Tom Hanks is on Death Row, Disney’s Best Xmas Special in Years, and Everyone in the ’80s is Getting Divorced

Dec. 6-Dec. 12: Peter Jackson gets dirty with puppets, Morgan Freeman is finally Nelson Mandela, a bad sequel, Nicolas Cage has a port of call, Santa’s prepped for landing, Disney ends an animation era (brilliantly), Ninja Warrior does America, Harry Truman Doris Day Red China Johnny Ray South Pacific Walter Winchell Joe DiMaggio, and would you pay to have sex with Rob Schneider? 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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2 thoughts on “Tom Hanks is on Death Row, Disney’s Best Xmas Special in Years, and Everyone in the ’80s is Getting Divorced

  1. Meet the Feebles is the biggest pre-internet gross-version-of-children’s-media I can think. “What if we take a child-like thing and make it super gross?” is not a new subject but before the internet the market for that seemed inaccessible. Eddy Murphy’s SNL “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”-parody is about the only mainstream one I can think of. Were there any others? I don’t think so and I think that’s why Meet the Feebles was such an underground hit for so long. I don’t want to get into great detail but I think the prevalence of Rule 34 shows that there was always an audience for “mature” (more often adolescent in mindset, really) versions of children characters and Meet the Feebles gave that.
    She-Devil. I remember really wanting to see this when it came out (because I loved Rosanne) and my parents wouldn’t let me. By the time it came to video though they stopped caring and apparently so had I because I never bothered to rent it. Oh, and I’m not sure I see “Burn It Down”-type movies as much today as I did back in the 1980’s but I acknowledge that could completely just be a personal blind spot on my part. So what are the “Burn it down!” movies that have come out in the last ten years?
    War of the Roses. Would anyone who was in the midst of getting a divorce take their kids to see this film in the theaters? I’ve asked myself that question a couple of times and always the answer has been, “no” and “God no!” And yet! My father did exactly that when this came out. For the life of me I’ve never been able to figure that one out; it’s not like the premise of the film is hidden. Oh well. What is the worst timing you have ever experienced for seeing a film? That is if you had seen the film any other year in your life it wouldn’t have mattered much but because you saw it at the exact wrong time it left a very bad taste in your mouth?
    Poll. We Didn’t Start the Fire is #1. I loved this song so fricken much, both when it came out and also up to today. Question: How many of the references in the song do you understand?
    We Didn’t Start the Fire is #1. I loved this song so fricken much, both when it came out and also up to today. Question: What percent of the references in the song would you say you fully understand?
    RIAA Sues Napster. I’m curious what % of laserinos pirated music in the late 1990s.
    Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo. Fun fact, the song “Just a Gigolo,” as made famous in the modern era by Van Halen actually comes from a 1920’s Austrian Tango. Austrian. Tango. Didn’t really think those words go together but apparently they do!
    Reading the serial chapter books, The Green Mile, is one of the most vivid literary memories of my life. I was a huge Stephen King fan and when I heard that he was coming up with small mini-books that you bought each month I was super excited. I started reading them just as I graduated High School and finished just as I started University so it was a huge transition period for me that I was forced, due to the publishing nature of the series, to drag out through that entire time almost to the day. I loved the story, loved the experience of being forced to wait month after month and was super excited to see the film when it came out because of that memory. I watched the movie and there was just no way it could ever compare with how I read the books so it didn’t leave an impression on me. At all. I recall lines from the book with ease but other than Michael Clarke Duncan I’m not sure I can recall anything from the film. What is the biggest gap you’ve ever experienced between how well you can remember reading a book and how well you can remember watching a piece of media based on that book?
    Princess and the Frog. I can’t recall a single song from this other than, “I’ve Got Friends On The Other Side.”
    Men of a Certain Age. This was a pretty well written show with some good characters that I would easily recommend. It’s not really about “midlife-crisis” so much as it’s “midlife-mild-questioning” The three main characters each wonder if the life they have chosen for themselves is their best life, but not in a desperate “I-must-escape” way but more in a “Is this what I really want?” or “Do I want to change anything about myself?”-way that feels a lot more realistic to me as I’m getting closer and closer to the age of the characters. What’s your favorite fiction about middle-aged characters?
    American Ninja warrior. Only three people ever fully completed the course? Huh. That surprises me. I would have thought it was more.
    In 2012, a mere three years after it was first released, Angry Birds was valued at around 50% of the amount that George Lucas sold Star Wars (and his share of Indiana Jones) to Disney for in that same year. I played about fifteen levels of it before I got bored so that seems insane to me but it’s amazing how quickly mobile games went from “snake” to “half of Star Wars.”
    Saboteur. This has been on my “To Play List” for ten years now but I’ve learned that there are almost no games from the 1996 – 2012 era that, without nostalgia goggles, I get more enjoyment out of playing more than I get from playing a newer games. So I’ll never play it now. C’est la vie. Anyone play it and want to go to bat for it though? It’s premise is super solid.
    Prep and Landing. I must have read about this on Chris’s Christmas Specials website, but it left no impression on me because I had no memory of it when the hosts were talking about it. But I watched it with my kids and can honestly say that this might be the best Christmas Special of the 21st century. Loved the voice-acting, loved the world building, loved the tone, loved the animation, loved everything about it. What is your favorite Christmas special of the 21st century?

  2. Hey, wanted to leave a comment on last week’s episode, but the comment box on that page is missing.

    You mentioned the release of “Gutter Ballet” by Savatage. It’s fitting that album is released so close to Christmas, because you are probably much more familiar with the band’s “side project,” a little thing called Trans Siberian Orchestra.

    Gutter Ballet saw the band in something of a transition period. They were moving away from their more traditional thrash roots and becoming a more theatrical, bombastic band. Gutter Ballet is an absolute masterpiece that I recommend highly. Just check out the title track’s video on YouTube. It is epic.

    The band would go on to record a couple full fledged rock opera concept albums. The second one, “Dead Winter Dead” was set during the 90’s Bosnian war. It told the story of two young people, a Christian man and a Muslim woman, who were caught up in the fighting, but ultimately becoming disillusioned as to what they were fighting for. The climax of the story is set to the song “Christmas Eve, Sarajevo” – yes, THAT song.

    The song became popular, and the band’s producer and singer got together and came up with a full on Christmas album. However, since the style of music was much different than Savatage’s usual stuff, they created a new “band” and called in Trans Siberian Orchestra, and the rest is history.

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