Pop culture is embracing the ’80s for Halloween this year – both the Today and Good Morning America personalities dressed as iconic ’80s celebrities, movies, and TV shows. But one Hollywood restaurant is stepping up their Halloween game, and it will make your Soul Glo! Fat Sal’s Sandwich Shop is now emblazoned with the Golden Arc’s and has transformed into Coming to America’s McDowell’s restaurant, complete with the noted Scottish tartan uniform and a menu that takes a foodie spin so a certain red-haired clown can’t make any copyright claims.
Items include the Sexual Chocolate shake (chocolate shake, chocolate syrup, chocolate shavings, cherry, whipped cream, and a fat slice of chocolate cake), The Big Mick (hamburger patties, lettuce, pickles, and onions and fries on hero bread), and Zamunda Fries (blackened chicken, cheddar, mozzarella, onions, peppers and habanero aioli). Music from the soundtrack plays on the speakers and a plaque celebrating Akeem, The McDowell’s Employee of the Month, is hanging on the wall. Next door, you’ve got the pop-up Mi-T-Sharp barber shop, of course!
McDowell’s at 1300 Highland (that’s Highland and Fountain) and closes for good at 3 a.m.- if you go, please tweet or Instagram us photos @80sMovieGuide!
Source: The Daily Meal, Sexual Chocolate Shake photo @ReubenMourad, exterior shot @johnnyrobott
July 13, 1985: where were you? Without knowing you personally, I know that sometime during that day, maybe for one minute, or maybe for an hour, or maybe all day, you were plopped in front of a TV set. You were watching Live Aid, a massive concert performed in various countries with the most famous and celebrated music acts, as it was being broadcast on TV. This was the massive concert organized by Brit artist/producer Bob Geldof to raise money to feed those starving in Africa due to a widespread famine (it occurred seven months after his wildly successful Band-Aid holiday single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”) and an estimated 1.5 billion people across 110 countries watched it. The next question: which performances stand out? Let me guess: at least one group you remembered was Queen.
Bohemian Rhapsody is made in 2018, but it’s an ’80s movie, no doubt. The film opens and ends at Wembley Stadium for Queen’s reunion performance at Live Aid in which Freddie Mercury energetically stole the show. The movie is a trip down memory lane, but it also fills in a lot of blanks.
Kids in the 1970s were always singing “We Will Rock You/We are the Champions.” I specifically recall one of these moments when I was 7, propped on top of my backyard monkey bars, and learning the band who sang the anthem was named Queen. I was confused, and I asked: “Is there a girl in the group? If it’s all men, why wouldn’t they name the band King?” The answer I received was a shrug. Twenty years later, after the passing of Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury from AIDS, I finally understood (or thought I did) the name: Aha! I get it! And, then assumed everyone in the band was gay. Only now, 40 years after I first pondered that question, and having seen Bohemian Rhapsody, do I finally understand the moniker.
I grew up with the music of Queen but the band members weren’t too much on my radar – no more than the artists who made up Toto or ELO. I remember the “Is He Gay?” speculation of Elton John (yes), Boy George (oh, yes), George Michael (OF COURSE…oh wait, I guess not…oh, scratch that, TOTALLY), and the rumored tryst of “Dancing in the Streets” duo Mick Jagger and David Bowie (who cares?). Freddie Mercury was someone I was aware of, but didn’t occupy much of my thoughts – and certainly didn’t care if he was or wasn’t gay. But now, knowing a little more of Mercury’s outrageous personality and the phenomenal, original music that stands the test of time, the idea of watching a band biopic is absolutely mouth-watering and I couldn’t wait to see it.
And then, I did. The reality is that the film is interesting and well worth seeing, but don’t expect to feel a deep connection with the story, the band, or Mercury. It reminded me most of Mamma Mia!, where you feel fulfilled by hearing all the music you love, yet the storyline feels shallow, even though it’s trying so hard to give you depth. But still, you recommend it to your friends. If it comes on TV, you leave it on. It’s satisfying, even if it isn’t all that you hoped.
The journey of Bohemian Rhapsody begins with a young Parsi Brit with a mouth full of teeth named Farrokh Balsara. He’s a Heathrow Airport employee already full of swagger. When he introduces himself to Smile, a local band he’s taken a liking to, they quickly join up. From there, everything seems to move so fast, it’s hard to gauge time and if the group struggled at all as a musical act or was an instant success. Zoom, zoom, zoom – the film is 2 hours and 15 minutes, so it’s understandable a lot had to go, but what it loses is the heart, the understanding, the relatability, and the connection the audience so wants to experience.
The film centers on Freddie Mercury who knows exactly who he is professionally but is searching for his identity on a personal level. Rami Malek falls into the trap of playing a well-known personality – he does a killer impression of the Freddie Mercury persona yet doesn’t quite capture Mercury’s spirit. On the other hand, Gwilym Lee NAILS EVERYTHING about lead guitarist Brian May, it’s almost an uncanny valley: he looks, moves, and speaks absolutely identically to May.
The film also repeatedly lumps significant events together, as if they happened simultaneously. Again, time constraints – okay – but if we’ve learned anything from Oliver Stone’s JFK, it’s that when an audience “learns” something in a biopic, they assume it’s true, even if it’s more “based on truth.” It’s worth at least a look at the Wikipediapage after the movie, just so you know what’s what. (And by the way, the film covers most of the major events, but this ’80s Movie fan is a little disappointed there is no mention of the Flash Gordon soundtrack – “FLASH! AA-AAA! SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE!”)
The end result is learning how it all came to be, the creative genius of Queen’s timeless music, and witnessing the original thinking so many others have copied since. Kudos for showing that Queen wasn’t all Mercury – it was a group effort and they are reflected as equal contributors who get plenty of screen time.
Bohemian Rhapsody was a long road with directors and talent signing up and falling out, including director Bryan Singer being fired halfway through filming and Dexter Fletcher (who directed the heartwarming Eddie the Eagle) hired to salvage it. It seems that making the film about Queen was as much of a beautiful mess as the band themselves. And like Freddie Mercury, the film isn’t perfect, but it has an amazing range and hits all the high notes.
UPDATE: Winners have been picked! Congrats to Jason R., David W., Bradshaw D., David, and Instagram winner Changomania!
George Romero’s zombie classic Night of the Living Dead is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! Largely considered one of the best horror films ever made, Fathom Events is presenting the newly restored and remastered version in 600 movie theaters with screenings on Tuesday, October 24, and Wednesday, October 25.
The Fathom Events presentation also features a new behind-the-scenes look at the making of this groundbreaking film, which ushered in a completely new approach to making horror films. For years, audience have only been able to see Night of the Living Dead in washed-out, murky versions; this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see the newly restored version on the big screen.
This will likely sell out. But, ’80s Movie Guide is giving away FIVE PAIRS OF TICKETS! All you have to do is FOLLOW and/or LIKE one of our social media accounts (@80sMovieGuide on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook). You get one entry for every action you take – for instance, if you leave a comment, you get an extra entry. If you repost or retweet, you get an extra entry. Just make sure we know you want the tickets!
The FIVE winners (two tickets each) will be picked at random on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Winners will then be notified by the social media account they connected with (we will need to get name, email, and your choice of theater and time). Names of the winners will also be listed here in an update. Any unclaimed prizes will go to the entrants who seem like they want the tickets the most through their entries.
The 1983 Michael Keaton-Teri Garr comedy classic Mr. Mom is getting a 2019 makeover as a digital series on Vudu. It looks like the first of many as MGM inked a deal with the Walmart-powered streaming service to create content from their vast library with “Movies On Us,” which aims to compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
The original Mr. Momwas written by John Hughes and directed by Stan Dragoti. It was hilarious at the time because men were rarely stay-at-home dads in the ’80s, and it highlighted how women were becoming a part of the workforce. Now that women have careers and dads serve as equal partners in raising the kids, it may be a little harder to push that concept. But, they’re going to try! The series will actually revolve around the film’s toddler Megan, now grown up, taking a job and leaving her husband to tend to her little one.
It’s the 30th Anniversary of Young Guns (currently steaming on Hulu and Netflix) and we’re celebrating. Young Guns is considered the most historically accurate version of Billy the Kid on film, but let’s be honest – the real Billy and the Regulators weren’t quite as attractive. By putting hot, cool actors like Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland in a testosterone-heavy “band of brothers” environment with a “heavy-metal” ’80s score, did Young Guns make gun ownership sexy to men? We explore how Young Guns affected its teen viewers in 1988 and how it still affects Gen X today on the latest episode of ’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents. Give a listen to our take on Young Guns below and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.
Also, check out the complete guide to Young Guns: https://80smovieguide.com/young-guns/