Saturday, April 25, 2015
By MICHAEL WALSH
As regular visitors to this website know, Reeling Back was launched on the morning of Friday, October 4, 2013, a premiere that was announced at the opening ceremonies of VCON 38. About 23 weeks from now, convention toastmaster Spider Robinson will preside over the opening ceremonies of VCON 40; on that day, I'll begin my third year in cyberspace.
VCON 40's author guest of honour is Joe Haldeman. A SFWA Grand Master and member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Haldeman is a Vietnam war combat veteran. He's best known for the classic (and chillingly timely) The Forever War (1974), but his work over the years has earned him every major award the genre has to offer.
In Vancouver, of course, no discussion of time travel would be complete without a mention of "future boy" Marty McFly, the role that made TV actor Michael J. Fox a major movie star. Born in Edmonton, Fox is beloved as a local boy because he grew up in Burnaby, B.C., and made his acting debut on the 1977 CBC-TV series The Magic Lie.
In 1985, Fox co-starred with Christopher Lloyd in the summer blockbuster Back to the Future, the story of a teen who travels back in time to the happy days of 1955. Though not planned as a series, the audience wanted more.
The creative team of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale responded with Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990), producing a brilliant comic trilogy that has stood the test of time.
And when in the future did Marty visit in that second feature? Why, it was October, 2015, a place on the space-time continuum soon to be occupied by a time-travel-themed science fiction convention in Vancouver.
Tonight (April 25) in Vancouver, all three pictures will be on view at the Rio Theatre on Broadway. Shown in order, they're scheduled for 7:00, 9:15 and 11 p.m.
For those interested in the "Your Guide to What's New" portion of this blog entry, the ten most recent postings to Reeling Back were:
YENTL — Actress and singer Barbra Streisand was already a superstar when she made her debut as a director. She made movie history with this 1983 musical adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy, putting a fine feminist spin on the period tale. (Posted April 24)
THE SECRET OF THE SWORD — A feature-film pilot for the Saturday morning television cartoon series She-Ra: Princess of Power, this 1985 spin-off from the He-Man - Masters of the Universe show featured the voice-acting talents of the iconic Alan Oppenheimer. (Posted April 23)
KING LEAR — The lesser of the two motion-picture adaptations of Shakespeare's royal tragedy released to theatres in 1971, director Peter Brook's severely trimmed version starred Paul Scofield in the title role. (Posted April 23)
LION OF THE DESERT — An ambitious attempt to offer Western audiences a slice of Middle Eastern history sympathetic to Islam, director Moustapha Akkad's 1981 epic cast Anthony Quinn as the Bedouin teacher-turned-warrior who led the resistance to the Italian colonization of Libya. (Posted April 21)
BEAR ISLAND — A late entry in the cycle of all-star high-adventure films, director Don Sharp's 1980 adaptation of the Alastair MacLean novel was an Anglo-Canadian co-production filmed in northern B.C. The cast included Canadians Donald Sutherland, Barbara Parkins and Lawrence Dane. (Posted April 19)
OUT OF AFRICA — Based on Danish author Isak Dinesen's memoir, director Sydney Pollack's lush 1985 romance — a best-picture Oscar winner — brought together Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in a tale that unfolds beneath Kenyan skies. (Posted April 17)
THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER — Remembered as one of Hollywood's biggest box office bombs, director William Fraker's 1981 return to the thrilling days of yesteryear etched the unlikely name of Klinton Spilsbury in the annals of feature film trivia. (Posted April 15)
ISHTAR — Synonymous with cinematic disaster, writer-director Elaine May's 1987 homage to the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby cycle of road pictures was not well received. Its stars were the charm-challenged Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. (Posted April 14)
THE TERRY FOX STORY — Based on the life of the one-legged runner whose "Marathon of Hope" touched the nation, this 1990 tribute feature turned his extraordinary achievement into a standard screen tearjerker. (Posted April 12)
TREMORS — Working with a fine cast and a well-crafted script, director Ron Underwood delivered unpretentious, old-fashioned thrills and laughter in this 1990 homage to the low-budget sci-fi classics of the 1950s. (Posted April 10)