Showing posts with label Summer Movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer Movies. Show all posts

Five Movie Theater Memories Summer of 2004

Friday, August 27, 2021

In the summer of 2004, I didn't have much to do besides "work" a 5-hour shift about three days a week.  I had gotten a job for the summer at a hand-made gift and craft shop, and two weeks into the full-time job, they announced the store was closing, so all employees were cut down to part-time.  What was going to be a summer full of employment suddenly found itself with a lot of free time.  

On a good day, I'd ring up maybe three customers and stock some shelves.  Most days, however, I just spent my time running out the clock.  I'd spend my shift walking up and down the aisles, running the vacuum, trying to memorize the number of steps up and down each row, counting the ceiling tiles... I was bored.  A lot of it was spent singing along with the only music the manager allowed us to play (Frank Sinatra) and thinking about working out.   

I had gotten into the best shape of my life at school the previous year, and I had worked my way up to running 5 to 7 miles per day and lifting weights like a fiend.  I wanted to be in the best shape of my life during my final semester at college, and what would likely (and did) wind up being my last season playing organized ice hockey.  

That summer, most of my copious amounts of free time at home involved drinking 2 gallons of water, eating grilled chicken, running, lifting weights, and sleeping.

I was also excited because for the first time ever, I had a television in my bedroom.  I brought home my TV from school and begged Dad to run a cable line up to the 2nd floor.  Around that time period, the cable networks all began to move towards digital cable, away from the old analog signal, and required a digital cable box on each television set.  Before then, you could run one line into the house from the street.  Using a splitter, you could then have several off-shoot lines to different television sets.  When we first hooked up my TV, I must have had 50 channels, but it slowly dwindled down to just The Food Network and USA Network.  My parents wouldn't pay for a cable box for the few months I was home, and I really didn't have any money to pay for it myself, so after I got down to just the bare minimum, I spent a lot of time watching DVDs and mastering "Vice City" on Play Station.  

When I wasn't doing any of that, I was going to the movie theater with my best friend from high school.  

If you didn't read my article about 2003 movie memories (CLICK HERE TO DO SO), my best friend from high school was a bit of a loner like myself and didn't have much going on either.  He preferred to stay in his room at his parent's house and watch his enormous DVD collection or play PlayStation until all hours of the night too.  He'd tell me stories of spending hours on internet message boards at 3 in the morning reading about all things Avril Lavigne or new comic book movies.  

Looking back, we did quite a bit together that summer, between playing roller hockey at the park with some guys from the old team, to a game we invented that combined tennis and racketball called "Rackis."  

Most of all, though, we made sure to go to the movie theater at least once a week.    

In fact, on Wednesdays, our parents jokingly called it our "date night" because it was understood we were going to the movies that night and we'd be out late.  Being out late was unusual for the two of us because we were both the kinds of kids who would rather be home on AOL Instant Messenger than out partying every night like some kids.  Our parents rarely had to wonder if we were out dead in a ditch somewhere.  

We must have easily seen over 50 films that summer!  Some of them were terrible, some of them we should have never paid to see (I'm looking at you, "Chasing Liberty,") but most of them were enjoyable.  

Good or bad, though, some of them were pretty memorable experiences.  

Retro Scans: 1992 Topps Jurassic Park Movie Cards

Monday, August 9, 2021

"Jurassic Park" began its life in film history in 1990 when Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment (Steven Spielberg) purchased the rights to the novel by Michael Chrichton before the book was even published.  The book itself was very successful, and it's safe to say so was the 1993 film adaptation.  The film was selected in 2018 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The 1993 movie, which hit theaters on June 9, 1993, is still considered one of the greatest films of the 1990s and received several sequels.

In "Jurassic Park," John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) is the owner of a theme park located on Isla Nublar named, of course, Jurassic Park. After an incident with a velociraptor, Hammond brings in three specialists to sign off on the park to calm investors. The specialists, paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), are surprised to see the island park's main attraction are living, breathing dinosaurs, created with a mixture of fossilized DNA and genetic cross-breeding/cloning. When lead programmer Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) turns off the park's power to sneak out with samples of the dinosaur embryos to sell to a corporate rival, the dinosaurs break free, and the survivors are forced to find a way to turn the power back on and make it out alive. 

Spielberg cited Godzilla as an inspiration for Jurassic Park, specifically Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956), which he grew up watching.  The film is regarded as a landmark in the use of computer-generated imagery and was praised by critics.  It grossed more than $914 million worldwide during its original release, becoming the most successful film.  "Jurassic Park" surpassed E.T. as the most successful film of all time, until 4 years later when "Titanic" was released.  It is currently the 17th highest grossing feature film but the most financially successful film for Steven Spielberg.  

I enjoyed browsing through the following set of cards, and I hope you enjoy the summer blockbuster flashback!  The photos on the cards aren't all great, but it's still enough of a nostalgia blast from the early 90s that won me over.  That's the point of this whole site, now isn't it?  I liked the sticker included in the pack, The Brachiosaur.  My favorite dinosaur, the Brontosaurus, was a close cousin of this one featured in the film, and I believe at the time schools were teaching the Brontosaurus didn't really exist, but I think they've reversed that decision.  

The flip side of the sticker (and last image here) is a puzzle piece, as most card packs include.  Seems to me it's a piece to a picture featuring the dinosaur that spits tar-like goo all over Dennis Nedry!

Retro Scan: 1978 Jaws 2 Wax Pack Trading Cards!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

"Jaws 2," released June 16, 1978, was the sequel to the blockbuster hit "Jaws" by Steven Spielberg.  It stars Roy Scheider as Chief Martin Brody.  Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton co-star as Martin's wife Ellen and Amity Mayor Larry Vaughn.  

The plot centers around Chief Brody's suspicion that another great white shark has begun to terrorize the seaside resort community of Amity Island.  Following a series of incidents and disappearances, Chief Brody's suspicions are proven to be true.

Jaws 2 suffered from some production flaws.  The first director, John Hancock, proved unfit for an action and suspense film and was replaced by Jeannot Szwarc.  The lead, Roy Scheider, only agreed to reprise his role to end a contractual issue with Universal Pictures and was very unhappy throughout filming.  Reportedly, Scheider and Szwarc got into several heated exchanges that delayed filming.  

Nonetheless, "Jaws 2" was the highest-grossing sequel in history, even if for a brief moment.  A year later, Rocky II was released and took the title away from the Jaws franchise.  

The "Jaws 2" tagline of "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..." has become one of the most famous taglines in history.  It's been parodied and reused several times over the years.

After mixed reviews, the franchise received two more sequels.  It was followed by the gimmicky "Jaws 3-D" in 1983 and "Jaws: The Revenge" in 1987.

The trading cards, by TOPPS, were in pretty good condition for being over 40 years old.  The gum, of course, was still mostly intact, as you'll see below.  I included the card backs that provided "Movie Facts" information about the film, but those without film information had puzzle pieces of a larger photo.  The final image I included is all of those card backs together.  Also included in the pack was a photo sticker, in this case, the bloody killer whale found on the beach.  I like that the sticker backing has the Jaws 2 logo on it and not just a blank "Peel Here" icon.