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  • Monsters, Inc. 2001 For Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on November 8th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments
    Monsters, Inc. I know this ad/poster is a taken from another movie poster...anyone guess which one?

    Monsters, Inc. I know this ad/poster is a taken from another movie poster...anyone guess which one?

    Just one look at this flick and you know that the creatives at Pixar really did an homage to the old-school Disney films when they put together

    Monsters, Inc. 2001

    starring Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly and Mary Gibbs.

    I include this flick in the Mod Monday gig because there’s so much in it that screams of vintage while being made with technology way ahead of its time that the movie itself is a sci-fi wonder come true.

    The opening credits alone will swing you back to Disney’s “first” golden era, with a clarinet-lead jazz instrumental that’s perfectly paired to a snaky monster and a plethora somewhat confusing and mod-looking doors, reminiscent of the Disney musicals of the 1940s and ’50s.

    Then the story opens with a couple of very kool monsters, not particularly scary at all but kind of Muppet-like. They live in an apartment decorated with old-school furniture, one has a jalopy that looks like a ’60s sports car with teeth, they walk down a very 1940s-New York-looking street and report for work in a factory that’s sort of a mix of mid-century modern and minimalist industrial designs.

    Doesn't this look like something from a retro-50s sci fi thriller?

    Doesn't this look like something from a retro-50s sci fi thriller?

    The retro/vintage themes rack up from there. James Coburn’s voiceover sounds a lot like the bad guys in the old Hannah-Barbara cartoons from the ’60s and ’70s (or Burgermeister Meisterburger in Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town, voiced by Paul Frees). There are retro Disneyland posters on the walls, and a 1960s-style newscaster. There’s even a scene on a tropical beach with a couple of Tiki huts!

    The story? Oh, yeah…sometimes I forget to tell you about the story, don’t I. Ok, it’s about a couple of Monsters who work on the scare floor of the corporation who provides electricity for Monstropolis by collecting the screams of human kids and bottling them. The corporation reminded me a lot of Office Depot’s corporate headquarters where I worked briefly at the time this movie was made. The whole thing they do with “I am Monsters, Inc!”…yeah, Office Depot did that with their employees for a training video. Oy.

    Uh...yeah. Mid-century Retro-rama, baby!

    Uh...yeah. Mid-century Retro-rama, baby!

    Anyway, back to the subject…It’s a great flick and the added retro-isms will have kats and kittens like you digging it even more. For a sneak peak (and the numbero uno reason this flick fits the Mod Movie Monday category), check out the two videos below. The first is the opening credits to Monsters, Inc., the second is a clip from Make Mine Music (1947) featuring the Benny Goodman band and visuals by Disney. You’ll see immediately where the designers for Monsters, Inc. got their inspiration. Even the music is similar…not the same, not copied…but inspired. Great job, Pixar. Keep the faith, baby.

    Here’s the Intro to Monsters, Inc. 2001

    And “After You’ve Gone” from Make Mine Music, 1947

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the Scare Floor at Tiki Lounge Talk. BTW…the bear in this photo look familiar? It should…he’s the original Winnie the Pooh πŸ˜‰ disney-monsters-inc-putting-boo-to-bed

  • Dig it, Daddy-O, High School Confidential from 1958 & Blackboard Jungle from 1955 for Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on September 8th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments

    posterhigh_school_confidentialHipsters, flipsters & all night kicksters, dig in and knock me your lobes. It’s back to school time for you kiddies so here’s a couple of real heavy flicks filled with teen angst and rebellion…a Labor Day Double Play for you ker-azy kats & kittens:

    High School Confidential, 1958

    and

    Blackboard Jungle, 1955

    Two groovy movies in glorious black and white that show the dark side of the good old days, the bad crowd that swung to their own tune. Depraved teenagers who engaged in late-night petting and diner food. Hard drugs like Marijuana cigarettes. Rumbles with knives and zip guns. And that most horrible of crimes, not respecting authority.

    High School Confidential stars Russ Tamblyn as a kool kat who smokes into town and makes his mark fast, muscling his way into the drug pusher scene. He’s tough and hip and fits right in with the weedhead beats and rebels. He works his way up the underworld ladder to the tip top, daddy…But he’s got a secret, an ace up blackboard-jungle-posterhis sleeve that can bring down the whole house of cards. Cast includes Jan Sterling, John Drew Barrymore, Diane Jergens, Mamie Van Doren, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Anthony, Jackie Coogan, Charles Chaplin Jr., Michael Landon & more. Lots of kool rock & rock-a-billie music too.

    Blackboard Jungle is a rough, tough film that was meant to show the bad-ass side of ’50s youth. It kicks off with Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’, and it was this movie that helped skyrocket Bill Haley & the Comets…and the Rock ’n’ Roll era into space. It’s your typical (and often imitated) story about a hopeful young teacher (named Dadier, who is of course referred to as Daddy-O) who’s thick enough to think he can get through to inner-city rebellious teens and teach them something. Yeah, bring it on, Daddy-O, we ain’t hip to the cheese you’re spreadin’, man.

    Both flicks are very dated now, showing what ‘bad’ kids were like in as realistic a way as they could get away with in the ’50s. But most of the problems are still the same…teen boredom leads to horny girls that want to be good (but don’t really want to and of course are not), drugs, fights, drinking, stealing, hot rodding and makin’ time. Wow, good thing kids have stuff like video games, expensive sneakers and Teh Interwebs to keep them out of trouble these days, huh?

    Here’s the trailer for Blackboard Jungle…

    Dinner & Booze: Burgers and fries all the way, man. Shakes too, but add whatever cheap whiskey you can steal out of your old man’s liquor cabinet. If you can sit in your ’32 Ford Hot Rod and watch the flicks on a blow-up screen in your driveway while eating the burgers, then yeah, do that.

    high school confidential

    high school confidential

    My Take: When I was in high school (wayyyy back in the 1980s) I played sax in a buddy’s rock band. They went through a couple of different names (they mainly played as “The Modern Romans” when I gigged with them…hey, it was the ’80s). They finally settled on Blackboard Jungle, named after the movie. Since they played a mix of ’50s Rock ’n’ Roll, Rock-a-Billie and newer rock (along with some standards and original pieces) they thought the name fit well. Of course nobody got it because none of the people who came to see the band ever saw the flick. Anyway, they did a great song called “Coffee at the Diner,” an original they wrote. A real screamer, ’50s style. I’ll try to get an MP3 of it and post it some time.

    blackboard jungle

    blackboard jungle

    Talk about a digression. Anyway the point was I was in a band called Blackboard Jungle where I wore a white fedora, black shirt, white skinny tie, Raybans and wrist studs and played tenor sax. It was a blast.

    -Tiki Chris P., aka Zoot the Saxman reporting from the cafeteria of Tiki Island High.
    Tiki Lounge Talk, the Tiki Culture Blog for kats & kittens who dig the retro scene, daddy-o.

  • Mod Movie Monday: Logan’s Run, 1976

    Posted on July 19th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments
    Logan's Run

    Logan's Run

    If you watch this movie and think, “Hey, this looks like it was filmed in a mall!” you’d be right.

    Swing back to 1975, when America was proud of its upcoming Bicentennial celebration and sci-fi films were still using stop animation and model rockets on strings.

    logan-jessica-logan

    Somewhere in Texas a film crew was shooting a movie with a $9 million buck budget and a lot of hope. What they ended up with is a somewhat cheesy looking but still fantastic movie.

    Logan’s Run, 1976

    Starring Michael York, Richard Jordan, Jenny Agutter, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett and Peter Ustinov.

    logan-loveshop4

    Logan's Run - The Love Shop. Groovy.

    This was ’70s sci-fi at its best (before Star Wars came along and set the new standard). A futuristic, post-apocalyptic world where people had ’70s hair and polyester clothes, and the buildings’ interiors looked like the mall you went to when you were a kid. All they needed was an Orange Julius and a Copper Rivet to make it complete. You probably already know the plot – in this futuristic society, people are cared for by machines which supply food, clean air and water. The family unit is non-existent; sex is for pleasure and babies are mysteriously incubated by machines. To keep the (un)natural balance, everyone has a “life clock”, basically a plastic gem from Woolworth’s embedded in their hand which tells them when it’s time to die (age 30). But everyone gets down with this plan, because they don’t believe they are dying, they believe they are being renewed. Groovy.

    This always reminded me of the Monorail at Disney World.

    This always reminded me of the Monorail at Disney World.

    Here’s the catch: Some kats don’t buy this “renew” jazz that’s laid on them, and believe there’s a much better place to live called “Sanctuary”. Yes, that’s right, they believe there’s a much better place than the place where you pretty much don’t have to work, don’t have to worry about finding food, or getting sick, where you can have all the sex you want without consequences and where you never have to worry about getting old…yeah, I guess some people might not dig that life.

    The Life Clock.

    The Life Clock.

    So these kats are always trying to skip town, get away through some crazy underground system of tunnels that looks like a sewerage plant, to the outside world. They keep trying, and the police (known as Sandmen) try to stop them. This happens a lot.

    Now, I won’t give away the whole story, but I’ll tell you this much: The adventure begins when the computer that runs society has a great idea to turn a Sandman into a runner by advancing his alarm clock several years to 30. Now he will die if he doesn’t infiltrate the runners’ gang and find this “Sanctuary”. Hence the name, Logan’s Run.

    The "active pool" of the Water Gardens located in Ft. Worth, Texas

    The "active pool" of the Water Gardens located in Ft. Worth, Texas

    Why bother watching this flick: It’s pure fun, ’70s style, and it actually was filmed in a mall (see pix below) From the obvious toy model of the city to the toga-like clothes to the 35 year-old-style holograms, this movie is full of the stuff we loved back in the day. They even have laser guns. The imagery is very kool in many parts of the movie, and even with the low-budget effects it’s still a good flick with an original story. One thing really neat about using malls and other existing yet future-looking sites to film at is the illusion that this world isn’t really much different from ours, and that this future isn’t too far off from our own.

    Here’s the Logan’s Run trailer from 1975:

    Logan's Run - The Great Hall

    Logan's Run - The Great Hall

    On Location: The Texas Apparal Mart, a mall build in 1964, scene of Logan's Run

    On Location: The Texas Apparel Mart, a mall build in 1964, scene of Logan's Run

    My story: I first saw this movie in 1976 on a brand new TV channel called “Prism” (Philadelphia Regional In-Home Sports and Movies). Prism came in on a big black plastic box with a clunky knob that you turned from “TV” to “PREMIUM”. Prism was off the air most of the day, and usually came on around 8pm. It mostly broadcast Phillies games with a couple of movies in between. For what seemed like months, the only movies it showed were That’s Entertainment! parts one and two, and Logan’s Run. I think we watched each of these movies a thousand times. No wonder I like sci-fi and old musicals. For years I used to kid with friends that the world of the future looked like the Searstown Mall in Pleasantville, NJ. Then 25 years later I looked it up on the internet, and lo and behold, the thing was filmed in a mall.

    Well, that’s that on this oldie but goodie. I can’t give it five stars for great acting or special effects, but as a testament to its grooviness, there hasn’t been a remake of it in 35 years…at least not yet.

    -Tiki Chris 9 reporting from the Great Hall. Renew! Renew!

  • Mod Movie Monday: Batman, The Movie from 1966

    Posted on May 24th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    batman-movie-posterWith krazy stuff like shark repellent, a jet-powered Bat Speed Boat, big round bombs and the Batmobile, there’s no way

    Batman, The Movie

    was going to slip through Mod Movie Monday! For those of you who think Micheal Keaton made the first Batman movie, take a little history lesson from the Tiki Lounge. Back in 1966 Adam West, the 60’s TV series’ Batman donned the first modern Batsuit and dropped the hammer on the first mod Batmobile for the silver screen.batman-movie-conferenceroom Just like the TV show, Batman, The Movie was filmed in that kookie comic-book style with vivid colors, wild angles and all sorts of mod 60s toys. They pretty much crammed as much stuff into this movie as they could, giving us not one, not two but FOUR villains, The Penguin’s Submarine, The Batmobile, The Batcycle, The Batcopter, The Batboat, and lots of shots of the Batcave.

    batman_the_movie_villansAnd talk about stars…get a load of this line-up:
    Adam West … Batman / Bruce Wayne
    Burt Ward … Robin / Dick Grayson
    Lee Meriwether … The Catwoman / Kitka
    Cesar Romero … The Joker
    Burgess Meredith … The Penguin
    Frank Gorshin … The Riddler
    Alan Napier … Alfred

    There are so many groovy scenes in this movie I couldn’t possibly mention them all. Just get it and watch it, I guarantee you’ll dig it. It’s silly, it’s funny, it’s action-packed and has great special effects (like the rubber shark). Hell, it’s worth it to ogle Lee Meriwether!

    batmobilePlus there are lots of shots of the infamous Chuck Barris Batmobile (see Barris’ video on building the original car below).

    Dinner & Drinks: Well, believe it or not there actually is a BATMAN COCKTAIL. But since the TV show Batman was something of teetotaler (only the bad guys drank or smoked) it’s just orange juice and grenadine. So what the hell, here’s a little ‘spin’ on the Batman Cocktail (get it? spin, like the Bat logo in the show…nevermind)

    Batman Cocktail, Tiki-ized

    2 oz Dark (Knight) Rum
    Orange Juice
    1 tsp. Grenadine
    Bitters
    Orange Slice
    2 Pineapple wedges

    In a tall glass filled with ice add rum, grenadine, three drops bitters, and fill with OJ. With long picks arrange the pineapple wedges onto the orange slice so they look like bat ears, and use for garnish. To make a Batmobile Cocktail, float 151 on top and set the whole thing on fire.

    For dinner, since you can’t really eat a bat, or a robin, I’d suggest some other winged creature. Perhaps penguin. No, I guess you can’t really do that. Besides, they don’t have wings anyway. How about Pheasant Under Glass, like Bruce Wayne? Forgetaboutit. Just make chicken. Serve it on some really colorful plates and napkins (you can get wild colors at the party store) and don’t skimp on the gravy.

    Here’s the video of Barris on how he came to build the Batmobile, from http://www.bat-mania.co.uk: