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  1. #781
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    No new post on Thursday.

    I have Jury Duty this week. Don't know if I'm going to get picked - so I have no time to finish up the next Past Tense.

    This is beyond my control.

    So the next update will happen on August 12th, 2021. This way, the month can become normal, the usual two entries.

    That's it, nothing more to add. See you on Thursday, the 12th. Sorry.

  2. #782
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    Best Buy - August 3rd, 2021


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  3. #783
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    Target - August 3rd, 2021


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    Past Tense - The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants Part I


    Once again, another brand new entry! This outing we get a comfy romcom leading to - you guessed it, a wedding in "Made Of Honor"...



    The motion picture opened on May 2nd, 2008. It was made with a budget of $40,000,000 (estimated); counting foreign receipts it made $106,548,738. The movie bombed domestically ($46 million) when counting all the millions put into advertising. The film opened number two at the box office, the following week it dropped to number four.

    The feature opened against "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", "Iron Man" and "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay".

    As far as I can tell no slipcover was issued for the standard version - which is disc one of this exclusive. Odd that in 2008, full screen was still being offered. The disc has the film in full and anamorphic widescreen.

    The standard edition came with one insert - information for entry to the "Say I Do Romance Sweepstakes"; contest ended October 31st, 2008. Grand Prize - a round trip for two to Scotland along with five nights hotel stay, daily breakfast and three course dinners, ride about in a luxury motorcoach. Trip includes visits to Cawdor Castle, Glen Ord Whiskey Distilery and Edinburgh. Value $6,000.00. Five first prizes - emerald cut, diamond at its center, pendant. Crafted in white gold. Value $5,000.00 each. Ten second prizes - flowers for a year (seasonal bouquet for each month). Value $600.00 each. No purchase of the DVD was necessary and no goes "trip" for July and August of 2009.

    The exclusive set also came with this contest sheet.

    - - -

    There was a single exclusive from Target which streeted on September 16th, 2008. This was released for DVD ($22.98, release week) and Blu-Ray (price unknown).

    This was three times; exclusive slipcover, bonus disc and Digital Copy. I do not know if the bonus disc came for the BD version. *shrugs*



    Above are the DVD images from the slipcover and the wraparound. Catch it? The images are different; the store exclusive and standard release - which is inside the slip. I didn't notice until doing the image work. Nice.

    Made me smile.

    To bad this is a regular thing. Granted for some of their exclusives - they do add a lenticular slipcover. But that's rare thing.



    Above is a better look at the exclusive cardboard, non-embossed slipcover and its back cover. Gonna take a pause here. This is one of those titles that feels like it was mean for me. Yeah.

    Did not buy this when it came out in '08. It wouldn't be until 2021 when it would be mine. I knew about this set and had it on my back burner for months. MONTHS. This wouldn't be mine until I pulled the trigger on January 3rd, '21; bought off eBay for $8.25 total - minus one of the last "eBay Bucks" I had. It would have been $12.93.

    It arrived later that month - was brand new, still sealed. One copy for sale, no takers for all those months; as if this was waiting for me. Now a part of my collection.



    Above is screen shots from the bonus disc. I'm gonna be counting all the extras for the movie. In total this content (two making-of featurettes and two deleted scenes) have a run time of 22:57 minutes, presented in anamorphic widescreen.

    The rest is various previews and theatrical trailers for quasi-releated features from Sony. What the hell does the wanna-be horror movie, remake "Prom Night" (2008) has to do with this flick??? The same with "You Don't Mess With The Zohan" ('08). Whatever.

    It also came with a second insert, the final store exclusive - Digital Copy instructions, single sided. It expired September 16th, 2009.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.

    I guess. I suppose. It did somewhat bomb for America.



    The movie is about two friends; Tom Bailey, Jr. (Patrick Dempsey) and Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) who met while in college on Halloween night in 1998. She was honest about her dislike with him - he's a Playboy sleeping around in college (Cornell University). Tom was at the time sleeping with her roommate. But it is her candor that makes Hannah compelling to him.

    Flash forward ten years later, they best friends. He's never slept with her since he didn't see her as a disposable sex partner. He's made a fortune from creating "coffee collar" a slip for cups that prevents people from burning their fingers.

    Hannah works in the restoration department at New York's Metropolitan Museum Of Art on antique paintings. She is given an offer to travel to Scotland to work on some artwork there. She agrees and Tom encouraging her, a great opportunity.



    A decision he regrets when she comes back weeks later... with her fiancé, Colin a wealthy Scot who's family made their fortune in fine whiskey. She excited to be married and want him to her her maid of honor - much to the chagrin of her friends. A wedding to take place in Scotland at one of Colin's family estates.

    All this time, Tom hasn't considered Hannah as more than a pal, but it was in her absence that he realizes how much she is a part of his life. She shares is interests and passions. The women he tires to fill in that void all crash and burn.

    Before he was given the news - Tom was considering becoming more with his best pal. That now won't happen.

    Tom's friends give the advice that he should be the best 'maid of honor' possible - so that she will see him in a different light, consider more than just a friend. He does, but it backfires on him. It makes her very firm on her decision - Tom is the best person for the job.

    Days to the wedding; friends and family have traveled to Scotland for the wedding.

  5. #785
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    Past Tense - The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants Part II




    Okay - how creepy is that pix? 'When we are wedded, I'm going to bed you... non-consensually.'

    There is a family tradition of having game; similar to Highlander Games to prove that the man is worthy of her hand. Tom joins in - he's motivated to win. Even if this is superficial, that's not the point - to best her would be suitor.

    The various competitions has Tom and Colin in a tie. Only two contestants left - the final game, log tossing. It ends badly for Tom. That's it, he lost.

    The day of the wedding he drops out allowing her other friend to be the MOH, a role she wanted since the wedding was announced. As he's being driven back to the airport, he has a last minute thought - one final effort to say his peace.

    He manages to commandeer a horse to ride to the church before the ring is put on. And I'll stop here. You can pretty much guess what happens next. I have no buyer's remorse. It's a popcorn romantic-comedy.



    The movie was directed by Paul Weiland, pictured. I enjoyed it, but wished there were were a moment between the men.

    The opportunity was at the games; Colin realizing that Tom loves Hannah and this game was more than family tradition. He's out to show how he's better than him. Then this becomes know to these men - this is war, a secret tournament for her hand.

    The log toss happens different - Tom fails, but fails upward. He falls on his face, but uses all of his strength to toss the log, at an odd angle. It hits the floor, flips and barely flips once more on the ground, landing next to Colin's log. The game mediator looks at the logs - then with a metal ruler on the ends, it's a draw. Equals.

    Tom is shaken and a bit weaken by the toss and is as if he's ready to fall back down. Colin is pissed off and punches Tom. But since he's having trouble standing, the punch misses. Seeing what's happening, Tom punches back at Colin, a bloody nose. Then it descends into a brawl. The mediator announces there is a precedent for this kind of conflict between two suitors. Pushing people away from the fist fight - last man standing wins.

    At this point, Hannah realizes what's going on and is ticked off. All this time and now at her wedding does Tom finally comes to her sense. And mad at Colin for sinking to this level for her affections. She yells out to both men and marches off with her pals. This stops the fight, both men are bleeding and bruised - no winner. Colin's mother comes over and tell him she's disappointed - because her champion couldn't beat this 'runt'.

    The game festivities ends; attendees depart, leaving Tom and Colin alone. They talk about how they came to the realize Hannah was the girl for them. Tom sunken, how he lost his best friend, damage done. The men sharing a bottle of Kentucky bourbon that Tom had smuggled in.

    The movie then returns to its course.

    There is this scene in "Leatherheads" (2008) where the two men seeking the girl's love have a fist fight. A younger man, Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) and a older mature fellow, Dodge Connolly (George Clooney). It's a private fight, no audience. Two men going at it. Rutherford thought it was an easy win, he's younger. But Connolly has years of fighting under his belt, experience. It ends with both men, bruised talking about how they fell in love with her; Lexie Littleton (Renée Zellweger), sharing a bottle of booze. This moment has no real bearing to the plot, but is all about characterization, making the men three dimensional and relatable, Carter is not a bad man - he's a decent fellow - the same with Colin.

    Oh well. I did enjoy the movie.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Just Because.



    For me, among the Monaghan sister actresses; Michelle and Bridget, Michelle is hotter. She looks feminine and conveys it well. Bridget is too athletic for my liking. She's attractive, but not like her younger sibling who looks like what you would imagine - 'the girl next door' would appear as.

    And can flip - sexy and adorable on a whim (her role as Harmony in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" [2005]).

    So Tuesday night... was in bed, ready for slumber and a thought popped. My phone was nearby, did a quick search. I was correct. Sway. Went to sleep; the following evening, wrote this entry with the last minute addition.



    Michelle had a tiny role in the 2005 horror, supernatural, murder mystery - "Constantine". It was uncredited, she played a succubus, Ellie - cut from the movie; single shot of her is in the film, when holy water rains down from the building's sprinklers. Too bad she died.

    She's in the deleted scenes under "Demonic Tryst". The she-demon that Constantine (Keanu Reeves) was bedding. We get a glimpse from under the sheet, Ellie has a tail. And she appears in an alternate version at the night club, working. She is a demonic prostitute.

    Oh yeah, just so you know, my jury duty was three days long; not the case - just jury selection. It ended with three groups "B", "C" and "D" (mine) used to gain the twelve and alternates. There were just three of us, unpicked, till they had their numbers. We were then excused; here in California, we get $15.00 per day, minus the first day and .34 cents per mile to the court house - *one way*.

    The case was expected to go well into October; Monday - Thursday each week. I'm not a part of it; cancer from using the "Roundup" herbicide from Monsanto. You probably have seen the television ads for the class action lawsuit about the weed killer.

    Okay. Come back her on August 26th, 2021 for more. Not sure what that will be, but will do my best to make it entertaining and informative.

  6. #786
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  7. #787
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    Past Tense - Nuclear Apocalypse '80s Style Part I


    This is one of the more different entries. I'm going to be showcasing a title and it's upgrade. Did not expect this to turn into a two parter. Surprise!

    I'm going to be talking about the not sci-fi drama, "The Day After".



    The ABC TV movie aired November 20th, 1983. It was a mega hit when it aired - well over a hundred million people were watching; this equaled 62% as in sixty-two percent of the entire nation was viewing it that night. It was a three hour presentation with limited commercial breaks (once the attack happens, no further commercials). Yeah.

    The movie is decent enough, so what was the drawl?

    Timing is everything. Let me give you some perspective...

    This aired as the Cold War was ratcheting; America and the Soviet were talking about expanding nuclear capabilities. The U.S. was working on their space based missile shield system, "Star Wars". Which was pure BS, we didn't have the tech at the time to make it work - but the Russians didn't know. And spent billions upon billions trying to create their own competing system, it never worked. It couldn't work, not enough power could be generated for the orbital platform.

    It was a laser system to shoot down missiles before they could do serious damage to America, multiple satellites to cover the nation, like under a dome. But those satellites could only shoot one or twice before the system got drained. Too much power for those long distance lasers. The technology wasn't up to the task. It was a ruse to get the Soviets to drain their resources. It worked.

    Anyhow.

    This movie came out when there were genuine fears that each day could very well be our last. At any time, we could be attacked and it's a war with no real winners. Death from the detonation. Lingering, suffering death from the radioactive fallout. The people who would be dying wished they were already dead. Seriously bad stuff, physical disintegration; hair and teeth falling out, unable to digest food, loosing muscle mass and so much worse.



    That week's TV Guide issue.

    I was in junior high when this aired. The movie was something that school staff felt needed to be shared. I didn't see it when it was broadcast. I saw it in school. Shown in our social studies class (on VHS, recorded on someone's VCR). They took it quite serious. Which is dark as hell, showing little kids mass devastation and deaths.

    The movie was made to be as scientific accurate as possible. The director had a tough time with the network since he wanted to get more graphic; radiation sickness, but was told to pull it back. When it aired there was a warning, this program has disturbing scenes. And suggested that families watch it together to have a discussion about what to do should it happen.

    No sh!t, this was something that frightened a lot of people. When it aired there were 1-800 numbers for hotlines to talk to a counselor about what was being shown.

    It aired on a Sunday night. The following evening, "Nightline" had a lengthy discussion about the movie and what could happen. Host Ted Kopple had NASA scientist Carl Sagan, General Brent Scowcroft, ex-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, professor of humanities Elie Wiesel and social commentator William F. Buckley Jr. to talk about the subject. This is something I would like to see today. I'm not a little kid and can now appreciate the discussion.

    Imagine a room awash in gasoline and there are two implacable enemies in the room. One of them has nine thousand matches. The other has seven thousand matches. Each of them is concerned about who's ahead who's stronger.
    - Sagan

    The movie was the topic of in-depth discussions from Time and Newsweek magazines to TV Guide. The filmmakers touched a taunt nerve. Can't please everybody; critics at the time fell into two camps, mostly. One - this is nothing more than sensationalism. Two - this was too real; as in based on real possible events, but was way too graphic. The other subset of that, not graphic enough - hoping the movie could be used as a legit deterrent against nuclear war.

    You could very well say that "The Day After" was one of the iconic films of the 1980s. It did so well, that PSO, Producers Sale Organization released the movie in Europe, theatrically - with six more minutes of footage. These were edits from deleted moments, not more graphic scenes. The film was screened for President Ronald Reagan on October 10th, '83. In his memoirs, he said the film left him greatly depressed.

    I'm really touching the surface here - the impact this TV movie had on the media and people in power. It changed minds.

    Okay. The details.



    The film first came out on DVD on May 18th, 2004 from MGM Home Entertainment for $27.98.

    This is the TV broadcast. Presented in full screen and had zero bonus features.

    Man, MGM dropped the ball here. They could've at least included that "Nightline" episode as an extra. It would've been memorable. Nope. There's more, but I'll get into that in a few.

    I will say that cover was excellent; certainly gets the point across and has rich colors.



    Horrible cover here. Where's the umph? The TV movie was re-released on disc on August 8th, 2018 from Kino Lorber Inc. for $19.95 on DVD and $29.95 for Blu-Ray. This was a two disc special edition. It has both the TV broadcast (full screen) and theatrical (anamorphic widescreen) versions, both remastered.

    Extras included commentary by film historian Lee Gambin and comic artist/writer Tristan Jones. And interviews with actress JoBeth Williams and director Nicholas Meyer on the making.

    Both the DVD and BD have the same extras.

    The Kino release is a genuine upgrade. I'm only going to show you a single example, but this encapsulates all that's wrong with the MGM release. Sure at the time, it was the only way to own it on disc. It looks like they were just going through the motions rather than making it a solid DVD.

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    Past Tense - Nuclear Apocalypse '80s Style Part II




    Same moment above - the differences are huge. A lot of artifact distortions and jagged edges. Plus the film is cropped. I did not expect that. Why? I don't know. On the right is the Kino version - holy crap so much was cropped out. You can now see all the various details like those pipes and fallout shelter sign.

    There not much more to say. If you want to own this movie, don't bother with the MGM DVD. Oh - those still were just after the first nukes impacted.

    I should, this is for some - unseen.

    The movie is mostly focused on a middle of America town of Sweetsage, Missouri. We follow families and individuals who are dealing with the after effect of a nuclear exchange. Why Sweetsage? It was next door to a U.S. missile defense silo and near Kansas City - one of Russian targets.

    This is a farm lands. We follow the Dahlberg family who was at the time getting ready for the wedding of their eldest daughter, various dress rehearsals. Nope. Nuke happens. Then this gears towards the dying and what happens when authority break down, even the loss of technology - the explosion created an EMP killing everything with a computer chip.

    We are witnessing society coming undone. This is bleak, people die. And no, no happy ending. As I wrote, the living would envy the dead. [smiles] And no SkyNet.

    This has some Hollywood tropes, but held strong in presenting a realistic 'what if', few punches pulled. Can imagine this movie made a lot of people upset and scared. Not just from the war, but from man's inhumanity to man. If you could put a label on it - 'life isn't fair'.

    - - -

    Okay I'm gonna shift a bit, but not by much. Once again, story...

    So after the mega hit that was "The Day After", the Brits wanted their own version - what would happen to England if such a nuclear exchange happened? They opted to go more graphic with more gut punches with "Threads". The BBC (Two) aired on September 23rd 1984. This was a two hour movie.

    Both "The Day After" and "Threads" are considered companion movies.

    Their production could be considered a docudrama - what could happen to a working class city of Sheffield, England as society unravels from the deaths, hoarding and utter chaos.



    Above is the home video ad; this was released as a remastered, special edition on DVD ($19.95) and Blu-Ray ($25.95) from Severin Films, Inc on January 30th, 2018. Extras are the same on each format.

    Commentary with director Mick Jackson - moderated by film writer Kier-La Janisse and Severin Films’ David Gregory. Interview with actress Karen Meagher. Interview with director of photography Andrew Dunn. Interview with production designer Christopher Robilliard. Interview with teleplay writer Stephen Thrower and U.S. trailer.

    Four months after broadcasting in England it aired in America and was the most watched basic cable program of its day, making history; [B]Superstation TBS[B] on January 13th, 1985. Unlike the U.S. film, this included the harsh after effects of a nuclear winter. Later it would air on PBS. It was a big deal, TBS presented the film without commercial breaks.

    I have both TV movies on DVD; Kino and Severin. There is more. The movie was repeated on BBC (One) on July 31st, 1985; aired as part of their fortieth anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

    They didn't want just to re-air the program, they wanted more and found it. In 1966, during the Cold War, documentary filmmaker Peter Watkins was commissioned to do a docudrama about what could happen after a nuclear attack on Great Britain - to inform folks. It was called "The War Games". He didn't pull punches. The BBC said it was too much and refused to air it (too graphic).

    Now it's '85. They were looking for additional content and rediscovered this unaired program. It took nineteen years, but Watkins' docudrama finally aired - aired before the movie. Sway.



    On July 25th, 2006 it was released on DVD as a double feature - "The War Games/Culleden: The Cinema Of Peter Watkins" from New Yorker Video for $29.95. I have it, but have yet to watch. I paid thirty bucks for it in September of 2018. Now this is going for 'like new' for $50.39, used. It came with a commentary by Patrick Murphy and a booklet on the history of the production.

    To be clear - this was screened at several film festivals, just not aired on TV.

    There you go. Yeah, it's a gloomy post. Depressing stuff, but not woes are negative. Seek them out. Okay.

    See you here on September 16th, 2021 - back to the normal stuff. And yeah, October is coming. Just saying. *wink*

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    Past Tense - Counting Your Money, After The Is Done Part I


    This time out we get to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em; another brand new entry! We go back to the 1800s with "The Gambler".

    "The Gambler: The Complete 6 - Film Collection" was released on home video on October 6th, 2020.



    It streeted against "Valley Girl" (2020 remake), "The Secret Garden" and "Save Yourselves!".

    This came in a transparent case with the wraparound printed on both sides. The inner has a Brady Hawks still (star Kenny Rogers) with zero data; no air dates nor synopsises. *shakes fist* What the hell?

    There was no insert or slipcover issued. I ended up including an index card with all the air dates and networks.

    - - -

    Not an easy task - nope. But I did find it.

    "The Gambler" continues to be a Wal-Mart unadvertised exclusive (no sticker on it indicating what it is); only when you look at their website do you get the information. Why? I don't know. Seems so counterproductive, wouldn't you want people - customers to know?

    As I write this - there is no national release date announced.

    The five DVD set streeted at the store on October 6th, 2020 and had a retail price of $19.99. It has since changed. There is no extras present... unless you count that other movie. I'll cover that in a few.

    There's a story to be told I'll do that first.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.



    I've been trying to buy this collection - in a different form for years. TimeLife had a box set with the first three releases in the franchise. It came with a bonus deck of cards. This was what I wanted and to buy the last two mini-series separately. I made so many attempts and they pretty much all failed - eBay. Two tries happen in earlier 2021.

    Folks who have 'make an offer' listing, but don't want offers, why have it if you won't allow it? So this was a 'no go' for me. Now I'm glad it didn't happen. I wouldn't spent so much money collecting and later kicking myself for buying them all.

    I did not know about this collection until September 3rd, 2021 - I was out of time at one of the stores when I saw it. Yeah, my jaw dropped. Bought my copy for $14.99; looking at the tag, the price was reduced in June of '21.

    These TV movies and mini-series has been released, re-released and re-re-released over the years from TimeLife, Timeless Media Group, Echo Bridge Entertainment and now by Shout! Factory which by the way had bought TMG a few years back (but has yet to re-release their complete series sets).

    So many different DVD releases these 2000s.



    My plan was originally to get that TimeLife box and the last two mini-series from Timeless Media Group since EBE is well known for dropping bit rates to cram as much as possible on their discs. *nods*

    As I wrote earlier, I'm so glad my previous efforts failed. This set is so convenient and value priced. Sway. The stupid thing, recently I was at my local Wal-Mart and saw it for sale. NOW! All these past months, nearly a year after the fact, it's now at my store.

    Something that must be understood. Came to learn this over the years. When the store has an exclusive release - for some bizarre reason it won't be carried at all their stores. I'm under the impression these things are regional as it were then become wider available. Again, I have no answer why.

    - - -



    I should, this is a generational thing. I'll start with some history. Okay - yeah. That second pix, going left to right. I'm pretty sure that's a terrible way to hold a rifle. One mistake, boom! You lost your noggin'.

    This was a series of TV movies and later mini-series from CBS and NBC based around a popular song (written by Don Schlitz for/about his late father) by Kenny Rogers, "The Gambler" 1978. The song was a massive hit back in the day, crossing over from country music into pop on Billboard.

    CBS needed filler content for the movie of the week and looked at the song as a potential project. I can image the talk about having Rogers in the lead. 'Man is not an actor, can he act? Oh screw it, people will tune in just to see how much of a train wreck this will be. Either way we make money on ratings.'

    The stand alone TV movie aired on April 8th, 1980... and was a hit too. Which I can guess damn surprised network executives. Was this a one time deal? Curious they set into motion a sequel, but that didn't happen until 1983. Why the delay? Rogers had a singing gig; recording songs, going on concerts and producing his brand. He didn't have the free time to do another movie.

    But the stars alined and "The Adventures Continues" was made; aired November 28th of '83. Once again This was a hit for the network. Proving this wasn't a one hit wonder. They wanted a third entry, but were met once again with the same, old problem - his schedule, but now with a new twist. This was becoming a thing for Rogers, so he wanted to make sure the next installment had an excellent script which got expanded and expanded - becoming a two part mini-series.

    "The Legend Continues" was promoted by CBS in 1987 like it was nobody's business, partnered with McDonalds and Mercury (automotive). It had a larger cast with famous actors in various roles. A bigger hit than the last one. It aired in two parts on November 22nd and 23rd of '87.

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    Past Tense - Counting Your Money, After The Is Done Part II


    What happened? I'm fuzzy on that. It wouldn't be until 1991 that the next installment came out. But not on CBS, now coming from NBC. I'm guessing rights were lost and the other network snatched it up. Like before this was about finding time in Roger's schedule to make it and having solid quality in the teleplay.

    "The Luck Of The Draw" aired on November 3rd and 4th of '91. Like the productions for CBS this was another hit too. Can imagine their executives were ticked off for lost ratings.

    The final entry was taken back to CBS with "Playing For Keeps" - another two parter, aired on October 2nd and 4th, of 1994. It was once again a solid hit for the network. But ended the decade long franchise. Why? These things even were nominated for emmies.

    Kenny Rogers was getting up in age and these productions were hard for him to make; not a young man. He had a knee and shoulder injuries. So bad, during his concerts he would sit down. There were some talks about another installment.

    Even coming up with the idea on why the character was moving slower with difficulties - Hawks was in a shootout, nearly was killed and took various injuries happening at the start of the next mini-series. But sadly this didn't happen. He fully retired in 2017 after finishing concert tour (ending in Nashville, Texas).

    Kenny Rogers died on March 20, 2020 (10:25 p.m) at the age of eighty-one from bladder cancer.

    The other reason for the failure was the drift; networks no longer believed audiences were interested in westerns. That pretty much was the final nail in the franchise.

    Many like myself wish there was one more; a final mini-series, even killing off the character. Which would've been grand, a blaze of glory, perhaps done to save the country.

    - - -



    This wasn't the first time one of his songs were turned into a movie. After the first, CBS did it again with his other popular song, "Coward Of The County" (written by Rober Bowling and Billy Ed Wheeler) 1979. The stand alone TV movie aired October 7th, 1981 with Rogers in the lead role of Uncle Matthew.

    He played a beta who after the rape of his would-be girlfriend (Largo Woodruff) rises up to do some justice. It was dark and set in the early 1940s.

    You could say this is the sole extra in collection. As of writing, I haven't seen it. Never seen it. So it would be new to me.

    I'm reminded of a lost adaptation.



    Years ago this almost happened to singer Avril Lavigne; her hit song "Sk8ter Boi" (written by Lavigne, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock and Graham Edwards) 2002. There was going to be a theatrical feature based on it; announced in 2003. Produced by MTV Films and written by David Zabel (producer and series writer for the NBC series "ER") for Paramount.

    Would Lavigne had starred in it? Don't know. She did some acting, minor - in various skits on "MadTV" and "Saturday Night Live".

    The production was stuck in development hell for years - in April of 2008 the project was dropped. Too much time had passed. When the song first came out, it was an anthem for teens. A song about thwarted love because of cliques and prejudges.

    As I understand the song is about her - she wrote about her life, switched the gender.

    - - -

    "The Gambler" universe is set in the Old West of the 1880s. Established poker player Brady Hawks makes his living by the cards and by his gun. He's hardly looking for trouble, but trouble finds him often. Beyond the deck, he's earned the respect of many, including the red men; a honest fellow.

    No super hero, just a decent guy thrown in extraordinary circumstances.

    Pretty much the only constant in the franchise is his partner, Billy Montana (Bruce Boxleitner). We meet him in the first one; he's a wanna be poker player - who wants to learn from the best - much to Brady's chagrin. The kid keeps trailing him. But proves to be an asset on his travels. They become friends; he tags along, less about poker, but because of the adventures Hawks gets himself into; excitements and escapades. And the women. *wink*

    That's it. Cool exclusive. I'm happy.

    Sorry about this being a day late. I'm in Southern California; for weeks it's been 104 -108 degrees here. Too hot to cool down the home. Only parts of the house could be air conditioned, no central air (or heat). Was in no mood to write or research. Did do the image work, but that's about it. So everything got delayed.

    Sorry.

    Come back here on September 30th, 2021 for another comparison post. Why? They're pretty easy to write and I have all the image work in the can. I need to start working on the 7th "Annual Limited Edition Horror". Yup, it's that time once more.

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    Past Tense - Hope At Times Is About Surrendering And Moving Forward, Here Or Far From Home Part I


    Since far too much work is yet unmade for next month's extravaganza - we have a simple, meat and potatoes showcase - another comparison. An upgrade? The mini-series adaptation of Ray Bradbury's classic - "The Martian Chronicles"...



    Sorry about the res, this was the best I could find and work with. The other is the TV Guide advertisement.

    The NBC TV reworking of the classic 1950 sci-fi novel aired in 1980 and was so-so received by critics and audiences. It was a six hour presentation, shown in three two hour installments; "The Expeditions" (January 27th), "The Settlers" (January 28th) and "The Martians" (January 29th). It was a jointed NBC and BBC production.

    Over the decades the program has gain cult status; mix of odd decisions and 1970s kitsch. The mini-series was finished in '79, but didn't air until '80.

    Blame Bradbury, he trashed the production during a press conference. The mini-series was scheduled for a September 1979 airing. Pulled.

    The thing is - the author worked with screenwriter and fellow author, Richard Matheson on the adaptation. Both of their hands were in the teleplays. If he was unhappy - why didn't he do more to fix his woes? One of life questions that will go unanswered. Ray Bradbury died on June 5, 2012 in Los Angeles.

    Because of him the network tried to minimize the damage and aired the mini-series months later.

    The core - everything turning to crap. Earth nuked itself, WWIII. What remains of humanity finds a new home on the red planet, but it too is dying - there is no unity. We are becoming extinct, like the last inhabitants.

    I saw this when it first aired. And became depressed by the conclusion. This will be such an uphill battle to save ourselves. If at all.

    Part I takes place in January of 1999; the first manned mission to Mars - "Zeus"; a two man crew. Col. John Wilder (Rock Hudson) is the NASA project's director; depressed that he won't be going on that historic exploration. A project he's worked on for over ten years. The large rocket is launched, things are in motion. The shuttle craft detaches from the main craft and lands on the surface. A few minutes later, communication is lost. Unsure that happened and if a rescue is needed - a second expedition is set into motion.

    "Zeus II" lands on Mars on April 2000. They transmit their success and searches for answers. They come across a massive anomaly. Why is there a 1970s town on the red planet? Just like the last mission, contact is lost; both expeditions were murdered by Martians. The second was far more humane. They don't want us. They don't want to know us.

    "Zeus III" lands on Mars June of 2001, the final effort by Earth to venture on Mars. This time lead by Wilder. They find the remnants of the pervious attempts and have one of their own going rogue. It ends with John having to kill one of his oldest friends, Jeff Spender (Bernie Casey) from assassinating the rest of the crew. Spender's reason is both profane and mysterious - what did he finds out there while seeking, alone? What made him go homicidal?

    Part II takes place in February 2004. "Zeus III" returns to Earth; Mars becomes the next boom. A feet of ships arrive to Mars to colonize. Rich and poor seeking to make their futures on the red planet. The settlements is headed by Wilder who is doing his best to keep a balance. An effort that echoes Spender's final words. The ships were designed to be stripped and repurposed. This creates a city that grows and grows with each new dispatch.

    Two years later, things start to go wrong. Nations have laid claim to areas, extensions of those countries. Those spots become disputed. It become heated. Folks know war is coming. And many, most - return to Earth to be with their families and to return to get their loved ones OFF the planet, return to Mars. The efforts of so many were in vain, the nations of Earth nuked themselves over Martian property rights.

    Part III takes place in November 2006. Hoping that something or some people could be saved (his younger brother and his family); Col. Wilder returns to Earth - finds only devastation, no survivors. He returns to Mars to be with his family who didn't evacuate. What follows is various survivors, existing separately; some are seeking others. And others who are content to fade away.

    What John wanted so badly, only hinted by Jeff was seeing a Martian. He does. But it's one dead person talking to another.

    What happened? Martians were nearly all killed off from chicken pox brought by one of the Zeus missions. It ends with John destroying what remains of the working space crafts and heads out with his family to rebuild (if possible) and consolidate the new 'Martians'. There was some hope, but what was presented was bleak. I'm giving you the basics, so much more happens.

    At times the production (sets and costumes) appears to be campy and so 1970s disco culture. It's a pocket of that time and quite bizarre. The future has so many leisure suits. I liked it; counting - I have bought this three times over.

    - - -



    The first was the 1989 laser disc box set from Image Entertainment. Three double sided discs presented in CLV. Sure, UPC# 014381637069. This was a pricey thing, a $99.95 price tag. Can't recall how much I paid. But I knew places which had discounts. So it was something less. I bought it new, not used.

    There is something here I will address, but that will be in a few - picture issue.

    Curious, I looked about; turns out some are asking for $29.98 for this LD set.

    - - -



    This came to DVD on September 7th, 2004 from MGM Home Entertainment for $19.98.

    There were no extras and like with the LD this is presented in full screen. This was a two disc set.

    I bought my copy in October of 2007; yes, I'm that anal. The copy wasn't great (picture wise), but this was the last home video release that wasn't on VHS.

    - - -



    It would take fourteen year until the next re-release. This was remastered with a lite extra (an interview with actor James Faulkner who played a Martian in Part I).

    Kino Lorber Inc. on June 26th, 2018 put out the mini-series on DVD ($24.95) and Blu-Ray ($34.95), both as two disc sets.

    For unknown reasons, this remastering, the image is both darker and hued in blue. That laser disc also had the mini-series presented in a shade of blue, but not that dark. The '04 DVD showed the program with a red tint on Mars and was brighter. I much prefer this imagery, easy to see what's going on and colors too.

    The Kino release has a double sided wraparound; you could pick which cover art you wanted to display as seen above. That's nice, few titles give that kind of option. Good for them.

    That's the stats. Now the meat of this post...

    - - - - - - - - - -

    From left to right is the MGM and ]Kino DVDs.



    Col. John Wilder confronting Zeus III's archaeologist, Jeff about what he did and what is yet to come.

    As you can see the differences. Colors is muted in the '18 release and is presented darker. But the resolution is much clearer.

    What happened? The U.S. flag on Wilder's coat (and other crewmen) have forty-eight stars. What happened to those two missing states and which were they? *nods*

    - - -



    Another example of how dark they made the image.

    John visits one of his friends after Earth nukes itself. One of his former crew who had spent his savings to open a burger joint on a high traffic road for miners and colonists. Would've been a huge success - if the apocalypse hadn't hit.
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 10-06-2021 at 06:14 AM.

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    Past Tense - Hope At Times Is About Surrendering And Moving Forward, Here Or Far From Home Part II


    Sam Parkhill (Darren McGavin) used his notoriety as one of the surviving Zeus III crew members, like car salesman, Cal Worthington. An Amerian cowboy who help stop a murderer.

    Man, you can barely make out the restaurant sign, Sam riding a rocket.

    - - -



    Before I forget to include. This is the original hardcover novel (first pressing) by Bradbury; published by Doubleday on May 4th, 1950, two hundred and twenty-two pages.

    The book source that stirred so many imaginations.

    - - -

    Back on topic.



    Near the very end of Part III; the Wilder family making new roots away from the world they once knew.

    You can see what I mean about the image quality. The MGM DVD has an interlace problem. It can and does look pixelated at times, especially when you pause the image.

    This is completely absent on the ]Kino release - as it should be. But now as said, too dark and in a shade of blue.

    - - -



    From Part III once more. Here is John's encounter with a Martian (Terence Longdon).

    This is another example of how extreme ]Kino made their image. This was the last straw for me.

    I decided not to get rid of that '04 DVD, it had image issues, but it had the better colors and you could make out what was going on.

    And yeah, their eyes glow red. They really dropped the ball on this transfer. Isn't the point to be able to see what's going on? I don't understand why they thought that was good idea.

    - - -



    I have the CD soundtrack too. This came out in 2002 as a limited edition; only 3,000 copies made from Airstrip One Company. This has the score by Stanley Myers, but is not complete.

    Additional music was done by Richard Harvey - due to rights (like Mars), those cues were not included. All and all it has thirty-six tracks. The main theme still saddens me.

    All these years, decades - I still want it. The mini-series presented a future van. Add to the pile of weird choices - the sound effect for the vehicle was a jet engine. Why?



    This would be so sway in Lego. Have a minifigs of Wilder and Spender in the front seats.

    Can see this on my desk. I would buy it.

    - - -



    There is an oddity that isn't part of the Kino release; probably lost to time. In 1979, before the mini-series aired. The lengthy program was whittled down into a ninety minute feature.

    It had a very limited theatrical release in France. What stories were omitted? We may never know now. Above is another promo image; not the French poster.

    Had an extra image, decided to stick it here.



    Yup. That's a ten year old; pre-famous Laurie Holden as Marie Wilder with her on screen mom, Ruth (Gayle Hunnicutt). Long before she gain fame as Andrea on "The Walking Dead".

    There you go. Nothing too complicated and easy to complete.

    Come back here on October 7th for the 7th Annual Limited Edition Horror! Spooky. Like breaking wind, unexpectedly...in crowed room. Indeed. See you then.

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