The Phantom Menace was released the day I finished my sophomore year of college. Thanks to some amazing friends who sat in line for weeks, I was able to snag a ticket to the midnight screening in the biggest theater in Kansas City. I moved all of my stuff out of the dorms, drove it home, took it into my parents’ house, and then drove to sit in line for seven hours, in order to secure a seat.
It’s weird to think about the fact that despite having watched all of the movies with my friends (including a Labor Day marathon a year or two prior, wherein we watched all the Special Editions when they were released on VHS), in addition to having friends from college get my ticket, I watched the movie essentially by myself. A sold-out theater, yes, but I sat by myself.
Read the From the Stereo to Your Screen column on John Williams and The Phantom Menace
. Published 11/18/16
Despite the fact that I’d rabidly followed the Bryan Lee O’Malley graphic novel series on which it was based, I didn’t get to see Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World film when it was in theaters. Firstly, I think it ran for maybe two weeks in my town, and it was dead-smack in the middle of back-to-school season.
Given that at the time, I was raising two kids, finances and time were at a premium, and they never became available simultaneously. So, I waited four months for it to come out on video, and then promptly watched it every day for a week. This coincided with me downloading the soundtrack and listening to it every day at work for a week, as well.
Read the From the Stereo to Your Screen column on The Clash at Demonhead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
. Published 12/6/16
Despite its many iterations — musical, movie musical, live televised musical — John Waters’ original version of Hairspray, released in 1988, remains the best. Now, I’m a fan of musicals, and I’ll admit the Tony-winning Broadway version is pretty damned solid, with opening number, “Good Morning Baltimore,” being the best of the bunch. I’ll even cut some slack to “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” despite it being almost insipidly cloying.
That said, Waters’ film is just so perfectly bizarre and fun and joyous, with a perfect selection of Cameo Parkway R&B sides soundtracking everything. The plot, if you’ve never seen any of the various iterations, revolves around Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad getting on The Corny Collins Show, dancing, then becoming more racially aware, dancing, fighting for integration, and more dancing.
Read the From the Stereo to Your Screen column on Rachel Sweet and Hairspray
. Published 1/10/17