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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Bronze Age Marvel Comics Fan? Check This Out!

If you're a fan of old-school, Bronze-Age Marvel comics, then Fist of Justice is something that might be of interest to you.  Created by a couple of Gen-Xers, this comic has all the fun and appeal of one of the comics they collected as kids.  So who is the Fist of Justice? Fist of Justice is a man out of time, a cat with his heart in the right place-- a true hero from the 70s awakened in our time. He was the super-heroic defender of Charm City until he made a fatal mistake that ended his career. He threw in the towel and was locked away and soon forgotten. But his power-- though dormant-- did not leave him. Now it has returned and resurrected FOJ-- restoring him as defender of a city dealing with the new villains of the 21st century. Villains who are tougher, stronger, and meaner than ever. 

Full disclosure - Uphill Both Ways' Mike Imboden is the co-creator and writer of 'The Fist of  Justice' comic book by Digital Webbing Press...

Saturday, December 26, 2020

"Another Lonely Christmas"

Episode #95

The hectic holiday season is keeping Mike and Joseph apart, but that doesn't mean you're not getting a new episode - it's just not the type you're used to. Joseph delivers a Christmas message to everyone, Mike digs into the archives and pulls out a couple of old Christmas related clips, and then it's time for a replay of last year's "audio drama" as the "Uphill Both Ways Players" present an edited and abridged telling of Dicken's "Christmas Carol". It may not be 60 minutes of new material, but it's better than the lump of coal that Bingo the Helper Monkey wanted to give everyone! Happy holidays to everyone from the Uphill Both Ways crew!

Monday, December 21, 2020

"Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses

It's not Christmas time at the Uphill Both Ways offices until we hear "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses.
Sadly, no official video or recorded live performance of this exists - and if it does, it's gathering dust in a box in someone's storage unit.  Hopefully one day something will be un-earthed.  Until then, enjoy this montage of clips along with the song.
Pass the egg nog!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Saturday Morning Cartoons?!?


Okay, yeah - we know. With dedicated TV channels like Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and almost all of the streaming services having some type of animated show(s), watching cartoons on Saturday morning is something that you can still do today.  Much easier, in fact, than it was back in the 70s and 80s.

But back then... it was a ritual. Wake up, grab a spoon and bowl, a box of cereal, the milk, and plop down in the living room in front of the TV with your game plan ready.  CBS for a half hour, then NBC for an hour and a half, and the the final hour over on ABC - or some combination along those lines, depending on where your favorites shows were at on the dial.  THOSE days are gone now, but MeTV is doing their part to bring a little of the magic back by starting their own Saturday morning cartoon block.

Starting on January 2nd, and every Saturday at 7AM, they will have a three-hour "all cartoons, all the time" block that promises to be "reminiscent of the Saturday morning broadcasts from your childhood"!!

We're big fans of MeTV here at Uphill Both Ways thanks to their great line up of classic shows and we're looking forward to this long-awaited addition to their schedule.

Check out a few more details HERE.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Movie Review - "The Legend of Baron T'oa"


The Legend of Baron T’oa tells the story of a young Tongan man (Fritz – Uli Latukefu) who, having been living in Australia for more than ten years following his father’s death, returns to sell his family home. His Uncle Otto (Nathaniel Lees) is hesitant and we soon learn why; Fritz’s father was local legend and pro wrestling champion, Baron T’oa (John Tui)! As a quick aside, anyone who was a fan of professional wrestling in the 70s and early 80s will remember the portrayal of “Islanders” with an image of the Wild Samoans probably coming to mind. But avoiding that “savage” stereotype while becoming a champion in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, was Peter Maivia. It’s Maivia who the titular Baron T’oa seems to be inspired by. Like Maivia, the character of Baron T’oa was a champion, an “islander”, and died at a fairly young age. Anyway, Fritz doesn’t seem to care his father’s “legend”, though. He’s too concerned with being rational 
and analytical about the sale and is certain he can talk Otto into signing the required paperwork to finalize the deal. Things take a turn, however, when a family heirloom is stolen: Baron To’a’s championship title belt! Otto refuses to sign until Fritz can recover the belt. The following 90 minutes or so tells an engaging, exciting, and sometimes humorous tale of how Fritz must learn, as his uncle tells him, that without the past there is no “now”, and with no “now”, there is no future.

At it’s core the story (based on a screenplay by John Argall), is nothing new – it’s a typical hero’s journey – but the setting, cultural influences, and acting are what set this apart from many other similar films despite it relying on the expected tropes of such a movie, including a training montage. The characters are enjoyable and clearly positioned as good, bad, and uncertain and are all portrayed exceptionally by a very talented cast that is a mix of seasoned vets (familiar, most likely, to Australian and New Zealand audiences), and newcomers. There are a few small bumps in the road (there’s a fumbled clear passage of time early on that is pretty important to the story, an element that looks to be very important at some point is summarily forgotten, to name a couple), but they’re certainly not deal-breakers and can be chalked up to this being director Kiel McNaughton’s first feature film. Otherwise, the story flows quite well with great framing and character blocking, as well as action scenes that are fast and exceptionally choreographed. There’s a foot chase that is very high energy and the fights are very well done.

Most importantly, though, is the story itself. As Fritz progresses we see how important family can be as well as the parallels between himself and others and on display is how easy it is for people to become two sides of the same coin while traveling nearly identical paths. On one hand, Fritz wants nothing more than to lead his own life and break free from the cul-de-sac that seems to be more of a dead-end road ever since his father died. On the other, there is a sense of purpose and obligation. Fritz’s inner-turmoil of these two things are presented cleverly by his use of a white board marker that he uses to make charts, graphs, and lists with on windows. Brain or heart – which should lead. Or maybe there’s a way BOTH can be in control.

The language is a bit harsh at times and could be off-putting to some people. In fact, the actors preemptively apologize for it in a very brief PSA prior to the start of the film. It should be noted, however, that we’re not talking about language like you’d hear in a Tarantino film (mainly used as interjections and not adjectives or nouns, if you follow), but it could be enough for some parents to click stop during playback. The violence consists of fight scenes that are mostly “cartoony” with very little blood, including one injury that could have been shown to be FAR worse than it is here.

All in all this is a very fun film with a well told story of a hero’s journey with some exciting action, a positive message, and is definitely well worth a watch.

Reviewed by Mike Imboden

The Legend of Baron T'oa
Directed by: Kiel McNaughton
Written by: John Argall
Producer by: Owen Black, Kerry Warkia
Genre: Comedy, Action
Starring: Uli Latukefu, Nathaniel Lees, Jay Laga'aia
Runtime: 1h 43m
Rated: TV-MA
Release Date (Streaming): Nov 11, 2020

Monday, December 14, 2020

8 From the 80s - Catchphrases

Each installment Mike will look back to the decade of decadence and provide a list of eight things – from movies to music to memorable moments and everything in-between.  Keep in mind, this isn’t a TOP 8 list and any numerical notations are included to merely designate one item from another. Because, frankly, how can rate one thing over another when it came from a decade as totally tubular as the 80s?

Catchphrases That Everyone Repeated
No real introduction is needed for this opening installment - we’ve all quoted lines from movies, TV and even commercials before.  Keep in mind that we’re talking about sayings, or catchphrases and not just slang or lingo.  

8. "And Now you Know, And Knowing Is Half The Battle"
In an effort to skate around newly enacted laws aimed at cartoons that were accused of being nothing more than 30 minute advertisements for toys, G.I. Joe ended each episode with a PSA in which one or more of the Joes would impart a lesson upon a civilian, ending it with this phrase.

Friday, December 11, 2020

"Street Fighting Man"

Episode #94 

Joseph starts things off by discussing "In Search Of" and how he uses the classic show in his classroom, then it's off to Mt. Retromore where the guys give TV Moms their due. The main event is a review/discussion about the movie "The Legend of Baron To'a" and a side discussion about the 'Islander' gimmick in professional wrestling in the 70s and 80s. It's the penultimate show of 2020!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

7 From the 70s - Gold Key Comics


Some of My Favorite Gold Key Comic Books - 
by Joseph Perry

I became a huge comic book fan at age six when, after moving from northern California to Corral, Idaho (population 32 when we lived there in 1968, if I recall correctly), I discovered a stack of old comics in one of the storage sheds at the ranch to which my family moved. I was already well aware of, and quite interested in, Marvel and DC superheroes thanks to coloring books, cartoons, and television shows, but the comic books I happened upon opened up a whole new world to me. Fortunately the general store in Corral and the drug store in nearby Fairfield stocked the latest issues in spinner racks stuffed full of colorful goodness.

Gold Key publishing company boasted beautiful, painted covers that set the brand’s books apart from other publishers’ titles. Though the books usually didn’t credit their writers and artists the same way that Marvel and other publishers did, Gold Key had a rich group of talented people behind their comics. Best of all, for six-year-old me, Gold Key had many titles that appealed to my love of monsters and robots, an affection that I still hold to today.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Here's Some News About the Site!

Joseph, Mike, and Bingo the Helper Monkey hope that everyone (who celebrates it), had a great Thanksgiving and (for some), long weekend.  The time for rest is over, however, and we're prepping to debut a couple of new, semi-regular features!

First is Joseph's "7 From the 70s" where he'll muse about seven things from the 70s, all within a certain topic.  For example, his first outing (which we'll be posting soon), will be about Gold Key Comics; specifically, seven different Gold Key comics that he remembers having an impact on him.

Next up is Mike's "8 From the 80s" which is pretty much exactly the same thing, only covering the decade of decadence. Plus, it will have one more entry, but that was obvious given the title, yeah?

There's other ideas floating around that the guys are trying to work out like retro reviews of movies, music, TV shows, video games, and wrestling. So keep checking back to see what we've managed to scrape together - and of course pop by every other Friday when we post the newest episode of the Uphill Both Ways podcast.

Uphill Both Ways - living in the past so you don't have to!

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