Looking for feedback on my blog

I’ve had my blog going for a little over a month now, and I would be interested in feedback from my readers.

1. What do you think about the length of posts in the Movies We Still Care About series? 1986 A-M was 1250 words and 10 embedded videos. 1986 N-Z was 825 words and 6 videos. Which length do you prefer? In general, do you wish posts were longer, shorter, or about the same? (That’s actually two separate questions, now that I think about it.  Do you want me to write more or less about each year, and do you want each year broken up into more or less individual posts?)

2. How do you visit the blog? Checking the site periodically, an RSS feed, through my Facebook automatic links, or some other means?

3. Do you have a preference for what time posts should appear? I usually write the MWSCA posts ahead of time and schedule them for the next morning, so I can easily start scheduling them for a specific time if my readers prefer it.

4. Do you have any suggestions for improving the layout and formatting? I’m not very happy with these, but I’m not sure how to improve them. Note that complaints like “The layout is stupid, it’s hard to find old posts, and you should choose a different layout” are less helpful than suggestions like “Switch to the XXXX layout” or “You should add an navigation bar, which is an option that you can find in such and such a WordPress menu.” Even if you don’t know enough about WordPress to tell me *how* to make an improvement, suggesting specific improvements to make would be more helpful than vague complaints.

5. Are there any other suggestions or opportunities for improvement that you would like to bring up?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond to this.


Star Wars Episode VII

Ever since Star Wars Episode VII was announced, I was insisting it would be a terrible idea to bring back Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher.

Han and Leia are supposed to be swashbuckling sexy ass-kickers.  Seeing a grizzled and tired Han ravaged by age, or an old and fat Leia, completely undermines the point of the characters.  We want to dream of being like them, traveling the galaxy punching bad guys and having awesome sexy adventures.

That’s almost as terrible an idea as a movie featuring an old and decrepit Indiana Jones, which I still like to pretend never happened.

Even as various fan rumor sites were reporting that Ford and Fisher were in the cast, I clung to hope since there hadn’t been any official announcement.  I wanted the production team to be more sensible than the rabid fans.

But the official announcement just came, and Ford and Fisher are indeed in the cast.  Which is highly disappointing.

I didn’t have huge hopes for Episode VII.  It seemed incredibly unlikely that it would live up to the original series, and questionable whether it would even match the extremely low bar of the prequels.  But this latest news is making me reduce my already diminished expectations.

(They also announced that Mark Hamill is in the cast, but I don’t mind the idea of old Luke.  Luke’s journey was going from immature punk kid to wise Jedi master, so seeing him old and passing his knowledge on to a new generation is a fulfillment of the promise of his character, rather than a betrayal.)

Movies We Still Care About – 1985 – Part 2 (N-Z)

(For an explanation of this, read the Introduction.  Other posts in this series can be found here.)

Movies We Still Care About

  • Back to the Future
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Fletch
  • The Goonies
  • Ran
  • Rocky IV
  • Teen Wolf
  • Weird Science
  • Witness

Other Notable Movies

  • Brazil
  • Clue
  • Commando
  • Gymkata
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II
  • Real Genius
  • Young Sherlock Holmes

Best Picture Nominees:

  • Out of Africa (Winner)
  • The Color Purple
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • Prizzi’s Honor
  • Witness

Top Grossing Films (US)

  1. Back to the Future
  2. Rambo: First Blood Part II
  3. Rocky IV
  4. The Color Purple
  5. Out of Africa
  6. Cocoon
  7. The Jewel of the Nile
  8. Witness
  9. The Goonies
  10. Spies Like Us

Rotten Tomatoes Top Movies

  1. Ran (97%)
  2. Back to the Future (96%)
  3. Brazil (96%0
  4. Re-Animator (93%)
  5. The Breakfast Club (91%)

Movies We Still Care About


Ran is Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of King Lear set in feudal Japan.  While most Kurosawa films tend to be too slow for modern western audiences, Ran is full of stunning visuals and epic battles that are sure to hold an audience’s attention.  The trailer gives a pretty good sense of the scope of the battles and the beauty of the cinematography.


Rocky IV

This is the true story of how Sylvester Stallone won the cold war by punching a Communist.

Okay, maybe it’s not entirely a true story.  But it came at the turning point of the Cold War, right when it seemed like the Soviets were achieving dominance, and just before things in Russia started to collapse.  Coming when it did, and featuring a scrappy American underdog overcoming the dominant Russian through sheer pluck, it really fell into a place of cultural significance.  One thing to note in the montage I posted above is the contrast between Drago’s training, which is all high tech, and Rocky’s training, which is all primitive.  That tied into the American self-image of the time – Rugged individualist cowboys against an industrial machine.

Teen Wolf

Teen Wolf is a wish fulfillment fantasy, where the unpopular loser suddenly acquires magic abilities that make him powerful, cool, and the envy of everyone who previously looked down on him.  Thus it can be a reflection of the hidden desire of every teenager who feels like an outcast.  (Which as I mentioned in my write-up of The Breakfast Club, is most teenagers.)

(It’s also an obvious metaphor for puberty, but I won’t get into that.)

Follow up question: Is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck a teen wolf?

Other Fond Memories

(These are movies that fit the category of “Movies We Still Care About,” but for which I personally can’t think of anything interesting to say. Please don’t take a movie’s inclusion in this category as any sort of criticism.  You are encouraged to voice your thoughts on these films in the comments section.)

  • Weird Science
  • Witness

Other Notable Films

Rambo: First Blood Part II

As I mentioned in the 1982 entry, all the iconography of Rambo comes from Rambo 2, rather than First Blood.  When you picture Rambo, this is what you’re imagining.  Shirtless Sly Stallone, with the headband, killing villages full of bad guys with exploding arrows.  You know, this:


Real Genius

As I mentioned in the 1984 entry, Real Genius tackles some of the same subject matter as Revenge of the Nerds, but with an air of affection rather than mean-spiritedness.  Real Genius made being a nerd seem fun, and inspired a generation of kids to embrace their intelligence and weirdness rather than be ashamed of it.


Young Sherlock Holmes

Chris Columbus exploded on the scene as a screenwriter in 1984 and 1985, with Gremlins, The Goonies, and Young Sherlock Holmes.  He then switched to directing and more or less gave up wriitng, which is a shame considering how brilliant his first three films were.

Young Sherlock Holmes is probably the least remembered of those three, but is still highly entertaining.  I think where it runs into trouble with audiences is in how different it is from the original Conan Doyle stories.  Fans of the original were turned off by the liberties taken, while people who weren’t into the literature didn’t have interest in seeing it in the first place.

But if you ignore the Holmes connection and just think of it as two Edwardian teenagers getting wrapped up in a crazy mystery and adventure, it’s a lot of fun. (For the record, I’m a fan of the original stories, and I don’t mind how different Young Sherlock Holmes is, because all of the changes are in service of making an excellent movie.)

And it’s also interesting for its pioneering use of CGI.  (And since the CGI was supposed to be people’s hallucinations, it made sense in the film that it was so crappy looking.)

– – – – –

Do you disagree with any of these choices, or think that I missed something?  Leave a comment below.