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

BONUS
– 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.

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
– 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.

A couple of Breakfast Club articles

While I was surfing this morning, I came across these Breakfast Club related pieces. The first is from the UK newspaper, The Daily Mail. It’s a terrible paper but their website is quite good for celeb news, gossip etc.

The Breakfast Club Reunites

The second is much more interesting. It’s from the New York Times Blog, an interview with Molly Ringwald discussing John Hughes.

She Won’t Forget About Him

These are all marking the 25th Anniversary of The Breakfast Club. The film was also shown in the UK by the BBC on Monday night.

Rent the classic breakfast club on dvd or blu-ray from LOVEFiLM today, sign up to the site now and recieve a 2 week no obligation trial, what have you got to lose, sign up at http://www.lovefilm.com/

Who else hates the 80s movie remakes?

80s Movie RemakesSome people are really excited by them, but I personally cannot stand all these remakes of our favourite 80s movies and TV shows. Why can’t the studios leave them well alone?!

I must admit, the trailer for the new Karate Kid movie looks better than I was expecting but I still feel it cheapens the original. That being said, The Next Karate Kid with Hillary Swank had already achieved that somewhat!

Just because these classics have stood the test of time does not mean people want to see them rebooted for a new generation. Come up with new fresh films for the kids and young adults of today, don’t ruin ours because it’s the easy option.

From memory, I cannot think of a single 80s remake that has bettered the original. Miami Vice was very disappointing and Friday The 13th was a joke. It’s not just the remakes that are a bad idea, unnecessary sequels are also generally very poor. I won’t even get started on Indiana Jones and Star Wars.

In addition to The Karate Kid and The A-Team, the upcoming list of 80s movies being remade reads as follows;

Short Circuit
Red Dawn
He-Man
Robocop
Weird Science

Unless there are some massive changes to the premise of these movies, I can’t see how they can work in 2010. If they are going to be changed to that extent, surely it makes more sense to just create a brand new picture rather than live off the back of the name of an 80s classic.

Hopefully the studios will get bored of this trend sooner rather than later and we can forget these awful remakes ever happened!

A Tribute to John Hughes

This is an excellent piece on John Hughes written by David Boyle. You can visit his website here myspace.com/davidbfear

ICON:
A Tribute to John Hughes

Fade in:

Interior: Bedroom of a middle class home. The year, 1985
A young boy sits on the carpeted floor, entranced by the movie playing on the television screen: John Hughes’s “The Breakfast Club.”
He sips from a can of soda and smiles. Downstairs, his mother and father are watching the Johnny Carson show; his father holds a cigar, his mother a cup of tea. His sister is on the phone in her room chatting with one of her cheerleader friends, twirling her hair and chewing gum. The boy hears his parents burst into laughter, the sound filters up through the floor while he swallows a handful of potato chips and reaches into the bag for more, too engrossed in the film to realize that he has spilled crumbs all over the floor. Next to his bag of chips are three VHS movies: “Sixteen Candles,” “Weird Science,” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

What you’ve just read may sound like the typical weekend of any youth. For me that was an ordinary night spent alone in my room— and I was quite satisfied, believe it or not. I was raised in an average American home and, like many kids my age, had an insatiable appetite for movies and fun. However, when it came to high school, I yearned to finish what I had started eight years previous, just so I could get the crap over with. On the other hand, the mere thought of entering a building full of thousands of strangers caused me to shudder. In some ways I indentified with Cameron Frye from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”— never able to enjoy anything let alone absorb an education, always feeling ill and misplaced in the big world.

When I began high school I felt as though the walls were made of teeth and wanted to devour me whole. For four long years I wrestled with a jumble of feelings: an empty sensation in the pit of my stomach every morning and the urge to faint when I entered homeroom. I feared getting bad grades and failing every class. I compared my state of mind to that of Brian Johnson, the smartest character from “The Breakfast Club,” who was petrified of not meeting or exceeding his parents’ expectations. After receiving an F on a shop project, he said this to his detention mates: “Even if I ace the rest of this semester, I’m still only a B.” Can you imagine the self-inflicted psychological torture I went through not having a gift for class work and studying? I could relate to that character’s lack of self-worth and had fun watching him come to terms with who he was through the film.

I also feared I’d never make new friends or pass the series of mundane tests I was bound to face, and if I remember correctly the teachers were challenging students constantly and rigorously. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? High School, to me at least, was an institution that you would never escape no matter how hard you tried. A place where both the toughest kids and the most well adjusted children could become victims of peer pressure, isolation, rejection, or bullying. Each day the locker-lined corridors seemed longer and more crowded, didn’t they? They did to me. I felt like a lab rat in a never-ending plastic tunnel, curious sets of eyes monitoring my progress and taking meticulous notes, forming quiet assessments without getting to know the real me or even caring about what I had to say. A student’s job was to adhere to the regimens and remain silent unless spoken to. I, like plenty of others, was just trying to make sense of who I was as a student—as a person— and what I was meant to become. Eric Stoltz’s character in “Some Kind Of Wonderful,” Keith Nelson, shed abundant light on my high school hardships and loneliness: He was a quiet, hard-working kid, dealing with isolation except for his best friend, a tomboy. He was also fascinated by art— something that wasn’t popular in his school, especially among jocks and rich kids. His dad constantly pressured him to go to college, but Keith had no desire to follow that path. On top of these difficulties, he was faced with having to stand up to a bully (Hardy Jenns) just to prove to a girl he had a crush on (Amanda Jones) that he was good enough for her or— even better—superior to her heartthrob Hardy . This story, among all Hughes’s tales, cast a spell on me that hasn’t diminished since. His work spoke to me on various intellectual and emotional levels.

When I stop and think about high school, I can count the number of genuine friends I had on one hand. Most of the time I found it to my advantage to just mind my own business and avoid rubbing shoulders with the wrong classmates (troublemakers) or getting on a stringent teacher’s bad side, which wasn’t too difficult back then if you didn’t watch your step. During the 80’s, from my perspective, it seemed as though every teacher and principal in my school had that Richard Vernon attitude from “The Breakfast Club”: strict and brusque. Furthermore, the prettiest, most popular girls never once glanced my way unless they thought I had the answers to a test or a piece of gum to give them. The jocks thought I was a weakling (which I was). Academically I was flawed on every level: I struggled to maintain a C average. Despite confronting these various “coming of age” obstacles, I knew that four difficult years had to be completed—there was no way around it, no other means to circumvent the stress and anxiety.. What I did have in my favor, however, was something—or should I say someone—who kept me company in front of the television and made everything all right. His talents made the most burdensome moments more bearable because I sensed, for once, that a human being understood me and my complex emotional circuitry, what made me laugh or what brought tears to my eyes.

Through his many hit movies, John Hughes became a friend (I never met him, of course) who always knew what to say and how to say it—and precisely how to show it as well. His films reached inside the hearts of young people all over the world, regardless of their upbringing; he showed what it was really like to be a teenager, the joys and conflicts of approaching adulthood. Hughes’s stories had an impact on my generation that has lasted for almost thirty years. Now in 2009, mention his name or his movies to adults of any age and witness for yourself the powerful impression he’s left. Consider this analogy: For decades, college fraternities and sororities around the world have required a pledge to go through endless initiations, tasks they believe make a student stronger and worthy of acceptance. In contrast, John Hughes’s stories were part of the 80’s initiation—the necessary curriculum, a fundamental part of high school life, learning, and adaptation. They prepared you for the inevitable: growing up.

Let’s briefly flashback to 1983: After watching “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” I recall some parents being able to put themselves in Clark and Ellen Griswold’s shoes: the extensive amount of time spent traveling in a sweltering car, the pungent body odor that permeated the interior of the vehicle, the quarreling siblings, the heat, the exhaustion, the crazy aunt, the quirky relatives, setback after setback on the road. My own parents laughed at these images too. Why? Because they had been in that exact situation numerous times and had a sense of humor about the ordeal. Of course, I easily related to Rusty and Audrey. What kid couldn’t for that matter? These characters were—and still are—you and me. John Hughes’s characters were our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, our classmates, our family members. They were not, by any means, contrived, formulaic, cookie-cutter images typically seen in the majority of television shows and films today. Everyone could identify with them and we laughed together (or cried) at their journeys and took a piece of them with us through life. Their lives paralleled ours.

As a middle-aged man, I often find myself reciting lines from Hughes’s films and enjoying a hearty laugh or a tender moment. I’ve had the good fortune of repeatedly watching his movies on video or when they’re shown on television, and instantly I’m transported back to my roots, the days that have shaped my life, days that I concluded by gleefully throwing a tasseled cap into the air and screaming freedom at the top of my lungs.

As a culture, we often forget to acknowledge the influence art has on our lives, our actions, our beliefs— our psychological and physical health. Yes of course we go to the movies to be entertained and to forget about reality for a while, but without fully realizing it we often discover that few writers are able to put their finger on the pulse of a generation and lead them into more promising days. With all sincerity, I can say that John Hughes understood my teenage foibles and resolved them beautifully and meaningfully in movies such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Weird Science,” and “Some Kind Of Wonderful,” to name just a handful. I think I had a small part of each of his characters in my personality—still do now in my forties. That’s what made his work so brilliant, so touching, so authentic…so impressively tangible. Hughes taught us that it’s okay to be different, okay not to follow the herd and be proud of it. Good art can teach us invaluable lessons when we open our minds.

When Hughes wrote family, adult-themed scripts (“Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” “She’s Having A Baby,” “The Great Outdoors,” “Uncle Buck”) he proved that he could skillfully tell any tale he desired and pull viewers into his wonderful imagination by weaving engaging story lines and creating heartfelt, believable characters. The Dell Griffith character (played by comedy legend John Candy) from “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” has an unforgettable line that affects me in myriad ways. He says this to Steve Martin’s character, Neal Page: “You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I’m an easy target. Yeah, you’re right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you… but I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings.. Well, you think what you want about me; I’m not changing. I like… I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. ‘Cause I’m the real article. What you see is what you get.” That dialogue is a bold and satisfying insight and another example of what great writing can accomplish: the sum of a character’s essence delivered in a few sentences.

As you can see, Hughes kept his creations simple, accessible, and pure. In my opinion, these virtues are scarce in many of today’s films. As I see it, Hughes’s distinct vision is often imitated but rarely equaled. Maybe, too, that’s because times have changed and so have kids and high school.

I will always respect Mr. Hughes as a genius storyteller and a masterful director. When I watch a teen movie nowadays, I can always discern shades of the John Hughes influence: subtleties that any fan of his can find without having to look too critically. Hughes’s magic touch has undoubtedly inspired writers of recent decades and will continue to enliven the work of artists for future generations. I consider myself privileged to have been exposed to his mastery of craft at an early age, and I still watch his contributions and find myself brimming with fond memories and admiration. Through John’s vigorous and endearing imagination, I will always be a kid at heart. All I can say is: Thanks for sharing your talent with the world, John Hughes. Always know that your creations have profoundly touched many lives.

Interview with Radio City

I was recently asked to do an interview on a BBC radio station based in Ecuador about the Brat Pack called Radio City. It took place very early this past Tuesday morning, around 12.30am UK time. The interview went quite well, at least I think it did!

Unfortunatley there is no podcast of the show and I didn’t have the foresight to record it myself but it was basically general questions on why I started the site, who are the members of the Brat Pack and what they are up to now.

Everything I said had to be translated after each question so it was a little bit strange but still a fun and interesting experience all the same. The interview lasted about ten minutes. I’ve been getting asked to do a lot of similar things since the death of John Hughes.

You can visit the Radio City website here but I’m afraid it might not be particularly interesting unless you’re a Spanish speaker.

Get in the Closet! 80’s Special

If you are aged 16-24 and live and breathe 80’s fashion then The Closet is for you! We are looking for stylish groups of friends or individuals inspired by the 1980’s who would like to be involved in makeovers, shopping sprees, and styling the nation!

“The Closet,” is an online programme targeted at 16-24 year olds (male and female) and will cover all things fashion from where to head to get the best look, which are the best brands on the high street, what to wear that week and what is new in the world of fashion. Its going to Include fashion makeovers, style advice and quirky items that will involve profiling the hottest items and interviewing people with incredibly interesting jobs in the world of fashion. Essentially it will be a big online Fashion bible for “Beboers.”

Bebo has 12 million users in the UK, and is the third largest social networking site in the world. Since launching the capability to produce programmes on Bebo such as Kate Modern (BAFTA nominated) and B-Box, it gets weekly viewing figures of up to 200,000 with a target market of 16-25 olds – male and female, which at present is higher than the average T4 viewing figures.

If you would like to take part, please contact kateworthington@twentytwenty.tv for more information

RIP John Hughes

RIP John Hughes

(February 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009)

The man that epitomised all that was great about 80’s movies has sadly died at just 59 years of age. John Hughes was a legend and without him there would have been no Brat Pack. Ferris Bueller, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink are all classics that will mean Hughes will never be forgotten.

John Hughes was responsible for turning Molly Ringwald into a global superstar and once she decided to move away from his projects, Ringwald’s career faltered badly. The same goes for Anthony Michael Hall. After turning down roles in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink, Hall took a number of years to get back involved in mainstream projects.

While I’m not a big fan of his post 80’s work, John Hughes continued to be successful throughout the 90’s. Home Alone was in fact Hughes’ most successful project and was the top grossing film of 1990. Movies such as Babies Day Out and Flubber don’t appeal to me but you can’t argue with the fact his films continued to make money at the box office.

I hope that John Hughes enjoyed his time away from the public eye since 1994 and spent plenty of it with his family and friends. I was always hoping we would see a comeback from Hughes at some point but sadly it wasn’t to be.

Rest In Peace John.

Emilio Estevez on Two and a Half Men

Brat Pack star Emilio Estevez is to make a guest appearance alongside his brother Charlie Sheen on hit show Two and a Half Men. Estevez will reportedly play one of Charlie’s (Sheen’s character) old drinking buddies.

Their father, Martin Sheen has also made an appearance on the show in the past.

“My dad did the show a couple of years ago,” Charlie Sheen said. “So it was only a matter of time until someone of my brother’s talent could also come and play in our sandbox.”

Estevez has moved behind the camera in recent years, directing episodes of Cold Case and CSI New York as well as his hit movie Bobby.

There is no scheduled air date for the episode as yet.

Let us know your thoughts on Emilio’s guest role in Two and a Half Men.

New Brat Pack Site…coming soon!

The brand new and much improved Brat Pack Site is on the way, I might need a couple of days to finish things up!