Jonathan Demme, who made his mark in the ‘80s as the director of Melvin and Howard, Swing Shift, Stop Making Sense, Married to the Mob and Something Wild, has died, according to media reports. He was 73.
His publicist confirmed his death to the New York Times. Demme had disclosed he was fighting cancer in 2015.
His two biggest successes came in the ‘90s, with The Silence of the Lambs (for which Demme won an Oscar for best director) and Philadelphia, the first big-budget film about AIDS. (Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen would both win Oscars for that project.)
In the New York Times review of 1988’s Married to the Mob, the critic wrote of the director: “Jonathan Demme is the American cinema’s king of amusing artifacts: blinding bric-a-brac, the junkiest of jewelry, costumes so frightening they take your breath away. Mr. Demme may joke, but he’s also capable of suggesting that the very fabric of American life may be woven of such things, and that it takes a merry and adventurous spirit to make the most of them.”
There are two essential questions that ‘80s fans ponder: Who shot first - Han or Greedo? And was Andie’s dress in Pretty in Pink a jewel or a junker? Finally, actress Molly Ringwald has made her opinion known.
Ringwald, writing in a column for Teen Vogue, had this to say about her character’s prom dress in 1986’s Pretty in Pink:
“Although the film’s costume designer, Marilyn Vance, did a fantastic job of interpreting my personal style for my character, Andie — I loved the beautiful vintage pieces she sourced as well as the outfits she designed, and kept almost everything after the film was over — there’s one piece I didn’t keep: the prom dress. To the best of my knowledge, it’s locked away in a wardrobe vault at the studio. At least I hope it is. If I’d had it my way, I would have burned the dress on the Paramount back lot as soon as they yelled the last Cut! Print!”
Wow. And I can’t say I disagree.
Molly goes on to write the only thing she liked about the dress was the halter neckline. “The puffy sleeves and inverted-triangle, sacklike silhouette confounded me, but it was too late to change it.”
Scott Baio really stepped into some hot water earlier this week when discussing the death of his former co-star Erin Moran, who passed away at age 56 over the weekend from complications of Stage 4 cancer. Though he had previously left a Twitter post mourning her loss over the weekend, Baio went in a different direction on Monday.
"My thing is, I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled, could never find what made her happy and content. For me, you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die," Baio said Monday on "The Bernie and Sid Show" on WABC radio, according to Yahoo.com.
"I'm sorry if that's cold, but God gave you a brain, gave you the will to live and thrive and you gotta take care of yourself," Baio said. "I'm saddened by what happened. I don’t know if it was drugs that killed her, I read one report said it might have been and I hope it … I don't know what I hope. It's what it is. What can you do?"
Baio and Moran starred together in Happy Days and again in Joanie Loves Chachi. …
How can this be a cruel summer when we get word of this? Bananarama has announced they will reunite as a trio and tour the UK this year, according to a report in the Sun.
Keren Woodward, Sara Dallin and Siobhan Fahey cranked out a slew of hits in the ‘80s, including Cruel Summer, Venus and I Heard a Rumour, but last performed in 1988. Fahey, who wasn’t happy with the direction of the group, left that year and was replaced by Jacquie O'Sullivan. Dallin and Woodward would later continue the band as a duo, though Fahey returned to record a cover of Waterloo in 1998.
Are you still following?
The Sun reports the reunion has been kept a secret for weeks, but the trio announced the news in an article that was published Sunday.
“We first had a chat about it over Christmas and before we knew it the whole thing snowballed,” Dallin said. “Keren and I called Siobhan to chat about it and things went from there.”
The reunited band’s first rehearsal is set for this week, and sales for a UK tour are set to go on sale Wednesday.
I remember the first time I saw Berlin live. It wasn't in the '80s; it was maybe 5 years ago in California. Berlin was opening for The Fixx, B-52's and The Human League at the Hollywood Bowl, and the band's lead singer - Terri Nunn - was also serving as emcee for the evening.
The put on an AMAZING show - too brief if anything - and Terri was just so lovable on stage that I wanted to rush the front of the house and just pick her up and hug her until bouncers tossed me halfway to San Diego.
So imagine just how crazed with excitement I was to finally get a chance to interview Terri Nunn. We spoke for about 45 minutes, covering everything from The 80s Cruise, the 80s in the Sand event in Punta Cana, her appearance this coming weekend at Epcot in Orlando, her influences, her acting career and everything in between.
We've broken the interview into two parts: Part One is here now for you, with Part Two coming next Sunday. I'll warn you the language gets a little salty at times, but it's just too quote to bleep out. Hope you enjoy the show. And if you're enjoying the podcast in general, please leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks!
More sad news for ‘80s Nation: Actress Erin Moranwas found dead in Indiana this weekend. She was 56.
Moran played the kid-sister in TV’s Happy Days before turning that role into a more grown-up part in the spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi. Her co-stars took to social media to respond to the news.
“Such sad sad news. RIP Erin,” Ron Howard (“Richie Cunningham”) tweeted. “I’ll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens.”
“OH Erin... now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth,” Henry Winkler (The Fonz) tweeted. “Rest In It serenely now.. too soon.”
While many of the stars of Happy Days went on to successful careers after the show ended in 1984, Moran’s career largely fizzled after the 17-episode run of Joanie Loves Chachi.
She was a frequent guest star on TV’s The Love Boat while Happy Days was still on the air. In later years, she had short stints on Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder. Her last acting credit was in 2010 for Not Another B Movie.
Hard to believe Prince has been gone a year already. Last year was a tough one for '80s music fans, but the death of Prince seemed particularly hard to swallow. A few days after his death, the Stuck in the '80s gang gathered to remember his music, his life and his legacy. We recorded this podcast, which was bittersweet in all its little details. Remember, and enjoy.
Our Australian '80s friends and listeners are among our most passionate. So it came as no surprise that our Sydney correspondent David Featherston was on hand to see the recent reunion of Midnight Oil. Here's his review.
Midnight Oil is back and how! After officially breaking up in 2002 to allow singer Peter Garrett to pursue a political career, and a couple of one off reunions for benefit concerts, the Australian band (once described by Steve Spears and Sean Daly as a one hit wonder!) announced last year it was reforming for a world tour in 2017.
After teasing fans with a couple of small secret shows in March, the Oils played their first proper gig in a Sydney pub in the beachside suburb of Coogee. Tickets were allocated by way of a ballot, part of a plan to head off re-sellers that have been selling tickets at highly inflated prices. …
Most die-hard Prince and ‘80s fans know that a reissue of Prince’s Purple Rain album is coming June 9. But the list of tunes to be included on the 3-disc set has been top secret. Until now.
Variety.com says a source named “The Violet Reality” has leaked the tracklist, and that others close to the record company have confirmed its “general accuracy.”
What can fans expect? The first disc is expected to be the original Purple Rain album - songs from the 1984 movie. The second disc will have edited versions of many of those tunes, along with Erotic City, Another Lonely Christmas, 17 Days and God.
The third disc is full of tunes largely not from the movie at all, with the exception of Computer Blue. One addition from the movie, however, is Father’s Song, the score that Prince’s onscreen father writes (but which was actually composed by Prince and his real father).
Click here for all the details on the tracklist. June 9 can’t come soon enough!
When No Way Out hit theaters in 1987, I remembered being dazzled. Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young and Will Patton star in a thriller so complex and heart-thumping, it must be a creation of the brightest minds working in Hollywood in the ‘80s.
Alas, No Way Out is actually a remake of a 1948 movie called The Big Clock. In fact both movies are based on Kenneth Fearing’s 1946 novel called The Big Clock. The movie version starred Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Elsa Lanchester, Charles Laughton and Harry Morgan.
Sure, there are some notable differences. No Way Out takes place in the Pentagon, where the Secretary of Defense (Hackman) tries to cover up the accidental death of his mistress (Young) by assigning the murder case to a young officer (Costner), who also was having an affair with her.
In The Big Clock, substitute the Pentagon with a giant publishing company. Laughton takes over Hackman’s role as the cruel boss with the mistress (Johnson). And Milland takes over for Costner as the man caught in the middle.
Both stories are told in flashback, though maybe not quite as obviously so in No Way Out. Of the two films, the 1948 one is closer the book’s story. …
Our podcast series on the Best Movie Villains of the '80s has finally crowned a champion. Who was it? You'll have to listen to find out.
Also, stay tuned later in the show for the latest episode of "I Want My Mystery TV Theme Song," by far the longest name for a seggie in podcasting history. See if you can figure out this week's ever-so-elusive TV theme song.
The very first teaser/trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was finally released today at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. Much like the first trailer for 2015's The Force Awakens, it's definitely on the thin side.
The footage confirms the theory that Luke Skywalker will train Rey as a Jedi with Kylo Ren still on his quest to eliminate the peacekeepers from the galaxy.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is due in theaters on Dec. 15, 2017.
Remember the chills you got when you at the local cineplex back in the early '80s and the trailer for Return of the Jedi came on? Now watch it again. Try not to snicker. (Actually it's not half-bad considering the trailers of the day.)
While the world goes ga-ga this weekend over the new teaser/trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it just feels like a good time to give a tip of the cat to the last truly great Star Wars flick. (And let's face it: It's still not half as good as The Empire Strikes Back.)
Have you heard about '80s in the Sand yet? It's a 7-day vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, that is designed for '80s fans. Among the artists performing: Loverboy, Berlin, Howard Jones, Night Ranger and Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins.
In 2014, Tom joined the Stuck in the '80s podcast for a chat about his career and his unexpected comeback. Since then, he's been dazzling audiences with his performances of Thompson Twins classics. He'll be wowing the crowd at '80s in the Sand for sure. Listen to that special podcast in the above media player.
There are a ton more music acts planned for the week, along with appearances by actors Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Deborah Foreman and many more.
Stuck in the '80s will be there to host all the trivia competitions. We’re happy to offer special discounted rates for our friends for 80s IN THE SAND. Save $150 per person when using SIT80S1 to book “Allure” rooms and $250 per person when using SIT80S2 for “Xhale” rooms. Spearsy will be there to host trivia sessions. Email us if you need more info or go to the official website.
The '80s generation has lost another hero: The guitarist known as J. Geils has been found dead in his Massachusetts home at age 71, according to media reports.
The founder of the J. Geils Band was born John Warren Geils Jr. He formed the band that would become chart-toppers in the '80s with tunes like Centerfold, Love Stinks and Freeze Frame.
The cause of death remains unknown at this time, according to reports. He was found in his Groton, Mass., home, where he had lived for 35 years.
The band, which released its debut album in 1970 as the J. Geils Blues Band, broke up in 1985 after huge success in the charts and on MTV. After the breakup, Geils pursued an interest in auto racing. The band has reunited from time to time for short bursts of touring. They have been a finalist twice for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including being nominated in 2016.
Relive the '80s music, movies and culture with Tampa Bay Times correspondent Steve Spears. A teen during the greatest decade ever, Steve is obsessed with everything from Duran Duran to Journey, John Hughes to John Cusack, and parachute pants to big hair.