Rocky

Rocky

The rags-to-riches story of a nobody trying to make the best of his one shot began in the mind of an unknown actor named Sylvester Stallone. Stallone witnessed a boxing match between the legendary Muhammed Ali and virtual unknown Chuck Wepner and the spark was born. After mulling it over in his mind for about a month, Stallone sat down and punched out a first draft in only three days. Little did he know just how far that script would take him in his career, as Rocky and its multiple sequels would enthrall movie audiences for years to come. Continue reading...

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

A.A. Milne's beloved characters came to animated life in Disney's The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Released in 1977, the film was actually a compilation of three separate stories - Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too - each of which had been shown previously as a theatrical short (Blustery Day won a posthumous Oscar for Walt Disney in 1969). The packaged format gave Pooh, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore and the others a broader audience on which to work their easygoing charms. Continue reading...

Cocoon

Cocoon

With Robert Zemeckis lured away by Michael Douglas to direct Romancing the Stone, Hollywood producers turned to former Happy Days star-turned-director Ron Howard to direct this beloved sleeper from 1985 about an intergalactic fountain of youth. Howard's magical touch and an endearing cast transformed Cocoon into one of the biggest hits of the year. 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...

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...