Category Archives: It Came from the 80s

Stranger Things 2 — Final Trailer

But first, the teaser for the trailer:

It’s Halloween, 1984, and all is not well in Hawkins, Indiana. The kids are still in trouble, a big ugly monster with a lot of tentacles is creeping around, and Wynona Ryder is freaking out again. It’s almost time for Stranger Things 2.

The conventional wisdom is that the sequel is never as good as the original, but there are exceptions to the rule. There are arguments to be made, for instance, that The Godfather Part II, Aliens, and The Empire Strikes Back improve on their predecessors.

Stranger Things, Netflix’s homage to the Steven Spielberg/Stephen King version of the 1980s, was the big television hit of the summer of 2017, and one of the most talked-about media events of the year.

In two weeks, we’ll see if lightning can strike twice in the same place. (Hint: It can.)

On Friday, 27 October 2018, Netflix will make all the episodes of Stranger Things 2 available for streaming.


A Little Bonus

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Ready Player One — First Trailer

Ok, now about that other key trailer from Comic-Con: The trailer for Ready Player One.

Ernest Cline’s science-fiction novel, Ready Player One was the fanboy must-read book of 2011. It’s set in the unhappy and decaying United States of 2044, when a decades-long recession, a trashed environment, and the general collapse of civil society have driven many people to spend much of their time hooked into a virtual reality universe called the OASIS. When there’s a two-year waiting list for jobs at Burger King, escapism is a logical choice.

As our hero and narrator, Wade Watts, known in the OASIS as “Parzival,” points out:

“Now that I was eighteen, I could vote, in both the OASIS elections and the elections for U.S. government officials. I didn’t bother with the latter, because I didn’t see the point. The once-great country into which I’d been born now resembled its former self in name only. It didn’t matter who was in charge. Those people were rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and everyone knew it. Besides, now that everyone could vote from home, via the OASIS, the only people who could get elected were movie stars, reality TV personalities, or radical televangelists.”

[Keep repeating, “It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.”]

Anyhow, the now-dead creator of the OASIS was a man named James Halliday who, not unlike many of the readers of this book, was a 1980s obsessive. You know, the kind of person who goes nuts over spotting the 80s allusions in Stranger Things….

OASIS made Halliday very, very rich. When his will was read, it revealed that he’d hidden three “keys” in OASIS, and that the first person to find them, and solve the puzzles linked to them, would be the sole inheritor of OASIS and of Halliday’s massive fortune. All that would be required to solve the puzzles was an encyclopedic knowledge of the movies, music, video games, and TV shows of the 1980s.

Enter Parzival.

I liked the book, but didn’t love it. It’s a fast, easy, enjoyable read, full of Easter eggs for those of us who have, well, “an encyclopedic knowledge of the movies, music, video games, and TV shows of the 1980s,” but it was definitely light reading, without much depth or meaning. It’s a book that’s the perfect source for a big spring/summer movie.

Steven Spielberg (who else?) is directing. The film is scheduled to be released on 30 March 2018.

Stranger Things Season 2 — Comic-Con “Thriller” Trailer

The 2017 Comic-Con International ends today, and, as always, the event was packed with teasers, trailers, and sneak peaks. Among he most anticipated was this trailer for the second season of Stranger Things.

It doesn’t disappoint.

We’re back in the 80s again, a year after the action of last summer’s breakout hit.

Arcades! Dragon’s Lair! Reagan/Bush! Winona Ryder! Ghostbusters! Thriller! Shorts that were actually, you know, short.

It even has Memphis sheets!*

Sequels are always tricky. Can the Stranger Things recapture the charm and magic of the original?

We’ll find out on 27 October 2017, when Netflix will make the whole series available for streaming.


To Be Stuck Here Inside of Mobile, with These Memphis Sheets Again

*Well, sort of. The sheets you can see at the 3:03 mark are certainly reminiscent of the Memphis designs that were ubiquitous in the mid-80s, but I don’t think they’re the original item. This is just another subtle Stranger Things 80s homage.

You can see real Memphis sheets on Grady’s bed at the beginning of this scene from 1985’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. (AKA the gay one.)

Memphis,” btw, doesn’t have anything to do with the city in Egypt. It was the name of a Milan design group, and had a style that heavily influenced New Wave graphics. Apparently, it’s making a comeback this year.

Being able to spread important, potentially life-changing information like this is what makes blogging so rewarding.

Better Than a Hoverboard!

Remember those hoverboards that Back to the Future promised we’d have by 21 October 2015?

Were you as exasperated as I was when 21 October 2015 came and went, without the slightest need for public service announcements warning kids to always wear a helmet when hovering? Once again, we’d been deceived by the powerful and secretive Media/Flying-Transportation Complex, just as earlier generations had been deceived when they were promised jet packs and flying cars, and taken in by those fake “1969 Moon Landing” movies that were filmed in a North Carolina studio.

We won’t get fooled again.

Because this time, it’s for real. Our wait is over.

Here’s how the game ball was delivered at Portugal’s Cup Final on Sunday:

When Amazon offers a pre-order option, I’ll be the first to sign up.

American Gods — First Reviews

The first reviews for American Gods are in, and they’re raves. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 94%. and this review from Deadline Hollywood is pretty typical:

The first eight episodes of American Gods will play on Starz, beginning on 30 April 2017.


With my 80s obsession, you don’t really think I’d pass up a chance to post the great 80s song that’s referenced in that review, do you?

As if.

Here’s “Under The Milky Way”, by The Church:

Suspect I might have posted the review simply as an excuse to boost a great 80s song?

Maybe.

Ghost in the Shell — New Trailer

This is getting more and more exciting. Loving these trailers!

I’ve never had any great interest in superhero movies based on comic books “graphic novels”. Never read Marvel comics as a kid, and have absolutely no interest in exploring “the Marvel Universe” or catching up on 50 years of Marvel mythology. I’ve tried to watch a few of the films, but I’ve always gotten bored and bailed by the 15 minute mark. They’re just not my thing.

But if you think of manga as comic books/graphic novels, which they are, that may be about to change. Ghost in the Shell, which has provided the source material for five animated movies and three TV series, was originally published as a manga series. I posted a bit about the new, live-action film version a few months ago, when the first trailer was released.

The movie will be released in the US and the UK on 31 March 2017.

Pac-Man

Masaya Nakamura, sometimes called “The Father of Pac-Man”, has died at 91. It was his company that introduced the world to Pac-Man way back in 1980.

If I had a nickel for every quarter I dropped into that console….

As the British comedian Marcus Brigstocke noted:

“Computer games don’t affect kids. I mean, if Pac Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music”.