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“Back to the Future”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s already been 25 years since the greatest movie ever made was released in theatres. That’s right! Back to the Future is celebrating its twenty-fifth birthday this year, and yes I said greatest movie ever made! For those of you that know me, I would imagine that that statement comes as no surprise to you, but for everyone else this movie was a huge deal to me growing-up. I went to see it in the theatre two times, which doesn’t sound like much these days, but when you’re talking about a 12 year old kid in 1985, and add to that the nearest theatre was a whole thirty-five minutes away, it’s kind of a big deal. To help celebrate the anniversary earlier this month, some theatres around the country and even the world, showed special screenings of Back to the Future once again on the big screen. As you can probably already guess, I was there to gladly get a third theatrical screening under my belt.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with this movie, I will kindly ask you to remain nameless, for I value our friendship, and wish not to judge you. In Back to the Future, a teenager named Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) worries that he’ll never amount to anything. He also, like most teenagers, can’t relate to his parents and can’t even fathom them ever being his age. Well, that is until early one morning on October 26, 1985, when his good friend Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) introduces Marty to his latest invention… A time machine made out of a DeLorean!? Finally, a time machine with some style! After a series of unforeseen events, Marty finds himself unwittingly transported to November 5, 1955, and face to face with none other than his own teenage parents. Pretty heavy, huh? To make matters even worse, he may have also inadvertently stopped his parents from ever meeting, which as you can image doesn’t bode well for Marty’s future.

I think one of the things that makes this one of the greatest movies, is how amazingly well it holds-up. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, you still get tense at the clock tower scene; as if you thought the movie might end differently this time. Also by labeling 1985 as 1985 and not the present, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are able to preserve the movie as a period film no matter when you watch it. The only thing they have to worry about is the future, and they’ve got another 5 years before that’s a problem. Let’s just hope someone can invent the Hoverboad before then, but we’ll get more into that in about 5 years. Let’s get back to the first movie, Back to the Future did a great job of telling an amazingly creative story with a lot of humor and heart. Sadly, a movie like that would never be made today. It’s too big of a chance. Hollywood doesn’t take chances like that anymore. They like to play it safe. Let’s just make sequels and adapt already existing material. Do you realize that filmmakers these days are writing comic books in hopes of maybe being able to get it turned into a movie?! They can’t just write an amazing script anymore. They have to turn their movie ideas into something they’re not, so that someday it might be turned into the movie they wanted to make in the first place. That’s fucked up, people!! Back to the Future would never get made today, and that’s crazy because it has two successful sequels! Exactly what Hollywood wants from a movie these days! We need creative filmmakers now more than ever, and they’re out there. They just can’t catch a break, when the studio executives just want something exactly like that other something that just made money for no reason. Unfortunately, as long as there are sad little “yes men” writers out there, that are more than happy to write whatever they’re told to, the next generation of Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Tim Burton’s will never be heard. Wow, that got really depressing there. Back to the Future greatest movie ever made! See it if you haven’t! See it again if you have!


(of course)


Jumping Gigawatts!

Now, some people think Star Wars, or for others it might even be Indiana Jones, and for some of you younger readers out there it might be The Lord of the Rings. But, for me… When I hear the word trilogy, I think of only one thing, and that is Back to the Future! It’s easily one of my favorite movies of all time, and this year Back to the Future is turning 25. To help celebrate the movie’s silver anniversary there is going to be an event of epic proportions in Burbank, California this November. It will be a full weeklong event, filled with celebrity guests, and unforgettable Back to the Future themed activities. All taking place during the historic week that Marty McFly spent in 1955. From November 5th to the 12th, fans of the Back to the Future Trilogy will do everything from seeing a screening of the original movie at the shooting location of the Twin Pine Mall, to a Battle of the Bands talent show! They’ll even learn how to use a hoverboard from the movie’s original stunt team! And, what better way, to end the weeklong event, than with an amazing recreation of the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance held at the dance’s original filming location. This is going to be a absolute must for any Back to the Future fans out there! I haven’t even told you the best part yet! All the proceeds from the event will be going to Team Fox for Parkinson’s Research! So, fire up those DeLorean’s to 88 miles per hour, and head over to We’re Going Back to buy your tickets now! You would be a total butthead not to!

Be sure to check back here in November for event updates, and a special Stash tribute to the greatest movie ever made!

“Hot Tub Time Machine”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Seriously, how can a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine not be good? From the first time I saw the trailer, to the very moment I was convinced it wasn’t a joke, I was completely hooked. And why wouldn’t I be? Any movie with John Cusack, the 80’s, and skiing, is a sure fire winner in my book. The fact that they managed to work in the “I want my two dollars” line, and an obscure Manimal reference, is just icing on the cake. I for one am so glad that movies like this can still get made. Original movies are so far and few between these days, with remakes and based on source material movies, that it’s nice that Hollywood still takes a chance every once in awhile. I think Hot Tub Time Machine has The Hangover to thank for its release, but whatever the reason I’m just glad that this movie got to see the light of day.

In Hot Tub Time Machine, four friends, who are disappointed with the way their lives have turned out, spend a weekend at their old high school ski trip stomping grounds, which much like their lives, is nowhere near as sweet as they remember it being. But, that all changes when a simple mishap with a hot tub, transports them back to 1986. This could be the ultimate mulligan, or the biggest slap in the face, as they have to relive the very events that change their lives in the first place. It’s a lot of fun, but if you’re looking for any logic in this movie you’ve completely missed the point. This isn’t one of those time travel movies that covers all their quantum bases. But, why would it? It’s called Hot Tub Time Machine! It’s not like it was written by Carl Sagan. If you don’t know who that is, maybe you should Lougle it. Look, it’s about a hot tub that travels in time. Just enjoy it for what it is. The one thing I wasn’t expecting at all from this movie was it’s sincere moments; and there were a few, which was a nice surprise. It also manages to raise the age old question, how many ways could a man loose his arm? It might not happen the way you think, but the waiting is the hardest part. Overall, Hot Tub Time Machine is just a fun ride that doesn’t ever try to be something it’s not. Having grownup with a health diet of 80’s films doesn’t hurt either.


“Alice in Wonderland”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s time to go back to Wonderland, and to do so you’ll need your Tim Burton 3-D glasses. This version of Alice in Wonderland is not so much a remake, as it is a continuation of the original classic tale. Of course, it’s also told through the eyes of visionary director Tim Burton, and marks his third remake or retelling if you will, of an already existing movie classic. I’m a huge Tim Burton fan, but I’m truly starting to miss the originality of his former moviemaking. It’s true that these remakes embody the essences of an original Burton film, but there is still this underlying familiarity of the original movies or stories on which the work is based. Which is a good thing for a remake to embody, but at this point I would really like to see Burton take me to a place I have never seen before. We don’t have many visionary directors that can do what he is capable of, and it seems like for the last few years we have been getting the “What if…” versions of Tim Burton films. For those of you that are not huge comic book nerds, “What if…” comics, are a Marvel Comics series that takes a classic storyline, like say… Spider-Man. The comics would raise the question, what if Peter Parker’s Uncle hadn’t died? Would he have learned that with great power, comes great responsibility? And that is exactly what we have here, “What if… Tim Burton directed Planet of the Apes?” Sadly, we all now know the answer to that question.

In this version of Alice in Wonderland, we follow a now nineteen year old Alice, who has forgotten all about her original adventures in Wonderland, and finds herself now facing even more grownup decisions than ever before, which could not be better timing, because the creatures of Wonderland (or Underland as they call it) are facing troubles of their own; and only Alice can save them. I think they did a really good job of putting a new spin on a classic tale, while still retaining some moments from the original story. The movie moves at a nice pace, and Tim Burton’s visuals are anything but boring. The special effects are quite amazing, and it managed to do for me what Avatar couldn’t, which was being able sell me on the movie’s world and characters. I was totally submerged in the world of Wonderland. I cared about the characters. I was interested in the story they were telling. And even though I was familiar with the story they were telling, they still managed to take me somewhere new, and give me an environment that was worth caring about. Okay, maybe I’m laying it on a little thick. The story wasn’t that amazing; but if anything, it just proves that James Cameron did not try hard enough to change his Dances with Wolves storyline in Avatar.

Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the Mad Hatter is well… Okay. Look, Johnny Depp is an amazing actor. I think we can all agree on that. But, it seems like when he plays these remake roles for Tim Burton, he tends to go too far. He almost over plays the role. I’m not saying it’s a bad performance by any means, but much like his portrayal of Willy Wonka being almost Michael Jackson-ish, it feels like sometimes less could be more. I feel that these characters already have such a larger than life persona attached to them that Depp is almost trying to harness that imagery by playing them as big as he possibly can, when the truth is playing them slightly smaller, might actually give you the same effect in the end. Anne Hathaway, surprisingly, gives a horrible performance as the White Queen. I’m not quite sure what happened there. I would have to imagine that it was the way Burton wanted the role to be portrayed, but I’m afraid it really didn’t work for me. I found it to be very distracting. I couldn’t keep myself from trying to figure out why she was acting that way. The best I could come up with is that the role of the White Queen most likely would have been the role that Burton’s former fiancé, Lisa Marie, would have played if they were still together. He was most likely directing Hathaway as such, which would possibly explain the uncomfortable nature of her performance in the film. Just a theory. On the better side of the coin, Little Britain’s Matt Lucas gives an amazing performance as both Tweetledee and Tweetledum. And what Tim Burton film would be complete without current fiancé, Helena Bonham Carter? Donning an abnormally large head, inspired by the books original illustrations, Carter plays the hot-tempered Red Queen.

Like I mention at the beginning of this review, Alice in Wonderland is a part of the new and ever growing trend that is 3-D movies. Now, I will admit that this new RealD 3-D system works so much better then those old red and blue glasses ever did. But, it’s still getting a little out of control, if you ask me. I enjoy watching these new 3-D films in the theatre, but once you watch the movie at home, I’m afraid it’s just not quite the same experience. The scenes in which the glasses just add depth are fine, but when things are constantly being pointed at you and there is sadly no 3-D there to enhance it, you truly notice just how lame those stunts make the movie look in the end. Also, the 3-D seems to have a hard time handling fast paced close-up action. Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole was very blurry; and because of the glasses, I felt like I might have missed some really nice moments on the way down. Over all, the movie does a great job of delivering a fun, entertaining, and somewhat curiouser and curiouser night at the movies.


a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, it’s official. The machines will kill us all. But at least it’s going to be fun to watch. I truly haven’t seen an animated movie like this in quite sometime. The visuals are mind blowing. You could get lost for hours in the details alone. The story is dark, and the action is intense, but most of all 9 reminds us that even an animated movie can entertain audiences of all ages.

The story of 9 takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, but not one of the future, like you would think, but rather an alternative future of the 1940’s. This was a really smart move on the filmmaker’s part. They could have easily made it all futuristic, but by limiting the technology available at the time (with some artistic license of course); they really give the film a unique look that just adds to its magic. But I digress. The story follows the journey of 9, a mechanical patchwork doll that awakens to find himself in a world seemingly void of life. He quickly discovers he’s not alone and stumbles upon the other eight patchwork dolls that came before him, and together they must face the reawakened doomsday machine that now threatens their very survival. The visuals in this film are outstanding! They really are. I can’t say it enough. Even though Tim Burton was only a producer on this project, his influence can clearly be seen throughout the film. Much like Neill Blomkamp’s District 9Shane Acher’s 9 also stems from an award winning short. It’s great that in this day and age, Hollywood can see the potential in these small shorts, and give the filmmakers a chance to tell their stories properly. It’s hard to believe that this is the same Hollywood that made G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

The voice talent in this film is fantastic, and not just big names for the sake of having big names either. Don’t get me wrong they are big names, but their voices are not only fitting for their characters, but they also work brilliantly as an ensemble, which is hard to pull off in an animated movie. Especially when the voice talent cast doesn’t get to meet each other till the night of the premiere in most cases. And what Tim Burton project would be complete without Danny Elfman? Well, Elfman many not have composed the full score, but he did compose the theme for 9. Which, I have to say is better than nothing. You know, just this past weekend, I was talking about how much Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas just blew me away, and changed the way I thought of animated movies. I’m glad to say that 9 will most likely raise the bar for animated films yet again.