The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers

America got their first glimpse of the Blues Brothers during a 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live. Jake and Elwood (played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd respectively) brought the house down with their energizing performance, leading to more appearances on the popular show and a well-received album. In 1980, they brought the pair to the big screen in The Blues Brothers, a beloved film filled with great music and plenty of car crashes. Continue reading...

Up in Smoke

Up in Smoke

For better or worse, the comedy team of Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong enjoyed quite the successful career in the 70s, portraying two drug-addled hippies in their popular stand-up routines. This led to a string of well-received comedy albums, enormously popular with the counter-culture youth. In 1978, the pair finally took their act to the big screen, in the first of many feature-length films, Up in Smoke. Filled with drug references and some surprising cameo appearances, the movie was a major success for the duo and has since gone on to become a cult classic. Continue reading...

Parenthood

Parenthood

It isn’t an easy job to raise a family. No matter how you prepare, no matter how you hope and pray you are making the right decisions, life has a way of lobbing curveballs, one after another. Sometimes the best you can do is hold on tight and prepare for a wild ride. Such was the premise of Parenthood, a 1989 film directed by Ron Howard. Thanks to an ensemble cast featuring Steve Martin, Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, Tom Hulce, Keanu Reeves, and a very young Joaquin Phoenix (billed as "Leaf"), Parenthood captured the trials and tribulations of raising a family in heartfelt and amusing detail. Continue reading...

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Novelty acts usually fade from the limelight after their fifteen minutes of fame are up (quick - who wrote "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"?), and any kid with a tape recorder and a spare afternoon can record a song parody. So how did a frizzy-haired California kid with an accordion turn novelty music into a platinum-selling, Grammy-winning, celebrity-spoofing career that has so far spanned almost four decades? Sure, Dr. Demento's radio show helped, but "Weird Al" Yankovic has survived for one simple reason: the guy is just flat-out funny. Continue reading...

The Muppet Movie

The Muppet Movie

Reminiscent of the old Bob Hope/Bing Cosby road movies, The Muppet Movie, released in 1979, is a movie within a movie, as Kermit the Frog attempts to explain to his young nephew, though a movie, how the gang of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and friends managed to cross paths. Kermit does admit that his account may be slightly fictionalized but, real or not, the resulting tale is full of charm and non-stop laughs that could only come from the mind of Jim Henson. Continue reading...

A League of Their Own

A League of Their Own

The sacrifices of women during WWII don’t always get the attention they deserve. In many ways, they were the unsung heroes of the era, raising children while working tirelessly in the factories. It turns out, they even kept the national pastime going, while the men fought on the other side of the globe. In 1992, director Penny Marshall decided to share the story of this little-known (and real-life) All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the hit 1992 comedy, A League of Their Own. With an all star cast featuring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna and a show stealing cameo by Jon Lovitz, the result was both charming and funny, and overall, a rather poignant look at the brave women who sacrificed much to save the game of baseball. Continue reading...

Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

After years of working in animation, director Tim Burton took a healthy plunge into the world of live-action film and created a beloved cult classic in the 1985 release, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. The film starred the inimitable Paul Reubens as everyone’s favorite man-child, Pee-Wee Herman, in an adventure unlike any ever witnessed before. Continue reading...

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Every teenager knows that his or her parents must have been geeks when they were seventeen, but Back to the Future gave one teen a chance to see for himself. Directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump), this mid-80's time-traveling romp became the highest-grossing movie of the year, and it helped transition Michael J. Fox, then best known as orthodox conservative Alex P. Keaton on the popular sitcom Family Ties, into a genuine movie star. Continue reading...