock acts you’ll recognize.

Have It Your Way!

Burger King was aggressively marketing to a younger generation in the early ’90s with a series of commercials starring MTV’s Dan Cortese and Debra Wilson (of MADtv fame).

Burger King spent $20 million on a marketing campaign for what they called “the biggest movie of the summer.”

For everything that went wrong with Last Action Hero’s marketing, Burger King’s tie-in with the film was pretty awesome. Collectible soft drink cups were pretty standard when it came to movie/fast food tie-ins.

But how many soft drink cups were animated? That’s right, the cup you got at Burger King actually animated a scene from the movie. Check ’em out and don’t forget to collect all four!

VHS

The First Movie I Ever Recorded on VHS

I can still picture the hard plastic case—the only one in our VHS tape collection—peeking out above the other paperboard covers. And I remember the feeling of permanence when writing those two timeless words in blue pen on the card insert: Weird Science

My family was not rich. My mom and dad worked hard and thankfully had the help of my grandmother and aunts in raising me and my three siblings—yep, four wild kids in one house. Suffice to say: the latest technology was NOT of utmost concern (at least to any of the adults). To be honest, it was not of much importance to us children either; tech fads were not a big thing just yet.

So, getting our first VCR was kind of an understated yet monumental moment in our lives. Until this landmark occasion, repeated viewings were left to the powers that be at broadcast television companies—unless you factor in HBO, who would replay any given movie about 30 or so times in as many days. (AND without commercials! What?!)

Read: 12 Movies My Little Brother Watched Over and Over When We Were Kids

The huge, almost-briefcase-sized VHS video cassette recording machine sat up on a shelf under the cable box with its enormous (by today’s standards) square-inch buttons for Play, Stop, Rew, Ffwd, Pause and Record. The first VHS tape we had, it may have come with the purchase, was equally epic. An actual hardcover plastic box (“heavy-duty” if you will) that had kind of a gray craquelure feel to it. The title card would slip into a clear plastic on the front.

We’d later switch to TDK or Sony or whatever cheaper brand was available. We’d also begin recording more than one movie to a tape with the discovery of what SP, LP and EP meant. But, for the very first cinematic gem we would immortalize to cassette, it would be one movie and that one movie only.

In my memory, I seem to recall kind of leading the charge on what we would record. I may have been the only one who really cared; my older sister was ahead of me and my two younger siblings by four years and arguably the most popular of all of us. I said arguably guys, don’t get mad at me.

To my point, she was probably too busy with an actual social life to care about television. And my younger siblings, sorry again guys, may have just been outvoted by me. Because I, of course, was older and arguably wiser.

In any case, the very first film we (or I, really) recorded on VHS was that bastion of motion pictures: Weird Science.

Generations after mine will never understand the concerns of “taping” a movie from TV:


• Making sure the VCR or TV is set to channel 3.
• Hitting BOTH play AND record buttons (why wasn’t the one button enough?).
• Pausing the tape for commercials if you weren’t recording a cable show.
• Remembering to un-pause when the show started again after the break.
• Making sure the tape head was clean.
• Specifying AM or PM if you were programming something to record.
• Having a blank tape (or enough space left to get the whole recording).
• Checking to be sure the copy protection tab was intact (or taped over).
• Staying awake through the whole movie to not get the next movie or interstitials.

All that aside, I’m fairly certain we recorded the ‘80s classic from HBO. The film written and directed by John Hughes, of course, featured Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith and Kelly LeBrock. Hughes was on a bit of a tear after writing and directing Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club (both of which also featured Hall).

Read: 100 Three-Name ‘80s Stars

Danny Elfman sang the Oingo Boingo theme song which somehow fit right in on 1980s’ pop radio. The story is a basic Frankenstein remake but, instead of the mad scientist, you have two pubescent geeky teens. And naturally instead of a monster, the unpopular mechanics use a (laughably “state-of-the-art”) computer to simulate a dream woman into being.

Looking back, recording Weird Science not only set the tone for my love of films. The film itself reflects my life experience. Nerdy, young, fun, interests in movies and music and comedy and science and the arts, with a love—and deep respect—for women. As well as a general happiness of just being alive.

ALIVE!

Also see: Weird Science Trailer

From The Blob to Star Wars: The Science Fiction Movie Quiz Book

I don’t remember exactly when I got this book, but I remember I got it new, probably from the school’s book club. From The Blob to Star Wars: The Science Fiction Movie Quiz Book was released in 1977 and covers tons of science fiction films from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I am looking forward to breaking this book out during the holiday season and quizzing family members about their science fiction knowledge!

Hammer Horror Remembered

I’ve been searching Amazon.com for books on Hammer Studios for quite some time. The books that have popped up in the past have always been tragically too pricey for me to pull the trigger on. And then, just last Saturday, this one showed up.
cache_2441391978
Hammer Horror Remembered is a self-published ebook (much like, oh, Anesthetized or The House of Thirteen Doors). The author, Alan Toner, lives in England and so is a little closer to the source of all the Hammer goodness than we colonials are. From that authoritative vantage point, Toner gives us a quick read that consists of mostly short chapters on various Hammer horror topics. Some chapters focus on actors, others on series, and other on individual films. My favorite was the chapter on Brides of Dracula, which I’ve always seen as special among the Hammer Dracula series because A) Dracula isn’t in it and B) I had a hard time finding it. Overall, the book does what books like this should do: it not only gives you some information and discussion on movies you love, but enables you to mentally experience those movies again. I highly recommend it to all Hammer horror fans (which I imagined is most of us). You can get it at Amazon.com and other online ebook vendors for a reasonable 99 cents.

Russkies

Think Reagan ended the Cold War? Or maybe Rocky IV? Perhaps they did. But Russkies certainly helped finish it off.

Russkies_(1987)

Russkies is a 1987 film about three boys in Florida (including Peter Billingsley and Joachin “Leaf” Phoenix) who find a stranded Russian sailor named Mischa. I was faintly aware of it during the 80s, but I never saw it. I’m not even sure I saw a trailer for it. And that’s really too bad because Russkies has all the classic elements of good 80s cinema. We have an “alien”, fish out of water character, enemies who become friends, unrequitable love (including a slow kiss while fireworks explode overhead), a bigoted opponent who comes in at just the wrong time, a daring plan to foil the powers that be, a couple of montages, wish fulfillment, and a finale in which everyone comes to understand each other. If you’ve been missing that unique feeling of glastnost and are looking for a way to get it back, you could do worse than Russkies.