Predicting the Future: Back to The Future

Most classic movie lovers would agree: the 1980’s Blockbuster, Back to The Future, is one of the most iconic sci-fi classics of all time.

But what many don’t realise, is that a staggering number of predictions made by this science fiction cult classic came true. We take a look at some of the more profound forward-looking inventions that were part and parcel of the premise of Back To The Future.

Video Games
Well, motion-controlled, hand-steered, video games. Motion-control wasn’t part of the first video games. You had to use your hands for literally everything as all movement was controlled by controllers.

In the meantime, we have progressed all the way to Augmented Reality, and hand-controllers are fast becoming something that only existed in the pages of history.

The invention of motion sensors and smart cameras were only but a distant dream back in the 80’s, but Back to The Future had already imagined a future where no-hands video games would become a reality.

In one specific scene, Charles Fleischer, the actor who portrayed the save the clock tower guy is holding a hand-held device that closely resembles a tablet, whilst asking for donations.

The tablet as we know it today only appeared on the scene long after the movie was filmed and was only perfected much later by the late Steve Jobs, when the iPad was born.

At the time, no one would have dreamed of what was to come, and the fact that you can even enjoy the sports betting NZ has to offer in the palm of your hand may have been unbelievable.

The Upside-Down Indoors Garden
Have limited space but want to cultivate your own vegetable garden? Why not give the upside-down, hanging-vegetable garden a go?

Defying the laws of all that we think we know about plants and even gravity, it’s an idea that works! It works especially well in our modern-day concrete jungles.

A phenomenon that wasn’t at all part anyone’s frame of reference in the era when Back to The Future was created. And yet, it’s right there in the film: the upside-down, hanging-vegetable, indoors garden.

Our Obsession with Sequels
Who will ever forget the scene in the film where Jaws 19 (!) is showing at the Holomax. Yes, we may not have progressed all the way to a 19th sequel of Jaws (yet) but we have managed to commit overkill with many other titles, with Saw being but one of the many.

It’s the truth: we are unable to quite whilst we’re ahead. Sequels are our thing. And Back To The Future saw it all go down long before it happened.

Life Lessons Learnt From 1980s Movies

We love 1980s movies so much that we tend to live 1980s movies without even realising that we do! Or at least, we live the lessons that we learnt from 1980s movies without even being aware of the fact.

The 1980s film industry was all about creating movies that would live on long after the last of the credits had rolled by. And for the most part: success.

The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club taught us that what you see at first is not always what you get. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Yes, it may be true that Saturday detention is no longer really a thing, but the lessons learnt from the simple premise of a group of people who knew nothing about the social standing or background of anyone in the gathering, is a truly powerful one.

It’s the story of five individuals getting to know each other on completely neutral ground and discovering the value of getting to know another human being before forming an opinion based on stereotypes.

Veronica Sawyer
Veronica taught us a very valuable lesson: it does not matter what society or modern-day convention dictates, the only way to really be happy and content is to practice independent thinking and form our own ideas.

This counts for everything, from whom we associate with, to the bets we place when enjoying horse racing betting.

Doc Brown
Back To The Future is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made, and we have to agree. If there are valuable life lessons to be learnt from any one character from the 1980’s, then its Doc Brown.

Doc Brown’s character sought to debunk flawed ideas and change people’s perspectives in every aspect of life, from perceived mental illness (even to the point of having been institutionalised!), to squashing the theory that all smart people are essentially mad.

What’s more, Doc Brown taught us to persist and to never give up on our dreams. He had a dream and he wanted to make it work. He persisted and kept at it and became the ultimate example of personal resilience.

The Boy with The Boombox
We’re referring of course, to Lloyd Dobler, the loveable romantic in the film, Say Anything. Lloyd was a kick boxer and quite articulate about what he wanted, and, what he did not want in life. But most of all, Lloyd was in pursuit of a shy valedictorian, Diane Court.

He was relentless in the way that he pursued her, even going as far as teaching her to drive. When Diane finally breaks up with Lloyd, the now legendary scene ensues: Lloyd standing outside of Diane’s window with a boom box, playing In Your Eyes.

Lloyd understood the value of risking it all for love. And he wasn’t afraid to show it.

1980 – The Year That the Blockbuster Was Born

Google the word Blockbuster and the search engine refers to its meaning as being a film or a book that enjoys / has enjoyed immense commercial success. However, any true movie-lover will be quick to tell you that there is a definite culture behind the word, and that really, it refers to the magic of film.

The word may have originated from the 70’s when the trend first started, but it was during the 80’s that it started to really stick with audiences. From the 80’s, and onwards, studios started to realise the value of target markets, and more specifically, younger target markets that didn’t as yet have access to things like the Internet, and needed entertaining. Summer became a thing and the market demanded something to define its meaning. And so, the studios gave the people what the people wanted: Dirty Dancing, Back To The Future, WarGames.
We rank the 5 best Blockbuster movies of the 1980’s.

Top Gun – 1986
Talk about entertainment and young adult romance meets conspiracy theories. Apart from the rumours that did the rounds during those years that this was a fast and clever ploy by the US Navy to make recruitment and signing up sound, well, cool, Top Gun was also responsible for catapulting Tom Cruise to absolute stardom. It was energetic; it was far ahead of its years in terms of movie-making prowess (all hail Tony Scott) and most of all, it was (it is!) memorable.

Three Men and A Baby – 1987
What do you get when you combine a loveable, slightly effeminate, theme with three hunky actors who would most probably have been a great deal more comfortable playing in a modern-day Marvel production?
Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson. The premise may be somewhat odd, but then again, this 80’s classic did make more than 10 times its production budget during its cinema run.

Batman – 1989
Speaking of Marvel and superheroes, no list would ever get anywhere near to being complete without mentioning everyone’s favourite childhood superhero classic, Batman.

Yes, many sequels and remakes have seen the light over the years, and yes, many of them were hailed to be the best Batman film ever made, but it was the 1989 version by Tim Burton that won our wicked little hearts and made us fall in love with the idea of a superhero all over again.

The caped crusader has since appeared everywhere from on the reels of pokies online to video games, but the 1989 movie remains a favourite.

Back to The Future – 1985
This one paid homage to science fiction and the need to save humanity, and of course, the very life of Marty McFly.

Yes, it may not have been science fiction as we know it today, but futuristically speaking, it truly was ahead of its time. Of course, it had all the winning elements of a great sci-fi Blockbuster: a very unlikely friendship, an eccentric scientist, and an over-eager teenager defying all that we know about teenagedom.

Die Hard – 1988
As much as what Back To The Future defined sci-fi and futuristic explorations, Die Hard was the solid foundation on which everything Action was created, going forward, and it was not the flop many thought it would be.

Simply put, its everyone’s favourite human-hero situation: the lone, good-looking, against-the-grain protagonist faces off with a team of super-human villains – and wins. Die Hard is to be found in every feel-good action film that followed in its mighty footsteps.

Molly Ringwald and Sam McCarthy Join Forces for New Feature

2018 will see the release of a new movie titled All These Small Moments. The debut film for writer/director Melissa B. Miller, All These Small Moments could well be a hidden gem for Brat Pack fans, with Molly Ringwald taking up a lead role alongside Andrew McCarthy’s 15 year old son, Sam. This will be Sam McCarthy’s first role in a movie, the teenager having already appeared in four TV shows including Teen Wolf and The Blacklist. He is also slated to feature in Jeffrey Roda’s 18 To Party later next year, and it would be great news if this was the start of a long and successful career for McCarthy Jr.

Sam’s father Brat Pack alumni Andrew McCarthy starred with Molly Ringwald in the iconic 80’s movie Pretty In Pink over 30 years ago. Interestingly enough, Andrew McCarthy mentioned in a recent interview regarding Ringwald that “She emailed me on the first day and she said, “Your son just did a scene and when he walked away, it was just like watching you walk away from me 30 years ago, “. The red headed beauty was making reference to one of the scenes she shared with McCarthy Snr during their filming of Pretty In Pink and it’s a really great story how Molly is now working with the next generation of McCarthy!

One of my personal favourite scenes from Pretty In Pink features Ducky doing his Otis Redding impersonation, and the excitement in his performance is certainly comparable to playing at an all slots online casino. Jon Cryer’s terrible dancing really make this part of the movie extra special and his recent re-enactment alongside James Corden on The Late Late Show reminded nostalgic fans to dust off their DVD and spend an evening watching the 80’s classic. Ducky would ultimate lose out on love interest Andie to rival Blane McDonough, played by Andrew McCarthy, with Andie only ever able to see Ducky as a friend.

All These Small Moments focuses on a teenage boy named Howie who becomes infatuated with an older woman after seeing her on a bus journey. The woman is question is played by Grils star Jemima Kirke, an actor who will definitely add a bit of star power to this movie. Molly Ringwald and d’Arcy James take up the role of Howie’s parents, while Sam McCarthy plays his younger brother. Miller Costanzo has worked on some big pictures in the past including The Fighter, Precious and Indignation, and while this is her directorial debut, Miller already has a wealth of experience behind the camera in the art department.

As far as Andrew McCarthy is concerned, the 54 year old has become a keen travel writer since his Brat Pack days, but still features both in front of and behind the camera from time to time. McCarthy directed a number of episodes of the hit TV show The Blacklist in recent years, and also had a starring role in ABC’s The Family in 2016.

All You Need To Know About The Breakfast Club (1985)

Not many movies take fifty times their production budget at the box office, but that statistic alone certainly helps to demonstrate the endearing popularity of this mid-1980’s teen comedy classic. Even though is an oddball comedy that harks back to perhaps more innocent times, in 2016 the U.S National Film Registry selected it for long term historical preservation. One can only wonder what coming generations will make of it, but as a movie of its kind, many people consider as one of the era defining 80’s flicks.

Synopsis Without Spoilers!
What would you do if stuck in a room all day, not permitted to leave and with nobody who in any way you have a single thing in common with? The 21st-century answer would course be to join Royal Vegas and play free video slots. Unfortunately, this is a Saturday detention and under the watchful – and increasingly antagonized – supervision of deputy principal Vernon.

Without spoiling some classic one liners and an increasingly far-out plot (quite literally when the marijuana is sparked up), let’s just say that it is difficult not to feel slightly sorry for Vernon as the day rolls by. The teen cast – all, of course, represent one cliche of 80’s high school subculture. We have the beautiful blonde, the jock, the resident crazy dude, the geek, and the near speechless introvert girl. All slowly start to realize they have common reasons for why they ended up losing their Saturday to detention duty, which involves writing a thousand word essay on ‘who do you think you are’.

Director & Casting
Not many people predicted The Breakfast Club becoming such a runaway success, and even though the young actors all went on to have careers that varied in success, the idea that the movie could have featured an alternative ensemble is near classic comedy heresy. Emilio Estevez, for instance, was penciled in for the role of the crazy Bender before Judd Nelson was appointed to the role (Estevez being recast as Andy Clark the jock). Even more bizarre, Nick Cage and John Cusack were also seriously considered as options for playing Bender before director John Hughes changed his mind at the last moment.

Hughes was, of course, one of the masters of teen comedy especially over the last couple of decades of the century, following the success of The Breakfast Club with similar classics such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off a year later, as well as the likes of Uncle Buck, Home Alone and Beethoven in subsequent years. The stars became fully ‘signed-up’ members of the brat-pack, joining a number of other talent teenage actors who again went on to have wildly varying careers.

Interesting Trivia About The Breakfast Club
* Allison’s dress had to be hand-made because no matter how far the costume team looked, they couldn’t find a suitably dull outfit. As she was the loner, it had to black or gray – two colors that were barely available in the bright and brash 1980’s!

* Estevez was originally going to be a Gridiron star. Hughes decided that Estevez simply didn’t have the right look for that sport, but being lean and wiry his character was instead changed to being the school wrestling champion.

* A surprising amount of dialogue including the iconic ‘stories scene’ when the kids discuss why they are in detention were completely or partially improvised. Hughes realized that he had a talented yet unpredictable cast – especially in the case of Nelson who stayed in combative character during the whole shooting of the movie. In fact, he was threatened with being cut for his aggression to other actors!

* We almost had ‘The Lunch Bunch’ instead. The name change only came about in passing when Hughes was having a casual reminisce of school detentions with a friend. His buddy – who was obviously a bit of a tear-away kid – said he was a fully signed up member of his school’s Breakfast Club, and so movie history was made.

Why the 80s was the Best Decade

Big hair, heavy makeup… shoulder pads. The 80’s were definitely a time to be remembered and sometimes being unable to forget can be a bad thing.

Here are the reasons it was the best decade

The movies
The Goonies, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid… the list goes on and on.

The music
According to Next Stop Magazine, “MTV hit the airwaves on August 1st 1981 and changed the face of music forever. Granted, the station has become nothing more than a place to watch some of the most awful people ever do things nobody should ever care about, but in the ’80s it was epic. Not only was the music awesome and completely identifiable to the decade, but the musicians were iconic.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

The people
The people that dominated this decade are a force to be reckoned with. Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, Hulk Hogan, Madonna, Michael Jackson,and so many others made this decade so memorable.

And, here is why it is the worst. You might see some replicants on this list, and that is for good reason.

Home decor
The horrible wall paper, puffy leather couches, all glass dining tables with funky black chairs, the list can go on and on. If you have bought a house built or remodeled in the 80’s, chances are you have seen one if not all of the above during your house search and renovation. Dusty pastels and track lighting are all too familiar in this decade.

Just as the music was amazing, it was just as disturbing. The electronic beats were always borderline head pounding and romantic at the same time. It just depends what side of the fence you are on.

Shoulder pads. Lots of them.

Whether you are a child of the 80’s or just someone who was in love with it, the truth is, if we are still talking about it, then it’s definitely worth mentioning. We all still workout to the smooth sounds of Guns N’ Roses, BIlly Idol and Madonna and understand more about what that decade is all about. Some styles have come back and others (thankfully) have not. Either way, there is no denying what an impressive time it was.

Just For Fun: Re-Making “The Breakfast Club”

It’s hard not to love the idea behind “The Breakfast Club,” and that got us thinking: how fun would a re-make be? Of course, much of what made “The Breakfast Club” fun was its originality, its teen movie charm, and of course, the actors and actresses involved. Certainly, a re-make would be a massive adjustment, and there are plenty of fans of the original who might not like the idea. But just for fun, here are a few ideas for each main student character.

Andrew Clark
Played, of course, by Emilio Estevez in the original, Andrew is the “athlete” of the group whose main problem in the Breakfast Club discussion is a poor relationship with his father. This character could easily be updated, as by now we’ve seen father/son relationship issues in far too many movies. Perhaps something a bit more “modern,” like an online gambling issue, could plague Andrew. He could spill to the others about a tendency to play games online at the Betfair Exchange for hours on end, gambling real money in the security of his own home. It’s just one idea of a fun modern activity that could represent a teen addiction. Casting: Dave Franco. It’s bold, but an oddly fitting choice.

Brian Johnson
Johnson, the “brain,” is a more morose character, and memorable as “the one who’s thought about suicide.” This is a bit too heavy of a topic to mess with, and the high school misfit driven to dark thoughts is a timeless character type. Casting: Ezra Miller. It’s type-casting at this point, but he’s an excellent brooder.

John Bender
The “criminal” who lives in an abusive household and incidentally has access to weed while at school could perhaps use a new spin in a hypothetical re-make. Perhaps he could be a young man (still with drugs) caught up in sketchy entrepreneurship. These days, kids can access plenty of get-rich-quick schemes. Whether it’s flipping iPhones, pirating movies, etc., he could have plenty of modernized ways to get in trouble. Casting: Dane DeHaan. He’s getting big, and seems ideally suited to a troubled teen role.

Allison Reynolds
The “basket case” who has a problem with telling the truth is perhaps the most generic and least interesting of the original characters. Perhaps she could be updated as the darker teen girl working at a bar despite being underage, or struggling in a relationship with an older guy. Casting: AnnaSophia Robb. We’d just like to see Robb take on some bigger roles after her excellent work in “The Way Way Back.”

Claire Standish
The virgin, and more specifically the “princess,” is another character it’s tough to mess with too much. Particularly after having been played by Molly Ringwald, this character is iconic, and could use a straight update. Casting: Emma Watson. It’s hard not to see her knocking it out of the park.

Casinos in the 80s

Although casino’s are a very popular leisure activity today, particularly online, they also did excellent business during the 1980s. Several casinos opened in the early 80s and just before, with Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Casino and the Tropicana opening in 1981. Donald Trump also opened two casinos in the 1980s and this was really a boom time for Atlantic City throughout the decade.

It is well documented that certain members of the Brat Pack lived a real party lifestyle at the peak of their success and will certainly have hit the famous gambling spots in both America and Canada when filming on location. Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson were big money players on the tables and still enjoy a friendly game of roulette or poker to this day.

It wasn’t all about happy times for casinos during the 1980’s however as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino suffered an horrific fire, killing 85 people. 5000 people were in the hotel and casino at the time of the fire, which was caused by an electrical ground fault. This was a huge story at the time, and newspaper sales increased with many people wanting to find out more about the disaster. The MGM was repaired and improved following the fire and sold to Bally’s Entertainment who renamed the resort Bally’s Las Vegas.

Things are a lot different now to three decades ago as the majority of players prefer to do their gambling at online casinos. That being said, 80s casino nights are popular to this day and people often put on these events at parties and even in their own homes. The 1980s is sure to be a feature somewhere in both the Las Vegas and online casino industry for the foreseeable future.

The Outsiders Comes to Blu-ray

Francis Ford Coppola’s fantastic film has finally come to blu-ray. Featuring the Brat Pack’s Rob Lowe in his role as Sodapop Curtis, The Outsiders is a timeless classic you can watch again and again. The group of young men would maintain entertainment betting odds on who would perform different questionable acts but the Greasers were basically a good bunch of lads at heart. Throughout the film you get to see a different side to these young men and exactly how heroic as well as vulnerable they can be.

While a little dark and depressing in parts, The Outsiders is a realistic portrayal of teenage gangs from that era and deservedly received four Young Artist Awards nominations. The movie hasn’t been available in the UK and this is a first blu-ray release. StudioCanal are the company behind the release of The Ousiders Collectors Edition Blu-ray.

The Outsiders Blu-ray Bonus Features

– Introduction and Audio Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola.
– Audio Commentary with Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio and Patrick Swayze.
– Staying Gold: A look Back at “The Outsiders”.
– S.E. Hinton on Location in Tulsa.
– The Casting of “The Outsiders”.
– NBC’s News Today from 1983 “The Outsiders Started by School Petition”.
– Deleted and Extended Scenes.

– A Collectible Booklet “The True Story” – the story behind the movie.
– 8 Exclusive Postcards – Portraits of Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Emilio Estevez

The movie is also being released on DVD and both versions can be purchased at Amazon. The blu-ray is priced at £12.93 and the DVD at £9.99.

Mare Winningham

Mare WinninghamIt feels like Mare Winningham should be in the Brat Pack due to her role in St Elmo’s Fire as Wendy Beamish. This was however her only role in a Brat Pack movie and she never really associated herself with the party scene of the other Brat Packers. Like her character in St Elmo’s, she was possibly the sensible one in real life too! Winningham was never really an 80s teen idol either but she has continued to work steadily in film and TV right up to the present day.

Born on May 6, 1959 in Phoenix, Arizona, Mare Winningham grew up in California. She took a number of acting courses at a young age and by the time she graduated college had already landed an agent and a role in the television movie Young Pioneers in 1976. Various TV roles followed for Winningham including an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Marlene Burkhardt in the movie Amber Waves.

Mare Winningham’s big break came in 1985 she was cast as the introverted Wendy in St. Elmo’s Fire, directed by Joel Schumacher. The film revolved around a group of friends who had just graduated from Georgetown University and it showed the difficulties they had adjusting to adult life. The success of St Elmo’s never really had the knock on effect for Winningham’s career and she quickly went back to TV work.

In 1995 Mare was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the movie Georgia. In 1998, she was honoured again, winning her second Emmy Award for her role as Lurleen Wallace in the television movie, Wallace. The number of award nominations and wins for Mare Winningham shows just how talented an actress she, even though she is one of the less well known faces from the Brat Pack era.

Mare Winningham Trivia

Went to Chatsworth High School in Los Angeles with Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey.

Is the only St Elmo’s Fire cast member to ever be nominated for an Academy Award.

Mare Winningham Links

Mare Winningham at IMDB

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