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Fri, Mar 10, 2017

Michael discusses King Kong Films

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  1. Trow  •  Mar 10, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I'm the caller from today regarding Jessica Lange and the 1976 remake of "King Kong".
    This was a hit movie at the time (look it up!) that received generally favorable reviews (sorry, Rotten Tomatoes is an incompetent aggregator which also is not factoring reviews from the time) and a special Oscar for visual effects (hey in '76 the year before "Star Wars" they were state-of-the-art for the most part) . It has been unjustly maligned and made fun of in recent years due to a pile-on herd mentality of lazy sheep who are not really watching it again or taking it for what it absolutely was if they saw it to begin with back then:

    1. A huge remake cleverly updating the story to the current at the time energy crisis of the mid-seventies.
    2. Starring Academy Award winners (later yes, but they were fine actors at the time too!) Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange playing smart adult roles in an adventure realistically depicted for all ages at the time. Charles Grodin hammed it up but nonetheless was a strong character.
    3. The tone of the film was serious while laced with tongue in cheek banter here and there which very stupidly now gets all the attention as if the movie were pure camp which it sure as hell was not!
    4. The beautiful John Barry score is the kind you simply don't hear in movies anymore. It alone is worth a viewing!
    5. The WTC had never been nor ever would be as prominent a character in a Hollywood movie (with the recent exception of "The Walk") giving the end pathos another dimension now from its already high pinnacle based on story and execution.

    Peter Jackson's 2005 entry by comparison is a cartoon. A very thin replay of the original except bloated to three hours of extended dino fights and gross out giant bug gags that wear the audience so thin that by the climactic ending the story's pathos has been completely evaporated!
    Naomi Watts is a good actress but her character is non-existent as written. Same with Adrian Brody who is miscast. He doesn't come close to the passion evidenced by Jeff Bridges on screen in '76, and the modern trashing of Jessica Lange stupidly misses the point she was playing a hippie dippy type, but she was real! That was a three dimensional character.
    The only thing the 2005 remake had going for it was stunning visual effects, but that's the easy part and not what holds up over time. They probably now look dated compared to the new movie opening today.

    And I'll for one take Grodin hamming it up any day over the miscast dopey cartoon Jack Black tried to play.

    • Daniel D  •  Mar 10, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      I heard you on air defending Jessica Lang. I liked King Kong 1976 and was shocked that michael says it's a bad movie probably because I grew up watching it. After listening to the clip Medved played of Lang on Kongs hand, I have to say it is pretty corny.

      • Trow  •  Mar 11, 2017 at 12:04 am

        Thanks. Watch it again. That's out of context which distorts the overall power of the film. Remember, what is corny now wasn't necessarily at the time. That dialogue was of the seventies. I mean look at the classic 1933 original. That isn't corny? It's one of the all time greatest movies, but we look at it differently out of respect. I also saw the '76 remake as a young kid in the theatre and on TV after and loved it. It was a seminal movie going experience. Matthew McConaughey also did btw. He said so in an interview at the time he won the Oscar.
        Look, I'm in the industry and a pretty fair and balanced judge of the distortion any movie can be seen through when it was a childhood favorite, and I can see when something doesn't hold up and is dated. The '76 remake dates somewhat yes but holds up quite well 40 years later. Better I bet than Jackson's will at half that time out in another 8 years.
        The '76 film gets bashed all the time as does Jessica Lange in particular because of the kind of character she played, not her acting. It's too bad. Anyone just take a look at that movie keeping the period it came out in mind and tell me you weren't taken in by it…

  2. Trow  •  Mar 14, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Just checked Rotten Tomatoes on the 1976 remake and as expected, it is utter complete incompetent BS! The aggregated critics are nobody's and not even from the time of the movie's release. They are part of the retro look back pile-on. The RT measure is inaccurate and worthless! The only critic on there of the handfull (as if that is even any kind of accurate measure!) was Roger Ebert and his review was positive!
    Furthermore, the 1976 box office adjusted for inflation is $213 million today! The 2005 is not much higher at $292 million and was one of Universal's bigger hits. The new movie (which is mostly awful yet Michael gives it a 3 star handout) doubtfully will match those final numbers.
    All this points to one thing: Medved is shoddy to go and cite off Rotten Tomatoes and not bother to check box office in rebuttal to my accurate claims. As he is with all his relentless poll citing and studies examples which pad his show. What did we all just learn about polling last November?
    It's not trustworthy and basically fake news. And he's a hack former critic.

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