Saturday, May 26, 2012

Real Genius

I've been wanting to do a post about one of my fave '80s movies... one that has all the great things about that decade rolled into one: quirky characters,  zany fun, lots of color and humor, and an ever present ability to make you smile, no matter how often you've watched it.

The movie is a 1985 cult-favorite directed by Martha Coolidge, called Real Genius. Its a great treat for lovers of oddball nerdy types.

Mitch Taylor (played by Gabe Jarret), a teen prodigy science genius, is accepted into Pacific Tech University at the early age of 15. He's there to work under the scheming Professor Hathaway (William Atherton) on a project to create a powerful new laser. Mitch is a bit uptight and nervous, and looks like he requires a bit of loosening up.

As he is getting used to his new surroundings at Pacific Tech, he meets his new roommate, fellow genius Chris Knight (a young Val Kilmer). Knight is in his senior year, and every bit as brilliant as Mitch, but unlike Mitch is more of a free-wheeling, fun-loving, nonconformist type. He makes an effort at loosening up Mitch, and making him comfortable with his high IQ.

Mitch is introduced to some of the other quirky, brainy, high IQ characters which populate the dorms at Pacific Tech. Included is the hyperkinetic, always thinking, highly technical girl nerd Jordan (Michelle Meyrink).

And the reclusive, '70s burnout genius, Laslo Hollyfeld (Jon Gries), who lives in the steam tunnels underneath the college. (By the way, its from this character that I've taken my online nickname, Lazlo!!)

And lastly, the annoying, brown-nosing, antagonistic Kent (Robert Prescott). 

For most of the first part of the movie, we get acquainted with the hard-studying habits of the students at Pacific Tech.

And also the hard partying, fun side of being brainy... as shown by this scene above, which features some of the aforementioned characters.

And, of course, our resident geniuses, Mitch and Chris, continue their research into that big laser project they were assigned to.

But soon things become interesting. Our young geniuses become aware that the laser project is really a terrible weapon that they were conned into creating by the scheming Professor Hathaway. This, of course, results in further hi-jinks, and a daring plan by our brilliant crew to prevent use of the weapon, and redeem their integrity.

The plan involves sneaking onto a military base, re-targeting the laser . . . 

And making a whole lot of popcorn. 

I'm obviously not going to give away the whole plot of the movie, so you'll have to check it out on your own.

Really, the movie is a blast... worth your time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Fave Breakfast Club Character

Here’s a brief tribute to my favorite character on the classic ‘80s film The Breakfast Club:

NAME: Allison (aka, the "Basket Case") 

MOVIE: The Breakfast Club (1985) 

DESCRIPTION: That quiet loner freak who always sits by herself, apart from the others, and does strange incomprehensible things. (Sounds like my kind of person.)

WIERD, LONER STUFF SHE DOES: Sits alone, doesnt talk, chews fingernails and makes odd gestures and gutteral sounds at others. Throws luncheon meat onto bad modernistic sculpture thingy. Carries around a bag full of miscelaneous items.

CREATIVITY: She doodles a wintery country landscape on her desk, adds her own dandruff for snow. She looks quite pleased with herself when she does this. (Nice picture, too.)

HIDDEN TALENT: She can write with her toes. She can also eat, brush her teeth, and play heart and soul on the piano, all presumably with her her toes. (Or so she claims.)

CULINARY LIKES:Sandwich of pixie stick candy and what appears to be a sugary breakfast cereal. (Looks like Cap'n Crunch to me.)


"I always carry this much shit in my bag. You never know when 
you may have to jam."

"I dont have to run away and live in the street. I can 
run away and I can go to the ocean, I can go to the country, 
I can go to the mountains, I can go to Israel, Africa, Afrghanistan..."


Maybe this Breakfast Club post came in just in time. I just found out that May 25 is designated Nerd/Geek Pride Day.

As a fan of Nerd-and-Geek-dom I'll be celebrating myself. Not sure how, exactly. . . maybe by watching some Big Bang Theory or putting in a DVD of Revenge of the Nerds.

One the same subject: I've got a post lined up soon on one of my fave '80s sci-fi/nerd oriented/college/action flicks . . . Real Genius.  Its an '80s classic. Coming soon!! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Whatcha gonna do?

I interrupt my usually scheduled retro blogging just 'cause I had to do a post about this guy. Burton Crane, a 77 year old auditioning on America's Got Talent.

Okay, call me nuts, but I like this dude!

Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do?

Catchy I think.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Robin Gibb (1949-2012)

Heres to another great musical artist recently passed, Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees. He succumbed after a struggle with cancer. His brother, Maurice passed in 2003. The last Bee Gee, Barry, remains with us.

The Bee Gees had a long, amazing musical career beginning in the '60s, hitting a major peak in the late '70s, and continuing with further successes in the '80s and later decades.

Above is one of the trio's '80s songs, "One" which was a big comeback hit for them in the United States in 1989.


Check out this tribute by a fellow blogger:

I Miss My Childhood

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Donna Summer (1948-2012)

A great from the '70s and '80s.


The following blogs have some good tributes to the great Ms. Summer. Check them out:

Go Retro

I Miss My Childhood

70s Child


The 80s Blog

Sunday, May 13, 2012

99 Luftballons

Here's a very memorable '80s song, that also is very much a reminder of the history and politics of that era: "99 Luftballons" by German singer Nena. The song came out in German in 1983, followed by an English version in 1984.

The song is a protest song about the fear of nuclear war, which was often present in the midst of the Cold War. The Cold War, the sometimes tense competition between capitalist democracy and communism, was a fact of life since the late '40s, until the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 (with the Soviet Union falling shortly after in 1991).

The early '80s saw an uptick in the tensions between East and West, as both superpowers (the United States and the Soviet Union) installed new nuclear missiles in Europe. According to Wikipedia:

While at a June 1982 concert by the Rolling Stones in West Berlin, 
Nena's guitarist Carlo Karges noticed that balloons were being 
released. As he watched them move toward the horizon, he noticed 
them shifting and changing shapes, where they looked like strange 
spacecraft (referred to in the German lyrics as a "UFO"). He thought 
about what might happen if they floated over the Berlin Wall to 
the Soviet sector.

Both the English and German versions tell about two children who 
buy 99 balloons at a toy shop and release them into the air, where 
faulty East German radar equipment registers the balloons as 
incoming weapons. The government immediately put their troops on 
red alert and scrambles fighter jets to intercept, which ultimately 
triggers anuclear war between East and West. In the apocalyptic 
aftermath, the song's narrator stands in the rubble of the city and 
finds a single remaining balloon. Thinking of someone, she then 
lets the balloon go. The music was composed by Uwe 
Fahrenkrog-Petersen, the keyboardist of Nena's band, while 
Karges wrote the original German lyrics. 

In the United States, the song was released in both German and English language versions, and I remember my friends and I would sometimes talk about which version sounded better. The German one always won hands down.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Keith Haring

Google recently honored artist Keith Haring (1958-1990) with a Google Doodle to celebrate the anniversary of the late artist's birthday.  Heres the doodle. If you were around during the 1980s, you may have become familiar with the works of Haring, who designed, among other things, the cover art for the multi-artist album A Very Special Christmas.

Haring became well known for his vibrant artwork often containing stylized images of people, frequently presented in the form of murals. According to his bio, he became interested in art at an early age, drawing inspiration from the works of Walt Disney and Dr. Suess. Further

 In addition to being impressed by the innovation and energy 
of his contemporaries, Haring was also inspired by the work of 
Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Alechinsky, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin and 
Robert Henri’s manifesto The Art Spirit, which asserted the 
fundamental independence of the artist. With these influences 
Haring was able to push his own youthful impulses toward a singular 
kind of graphic expression based on the primacy of the line. Also drawn 
to the public and participatory nature of Christo’s work, in 
particular "Running Fence," and by Andy Warhol’s unique fusion of 
art and life, Haring was determined to devote his career to 
creating a truly public art.

Haring's signature was the "radiant child." In the early '80s, Haring became a fixture in the burgeoning underground New York art scene. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Turn Up The Radio

Here's one from the glam metal side of '80s music: "Turn Up The Radio" by Autograph. A cool sci-fi-ish video, which I remember well from back in 1984, when it came out.

I'm working hard, you're working too
We do it every day
For every minute I have to work
I need a minute of play

Day in, day out, all week long
Things go better with rock
The only time I turn it down
Is when I'm sleepin' it off

Turn up the radio
I need the music, gimme some more
Turn up the tape machine
I wanna feel it and you know what I mean