The worst movie of the '80s was released this week 30 years ago. Say it with me. Gymkata!
Released May 3, 1985, Gymkata starred Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas (remember back when he was a household name?) as a … yep, an Olympic gymnast who combined gymnastics and martial arts to compete in an until-death competition in the fictional country of Veal Parmisan. (Actually, the country was called Parmistan, but you can understand the confusion.)
The movie was the beginning and end of Thomas' acting career; he wouldn't star in a movie again (and in fact, only had two roles following Gymkata). The film maintains a bit of a cult movie status today (and yes, I ranked it as the No. 1 worst movie of the '80s a few years ago).
Critics had some fun with their reviews. Of Gymkata, Allmovie.com wrote: "The dialogue is full of howlers, the acting ranges from wooden to hammy, and the central concept of a gymnastics/karate fusion is played out in a rather silly manner. … That said, any B-movie fan who can get past the film's inherent goofiness will find it very entertaining in a campy sort of way." …
One of the great benefits of remaining Stuck In The ‘80s is finding out that some of the great bands of the ‘80s are still putting out new music. In 2015, after a nine-year absence, Toto has released Toto XIV and after careful inspection, the verdict is in that Toto XIV is a wonderful album that might remind you of ‘80s Toto and lost songs like Holyanna.
Holyanna, which peaked at No. 71 in 1985, is a song about a Catholic school girl who sneaks out at night yearning for the danger and excitement of the big city. The video remains faithful to the lyrics as we follow actress Alice Adair from the dark alleys to her triumphant Mentos/Mary Tyler Moore moment at the end of Holyanna. You might recognize Adair from her supporting role in Beverly Hills Cop 2. Several years after this video, Adair married Josh Brolin and together they had two sons before divorcing in 1992. Her father-in-law, James Brolin, was married to Jan Smithers at the time, making Bailey of WKRP in Cincinnati her sorta mother-in-law. …
Kraftwerk, the pioneering electronica band formed in the '70s in Germany, has announced a rare tour of North America. It's only 12 dates, but the lads from Düsseldorf were nice enough to scatter those dates all around, including one stop in Florida (Sept. 29 in Miami).
The wings of Kraftwerk spread as far as you can imagine. Bands and artists that cite Kraftwerk as an influence include: Ultravox, OMD, Depeche Mode, Human League, David Bowie, George Clinton, Bjork and Daft Punk.
Pitchfork.com reported the tour, because God knows you'll never get much help from the official Kraftwerk.com website. Here they are.
KRAFTWERK 2015 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES:
09-16 Edmonton, Alberta - Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium 09-17 Calgary, Alberta - Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium 09-19 Portland, OR - Keller Auditorium 09-23 Denver, CO - Ellie Caulkins Opera House 09-25 Austin, TX - Bass Concert Hall 09-27 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium 09-29 Miami, FL - Olympia Theater at Gusman Center 10-02 Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory 10-03 Boston, MA - Wang Theatre 10-05 Detroit, MI - Masonic Temple Theatre 10-07 Minneapolis, MN - Northrop 10-09 Kansas City, MO - Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland …
It's Friday, so it's time for more Friday Free Ride ‘80s driving music with Box of Frogs and the forgotten Back Where I Started.
In 1992, the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inducted The Yardbirds for their contributions in the ‘60s. Box of Frogs was formed by three members of The Yardbirds, but since there names are not Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck, most would not recognize their names on the same plaque as those other three mega-famous guitarists in The Yardbirds.
In 1984, Box of Frogs got plenty of play on album rock stations with the pounding Back Where I Started that does feature Jeff Beck on guitar - even though he wasn't an official ‘frog." Though the bass beat is a little derivative of Canned Heat's On The Road Again, the songs is a sweet choice ride just like the English TVR sports car featured in the video. Box of Frogs put out two albums in the ‘80s before croaking.
Unless you live in California and other parts of the drought-ridden Southwest, the rain has been plentiful in April and spring is looking gorgeous You know the saying that April showers bring May flowers, but here on the SIT80's blog we say that the April rains bring June Brides.
June Brides was a band that found some fame in their native U.K. with singles and songs that appeared on their record company's (The Pink Label) compilation albums. One of their winners was 1984's In The Rain with their home video showcasing hi-jinks and shenanigans by the June Brides.
Even though they lasted only four years and released one full length LP, there was enough singles-only releases and U.K. Indie love for June Brides that in 2006 a tribute album Still Ravished was released featuring artists like Manic Street Preachers covering their catalog.
Jack The Ripper in the ‘80s? Before you can say, "You're a naughty one, Saucy Jack," it's time to remember the infamous murderer of 1800's England with Raybeats' Jack the Ripper.
Jack The Ripper is ‘80s fodder - well 1880's fodder - as whether it was a ridiculous reference in Spinal Tap or watching the 1979 movie Time After Time on cable with David Warner playing a time traveling Jack the Ripper. Not to be forgotten is the surf rock band Raybeats found some airplay on MTV and Night Flight in 1983 with the video for Jack the Ripper.
The Raybeats' cover of Jack the Ripper is a remake of the 1963 minor instrumental hit for Link Wray, who was named as one of the Top 100 rock guitarists by Rolling Stone. The video was compiled by the same directors of the 1982 documentary The Atomic Café that features archival footage of war propaganda films. Even though they sound totally Californian, the Raybeats were from New York City and lasted for a few albums before dissolving in 1984. …
Can SIT80's Nation hold their liquor? (Editor's note: Yes.) Hopefully you can, as today we feature Steve Winwood and a big bottle of Night Train.
For those of us who are lightweights in the hard drink arena, the term Night Train might conjure up the Guns N Roses song Nightrain (yes GNR spells it incorrectly) or maybe the forgotten single by Steve Winwood Night Train. Connoisseurs of alcohol will know that flavored fortified wines go by names such as Thunderbird, Ripple (or Fred Sanford's concoction "Champipple" - ripple and ginger ale) and today's bum wine of choice - Night Train. …
There are great movies of the '80s and '80s movies that are great. And then there are some we still love for some other reason. That includes Just One of the Guys, which turns 30 years old this week. Just One of the Guys, released April 26, 1985, was somewhat of a modern spin on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It starred Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith, a high school journalism student who is dismayed that teachers are encouraging her to pursue a career in modeling rather than journalism. (You should have listened, Terry! You'd have been much better off!) When she isn't chosen to be an intern at the big-city paper, she decides to enroll at a rival high school as a boy -- it helps to have the name Terry -- and compete for the internship on "equal terms" with the male competition.
Just One of the Guys probably benefits most from two things: Karate Kid's Billy Zabka plays another bully here, equally menacing but with a comic touch, and a memorable scene at the prom where Terry reveals she's really a girl by flashing her breasts to a guy she's fallen in love with. Okay, maybe more the second reason than the first.
"The film actually operates on so many different levels and deals with so many teenage issues from homophobia to the pressure that is put on kids to conform to a certain ideal, that it always surprised me that at the time of its release it was not really judged for the sum of all its parts," she said. "I always did get a good laugh over one criticism that I saw repeatedly, and that was that I was not really 'believable as a guy.'" Really? Are you kidding? I WASN'T a guy."
And as far as the breast scene?
"I had a NO nudity clause in my contract and I was quite adamant about not doing the reveal scene," Hyser told Old School. The scene was then shot both topless and more censored, leaving the actress to decide which version she'd approve. "Had I known then that one shot would end up on porn sites one day - there is not a chance in hell I would have ever done it. In the end I agreed to shoot it both ways if, and only if, the decision would be totally mine on which way we would go. After watching it both ways it was undeniable to me that this was in no way gratuitous and in fact it was essential to the unfolding of the story."
Critics were divided. The New York TimeswroteJust One of the Guys was "familiar but likable." The movie holds a 40 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
TOP 5 MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM JUST ONE OF THE GUYS
5. "Budster, there's a half-naked woman in your bedroom feeding pizza to some fish, and she's all yours."
4. "The male body needs sex at all times! It's a living hell!"
3. "Of course you're confused. You're wearing my underwear."
2. "All balls itch! It's a fact!"
1. "It's OK, everybody, it's all right. He has t--s."
If you wanted to rock out with a social conscience, you could take an imaginary line and rotate to Jon Butcher Axis and find deep answers with Life Takes A Life.
John Butcher and his band Axis was a tight rock trio from Boston that produced many solid rock anthems during the ‘80s including the song that first got them noticed on MTV - Life Takes A Life. A hit of the Mainstream Rock charts in 1983, the video for Life Takes A Life follows guitarist Jon Butcher, bassist Chris Martin and drummer Derek Blevins from childhood playground friends to gun standoff enemies as adults.
Many viewed Butcher as a Jimi Hendrix disciple since he was a black guitarist and his band was possibly named after the Hendrix classic album Axis - Bold As Love with songs about social issues, but Butcher always said the connections were coincidental. With his hard rock sound, Butcher did find himself as one of the few black musicians not named Michael Jackson to appear regularly on MTV during 1983, before they opened up their playlists in 1984. …
Yesterday we wrapped up our feature week on John Hiatt, so as an encore; let's bring in good friends of Hiatt - Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit with Half A Boy, Half A Man.
Nick Lowe kept steady in the ‘80s whether it was putting out his own records, producing or just lending a hand playing bass on albums like John Hiatt's Bring the Family and Riding With The King. The Cowboy Outfit consisted on Lowe, Paul Carrack on keyboards, Martin Belmont on guitar and Bobby Irwin on drums. The band was formed in 1983 as the touring band for John Hiatt in support of the Riding With The King album. After the tour ended, Hiatt stayed in the states and Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit went back to England and made an album of good-time rock-n-roll.
The video for Half A Boy, Half A Man finds the band down at the shore having an old-fashioned beach part complete with hula hoops, beach boys and muscle men. The 1984 song was a minor hit in the U.K. but did not chart in the U.S.
I hoped you enjoyed John Hiatt week and whether he has won you over or not, let's end it on a happy note with the joyous Thank You Girl and yet one more trip to visit the Cabazon Dinosaurs.
Before this week, John Hiatt had appeared once on Lost and Found back in 2013 with his epic Have A Little Faith In Me from the Bring the Family album.You can't talk about Hiatt without making 1987's Bring the Family the central part of the conversation as that was the album that changed his struggling career and life. …
Let's face it: When it came to dating in the '80s, none of us were any good at it. Well, I had a few friends at dear ole Countryside High School who were TOO good at it, but that's a story for another day. Buzzfeed has a hilarious item today about How to Be Popular With Boys, a dating guidebook for teenage girls written by Stacy Rubis back in 1984. (You can still buy a used copy on Amazon.com.)
Buzzfeed listed 29 truly mind-bending quotes from the book. I'm going to borrow my three favorite and then send you to Buzzfeed to read the rest.
"Boys get an ego boost from your awkwardness. It makes them feel more in control, more manly. And at the same time they get more protective toward shy, trembling you."
"Many boys think it’s sissylike to show affection. They think it’s uncool, feminine. And a boy will be darned if he’s going to act feminine. So he’ll ignore you. Or make crude jokes in your presence. Or flirt with your girl friends instead of you."
"Don’t take any chances when getting ready in the morning. Always put effort into looking good. Effort, plain effort, is often the only real difference between average and stunning girls."
Happy Earth Day. I apologize in advance for not sending a greeting card to everyone. I'm personally of the belief that if we cared about our planet more than just one day a year, it wouldn't be in the sorry shape it's in. Probably won't hurt either if we stopped electing public officials who refuse to say the words "global warming." Anyway, this isn't a political blog ... or is it? We'll let Duran Duran decide with this song.
Planet Earth, released in February 1981, was the first hit for Duran Duran. It reached No. 12 in the UK and was a bigger hit in Australia, where it climbed into the top 10.
Perhaps its best known for using the term "New Romantic" in the lyrics, as the band's nod toward the fledgling New Romantic movie that was just beginning to sweep the UK.
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.