Tag Archives: Michael J. Fox

The Set of 400: #45 – My Favorite Enchantment Under the Sea

Today! Because the way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?

Back to the Future (1985)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis (x4)

Starring Michael J. Fox (x4), Christopher Lloyd (x6), Lea Thompson (x3), Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson (x3), James Tolkan (x5), Claudia Wells, Marc McClure (x4), Wendie Jo Sperber (x2), George DiCenzo (x2), Frances Lee McCain, Casey Siemaszko (x2), Billy Zane (x4), Donald Fullilove (x3), Jason Hervey (x2), Harry Waters Jr.

I mean, come on, you don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Back to the Future, right? Even with the incestuous overtones and the general lack of effects-heavy science-fictioning going on, it’s still one of everyone’s top sci-fi films ever made. It’s a little dated, sure, but it was such a towering staple of the ’80s that it gets a pass for the anachronistic jokes and references. Pepsi Free? Come on! By the time I first saw this movie – as I mentioned before, years after it had come out – I didn’t even know what the hell Pepsi Free was.

Wait a minute, there was a Diet Pepsi Free? Now I really don’t understand what it was

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The Set of 400: #60 – My Favorite Underage Alcohol Purchase

Today! Because underneath all that hair you’re still a dork, Scott –

Teen Wolf (1985)

Directed by Rod Daniel

Starring Michael J. Fox (x3), James Hampton, Jerry Levine, Susan Ursitti, Lorie Griffin, Mark Arnold, James MacKrell, Jay Tarses, Matt Adler, Mark Holton (x4), Scott Paulin, Doug Savant, Harvey Vernon (x2), Gregory Itzin (x3)

Ladies and gentlemen, you could be doing anything in the world right now, but instead you chose to be here, at Knowingly Undersold, so one of the great treasures of the film universe could be fully revealed. There are a few movies on this list that justify the entire enterprise for me – some are random, overlooked gems back in the 300s, and a few are still to come, but none have been as written about more all-time by yours truly than Teen Wolf.

Just to quickly recap virtually everything I’ve ever said about this movie, on this blog, in various old reviews, and to strangers on the street – Teen Wolf a hugely underrated, surrealist masterpiece of a town’s collective shrug at the fact that there is a living, breathing horror movie monster attending the local high school and taking girls to bowling alleys on dates. It’s an allegory for accepting people for who they are, deifying those with marginally better athletic abilities, and puberty, in the guise of an ’80s teen comedy wherein the token chubby character (named, creatively, Chubs) is instructed to eat a bowl of Jell-O out of a girl’s tank top. The mania of the teenage wolf infects the community, with zero blowback from the authorities or the government at large, I guess because they are winning basketball games, with the exception of the almost entirely silent character Lewis, played by Matt Adler, who manages to be the lone “voice” of opposition, The One Who Walks Away from Omelas, if you will. There is also some insinuation that this werewolf infiltration has been going on for some time, and basically no one talks about it or much cares, and what does that say about this city? Does that make them more accepting of people’s differences? Or are they ashamed? It’s a fascinating example of differing cultures and societal norms in America.

What does Scott’s method of beer drinking say about us as a people?

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The Set of 400: #310 – My Favorite Weaponized Slim Whitman Tune

Today! Because if the Martians land, they’re going to need a place to stay, just like everybody else –

Mars Attacks! (1996)

Directed by Tim Burton

Starring Jack Nicholson (x2), Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Danny DeVito (x2), Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox (x2), Martin Short, Rod Steiger, Lukas Haas, Tom Jones, Jim Brown, Natalie Portman (x3), Lisa Marie, Sylvia Sidney, Pam Grier, Paul Winfield, Jack Black (x3), Joe Don Baker (x2), Ray J, Christina Applegate, Barbet Schroeder (x2), Willie Garson (x2), Rance Howard (x3), O-Lan Jones, Brian Haley

I know some people were really turned off by Tim Burton’s trading card adaptation global invasion sci-fi comedy, but I really dug it in that epic winter of 1996. Ah, ’96! This is already the sixth movie from that landmark, okay-ish year for films! Coming a few months after Independence Day, I guess everyone really wanted a wild action comedy of international destruction, but Tim Burton is not that director. He can give you quirky odd-ballery, but as for fight scenes or action sequences, well, look at that track record. His Batman movies are far more mood and atmosphere than slam-bang thrills. Sleepy Hollow – better, I guess, what with Ray Park as the Headless Horseman, but the staging didn’t vastly improve. Planet of the Apes – come on. So really, anyone wanting more out of Mars Attacks! was probably kidding themselves a bit too much.

What you get is a pretty fun, funny, throwback spoof of cheesy alien flicks, which quickly devolves into a cheesy alien flick itself, blurring that parody line until it basically disappears. I was really amped for this film come my senior year of high school – figure, you’ve got Nicholson playing wacky duel roles, in a roundabout nod to Dr. Strangelove’s end-of-the-world grapplings, as the president and a huckster casino owner, plus it reunited him with his Batman director, never mind the all-star cast reminiscent of ’70s disaster films, including a James Bond, a Teen Wolf, Foxy Brown, Ed Grimley, and the Penguin.

Never mind Carrie Bradshaw’s terrific work as this dog

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The Set of 400: #344 – My Favorite 3D Shark

Today! Because he’s in a ’46 Ford, we’re in a DeLorean – he’d rip through us like we were tin foil –

Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis (x2)

Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd (x2), Lea Thompson (x2), Thomas F. Wilson, Elisabeth Shue, James Tolkan, Billy Zane, Charles Fleischer, Casey Siemaszko, Elijah Wood (x2), Flea, Joe Flaherty, Donald Fullilove, Mary Ellen Trainor (x2)

Ah, 1989! A transformative film year for young Joe, not so much due to Back to the Future Part II, but because its release finally prompted me to watch Back to the Future Part I. And, you know, Batman, Indiana Jones 3, Ghostbusters 2, and so on. As I didn’t have the luxury of great distance between the original and the sequel, these two movies fell into that aforementioned issue I had as a kid – where a movie and its sequel sort of blend together. It didn’t help that BttFII straight rehashes the original movie during its second half, so the sheer laziness of this move didn’t much bother me as a ten year old.

And, I mean, they try to make it clever, showing the old scenes from new angles, with all new stakes and complications, but with a decidedly older face on Marty, and a completely different Jennifer. If you watch the first and second movies one after the other – and try to think of it as one movie – I think it actually makes for a cooler experience. If you allow yourself to ruminate on the fact that four years passed and this is what they came up with – not to mention the mind bending time travel convolutions and all that chalkboard explaining of things – you might not think back on II all that fondly.

Whatever you say, Doc!

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Pitching My Teen Wolf Sequel

(My general opinion and thoughts about the seminal boy/wolf/baller film Teen Wolf greatly color my plans for a true sequel. While not necessary, reading my breakdown of the original film may prove enlightening for some.)

Teen Wolf“You know, there already was a sequel to Teen Wolf.”

“Seriously? Teen Wolf Too has about as much to do with the original Teen Wolf as that lousy MTV show does. No, I mean a real, honest-to-God sequel following the events of the first film. But, you know, set today, so that you can get the same actors.”

“Some of the same actors from the original were in Teen Wolf Too.”

“Shut up about Teen Wolf Too! Was Scott Howard in Teen Wolf Too? Was Boof?!”

“Okay, okay.” Continue reading

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