Very rarely does a movie come down the pipeline that is so TNUC and so defining of everything our movement is about. Many come close but fall short in capturing 100% of the power and adrenaline found in the Land of TNUC. It’s not an easy thing to do.
Well my friends, I’m proud to report that 1986’s AMERICAN ANTHEM is that movie.
Mitch Gaylord the ultimate American hardbody. Janet Jones the perfect woman.
Watch the trailer and feel your pulse beating faster. The sweat is trickling down your forehead. If this didn’t happen, go see a doctor. There are scenes in this movie that I watch and literally whisper out loud “this is too good to be true”. It rocks on a level that is nearly impossible to summarize in words. Here’s a plot description that I saw somewhere on the internet:
Steve Tevere was once a rising star in both football and gymnastics but gives up on his dreams because his father gave up on supporting him emotionally. He now lives in regret over lost opportunities working as a motorcycle builder. He keeps an eye on his old gymnastics team and one day spies this new girl from New York City that joins the team. After meeting each other they fast enter into a relationship where she guides him and inspires him to rejoin the team. He joins only to find a tough road to the gold and still must face his inner demons and navigate his difficult relationship with his father.
So yeah, American Anthem is a classic “go for the gold” sports story about a kid who works under a rain of sparks in a motorcycle chop shop all day while dreaming of WINNING IT ALL. From the onslaught of musical montages to Steve’s unsupportive “old man” who wears a wife-beater shirt around the house all day and only appears in blue or yellow lighting, trust me when I say this is the movie you’ve been dreaming of all your life.
In one scene, Steve is training on a horizontal “high bar” that he suspends between two trees on a rainy night in the middle of the woods. As rain pours down and mysterious fog pumps to unforeseen levels, it won’t be long before the hairs on your neck are standing up.
Let’s take a moment to give maximum respect to heart-of-gold Steve for being a mechanic by day and gymnast by night. These days you never see blue collar, working men or women jobs portrayed in sports movies. At least they aren’t half as cool as working on motorcycles with a bunch of bikers who drink beer on the job. Again, this movie HAS IT ALL.
There’s a character in the movie named Arthur who would normally be positioned in the story as some insufferable dweeb that we’re supposed to feel bad for. However the genius writers of American Anthem created a handicapped synthesizer lord out of this character. Watch how Arthur handles his KORG synth as he records a gymnastics number for Julie.
If Uncle T hadn’t blown his savings this month on a lifetime subscription to Jugg’s Magazine, I’d buy every TNUC disciple a copy of this movie. In the meantime, above is a ripping cut from Julie’s gymnastic routine.
Below, John Parr’s hit “Two Hearts” from the big budget soundtrack which also features songs from Andy Taylor, Stevie Nicks, INXS and Mr. Mister. Don’t pass up watching this music video. It’s a beaut.
The movie never got a fair shot in 1986 as reception from moviegoers and critics alike was pretty poor. It’s a shame because these days I feel like people love a simple sports flick with simple (but potent) ingredients. Small town kid, brooding attitude, going for the gold, broken home, 4×4 riding, cigarette puffing, BIG soundtrack, minimal dialogue, over-enthusiastic crowd, inspirational montages, training routines, hardbodies galore and moonlit sexual evenings. All I know is that American Anthem checks all my boxes √. The acting might not be winning any trophies, but it’s almost like no one respects the fact that instead of using actors, they cast real Olympic gymnasts Mitch Gaylord, Janet Jones, Maria Anz and Stacy Maloney to play these characters. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
“THE NEW VISION OF LOVE AND TRIUMPH”
While cleaning out an old computer this weekend, I dusted off an old TNUC video edit that I barely remember even making. It’s from the summer of 2012, when Uncle T was on a downward spiral of decades-old quaaludes and Löwenbräu.
The video is made up entirely of scenes from the 1987 classic, Hard Ticket To Hawaii. Enjoy it. Hopefully you’ll be windswept to warmer days and balmy nights.
I know Uncle T goes on and on about the bigger pizza conglomerates like Pizza Hut all the time, but the true key to the heart of TNUC’s youth was good old frozen microwavable pizza from Ellio’s.
I love Ellio’s so much that when I hear people talk bad about it, I get angry.
How could anyone have anything bad to say about Ellio’s? I’m not really sure and frankly now I don’t give a fuck. These little frozen pizzas have ROCKED my existence for the last 30 years and this feeling hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
To honor this legacy at the Land of TNUC, below is a list of the things I cherish about Ellio’s Pizza!
THE ACTUAL PIZZA.
This sounds obvious, but I have to clarify that my love for this delicious cuisine isn’t only burning deep in my nostalgic psyche. Still to this day, it’s seriously DAMN GOOD. While companies like DiGiorno get all the front page news for trying hard to be as good as takeout pizza restaurants, Ellio’s isn’t trying to be anyone but Ellio’s. Those 3 squared little slices are unique in that it can be a snack, meal or an appetizer for distinguished guests. It flat out just works. Uncle T’s personal taste preference is to slightly overcook the pizza in a toaster oven, add a little hot sauce, then burn the roof off my mouth instead of waiting for it to cool.
REFUSING TO CHANGE.
Aside from McCain selling Ellio’s in 2015 to Dr. Oetker and expanding it’s variety into 8 different crust and topping configurations, Ellio’s hasn’t changed what makes them great. All the pizza companies have altered their flavors and tastes over the years in attempts to keep up with trends. Ellio’s tastes exactly the same as it did when I was 6 years old. There’s something to be said about that. MAXIMUM RESPECT!
I’m specifically referring to the smell of the box. It sounds crazy, but one of the things I’d love to bottle up and spray myself with like cologne before I leave the house is the scent of an Ellio’s box. Something about the way the frozen mozzarella cheese mixes with that cheap cardboard makes my nostrils go to heaven. **Bonus points if your mom packed Ellio’s for school lunch so your entire lunch bag was an Ellio’s explosion. ***Extra bonus points if the pizza slices were soggy and wrinkly by lunchtime. It somehow made it taste better!THE TURTLES.
When it comes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s only natural to start thinking of pizza. From there it’s normal to have cravings for Pizza Hut and Domino’s because of their giant promotional ties to the TMNT franchise. Well I have news for people who’s memories are foggy…ELLIO’S was another sponsor that’s much less talked about.
The company started a TMNT: The Movie collector cards series in 1990 that featured little cut-outs on the back of the pizza boxes. They also introduced special edition Turtles pizza boxes with a few wacky toppings. A ritual of mine became lining up the cards on the carpet while I watched the live action movie over…and over…and over again.
Uncle T realizes that Ellio’s is a regional thing, so this article may not have resonated with the entire world. So thank you for reading!
I grew up with Ellio’s and I’m proud to say that now I’m getting old with Ellio’s. ∇
The following article goes out to anyone who’s ever had to turn a trick to make a living. You’re not alone.
Face the facts. At some point in your life, you’ve had to encounter the treacherous underworld of pimps, hookers and johns while doing your best to maintain hope and dignity.
It all started when Uncle T came across a movie while channel surfing the other night from called “Daughter of the Streets” from 1990. The film stars John Stamos, playing a sadistic pimp who seduces an activist single mom’s neglected daughter into becoming a hooker. As you could imagine based on that plot outline, it was FANTASTIC. Since this discovery, I’ve been fascinated by films about prostitutes. Specifically the grainy, older material that captures a style that is long gone from today’s culture.
Beyond the serious issues of broken families, neglect, drug use and sex slavery, these movies share a stylistic approach that is just plain fun to watch. The portrayal of gritty night life and the depraved atmosphere in which these girls occupy is a feast for the eyes. The best films are the ones that start with a teenage runaway who flees to the big city. From there it’s a nonstop assault of neon-soaked sidewalks, XXX theater marquees, silk stalkings, fishnet, teased hair, off-the-shoulder tube tops, shadowy men, steamy alleys, muffler exhaust, cigarettes, trench coats, vice squads, broken street lights, switchblades, lace gloves, empty parks, random burning barrels and lonely wanderers. I can’t get enough!
On the music side of things, plenty of songs have been written about streetwalkin’ and turning tricks. Sharon O’Neil’s “Maxine” immediately comes to mind. Or even in more recent years, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats with “Melody Lane” from their 2015 night stalker-vibed album The Night Creeper. As far as older rock songs go, the theme did surface from time to time but very seldom was it thrust into the spotlight. There isn’t exactly a history of rock n’ roll songs about hookers tearing up the charts.
Ah, but in 1992 however, just before a bunch of shitty whiners in flannel shirts would migrate from Seattle and wipe off so many of our beloved bands, a killer group called WILDSIDE released the incredible debut album, Under the Influence. Unfortunately for them, the album was hardly noticed due to the downfall of party rock and the emerging, melodramatic grunge scene. The ironic part was that the band’s first single and music video was for a song about the rough life of a girl on the streets called “Hang On Lucy”!
Standin on the corner, looking like some Hollywood queen
Sellin’ her soul to the world, since she was just sixteen
Ohh, friday night and the stakes are high
She’s got a lot of money to earn
Workin’ the streets ’til the crack of dawn
For such serious subject matter, the song is insanely catchy and it’s hard not to enter party-mode when hearing it. That’s why we undoubtedly declare “Hang On Lucy” our #1 TRICK TURNING ANTHEM. Turn it up!
These aren’t prostitutes. It’s Wildside in ’92.
Wildside’s lead singer Drew Hannah commented in an interview from 2015 that the song was written about a real hooker in Hollywood who hung out by a liquor store where the band would go for booze runs during the recording of the album.
I love knowing when stuff like that happens.
So the next time you pass by a working girl on the corner who’s fighting to survive, think twice before you ignore her or make a disgusted face. You just might be inspired to write a song, help her out or take her to a concert. ♥
A ruthless snarl rumbles menacingly through the city. Tires roll over the slick wet asphalt. A proud hawk soars above. A cigarette dangles from a bottom lip. It could only mean one thing.
A 1987 BUICK GRAND NATIONAL IS PROWLING THE STREETS.
You know how people talk about the feeling of “goosebumps” or “chills” when hearing a great song? Or it could happen from watching a really epic movie scene that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? I get the same power when seeing a Buick Grand National roll down the highway…and I know I’m not alone.
If you see one and get lucky, a platinum blonde with teased hair the size of Texas and legs for days will be driving. If you get REALLY lucky, someone that is basically Wade Garrett (Road House) is behind the wheel. Mid-50’s, sandy mullet, black jeans, scars, half asleep, lucky horseshoe ring, I ♥ Wanda tattoo, soft-pack cigarettes, empty Miller High Life bottles clanging around, rabbit’s foot keychain, faded maroon interior, faded cassette tapes on the dash, faded scratch tickets, faded painters’ union card, divorce papers crumbled up on the floor, JUGGS magazine, the same Dokken tape stuck in the stereo for the last 7 years and a pair of LLBP’s (lacy long-butt panties) on the backseat.
That’s right, this son of a bitch is headed straight to the bowling alley.
It’s hard to believe that a car can evoke this type of adrenaline, but the feeling is real. It’s absolutely real.
Uncle TNUC isn’t going to pretend he’s an automobile guru, so I’ll spare you with the long history lesson. What’s of great importance is that the 1987 “Grand National Experimental” (GNX) is highly regarded as being the last American muscle car. For Buick’s final production of Grand Nationals, they created a monster.
The ’87 GNX had an output of 300 brake horse power and 355 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged, intercooled V-6. It beat out a Ferrari F40 and Porsche 930 in a performance test. Changes to its interior included an analog turbo boost gage. The GNX was created to be “The Grand National to end all Grand Nationals”. Any color was available…as long as it was black.
If a gun was pointed at my head and I had to choose just one song that captures the essence of the ’87 GNX, not a list of songs, ONE FUCKING SONG, I’d look up at the gunman with a shit-eating grin because the answer is too easy. The clear choice is The Doobie Brothers’ “Dangerous” from the 1991 action movie Stone Cold. Sure the song lyrics reference Harley motorcycles, but listen to those grooves and try not to imagine a guy in a sandy mullet screeching down the highway in a black Buick of death. Empty soft-packs of Vantage 100s crumbled up in the rear dash window. A sun-faded Garfield suction cup clinger hangs on for dear life. Now turn this up…
“Dangerous, that’s why you love it”
R.I.P. 1982 – 1987
“I RIDE THE WIND FOREVER FREE”
At the beginning of a cold and bleak January, I think we could all use an escape. Some place warm.
Let’s hop aboard a private jet at a Miami airport, donning an $800 suit and a tie with a toucan printed on it.
Now imagine being whisked away to the tropical paradise of the coca forests in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I can’t think of a better way to begin 2020.
Press play in the video link above and join me as we revisit the home of cultivated businessman and winner of “best dressed cocaine messiah” 4 years in a row, Alejandro Sosa.
A wealthy landowner. Educated in England. Comes from a very good family. The business brain and drug overlord of an empire that stretches across the Andes. Everyone knows and respects Sosa. His close friends and colleagues call him “Alex”. If he likes you and doesn’t think you’re a liar, Mr. Sosa will have his associates fly you to his backyard patio in Cochabamba for a pleasant afternoon lunch. After a salad and tour of Sosa’s luxurious estate, you’ll browse his cocaine factory. If things don’t work out and he ends up “smelling your garbage”, you’ll be lynched from a helicopter above his home by a henchman wearing sunglasses. *Binoculars will be provided to guests for watching your death*
Quick thanks to the remarkable YouTube uploader who created that 10-hour recording of the “Bolivia Theme” from 1983’s Scarface. I thought Uncle T was the only psycho who would enjoy such a thing. It’s also a reminder of how incredible every second of Giorgio Moroder’s music is from the Scarface soundtrack, even sequences such as this quick theme. Which leads us to our next feature…
Make no mistake, the music in Scarface is probably my favorite music ever put to film. However I’d be lying if I said I haven’t beaten those songs to smithereens over the years. I need a little break from “Vamos A Bailar”. My understanding is that Giorgio Moroder is sitting on hours and hours of the (still) unreleased score and bonus tracks that didn’t make the soundtrack nor the film.
Today we present a small taste that was provided to Uncle T while on a pilgrimage in the Andes Mountains with Kurt Sloan many years ago. I’ve had these tracks in storage for a while, and longtime TNUC disciples might remember when we shared them over a decade ago.
From what I’ve gathered these are the only bonus tracks to be released. Enjoy them with a spicy cocktail and plant-based narcotics courtesy of Uncle T. ♦