The Case of Summer Movies

It’s officially summer! It’s the season of cook-outs, family reunions, patriotic holidays, and childhood nostalgia. This week, we each chose a movie we watch every summer and talked about why it’s a quintessential summer movie.

65716003_500629220743724_1674956598839083008_n

Adam started off the episode with the 1980 classic Caddyshack!

Synopsis

  • Although the main plot seems to slip as the film goes on, Caddyshack initially follows Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe), a teen caddy at the high-end Bushwood Country Club. Eager for money to pay for college, Noonan attempts to gain votes for a college scholarship reserved for caddies by volunteering to caddy for a prominent club member Elihu Smails (Ted Knight). As the stressful Caddy Day golf tournament approaches, Noonan seeks advice from wealthy golf guru Ty Webb (Chevy Chase). Meanwhile, Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) arrives and starts to flaunt his money and causes big trouble for the club owner.

Fun Facts

  • This was Harold Ramis’ directorial debut and is considered to be an accidental hit by those who made it
  • Referred to as “Animal House on a Golf Course,” Caddyshack is an over the top comedy about the Bushwood Country Club
  • The movie was originally going to be more about Michael O’Keefe’s character Danny Noonan and his fellow caddies. However, throughout a ridiculously difficult shoot it turned into an adult comedy with no significant plot.
    • Gopher was added last minute to create some kind of plot that would tie scenes together.
  • According to actors and crew there were parties almost every night that would rival those of rock stars. The cast of Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray didn’t make things any easier either. They were constantly goofing around and ended up ad-libbing a large amount of the movie.
    • Examples of this include:
      • Cinderella story
      • Party scene
      • Ugliest hat
    • Dangerfield thought he was doing terribly during scenes, as no one was breaking character to laugh. Being a stand up comedian, he was used to laughs

Favorite Moments

  • “Doodie” Pool scene with Jaws theme
  • Destroying the yacht
  • Carl Spackler the grounds keeper, blowing up the course and winning the game for Al.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Marci brought us back to camp with Heavy Weights (1995)

Synopsis 

  • Gerry Garner comes home from the last day of school (The True beginning to summer!) He is surprised to find that his parents have decided to send him to camp named Camp Hope. Not just any camp though- in Gerry’s words a “Fat Camp”. When he arrives all the campers soon find out that this year will not be the same as years past.  The owners have gone bankrupt and sold the camp to Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller) who is a fitness junkie.
  • Screenplay written and produced by Judd Apatow
    • Known now for Superbad, Anchorman, and Knocked Up

Thoughts

  • Marci believes the former Chipmunks kid was a real entrepreneur. He takes away the kids candy by snitching on them but then proceeds to charge them to sneak candy into a tree trunk in the woods.
  • Who would not want to jump on an awesome air filled bag named “The Blob” into the water?
  • The dance scene was perfect- just as it seemed to be everywhere- girls on one side, guys on the other.
  • One of the funniest lines is when Tony tells Josh (Shaun Weiss from Mighty Ducks) to promptly get off the scale when he is weighed on camera during the second weigh in.
  • Even though this movie has mixed reviews because it seems to have mixed messages we have loved it for many reasons.  One of the main messages Marci takes is that you should take control of your own lives.

Fun Facts

  • The original camp owners were played by Ben Stiller’s parents: Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
  • The boy that played Gerry (Aaron Schwartz) ended up breaking his arm during the food fight scene and had to be taken to the hospital.  In order to continue shooting the crew covered his stand-in’s face with chocolate syrup.
  • This was basically the beginning of Ben Stiller’s Dodgeball character
    • Since Heavyweights did not fare well at the box office he thought nobody had seen it and borrowed mannerisms and things from the Tony Perkis character.  He then uses them for his character White Goodman in Dodgeball.
  • Ben Stiller did not hang out with the kids during filming which may have helped to contribute to his villainous nature in the movie.
  • 20 Mile Hike
    • The story that Tony tells the boys during this hike is actually a mixture of the myths of Icarus and Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a Greek king who tricked the gods. When he died the gods created a hell for him where he was forced to push a boulder up a hill forever.  Every time just before he reaches the top of the hill the boulder rolls back down and he has to start over. Icarus was a young man who attempted to escape an island with his father, Daedalus.  They made wings out of feathers and wax. Even though his father warned him not to, Icarus flew too close to the sun, his wings melted and he perished upon the fall down.

Quotes

  • “Don’t put Twinkies on your pizza”- Roy (Kenan Thompson) telling Pat Finley what they learned after the big party

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Robin finished up the episode with Field of Dreams (1989)

  • Robin started hers off with an excerpt from the poem, “Green Fields of the Mind” by A Bartlett Giamatti
    • “[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”
  • She also quoted an article about poetry in baseball
    • In a Thought.Co article by Bob Holdman and Margery Synder, they say, “Baseball is the most literary of sports, bursting with metaphor, image, and rhythm.” Baseball is considered to be America’s official pastime, though its popularity has dwindled in recent years. This sport has a rich history filled with nostalgia, an activity played in backyards and on small town fields among family and friends for at least 150 years
  • Shoe-less Joe
    • It’s not a surprise, then that Field of Dreams was a success. Initially the film was to be named the same as the book by W.P. Kinsella, “Shoeless Joe,” but the producers were afraid that audiences would be confused as to what it was about. Kinsella was fine with the change because his original title for the book was “The Dream Field”
  • Synopsis

    • Ray, a farmer in Iowa hears a voice one night as he tends to his fields of corn. “If you build it, he will come.” When Ray is confused, the voice seems to give him a vision of a baseball field. Taunted by fellow farmers and other townspeople, Ray mows down his corn and builds a baseball field. He believes that the ghost of his father’s hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, will appear. Sure enough, Jackson does appear. Soon, the rest of the 1919 White Sox appear in Ray’s field, only visible to him and his family.
    • Ray believes he built the field so that others could fulfill their baseball dreams, but he finds there’s something there for him too.
  • The Black Sox Scandal 

    • Now, to understand why these particular players appear on the field, you should know a little about The Black Sox Scandal of 1919
        • Back in 1919, baseball players were not paid as well as they are today. Many of them found it difficult to sustain a living off of being a player. The Chicago White Sox first baseman conspired with some gamblers and agreed to throw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds for $100,000.00. After the Sox lost the first few games, gamblers weren’t paying out the amounts promised and so they called off the fix and decided to win the series once and for all. However, the gamblers threatened their families and the White Sox lost the World Series to the Reds.
        • When authorities started investigating the series, the players (including Shoeless Joe) confessed to taking the money
          • Shoeless Joe had only taken 5k from his teammates
        • Because of the suspicious disappearance of evidence, the players walked away free from the court. But, the commissioner of baseball did not let them off so easily. All eight players were banned from baseball for the rest of their lives, including Buck Weaver who dropped out of the fix before it started and Shoeless Joe who batted just as well during the series as he had all season. Shoeless Joe also claimed he was an unwilling participant and tried to tip off the owner of the fix.
        • Shoeless Joe was a hero to many children and the scandal brought about the famous cry, “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”
  • Fun Facts

    • In Field of Dreams, Ray visits a reclusive author named Terence Mann. In the novel, the author was JD Salinger. Kinsella purposely used the name Kinsella for the title character because Salinger had also written pieces with characters of that name. The purpose was for it to seem that one of his own characters had come to knock on his door and take him to a baseball game.
      • James Earl Jones took the part of Mann after his wife was mesmerized by the famous “people will come, Ray” speech
      • No one outside of the cast and crew knows for certain who’s voice is used as THE voice, though the common belief is that it was Ray Liotta who played Shoeless Joe
    •  Moonlight Graham, a player that Ray travels to Minnesota in order to find, was an actual person. Graham did in fact only play one game before moving to Minnesota and becoming a doctor. Kinsella, the author, found his stats in a book and decided to use them for the story
      • The movie is the final film for Burt Lancaster, the actor who played Graham
    • Field of Dreams was never number one at the box office, it competed with: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Batman; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Dead Poet’s Society; and Weekend at Bernie’s
    • Roger Ebert gave it four stars: “The ghost of Shoeless Joe does not come back to save the world. He simply wants to answer that wounded cry that has become a baseball legend: “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” And the answer is, it ain’t.”

If you like our show, please consider supporting our Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/blackcasediaries

Until July 31st, you can nominate us for a Podcast Award under TV/Film! https://www.podcastawards.com/app/signup

Happy Fourth of July from all of us here at The Black Case Diaries!

A Case Submitted for your Approval

Premiering in Canada on October 31st 1990, “Are You Afraid of the Dark” was a horror anthology series for children. It aired on Nickelodeon until 1996 and followed a group of kids that gathered once a week to tell stories. They referred to themselves as “The Midnight Society.”

With stories that ranged from terrifying to downright silly, this show was a fan favorite on the SNICK line-up. This week we discuss this 90s classic and our hopes for the upcoming film set to release this October.

BDC-AYAD_2

*We mention the screenwriter for “Are You Afraid of the Dark” (2019) as the screenwriter for “It” (2017). His name is Gary Dauberman and he is credited as one of three screenwriters for “It” (2017).

Main Characters of the original series 1990-1996:

  • Gary- Played by Ross Hull, Gary was the lovable leader of the Midnight Society. A magic fan (his dad owned a magic shop,) Gary incorporated magic into his stories. For example, he created the character Sardó, a magic shop owner who sells questionable merchandise to unsuspecting kids. Gary showed romantic interest in Sam, who seemed to reciprocate those feelings.
  • Frank- Jason Alisharan played this resident 90s bad boy. Frank told great stories and gave us the incredible Dr. Vink! He also had a thing for Sam but those feelings were never returned
  • Kiki- All the women of the Midnight Society were bada**, but none more than KiKi. Portrayed by Jodie Resther, her tough attitude and spooky stories made her a lovable member of the group.
  • Betty Ann- The quiet, mysterious Betty Ann always told the strangest stories. Her stories weren’t scary in the conventional way, but they had a way of giving you an unsettling feeling. She was played by Raine Pare-Coull
  • Kristin- One of the original cast members, Kristin was played by Rachel Blanchard. She would often dress up for her stories. One story she told, “Locker 22” is one Marci listed as a favorite.
  • David- Played by Nathaniel Moreau, David was an early member that left the same time as Kristin. This lead us as kids to believe that they were siblings, but in the show they just happen to move away at the same time.
  • Eric- Played by Jacob Tierney, Eric is a character only in the first season of the show. He disappeared in Season 2 without an explanation. He only told two stories, one of them is considered by many to be one of the scariest in the show’s history: The Tale of the Dark Music.
  • Sam- Played by JoAnna Swisher, Sam became a quick favorite. She told some of our favorite stories (The Long-ago Locket.) Originally introduced as a friend of Betty Ann’s, Sam surprised the group by being a girl (girls can also wear flannel and be named Sam.)
  • Tucker- Gary’s little brother, played by Daniel DeSanto. Tucker replaced David from the earlier seasons and later took over as the leader of the Midnight Society when the show returned for seasons 6 & 7. In “The Tale of the Silver Sight,” we learn that Tucker and Gary’s grandfather started the Midnight Society.
  • Stig- Played by Codie Wilbee, Stig was a friend of Tucker’s and a replacement for Frank (though he could never replace Frank in our hearts). He clashed with the rest of the group, and had to tell two stories before getting accepted.

*We only covered episodes from the original 5 seasons. Nickelodeon created a revival show that lasted two seasons under the same name in 1999. We do not consider this the same show because it had different writers, actors, and directors. It was more like a soft reboot.

  • Scariest episodes
    • Midnight Madness (Season 2, Episode 2)
      • Dr. Vink offers a struggling theatre a chance for salvation by letting them show his mysterious vampire film. The film, a version of Nosferatu, draws in big crowds.
    • Dead Man’s Float (Season 5, Episode 1)
      • A young nerdy boy discovers a hidden pool at his school and attempts to use it in order to impress a girl. After the girl convinces the school to reopen the pool, the kids soon discover its dark past. 
      • This episode is notable for its effects. The antagonist has incredible make-up and costume design.
    • Dark Music (Season 1, Episode 11)
      • After moving into a house left to his mother by an uncle they never knew, a young boy discovers a dark presence in his basement. The evil force responds to music and will give him whatever he wants. The catch? He needs to feed it. 
    • The Lonely Ghost (Season 1, Episode 3)
      • A young girl named Amanda spends summer with her snotty cousin. In order for her to be accepted into her cousin’s friend group, she must spend the night in the creepy house next door. After just a few minutes, Amanda discovers there’s more in the house than just dust. 
    • Ghastly Grinner (Season 4, Episode 9)
      • An aspiring artist accidentally brings to life a creepy comic book antagonist known as “The Ghastly Grinner.” 
    • The Doll Maker (Season 3, Episode 5)
      • Melissa finds out that her best friend has gone missing (as if that isn’t traumatizing enough.) After spending time in her house, she discovers that her friend is not missing but instead has been turned into a doll.
    • The Night Shift (Season 5, Episode 13)
      • A shape-shifting green-skinned vampire (more like a wraith but still has a coffin?) has been sucking the life force out of a hospital staff. It’s up to Amanda and Colin, two teenagers, to save the lives of everyone working the night shift.
      • This was the final episode of the original series. The story was told by Sam and ended the show on a spooky note. The story also had romantic themes because Gary revealed in the show’s beginning that he and Sam do have feelings for each other but she’s not interested in dating him.
    • Quicksilver (Season 3, Episode 11)
      • Aaron and Doug just moved into a new house. They quickly discover it is haunted by two ghosts. One is an evil poltergeist. The other is a spirit of a young girl who died trying to trap the poltergeist. After Doug falls ill and gets captured by the evil spirit, it’s up to Aaron to save his little brother.
  • Favorite Episodes
    • The Dangerous Soup (Season 3, Episode 13)
      • Dr. Vink appears again but this time with a SOUP-er delicious soup.  Two young workers discover the dark secret to how this soup is made.
    • Dream Girl (Season 3, Episode 10)
      • A teenage boy working at a bowling alley begins to be haunted by a female spirit after unknowingly putting on her school ring.
    • Bookish Babysitter (Season 3, Episode 6)
      • Books come to life to show a young boy that they can be just as exciting as television.  As he begins each book and tosses it aside the villains come to life and he must imagine his own ending in order to put things right again.
    • The Long-ago Locket (Season 4, Episode 2)
      • On his way home from school, Jimmy gets transported back into 1775. He meets a doomed minuteman named William and Jimmy soon discovers that he must help him escape the red coats so William can stop the woman he loves from marrying another man.
    • Laughing in the Dark (Season 1, Episode 2)
      • A fun house burns down and after being rebuilt is said to be haunted by the clown Zeebo who perished in the fire.  A teenager named Josh is dared to steal Zeebo’s red clown nose to prove that it is not haunted.  He soon finds out that the stories may be true as strange things begin to happen.
    • Midnight Ride (Season 3, Episode 1)
      • The classic tale of the headless horseman from Sleepy Hollow is told through
    • Whispering Walls (Season 2, Episode 8)
      • It’s a full moon on leap year when a babysitter named Louise gets lost on the way home from the park with the two children named Andrew and Claire. She enters a mysterious mansion to get help, but doesn’t return. It’s up to Claire and Andrew to save their babysitter from the terrors inside.
    • Locker 22 (Season 2, Episode 3)
      • An immigrant who attends a new school finds that her locker transports her to a past time where she discovers that the former occupant of the locker had passed away due to a science lab gone wrong.  She and a friend must then figure out what went awry.

Links referenced in this Case:

This is the JonTron video referenced in the episode. He covers the first two episodes (shown on the DVD) and the Tale of the Dark Music.

This is the Are You Afraid of the Dark intro for the pilot episode which aired in Canada on October 31st, 1990.

This the classic intro that Adam refers to as the reason he never watched the show as a kid.

And of course, I feel the Fear! This iconic music video aired on Nickelodeon after a special “Midnight to Midnight” marathon. We don’t know when it first aired on Nickelodeon, but Robin still has the VHS recording of the marathon with this video.

Sources: IMDB