By Scott Murray
I don't need to tell you that movies can generate emotional responses. Films that make you laugh and cry are nice, but the ones that generate an epic geek-out can be even better. With geek movies now hitting theaters every year, we get plenty of geek-out opportunities, but not all of them will last. In other words, you may geek-out the first time you see it, but after that, as B.B. King would say - the thrill is gone.
That's why I wanted to highlight three of my classic geek-out moments that continue to generate a geek-out response every time I see them. They just never get old.
"General...would you like to step outside?"
I was 7 years old when Superman II hit theaters, but that was old enough to be really mad at General Zod for causing havoc all over the country. It was really tough to sit there and watch all of that happen while powerless Clark Kent could only stand by and watch. That is what made his re-emergence at the Daily Planet so epic.
Once Superman asked Zod to step outside, I had a geek-out moment that internally said, "YEAH! Party's over, bitch." Okay, maybe not those exact words at age 7, but you get the idea. This scene still generates a response today.
"Here it comes."
I've said it for years - I'm a Kirk guy. I love his swagger, cockiness, and confidence - especially when it comes to sticking it to the bad guy. There was arguably no better time to witness that then in Star Trek II when Khan thought he had beaten the Enterprise crew. Unfortunately for him, Kirk doesn't believe in a no-win situation.
I remember seeing this movie in theaters. As Kirk, Spock and Saavik pull up the prefix code, the fantastic music of James Horner began to swell. An over-confident Khan thought he was going to get a transmission of Genesis information, but when Kirk says, "Here it comes"...it drops Reliant's shields and allows the Enterprise to counter attack.
When this happened, the crowd in the theater burst into applause. I still feel like doing that every time I watch this scene.
"Jabba...this is your last chance. "
Speaking of over-confidence...Jabba the Hutt exuded plenty of that, especially when he had Luke, Han and Chewie standing over the Sarlacc Pit. Luke was my hero growing up, and nobody wanted to see him master The Force more than me. Watching him enter Jabba's Palace and making quick work of two Gamorrean Guards was a pretty good indicator.
Yet, watching him stand on that plank as Jabba scoffed at his threats to free them or die...I have to admit I was a little panicked. There seemed to be no way out. Then suddenly...
and whoa, GREEN LIGHTSABER!
Then opening a can of Jedi Whoopass on Jabba's cronies!
It was just so awesome. It remains my favorite Star Wars moment. The best part about seeing this scene today is that I not only geek-out a bit, but I still feel some of that child-like emotion from the first viewing (though I like experiencing it better without the EXTRA Sarlacc mouth in it).
I guess you could say there's a common thread here. All of these scenes involve the good guys turning the table on the bad guys. So, yeah, I guess I'm all about the heroes. Don't get me wrong - I think Zod, Khan and Jabba are cool too. They're just not supposed to win.
By Scott Murray
In last week's Geek Directive Podcast, we discussed the new subscription box that Disney is putting together. Evidently, it will include movies, TV shows and video games all in one place. So, GANNIN asked us if we could create our own content box...what would we put into it? The answer for me was easy - I'd want one called RETRO BOX, filled with 1980s greatness. Here are some of the stuff I'd want inside of it.
I miss the days when "MTV: Music Television" was about actual music. It was so great to be able to turn it out and basically get a visual radio station featuring great bands and some very creative music videos. I've wanted to have a channel on satellite TV to offer hours of classic music videos for some time, and I think a retro box would be a great place to queue them up! I'm talking everything from Huey Lewis & the News, The Cars and Cyndi Lauper to Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Midnight Oil and ZZ Top.
I realize that a lot of classic shows are available on DVD and Blu-ray, but it sure would be nice to scroll through them all in one place. It would have to include the original V television series. I would also want The Muppet Show, The A-Team, and Knight Rider. I'd want comedies like Silver Spoons, Different Strokes, Night Court and The Jeffersons. Finally, I want some of the shows that are hard to find today like The Powers of Matthew Star and The Wizard .
AFTER SCHOOL SHOWS & CARTOONS
I would definitely like to have some of the programs I watched before/after school, as well as some Saturday Morning Cartoons. Granted, some of these shows may not hold up in my adult brain, but it would be fun to re-visit most of them. I would want some classic shows produced by Sid & Marty Kroft. There would have to be some Battle of the Planets, Masters of the Universe, and Star Blazers included in the mix. I'd also like to queue up some Fat Albert, and some classic Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry.
How could I have a Retro Box without movies? The 1980s were an awesome time for movies, and there are several titles that still hold up. Naturally big franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminator, Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones would be in there. I would also need The Last Starfighter, Wargames, Back to the Future and E.T. It wouldn't be complete without classics like Weird Science, License to Drive, The Breakfast Club, Can't Buy Me Love and Coming to America. The list could go on and on, but they would all have to be there.
No Retro Box would be complete without video games. I would want the manufacturer to produce produce more of these than the Classic NES consoles. Considering it felt like Nintendo made 12 for the whole country, that wouldn't be a tough order. However, I would also want games from classic systems like the Atari 2600. This means titles like Ka-Boom and MegaMania. I would also like to play stuff from the arcades, including the classic Star Wars games, Spy Hunter, Drangonslayer, Galaga, Phoenix, Afterburner and Tempest.
It seems as though Disney will sell their new box for about $100, and this box would definitely be worth that price. I'd feel like a kid in the 1980s again...only with a hint of 2017 kids since I would be on it all day and would never go outside.
By Scott Murray
With Back to the Future celebrating its 30th anniversary (Whoa, that is heavy) I thought it would be fun to go BACK and revisit a couple of interviews I conducted with cast members.
I launched my first podcast in 2011. It was called The Critic Show, and the concept for it was a little too broad and simplistic. I didn't know that then because I was very new to podcasting. However, I also didn't know just how much success I was going to have getting celebrity interviews. As it turns out, I ended up having a guest on almost every episode, causing me to eventually change the name of the podcast to Beyond the Screens.
James Tolkan was on my fifth episode. I booked both him and Efran Ramirez (Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite), and it was then I realized I was developing quite the track record for getting guests.
The first thing I remember about this interview was how James chuckled during my introduction. When I was done reading it, he could tell I was a well-prepared interviewer. Actually, he said I definitely wasn't a "slacker". He was a nice, down-to-earth guy who seemed to really like talking about his career. I not only enjoyed hearing him talk about Back to the Future, but it was also fun to hear what inspired the "Your ego is cashing checks your body can't cash" line from Top Gun.
Here's my 2011 interview with James:
I love it when I get the chance to do an in-person interview. I met Claudia Wells (Jennifer) at a local convention. She was funny and very full of life. One of the things I remember from this interview is how sometimes even the simplest questions can generate interesting answers.
The truth is, her character isn't in the movie all that much. So, I had to work harder to come up with questions to ask. I remembered she was in the scene where Huey Lewis was judging rock bands, and I decided to ask about working with him. It seemed like kind of a lame question at the time...but it generated a fun conversation.
Here is my interview with Claudia:
Universal just announced that Back to the Future will return to theaters for a one-night event on October 21st.
Geek topics from AoG hosts and contributors.