Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

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Star Trek or Police Academy?

November 30, 2010

Whiny haters blame the lens flares, but real expert types are critical of the non-plot and derivative storyline found in 2009’s Star Trek movie reboot. I have been defending this movie for almost two years, telling everyone who will listen that it was a smart, engaging exploration of the key elements of the original Trek, blended into a 21st-century sensibility, or something like that.

And then I saw Police Academy again.

I’m a sucker for these discount Walmart three-pack and four-pack DVD sets. For less than the price of a couple of rentals, I can augment my movie collection with … leftover pan-and-scanners from the back of the warehouse, packed in flimsy cardboard sleeves and labelled “widescreen” because they, uh, will play on a widescreen TV. Recently, I have acquired four-packs of Jackie Chan, Vacation, Hannibal Lecter, Bruce Willis (that one was a bad idea) and, today, the first four Police Academy movies.

The first Police Academy movie was a huge hit. I remember seeing it in the theatre when it came out, and liking it, but I also hadn’t figured out girls yet, and was also probably wearing Jordaches. And I know I saw the second one at some point, and probably the third. None of the others, and there are, I think, 29 sequels. Some of them were so bad Steve Guttenberg refused to take part.

Watching the first one tonight — shot at Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital in Toronto, which is where my great-aunt Charlotte Ramsbottom lived out her years, and is also within walking distance of the Hurdle Hut, two things that may or may not be connected— I was struck by its similarities to J.J. Abrams’s Trek movie. Here, check this out:

Hero

  • Star Trek: James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), a young rogue, smarter than he lets on, who is gliding along through life, getting into trouble. Often shirtless, he’s glib with the ladies, confident among his fellow man and shows a remarkable talent for leadership even when he’s the low man on the totem pole. He worries that he can’t live up to the heroic legacy of his father.
  • Police Academy: Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), a young rogue, smarter than he lets on, who is gliding along through life, getting into trouble. Often shirtless, he’s glib with the ladies, confident among his fellow man and shows a remarkable talent for leadership even when he’s the low man on the totem pole. He worries that someday people will say “He made that alien movie with Wilford Brimley.”

Mentor

  • Star Trek: Captain Pike, who sees something in young Kirk and loads hero worship and legacy on him to talk him into joining the academy, hoping he will live up to his legacy.
  • Police Academy: Captain Reed, who sees something in young Mahoney and threatens, extorts and blackmails him into joining the academy, hoping he will fail and go to prison, because that makes sense, that you would offer a career criminal a shot at becoming a police officer. Wait, that explains so much about the ’80s.

Sidekick

  • Star Trek: Dr. McCoy, who sits down beside Kirk and makes about-to-barf sounds.
  • Police Academy: Dr. Monsignor Larvell Jones, who sits down beside Mahoney and makes every other sound known to man.

Alien

  • Star Trek: A Vulcan named Spock who is attempting to understand humanity.
  • Police Academy: Bubba Smith.

Villain

  • Star Trek: Nero, a Romulan with a vaguely explained hate-on for the rest of the universe.
  • Police Academy: Harris, a policeman with a vaguely explained hate-on for the rest of the universe, and also horses.

Kim Cattrall

  • Star Trek: Apparently Kim Cattrall posed for nude photos on the bridge during the filming of Star Trek VI, and thus was never allowed to play a Vulcan again, even though she was originally supposed to be Saavik, I think.
  • Police Academy: Kim Cattrall wears a police uniform in this movie. With handcuffs.
  • Sex and the City: Kim Cattrall is in this, and I have to go watch, so give me a minute, okay?

Bar Scene

  • Star Trek: A jumpin’ joint populated by people in uniform and strange alien creatures.
  • Police Academy: A jumpin’ joint populated by people in uniform and strange leathery creatures named Butch, Thor, Spear and Chopper.

Crisis

  • Star Trek: Bad guys are running wild over Vulcan, and Starfleet needs all the help it can get, so cadets are ordered to suit up and deploy. They roar in to save the day.
  • Police Academy: Bad guys are running wild all over town, and the force needs all the help it can get, so cadets are ordered to suit up and deploy. They roar in to save the day, except two of them lose their pistols before some general played-for-laughs sodomy.

Twist

  • Star Trek: Kirk is kicked out for being a mouthy wiseass, but sneaks back onto the ship in order to take part in the mission.
  • Police Academy: Mahoney is kicked out for being a mouthy wiseass, but sneaks back onto the bus in order to take part in the mission, and also to touch Kim Cattrall on the bumbum.

Ending

  • Star Trek: The head of the academy gives Kirk a medal and makes him an officer, despite his abject failure during training.
  • Police Academy: The head of the academy gives Mahoney a medal and makes him an officer, despite his abject failure during training. Also, Chewbacca gets one, too.

Legacy

  • Star Trek: TV series, movie sequels, comics, animated shows, action figures and an increased desire to explore space.
  • Police Academy: TV series, movie sequels, comics,animated shows, action figures and an increased desire to come up with a reason to justify having watched it again, like maybe a blog post.
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Best Ensemble Cast Of All Time: Back To School

June 29, 2010

Don’t you laugh, now. I’m going to tell you about  the actors who made this Rodney Dangerfield vehicle in 1986, and when I’m done, you’ll say “holy moley.”

This is a cheap ass-and-insults comedy about an aging retail tycoon (Dangerfield) who decides to complete his college education while well into his seventies (Dangerfield appears to think he’s playing a guy in his forties, but You Can Tell.)

This movie came at a pivotal moment in Hollywood. This was the year that the world of entertainment changed — movies got smarter, rock got harder, hair got bigger and I saw my first stripper. And for some reason, the cast of this movie turned out to be the most diverse, yet accomplished, actors on the planet. Consider:

  • Rodney Dangerfield: Okay, don’t.
  • Keith Gordon: This guy played Arnie in the fantastic John Carpenter riff on Stephen King’s Christine, and then he played in this movie, and now he tells people he isn’t me, we just have similar names. That’s too bad. His performance in Christine showed he had range, and this movie showed he could accept a paycheck for sex jokes.

  • M. Emmet Walsh: He’s a “Oh, that guy” actor with the best name to say out loud. I’ve said out loud today, while typing, which would be creepy if I were at the office but is okay since I’m in the basement.
  • Paxton Whitehead: This guy’s name makes you think he’s a really important and distinguished actor, and that’s the joke of it.
  • Terry Farrell: Jadzia Dax plays the campus hottie. Oh yes, she does.
  • Robert Picardo: You will think this is a Star Trek thing, but it isn’t. Robert Picardo has been in pretty much everything ever made. You just have to look closely.
  • Adrienne Barbeau: If you don’t nod when you read that name, you’re too young to be here.
  • Ned Beatty: Otis himself, Squeal Like A Piggie himself, plays Dean Martin. As in, the dean of students. It’s funnier in context, and so is Ned.
  • Burt Young: If you don’t nod when you read that name, you’re too young to be here, and also not Italian enough.
  • Sally Kellerman: If you don’t nod when … hey, it’s Sally Kellerman, and I shouldn’t have to explain.

  • Robert Downey Jr.: He’s playing the same guy he played in Weird Science, complete with big-shouldered blazer, tall hair and a smirk. He still has all those things, but now the shoulders are made of iron and shoot little rockets at bad guys.
  • Sam Kinison: Oh, I miss this guy. This is the movie that made him famous, and opened the door for a whole generation of rage comics and angry bloggers. Fuck angry bloggers! I hate those fuckers.
  • William Zabka: I hate this guy, too.
  • Edie McClurg: You know who this is, and you love her. You probably had her picture in your locker. I know I did.
  • Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: Seriously. This is a Rodney Dangerfield campus comedy with boobs, featuring Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Like I said: Best Ensemble Cast Of All Time. A warning, though … there is poetry in this film.

“How about tomorrow night?”

“I have class then, too.”

“Why don’t you call me sometime when you have no class?”

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Bad Ideas In Television: Apple’s Way

April 16, 2010

I barely remember this. If you do, I’m sorry. It’s a weird combination of Little House on the Prairie, Eight Is Enough and the Waltons, complete with waving Dad in the window. Notable points: Gave the world Kristy McNichol, and helped Ronny Cox work his way toward being Capt. Jellicoe and whatever else he did.

This was a short-lived series about a Los Angeles dad sick of the city who moves his family back to Iowa. Their last name is Apple, and the town is Appleton, because the Apples founded it, or something. There might have been actual apples.

I remember this show mostly because there was a kid in my class at the time who had the same first and last name as one of the characters. Years later, his mother called and asked if I would be available to babysit him, and when I told her it would be strange, as we were the same age, she said “Yes, but you can be left alone in the house.” I said no.

My favourite part of this opening — actually, one of my favourite bad TV moments of all time — is the big blonde hunk actually churning butter for the corn. Part of me thinks that looks like the Admiral during his Rocky Horror days, and part of me wants to call the Manly Tips writer over to smack me one for thinking that. Of all the things to do to “get back to the land,” which is what this stupid show was about, churning butter? Go chop some wood, bud.

I wonder: Has Steve Jobs bought the rights to this? Because a modern remake might be a lot of fun. You know, a bunch of aging nerds and hippies escape “the rat race” in Cupertino and move to Iowa to try to revive the NeXT using iPad technology in order to make a reader you can take in the tub.

Hey, that might work. And if it does, I wanna play Woz.

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Brian Bonsall Goes Full Klingon

December 8, 2009

That, folks, is cute little Brian Bonsall, the child actor who played Andy Keaton, the youngest son on Family Ties before taking on the role of Alexander, Worf’s quarter-human nerd son, on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Bonsall, now 28, was arrested and charged with assault in Colorado after nailing a buddy with a broken barstool. The two of them were going at it pretty fierce in a Boulder apartment, police say, and Bonsall decided to get Nausicaan on his friend.

This is not a surprise, really; child actors are notorious for running into trouble with the law in their later years. Bonsall, in fact, has been arrested before. What makes this one different is Bonsall’s current look.

He has, apparently, gone Full Klingon. Spikes in his lips, tattoos on his neck … wait, that’s a butterfly. Okay, so he’s not quite Full Klingon. No Klingon would add butterflies to his look. It is without honour.

On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Alexander’s wimpiness was a constant source of prune-juicing anxiety for his father, Worf. Worf was a Klingon, but was raised by humans and wound up in Starfleet with a ponytail, so he struggled with identity issues. When Alexander turned up — Worf knocked up his half-human half-Klingon girlfriend and was surprised a few months later when a six-year-old kid arrived — Dad had to try to teach the kid how to be a fierce, scary Klingon warrior. He even dressed them up like cowboys once and took him to the Old West, and wore chaps.

Worf’s problem, of course, is that he wasn’t much of a warrior himself, despite what Captain Picard would later tell him in the movie First Contact. This lack of parental weapons training led to Alexander rejecting the Klingon lifestyle and becoming a poet and moving to that planet where everyone wore diapers made of bedsheets and Wesley went on trial for stepping on a flower. I might be remembering that wrong.

Alexander never did become Full Klingon. But it’s clear that the lessons Worf tried to instill in Alexander rubbed off on the young actor under the latex forehead. Brian Bonsall grew up, left acting, and has embraced the Klingon warrior lifestyle. You can’t call yourself a Klingon if you’ve never bounced a barstool off your buddy’s skull, right?

I’m still not sure about the butterfly tattoo. I guess there’s still a little Alexander in him after all.

  • Note: Strangely, the mainstream media is identifying Bonsall as a former Family Ties actor, with little mention of Star Trek. Anyway, thanks to my good buddy El Diablito for the heads up on this one.
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Zombie Chris Pine

November 23, 2009

If J.J. Abrams had decided to pull an even harder reboot on Star Trek, he could have gone the oh-so-trendy zombie route and decided to make the new Captain Kirk a zombie. This would have made for a very different film, of course. In the scene where Spock (Zachary Quinto) tries to throttle him, Kirk’s head would have just fallen off. And all those shots of Kirk running around the shiny Enterprise would have been much longer. In fact, I think the entire two hours, six minutes of the movie would have been taken up with the zombie version of Cadet Fat-Hands shuffling from sickbay to the bridge to tell Captain Pike about “Brainsssssss …”

J.J. could have made Spock a werewolf, too, but that would have just been stupid.

You know what else is stupid? The way people land here at the Weather Station. Here are some real search engine terms used to find this site:

  1. topless weather
  2. shirley jones topless
  3. small penis
  4. heman tiger name
  5. naughty teachers
  6. korean wife
  7. what to do if you call you boss a moron
  8. spirit gum santa beard stay on
  9. pictures of famous actors and their siblings
  10. moron porn

(It is not lost on me that I’m just as stupid; I wrote the posts featuring those topics (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) in the first place.)

I also find it bothersome that there are posts on this site that took me a day to compose, and they’ve attracted a measly few dozen hits, but the one about the Killer Power Ranger has readership in the five figures, because of the nature of net search, and because people want trendy scandals and that kind of bullshit. I am, believe it or not, a serious writer, and a professional journalist, and I do put a lot of work into some of these posts. Others I just toss off on a whim, and those seem to be the ones people like.

If you’ve read this far because you want to know more about Zombie Chris Pine, sorry. I just did that to test a theory. If I’d called this Weird Search Terms or Weathereye Whines About His Readers, nobody would have found it. But I know from some friends that people are suckers for zombies, so I kind of tricked you.

 

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Where No Liar Has Gone Before

October 7, 2009

What’s this? You’ll have to click here to find out.

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Simply Syndicated Grows Again

October 1, 2009

Regular visitors to this spot know how big a deal Simply Syndicated is to me. The British podcasting network has kept me entertained, amused and informed for years, and when Starbase 66 joined the network earlier this year I was like a little kid the morning of his birthday. It has been very cool to have been a part of this diverse, vibrant community for so long. I made some fantastic imaginary friends, and came out of a pretty thick shell. It has made me a better person, I’d say.

Case in point: I no longer hate the English.

When you think about it, I have every reason to. I’m Irish, Scottish, African and North American Indian. Not one of those branches of my family ever got a fair shake from the English. And as everyone knows, Irish Scottish African Indians can carry a grudge a long, long time.

But through Simply Syndicated, I came to realize that the crimes of their ancestors are no reason to distrust or dislike today’s English, many of whom are cool and geeky like me, and some of whom can cook really good food, despite what you may have heard.

Anyway, Simply Syndicated added three new programs this week. Two of them are, like Starbase 66, existing shows joining the network. These are shows I have enjoyed for a long time (and cross-pollinated with in our loose federation), so this is welcome news that has been a long time coming. They are:

  • Here Goes Nothing: A British show about nothing, but not in the ironic Seinfeld sense. It’s actually about nothing. Boz and Dave kept things humming for the better part of a year until our old pal Casey joined the fun, and now it’s better than ever. It’s a talk show about whatever’s up that week, with beer reviews and occasional ninja battles.
  • Nerd Hurdles: This Canadian show is a favourite of mine. Jakob and Mandi explore the “geek factor” that may hold us back from enjoying certain things, like superheroes, robots, Twilight or Star Trek. It’s always a fun, goofy yet extremely intelligent and observant romp with two hosts who share a rare and special dynamic. Listen for the creepy manservant …

These new shows will be joined by something we’ve been hearing about for a while. Simply Syndicated guru Richard Smith is finally launching his tech show; Tech Support Rich is on its way. Gee, I didn’t know he likes to talk about gadgets and computers and stuff

Also new is Simply Read, an online magazine that will feature articles for and by the listeners and show producers. I plan to launch a new weekly column called Naughty Trek Limericks. You know you love it.

  • Simply Syndicated has a thriving fan base, with busy forums, a chat room, live shows, T-shirts, you name it. Pay it a visit. Links to the other things I’ve talked about are lower on this page.