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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE! - THIS IS NOT A DARK RIDE

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November 28th, 2006


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11:21 am - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE!
Thanks to moroccomole for giving me a heads-up that today is Joe Dante's 60th birthday! Check out this great blog commentary and tribute to his long list of films.

I was about twelve when I saw Piranha on cable, and my brain imploded from how funny -- and dark -- and darkly funny -- it was. Gremlins and The Howling did the same thing. And when I'd read interviews with Joe in Fangoria, he'd cite all these influences that I knew nothing about -- people like Mario Bava and Roger Corman and Val Lewton and Jean Cocteau. By the time I was fifteen, I started to work in a video store, and my tiny cinematic brain began to subvert a bit, and terms like avant-garde and schlock and psychotronic and exploitation suddenly became part of my vocabulary.

Since then, I've always been a huge fan of Joe's films, and an even bigger fan of him as a person. I got to meet him when I worked on the Universal lot in my early twenties, and I'll be forever grateful that he was the first "honest-to-goodness-Hollywood-person" who offered to read one of my scripts and give me meaningful feedback.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:guysterrules
Date:November 28th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
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I hope Birthday Joe has fun tonight. I love his films, and thank you for referencing Val Lewton in your journal.
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From:e_ticket
Date:November 28th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC)
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CAT PEOPLE, baby!!!
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From:delko
Date:November 28th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)
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OT but, have you seen the new Tron inspired Honda Civic ads?
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From:e_ticket
Date:November 28th, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC)
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Yes, and I LOVE them. :)
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From:finfinfin
Date:November 28th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)
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I think my favorite movie of his has to be Explorers. For a time I thought I could build a space ship out of a bunch of junk. Very cool.
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From:shake_it_up
Date:November 29th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
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The Dante segment of "Twilight Zone: the Movie" was so great, I had high hopes for "Gremlins". I didn't like the nasty streak when I saw it in the theater, I will check it out again (did he direct #2, also?).
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From:e_ticket
Date:November 29th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
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Yes, he did #2.

He got a lot of flack for the dark streak in #1, seeing that it was a "kids" movie, but at fourteen I gleefully "got" the abrupt transition from comedy to horror and loved every minute. The sequel is not nearly as nasty, but ten times funnier, with sight gags a-plenty. It's almost like he made the second one to atone for the first, and made it more like a living cartoon. WELL worth seeing.

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