Tuff Turf : Required 80s Film Viewing

So, one of the shows I produce in my regular rotation of event television is The American Cinematheque Tribute. I’ve worked on the past 3 specials that honored Julia Roberts, Samuel L. Jackson and Matt Damon. The Cinematheque is a wonderful film preservation society that runs some fantastic film programming at The Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. I really enjoy working on the show and THIS year’s honoree is Robert Downey, Jr.

One of the perks is that we get ALL the films from the honoree’s body of work to make notes on what clips we plan on cutting together and how we are going to thread them into themes.

Well, I can tell you that when you watch one actor’s ENTIRE library of films, you run across some gems you might normally not think to watch. And last night, I found one such gem. A diamond actually.

Tuff Turf (1985)

The film stars James Spader as the new kid in a rough school. Spader is a preppy who has had great opportunities, however he’s a misunderstood troublemaker who has squandered those chances. And when he falls in love with a gang leader’s girl (played by Kim Richards, who is currently a Real Housewife Of Beverly Hills), he’s in for a ruff time. This is, after all, tuff turf.

RDJ plays a rebel punk at the school who befriends Spader. He even gives him his first switchblade. That’s the kind of friend you need around these tuff parts!

The film’s tone is all over the place. It wants to be funny, then serious, then violent and then…a musical? There is actually a somewhat coordinated dance scene in the film.

It’s also a great slice of 80s Los Angeles life. Enjoy the trailer. Then get the movie.

The Breakfast Club Musical

breakfast club musical

Anyone who lives in or near Chicago, loves John Hughes films and thinks they might work better as musicals should point their GPS units to the Studio Be Performance Space at the corner of Barry and Sheffield. Why you ask? Because starting this Thursday and running every Thursday till April 29, 2010, you can catch, The Breakfast Club Musical. Over three years in the making this adaptation of John Hughes’ classic film is full of all original songs and dance numbers that will make you feel as good as the original movie, and give you a whole new look at a classic. This is a heartfelt hommage to one of the greatest movies of our generation, it is NOT a parody.

All original songs are written by Jason Geis, and composed by Jessica A. Hunt. Script is adapted by Jason Geis. Directed by Jason Geis and Scott Hogan. Music Direction by Jessica A. Hunt. Choreography by Cassie Speerschneider.

For more info check out The Breakfast Club Musical page and for tickets visit Brown Paper Tickets.

The Music Man on Blu-Ray


As a kid I enjoyed nothing more then weekend morning and afternoons when the cable channels would often put on older musicals. I received my entire musical education this way. I watched most of them to death and wore through an old collection of LPs donated by my neighbors listening to the original soundtracks. Now while I watched most of them too many times for a brain to take, some made their mark so deeply that it became impossible for me to grow tired of them. Chief amongst them is the 1962 Robert Preston and Shirley Jones extravaganza, The Music Man .

The musical, which is set in July 1912, is about a traveling salesman, “Professor” Harold Hill, who arrives in River City, Iowa, intrigued by the challenge of swindling the famously stubborn natives of Iowa. Masquerading as a traveling band instructor, Professor Hill plans to con the citizens of River City into paying him to create a boy’s marching band, including instruments, uniforms, and music instruction. Once he has collected the money and the instruments and uniforms have arrived, he will hop the next train out of town leaving them without their money or a band. Of course a change of heart results in a heartwarming story.

The Disc
The Music Man is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer and has never looked better. Those trombones really pop out. Audio is crisp and clean. I would like have been more special features (don’t we all), but The Music Man has some nice ones all presented in Standard Definition. The include:

  • A 2 minute introduction by Shirley Jones
  • The 22 minute “Right Here in River City” making of featurette (hosted by Jones)
  • The Original Theatrical Trailer

If you love musicals and have access to a Blu-Ray player, The Music Man is a must have. I cannot gush enough about it….

Purchase The Music Man [Blu-ray] [@] Amazon