Tag Archives: Gremlins

Awesome 80s Bedrooms: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure Edition

In my quest to search through and document all the fun junk in 80s era pop culture bedrooms there are a few films that I thought I was going to have to skip over because I figured there wouldn’t be much fun 80s stuff.  Like say, Stand By Me, which features a scene in Gordie’s room, but being set in 1959 it kind of rules itself out in terms of rad 80s stuff.  Similarly I knew that there was a super cool room in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure but honestly I didn’t remember much in the way of stuff that would make much sense to talk about here.  I mean Pee Wee, and most likely Tim Burton, is really deep into the whole kitsch movement of collecting and decorating (he’s close friends with Allee Willis, the Queen of Kitsch), and a lot of that stuff hails from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.  Sure, there are definitely things in the 80s that would eventually become kitsch, but I figured they’s be largely absent from his room.  Well, I stuck the film in the other night just to scope out his room anyway, and I was surprised by a handful of the items I saw laying around and figured, what the heck, lets dissect Pee Wee’s bedroom…

Pee Wees Big Adventure

Before I get into, I just want to say that I’m not documenting every single thing in the room (or house as lets be realistic here, that whole place is worthy of dissection.)  For one, there’s just too much stuff, and for another, a lot of it is pretty much beyond the scope of this site and my pop culture knowledge.  I will try and point out a couple things from the 50s and 60s I recognize, but I’m not gonna beat myself up over missing stuff…

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1). Ultraman, Godzilla and some T-Rex plastic dinosaurs…

2). Zoids Gojulas (for Godzilla-esque Zoid)

zoids gojulas

3). Howdy Doody

4). Giant Stripe from LJN’s Gremlins line

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So, if I’m learning anything from some of the recent rooms I’ve been studying, it’s that the Gremlins was way more popular that I remembered.  I mean stuff shows up in The Explorers (granted, directed by Joe Dante), Goonies, and now Pee Wee’s Big Adventure!  As for the rest of the stuff in this screengrab, there’s some sort of Disney Pluto statue or toy (not sure), a giant coloring book I can’t make out, some toys in boxes on the floor and a bunch of dolls hanging from the ceiling and beams around Howdy Doody.

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5). Gilbert Stuart’s unfinished portrait of George Washington

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6). Giant Gumby Toy

7). Mr. Potato Head

8). Late 60′s Red Tin Batmobile

late 60s era Japanese tin Batmobile

9). Saturn Robot

Saturn Toy Robot

10). Huckleberry Hound Marionette

11). Disney Drum Set from the 70s

Disney 70s era drum set

Again, there’s a lot to process in this shot, from the evil-eyed ostrich with the African pigmy warrior on its back to the giant wooden Jack-o-lantern man sitting on the windowsill.  Looks like there’s a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica there, a weird UFO diorama, there’s a toy train around the fireman’s pole, multiple fire truck toys, and a little wooden alligator pull toy.  Again, lots to take in…

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12). Bambi rug

I’ll be honest, I never noticed what was on this rug because I was always transfixed by the utter cuteness of Pee Wee putting on the bunny slippers and having them go after that weird anthropomorphic carrot!  So, that’s the bulk of the stuff in his room, but I’m going to go ahead and look at a few more rooms just because there is so much fun stuff…

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13). Mister Action Scuba Diver (though it might be a MA Scuba outfit on another doll, not sure if these came in all sorts of varieties, with/without beard, etc.)

Mister Action Scuba Diver

14). Bugs Bunny Electric Toothbrush Set

Bugs Bunny elestric toothbrush set

Is, uh, Bugs giving me the finger?  I think he’s giving me the finger.  “Eh, brush up, Doc!” indeed…

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15). Planters Cheez Curls can

Planters Cheese Curls

16). E.T. metal lunchbox

ET Lunchbox

So, I wanted to point out the can of Planters Cheez Curls because, one, I miss the ever living crap out of them and used to eat them all the time, and also because I still think it’s weird to see non-nut products from Planters.  Seriously though, I prefer the Planters Cheez Curls and Balls over Cheetos any day.

So last, but certainly not least, I felt it was only appropriate to point to the super fun sprinkler system outside…

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17). Whammo Willy Water Bug

Whamo Willy Water Bug

So, anything I missed, or anything from a an earlier decade that you feel deserves a mention?  Oh, and I’m well aware that I left out the Mr. T cereal ’cause that one’s pretty obvious…

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Ben’s room from The Explorers

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big

Awesome 80s Bedrooms: Goonies Edition

In my quest to document some of the awesome kid’s bedrooms from 80s flicks I’ve been kind of bummed that some of my favorite flicks don’t really have any bedroom scenes, or if they do they’re super abbreviated.  A movie like SpaceCamp only features the communal bunks at, er, Space Camp, while films like Wargames, The Wizard, and Little Monsters have super boring rooms with little to nothing to really comment on.  There are also some that are featured so quickly that it’s hard to really get a good look at anything.  Today’s awesome 80s bedroom, Mikey’s room from The Goonies, fits in that latter category, even though it’s a brief appearance there are still a handful of fun things to be spotted…

Goonies

This main shot has the bulk of the fun junk (even though there is a second shot as Mikey walks out of the room where you can see his work bench, there’s not a lot to comment on…)

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1). The Jacksons Poster clipping (most likely from their 1984 tour) *Corrected* Prince and the Revolution!  Dude, the white glove tricked me!!!  Thanks to The Navigator (as in Flight Of) for pointing out this poster clipping error!

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2). MSA All Service Gas Mask Model S.

MSA All Service Gas Mask Model S 1

3). 1984 LJN Gremlins PVC figures (featuring the Gizmo and Stripe Mogwai)

LJN Gremlins Figures

4). Tomy Zoids ZRK model

zrk

5). 1978 Superman Sheets

Superman Sheets

So there’s a handful of fun stuff in this shot.  I was really happy to spot the Zoids toy as well as the Gremlins Mogwai figures (a nice nod to Spielberg), but also the ’78 era Superman bed sheets!  Richard Donner having a past film in the set dressing is pretty rad.  There’s a bunch of magazines and comics on the dresser that are impossible to identify, as well as an interesting looking pink book that I have no idea what it is.  Also, I love the skull light on the bed post!  Speaking of magazines though…

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6). Coconut Pirate Head

7). Mad Magazine issue 227

MAD Magazine issue 227

This isn’t the only Mad magazine in the flick.  Though Mikey is looking at this issue in his room, in a moment, after he walks out and gets a pep talk from Bran, he throws himself on the couch where he picks up another issue, again making reference to Donner’s 1978 Superman film…

Goonies 1

8). Mad Magazine issue 208

Mad magazine 208

So, even though this was a really quick sequence, it illustrates that Mikey still had a pretty awesome bedroom!

So, did I miss anything?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Ben’s room from The Explorers

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big

Alternative Movie Posters bringing the Art back to Design

I’ll be the first person to admit that I have my gaze set firmly in the past when thinking about pop culture art and design.   The packaging, ad campaigns and poster designs, all of the branding that I love to examine, catalog and collect.  I know a big part of this is because of my nostalgia, looking back to my childhood to what I consider the heyday of innovative and interesting artwork and design.  And I know that this can become a trap, where I’m blinded to great modern work because it’s doing something different than what I might prefer.  In my defense though, there are what seem like unending trends in graphic design these days that have made the landscape truly mind numbing and boring. In particular I’ve noticed this with a lot of modern poster design for films and DVDs, which I’ve mentioned before bugs me to no end.  I mean seriously, is it just me or do the following posters all blend into one giant mess of bland, sad, white noise?

Movie Posters the same more

I would certainly not lay this at the feet of the films themselves as there are some really great movies in this bunch (as well as some truly horrible films.)  All I know is that if I walked into a theater with a wall of these posters all lined up and had to pick a movie based only on this imagery I’d be confounded as to which one to pick.  They’re all the same.  Even when the campaigns are a little more successful in terms of good design, you quickly see so many other designers jump on the bandwagon, diluting interesting concepts and bringing it all back down into the pool of white noise, boring static…

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Obviously this isn’t always the case.  There is still some great poster design out there in the mainstream, for instance the campaign that was recently run for the 2013 release of The Wolverine

the wolverine poster good

Simple, beautiful and tied into the story of the film (what little coherent story there was in that very horrible movie), the artwork in the above poster is a breath of fresh air even though it was the cream in an ad campaign that was rife with other horrible designs like this argument for banning the “brightness/contrast” function in Photoshop…

the wolverine sucks

So, does this mean that the art of design died sometime in the late 80s?  Of course not, it’s all about trust for creative vision and the lack of which exists in the large movie studio system.  These companies have millions of dollars riding on marketing and design campaigns and when attempting to sell their product to as large an audience as possible they can so very easily lose sight of the merits true art, favoring instead to stay the course of design by committee honed by market research and focus groups.

But there is a fascinating response to this bland design in film art, and in his new book Matthew Chojnacki explores this phenomena.  Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground dives into the limited run screen prints, glycees and digital prints created for revival and festival screenings of movies that have been cropping up over the last decade.  There’s been a movement to bring the intimacy and limited edition of band gig posters to the film world where thousands of artists celebrate screenings with interesting conceptual designs.

Film Art

For those of us that don’t want to do battle with the shopping cart at Mondo (trying to land a copy of their popular, insanely fast selling screen prints), or who can’t afford to keep up with all of the amazing artwork with these alternative posters, Chojnacki’s book is a great archive highlighting the work of over a hundred different artists from all over the world.  Much like he did with his previous book, Put the Needle on the Record, he really does an amazing job curating this collection of independent artwork.  Whether it’s double page spreads highlighting a specific artist or using these opposing pages to compare and contrast between artists, focusing on a particular style, medium, or similar concepts, there was a lot of care put in the arrangement of the designs.

Goonies Gremlins

There are over 200 posters spanning the gamut of the past 80 years of film, from stark expressionistic takes on M through to unbelievably creative spatial collages for The Dark Knight Rises.  For lovers of film and design Chojnacki’s Alternative Movie Posters is a welcome raft in the sea of uninspired corporate design.  Not every piece of artwork in the book will win you over, but all of them go a long way to recapturing a time when studios actually seemed to care about producing and commissioning true works of film inspired art.

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Each work is accompanied by artist commentary including poster specific inspiration, the art, films and other artists that influence their work, as well as what they use to create and their thoughts on film.  The book also annotates each piece with biographical info and how to contact the artists to find further work or commission some of your own.  Though the book doesn’t focus on any specific genre or era of film, for children of the 80s there is a lot of work focusing on the films we grew up loving.  Tron, Robocop, The Dark Crystal, Gremlins, Goonies, Labyrinth, The Burbs, The Lost Boys, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Big and a ton more…

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I also love that Chojnacki didn’t limit himself to work being released in America, the roster of artists is truly international and an interesting mix of well known and up and coming designers.  I was just as excited to spot artwork from folks I recognize like Joe Simko, Tim Doyle and  Jason Edmiston, as I was to be introduced to folks like Gary Pullin (contributing outstanding Teen Wolf and Street Trash posters), Laurie Shipley (with a great Revenge of the Cheerleaders piece), Rocco Malatesta (with a great eye for minimalism and spacial conceptualization in his Raging Bull piece) , and Ryan Luckoo (who did a phenomenal job with the Dark Knight Rises.)

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If you have a film buff, artist, or designer on your Christmas list this year, do yourself a favor and pick up Matthew Chojnacki’s Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art From the Underground (and while you’re at it, pick up a copy of Put the Needle on the Record too.)  You won’t be sorry you did!

 

Awesome 80s Bedrooms continues: Explorers edition!

I spent a few hours this weekend cracking open the cases on my 80s-centric DVDs and combing through the flicks looking for some more rad kid’s rooms to obsess over and I found some pretty neat stuff.  I really am having a blast doing this, finding things I never noticed.  Usually when I pop these movies into the DVD player I’m immediately engrossed and just watch the flicks with eyes wide and a smile on my face, but I forced myself to detach and just observe this time.  So today I’m gonna share a few things I saw in the 1985 Joe Dante movie, Explorers!

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Unfortunately, so many of the shots in Ben’s room are in the dark as most of these scenes are shot when he’s sleeping and dreaming of schematics for building the inner workings of Thunder Road.  So it was sort of hard to make out some of the stuff.  There’s some interesting toys on his desk and on the shelves by the windows that I just can’t make out.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some real treasures here as well…

Explorers 6

1). Issue #9 of the original run of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe, Q-S edition! (I’m hoping Dante or one of the set designers included it because of Rom!)

Official_Handbook_of_the_Marvel_Universe_Vol_1_9

2). Carl Bark’s Uncle Scrooge comic book, issue #37

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3). Robo Force mini comic (packed in with the Toys.)

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4). Space Camp Stickers

This next screen shot is a little frustrating.  There are a couple of things I spotted which I’ll detail in a minute, but there are a lot of other things that I just can’t nail down.  For instance, the white robot on the shelf by the window.  I’ve scoured some of the “Old Toy Robot” sites and I just can’t figure it out.  That style of toy is one of my big weaknesses when it comes to recognizing stuff from the 70s and 80s.  If it’s not Rickey’s Robot butler on Silver Spoons, the robot that Rocky buys his kid in Rocky 3, or Conky from Pee Wee’s Playhouse I’m usually stumped.  There’s also some sort of carrier toy to the right of the robot, and a weird purple and yellow bulbous robot-looking toy on the desk that I can’t figure out.  Ah well…

Explorers 7

5). Go Bots Super gobot Psycho

psycho

6). Starlog Issue 84 (featuring a story on the Gremlins)

Starlog

I love how Dante peppers his movies with little things from his previous flicks.  There’s a Twilight Zone the movie poster in Gremlins for instance.  So this issue of Starlog was a fun little hidden gem, though there is something way cooler coming at the end of this post!

**Update** Esteban over at the Roboplastic Apocalypse nailed down one of the toys on Ben’s desk above as the Dred Crawler from Robo Force.  Good eye Steve!  You can clearly see the little clear bubble with the red antenna…

robo49a

Continuing on…

Explorers 2

Finally, a scene where the lights were on.  Though unfortunately you only get this vantage of his room for the most part.  But there are a couple of neat things, namely…

7). Transformers Lazerbeak (or Buzzsaw, it was hard to tell if the body was red or gold…)

Comm-Series-Laserbeak_1275741317

8). Huntsville, AL poster for the Space Academy complex.

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9). It Came From Outer Space poster

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10). Japanese robot Halloween masks.  I can’t figure these out for the life of me.  The one at the bottom sort of looks like a green Ultraman, and the other one (as well as a couple other in another section of his room) look like Shogun Warriors, but I don’t think they are.  Again, this is a lacking bit in my pop culture knowledge… :p  Anyway, for a second I’m going to exit Ben’s room and take a quick look at Wolfgang’s kitchen which features one of my favorite childhood toys!

Explorers 3

11). The blue Tonka Hand Commander Jet!

tonka hand commander

This was one of my favorite toys.  I loved that you could hold it like a gun (there was a hand and trigger on the bottom that when squeezed would make the propellers turn.  I used to run all around my house with this jet, crashing it into the sofa, or dunking it in the bathtub for water landings.  Sigh.  This toy also pops up in an episode of Silver Spoons, the second episode I believe.

Alright, now we get to the seriously cool hidden gem in the movie Explorers.  I mentioned that Dante likes to put stuff from his previous flicks in the background of his newer movies right.  Well, how freaking cool is it that Ben Crandall has the following item on his dresser!

Explorers 5

12). Stripe’s Skull from Gremlins!

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Is Ben the luckiest kid in the world?  Yeah, I think so.

So, did I miss anything?  And can anyone identify the masks or that big white robot by his window?

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big