Category Archives: TV and Film

The Coca-Cola Kid

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Product placement in movies can be a big deal, and it often draws complaints from viewers. When Back to the Future Part II was released in 1989, there was a lot whining about all the products that were prominently featured, although I always thought it was completely appropriate to see future versions of companies like Pepsi, Pizza Hut and Texaco on screen. I’m still waiting, though, to be able to make a pizza by just saying, “hydrate level four, please.” Having one’s products featured in such a blockbuster was a coveted thing, but it’s not every day when you run across a film that begins with a lengthy statement advising the audience that a certain product does not endorse its appearance in the film you are about to watch. Such was the case with the 1985 Australian import, The Coca-Cola Kid.

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The titular “kid” is a hotshot Coca-Cola marketing wiz named Becker (Eric Roberts), send from Atlanta to spice things up for Coke in Australia. In the course of doing his research, he finds a region of the Land Down Under, known as Anderson Valley, where Coke products are nonexistent. That’s because the folks in that region are hooked on the drinks of local eccentric T. George McDowell (Bill Kerr). It also doesn’t hurt that whenever the big soft drink reps show up in town, he scares them off with his shotgun.

Becker is determined to get Coke into this remote corner of Australia, even if that means striking a deal with the odd McDowell, who sees a future that involves Coke marketing his drinks across the globe. Becker also has to deal with a unique relationship with his Aussie secretary, Terri (Greta Scacchi), who has ties to Anderson Valley, as well as a variety of other quirky characters.

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The Coca-Cola Kid is a film that has several interesting pieces which don’t exactly fit together perfectly but do manage to create a pretty enjoyable film. If I’m going to be completely honest, I’d say that Eric Roberts is somewhat miscast in this part. After his creepy turn as Paul Snider in Star 80, it’s hard to imagine him playing any character that would be described as “kid.” Plus, despite having spent some of his youth in Atlanta, his attempt at a southern-fried accent is as labored as you would expect it to be. Yet, there is something very charming about Roberts’ performance. You totally buy that he sees Coke as the great hope for the world and that in his world making sure that the citizens of Anderson Valley can have a Coke and a Smile is his purpose in life. Likewise, Greta Scacchi’s performance is lovably quirky. Tonally, she seems to be in a different hemisphere than Roberts, and yet when everything finally clicks between their two characters, we totally buy it.

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Though the two leads are appealing in their own ways, the standout performance for me was Bill Kerr as McDowell, king of the Anderson Valley soft drink market. He’s a shrewd, gun-toting backwoods businessman who’s both an oddball and the smartest character in the film. His business methods are a bit off-kilter, but they’ve worked for him…that’s all that matters. We do get some brief glimpses of some of the other unique citizens of Anderson Valley, but the film does fall a bit short in the world-building department. I needed more moments where this slick young marketing guy from Atlanta deals with the culture shock of going to this remote Australian town.

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The film also misses the mark with a few strange subplots that are more distracting than entertaining. A few sequences involve Becker trying to find the “Australian sound” for a Coke commercial. He even hires a didgeridoo player he meets on the street to contribute. The song the come up with is catchy but doesn’t do anything to move the story forward. There’s also a really cringe-worthy sequence in which Terri and some cohorts attempt to cause trouble for Becker by having some homosexual men hit on him so they can snap incriminating photos. It’s a sequence that almost completely flushes the likability of Scacchi’s character down the toilet. It speaks well of her ability as an actress that she brings the audience back into her camp by the time we reach the film’s climax.

I remember when I was a kid there was a Coke commercial that used a song that said, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” I can’t say that The Coca-Cola Kid has anything close to harmony going on. It has several parts that work well on their own, even if they don’t quite come together perfectly. This is a film that has a lot going for it, but it does end up going flat a few times.

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Forgotten Filmcast Episode 124: Real Life

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.

Real Life 1The Forgotten Filmcast is back! On this episode, Todd is joined by Jay Cluitt from Life vs Film to discuss Albert Brooks’ 1979 directing debut, Real Life.

Download the Show:
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Show Notes:
Life vs Film
Large Association of Movie Blogs
Jay on Twitter

Films Discussed:
Real Life
Small Town Hero
And God Spoke (the making of)

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Comic Con Manchester

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For The Love Of The 80’s & 90’s is coming to Manchester!

I am so excited! I’m literally the giddiest of all the kippers! Comic Con Manchester is just a few weeks away, and I CANNOT WAIT!

The world’s biggest celebrity guests includes first time UK signer Steve Guttenberg from Police Academy, Cocoon and Three Men and a little baby.

The full guest list includes:

Steve Guttenberg – Police Academy, Three men and a little baby, Cocoon
Zach Galligan – Gremlins 1 & 2
Jason Patric – Lost Boys
Judge Reinhold – Gremlins, Beverley Hills Cop
Frances Lee Mccain – Gremlins, Footloose
Rex Smith – Streethawk
Marion Ramsey – Police Academy
Leslie Easterbrook – Police Academy
Michael Winslow – Police Adcademy
Erika Eleniak – Baywatch
Angelica Bridges – Baywatch
Brande Roderick – Baywatch
Tim Rose – Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars
Mark Dodson – Salacious Crumb – Star Wars Return if the Jedi & Gremlins
Paul Blake – StarWars

There will also be:

Live Q&As – with the guests
Full-scale movie prop and set recreations – The Simpsons Coach, The Gremlins Kitchen Set, Starwars Cantina Bar, The Blue Oyster Bar (Police Academy)
Props – Johnny 5, The Tardis (Doctor Who), Animatronic Gizmo, Kitt (Knight Rider) F.L.A.G mobile unit set (Knight Rider) Honda XL500 (Street Hawk) GMC Vandura (The A Team) Reliant Regal (Only Fools and Horses) Pontiac Trans AM (Smokey and the Bandit) Delorian Time machine (Back to the Future) click HERE
Attractions – HERE
Pro Cosplay Guests – HERE
Cosplay competitions – HERE
Trading village
Live art
Miniature model displays
After show party


For all the details on when and where Manchester Comiccon is taking place, visit the official website at

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Wales Comiccon 2019

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Wales Comiccon first launched in 2008 and has remained one of the main places I go to to meet what I class as 80s legends. It has grown from strength to strength over the years and is now celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Comiccons, they are a complex thing to try to explain – They are an event where people can dress up like their favourite fictional characters, but where you can also meet real people who have been on TV and in films. There are usually stalls where you can buy replica geeky things, but also it is a place to meet like-minded friends. It is a mishmash of everything that I like.

The main reason I go to Comiccons is to meet people who were part of my childhood. People who were in the TV programmes I watched, and who were in 80s films. The talented actors who played characters

Previous guests at Wales Comiccon have included:

Dave Prowse – Darth Vader himself, Dave Prowse, has attended Wales Comiccon a couple of times over the last 10 years. I bought a copy of his autobiography from Dave himself, which he was happy to sign and which I was elated he signed.

John Challis – Boycie from Only Fools and Horses. John has been at a few Wales Comiccons and is always happy to sign copies of his book, which he sells there ridiculously cheaply. I hope he didn’t get his stock from Del Boy!

Kiran Shah – Kiran was in The Dark Crystal. He played the Jen, the Gelfling, in all the shots where you see the full sized non-puppetry Jen.

Frank Bruno – Frank was an 80s boxing legend. Frank appeared at Wales Comiccon in April 2018 and was one of the most friendly people I’ve ever chatted to.

George Wendt – George played Norm from Cheers. I mean, how can you NOT want to talk to Norm from Cheers?!?

Justin Lee Collins – Justin is maybe the biggest fan of the 80s I’ve ever chatted to. I interviewed him for 80sNos a few years ago and met him in person a few months after at Wales Comiccon. He presented a series on TV called “Bring Back…” on which he reunited the stars of The A Team, the children from Grange Hill and members of Fame.

Anthony Head – Anthony was a big name in the 90s, playing Gyles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but he also featured in a few 80s shows too. Howards Way, Lady Chatterleys Lover, The Comic Strip Presents, but he also starred in the 80s TV adverts for Gold Blend. Mmmmm, coffee…..

Lou Ferrigno – The original 1970s HULK was at Wales Comiccon last year! This was a dream come true for a 70s and 80s TV fan like me. Luckily I didn’t anger him too much, he didn’t start breaking walls down and the other visitors remained safe.

They say “Never meet your heroes” as if something will put you off them but in my experience , if you are a fan of 80s TV, meeting them is always a brilliant experience and Comiccons are the best places to do it.

Wales Comiccon is on 27th and 28th April at Glyndwr University, Wrexham, North Wales.

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Forgotten Filmcast Episode 123: Gymkata

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.


For the latest episode of the Forgotten Filmcast, Ricky Morgan from the Hail Ming Power Hour stops by to discuss one of the most unusual martial arts films of the 80’s.  From the director of Enter the Dragon, it’s Gymkata.

Download the Show:
Your Listen

Show Notes:
Hail Ming Power Hour
Ricky on Twitter

Movies Discussed:
Ninja III: The Domination

“Protofunk” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Go to Source – Forgotten Films

Mysterious Cities Of Gold

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It is the 16th century. From all over Europe great ships sale west to conquer the new world, the Americas. These men eager to seek their fortune, to find new adventures in new lands. They long to cross uncharted seas and discover unknown countries. To find secret gold on a mountain trail high in the Andes. They dream of following the path of the setting sun that leads to Elderado, and the Mysterious Cities Of Gold.

That my dear visitor was the introduction to probably one of the best programmes in the 80s – The Mysterious Cities Of Gold! (or MCoG as it’s known to many a fan).

If you’ve never heard of it then you must have been in a coma throughout the decade because running for 39 episodes it was on the box an awful lot.

The story follows the adventures of three children. Esteban, who is know as the child of the sun. Rumour has it that he has the ability to command the sun. Zia is a young Inca girl. They both have a strange medallion, which we find later are actually keys to unlock the doors to the Cities of Gold. And then there’s Tao, a descendant of the people of Heva, who until he meets with the other two children lived on a small island by himself.

They mission is to find the Cities Of Gold. Not for fame and fortune mind you, just for the adventure and the hope that Zia and Estaban can find their fathers. In tow are various greedy Spaniards, one of which is Mendoza who although his ultimate goal is to find gold, looks after the children and does his best to keep them out of trouble. Tagging along are Sancho and Pedro who between them have the IQ of a small Chipmunk and only have one thing on their minds – Gold.

You’ve also got the traditional bad guys as well, who although like Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro have an ultimate goal of grabbing the gold, they do not have a soul and will do anything necessary to stop others from finding it.

It’s an absolutely fantastic cartoon series. Perfectly drawn with some quite stunning scenery and incidental music. The storyline just keeps you begging for more. I really can’t do it justice. There are people who know what I’m talking about, and if you’ve never seen it, I suggest you do. Although it was never released on video, there’s lot of people out there who I’m sure if you ask them nicely can provide copies for a price. Unfortunately mine probably won’t survive another copy, so don’t ask.

As a wise man once said, “don’t try and do something that has already been done well”. So, I’m not. This section will hopefully bring back some great memories, but for something a lot more in-depth visit the dedicated sites out there. Some are listed on the links page.

MCoG rocks! It spits in the faces of other cartoons. In short, it rules! And I’m off now to watch the whole series again (for the 5th time now since I received the videos).

All sounds and images, motion or still in this section © their original authors

Youtube Clips


Esteban – The child of the sun.

Zia – An Inca girl

Tao – A descendant of the people of Heva.

Mendoza – Navigator and general babysitter (to Sancho and Pedro, not the children!)





All sounds and images, motion or still in this section © their original authors

Things to Buy Widgets

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