Ask 411 Movies 06.23.14: More Than Meets the Column
Posted by Chad Webb on 06.23.2014
Why did Transformers: Generation 1 change animation styles? What are Mark Wahlberg's best roles? What movies and shows have influenced me? All that and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
An "Ask 411 Movies" column would be nothing without questions, so please toss them my way. Why should you ask me instead of using Google? Well, perhaps I'll tell you something you can't find there, or maybe you just like my conversation and soothing words. You can post any questions or thoughts below in the comments section, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a tweet using the links below:
This week I saw a bunch of movies. Edge of Tomorrow and 22 Jump Street were both terrific. The latter was just as funny as the first (some would say better) and I didn't expect that. I also saw Pompeii, The Fifth Estate, and 3 Days to Kill. All three had issues, though the last one is better than the other two. As for TV, I watched Frank Darabont's Mob City, which was outstanding. I confess I thought it was a mini-series based on the fact that they aired 2 episodes per night and called it a "3-week spectacular." It's a shame it got canceled so quickly, it was beautifully shot and wonderfully acted. I suppose it had a hard time flourishing next to Boardwalk Empire. The season finale of Fargo and Game of Thrones were both excellent too.
If want to know more about my movie tastes, check out my page on Letterboxd by clicking right here. Also, make sure to look at all the great articles and writers at 411, particularly in the Movie-zone because that's where I predominantly am, but all of the zones.
Casey Kasem passed away on June 15, 2014 at the age of 82. The cause of death is said to be harsh complications from Parkinson's disease. He also suffered from dementia. Kasem was an American disc jockey, music historian, radio personality, voice actor and actor best known for his countdown programs, specifically "American Top 40." Among the voices he did: Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, Robin in Super Friends, Peter Cottontail in Here Comes Peter Cottontail, many characters in Transformers, and a ton of others. Among his many honors: star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, National Association of Broadcasters hall of Fame, National Radio hall of Fame, and the Radio icon Award in 2003. He was also great in an episode of Saved by the Bell. He was survived by his wife, four children, and four grandchildren. Casey's body was handed over to widow Jean, who would be making funeral arrangements.
In case I forgot to mention a notable death this week, you can always peruse the list yourself by clicking here.
Why did Transformers: The Movie (The REAL Transformers movie in my opinion) and its subsequent seasons use a vastly different animation style than before the movie? I am not in anyway knowledgeable about Anime or any of that but it looks more like something Japanese cartoons like Voltron were presented as. Also, the moment my childhood cartoon viewing innocence ended was when the Decepticons ambushed the Autobots spaceship heading to earth. That was a pants crapping moment for sure. I was actually watching these robots I watched daily die. Do you personally have a movie or tv show as a kid that you shocked you that now anything can really happen? Thanks again.
1) Ok, here is some basic info: The Transformers is the first animated television series in the Transformers franchise. The series depicts a war among giant robots that can transform into vehicles and other objects. Written and recorded in America, the series was animated in Japan and South Korea. The entire series was based upon the Diaclone and Microman toy lines originally created by Japanese toy manufacturer Takara, which were developed into the Transformers toy line by American company Hasbro. The series was supplemented by a feature film, The Transformers: The Movie (1986), taking place between the second and third seasons.
So during the "More Than Meets the Eye" mini-series/pilot, the first two seasons, and Transformers: The Movie, the animation was handled by Toei. When the third season began, it continued the future setting introduced in Transformers: The Movie (1986). Season 3 also had a new theme song and more than 50% of the episodes were produced by AKOM animation. The work of AKOM was widely panned by fans. Now, it has been awhile since I watched the series, but it also had a rather grim approach starting in season 3. Combine that with the different animation and new cast of characters and it did not go over well with viewers. And in season 4, once again AKOM did the animation. This was also when Hasbro stopped caring about the series, didn't give it enough funds to continue, and Generation 1 ended in November of 1987. Japanese audiences received three new shows however: Headmasters, Super-God Masterforce, and Victory.
Now, as far as why they changed animation companies, season 3 saw a decline in Toei's participation because AKOM was more cost-efficient. Money is always a factor, right? Toei did handle all of the commercials though. It should also be noted that Toei was notoriously difficult to work with, so that did not help their case. When it concerned distributors releasing their material outside of Japan, they were infamous for not providing what companies wanted, or when they did send footage, it was often of terrible quality. For AKOM, they often got the color guides for certain characters wrong, and even used outdated designs on a few occasions.
2) Hmm, this is an intriguing question. I know you specified a movie or shows when I was a kid, and I will touch on that, but I'll also expand on the question in terms of movies/shows that influenced me into becoming the movie buff/writer that I am today.
*WrestleMania VI - As a kid, I was one of millions who idolized Hulk Hogan. It might seem silly now, but I never thought he would lose at WrestleMania. It was the biggest wrestling event of the year and he was the Hulkster. He wins in the main events, stands tall, and poses for everyone. That's how it goes. I even had fierce arguments with fellow students at school who would tell me that the Warrior would beat him. I got angry at this and had to gather supporters of Hogan to my side. But when he missed the big leg and the Ultimate Warrior emerged victorious, I suddenly realized that "Wow, even my heroes can lose." And as you say, my reaction to that was "anything can happen." To reiterate, I was a small child, so it might seem funny now, but that's the way I was at the time. There were many wrestling moments I could cite. I laugh as I remember this, but my best friend and I were dumbfounded and sad when Earthquake squashed Jake Roberts' snake Damien, apparently killing him. "I can't believe Damien's dead" was my response. To me, everything happening inside the wrestling ring was 100% real and legit.
*Big - I enjoyed plenty of movies when I was a kid, but I primarily watched the same stuff over and over again. There might be others, but this one came to mind for mainly one reason which I will get to in a second. I was drawn to the notion that a kid could instantly become an adult, make money, and buy all sorts of spectacular kiddie toys and things. But the scene I'm referring to was Elizabeth Perkins taking off her shirt to reveal her bra before she and Tom Hanks did the nasty (well, it was insinuated anyway). When I was little, this was a big deal, and my parents were understandably worried about what to do when this moment occurred. My wife told me that her parents made her cover her eyes until it was over. That didn't happened to me, and I can't remember seeing the female form in a movie in that manner before then. Come on, I was little. I have no idea when I saw my first nude scene, and of course Perkins was not nude, but it was still significant for my precious childhood. I think Howard Stern's Private Parts was the first Rated R flick I saw on the big screen and not at home. Profanity, boobs, and more! I digress…
*The Wonder Years - This has always been one of my favorite shows and I tuned in religiously every week when it was on. I connected to the series and its storylines for many reasons growing up, the central one being that I had many similarities with Kevin Arnold. But what opened my eyes that anything can happen was the series finale (SPOILERS!) when Kevin and Winnie did not end up together. In my mind, the guy got the girl at the end and they lived happily ever after. That was how romances must work on TV and in films. And it was especially important to me that these two end up together because I came from a divorced family and wanted to see true love shine. The Wonder Years conclusion was very emotional, but it demonstrated that you don't always end with your first love…and that's ok.
*The Sixth Sense - Now we're getting into movies that shaped the way I look at movies in general. M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense definitely changed the way I viewed storytelling. I was a freshman in high school when this was released and still more of a TV watcher. But I did go see movies every now and then and I saw this with a friend and was literally jaw-dropped at the twist, as many were. I had no idea a film could be so shocking and do something that completely blind-sided me. I looked at conclusions and subtle story aspects differently after that. Shyamalan has become a joke these days, but this film was one that gave me a heightened respect for cinema and what it could pull off.
*The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - I would never have thought about being a movie writer without having seen John Huston's 1948 western. I only watched it because of City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold. Yes, you read that right. In that sequel, which no one loves but me I think, there is a scene where Billy Crystal does the Walter Huston dance. I didn't understand why this was funny, so eventually I decided to rent The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and finally see what he talking about. I was in college at the time and the result changed my life forever. I had an idea about what a treasure hunt movie should be and anyone who has seen this knows that they do not find a chest of gold bars at the end. It is about much more than that, but this is not a review. This also was probably one of the first black and white movies I looked for on my own, excluding whatever they showed in school. Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a masterpiece and I was so fascinated by Humphrey Bogart's searing performance and the brilliance of the direction. From then on, I was hooked on cinema.
*The Seventh Seal - As I watched more and more movies, it got to a point where I rented several titles from the library every couple of days. I was addicted. At my college, they had an extremely small collection of DVDs, many of which were obscure foreign films. The cover of this Criterion release caught my eye. Here was some weird looking dude dressed in black. I thought to myself, "Ok, why not give it a shot?" The next phase of my movie watching existence had begun. Ingmar Bergman's 1957 classic was a film that truly made me think. I saw motion pictures that were profound before this of course, but nothing on this level. I was amazed at the dialogue, the acting, the themes, and the conclusion. This film taught me that there is a world of cinema out there that I have not checked out. Before this, the idea of watching a movie with subtitles was not something I cared to do. Never again did I have that problem. After that, I developed a fondness for many more filmmakers from countries all over the world. And an interesting bit of trivia, while I own this, I have not revisited it since that initial viewing, perhaps in fear that the first experience I had might be tarnished. I'm sure I'll watch it again someday soon.
Follow up question to last week's music query.
Flipping through the channels on TV I caught the "Bad The The Bone" music video playing on VH1 classic. I knew that it was George Thorogood (The guy whose song it was) and Bo Diddly as the pool players in the video. What I wasn't aware of when I did some online research was the fact that it was legendary pro pool champion Willie Mosconi as the old guy that wagered on Diddly on the game.
Long story short, who's the hot dame on Mosconi's arm in the video? She seems familiar and somewhat recognizable to me, in that maybe I've seen her in something else. Or am I confusing her for another hot 80's video babe? It may be that this was the only thing she ever appeared in as far as I know. Again, I attempted a bit of my own research to figure this out, but to no avail.
First thing first. One of our commenters, Krunchy, mentioned it last week, so they get credit for the find, but I wanted to put closure on your question about The Tubes. I agree that maybe you thought the song was by The Tubes when it was actually the track "Peek a Boo" by Devo. It is understandable. Based on stage performances, etc., the groups do have share many traits. The music video for the Devo tune does indeed have a Joker in the background laughing maniacally. Unless there are multiple songs by different bands featuring Joker characters, this has to be the answer. Here is the video:
As for this week's question, it appears you may have stumped me again, though it's not for lack of trying. I watched the video and did not recognize the actress. I did the usual research, which turned up nothing, and even emailed George Thorogood's official site, which to date has not responded back. If they ever do, I'll let you know.
So, until then, here is some info on the music video, followed by the video itself. Maybe one of you out there will know who it is.
"Bad to the Bone" is a song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers released in 1982 on the album of the same name. Among the influences on this song: Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man," Muddy Waters' "She Moves Me" & "Mannish Boy," Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "Gangster of Love," Chuck Berry's "No Money Down," and Elvis Presley's "Trouble."
Here is the summary of the video: "The video intercuts a live performance by Thorogood and his band with his playing a lengthy game of pool with Bo Diddley. Pool player Willie Mosconi is summoned from another room by a spectator, and he wagers a large sum of money on Diddley. As Thorogood appears to be winning, a group of children outside celebrate while Diddley gets a dirty look from Mosconi. Thorogood smokes a fat cigar throughout the pool-playing sequence. The video ends with Thorogood making the 8 ball drop into a pocket by flicking a large quantity of cigar ash on the floor, apparently triggering the drop of the ball in the pocket."
Quick Shot: Mark Wahlberg
This week we see the arrival of Transformers: Age of Extinction in theaters starring Mark Wahlberg (among many others). And so here are 5 Marky Mark performances that you absolutely must familiarize yourself with before checking out the upcoming film.
1) Boogie Nights
2) The Departed
3) Three Kings
4) The Italian Job
5) Invincible/The Fighter
--Thanks to Misty for my banner.
"The plural of Chad is Chad?"
--From the movie Recount