Teaser released for a certain late 2015 movie

Featuring legendary characters, this movie will be terrific if it lives up the spirit of this teaser trailer.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the first movie or television project based on Peanuts that actually has “Peanuts” in the title. Charles Schulz apparently never liked the title for his comic strip, chosen by the syndicator. He preferred the title of his original version, Li’l Folks. Note that he titled the first television special A Charlie Brown Christmas, for instance, and not A Peanuts Christmas.

Anyway, looking forward to this new movie either way.

And the Falling Liberty Awards for Least Favorite Movies go to…

“The only thing worse than watching a bad movie is being in one.” –Elvis Presley

Liberty falls, literally, in SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE

Liberty falls, literally, in SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE (1987)

Box Office Buzz blog recently posted a list of worst films in the categories of Sci-Fi, Superhero, Musical, and Drama. The author also encouraged readers to submit their own lists.

Inspired by that post, here are my least favorite entries in my otherwise favorite movie franchises.

Worst Superman Movie… Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

Superman’s cinematic history dates all the way back to 1941 with the excellent Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons. Taking all of the animated and live-action features into account, the worst entry thus far was also unfortunately Christopher Reeve’s last appearance as Clark Kent/Superman, 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.

The film suffers from script, budget, effects, and editing problems, among other issues. In some ways, I feel a recount is in order, though, for I at least find Superman IV watchable. 2013 delivered the somber Man Of Steel, Warner Brother’s attempt to “reboot” Superman in the style of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. While it is a better constructed film than Superman IV, this darker version of the character and his origins strays too far from the heart of Superman for me.

Though I plan never to watch Man Of Steel again, I will continue to revisit Superman IV from time-to-time.

Worst Elvis Movie… Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)

With hits like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You,” “Hound Dog,” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” Elvis Presley shot to international superstardom in 1956. At the end of the year, he appeared in his first movie, Love Me Tender, and the “Elvis movie” franchise was effectively born. He went on to make a total of 31 movies as an actor.

While Elvis displayed talent in roles such as King Creole (1958) and Flaming Star (1960), his true acting potential was never fully realized. By the mid-1960s, Elvis movies had become cheap, formulaic messes. They were usually fun, though, and to this day offer entertainment for the whole family.

There are many bad Elvis movies from which to choose, but the worst of the worst came in 1966 with Paradise, Hawaiian Style. It plays as an unofficial sequel to Blue Hawaii (1961), except not nearly as entertaining. Paradise, Hawaiian Style also boasts two of the worst-ever Elvis songs on its soundtrack, “Datin'” and “A Dog’s Life.”

Worst Star Wars Movie… Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

Star Wars became a cultural phenomenon upon release of the first film in 1977. Ever since The Empire Strikes Back continued the story in 1980, fans have been comparing the merits of every installment. As a child of the 1970s and 1980s, I will always prefer the original trilogy of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return Of The Jedi (1983). However, I am no hater of the prequel trilogy, and I find plenty to love about The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack Of The Clones (2002), and Revenge Of The Sith (2005).

Where Star Wars blew it on the big screen for me was the 2008 animated entry Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This poor film acted as an introduction to the Cartoon Network television series of the same name. I suffered only once through this movie, which, no kidding, is about the kidnapping of Jabba the Hutt’s son, Rotta the Hutt. I was never able to make it through a full episode of The Clone Wars TV series, which Disney wisely cancelled soon after acquiring Lucasfilm. I would much rather watch Ewoks or Droids.

Worst Star Trek Movie… Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Star Trek’s cinematic journey began with the lifeless Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. For years, this reigned as the worst Trek of them all for me. At least the often-maligned Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) was fun. The crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation finally managed to take their well-earned spot at the bottom in 1998 with Star Trek: Insurrection, a movie where android Data acts as a flotation device and Klingon Worf grows a zit. Though I have given this one “another chance” a few times since first seeing it in theaters, I have since vowed to never watch it again. Life is too short.

Data pops out of the hay in STAR TREK: INSURRECTION

Data (Brent Spiner) pops out of the hay in STAR TREK: INSURRECTION (1998)

Thank you to Box Office Buzz for the post idea, even though drudging up memories of watching some of these was painful at times.

Journey back to 1979 with Topps BUCK ROGERS trading cards

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #1 (Topps, 1979)

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #1 (Topps, 1979)

While I was growing up in the 1980s, I used to love watching syndicated reruns on WRLH-TV Channel 35, an incredible UHF station here in Richmond that was eventually ruined when it became a FOX affiliate. During the good old days, though, I routinely tuned in weeknights at 7:00 to watch Star Trek. There was no need to call it “the original series” back then because it was the one and only live-action Trek.

During the summer, Channel 35 usually gave Captain Kirk a temporary vacation and filled the 7 PM slot with Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, which starred Gil Gerard as the legendary space hero. Though I remembered watching certain episodes of Buck Rogers as a four-year-old when it aired as a new NBC series beginning in the fall of 1979, the summer reruns gave me a chance to reconnect with the show long after it was cancelled.

The pilot for the 1979 Buck Rogers series actually made its debut as a theatrical release to movie theaters in the spring of that year. Earlier this year, I acquired a complete Buck Rogers Topps trading card set on eBay (a dangerous place for me to visit) that features the pilot movie. I love the look and feel of vintage cards from the 1970s and 1980s. Today’s cards are too slick for my taste and hold little interest for me.

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #40: The Ace Of Space (Topps, 1979)

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #40: The Ace Of Space (Topps, 1979)

Like the 1977 Star Wars movie, the Buck Rogers TV series featured lots of cool technology. My favorite was the starfighter, as pictured above. I would have been hard-pressed to choose between this and the Star Wars X-wing fighter as my space vehicle of choice in my pre-teen years had I been drafted into a space adventure.

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #40 - Back (Topps, 1979)

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #40 – Back (Topps, 1979)

Despite the cool hardware, circa-1979 Buck Rogers toys never achieved anything near the success of Star Wars toys of the same vintage. I can remember seeing the same Buck Rogers toys on the Toys ‘R’ Us shelves from roughly 1982 through 1987. Though I had an X-wing fighter and many other Star Wars toys, I put off buying that Buck Rogers starfighter until it eventually was too late.

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #85: Erin Gray As Wilma (Topps, 1979)

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #85: Erin Gray As Wilma (Topps, 1979)

As a four-year-old, I can distinctly remember thinking that Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray, above) was “mean” due to her frosty behavior towards Buck in the early episodes. I believe I had much the same reaction to Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars around that time for how she interacted with Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Oddly enough, my opinions of both women changed dramatically as I became older.

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #87: Pamela Hensley As Princess (Topps, 1979)

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #87: Pamela Hensley As Princess (Topps, 1979)

Of course, Buck Rogers also had a princess, Ardala (Pamela Hensley, above). Though a recurring villain in the first season, she was unfortunately written out of the series for its second season, which also saw several other drastic changes. Buck Rogers was morphed into a combination of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. The retooling was a mess and led to a well-deserved cancellation in 1981.

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #84: Gil Gerard As Buck (Topps, 1979)

BUCK ROGERS picture card series #84: Gil Gerard As Buck (Topps, 1979)

I still find the first season of Buck Rogers entertaining, though. The next time I finish a cycle of the original Star Trek series on Blu (still best viewed at 7 PM), I may well have to give Captain Kirk a vacation and watch Buck Rogers on DVD for a slight change of pace.