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The NYC Subway Thriller Film ‘The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3’ At 45
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The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, the 1974 action suspense yarn based on the novel by John Godey (the pen name of author Morton Freedgood) about four men who hijack a subway train in New York City and demand a million dollars within an hour for the return of the train and the hostages or they’ll be executed one-by-one for every minute the money is late, celebrates its 45th anniversary this month.

The film, a nicely made cocktail of comedy, action, and thrills, peppered with some sharp and perceptive NYC cynical dialogue by Peter Stone and delivered in realistic performances led by the late, wonderfully craggy versatility of Walter Matthau, still holds up today and still holds its own. Directed by Joseph Sargent, who directed television before helming Pelham and did absolute dreck like the third Jaws sequel years after it, more than finds his footing here however, and is able to walk all those cliché tightropes of comedy and drama, by doing it every way but cliché.

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Cream Drummer Ginger Baker Has Died
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Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker, the highly influential and irrepressible drummer, who gave the backbeat to bands such as Cream and Blind Faith not to mention adventurous side projects, died today. He was 80. The news was posted to his social media account today, where his family announced that he’d “passed away peacefully in hospital this morning.” No cause of death was given. The family had posted on September 25 that Baker was critically ill in the hospital.

Born Peter Edward Baker in Lewisham, South London in 1939, red hair not withstanding (hence the nickname Ginger), the drummer was a fiery tour-de-force on the drumkit, one of the first of his peers, starting and ultimately trailblazing in a late 1960s electric blues boon that found him toe to toe with other contemporaries, like the equally incendiary Keith Moon, Carl Palmer, Mitch Mitchell, Ian Paice, and John Bonham.

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Getting The Knack and “My Sharona” 40 Years Later
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The Knack

The Knack‘s driving power pop tune number one smash “My Sharona” celebrated its 40th anniversary recently, without nary a pomp and definitely no circumstance.

But make no mistake, to be in the summer of 1979 back then, there was nothing bigger on radio or arguably on the music scene at the time than The Knack, with their brash unapologetic attitude, and a sexism in their music that would be all but forbidden if released today. By 1979 punk music was starting to ebb in terms of curiosity and shock value and the later named “yacht rock” was beginning to bubble up, evident in bands like Ambrosia and the solo works of Kenny Loggins and Christopher Cross, all with a sonic kind of pullover sweater over the speakers sound to it and all beginning at the end of the 1970s.

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A Look Back At The Underrated 1981 Thriller ‘Nighthawks’ Starring Rutger Hauer & Sylvester Stallone
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Nighthawks Sylvester Stallone and Rutger Hauer

In the wake of the passing last week of famed actor Rutger Hauer, there’s been a consciousness for one to revisit his work again, or at best discuss his long and expansive career. While most people would be wont to mention the arguable apex of his career with the apocalyptic classic Blade Runner, the film that he did right before it, Nighthawks, is another standout, albeit extremely underrated and one that introduced him to American audiences.

Nighthawks, originally released in mid 1981, is a crime thriller starring Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams as two NYC cops on a hunt for a global terrorist (chillingly played by Hauer), who has already made his explosive mark in his native town of London and is now firmly entrenched in the teeming metropolis that is New York City. The movie took its cues from the classic gritty inner city cop films of the previous decade, like The French Connection, Dirty Harry, Serpico and others, still holds up today, and in a way, is even more harrowing, mirror image of today’s society than ever.

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Universal Celebrates ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’ With John Belushi “Best Of Bluto” Video
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National Lampoon's Animal House Bluto John Belushi

In honor of the 41st anniversary this week of National Lampoon’s Animal House, the uproarious frat comedy that is still vibrant, raunchy, refreshingly un-PC, and hilarious as ever, Universal Pictures has released a “Best of Bluto” video that compiles some of the most memorable scenes by John Belushi‘s iconic and slovenly character.

Watch the 10-minute compilation video here below (note – it contains explicit language).

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Rutger Hauer Has Died: ‘Blade Runner’ Actor Was 75
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Rutger Hauer Blade Runner

Rutger Hauer, the Dutch wunderkind of an actor whose steely intensity made his presence unforgettable in films like Blade Runner, Nighthawks, and other challenging projects, died on July 19 2019 at his home in the Netherlands after a short illness, per Variety. He was 75.

The blond-haired actor with piercing blue eyes was a force majure on screens big and small. There was always an expected nervousness he gave the viewer when playing characters, there was always a wonderful unsettling feeling he gave to the energy of whatever might have been going on in a picture, and his magnetism went toe to toe with screen stalwarts like Harrison Ford in Blade Runner and Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams in the underrated crime yarn Nighthawks.

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Mad Magazine Is No More But It’s Still A “big deal”
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Mad magazine Alfred E Neuman

Mad Magazine, the long-running humor magazine, which sliced sacred cows of every facet of life from the left, right and the middle, announced last week that it is ceasing publication after its August issue. For many generations of fans who grew up with and were heavily if not solely influenced by the magazine in their youth, the announcement closes a chapter in the annals of American humor.

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Book Review: Giraffes On Horseback Salad: Salvador Dali, The Marx Brothers, and The Strangest Movie Never Made
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Giraffes On Horseback Salad review

Giraffes on Horseback Salad
Salvador Dali, the Marx Brothers, and the Strangest Movie Never Made
Hardcover | Kindle
Written by Josh Frank and Tim Heidecker
Illustrations by Manuela Pertega
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: March 19, 2019

A screenplay thought lost forever penned by surrealist legend Salvador Dali which was to be a cinematic vehicle for The Marx Brothers has been made into a most strange yet passionately earnest graphic novel bizarrely entitled Giraffes on Horseback Salad: Salvador Dali, the Marx Brothers, and the Strangest Movie Never Made.

Subtitled Giraffes on Horseback Salad: Salvador Dali, the Marx Brothers, and the Strangest Movie Never Made, the hardcover from Quirk Books was created using the original script notes and using sketchbooks found by the writer Josh Frank, who adapted and fleshed out Dali’s story with Tim Heidecker.

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Can You Dig It? ‘The Warriors’ Turns 40
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the warriors movie

The Warriors, the comic book-stylized film in which a New York City gang tries to make its way home after being wrongly implicated in a key gang leader’s death, celebrated its 40th anniversary this month.

Initially released to controversy due to copycat violence in some theaters during some of the screenings and the burgeoning presence of real-life gangs roaming New York streets, The Warriors has since become a symbol of pop culture iconography both as a cult classic to generations of fans globally and an early template for the kind of action films that mixed comic book narrative and martial arts-stylized fight sequences.

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‘The Sopranos’ At 20: The HBO Series Still Holds Up 2 Decades On
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the Sopranos Cast

The Sopranos, the legendary HBO mob drama laced in the world of pulp fiction yet containing some of the greatest television literature ever penned, celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. The program was a cultural phenomenon during its peak, with a finale that remains controversial, but it was just part and parcel for an entire series that was controversial throughout its original run from 1999 to 2007, usually in the best possible of ways.

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