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Blast from the Past (March 2019)

Yeah, the Box Office is rockin’ today with a whole lot of movies. But there are some from prior years that you may (or may not) remember. These older movies came out 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, maybe even longer back. Some were instant classics, while others were not. So let’s jump into the DeLorean and travel backwards in time to revisit a few of these forgotten gems…

March 2014 (5 years ago)   — The Grand Budapest Hotel  – Wes Anderson checks you into a magnificently quirky movie that was so artsy and fun

The bellhop will take your bags now, and get you to relax in this movie’s perfectly portrayed display of nuance and nattiness. Ralph Fiennes is the Hotel’s Heart and Soul – a wonderful, slightly off-kilter concierge named Gustave H. and a new Lobby Boy named Zero (Tony Revolri). Together they deal with difficult guests and some false accusations of murder. But always in a gloriously color-coordinated, quirky way…

March 2009 (10 years ago)  — Watchmen – once a major cult Graphic Novel that was never able to be made into a movie, and here we can see why

The DC Comics limited series about some underground Superheroes was turned into a Graphic Novel. It was not adapted into a movie for decades. The themes were very dark and disturbing, and there were difficult special effects hurdles to be crossed. But when Zach Syder took it over and pushed it into the theaters, the fans had mixed reactions. But it was made, but the muted response seemed to keep the box office receipts from jumping over a skyscraper in a single bound.

March 2004 (15 years ago)  — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet create a ‘memorable’ movie about removing memories

Erasing memories to forget a ruined love affair is what can create the ‘Spotless Mind’. But the effect that it has on the mind can lead to sadness and madness. A slightly Sci-Fi vision of Roto-Rotor for the Brain, writer Chalie Kaufman and director Michael Gondry made a jigsaw puzzle of a movie. Oddball characters and out-of-sequence scenes also give the audience a twisty puzzle box to work with…

March 1999 (20 years ago)  — The Matrix – This brought in a totally new dimension into mind-bending movies, by mixing heavy philosophy with ‘bullet-time’ special effects

Keanu Reeves stars in this twisty tale of questioning every aspect of your existence and seeing if you’re just plugged into some very elaborate virtual reality. The Wachowski siblings had created an original science fiction universe that turned pumping ‘lead’ into box office gold. But then they ruined their own reality with the awful sequels…

March 1995 (25 years ago)  — Outbreak – Very fictionalized version of a potential Ebola strain virus that comes to a small city in California

The true-life Centers for Disease Control were put up as a front-line defense against a potent strain of deadly virus that finds its way to the US, when it was first located in Africa. The CDC doctors are struggling with some military commanders who would want to fry the virus, along with all the people in that small town. Dustin Hoffman plays the main doctor who puts his life on the line to save the people and cure the sick.

March 1989 (30 years ago)  — Chances Are – A Dull Romantic Comedy for the Spring doldrums

This is an early effort by Robert Downey Jr. to star in a comedy with the likes of Cybill Shepard and Ryan O’Neil. With some convoluted plot of a man with the memories of a man who had died 23 years earlier, and then is attracted to the dead man’s daughter – but then later to the dead man’s wife – and he figures out that he is a somewhat reincarnated version of the man who died…  You catch all of that so far? Perhaps that is why this movie did not quite break even at the box office…

Blast from the Past (December 2018)

Yeah, the Box Office is rockin’ today with a whole lot of movies. But there are some from prior years that you may (or may not) remember. These older movies came out 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, maybe even longer back. Some were instant classics, while others were not. So let’s jump into the DeLorean and travel backwards in time to revisit a few of these forgotten gems…

December 2013 (5 years ago)   — The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo DiCaprio shows that, as portraying cheater and con artist Jordon Belfort, Greed is definitely NOT Good…

Martin Scorsese directed Leo in this grimy and grubby look at a very grimy and grubby cheater, swindler and con artist. Making money on Wall Street was never this much fun. Jordon Belfort turned up the debauchery level to eleven, and the BS level to fifteen. But he made tons while it lasted…

December 2008 (10 years ago)  — Valkyrie

Tom Cruise breaks out a German accent to play one of the main German conspirators involved in the unsuccessful plot to kill Hitler and stop the Nazi War Machine

Nazi Germany was under the iron grip of Hitler, and during World War II, a few of the military commanders thought of a way to take over. They would kill Hitler, and use a plan called ‘Valkyrie’ that would give control of the German Army and the government to some sensible people. That is, if it could work, and they could eliminate the dictator.

December 2003 (15 years ago)  — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 

Peter Jackon’s final movie in the trilogy to adapt the Tolkien Middle-Earth saga to play out on the big screen, only to receive bigger Box Office and bigger Awards

This was the final movie in a Trilogy created out of the huge JRR Tolkien saga. The audience was geared up for this chapter to come to the big screen. So much so that it earned over One Billion in box office revenue. It also was nominated, and WON, Oscars in eleven categories. That’s no fantasy…

December 1998 (20 years ago)  — Patch Adams

Robin Williams takes on a role about a real-life doctor who wanted to treat the whole person, and not just a sick body – and he is the best things about a mediocre movie

Patch Adams is a real person who studied to be a doctor, but was shunned by his unorthodox ideas. The whole person needs to be treated, not just the disease that showing the symptoms. Robin Williams can play up the unorthodox methods that Adams used to make a screen character that seems sincere about an alternative approach to medicine.

December 1993 (25 years ago)  — Tombstone

Very good old-time Western with Kurt Russell standing tall as Wyatt Earp, helped by his best friend and huckleberry – Val Kilmer (Doc Holiday)

Westerns are sometime though of as second-rate fare. But this movie was more like a prize pony at the fair. The portrayals of actual Western characters from history made for an entertaining movie. A somewhat accurate retelling of the events at OK Corral gives the basic structure for some fine performances. Russell, Kilmer, along with Sam Elliott and even Charlton Heston make this one to watch again.

December 1988 (30 years ago)  — Rain Man 

Dustin Hoffman turns in an amazing performance as Raymond, who is the Rain Man to younger brother Tom Cruise

Oscar winning in four categories, including for Hoffman and for Best Picture, this movie is an iconic touchstone in movie history. Countless movies have taken memorable visual scenes from Rain Man. Think of a scene of two people, dressed sharply, riding to the top of an elevator – slowly coming into view (from a bunch of movies), and think back – where did they get that inspiration?

Blast from the Past (November 2018)

Yeah, the Box Office is rockin’ today with a whole lot of movies. But there are some from prior years that you may (or may not) remember. These older movies came out 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, maybe even longer back. Some were instant classics, while others were not. So let’s jump into the DeLorean and travel backwards in time to revisit a few of these forgotten gems…

November 2013 (5 years ago)   — Frozen – Disney Animation is a powerful juggernaut, so just “Let It Go”…

It does not matter if you like it or not, Disney will always come out with a new animated movie and 99% of the time it will be top of the line. That goes here, of course, for Frozen. It’s a movie that many girls from age five to twenty-five can quote by heart. The whole thing, all the parts, including Olaf the Snowman…

November 2008 (10 years ago)  — Twilight – All the moody Kristen Stewart that anyone can stand, plus twinkley vampires!

Back when romantic vampires were all the rage, Twilight got all the tween-age girls hearts a-flutter. Actually, probably even more of their middle-aged moms’ hearts were sent racing with the idea of a totally dedicated vampire lover…

November 2003 (15 years ago)  — Elf – Will Ferrell plays an oversized imp from the North Pole, and the world breaks out in Christmas songs

This movie is slowly making its way into becoming a Christmas Classic. Ferrell plays the Buddy the Elf with a lot of goofy compassion that he really brings it up a notch. Along with his real curmudgeon father, James Caan, Buddy brings the Spirit of the Season to New York City. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

November 1998 (20 years ago)  — Enemy of the State – Will Smith gets mixed up with some serious spy stuff, and he takes a toll on the bad guys

Will Smith plays a lawyer who gets on the wrong side of the NSA, and it takes Gene Hackman to get him out alive. Hackman is a super under-cover dude who lives off-the-grid, and Smith works with him to push back on the NSA bad guys. The action gets intense and the bad guys get more than they bargained for…

November 1993 (25 years ago)  — Mrs. Doubtfire –  Robin Williams plays a gender-swapped nanny, the dude does look like a lady…

Robin Williams created a wonderful character, by creating this older British nanny named ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’. He took this role, the alter ego to a divorced father of three, and made it into one of the most memorable in his career. Prevented from seeing his kids, Daniel Hilard creates the loving and all-knowing nanny, and gender-swaps his way back in to be with his kids. Comedy ensues, and lessons are learned.

November 1988 (30 years ago)  — Scrooged – Bill Murray takes “A Christmas Carol” into entirely new dimensions…

Charles Dickens was never this cynical, so he left it up to Bill Murray to do that for him. Based on “A Christmas Carol”, this movie takes a wide swatch of satire and covers the TV networks. It takes a look at how bad the programs can be, and how little the network big-wigs care. Murrays’ character Frank Cross,  meets the Ghosts, and has a change of heart. “Yule Love It!”…

Blast from the Past (October 2018)

Yeah, the Box Office is rockin’ today with a whole lot of movies. But there are some from prior years that you may (or may not) remember. These older movies came out 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, maybe even longer back. Some were instant classics, while others were not. So let’s jump into the DeLorean and travel backwards in time to revisit a few of these forgotten gems…

October 2013 (5 years ago)   — Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks takes a pirate ride, but not with the fun Caribbean pirates…

This movie was based on the true story of the first American shipping vessel that was hijacked by pirates in over one hundred years. Somali pirates using a small boat were able to take over huge ocean cargo ship, and they took the Captain hostage. A taut and suspenseful voyage in dark waters… 

 

October 2008 (10 years ago)  — Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Michael Cera and Kat Dennings answer the question “Where’s Fluffy?”

As he usually does, Michael Cera plays Nick, an awkward teenage ager with a crush on a girl named Norah (Kat Dennings). Norah has no time for bad boyfriends, but they both love a band named “Where’s Fluffy?”. They spend an evening attempting to find a secret concert, and wind up with true love.

October 2003 (15 years ago)  — School of Rock – Jack Black makes the grade in this school

This movie is non-stop Jack Black at his finest, being a substitute teacher at a school, and turning the classroom into his personal Rock ’n Roll domain. No tests, no grades, just jamming and shredding, and turning up the volume. The story is simple but fun, and the kids learn that “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If you Want to Rock ’n Roll).

 

October 1998 (20 years ago)  — Antz – Dreamworks beats Pixar in releasing a very buggy movie

Back when Dreamworks was a brand new company, it released ‘Antz’, a story based on some small insects. Months later, Pixar released “A Bug’s Life”, a story based on some small insects. Coincidence?  Just Dumb Luck? I think not! It was a way to beat Disney/Pixar to the punch and take some wind out of their sails…

 

October 1993 (25 years ago)  — Demolition Man – Stallone and Snipes find that the future is at Taco Bell

After being frozen in 1996, Sylvester Stallone finds himself in the future (2032), and also finds an old foe from the past (Wesley Snipes) is there to confront him again. It is a fun dystopian look at the future of society and crime, when the ‘Fast Food Wars’ left only Taco Bell standing strong. Also starring is newcomer, Sandra Bullock!

 

October 1988 (30 years ago)  — Alien Nation – Well before ‘Bright’ copied the concept, James Caan did it first with alien partner Mandy Patinkin

The Netflix movie ‘Bright’ is about a cop teamed with an Orc. But well before that, this movie had Cop (James Caan) teamed up with an Alien (Mandy Patinkin), and the results were crazy. The Aliens were considered less- than human, and second-class in every way. But when these two worked together, the case is solved and the two become friends.

Blast from the Past (September 2018)

Yeah, the Box Office is rockin’ today with a whole lot of movies. But there are some from prior years that you may (or may not) remember. These older movies came out 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, maybe even longer back. Some were instant classics, while others were not. So let’s jump into the DeLorean and travel backwards in time to revisit a few of these forgotten gems…

September 2013 (5 years ago) — Prisoners – Director Denis Villeneuve locks you up in a chilling revenge story

Before Villeneuve had the world enthralled with ‘Arrival’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’, he came out with this movie. He centers on missing children and a desperate father’s act of vengeance. The perspective of the people grieving and the people unjustly accused makes for a raw display of emotion. It is a very dark and disturbing view and good versus evil, and how sometimes evil can be done in the name of good.

September 2008 (10 years ago) — Burn After Reading – Directors Ethan & Joel Coen take on the CIA and spill the beans

The Coen brothers can have very deep and meaningful movies, about common people in uncommon situations. However, this one is a very dark comedy of errors multiplied by everyone in the all-star cast. George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, Brad Pitt take all that talent and channel it into a crazy-quilt of idiots ready to screw up at every turn. As the CIA chief says at the end: “I guess we learned not to do it again.”

September 2003 (15 years ago) — The Rundown – Dwayne Johnson starts to change from ‘The Rock’ to ‘The Star’

Johnson changed from a wresting star (known as ‘The Rock’) to a movie star (who outgrew his wrestling moniker).  One of his first major roles was in this movie. It takes his bounty-hunter character to Brazil to locate and return Seann William Scott. But not before the two of them cause great mayhem and mischief, of course. Johnson would go on with bigger (and better) movie parts.

September 1998 (20 years ago) — Rush Hour – Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are a mismatched team – and start a trend

The buddy cop film is a familiar genre. So when Chan and Tucker change it up with a Hong Kong cop paired with a black L.A. street cop, the laughs were super charged. The cultural and language barriers were funny to watch. “DO-YOU-UNDERSTAND-THE-WORDS-THAT-ARE-COMING-OUT-OF-MY-MOUTH?”

September 1993 (25 years ago) — Dazed and Confused – Director Richard Linklater brings the world Matthew McConaughey (All right, all right, All right!)

Linklater has some real gems, such as ‘Boyhood’, ‘Before Sunrise’, and ‘A Scanner Darkly’. But this high school reflection on ‘high’ times brings some great characters. Such as McConaughey as Wooderson: “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

September 1988 (30 years ago) — Director John Carpenter has come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and he’s all out of bubble gum

Carpenter had already entertained audiences with ‘Halloween’, ‘Escape from New York’, ‘The Thing’, and ‘Big Trouble in Little China’. So a cult-classic Sci-Fi adventure about alien beings subverting humanity with subliminal advertizing is just another great addition to his spooky list of films. Roddy Piper is the bank robber slash hero with the lack of bubble gum. So all he can do is kick some alien ass.