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MMYIF: Ghostbusters (1984)

My Misspent Youth In Films... Ghostbusters Directed by: Ivan Reitman Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver Released: June 8, 1984 Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. What I Thought Then I was a huge fan of the Saturday-morning cartoon The Real Ghostbusters , and this movie felt like a really cool, if slightly scary, live-action tie-in. What I Think Now I mean, it's a modern classic, right? And one that came together completely by accident. For those not familiar with the backstory, Dan Aykroyd conceived of this movie as a SNL-style comedy that he would star in alongside John Belushi, something of a spiritual successor to The Blues Brothers . The Winston role was written for Eddie Murphy. But then Belushi died and Murphy had a conflict with Beverly Hills Cop , so it was reworked into what we have now: a workplace screwball comedy supernatural thriller that is just damned near perfect while also not really being about a
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MMYIF: Return Of The Jedi

My Misspent Youth In Films... Return Of The Jedi Directed by: Richard Marquand Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher Released: May 25, 1983 After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy the second Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Darth Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap. What I Thought Then OKAY OKAY OKAY, this is kind of standing in for the entire trilogy. Kind of. This was the first Star Wars  movie I saw, when I was like four, an age in which having seen it somehow did not spoil the twist in Empire  that Vader is Luke's father. This was my favorite Star Wars  film for most of my life, mostly because it had the best (read: biggest) ending. Just to be clear, I loved the entire trilogy, but if I had to pick one, it was this one. What I Think Now I still like it. It's long on spectacle, and it really mines a lot of drama out of Luke's attempt to reconcil

MMYIF: Pete's Dragon (1977)

My Misspent Youth In Films... Pete's Dragon Directed by: Don Chaffey, Don Bluth Starring: Sean Marshall, Helen Reedy, Jim Dale Released: November 3, 1977 An orphan boy and his magical dragon come to town with his abusive adoptive parents in pursuit. What I Thought Then I remember being particularly impressed by the special effects in this one--the way the animated dragon was able to interact with live action characters and the environment. One of the songs also stood out in my memory. The schmaltziest song in the movie, naturally . What I Think Now It's. So. Long. I borrowed a copy from the library that had a misprint on the box. It said the movie was 1 hour and 28 minutes, but really, it's 1 hundred  and 28 minutes. Which is entirely too long for a children's film that isn't Mary Poppins . And this movie does not bear that length gracefully. About halfway through it runs out of steam, right around the time a zany snake-oil salesman shows up. He's important to t

MMYIF: Robin Hood (1973)

My Misspent Youth In Films... Robin Hood Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman, David hand Starring: Brian Bedford, Phil Harris, Roger Miller Released: November 11, 1973 The story of the legendary British outlaw is portrayed with the characters as humanoid animals. What I Thought Then In my memory, this was probably the peak of early Disney, before their 80's collapse with The Black Cauldron  and 90's renaissance that began with The Little Mermaid . I remember thrilling at the action sequences, especially the escape after the archery tournament. And then, as a somewhat older child, I got to relive the opening song as it gained new life with The Hamster Dance. What I Think Now This one's a very mixed bag. As with basically everything else on this list so far--and really, everything in Disney's pre-90's animated back catalog--it's a movie that lacks momentum. It's a set of amusing sequences that don't flow into each other. We never really get any insight into R

MMYIF Magical Nanny Double Feature: Mary Poppins / Bedknobs and Broomsticks

My Misspent Youth In Films... Mary Poppins Directed by: Robert Stevenson Starring: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke Released: June 18, 1965 In turn of the century London, a magical nanny employs music and adventure to help two neglected children become closer to their father. Bedknobs and Broomsticks Directed by: Robert Stevenson Starring: Angela Lansbury, David Tomlinson Released: December 13, 1971 An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defense of Britain in World War II. What I Thought Then For our first ever double-feature, I present two very different musicals about magical women looking after children in England only to take them on a misadventure into a cartoon and have odd run-ins with David Tomlinson. They were a lot of fun with catchy songs and silly characters and just a dash of awe and wonder. These movies were the reason that--as a very young child--I constantly confused Julie Andrews and

MMYIF: The Sword In The Stone

My Misspent Youth In Films... The Sword In The Stone Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman, Clyde Geronimi, David hand Starring: Rickie Sorenson, Sabastian Cabot, Karl Swenson Released: June 21, 1964 A poor boy named Arthur learns the power of love, kindness, knowledge and bravery with the help of a wizard called Merlin in the path to become one of the most beloved kings in English history. What I Thought Then This was one of my favorite movies that we didn't own--which meant whenever we visited someone who owned it, we made sure to watch it, which ended up being rather often. I loved the magic, Merlin's zany antics, and the running commentary from Merlin's surly pet owl Archimedes. I remember being completely stunned to realize in the end that this little boy was the  King Arthur (a detail that was provided in the opening titles, but what do you want I was six). What I Think Now Based on T. H. White's eponymous book, the first part of The Once And Future King , this film ha

MMYIF: Darby O'Gill And The Little People

 My Misspent Youth In Films... Darby O'Gill & The Little People Directed by: Robert Stevenson Starring: Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery Released: June 22, 1960 A wily old codger matches wits with the King of the Leprechauns and helps play matchmaker for his daughter and the strapping lad who has replaced him as caretaker. What I Thought Then A magical story of Leprechauns in which two old men match wits against each other. The effects were so convincing that between this and The Gnome-Mobile I figured little people must exist somewhere. Also, there's a banshee at the end and it was terrifying, but not so terrifying that I didn't want to watch it again and again. What I Think Now You know what? It holds up rather well. The "little people" effects are well done for the time, using size-matched sets and composites with well-hidden matte lines. The banshee effects, on the other hand, don't look great. The pacing is deliberate, but it's not slow.