Tag Archives: The Equalizer

The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1985

7 Apr

Wow, I cannot believe that 1985 was thirty years ago. I started the year as a sophomore and ended the year as an upperclassman. For a high school kid, that makes all the difference in the world. I could not play an instrument, but I could play the radio.1985

The year began with Madonna continuing her “Like a Virgin” dominance of the charts. In fact, the entire month of January belonged to her.

In February, her song was replaced by “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. It was one of my favorites and was a big deal for a kid who really wondered what love was all about.

It was soon replaced with “Careless Whisper” by Wham! featuring George Michael. This should have been a clear signal to the other guy. George was about to be the star of the duo. I guess that is why I call him the other guy.

REO Speedwagon was up next with “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. Honestly, I never understood the fascination with this band or this song.

“One More Night” started a big year for Phil Collins. This would be the first of three Number One songs for the singer/drummer. Or, is it drummer/singer?

Phil Collins was good, but he could not hold off a bunch of stars raising money for Africa. “We Are the World” was a song, an event and a pretty good video. It was performed by USA for Africa, a group of singers who were not all from the USA. Ever wonder who took part in this project? Wonder no more. The group was made up of (in alphabetical order):

Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheila E., Bob Geldof, Hall and Oates, James Ingram, Jackie Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Al Jarreau, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News, Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, The Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder

It stayed on top for four weeks before Madonna struck back with “Crazy for You”.

She stayed in that spot for a week and was knocked out by a song that played over the end credits of a movie. The Breakfast Club struck a chord with high school kids, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds was the song that made this chord stick.

Wham! returned with “Everything She Wants” and made sure “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” would have to be remembered because, after one week, it was a thing of the past.

Then, one of my favorite 1980s groups hit the Number One spot. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears was, in my opinion, the best song of the year.

Unfortunately, it was soon replaced by the overrated Bryan Adams with “Heaven”.

“Sussudio” by Phil Collins made sure that Bryan Adams went away. Although, I still have not figured out who or what Sussudio is supposed to be.

James Bond could save the world, but he could also put a theme song at the top of the carts. “A View to a Kill” by Duran Duran held the Number One spot for two weeks. They did it despite being connected to Roger Moore, one of my least favorite 007s.

Paul Young and “Everytime You Go Away” accomplished what no villain could. He defeated James Bond. However, he did not hold on for long.

Tears for Fears returned with “Shout”, which was not as good as their previous hit. I have no idea how it stayed at the top longer than the other one.

I admit that the 1980s were cheesy. That cheesiness was defined by Huey Lewis and the News, a group that hit Number One with “The Power of Love”.

Unfortunately for Huey, the Brat Pack would not be denied. They drove Simple Minds to the top. Now, they did the same thing for John Parr. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” was the theme song for the movie with the same name.

The fire was doused by one of the greatest videos of the 1980s. “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits provided a regular person’s view of music superstardom. The video was early computerization at its best. The song was Number One for three weeks and was followed by a string of one-week wonders.

“Oh Sheila” by Ready for the World started the trend. That was followed by “Take On Me” by a-ha, a song that was driven by its awesome video.

Whitney Houston had a Number One song with “Saving All My Love for You” and was followed by Stevie Wonder with “Part-Time Lover”. It looks as if those songs have two different philosophies.

Another theme song reached the peak of the charts. “Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer was an instrumental that took the country by storm. Of course, Miami Vice also took the country by storm and influenced 1980s lifestyle and fashion. This is where I should admit that I have never seen an episode of Miami Vice. I may be a product of the 1980s, but I still have television taste. Give me The Equalizer and The A-Team anytime.

Jefferson Airplane? Jefferson Starship? Starship? They need to make up their minds. Anyway, Starship had a hit called “We Built This City”.

The year could not end without another Phil Collins hit. However, “Separate Lives” was a duet with Marilyn Martin.

Another typical 1980s group replaced the work of Phil and Marilyn. “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister held the top position for two weeks. However, the year ended with the return of Lionel Richie and “Say You, Say Me”.

Did you have any favorites that did not reach Number One? Let me know.

 

 

 

 

Listeria – To Be Afraid or To Not Be Afraid

8 Sep

I like scary movies, but I do not see them that often. Why? Because no one else around me likes scary movies. Heck, my wife and my stepdaughter watch shows like Criminal Minds and cover their eyes during the crime scenes. How do you watch a crime show and not watch the crime? On top of that, my wife is always getting scared. If I walk into the room, then she screams. Never mind that we are the only people in the house, and she should suspect that I might walk in.

It does not stop there. The last “scary” movie I saw was The Woman in Black. My nephew went with me, but he did not like it. He likes all kinds of gross stuff, but he is not a fan of scary movies.

Honestly, I cannot see how people can get scared by a movie. It is happening on screen and is being performed by actors. Those are not real people, and they are not in the room. Getting scared in a dark alley? That is one thing. Getting scared in a dark theater? That is completely different.Horror

The other day, I saw a magazine about the “50 Scariest Movies’ that, I assume, was put out for Halloween. After all, Halloween is only two months away. To me, retailers putting out decorations two months before a celebration is scarier than any movie. Anyway, I picked it up to see how many of them I have seen and to write a blog post. I will list the ones that I have seen and write a short commentary about each one.

Cat People (1942) – I am cheating on this one. I watched the 1982 version on late night cable. It starred the beautiful Natassja Kinski, and I was not watching it for the chills. As an impressionable young man, I was watching it for her thrills.

The Thing From Another World (1951) – I saw this one a couple of months ago. It stars James Arness as the marshal of Dodge City. Wait, that is something else. It stars James Arness as an alien plant kind of creature.

The Fly (1958 and 1986) – Yep, the original and the remake made the list. The first one is best because it has Vincent Price, and it is creepy to see the fly guy caught in a spiderweb.

Psycho (1960) – Has a scene about a naked woman covered in chocolate ever been this scary? Only Alfred Hitchcock could pull that off.

The Birds (1963) – The other day, I tried to Tweet about The Birds, but autocorrect turned Tippi Hedren into Tipping Hedren. They should make a movie about someone killing autocorrect.

The Exorcist (1973) – The theme song used to be my ringtone. Every time someone called, I was hoping it was Max von Sydow.

The Wicker Man (1973) – This movie is not scary. How can a movie about people dancing in the woods and becoming one with nature be scary? In the end, Edward Woodward needed to call The Equalizer. The odds were against him, and he needed help.

Jaws (1975) – After watching this, I really see no need to venture into the domain of sharks. We have legs and do not have gills.

The Omen (1976) – Damien used to live in my neighborhood. At least, that kid should have been named Damien. There is no doubt that a 666 was carved into his head.

Halloween (1978) – You think William Shatner overacts in Star Trek and those online travel commercials. You should see his mask overact on the face of Michael Myers.

Friday the 13th (1980) – This got the decade off to a rousing start and made hockey goalies that much more menacing. I must admit that the old hockey masks looked a lot cooler than the new ones. I cannot imagine Jason wearing one.

An American Werewolf in London (1981) – The lesson of this one? Do not go hiking down foggy roads in the United Kingdom. If you do, then spend the evening in the local pub.

Poltergeist (1982) – You cannot trust real estate developers. Wait, I am a real estate developer. I just know not to build on a burial ground.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – I have to admit that I always cheered for Freddy Krueger. My good friend Robert and I had an interesting meeting with Freddy at a Halloween haunted house. I should write about that when Halloween gets closer.

Misery (1990) – I only have one thing to say. It has the worst use of a sledge-hammer in movie history. I could not get that out of my mind.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Cool movie. Cool characters. A big scene is supposed to happen in Tennessee. However, it took a few viewings before I realized what the lamb part was all about.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – A good friend of mine thought the footage was real. How could anyone be fooled like that. It is like those television shows that hunt for Bigfoot. I they had found it, then we would have already known it. The same goes for this movie.

The Sixth Sense (1999) – I figured this one out when Dr. Crowe was having dinner with his wife. When I told the people I was with, they got mad.

The Others (2001) – This is one of my all time favorite movies, and I figured it out pretty quickly, as well. However, I did not tell anyone. I learned my lesson from two years earlier.

There you have it. Those are the movies on the list that I have seen. Interestingly, one scene in one movie freaked me out, and that movie is not on the list. I will give you a warning. If you ever watch The Ring, then you should turn it off before the final scene.

 

 

Master Control

4 Mar

Back in the 80s, there was a television show called The Equalizer, which starred Edward Woodward as Robert McCall.The Equalizer

He was a former intelligence officer with exquisite tastes and a cool, black Jaguar. Of course, you can’t have a show about a retiree riding around in his car, so McCall placed an ad in the newspaper saying:

Got a Problem?

Odds Against You?

Call the Equalizer.

He got calls from ordinary people caught up in extraordinary situations and calls from people from his intelligence officer past. McCall got all of them out of jams with the help of some old intelligence officer buddies. One of those old friends was my favorite character on the show. He was even more cool than McCall.

Control was the head of McCall’s former agency and always seemed put out by McCall’s need for assistance. It could be that he was put out by his own bow tie.Robert Lansing

I was fascinated by Control because his name fit his persona. This guy only lost his cool when McCall was bugging him. Let a defector show up, and he had it under control. Let bullets fly by, and he was under control. Control was the epitome of control.

I started thinking about this character the other day when I almost lost control for the first time that I can think of. I wouldn’t call myself a control freak with the definition that I need to orchestrate everyone’s lives. However, I have always been a little obsessed with self-control. I was always the kid who followed the rules and didn’t get into trouble. When I hear friends talk about being punished by their parents, I don’t understand because I can’t remember doing anything to get punished.

Heck, the craziest thing I did was major in History. That really upset them.

I guess that’s good, but, as I get older, I regret not losing control a little more. People tell stories about driving the back roads and drinking beer, but I didn’t do that. Others talk about the spectacle that is Spring Break. I went to Europe with my parents. Of course, there are other illicit and illegal activities that people look back on. Guess what, I didn’t partake in that, either.

I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t miss anything by never losing control, but sometimes I think I did. I do know that Control in The Equalizer didn’t seem to be a very fun person. I hope that with my self-control I have been fun than him. At least, I haven’t worn any bow ties.