Tag Archive: 1970s nostalgia


Review by C.J. Bunce

The best documentaries tend to be about a subject you had no interest in before watching it.  I count Michael Apted’s 7-Up documentary series as the best of all time, with the rest of the best to include the World War II story Ghost Plane of the Desert: Lady Be Good, Nova’s biography of Andrew Wiles searching for Fermat’s Last Theorem The Proof, Penn & Teller’s Tim’s Vermeer, Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer, the Bruce Lee biography Be Water, Thor Heyerdahl’s Oscar-winning Kon-Tiki, Stephen Fry’s fandom journey Wagner and Me, Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, PBS’s The Farthest: Voyager in Space, the FBI scandal story 1971, Kurt Russell family’s The Battered Basterds of Baseball, and one from everyone’s top 10 list, Harlan County USA

But how about a documentary about a subject you know you like?  Lawrence Kasdan’s Light & Magic fits the bill, a docu-series about the making of Star Wars… and more.  It probably won’t get an Oscar nod next year, but sure it has the most nostalgia per minute.  You may think you have seen it all, then Kasdan, Ron Howard, and their friends show up and find this incredible footage and get most of the original creators of Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and Industrial Light & Magic to walk fans through how it all happened.  The six-part docu-series is now streaming on Disney+.  Like ILM’s myriad contributions to movies, the result feels like magic.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s not every comic book title that can be credited to a single person.  It wasn’t exactly a comic book, but then again maybe it was.  It was writer, artist, and editor Owen McCarron′s thirteen issues of Marvel’s Fun and Games, an early “interactive” series from 1979 and 1980 that welcomed kids of all ages like you and me to incredible superhero tie-in artwork of the Avengers, X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and more in the form of crosswords, mazes, word searches, trivia, drawing tutorials, connect-the-dots, and all the fun you can cram into a comic-sized magazine.

The new collection called Marvel Big Book of Fun and Games doubles as pure nostalgia, and it collects many of the series’ activity-rich pages as they were originally published.  As a bonus it features an introduction by the great Roy Thomas, to catch everyone up about the original issues.  And that’s not all, as it also includes all the original covers, included in a sturdy, larger than originally printed 144 pages.

   

Take a look inside the fun below.

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Jackie Brown, Dolemite is My Name, and BlacKkKlansman all revisited America of 40 to 50 years ago, and all were great successes at recreating the sounds, the look, and feel of the eras they depicted.  Movies like those, plus a taste of vintage classics Shaft and The Legend of Billy Jack can be found in the trailer for a new independent film starring Luke Cage and Men in Black 3 star Mike Colter.  Filmed like an early 1970s movie by director Patrick Gilles, I’m Charlie Walker is the story of an entrepreneurial trucker who took on management of the clean-up of the Standard Oil tanker wreck and oil spill at the Golden Gate Bridge in January 1971.

Check out this preview for I’m Charlie Walker:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

First of all, by all accounts McDonald’s has never sold onion rings.

My favorite works by popular creators are the ones that are frequently what the multitudes rarely put on a greatest hits list.  Like Philip K. Dick’s In Milton Lumky Territory or Stephen King’s Joyland.  Now we have Donald E. Westlake′s last novel Call Me a Cab (available now here at Amazon) a heretofore unpublished novel from 1977 (unpublished except in a briefer version in a serialized magazine edition ages ago).  It’s a novel ahead of its time full of 1970s attitude, with realistic, thoughtful characters, without cliché or canned, artificial controversy, and, although it’s from Hard Case Crime, there’s not a single crime in sight for 3,000 miles.  And it’s as riveting as any of his previous brilliant works.

So what about the onion rings?  Back to that in a moment.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Not many books give you goosebumps as they take you back to a moment in time.  How do you create not only a new game, but a new industry?  Your next time travel adventure needs to be Arjan Terpstra and Tim Lapetino’s giant look back at not only Pac-Man but the rise of video games.  It’s Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon, simply an incredible, deep dive into the development of the video game and all its incarnations from its beginnings as Puck-Man, almost called Paku-emon (sound familiar?).  From development via pinball, coin-op, and theme park companies Namco, Bally, and Midway (and side-dances with Atari), fans of 1970s and 1980s nostalgia will see how a few key players in Japan created Pac-Man, and even more around the world expanded it into an icon–all out of 111 yellow flashes of light on a computer screen.  The giant book is full of vintage photographs, marketing materials, corporate and engineering design notes, and much more.  Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon might be the best video game history yet, and it’s now available here at Amazon.

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elena

Fantasies rarely play out as you would expect.  — Mr. Roarke

Blumhouse introduced a new twist on the 1977-1984 series Fantasy Island in 2020 with a feature film version starring Michael Peña  (Ant-Man), leaning into a darker, horror take on its story. ABC tried a reboot in 1998, starring Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations, Heroes). This week a new series emerges on Fox, entirely separate (or is it?) from the 2020 movie, but landing a perfect opener that is perfectly faithful to Ricardo Montalban’s classic weekly anthology showcase, an episode that would qualify among the top of the original series’ best stories.  This time it’s the talented Roselyn Sanchez (Without a Trace, Kojak, Dragnet, Telenovela, Rush Hour 2), whose beauty, charisma, and talent are more than worthy of her iconic, suave, Latin predecessor.  Miss Elena Roarke is not a descendant of Mr. Roarke, but a great niece of the former ambassador of the island.  The update is as much homage as sequel, a fine balance that miraculously gets it all right, with an updated feel that is modern and even fun, like the long-running BBC series Death in Paradise (which follows a fish-out-of-water detective and his staff on another island paradise also encountering newcomers aka guest stars in each new episode).  As with Montalban’s Fantasy Island, character actors from television’s past, present, and maybe even future, should all be scrabbling to get a part on this new incarnation of the series.

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