The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #309: Welcome Lance Guest to Discuss The Wizard of Loneliness Part 2 + Bonus Lea Thompson Segment

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #309: Welcome Lance Guest to Discuss The Wizard of Loneliness Part 2 + Bonus Lea Thompson Segment

https://archive.org/download/podcast-309/Podcast%20309.mp3

As with last week, I’m joined by actor Lance Guest (The Last Starfighter, Jaws 4, Halloween 2) to talk more about his favorite project, the 1988 film, The Wizard of Loneliness.  We wrap up talking about the film and also touch a bit on some other aspects of his life, including music and on a 2001 Disney Channel film Lance was in featuring a juvenile chimpanzee, The Jennie Project

If you missed the first part of the interview, you can find it here as well as catch a video segment that gives you visuals for the video clips we’re watching and commenting on together: 

Here’s a little clip from David Letterman where Lance (who is portraying Johnny Cash) performs with his bandmates in the show Million Dollar Quartet.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/80/The_Jennie_Project.jpg

There isn’t much out there on The Jennie Project, but here’s a little promo clip that I vaguely remember playing on The Disney Channel.  Interestingly enough, the movie itself is not on Disney+ last time I checked, though you can find it to buy on Youtube or as a part of Amazon Prime (again, like The Wizard of Loneliness, only if you have a subscription).  I don’t think it was ever released on DVD, though someone uploaded it here (you may have to sort through the three links to the right to find one that works, though; beware of popups). 

Speaking of not having much out there on Youtube, The Wizard of Loneliness has very little there.  There is a nice trailer, though, as well as a snippet someone uploaded on a scene with Sybil Oler (Lea Thompson) and Duffy Kahler (Dylan Baker).  The scene is very close to how it occurs in the novel of the same name by John Nichols, which was written in 1966.     

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Above is the cover of the novel, which, interestingly, features two different scenes from the film and merges them together in and outside the Oler house.  Unless I’m wrong and this was a deleted scene, not sure why they did that and didn’t just use the movie poster/VHS coverart made for the film (a portion below), though it’s a nice image that works well enough.  

Anyhow, thanks to the support of the fine folks on The Thirteenth Hour Arts Patreon, I reached out to Lea Thompson on Cameo to ask about her work on The Wizard of Loneliness and if the novel was helpful in portraying Sybil.  I think she is a more complicated character in the film than she is in the book since they merged an additional character (that of the town librarian, Marty) into the on-screen version of Sybil. 

In both book and film, Sybil had a short relationship with Duffy, bore their child out of wedlock, married, then lost her husband in WW2.  But in the novel, the relationship with Duffy is portrayed as a not very serious adolescent fling, and Sybil’s husband’s death happens during a few brief paragraphs of exposition.  We don’t really see it as actively as we do in the film. 

In the book, the town librarian, Marty, is a lonely figure that finds a kind of awkward connection with Wendall over books and photography.  It’s hinted that there is a kind of mutual attraction there, though I don’t think it was meant to be sexual in nature (more just two lonely souls finding solace in their mutual misery).  However, I’m guessing the filmmakers probably felt it best to avoid material that would lead to questions about the age difference between Wendall and Marty, especially if the attraction – however platonic – was to someone of the same sex.  In the movie, you kind of get the sense that Wendall has a crush on his aunt (which, to be fair, is also kind of weird), but maybe they felt that was preferable to the former.   

In the book, it really is the whole community that helps Wendall come out of his shell, whereas in the film, though the family and community role is definitely there, it seemed like they were going for Sybil becoming kind of a surrogate mother figure for Wendall (even hinted at in the cover art below).  In any event, both versions are good, and it was great to get Lea Thompson’s take on the film.  Look for more on the novel in the last part of the podcast.

Watch Wizard of Loneliness, The | Prime Video 

Thanks to Lance and Lea for providing the guest spots for this episode and for the Patrons and all the listeners for their support.

In the coming weeks, we’ll get back to more 30th anniversary Rocketeer celebrating.  We still have a handful of Rocketeer cartoon episodes to discuss as well as a number of other guests and other fun activities in the works.

I know we didn’t talk much about The Last Starfighter here, but if you look for The Last Starfighter group on Facebook, you can find many more interviews and pictures from the film, including all those speculations about sequels and so forth.   (Just with like The Rocketeer, I will believe it when I see it! 🙂

Speaking of those two properties, if you every wondered what might have happened just prior to The Last Starfighter, should our hapless hero Cliff Secord (a.k.a. the Rocketeer) live to 1983, check out the shenanigans and misadventures that follow in the fanfic short story, “The Last Rocketeer”!  

What would happen if The Rocketeer collided with The Last Starfighter? What would happen if Cliff Secord, our hapless hero from the 1991 film and the Dave Stevens comic from the 80s really did live in the 80s? Say, 1983? He’d be about 71. What if Centauri, the fast-talking game creator from the 1984 film, recruited Cliff for a special mission? What if, knowing Cliff’s luck, it all went bad? Will he reluctantly don his antiquated rocketpack and helmet for one last flight? Will his jodhpurs even fit after all these years? Read on and find out as world collide! Cliff’s back may not take the strain, but at least you can do so from the comfort of your favorite chair!

Thanks for tuning in!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #158: Reflections on Rewatching Spacecamp

Episode #154: Reflections on Rewatching Spacecamp

https://archive.org/download/Podcast158_201808/Podcast%20158.mp3

This week, I decided to take on one of my all time favorite movies as a kid, Spacecamp (the reason for my wanting to be an astronaut for almost 10 years and going to the actual camp in Huntsville, AL three times), and rewatch it to see what it looked like through adult eyes.  It was a mixed experience, as I expected and talked about on the show, but overall, when viewed as a fantasy, I still think the movie is a lot of fun.  Yes, the whole reason the Space Campers end up in space is contrived, but then so were the plots of most 80s sci fi movies.  I still enjoyed the teen movie elements (it was probably the first actual 80s teen movie I watched without actually realizing it), the characters, the music by John Williams (which, every time I hear it out of context, takes me right back to being a ten year old looking forward to the movie as the opening credits rolled), and the dialogue.  There are still some downright funny scenes.  And that’s how I view it all these years later – a lighthearted 80s sci fi teen comedy with elements of a thriller rather than something akin to a training film for future astronauts (which is probably closer to what I thought at age 10 – hence the fact I can still recite verbatim whole sections of dialogue).

Like a lot of 80s films, Spacecamp featured an ensemble cast with the teamwork approach (i.e. each person on the team has their own specialty), which of course fits for a space mission movie.  You may recognize a number of the actors here from their roles in other films.

And just in case you’re wondering, there is an adult Space Camp that you can do over a weekend.  And a family camp were you can go with your kid.  Just sayin’.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #154: Reflections on Rewatching Some Kind of Wonderful

Episode #154: Reflections on Rewatching Some Kind of Wonderful

https://archive.org/download/Podcast154_201807/Podcast%20154.mp3

This week, I decided to take on one of my all time favorite movies, Some Kind of Wonderful.  I’d been awhile since I watched the whole thing, start to finish, and given that I’ve done a bunch of these retrospective rewatchings over the last few years for this show, I’ve mostly gotten over the worry that I’ll tarnish a rose-colored, nostalgic view of a film I enjoyed as a kid when looked at through adult eyes.  In many cases, like this one, my views are somewhat different, but thus far, the basic elements that drew me to films such as these years ago have not changed much despite the years in between.

Of all the 80s teen movies, for some reason, this one was always my favorite.  In some ways, it ironically also feels like the most grown-up of John Hughes’ 80s teen movies, and from what I’ve read, was his last one of this type. Most people know of The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink, but for some reason, this one is not quite as well known.  It does sound like it quite difficult to write, and the backstory behind the making of the film is quite interesting to read if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

I identified with the main character, Keith, as a teenager and remember thinking it would be great (and probably too good to be true) if your best friend also turned out to be your significant other.  (I’m guessing a lot of guys can identify with that wish, especially if it all happens without you having to, you know, do actual work.)  I loved the way Keith and Watts bantered back and forth, and it’s probably one of the main reasons why the main characters in The Thirteenth Hour, Logan and Aurora, not only have a similar relationship but come to understand their love for each other in much the same way Keith and Watts do in the movie.

Rewatching it years later, the basic charm of these two still holds, but I found myself appreciating the other characters in the film much more.  Perhaps even more than Keith and Watts.  All in all, I thought Keith’s father, played by John Ashton, was actually a pretty good guy and, in the end, supported his son in the way we can all only hope to support our own children (i.e. the most difficult way – even if we don’t like or agree with what they are doing, we still believe in them, to paraphrase what Keith tells his father.)  I found myself siding a bit more with his father this time around.  I know, I know.  But just a bit.  I found myself wanting to take Keith aside and give him the low-down – forget about high school drama – no one is going to remember or care in ten years.  Don’t blow your college fund on a single date for a girl who you don’t really know and probably won’t appreciate it.  Not fair to you.  Not fair to put that kind of pressure on her.  And, you know, hate to say it, but your old man’s onto something.  He wants you to go to college, I get it.  Make him happy.  He ain’t gonna live forever.  He doesn’t want to be worrying about you when he retires.  So pick a school in a place you can tolerate.  But by all means, pick one that has a good fine arts program so you have the option to major in that if you like.  Once you’re in college, it doesn’t matter!  So few people actually use their college degrees for their actual work, anyway!  Alas, I’m not sure anyone gave Keith this talk (not sure if it would have done much good – what 17 year old wants to hear this kind of stuff?).  But his Dad came sort of close.

john-ashton-some-kind-of-wonderful-photo-GC   John Ashton as Cliff Nelson

I always liked the unlikely pals that Keith meets in morning detention, Duncan and his gang, but appreciated the comic relief Duncan brought to the film much more this time around.  Elias Koteas, who plays Duncan (below), sort of reprises the role as Casey Jones in the first live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film a few years later (1990).

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I love the scene where Keith walks into detention, expecting Amanda, only to be greeting by a bunch of dudes in motorcycle jackets and shades.  The guy above randomly rips a book in half, a scene that still cracks me up to this day.

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Two artists bonding over their works of art – Duncan’s is a vandalized school desk (scratched with a pocket knife) and Keith’s is in his sketchpad (I don’t think we ever see it – probably a picture of Amanda Jones).  Another great short scene.  Duncan, of course, has to break the desk in order to show it to Keith 🙂

img_4212Lea Thompson as Amanda Jones

Speaking of Amanda, I always liked the way the Amanda Jones character was a bit more three dimensional than just phoning it in for her looks, but I liked her a lot more this time around.  She’s no angel, of course – she cuts class and then weasels her way out of detention by sweet talking the driver’s ed teacher and clearly doesn’t have the best taste in friends or boyfriends.  But, hey, no one’s perfect.  She’s portrayed as a human being, flaws and all, and one of the nice things is that she grows.  You get to see her change course at the end of the film, when she decides to learn to make friends and find significant others who like her for who she is, not for who she’s with – a great lesson that everyone needs to learn in some capacity at some point.  Unfortunately, there traditionally aren’t as many of these roles for women – the kinds where it’s seen as a positive for her to stand on her own two feet even if it means outwardly losing face in the eyes of school (mirroring the eyes of society).  This article hints that Lea Thompson pushed for more three dimensionality in her character than the script originally intended.

Speaking of which, this site is a great resource for all kinds of trivia regarding the film, including a copy of the script.  There’s also whole music section.  I mentioned on the @the13thhr.ost instagram page how much I’ve enjoyed the soundtrack over the years, though unfortunately, it really should be a two disc set since there are lots of good songs and instrumental parts not found on the album.   The synth instrumentals were done by Stephen Hague and John Musser, which you can find here as isolated tracks.  Thanks to fans, here’s an instrumental compilation of the score:

The song playing when Amanda and Keith head up to Hardy’s house is Charlie Sexton’s “Beat’s So Lonely,” a great 80s track, also not on the official soundtrack, but a great high note to end on.  Stay tuned for more 80s films as the summer progresses!

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #99: Reflection on Rewatching Back to the Future

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #99: Reflection on Rewatching Back to the Future

https://archive.org/download/Podcast99_201706/Podcast%2099.mp3


In today’s show, I’m talking about something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time – rewatch Back to the Future, one of my favorite movies of all time.  As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes I’ve deferred rewatching the films I loved as a kid in the event  time rendered them in a more negative light.  “I’d rather remember you the way you were back then,” I’d rationalize to myself, not without some melodrama, and put the movie back on the shelf.  

Which is, of course, ridiculous, since part of the draw of any good story is its ability to be appreciated on multiple levels, by multiple ages.  And despite knowing this, I still sometimes wanted to protect my childhood favorites.  

I need not have worried with Back to the Future.  If anything, rewatching BTTF was like tasting a fine wine that’s been left to age a few more decades in the casket.  One taste reminds you of everything you’ve missed, sweeted by time.  And you think to yourself, “Why did I wait so long?”  

Truth be told, BTTF has had over thirty years to let the embers of time add to its flavor.  So there were a number of layers to the film that I couldn’t have appreciated as a child of 8 or 9.  The teenage mix of independence, idealism, and bravado to hide the yearning for unconditional love and acceptance.  The wall of middle age, with its inevitable disappointments and losses, that has dulled the keen blade of adolescence to a blunted, beveled edge.  The lonely journey of the scientist, plodding away amid failure after failure with only the glimmer of rare success to guide the way.  The social commentary on gender roles and racial stereotypes.  The multigenerational themes that get passed from parent to child.  It’s all there, though I missed it the first few times around.

I also was surprised to see how much the Marty McFly character influenced the creation of Logan from The Thirteenth Hour.  I initially thought he was kind of like a young Indiana Jones type (like the character portrayed by Patrick Flannery).  Then after rewatching The Rocketeer, I was impressed how much Cliff Secord there was in him. And now, after rewatching BTTF, I can’t help but recognize how much Marty there is in his DNA.  Not surprising since The Thirteenth Hour paid homage to these films in various ways.  But I just forget all the myriad ways the films permeated the fabric of the manuscript from the very beginning.

In any event, speaking of beginnings, episode 100 is coming next week, and shortly thereafter, we’ll have artist, musician, and filmmaker: Jeff Finley.  His documentary about his friend Brent Simon, who sang songs about Spacecamp, means that there’s only one thing to be done sometime in the near future: rewatch the 1986 film, Spacecamp, and do an episode on it. And if that happens will Howard the Duck be far behind? Until then, we’ll be hearing from Jeff soon.  

Episode 100 will have more details about an upcoming EP, the sequel to Long Ago Not So Far Away.  Podcast listeners get first dibs!  Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.  

Check it out!

Starving Artist Section: Rewardable TV

This app for iOS and Android is a remarkably stable but passive way to earn some cash online by viewing short videos or animated gifs. Check out the link below for more info:

http://dl.rewardable.com/

As always, thanks for listening!

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