Friday, March 23, 2018

Why Isn't This Streaming? - Space Camp (1986)

Throughout the 80's, we had so many films about kids going on incredibly imaginative but deeply real adventures, filled with wondrous sights and palpable danger. And these films crossed many different subjects and interests, like discovering pirates (The Goonies,) fighting monsters (The Monster Squad,) battling vampires (Fright Night,) solving crimes (Young Sherlock Holmes,) and helping friendly aliens (E.T.)

The subject that kept our imaginations stirring was Space. The Last Starfighter satisfied every kid's desire to live inside Star Wars. Explorers made homemade space travel seem within reach to our 8-year-old brains. Flight of the Navigator even combined space travel with time travel, a double-whammy of childlike fantasy.

Then, there was Space Camp. This tale of kids attending NASA's summer camp, only to be forced into orbit by an overly friendly robot's sabotage of a systems test, captured the dreams of any kid fascinated by real-life space travel in the 1980's.

Unfortunately, there's currently no legal way to watch the film. It doesn't appear on any streaming platform, and the DVD version is out-of-print.

What's Great About it?

The biggest theme in the film by far is that every person has a purpose, a role to play that they are uniquely suited for, and that even the most impossible task can be achieved with teamwork.

That's not to say that Space Camp is without flaws. The central conceit - that a bunch of kids could be on the space shuttle during a systems test - is preposterous. There are certainly moments of cheese, sudden gravity in Zero-G environments, and a little ham-fisted acting. The film also runs with the idea of men being better leaders in a crisis situation, a common problem in Hollywood film to this day. But these issues don't dampen the story enough to diminish its power.

Why is It Unavailable?

The North American rights to Space Camp are held by MGM. The  studio has a tenuous relationship with streaming services. You can easily find a lot of MGM's pre-1982 classics out there, but because  most of those are owned by Warner Bros.

Very few of MGM's post-1982 catalog are available streaming. Even bona-fide classics like War Games are nowhere to be seen, so it's no surprise to find Space Camp among them.

What Next?

I don't know. Does letter writing still work? Do people still write letters?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

So here's the deal.... has gone through many iterations since I first started the site on GeoCities in 1996. Random movie reviews created with limited vocabulary. An exhaustive history of Steven Spielberg. A phony blog written by a fictional PA working on the Star Wars prequels. A novel about space cows inspired by an episode of Darkwing Duck. I even tried using the site to raise money to make a feature, very nearly getting ripped off by a film financier scam artist in the process.

So now, I'm going to try something simpler. This will now be a place for random musings, complaints, reviews, and anything else about film which I feel like sharting onto the interwebs for the enjoyment of random folks who may wander past this page and want to see someone completely fail at being as entertaining as other, funnier sites. Maybe someday it might get more complex, but...

First up:

One of the things I love about re-watching movies from the 80's and 90's is finding actors playing bit parts who went on to bigger and brighter things.
Tonight's watch: 1990's Kindergarten Cop.
This film features none other than Angela Bassett as a flight attendant with one line, literally months before she broke out.
Image Courtesy of an LSU forum site called "Tiger Droppings?" 
And remember the kid that Schwarzenegger catches making out with a girl while the school's on fire?
Image courtesy
Yeah, that one. Why, that's none other than acclaimed auteur, and son of the director, Jason Reitman. You can tell by how adept he is at snogging that he's assured to garner more Oscar nominations than his dad.

Also, Linda Hunt hasn't aged a day in the 25 years since this movie came out.
It must be because of the Spice.
Stay tuned for other random shit to pop up on this site. This could get interesting. Or embarrassing. Or, better yet, both!