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Making Of…

Posted on October 24th, 2015

Dave!I think that I've mentioned a couple times now how much I love "making of" and "art of" books for movies I enjoy. There's something about getting a behind-the-scenes look at the filmmaking process and all the hard work involved that makes me love great movies even more.

My obsession started when I was 11 years old. I saw Star Wars and was desperate to find out everything I could about the movie. In the days before the internet, this meant scouring the magazine stands. Fortunately, Star Wars was such a huge phenomena that there was no shortage of magazine articles. Unfortunately, most of them were devoted to fluff pieces and corny interviews with the stars. Nothing had much depth or new information.

Until I discovered Starlog magazine, issue no. 7...

Starlog No. 7

This amazing resource for science fiction fans provided a glimpse into movies that was unlike anything else. Not only did they talk about the films I loved... they featured articles that discussed how they were made...

Starlog No. 7
You too can download issues of Starlog from the Internet Archive!

And I was hooked.

Starlog eventually led to a love affair with Cinefex in 1980, which was nothing but lush, in-depth, behind the scenes information! The magazine dissected movie special effects to an unprecedented level, and I was in cinephile heaven...

Cinefex No. 1

Eventually the "making of" books came along. Most of the time they were a step backwards from Cinefex, but I still bought them. Reluctantly.

All that changed in 2007 when The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film was released...

Making of Star Wars Book

This absolute masterpiece of film documentation reignited my love of "behind the scenes" books and has been leading me on the road to bankruptcy ever since. Not just with new releases, but with past releases as well. Like The Story of The Fifth Element, a terrific book from 1997...

LEELOO DALLAS MULTIPASS!

   
Currently, I'm obsessed with all the "art of" books for Disney/Pixar feature films... and, of course, all the Marvel movie books, which have been fantastic...

The Art of Guardians of the Galaxy

   
If you're a fan of these books like me, there are two new releases you should be aware of...

Ultimate Visual Guide Back to the Future and Ghostbusters

"Ultimate Visual History" books for Back to the Future and Ghostbusters!

Both volumes are very nicely made and have loads of great info. Spot varnish on the photos is featured throughout (something I love in a book!) and they tried to make them a bit more fun and accessible by including "souvenirs" from the movies that they stick to pages here and there.

In the Back to the Future book you get such things as the "Save the Clock Tower" flyer that Jennifer writes her phone number on (but it's white instead of blue)... the letter Marty writes to Doc to warn him about getting shot... the receipt from "Blast from the Past" for Grays Sports Almanac (but it's paper instead of clear plastic).

The Ghostbusters book doesn't have "souvenirs" so much as "production inserts" that feature artwork, storyboards, and an animation cell. Overall I wish they had not included the extra pieces, because they're just going to damage the pages they've been adhered to. You can easily remove them (the "glue" they use is that removable "booger snot" stuff) but then they're going to get lost. This kind of gimmicky crap never works as well as publishers think it does.

Still, Back to the Future and Ghostbusters are two of my favorite movies of all time, so I'm happy to have these editions. They claim to feature never-before-seen images and exclusive interviews, so that alone will make the books essential buys for the completist.

Hopefully publisher Insight Editions will release other books in this series. I'm still waiting for a making of Spaceballs book.

   

BTTF Day!

Posted on October 21st, 2015

Dave!Pepsi Perfect! Pepsi!

It's October 21st! AKA "Back to the Future Day." The day that Doc, Marty, and Jennifer traveled 30 years to the future and the year 2015! Which means that the entirety of the Back to the Future trilogy will very quickly take place in the past...

Back to the Future!

   
My plan was to blow off work and stay home so I could watch the entire trilogy from start to finish.

But, alas, responsibilities and all that.

And no Pepsi Perfect for you.

   

Bullet Sunday 455

Posted on October 18th, 2015

Dave!Let's get ready to rumble, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Canadia. Best of luck to our friends to the Great White North on their Prime Minister election. Will ten long years of Stephen Harper douchebaggery be enough? Guess we'll find out.

   
• Feels. ZOMG. Kitten raised with ferrets thinks she's a ferret!

Kitten with Ferrets
Photo by MichaelMankus.

Cuteness overload.

   
• Future? Now incredibly sad at how badly our once-promising future has so severely missed the mark...

I can only guess that Biff Tannen has created an alternate 1985 that turned into this pile of shit.

   
• Fleeced. Yet another terrific article tearing down Carly Fiorina's carefully constructed (and wholly hysterical) façade that she's some kind of awesome businesswoman that's fit to be president...

Carly Fiorina
Photo by Justin Sullivan and Getty Images.

All hail to Jobs!

   
• Duty! The Duggar clan is a never-ending fountain of wisdom that just keeps giving. Apparently men are merely sexual animals with absolutely no rational thought when it comes to getting the sex they need. Yes, NEED. They will die without it. Or cheat on you. Regardless, it's all your fault. So if you have a headache, you just need to buck up and fuck your husband before something terrible happens. If you don't, that would make you a murderer... or single... or both. It's not your man's fault that you are physically and mentally exhausted. So don't you dare put that on him. He doesn't need to deal with it and he is mentally unable to understand it. Slam a 5-Hour Energy and fuck your husband. Stabbed in the eye with a fork? Throw on an eyepatch and fuck your husband. Nine months pregnant? Fuck your husband. Get shot foiling a bank robbery? Fuck your husband. Bad hair day? Make yourself presentable THEN fuck your husband. Because men? Men simply cannot process the alternative. And shame on you for even thinking that they should have to.

   
• Wonder? And I thought the David E. Kelley's 2011 Wonder Woman pilot was heinous crap. This... this... has to be the most horrendous take on the character possible...

Thank God Lynda Carter came along in 1975 to give us a Wonder Woman that still holds hop even today. Lyda Carter was Wonder Woman. Still is. Probably always will be.

   
And... time for bed. Sundays make me sleepy.

   

Back 30

Posted on July 3rd, 2015

Dave! Thirty years ago today, one of my favorite movies of all time was released... Back to the Future!

I've lost count of the number of times I've seen the film. Probably at least 30 times in the 30 years since release. It's just one of those movies you can watch over and over again and never tire of it. In celebration of this landmark anniversary, I'll be watching it again tonight...

Back To The Future!

Few films have had this kind of impact on me.

Seamlessly blending science fiction and time travel with a genuinely sweet romantic comedy, Back to the Future hits all the right notes, and is pretty much the perfect movie.

And then the sequels came along.

Back to the Future II very nearly eclipses the original film for me. I absolutely love the movie. The clever way they managed to go back into the original film continues to blow my mind to this day. Yes, it doesn't have the heart that made the original such a special film... but my mind can't separate them, so it's all the same to me. The "future" of The Future remains one of my favorite fictionalized takes on... errr... the future...

Back To The Future!

I wasn't quite so enamored with the third film since it lacked the deep connection to the original the second one had... but still enjoyed it a lot.

And then, just like that, The Future was over.

Except it wasn't.

Thanks to some brilliant minds at Universal Studios, the franchise lived on with Back to the Future: The Ride!

Back To The Future Ride

My favorite theme park attraction of all time, the ride fit flawlessly within the Back to the Future films and was so fantastically realized that it felt as though it were a part of the trilogy from the beginning rather than tacked on for a quick buck. Unfortunately, the ride eventually closed in 2007 when it was replaced with a ride based on The Simpsons. Fortunately, the footage was preserved and is up on YouTube...

Not the same experience you got from being jostled around in a motion-controlled 8-seater DeLorean, but better than nothing!

The end of the ride wasn't the end for Back to the Future though...

Most people don't seem to be aware that the Back to the Future trilogy didn't end with Part III.

TellTale Games released a series of five Back to the Future games back in 2010. Serving as a direct sequel to the original films, they pick up directly after BTTF III...

And here's the surprising part... the games are actually good. Very good. Especially the first three installments. You should check them out!

Even if you don't like video games, you can still enjoy the story that came out of them. There are several postings on YouTube that screen-capped the whole thing. Though, obviously, if you have plans to play the games, watching the following video with utterly ruin them for you...

I don't know if there are plans to make more video games, but the movies live on in all kinds of knick-knacks... puzzles... greeting cards... and the like. Oh... and lest we forget Back to the Future: The Slot Machine!

Back to the Future... THE SLOT MACHINE!

And next up for the future of The Future?

LEGO Dimensions!

We already got a LEGO Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine set, which is fantastic...

Back To The Future LEGO!

So naturally I am beyond thrilled at the prospect of finally getting a BTTF title out of the amazing LEGO video game franchise.

   
And what's the future of The Future past LEGO Dimensions?

I dunno. Robert Zemeckis refuses to allow a remake while he and co-writer Bob Gale still alive, thank heavens... but given that the original films are still much-loved even today, I wouldn't rule out more Back to the Future in the future. More LEGO? More video games? Comics? Animation? Who knows?

The future is whatever you make it.

So make it a good one.

   

Lakeview

Posted on May 5th, 2015

Dave!A much nicer day today than yesterday.

Probably because I had to leave this morning!

Since my "lakeview" room at the Hard Rock didn't have a view of the actual lake, I stopped off at a "viewpoint" along the way to see if I could get a photo of Lake Tahoe. Sure enough...

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

And here's a pano of the whole schebang...

Lake Tahoe

Beautiful, right?

But before I drove back to Reno, I returned to the Lucky Beaver for a fried egg and avocado breakfast sammy... which was amazing. Even though I had to get up at 7:00am to get one...

Lucky Beaver Fried Egg Breakfast Sammy

Anyway...

The drive was fairly uneventful. Though I did run across somebody who loves A) Scotland... and B) Clifford the Big Red Dog... very, very much...

Scotland and Clifford the Big Red Dog

Much to my surprise, I ran across a Back to the Future slot machine at the airport. I refused to waste more than $10 on the thing, so I didn't get to see much... but it was very cool just the same...

Back to the Future... THE SLOT MACHINE!

Back to the Future... THE SLOT MACHINE!

What are you lookin' at, butt-head?!

Annnnnd... so much for my trip to Reno and Lake Tahoe.

   

Bullet Sunday 414

Posted on January 4th, 2015

Dave!Time for a new beginning... because the first Bullet Sunday of 2015 starts... now...

   
• Back! Anybody who's a fan of the Back to the Future trilogy knows that it's the year 2015 that Marty travels to in the second film when he follows Doc Brown to do something about his kids. The result is a funky look at what the future has in store... as envisioned by filmmakers in 1989. Though, to be honest, I think they were more concerned with entertainment value than actually attempting to predict what was coming down the pipe in 25 years...

Doc Brown and Marty from Back to the Future II

Newsweek interviewed some futurists to take a look at what Back to the Future II got right... and what they got wrong... and the result is worth a read.

   
• Snoopy! Usually, I'm dead-set against "improving" old animation techniques... especially with a property as beloved as Peanuts, but this looks amazing...

Nothing like what's come before, and yet oddly in-tune with the Peanuts aesthetic. I am hopeful that eventually there's a "making-of" which explains how they're achieving this perfect compromise of old and new.

   
• Remastered! Back before the original Star Wars hit theaters, Marvel Comics had an adaptation in the works... written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Howard Chaykin. It didn't even hit my radar until I saw Star Wars, at which time I was obsessive about tracking down anything and everything that even mentioned the film. Including Marvel's over-sized movie tie-in. Since it would be years before home video would happen, it was about as good as I could get in re-living the movie. Flash-forward to today, and the adaptation of Star Wars is being remastered for release as a hardcover graphic novel this March. The "remastering" is basically cleaning up the original pages and then recoloring them using today's computerized technology. The original looks something like this (which I've muddied a bit because the paper back then was far from white)...

Marvel Star Wars Original

And here's the new hotness...

Marvel Star Wars Original

Nice. I guess. I mean, the Death Star is no longer day-glo yellow and Darth Vader is no longer day-glo blue which is good. But I think they went a bit too far. The intro panel, for example, doesn't look much like the original Chaykin art... it's all coloring. They even colored over the text panel for crying out loud! While I like the idea of having an updated edition of these comics, I just wish they hadn't gone quite so over-the-top gradient air-brushy with everything. More flat colors and a little more respect for the original linework would have gone a long way towards a better looking updated book.

   
• Giving! Taylor Swift, who seems to have a genuine appreciation for her fans, decided to celebrate her hugely successful foray into pop music this year by sending presents to some of the people who made it possible...

It's a sweet video, and I would have thought that anybody seeing it would love Taylor just a little bit more. And most people did. Except, of course, her haters, which were quick to point out that the millionaire country/pop star spent a mere couple hundred dollars of her massive fortune on this obvious publicity stunt.

So I'd like to point out that even if you're this cynical, there is one thing you can't deny: Taylor Swift doesn't stop at a couple hundred dollars when it comes to giving back. In fact, she topped the "Most Charitable Celebrities" list for 2014... for the third year in a row. Say what you want about her music or how she interacts with her fans but, when it comes to charity in the world of celebrities, it would seem as though few people are doing more than Taylor Swift.

   
• Connectivity! When my Mac displayed an incoming call at work, I couldn't find my iPhone so I accepted the call through my Mac. After the call was over I tore my office apart trying to locate my mobile (which was obviously on silent mode) and couldn't find it. Finally I realized that my Mac was connecting to my iPhone out in my car. I parked close enough that Bluetooth could still reach. Wonderful and bizarre at the same time. Which is how new technology should be, but often isn't. Most of the times now it's just frustration. Like trying to get a file from my iPhone to my Mac using "AirDrop" only to find that it only works half the time. Why? FOR THE LOVE OF JOBS, WHY?!? WHY CAN'T IT WORK EVERY TIME? You got me. And, while I should be happy for the times that this stuff "just works," the fact that you can't count on it is enough me make me want to light my Mac on fire.

   
• Devil! Back when I was at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, I posted photos of insane people on the Zambia side of the Zambezi taking a dip in what's known as "The Devil's Pool"...

Victoria Falls

Yesterday I was searching YouTube for people who might have actually filmed the event, and was surprised to find all kinds of videos. Here's just two of them...

   

Given the opportunity, would I partake in this craziness? I really don't know.

   
And there you have it. Don't forget to use "2015" when you write the date!

   

Bullet Sunday 343

Posted on August 18th, 2013

Dave!Get on the dance floor... Get on the dance floor and DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Cuusoo! My love of all things LEGO is well documented. I especially love the licensed properties like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and Batman and Indiana Jones, to name a few. The cool thing about LEGO is that they are always curious to know what ideas their fans have for new sets, so they developed a site called Cuusoo to collect them. If an idea gets 10,000 votes, LEGO will review the idea and possibly create the set! The latest one they created was the Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine...

Cuusoo Back To The Future

It's a little clunky-looking, but I still had to have it. The problem is that I've had the thing for a week but have been too busy to put it together. It's deceptively complicated...

LEGO BTTF Set Pieces Cuusoo

And, as an added bonus to getting a great new LEGO set... the designer, Masashi Togami, will donate his royalties to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research! Very cool! If you'd like to buy your own set before they're all gone, here's where you can get one! And, in related news... how cool would a Back to the Future Trilogy video game be?

   
• Cuusoo Two! And speaking of Cuusoo, here are the sets I'm currently supporting...

Scooby-Doo! (GO HERE TO VOTE!)...

Cuusoo Scooby Doo Set

Ghostbusters! (GO HERE TO VOTE!)...

Cuusoo Ghostbusters Set

Adventure Time!(GO HERE TO VOTE!)...

Cuusoo Adventure Time

   
• Zero G! As somebody who has dreamed of being an astronaut since I was old enough to know what an astronaut was, I've long accepted that my odds of going into space are pretty much nil. But there's a company who can give you the next best thing... the experience of ZERO GRAVITY! For a mere $5250, Zero Gravity Corporation will arrange a ride on their "vomit comet" aircraft which can simulate various stages of weightlessness with stomach-churning parabolas arcs across the sky...

Zero G

I paid off my upcoming vacation back in April, and have been saving for my next vacation ever since. A part of me wants Zero G to be that trip. Except... I fear my car is going to die any day now... and, assuming it doesn't, there are plenty of places I'm still wanting to explore on earth. But... wow. Definitely on my bucket list for one day.

   
• Electronic Devices! At last, some serious answers to a question I have every time I fly...

Bwah ha haaaa!

   
Enjoy what's left of your Sunday!

   

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