The Bad News Bears

The Bad News Bears

Written by Bill Lancaster (Burt's son) and directed by Michael Ritchie (who had helmed adult fare like The Candidate and Smile), this winning 1976 film worked on a lot of levels-and not just the "hey, those naughty kids are cussing" level either. There was the underdog triumph story at the movie's core; there was the satire of the uniquely American institution of Little League and its overly-involved bench parents (in the year of our country's bicentennial, no less). There was also a redemptive character piece at work, as Buttermaker, via his group of misfits, tried to get his shambled life together once and for all. Continue reading...

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The Black Cauldron

If you are searching for a story from which to make a successful animated film, there are certain elements that you can’t go wrong with - swords and a bit of sorcery (couldn’t hurt), a battle between good and evil (now you’re talking), a brave young hero on a quest to save the world (gotta have it) and, of course, a psychic pig (Right? Right?). Put all these ingredients in a pot, give it a good stir, and the result is The Black Cauldron, an 1985 animated Disney film based on Lloyd Alexander’s fantasy book series, The Chronicles of Prydain. Continue reading...

The Black Stallion

The Black Stallion

One needn’t be Dr. Doolittle to communicate their animal counterparts. Given an equal dose of time, patience and trust, the ability to speak words are unnecessary to form bonds, to form meaningful friendships. Such was the case with young Alec and “the black” in the beloved 1979 film, The Black Stallion, a touching story of boy and horse who discover each other under the most trying of circumstances and form a friendship that will last a lifetime. Continue reading...

The Blob

The Blob

If ever there was a list of best films to see at the drive-in, The Blob would top the list. Sure, it is low budget. Sure, the monster amounts to little more than a mound of goo, devoid of so much as a scary eye or blood-dripping fangs. But in the 50s, this was scary stuff, the type of film that could make a girl cuddle in fear – and that was well worth the price of admission (even if she might be checking out Steve McQueen a little more than she let on). Continue reading...

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The Blue Lagoon

Henry De Vere Stacpoole’s 1908 romantic novel about two young children shipwrecked on a deserted island was brought to life with stunning cinematography, in the film adaptation of The Blue Lagoon. Released in 1980, and starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, it was (perhaps surprisingly) the third film adaptation of the book (the first two occurring in 1923 and 1949). A an intriguing tale of young love, free from society’s constraints, The Blue Lagoon, despite some controversy, proved a success at the box office and still fondly remembered. Continue reading...

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...

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The Brave Little Toaster

When it comes to learning life lessons, one seldom looks towards household appliances to lead the way. But that’s precisely what author Thomas M. Disch did when he wrote The Brave Little Toaster in 1980. Seven years later, a group of former Disney employees would bring his touching tale to the big screen. Continue reading...

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The Breakfast Club

"How come Andrew gets to get up? If he gets up, we'll all get up, it'll be anarchy!"And as soon as hooligan John Bender took that screw out of the library door in 1985's The Breakfast Club, that's exactly what erupted. It was anarchy because members of five different high school social cliques got together, and even better than that, they actually got along. It was anarchy because by the end of the movie, the five high-schoolers were volumes more enlightened and mature than when they were dropped off just a few hours earlier. If Saturday detentions really taught so much about life, love, growing up and the regrettable fact that they just don't make overhead roof ducts as sturdy as they used to…well then, lock us all up. Continue reading...