Chevy Chase lives, Guy Pearce Eats People, and Nic Cage Knows Knowing: Thirty Twenty Ten – Mar 15-21

Farscape debuts while Battlestar Galatica concludes, Cher becomes the world’s oldest hit-maker, Pokemon snaps back, Everquest begins recruiting, Party Down arrives, Fletch lives, but not for much longer, Ravenous is really cool, the mom from Full House makes a rare appearance, and the Academy Awards get more divisive than ever! All that and more this week on Thirty Twenty Ten, your weekly look back on the week that was 30, 20, and 10 years ago.

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18 thoughts on “Chevy Chase lives, Guy Pearce Eats People, and Nic Cage Knows Knowing: Thirty Twenty Ten – Mar 15-21

  1. Better Off Ted reminded me of Andy Richter Controls the Universe. It was the sort of odd comedy you knew wasn’t going to last as long as you wanted, but it didn’t feel like it oulived its welcome, at least. It was the first time I’d noticed that Portia DeRossi says “anuhthing” instead of “anything,” and she gets a chance to say anuhthing in everything she’s ever been in. Other Aussies and Brits also don’t seem to be able to pronounce the “Y” in “anything” when they do decent American accents otherwise, for some reason.

  2. Finally! A Horror film we agree on. First in a while. Ravenous is massively underrated! It can be intense but also very funny with excellent performances all around. Robert Carlyle especially looked like he was having a blast and I’ve seen this film multiple times, it never gets old. Even watched it for the 52 Films By Women challenge and even get a chance to watch it for my yearly Horror movie marathon.

    For some trivia, it’s a miracle it even got made at all. Because by all accounts, it was a very troubled production. Fox didn’t seem to believe in it too much. The original director was Milcho Manchevski but he quit when Fox interfered way too much. It didn’t help a particular executive Laura Ziskin was micromanaging the production from here to kingdom come from vetoing his choice of technicians and casting decisions.

    First day of filming was delayed over budget and scheduling issues. And constantly complained about the number of close ups and dirt on the costumes. Because apparently she somehow missed the fucking part where the film is set during The Mexican American War since the 1800s were never clean!

    Anyway, he got fired and she hired Raja Gosnell (the director of Home Alone 3, the Scooby Doo movies and The Smurfs movies) was initially going to be the replacement director but the cast flat out revolted and Carlyle recommended Antonia Bird given he was very good friends with her.

    The meddling didn’t stop unfortunately. Stuff was still done against her wishes by the same exec and Bird called the scheduling manipulative, it was a fucking mess.

    But yet, still came out great. I mean, I still remember a lot. Especially the ending where the general returns to the camp and eats the stew of human meat and think, “Oh fuck.” LOL

    Plus, I never get tired of this line: “Breakfast, lunch, reinforcements.”

    And I even tweeted a clip of one of the characters screaming “it’s a trap” and not Admiral Ackbar. That’s how much I love that movie to do that.

    I wish Antonia Bird was still around. I said “was” twice for a reason because she passed away in 2013, that’s how I first knew about the film because somebody brought it up. I know she was even supposed to direct a segment for the all women directed Horror anthology XX but yeah, her death meant she couldn’t do her segment. But oh well, Ravenous kicks ass

  3. Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ came out in 1973, so 1998 (25 years later) would have been the first year anyone could have voted on The Boss.

  4. Ravenous is so great! During Spooktober 2018, it was definitely in the top three films we watched. It’s genuinely funny at points and horrifying at others, but always intense and great.

    The only thing that somewhat took me out of it was constantly thinking, “Jeffrey Jones, why are you such a good actor? Why can’t you be awful at this so I don’t have to like you!!??”

    But beyond that, such a great movie.

  5. “Knowing” is a bad movie, with one absolutely jawdropping, terrifying special effects sequence.
    .
    Luckily, it’s easily searchable online, so you don’t have to suffer the rest of the film. Nicolas Cage’s character steps out of his car on a traffic-choked road and narrowly misses being hit by a crashing airliner, and it scares the shit out of me with its odd plausibility and small, measured details every time I watch it.

  6. oo! oo! Two Daily Show references.

    The first time I ever heard of “Fletch Lives” was this Daily Show bit from ’01 where Stephen Colbert and Nancy Walls does a half time show of Jon covering that super bowl the night before. Their halftime report was sponsored by Fletch Lives and Battlebots! http://www.cc.com/video-clips/ingurq/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-battlebot-s-daily-show-halftime-report

    Here’s Jon covering the 1999 Rock n Roll hall of fame inductees: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/w3qbxv/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-headlines—flabby-road

    Speaking of Jake & the Fatman (yes the title made me laugh all the time growing up too) it had its start on the sixth episode of Matlock in 1986 as a backdoor pilot…on a completely different network. Yall need to bring up some Matlock! It was my favorite show when I was unemployed.

    oof Cher’s Believe always reminds me of learning how to drive. That stupid song would come on every.morning. at.the.same.exact.time on the way to school while mom was yelling at my driving skilz. Yall missed the anniversary of “Pony” by a few years, sarrry.

    Isn’t everything James Corden does embarassing and a pile of shit?

    I still call Idris Elba “the mean boss from The Office”. He was such ass and I loved every second of it, especially when he knocked Jim down a few pegs for messing around too much at work.

    1. I just remembered another thing from the Matlock/Jake and the Fatman episode. Fatman taught Matlock the wonders of Chicago hot dogs, with the sport peppers on them. ‘cuz matlock loved him some hot dogs.

    2. >> Yall need to bring up some Matlock!

      I’ve recently been catching up on 30-20-10. They talked about Matlock in an August 2016 episode (the premiere in 1986, I think). Man, I was way too into Matlock as a kid.

      >>I still call Idris Elba “the mean boss from The Office”. He was such ass and I loved every second of it, especially when he knocked Jim down a few pegs for messing around too much at work.

      I LOVED Idris Elba on The Office. He was so MEAN!

  7. Magnum and the Fat Man Five-O

    As soon as you mentioned Jake and the Fat Man moving to Hawaii for a season for no reason my first thought was “they were using the Magnum sets.” I did a little digging and sure enough that’s exactly what it was. CBS was leasing a soundstage and had a crew in Hawaii for Hawaii Five-O back in the day. When that show went off the air they were still paying for that space so they launched Magnum P.I. as a way to take advantage of it. Then the show went on to run for eight seasons. When production shuttered on Magnum CBS still had this space they wanted to put to use, and so Jake and the Fat Man got moved out to Hawaii for a season until they moved back to L.A. where production was cheaper.

    Pokemon Snap

    Oh boy do I have memories of this one. I was just old enough that I didn’t get swept up in the Pokemon craze, but my brother and his friends got hit hard. I remember them sitting in front of the N64 playing this game over and over. Just going on rails taking pictures of Pokemon. The thing is this game benefitted from something that helped a lot of N64 games that were otherwise middling when it came to gameplay: it was the first time we were seeing those characters in 3D. They would ooh and ah over seeing their favorite Pokemon rendered in that glorious foggy N64 3D, and I think that explains a lot of the game’s success.

    Everquest

    I was a Dark Age of Camelot man myself back in the day, but I remember Everquest being part of the holy trinity of MMOs that were EQ, DAoC, and Ultima back in the early oughts. Back when MMOs could get away with being nothing more than a never ending punishing grindfest. I also remember the first time I logged into World of Warcraft to try their first open beta in 2004, something me and my MMO friends had been anticipating as we’d been getting reports from people who got into the closed beta, and realizing that the other MMOs out there were about to circle the drain.

    It’s nice to know these games are still out there with their dedicated fanbases though. EQ and DAoC still putter along with people who’ve been playing for the past twenty years, and more power to’em if they’ve found something they love. There are times when I miss old school MMOs, and then I remember that they came along at a time in my life when I had endless free time compared to these days with a business, wife, and kids to think about.

    China Syndrome

    Hoo boy I bet the people who made this movie got down on their knees and thanked the Lord above for Three Mile Island. The pity is this helped galvanize anti-nuclear sentiment in the United States at a time when building more nuclear power plants might’ve offset some of the fossil fuels being burned and helped to mitigate the slow moving ecological disaster we’re facing today. What could’ve been.

    Vampire Lesbians

    I watched part of this movie on some movie channel or another back in the day based on the title and the promise of a campy thriller that was sure to remind me of better movies. To answer Sarah’s burning question: the lesbians were the vampires. Other than that this movie is not good. Not even in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way.

  8. Around this time in the UK there was a short trend of hacky British horror comedies that desperately wanted to be the next Shaun of the Dead, but made by people with no talent. So that explains the James Corden film ‘Lesbian Vampire Killers’.

  9. Debbie Gibson: For the record, songs of her that reached the Billboard Year End Top 100 List are as follows: Lost in Your Eyes, Shake Your Love, Foolish Beat, Only in My Dreams, Out of the Blue
    Your comment about Cher being the oldest woman to have a # 1 hit intrigued me so doing some googling, some googling it looks like the oldest man to have a # 1 hit was Louis Armstrong (66 years old) in 1966. In the non-#1 spot though, if you are willing to accept duets, Tony Bennett in 2011 (85 years old) became the oldest living artist ever to chart on the Hot 100 with his duet with Amy Winehouse. If you’re not willing to accept duets, then that title would go to George Burns who was 84 years old when his I Wish I Was Eighteen Again charted in 1980. I saw 18 Again, the film, numerous times as a kid but I always thought the song was for the movie, not the other way around.
    The King and I cartoon: Thai’s hate the King and I, btw. It’s overwhelmingly the most popular western play/film/cartoon about their country and it gets about much right about that country as a 1950’s Broadway musical, based on a 1940’s fictional novel, based on an 1870’s memoir of an English governess in a foreign court would be expected to.
    Farscape. Or as I like to call it: Muppets in spacccccccccccccccccccccccce! I keed, I keed. I never got into it because from 2001 to 2003 I had almost zero access to American television but “a guy from our land is pulled away to a far off and fantastic place” is always going to pull at my strings so I did give it a chance. What I was decent enough writing, interesting characters, and good enough special effects but…. Not enough of any of those that I ever tried to get back into the series once I got out of it. Farscape fans; Does the show have any good stand-alone episodes that could be watched without individually? If so, what are the best ones?
    Saving Private Ryan vs Shakespeare in Love. I like Shakespeare in Love. It’s a good-to-great movie. But while I’m not personally angry that Saving Private Ryan lost to it, I can see why some non-garbage people would be. Saving Private Ryan is a genuine watershed of a war movie. I think it is 100% fair to divide war films into the pre-Saving Private Ryan variety of war films and the post-Saving Private variety of war films. The shadow on the genre that Spielberg cast is that large. Even those war films made after SPR that didn’t imitate were making a conscious decision to not do so. That’s a serious, long-lasting and important-to-the-way-films-are-made film. And that is outside of it being a good film in and of itself! By contrast, what was the lasting impact of Shakespeare in Love? Again, good film! I like it. I recommend people watch it. But if it was never made would the historical dramedy genre look any different? I’m going to say no. By contrast, if Saving Private Ryan had never been made, virtually every war movie made since then would be different.
    Pokemon SNAP is not a game I ever played when it first came out. But it was one of the first game I tried to get my son to play. The mechanics, move the camera to take pictures of Pokemon were simple enough that he could try it at a very early age. He didn’t do it for very long, but the memory of that first play is still sweet in my mind. Laserinos who are parents; what is the game you first tried to get your kid to play and how long did they play it for?
    Everquest: https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/02/06 It is a super rare-game that is played for 20 years. Are there any other games from 1999 that are still being played by as many people as play Everquest today?
    I Love You Man: This is also the ultimate example I can think of where a woman in a comedy has her wedding interrupted and taken over and …. Is mostly totally cool with it.
    Series Finale of Battlestar Galatica. I’m past the nerd-rage stage of my life so while I don’t have genuine rage at the ending of the series I still think it was, without hyperbole, the second worst ending to any TV show I have ever seen (Dexter will always be number one). The show was so tightly plotted and so intriguing and one thing almost always happening because of a reasonable previous decisions that the first seasons all had the feeling of being this great Greek Tragedy. And then they used the stupidest Greek tragedy trope (Deus Ex Machina) to have plot contrivances and plot contrivances and happenstance after happenstance all be laid at God’s door. And the whole “let’s abandon technology” thing? My response to that is bone cancer in children; Child after child through the millennia suffering long and slow and very painful death due to something that was never their fault, never due to their actions or the actions of their parents, and that could have been prevented with technology. So yea, in my head cannon I don’t recognize that the last 20 minutes of the show. For me the show ended at the jump and what happened after that is forever a mystery. There was a scene where one of a characters was going risk his death and the thing he said he hated most about it was that he would never know how it was going to end. Just ending on that would have been so much better.
    Party Down: I don’t think there was a single bad episode of the show and I would so love it if they would revist the characters ten years later.
    Side question: Hast 302010 ever mentioned the Outer Limits reboot? There were some really good episodes of that show;

    1. Fletch Lives: Has Chevy Chase ever been lost in a role for you? When I see Clark Griswold I’m still seeing Chevy Chase. Ditto all his skits on SNL and his character on Community. Have you ever watched him in a role where you have seen him more as the character than you saw him as Chevy Chase?

      China Beach being forgotten plays into my universal theory on TV longevity. Basically I take the position that if you were to rank the longevity of TV genres in terms of longest longevity to smallest longevity it would go: Sci-Fi, Comedy, Drama. That is a disproportion number of the oldest TV shows that are still somewhat culturally relevant are Sci-Fi shows, followed by a few comedy shows, and almost no drama shows. Think of it this way; The original Twilight Zone and Star Trek both have some cultural relevance in 2019, a few comedies from them are hanging onto a tiny shred of cultural relevance (I love Lucy, Gilligan Island) but not well, but drama’s of that time? Completely down the memory hole. In the 1980’s schlock comedies like Night Court are still somewhat remembered, even if it’s in jokes like the “finale” it had on 30 Rock, but nobody remembers China Beach, for all practical purposes. And in the 1990’s ER and Friends were near contemporaries. ER is still popular on Hulu, but Netflix very publicly paid $100,000,000 for ONE YEAR of friends and I’d be willing to bet serious money Hulu didn’t pay that much for ER. What say you? In terms of TV (leave movies out of this) why does comedy last longer than drama?

      Jake and the Fatman: I never watched this show, I had no idea what this show was about, all I knew is that whenever David Letterman brought it up he could get an easy laugh out of me.

      AFI lifetime achievement award to Gregory Peck: It’s a good speech but what I’m really curious about is what it was like for the audience in 1989 who grew up with him to hear him give that speech. In his most recent special Adam Sandler had a very touching version of his “Grow old with me” song where he was talking about his audience growing old with him and it really got to me because I have been growing old with Adam Sandler. Thinking about it, someday there is going to be a star who is roughly my age getting the AFI award and I’ll have watched them grow old, not just middle-aged but genuinely old. And I’ll be old too. I’ll have seen them in the flow of their youth in the 1990’s and 2000’s and then I’ll see them grow older decade by decade until we are both old men in the 2050’s. What will that be like? Probably exactly what it was like for the 70-year olds watching Gregory Peck accept his award in 1989.

      I love You Man. Damn is it hard to make friends in your 30’s. For those of you who are in your thirties and made a friend in your thirties; how did you do it? How did it come about?

  10. I love Ravenous! One of the very first films I had never heard of but found through Netflix when I got it in high school circa 2002-03, because I loved Memento and needed more Guy Pearce. I love the nearly impossible to miss themes linking Manifest Destiny to inhuman, unceasing, ultimately cannibalizing hunger. And the soundtrack! Damon Albarn (of Blur) and composer Michael Nyman (the Piano) wrote one of the best scores of the past twenty-five years.

    Also, Party Down was great, as a fan of Rob Thomas’ stuff, I enjoyed it a lot, even if its very nature (buying in on a talented ensemble that Hollywood isn’t quite sure how to use) meant that it was going to start bleeding cast members as soon as they got picked up in network shows (Jane Lynch is about to be the star of Glee in a few months). Just a fun way to set up one and done comedy in weird settings.

  11. Aaaaand I’m back again for another AYAOTD breakdown. This week is one of the worst of the series personally: The Tale of Jake the Snake. I know what you’re thinking: Jake the Snake? The wrestler? No. He’s a made up hockey player who owned a cursed hockey stick that make the person who uses it into a snake. Our main character tries to use it to make the hockey team and his best friend tries to stop him from using the stick before he becomes a snake. It’s not anything special honestly. There’s some awful tv CGI that makes the PlayStation 1 look like the PlayStation 4. Is personally say to skip this one but if you like weird stories, I’d say go for it.

  12. Farscape was a weird, but fun series. I used to watch sci-fi shows like Star Trek and Babylon 5 with my mom and nothing we ever saw looked quite like Farscape. The Henson style added a lot of personality to the various alien species including a small alien that rode around in a hover chair and a larger alien that acted as a ship pilot. On top of the practical effects, the camera work and plotlines make the show feel surreal and dream-like. The show was canceled in its fourth season on the worst possible cliffhanger, but managed to get a wrap-up mini-series a year or so later after a huge outcry from fans. I think it’s worth going back and watching at least a few of the show’s early episodes. If you don’t have the time, just Google ‘Farscape aliens’ and enjoy what you find.

  13. Farscape was/is great. The Creature Shop prostetics are as great as you would expect. Dargo the squid man is just a fantastic character. It’s drama, adventure and comedy in a loose serial series. Plot themes run through the show, but each show is generally contained. There are some dated special effects in using early CG, or green screen with the hand puppet Dominar Rygel XVI, but once you’re in, you’re in. First few episodes are ruff, I’d suggest jumping a few episodes in on season 1, you’ll pick up what you missed.

  14. I liked Farscape. I watched the first season and then my schedule didn’t allow me to keep up. Unfortunately it debuted along side LEXX which SUCKED!
    Farscape looked great compared to Babylon 5 and other shows. Great sets, neat characters, good film look. If you liked Farscape then the two main leads would join Stargate later in its run.

  15. I love Leviathan

    Now, obviously The Abyss is the best of the bunch in terms of the oddly specific “underwater monster thrillers of 1989.” But Leviathan is the most fun. Granted, it is highly derivative of both Alien and Aliens, as well as all of the movies that copied Alien in the early 80s (IE: any movie about mining or harvesting “something” in a remote, hostile environment; blue collar workers vs evil corporation, etc.), but much like Saints Row to GTA, it is a really, really good rip off.

    What really makes it work is that it is not campy. It takes itself dead serious. The sets and production design are fantastic; the direction is solid; the actors absolutely sell the premise and truly become their characters. Thankfully, the monster is never really shown that much, but it does have one of the most unique sound effects ever for a monster movie. It is truly original and instantly recognizable. Plus, you have a tremendously effective score by the legendary Jerry Goldsmith.

    And Diana was right on about the special effects: they look fantastic. Not just the creature effects, but the underwater environment itself, almost none of which was actually shot underwater, but instead was filmed via a very effective “dry for wet” effect.

    There is some actual underwater photography, and for some reason it is something that I always found mesmerizing. Maybe because I had never seen anything like that before. The shots are deep below the surface, pointing upwards towards the sky, making the ocean seem utterly vast and overwhelming is scope. These moments are brief, but also some of the most memorable parts of the movie for me. It helps to sell the isolation of the underwater mine, as well as give a boost to the movie’s big budget looks.

    Having seen the movie many times, of course I have some fun nit-picks. The first being that this seems like an awfully expensive operation just to mine mostly silver. Also, the stability of the facility is a bit suspect: towards the end, the creature simply pulls down some random pipes and all of the sudden, the entire base is set to implode – even with a handy alarm that counts down precisely how long they have by chiming in with “seven minutes till implosion.”

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