Imperials Strike Back - Title

The Imperials Strike Back Is An Epic 1978 Fan Film!

Friends, the other day, Tom Berges of I Grew Up Star Wars uploaded something very, very special. Perhaps mind-blowing could be considered just hyperbole until you realize the facts. In 1977 a group of ten-year-old’s got their hands on an 8mm camera, they decided to make a sequel to Star Wars. Which is how the Imperials Strike Back came into being in 1978.
Imperials Strike Back - Luke

The children featured in The Imperials Strike Back started making this short film in 1977. It took two years for them to complete. Driven with nothing more than the absolute love of the first Star Wars. Of course as with most children, they also had a heaping dose of can-do attitude. Which is certainly evident in the special effects on display!
Imperials Strike Back - Star Destroyer

When I contacted Tom, I offered him first crack at writing this post. While I was itching to make this post myself I didn’t want to take any thunder from I Grew Up Star Wars. I feel that his site’s overall point of being, to share and celebrate the love of Star Wars is being honored with this post however.
Imperials Strike Back - Darth Vader

It has been 35 years since the makers of The Imperials Strike Back have seen the short film. In addition to that it has been digitized and even has some familiar music in place. I do not know if it was originally silent, I assume so, but subtitles have been added.
Imperials Strike Back - Han

Seriously, the heart and love on display with this nearly 22 minute fan film is breathtaking. If you are anything like me you will not only have a big smile on your face by the end of it. But maybe a few tears in your eyes as well at how much love and work was put into the short film. The force is certainly with those who were responsible for this. Obviously as it is with Tom for being so kind to let us share this now. Now be sure to visit and join the fun of I Grew Up Star Wars when you get a chance.

Enough of my gushing. Sit back and enjoy The Imperials Strike Back!

[Via] 8mm Kid Epics

California Typewriter - Title

California Typewriter The Documentary

I was browsing the documentary section of Hulu the other day and a title caught my eye: California Typewriter. The word “typewriter” brought back memories of my mother using her typewriter for medical transcription at both a doctor’s office and home. I remember her using an IBM Selectric and then a daisy wheel. She was using a typewriter up until the early 2000s. This isn’t to say she wasn’t using a word processor or a word processing program on Windows 3.1 as well, but the typewriter was still used.

Back to the documentary.

California Typewriter is named after a business in Berkeley, CA. As you can imagine, the business struggles to keep their doors open these days. This documentary looks into the day to day activities of the employees as well as looking into the patrons of this business. Folks bring in typewriters for repair and maintenance, others come in to buy.
California Typewriter - Maintenance

The documentary also shows us some famous collectors like Tom Hanks as well as typewriter advocates singer John Mayer and actor Sam Shepard. They explain why they choose to still use these mechanical devices and steer clear of computers for their writing.

Most of the typewriters featured California Typewriter are non-electric. We even get to see some of the earliest typewriters from the 1800s. Some didn’t even have a qwerty keyboard.

[Via] Zero Media

As someone who collects vintage computers, I appreciate their love of these devices even though some of the people on camera put down computers (it hurt a little). However, computers had their say at the end of the film. Halfway through the documentary, I was regretting giving my ex-girlfriend not one, but two mechanical typewriters (she’s a writer). The commentary in this film has convinced me that I need to type letters, ideas, and basically anything that needs to be on paper with a typewriter.

I have a spot for it in my home office. I just need to visualize…
California Typewriter - Justin's desk

The 'Burbs - Shout! Select

Shout! Select Presents: The ‘Burbs (1989)

You’ve probably figured this out by now. I love the work of Joe Dante. Whether that be Gremlins, Innerspace or The ‘Burbs to name a few of the films he has directed. There is always a mischievousness that comes through in all of his movies and TV shows that I am drawn to. Certainly that is why back in 1989 I really wanted to see The ‘Burbs when it played at our local Drive-In.

Not only was I already a Joe Dante fan when The ‘Burbs hit theaters. Additionally I was a huge fan of both Tom Hanks as well as Bruce Dern. Hanks thanks of course to his roles in Bosom Buddies, Splash, and Dragnet. And Dern was the lead in one of my all-time favorite science fiction films, 1972’s Silent Running.

[Via] maslidukan

The ‘Burbs works so exceptionally well thanks to it it’s ensemble cast. Besides Hanks and Dern you have Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Wendy Schaal, Dick Miller, Gale Gordon, and Henry Gibson. All portraying suburbanites who find themselves in a bizarre mystery when new neighbors arrive on the block.
The 'Burbs - The Kopeks

In fact I think a better description is that the film is actually a thriller/horror/comedy. Hanks’ role as Ray Peterson is an everyman. His sole wish is to be able to experience a relaxing vacation at home. Sadly, his neighbors have other plans, in particular his friend Art (Ducommun). Who has begun to believe that those new neighbors, the Klopeks, are not just strange…but murderers!

This viewpoint of the Klopeks quickly begins to spread to the rest of the neighbors. Before you can say The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, the once peaceful cul-de-sac that is Mayfield Place is turned upside down. However unlike in that famous Twilight Zone episode, the actions of the neighborhood are incredibly funny.

Personally I feel that while Dern almost steals the entire film, it is the late Ducommun that really shines. Hanks and Fisher naturally are great but their roles are mainly to provide the foils to Ducommun’s antics. Like many Dante films, the humor can cross over into the slapstick but it always feels appropriate.

With The ‘Burbs Blu-Ray collector’s edition being released by Shout! Select, you know there are special features:

  • 2017 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • Interviews With Director Joe Dante, Editor Marshall Harvey, And Director Of Photography (Additional Scenes) John Hora
  • Audio Commentary With Writer Dana Olsen, Moderated By Author Calum Waddell
  • There Goes The Neighborhood: The Making Of The ‘Burbs – Includes Interviews With Director Joe Dante, Actors Corey Feldman, Courtney Gaines, And Wendy Schaal, Director Of Photography Robert M. Stevens, And Production Designer James H. Spencer
  • Alternate Ending
  • Original Workprint From Joe Dante’s Archive (Includes Deleted And Extended Scenes)
  • Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery
  • Stills And Posters Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Now you can visit the Shout! Factory official site and pre-order your copy of The ‘Burbs, right now. Or wait until next week when it’s released on the 20th to better stores everywhere.

Want to see what Siskel and Ebert thought about The ‘Burbs?

[Via] Oiler Fanatic 1

Mark Hamill - Hollywood Walk of Fame - Alberto E. Rodriguez

Mark Hamill Finally Got A Star On The Walk Of Fame!

For 55 years, Mark Hamill has been in the entertainment industry. Getting his start on General Hospital back in 1963. Well, he had a very good day yesterday. At long last he was the recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Mark Hamill - Alberto E. Rodriguez - Harrison Ford

Mark Hamill is Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 8, 2018 at Hollywood Walk Of Fame in Hollywood, California. Photos courtesy of Alberto E. Rodriguez

In attendance for the event were quite a few notable friends. George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Kelly Marie Tran, Billie Lourd, as well R2-D2. Quite fitting since ol’ R2 and Hamill were seen in many different popular shows in the past, like the 1980 episode of The Muppet Show!

[Via] Elock

Mark Hamill has amassed 308 acting credits in his lifetime. It is certainly true that a lot of those are from animated series and video games. That is an incredibly stunning body of work. Obviously besides his iconic role as Luke Skywalker, it is also his dynamic voice work as the Joker he is most known for.

[Via] The Joker Lady

Now here is the truth of the matter, friends. In my youth, I had one hero that towered over all others. That was of course Luke Skywalker. It wasn’t until my early years as adult that I started to gravitate towards Han Solo more.

Having said that, though, it was Hamill’s magnificent revisit to the character in The Last Jedi, that made him my hero yet again. Now don’t get me wrong. I know that the 2017 film managed to explode Star Wars fandom quicker than a blast from the Death Star. But the truth of the matter is I am old now and Luke managed to get old and worn down alongside me. Yet, he showed he was still very much the hero that the Galaxy needed.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming to Digital March 13 and Blu-ray on March 27. I have a feeling that this is merely one of the reasons Mark Hamill received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But here is the thing in my personal opinion; it’s been far, far too long overdue and I for one am glad such a talented actor received this very special recognition!

Would you like to watch Mark Hamill get his star? Thanks to Variety you can watch the entire event!

Fun little tidbit, friends. Did you know that Mark Hamill also happens to be a master impersonator?

[Via] Popcorn with Peter Travers

Ready Player One

I understand the negative reaction to Ready Player One

The movie Ready Player One is still a few weeks from release and it is proving to be quite the lightning rod for criticism. While I still plan on seeing the film. I understand why a preemptive backlash is already occurring.

We are living in a nostalgia heavy era. This is not new. At many times in our history, entertainment has leaned heavily into nostalgia. Now though, it has become a commodity that has is so well packaged that it borders on a new genre.

Ready Player One might be the ultimate representation of that commodification. Which could mean it is a masterpiece of the genre or at the very least a milestone in its evolution.

But here is the problem with nostalgia. It is very subjective and is very tied to emotional connections with a subject. So, if you plan on leaning heavy into nostalgia, prepare for a very strong emotional response from your consumers.

Enter marketing.

The ads for Ready Player One are problematic. Outside of the 2nd trailer, they have trucked almost exclusively in references and “remember this”. The latest round of movie posters, which recreate classic films with Ready Player One branding and characters made an even bigger step towards trying to associate the film with “all the things you might be nostalgic for.” They wanted that association and people tried to put the two together and they did not like what they saw.

Ready Player One Poster

One the new Ready Player One Posters

I am not a marketing person, but I think they would have been better served by convincing us that the story is compelling. That the main characters are identifiable. These advertisements have become checklists of references to people’s childhoods and unsurprisingly the bald-facedness of this is rubbing people the wrong way.

People are already predicting that Ready Player One is going to tank. As someone who is interested in the film and who loves Steven Spielberg, I am hoping it will not.

Whatever happens though, I hope this is a lesson for people producing nostalgia-based entertainment. You are playing with fire. You might enjoy the ease at which some people just love your art direction or references, but be careful. Those same emotional responses that have people spending their money on retro gaming systems can just as easily result in the backlash we are seeing for Ready Player One.