The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

Disney's 28th animated motion picture marked the beginning of one era and the end of another. The Little Mermaid ushered in an animated Renaissance for the studio, sparking a string of hits that included Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and more. The film was also the last fully cel-animated picture for the studio, as computers soon took over many of the animators' more menial tasks. Historical considerations aside, The Little Mermaid was plain old good fun, a somewhat loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale. 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...

Star Wars

Star Wars

When George Lucas spent $11 million to produce a little labor of love called Star Wars, he likely had high hopes for the ambitious science-fiction film. It is hard to imagine that he came even remotely close to envisioning the impact or success that the film would go on to achieve. In terms of box-office numbers, in terms of successful sequels (and prequels,) in terms of a massive marketing machine, in terms of astounding special effects, the film simply has few rivals. And if you were one of the first to stand in line in 1977, the first to see the text scroll up the screen, you likely remember the experience as if it were yesterday. 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...

The Naked Gun

The Naked Gun

Considering the many years that Leslie Nielson spent playing serious roles, few realized the zany sense of humor he possessed until he portrayed a doctor in the smash hit comedy, Airplane. Two years later, he continued the shtick in the very short-lived television series, Police Squad, playing Lieutenant Frank Drebin. For those that may have missed that little piece of TV comedy gold, he eventually took the character to the big screen in The Naked Gun. Released in 1988, there was no joke or sight gag too silly to milk for every laugh it was worth. Of course, the true charm was in Nielson’s ability to always keep a straight face. Continue reading...

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Unfortunately, billionaire entrepreneur John Hammond learned this lesson the hard way, courtesy of several scaly, flesh-eating dinosaurs. Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park was a dark, terrifying fable of science gone amok in the name of entertainment, and it became an instant bestseller. The dino-adventure had "summer blockbuster" written all over it, and with Steven Spielberg signed on as director, the story came to thrilling cinematic life in 1993. Continue reading...

Aladdin

Aladdin

The time-honored fable of Aladdin and his magic lamp got a 90s makeover for Disney's 31st animated feature film. Combining comedy and many catchy musical numbers, Aladdin and his magic carpet soared at the box office, propelled by the sheer gabbiness of an over-the-top genie voiced by the irrepressible Robin Williams. Continue reading...