“Blade Runner, 1982”

“Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.”

Blade Runner, 1982 (Harrison Ford), The Ladd Company

I knew I had to end my Vintage Cable Box series with, what I regard to be, one of the greatest movies ever made. Nothing can prepare you for Blade Runner after a couple of years of the standard cable television fare. Occasionally, you had the big-budget spectacles, fine examples of genre film-making, Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick, but Blade Runner was unique. I only vaguely remembered trailers and teasers running on broadcast television. I never saw a preview at the movies, nor did I even see the movie in theaters. Ridley Scott had made a name for himself as a first-notch filmmaker with The Duellists and Alien after paying his dues in production design and advertising. The script and story treatments for Blade Runner floated around for a couple of years while Scott was preparing an adaptation of Dune. The Dune project fell through (and would eventually be helmed by David Lynch), and Scott was eager to start working on Blade Runner, based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

The year is 2019, and the place is Los Angeles. Our world in 2019 is a dystopian nightmare. Constant sheets of acid rain have destroyed the already-dilapidated metropolis and most humans have taken to life in “off-world colonies” (“The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity,” the advertisements proclaim). Replicants, initially considered a form of android but then ret-conned in 2017’s Blade Runner 2049 as “manufactured humans” have become a dangerous liability when confronted with their slave status and the built-in obsolescence of a four year life span. In an effort to control these replicants, developer Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel) implants memories in them, but this backfires when they inevitably crave life more than the humans who built them. Errant replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) leads a bunch of them to jump ship and return to Earth to meet their maker. Enter Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a replicant killer more commonly known as a “Blade Runner.”

Deckard is tasked with interviewing a beautiful woman, Tyrell’s assistant, named Rachael (Sean Young) who may or may not be a replicant. It seems Tyrell’s task is to either deceive authorities as to the identity of his replicants, or perhaps make his replicants believe they are human. It takes a while for Deckard to come to the conclusion that Rachael doesn’t know she’s a replicant. She saves his life when another replicant, the sub-intelligent Leon (Brion James) tries to kill him. He takes her back to his apartment and promises to keep her secret. Tyrell tells him she has no shut-off date; that she is, in effect, unique. Deckard retires the remaining replicants, but Batty proves to be a challenge. He taunts Deckard and leads him on a merry chase through the Bradbury Building. While Deckard is intent on finishing the job, Batty is fighting for his life, even as he knows his time is limited. Batty is incensed that Deckard has mercilessly killed his friends, and he tortures him for it. Ultimately, he spares Deckard’s life and perhaps Deckard has re-discovered his humanity.

Blade Runner was unfairly maligned by critics upon release in 1982, but over the years, the movie has attained an enormous cult following, culminating in the release of Blade Runner 2049 last year. In 1992, a “director’s cut” was released which removed the original film’s narration (considered by Scott to be tedious) and introduced a scene where Deckard dreams of a unicorn, making the reveal at the end of the movie (Deckard discovers a small origami unicorn in his hallway) ambiguous about Deckard’s humanity. Personally, I do not believe Deckard to be a replicant because, for me, it would make the ending of the movie and Batty’s sacrifice less meaningful. I would rather Deckard learn the lesson of his humanity, rather than believe him to be an amnesiac android. Blade Runner 2049 continues along this line of reasoning; perhaps what we value as humans is our capacity for understanding the gift of memory, and when our memories are manufactured, we will retain less of that value. Everything about this movie is perfect.

That about wraps it up for Vintage Cable Box. Again, I want to thank my readers. It’s been so much fun going back and revisiting and re-living these movies and that crazy time period, that time-line of what I saw and experienced and how it shaped me. Blade Runner just might be the most influential movie of the last 40 years, and it played constantly on cable television back in those days. Blade Runner 2049 manages to successfully evoke all of the best qualities about the original movie (and even improve upon certain aspects), which surprises me. Before I sign off, I have to thank a few people. Mark Jeacoma hosted these articles on his VHS Rewind! page. Andrew La Ganke suggested some great movies and found me a couple of hard-to-find titles. Geno Cuddy suggested Metropolis and provided a copy of the movie for me. Tony Verruso from the Vintage HBO Guides on Facebook was a staunch ally in dark times. Thanks for reading.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month. Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.

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BLADE RUNNER 2049 FULL REVIEW WITH SPOILERS!

David and David discuss Blade Runner 2049 and the original Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford.

Hosted by DAVID B. ANDERSON and DAVID LAWLER
Written by DAVID B. ANDERSON and DAVID LAWLER
Produced by DAVID LAWLER
Edited by DAVID LAWLER

WATCHED by Alex Saltz

IN YOUR ARMS by Nicolai Heidlas Music https://soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0
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PETER AND THE WOLF by Sergei Prokofiev

MAIN TITLES by Vangelis
© Warner Music UK, Ltd. A Warner Music Group

© Frequent Wire, David Lawler and David B. Anderson copyright 2018 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Anderson, David Lawler and selected guests each episode. This podcast, “David & David & Gene & Roger: A Siskel & Ebert Podcast” is not affiliated with Tribune Entertainment, the PBS Television Network, the estates of Roger Ebert and/or Gene Siskel, Warner Bros., Tandem Productions, The Blade Runner Partnership, Alcon Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Bud Yorkin Productions, Sean Young, and Columbia Pictures. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All television, film, and music clips appear under Fair Use as well.

“Her Worshipfulness”

My friend and colleague, Mark Jeacoma, put up what is probably the most comprehensive yet concise list of notable deaths (I’m not talking about all the old soccer players who seem to drop dead of heart attacks every five hours) for the year 2016. In the last week alone, we’ve lost Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, and the subject of this podcast, Carrie Fisher. It’s gotten so bad of late, we put together dead-pool lists. Who will kick the bucket next? We got our answer the very next day.

Carrie Frances Fisher (October 21, 1956 [fellow Libra] – December 27, 2016) was (oh wow, she was) an American actress, screenwriter, author, producer, and a public speaker. She was known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. Fisher was also known for her semi-autobiographical novels, including Postcards from the Edge and the screenplay for the film of the same name, as well as her autobiographical one-woman play and its nonfiction book, Wishful Drinking, based on the show.

Her other film roles included Shampoo (1975) [I remember her immortal, infamous line, “Wanna fuck?”], The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) [She played the treacherous April who steals Dianne Wiest’s boyfriend played by Sam Waterston], The ‘Burbs (1989) [great movie, one of my favorites – “This is Walter!”], and When Harry Met Sally… (1989) [I only vaguely remember that movie, even though it was a big hit – I always thought of it as a rip-off of Annie Hall].

I was thinking about the role George Lucas wrote: Princess Leia. Stronger actresses like Sissy Spacek and Amy Irving read for the part – he wanted Carrie for her baby-face and Hollywood royalty currency, but it’s hard for me to say, she was a stronger actress in her youth, aside from a couple of good performances later on. Sissy Spacek and Amy Irving would’ve killed the part; they would’ve been too confident, I think. She brought a lot of strength and vulnerability to the part in the first two movies, Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back.

Mary Frances “Debbie” Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016) was an American actress, singer, businesswoman, film historian, and humanitarian. Her breakout role was the portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. However, it was her first leading role in 1952 at age 19, as Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain, that set her on the path to fame. By the mid-1950s, she was a major star. Other notable successes include The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Susan Slept Here (1954), Bundle of Joy (1956 Golden Globe nomination), The Catered Affair (1956 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Winner), and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her rendering of the song “Tammy” reached number one on the music charts. In 1959, she released her first pop music album, entitled Debbie.

Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)
Debbie Reynolds (1932-2016)

SPECIAL PODCAST! “Heavy Is The Helmet” (SPECIAL EDITION)

Star-Wars-Podcast-2

[audio http://www.blissville.net/Podcasts/Episode_72.mp3]

In the conclusion to our two-part discussion of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, Mark Jeacoma and I discuss permutations and ruminations of the Star Wars franchise, as well as list our best-to-worst movies.  As of this writing, Regan has finished watching the first movie and “Attack of the Clones”, and is preparing for “Revenge of the Sith”.  Remember, these are just our opinions.  They’re neither right nor wrong, but I’m right.  I’m always right!

“Heavy Is The Helmet”
With David Lawler and Mark Jeacoma
Introduction Music: Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, Meco (1977)
Audio Clips: CBS/FOX Home Video Theme, 1995, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015), Star Wars: The Special Edition On VHS Commercial, 1997

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2015 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. This podcast, “BlissVille: Ears Of A Gundark” is not affiliated with Lucasfilm, Disney, 20th Century Fox, CBS/FOX Home Video, Fox Video, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Bad Robot, or any subsidiaries and assigns. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well.

SPECIAL PODCAST! “Ears Of A Gundark” (THX Remastered)

Star-Wars-Podcast-1

Tonight, a special two-part presentation: Mark Jeacoma and I discuss “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.  Also, special thanks to Andrew La Ganke for our brand-spanking-new server (even though it’s been around for the better part of a year, but it’s new to me)!  Episode 72: “Heavy Is The Helmet” will premiere tomorrow.  As of this writing, Regan is watching Episode 1: “The Phantom Menace” for the first time.

“Ears Of A Gundark”
With David Lawler and Mark Jeacoma
Introduction Music: Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, Meco (1977)
Audio Clips: CBS/FOX Home Video Theme, 1983, 20th Century Fox Fanfare, 1977, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015), “The Phantom Menace” (1998), “Revenge of the Sith” (2005), “Star Wars” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), “Return of the Jedi” (1983)

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2015 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. This podcast, “BlissVille: Ears Of A Gundark” is not affiliated with Lucasfilm, Disney, 20th Century Fox, CBS/FOX Home Video, Fox Video, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Bad Robot, or any subsidiaries and assigns. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well.

 

 

 

“May The Fourth Be With You”

May-The-Fourth-Be-With-You

Star Wars was released 38 years ago, May 24th 1977, and tonight is affectionately known as Star Wars Day, and this is hilarious, on the Wikipedia Star Wars Day is defined as … an unofficial secular
holiday in May which celebrates the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas. It is observed by fans of the movies. Observance of the holiday spread quickly due to Internet, social media, and grassroots celebrations.

We here at BlissVille thought it only fitting to celebrate the movies, the first three, or rather the middle three – episodes IV, V, and VI, the original Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of
the Jedi. The movies are not only wildly successful science-fiction space operas filled with thrills, chills, and a half-naked Carrie Fisher, but touchstones, incredibly monstrous cultural phenomena, so
this will be a rather large, a super-sized episode.

One additional note: I thought rather than regurgitate the stories, I mean everybody knows the stories as written, performed, photographed, and edited, I wanted to talk about possible permutations and theories and ruminations of the original trilogy. Maybe next year, I’ll do the prequels. But tonight, we have Andrew La Ganke and later on, Mark Jeacoma to contribute.

“May The Fourth Be With You”

May-The-Fourth-Be-With-You

Star Wars was released 38 years ago, May 24th 1977, and tonight is affectionately known as Star Wars Day, and this is hilarious, on the Wikipedia Star Wars Day is defined as … an unofficial secular
holiday in May which celebrates the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas. It is observed by fans of the movies. Observance of the holiday spread quickly due to Internet, social media, and grassroots celebrations.

We here at BlissVille thought it only fitting to celebrate the movies, the first three, or rather the middle three – episodes IV, V, and VI, the original Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of
the Jedi. The movies are not only wildly successful science-fiction space operas filled with thrills, chills, and a half-naked Carrie Fisher, but touchstones, incredibly monstrous cultural phenomena, so
this will be a rather large, a super-sized episode.

One additional note: I thought rather than regurgitate the stories, I mean everybody knows the stories as written, performed, photographed, and edited, I wanted to talk about possible permutations and theories and ruminations of the original trilogy. Maybe next year, I’ll do the prequels. But tonight, we have Andrew La Ganke and later on, Mark Jeacoma to contribute.