Thursday, September 10, 2009

Before There Were Websites... (Pt 2)

...there were scrapbooks (prev. pt 1)

Let's continue that silly reveal of my "Movies of the Eighties" scrapbook. I'm still hoping to locate the "Movie Stars of the Eighties" companion volume in which I ranked all the actors and actresses of the decade. Wouldn't that be a ROTFL experience? If I can find it I will share, despite the loss of dignity it will surely occasion.

Behold! To your left is the tv guide cover that started it all. I guess it wasn't an actual TV Guide as my personal mythology has always relayed but whatever television magazine thingie was inserted into the Detroit Free Press back in the day. That cover right there started my whole Oscar obsession -- look how worn, damaged and fingered it is. I thumbed through it so many times. What is this naked gold man they call Oscar??? This cover unlocked my latent awards mania. I had seen Tootsie and E.T. (massive family friendly hits both) but it was the center statue that seized my imagination. Soooo shiny.

Shiny shiny sha-na-na-na.
Shiny shiny bad times behind me

From there I became more and more movie obsessed. Based on the "everything I've seen" scribblings it looks like I was seeing about 25-40 films a year. Not all of the clipping collages matched the screening lists. I can't recall exactly what dragged me to theaters back then, but Dennis Quaid was a factor.

Do you know the 14 films displayed there? Some of them I barely remember...

The 1988 and 1989 pages are heavily Burtonesque with a late blooming burst of Pfandom by way of The Fabulous Baker Boys. I thought this clipping below was an interesting time capsule: a note about who might play The Joker before Batman (1989) was even filming. It was superhero casting speculation before steroids the internet.

It's smudgy but it reads
Although an unknown will be considered for Batman, Jack Nicholson (far right) has been mentioned in connection with the Joker. _____'s personal picks for the role are Ray Liotta (Something Wild, left) or Willem Dafoe (Platoon, center).
For the Record: Heath Ledger was 10 years old when Tim Burton's Batman arrived in theaters. Who imagined that Nicholson's Joker would eventually have to stand down?

If you want to see more of this scrapbook, say so in the comments.

But I wanted to wrap up this part 2 peak with this: Lists! Apparently I thought the best "losing sanity" performances of the 80s were:
Jack Nicholson Batman
Meg Tilly Agnes of God
Glenn Close Fatal Attraction
Meryl Streep Plenty
With the distance of time, I'd only feel comfortable standing by the bunny boiler. Not that there isn't much to admire in Streep's 1985 performance. But why only four performances? The magic number is five, Nathaniel, hello. Everyone knows that.

Stranger still is the "best sequels of the decade" ranking
5. Superman II 4. Star Trek IV 3. Aliens 2. The Empire Strikes Back 1. Return of the Jedi
That order is ALL wrong: Jedi is a sorry sibling to Empire, The Wrath of Khan crushes other Trek adventures and sentient humans and drooling monsters alike recognize that Aliens is the sequel of the 80s as well as one of the best action flicks ever. I like to think that somewhere inside I knew this and thus felt compelled to scribble A-L-I-E-N-S in large capital expanding letters.

Finally, there's the list of the movies I saw most often, "Again and Again and Again" This one honestly surprised me. I don't remember seeing some of these movies multiple times. I never see things more than twice in the theaters now. Unless the movies are called Moulin Rouge!
(4 times) A Chorus Line, The Empire Strikes Back, Dreamscape, Fire and Ice, The Lost Boys, The Princess Bride, The Secret of My Succe$s, Romancing the Stone, The Karate Kid, The Little Mermaid, Beetle Juice and Ladyhawke
(5 times) A Room With a View, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Clue, St. Elmo's Fire
(6 times) Batman
(9 times) Return of the Jedi
(10 times) The Breakfast Club
You know what question I am forced to ask now: What movie did you see the most in grade school, junior high and high school?


Arkaan said...

3 Ninjas.

Alex F. said...

I'm so ashamed to share this -- Van Helsing is the only movie I've seen more than twice in a theater. And I wasn't a kid. I was 22.

James Colon said...

When I was 14, I saw Mystic River three times, which was a lot back then. I guess it's different now with DVDs being rushed out only moments after the movie has closed in theaters, because I seldom see any movie more than twice these days (The Wrestler and Juno, I believe, are the only exceptions), and even two times is pretty rare.

City_Of_Lights said...

I saw Ghost twice in middle school. I didn't have the money to go often and for whatever reason there was no one I knew that wanted to go see movies multiple times.

Andrew K. said...

Never will Jack Nicholson stand down as The Joker, Nathaniel :D

Pleased to see you saw A ROOM WITH A VIEW five times though.

I never watch at films more than once in theaters...but when I first saw THE ENGLISH PATIENT I looked at it everyday for two weeks. I was 16.

Katey said...

I saw Titanic 7 times in theaters.

I was one of those people.

Julienne said...

Coming to America =p because it was always shown in my grandmother's house


Katey... I saw Titanic 3 times in theaters and I was in my 20s even at the time i thought both Leo & Kate had been a lot better before so i was hardly obsessive yet i still kept going. I suppose this is how it became #1.

Peter Chan said...

'The Sound of Music' on VHS, 'The Sound of Music' on VHS, 'The Sound of Music' on DVD

Rae Kasey said...

I cannot even begin to count the number of times I saw LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring in theaters.

Kelsy said...

I've only seen a few movies twice in the theater, and none of the because I really like the movie:

Phantom of the Opera: someone else paid both times.

The Illustionist: It was okay enough to see a second time at the dollar theater.

Across the Universe: I paid both times, and I kind of loath the middle portion of the film.

I Am Legend: The second time was because my date didn't bother to ask me if I'd seen the movie before pre-buying the tickets.

par3182 said...

hmmm, somebody must've had a decent allowance to revisit all those films so many times

you should be given a medal for sitting through a chorus line more than once

when i was a teenager in the deep dark past i was incarcerated at a boarding school where we were entertained with a movie every saturday night - a steady diet of westerns and kung-fu movies (or should i say movie, as i recall it was quite often the same kung-fu movie but with a different title)

one weekend we got midnight cowboy; i guess someone in the booking office thought it was a western

Walter L. Hollmann said...

you saw A Room with a View 5 times? inspire me.

In high school I saw Kill Bill Vol. 2 and The Wicker Man three times each in theaters. Yes, The Wicker Man, and then we (my best friend and I) bought the DVD at midnight at Walmart when it came out. And held Wicker Man parties. We're those people.

UncleVanya said...

Ammusing discussion, but are we going to have any thoughts on whats happening at TIFF?

Here are my thoughts following the 9PM screening of “Antichrist” at Toronto's Ryerson Theater:

After months of post-Cannes chatter hinting at the shock quotient delivered in Lars von Trier’s, “Antichrist”, I often found myself thinking, “could this film actually surpass the grotesqueries seen in such films as Gaspar Noe’s, “Irreversible”, Pascal Laugier’s, “Martyrs”, or even “Salo: 100 Days of Sodom”, the 30 year old film by Pier Paolo Pasolini”. Well the answer is, decidedly, no. This is not to say that “Antichrist” does not have it’s moments (it does). What is evident, however, is that the droning chorus of expressed horror by the peanut crunching throngs has, alas, been mostly dubious hyperbole, much like the arrogant psycho-babble of the psychiatrist/husband, the other half of the male/female equation, here, played by Willem Dafoe. I’m sure most of you know the plot: a couple (while having, to say the least, florid sex) lose a child to accidental death. Their guilt and grief
force them to look for some kind of solace, which leads them to their lush, ethereal country getaway (Eden) where they will excorcise their demons, each with his and her agendas, which include the ‘nasty’ and some violent nastiness. What could have been just an exploitation film is often bouyed by Von Trier’s direction, and Anthony Dod Mantle’s (Slumdog Millionaire) eerily, off-kilter cinematography (you often get the feeling that some omniscient being–antichrist?–is viewing surrepitiously with adolescent glee the goings-on from a cosmic/underworld telescope). Also, it must be said that Charlotte Gainsbourg (playing a variation on the madonna/whore theme prevalent in Von Trier’s films) gives a pungent and torturous performance, the likes not seen since Ingmar Bergman’s unhinged women of the 60’s and 70’s. But ultimately, it was not the violence/S&M that shocked me (perhaps it should have). What jolted me most was the sudden vision of Willem Dafoe’s erect penis, and perhaps this response is what von Trier intended, knowing that much of the audience for the film would be, like most provincial westerners, people who were raised in bourgeois judeo-christian homes (where violence is more acceptable then sex, pornography is more objectional than war, and the male sex organs are more consciously hidden than the females’, especially in film). One must remember that Von Trier’s most loathed and least successful film, “The Idiots”, a film about catharsis and fakery, was loaded with sexually explicit imagery, which ultimately doomed the film. Von Trier, I am assuming, must have surmised, at one point, that said film would have done better had it included some blood with it’s debauchery. These hypocrisies, I am convinced, are what Von Trier wanted to expose with this new film. In other words, much like the omniscient viewer who’s lens we are forced to see through and, thus, identify with, we, the collective audience, with our manufactured,
jaundiced, and
skewed opinions on morality, are the true antichrists. In fact, our moral compass, with all of its exaggerated, self-righteous indignation, is more in league with the devils’, and to Von Trier, we are legion.


uncle vanya... lev noted in his introductory TIFF post that he would be attending Antichrist so he'll probably post about it.


par3182 --- i don't remember my allowance being any good but I did have a paper route... maybe this also counted VHS views?

peterchan if you count old movies (these lists were only about the 80s) I probably saw Sound of Music and West Side Story 5-10 times that decade, too.

Neel Mehta said...

It's interesting that Willem Dafoe eventually got to play the Joker, although the character was renamed Green Goblin.

Iggy said...

I feel so old reading these comments!

When I was a teenager I never saw a movie twice in theaters, if I liked certain movie a lot, I used to buy the VHS. I was the kind of guy who wanted to see ALL the movies in theaters, so that made impossible the repeated viewings. Still today, I don't do it often, I prefer to wait for the DVD.

Confession (not really embarrassing): I never saw Titanic because of the long lines (of people waiting to see it for the nth time? :)). I've been (kindly) forced to try to see it. I tried it twice. Right now I've come to accept the fact that I will never see it.

Victor S said...

I'm so happy that my anwsers to this question aren't at all embarassing - everything in the high school years tends to be embarassing when you look back: Moulin Rouge! (5 times at the theather, 2 in a roll on opening day, that's how in love I was) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (also 5 times): opening day, second weekend, nominations week, Holy Saturday (saturday before Oscars) and after Oscars.

Michael W. said...

This is just all kinds of great Nat.

I have some old stuff like this myself and looking back at it is fun. You amaze yourself to see what you thought of different movies back then.

At the age 10 to my early teens I think the movies I watched the most times were Raiders of the Lost Ark, King Kong, The Goonies, Stand by Me and Gremlins. Oddly enough Corey Feldman is in three of them so I guess that's where my love for him comes from. I still hope for a massive comeback for him!! And Raiders of the Lost Ark is still one of my favorite movies of all time.

I was 16 when Pulp Fiction came out and I watched that three times at the theater.

My earliest movie memory is being 5 and not being alloved to go see E.T. with my mom and big sister. I remember the feeling of standing in the kitchen and being dissapointed when they left the house :D I still have the E.T. doll I got a few days later. We always joke that it was what made me a film buff. I NEVER wanted to miss ANYTHING again! :D

Janice said...

I'm pretty sure that the Detroit News (which we used to get) had a similiar tv guide with similar cover - I don't think the papers had merged yet? (only a detroiter knows what I'm babbling about, I should think.)

I couldn't help wondering - wow, how the heck did you (presumably a teenager then) see so many movies so many times? And all of these at theaters? Did you come from a rich family, Nathaniel? When I was growing up we usually waited for something to come out on VHS because we couldn't afford movie tickets, except discounted matinees. I think I saw only 2 movies twice at a theater when I was growing up and I only remember one - the Karate Kid 2. My aunt took my sister and I (so it was on someone else's dime) and we saw it a second time by slumping in our seats and waiting for the next show to begin. (no, the kid cleaning up the aisles did not kick us out.) The funniest thing about that was that my aunt was (is) a devout Catholic and I would never imagined that she would have done something like that! the fun came more from the thrill of having "stolen" something than the film itself. (Although I do recall being enthralled by the glimpses of Japanese culture in the film, and my baby dyke-self must have been enthralled by the very pretty actress in the film. The tea sequence - what can I say?)


no, i most definitely did not come from wealth! i'm sure some of this is from vhs and/or the "dollar show" there were a few theaters that showed the older movies for a single dollar or $1.50 i can't remember. plus i remember in the late 70s or was it early 80s, you could stay and see it again without repaying. I specifically remember doing that for The Empire Strikes Back since we were late to the theater.

people didn't say "i'll wait for the video" as much as people say "i'll wait for DVD" these days because the wait was much longer.

RichardC said...

I remember seeing "Weird Science" many times (I was 16), and The Breakfast Club many many times. I also saw Clueless around 6 times in 10 days (in the cinema).

Do you remember the Jessica Lange/Sissy Spacek/Diane Keaton film "Crimes of the Heart"? I saw that a couple of times in the theatre too, and still have fond memories.

Fatal Attraction scared me a lot (I was 17), and still remember the brilliance of Glenn Close's performance, which is what dragged me back to the cinema to see it again and again again.

Glenn said...

The only movie I've seen more than twice at the cinema was Moulin Rouge! at seven.

Christine said...

The Neverending Story. It was one of the few movies we had on tape, and my sister and I watched it at least once a month when we got bored.

Also, Iggy, your post just made me realize I've never seen Titanic either. I'm not sure how that happened.

Notas Sobre Creación Cultural e Imaginarios Sociales said...

"Titanic" 8 times during it's theatrical release...
Not so surprisingly I rewatched it until a year ago when I got the fancy UK DVD set.
"La Mala Educación" 4 times and "The Hours" 3 times (Friday,Saturday and Sunday opening weekend) have been the most recent.
Nowadays the ones I love I usually see twice.
Oh and "Antichrist" rocked! Where is Dafoe's Best Actor buzz? He was astonishing!

Wayne B said...

Nat, I like the creative scrapbook possts.

grade school - Dirty Dancing
junior high - Dazed and Confused
high school - Pulp Fiction

susannah said...

Jeez, I can't think of any movies I saw more than once when I was in grade school and junior high. The only excuse I have is that I grew up in a small town in Mississippi and 1) the movies at our local four screen were either total crap, or 2) only around for a week before those worth seeing were replaced by total crap. In high school, though, hmmm:

Henry V (1989, cause I had a mad crush on Kenneth Branagh after I saw it the first time)
The Doors (1991, cause all the kids in the early 1990s loved the 1960s)

I can't think of anything else. Really? Really? Wow.


susannah... well that doesn't mean you didn't see them. I NEVER would have guessed that i saw Secret of My Success multiple times. What? I can't remember the last time i heard of that movie.

Juno101 said...


Cinesnatch said...

I recognize a lot of those pictures surrounding Dennis Quaid ... Premiere mag circa 1987/88 perhaps???

Rebecca said...

I saw 'Jurassic Park' at least 4 times in the theatre. It felt like it was in theatres for over a year.

I also watched 'Impromptu' many, many times when I was 12-14.


Vatz -- yeah, i was a big "Premiere" and "Movieline" teenager. Loved them.

Anonymous said...

The movies I probably saw the most in the theater in grade school were Space Jam and Goldeneye. My best friend and I were in a movie going mood when Space Jam came to the cheap theater near our houses so we just went and saw that a bunch of times because it was the only thing we could see that was playing. We also saw Good Burger twice (I hope it was only twice!).