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Super Nostalgia


I recently rewatched Superman: The Movie. I think it was because it was on the menu at HBO Max (now just “Max”) and I needed to kill a few minutes before the kids were ready to watch something else.


So I watched the opening of the theatrical cut, got nostalgic about the super-duper extended TV cut—and remembered, hey I have that on a Blu-ray! Then I watched that one, padded scenes and all.


It’s wonderful, of course—and I don’t need to write the 800th tribute to this movie on somebody’s blog. But to have the cast, and the music, and the warmth of it all, just the way I remembered from being a kid—it was so comforting. And magical!


By the way, the kids got one look at a super-rescue scene and asked, “Why does it look like that?” They meant the VFX composites for the flying—and I had to explain this was just how they did it back then (and the best they could do). It must be strange, spending your life watching modern CGI, to try to adjust the artifice of the analogue effects. So don’t hate on my kids!


Two thoughts...


One is that rewatching Superman was a reminder, as a kid, what a portal into a different world it was to see these giant, spectacular movies on TV. If I’m remembering correctly, the Star Trek, Superman and James Bond movies were on ABC and were big premieres:


I’m not trying to say that “the old ways” were better than today! I don’t like that angry Grandpa stuff.


But I do vividly remember the sheer magic of seeing these huge movies on television: not just the special effects, but the locations, the movie stars, the sheer adventure of it all—and the fabulous music!


It really was like, wow, your ordinary life is humdrum and plain—and then all of a sudden, you get whisked into these other worlds where everything is exciting and dashing and charming and full of such style and fun.


Superman can fly! James Bond always wins! Star Trek is a magical utopia! The design of it all, and the beauty of the stars—it was like, whoa, this heightened reality.


The other thing about these movies is, metaphorically, the next morning’s hangover...how bad the sequels were!


As kids, we got conditioned to the fact that no matter how good the original movie was, inevitably the sequels would just be stale rehashes with tired plots, dumb jokes and wimpy replacements for our favorite stars (and composers).


The Superman movies were the biggest offenders. From Superman I to II wasn’t that bad a drop-off, but then to III (Richard Pryor)—and to IV, what the living hell?


Let’s see: the Jaws sequels, oh my God, are you kidding me? The Poltergeist sequels? I didn’t even see the Conan movies back then, but they fit the model.


With Star Wars, as a kid I loved Return of the Jedi—but The Ewok Adventure? Did George Lucas lose his mind?


When V went from the original miniseries to The Final Battle—okay, that wasn’t so terrible, but the weekly series?!?


The Star Trek movies were the exception in that, as all fans know, the even-numbered movies are the good ones. But the first season of The Next Generation was misery.


I’m sure there are lots of other exceptions, too. Temple of Doom was no Raiders, but it was still The Real Thing. The Roger Moore Bond movies were goofy, but they were “real,” too.


It created a kind of fatalism: Don’t worry, no matter how much you love it—they’ll ruin it.


It was a kind of mystery, as if there was obviously some sort of reason—either business or even existential—why the quality could not be maintained.


We also learned that any science fiction on weekly television (Misfits of Science, Otherworld) would be appallingly idiotic and formulaic.


Somehow the nadir of all this was, of all things, SpaceCamp. An original—but what a piece of crap! They even fooled John Williams into scoring it.


Ultimately, what happened is...we grew up. We discovered R-rated movies: Aliens, Die Hard, Predator, RoboCop, Total Recall.


And they were awesome! They renewed our faith in movies and interest in storytelling.


Inevitably, those sequels (or remakes) sucked too, but by then, we were accustomed to it.


And we looked around and realized—hey, we’re all grown up.


And now I’m 49 and writing this blog. What the hell?!?!?

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Ariel Sokol
Ariel Sokol
Oct 23, 2023

Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer were both good flicks. Quintessential musical scores by Basil Poledouris. Yes, Conan the Destroyer veered into comedy a bit too much, but it had iconic performances by Grace Jones and Wilt Chamberlain. The end of Destroyer did have some pacing issues with poor special effects.


Both films stand the test of time.


Red Sonja was not a Conan film.

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Popa Razzie71
Popa Razzie71
Oct 21, 2023

I will have to watch it again after reading this I forgot the beginning was like it was watching YouTube reaction felt the same about III IV expect the Superman song soundtrack march was engineered by giorgio moroder and Airwolf Hot Shots Sylvester Levay. The Jaws sequels 2 was ok I did like the model shark for 3D the novelestation of Jaws the revenge was interesting because of the voodoo witch Doctor half Hazzardly explains why, the first two Poltergeist films were good, sorry to tak on an additional blogging of my own😂

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Danny Flatball
Danny Flatball
Oct 21, 2023

Seeing SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE for the first time was perhaps the defining moment of my life. All at once, I fell in love with movies, film scores, and -- last but certainly not least -- the character of Superman/Clark Kent. I no longer hold film, score, and composer in quite the same esteem, but all were my gateway drugs into what have become lifelong passions.

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sturges1947
sturges1947
Oct 21, 2023

Holds up remarkably well except for the unbelievably awful moment of the little girl getting smacked by her mom when she tries to describe seeing Superman. It may be a non-PC moment today but it sticks out like a sore thumb. It happens offscreen and could be eliminated with the greatest of ease if all the audio stems are still available. If that makes me "woke", so be it.


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Robert Knaus
Robert Knaus
Oct 21, 2023

When I started introducing my then-teen nephew to a lot of the formative classics we grew up on some years back (Blade Runner, The Thing, Poltergeist, Alien), he showed a keen interest in the F/X techniques of the day, asking astute questions about how they were put together and showing particular interest when it was a movie that won an Oscar for Visual Effects or Makeup or whatever. I don't think it's IMPOSSIBLE for someone under 25 to appreciate "old-school" F/X, but it does sting a little when someone over half my age referred to the original Evil Dead as "Some old movie" as I was walking out of the remake a decade ago.

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