A Movie A Day #163: Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979, directed by Ivan Nagy)


America’s most patriotic beach bum is back!

The infamous international terrorist, Miguel (Christopher Lee), is demanding millions of dollars from the U.S. government.  If he doesn’t get his cash, Miguel will unleash a formula that causes rapid aging.  Who else can stop him but Captain America (Reb Brown)?  While Cap searches for Miguel in a small town that appears to be full of bullies, comely single mothers, and children in desperate need of a father figure, Doctors Simon Mills (Len Birman) and Wendy Day (Connie Sellecca) search for a way to reverse the aging process.

This is the second of two pilots that were produced in 1979 in an attempt to start a weekly Captain America television series.  This Captain America had little in common with his comic book counterpart.  In the two pilots, Steve Rogers was a laid back beach bum who drove a Chevy Van and owned a really groovy, red, white, and blue motorcycle.  Having recently gotten out of the army, Steve would have been just as happy to spend his time sketching the beach as saving the world from HYDRA.  Whenever he put on the costume of Captain America, he carried a transparent shield that was supposed to be bullet proof but which looked like it was made out of flimsy plastic.  In Captain America II: Death Too Soon, Cap uses his shield to protect himself from a wild dog and the shield literally bends when the dog jumps against it.  Reb Brown played Cap in both pilots and, while he was more likable than Matt Salinger, he was no Chris Evans.

Still, the presence of both Christopher Lee and Connie Sellecca help to make the second pilot a marginal improvement on the first one.  The second pilot is almost good enough to make the case that, if not for that damn transparent shield, a weekly Captain America television series would not have been that bad.  It was not to be, of course.  It would be over 30 years before a movie finally got both Captain America and his shield right.

Music Video of the Day: The Touch by Stan Bush (1986, dir. John Beug & Ray Villalobos [aka Reynaldo Villalobos])


Another year. Another Transformers movie.

I’ve seen all the Michael Bay films, so I don’t know anything about the Transformers other than what I have picked up from Phelous’ review of Transformers (G1), a top 20 list of the funniest/dumbest moments from G1, and a top 20 list of the funniest/dumbest moments from Headmasters.

That means I know that the Transformers movie that this song was used in had kids crying in the theater because it killed off a lot of the characters they loved from the series, which is funny since IMDb tells me Optimus Prime is gone in the latest one.

I know that there is a fictional Middle Eastern country in the Transformers universe called Carbombya. Why?

Also, Sea Spray falls in love with a mermaid, and jumps into a magic pool to transform into a merman.

The song is amazing and has been used in a lot of other places. Probably because it wasn’t written for Transformers. It was based off a line from Iron Eagle (1986) where Louis Gosset Jr. says, “Kid, you’ve got the touch.” He planned for it to be used in the film Cobra (1986), but it ended up in Transformers instead. I’ve seen it used at the end of a review of the religious propaganda show Deception Of A Generation. It was also used in Boogie Nights (1997) where it was performed by Mark Wahlberg. Amazing.

As for the video, there are some ties to Michael Bay. One of the directors, John Beug, who was the senior vice president of video production for Warner Bros. Records said the following about Bay in the book I Want My MTV:

John Beug: Michael Bay did a couple of videos for me. I don’t think I was particularly encouraging to his career, shall we say. He did a Chicago video, and I told him I wasn’t blown away by his talent, which he reminded me of at the Pearl Harbor premiere ten years later.

There’s a sad tie between Beug and that particular movie, but you can look that up yourself.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from I Want My MTV about Michael Bay thanks to Juliana Roberts, Joni Sighvatsson, and Jeff Ayeroff:

Juliana Roberts [A music-video, film, and TV producer. She was a producer for Propaganda Film’s hard rock division, The Foundry]: Michael kind of worshipped David Fincher. We’d always crack up, because Michael would follow David around the Propaganda offices.

Joni Sighvatsson [A movie producer and a cofounder of Propaganda Films]: Fincher and Bay became adversaries. It wasn’t spoken, but it created a great deal of tension. Fincher was sophisticated. He was inspired by great photographers such as Robert Frank and Horst P. Horst. Bay was a technical genius like Fincher, but he had the mind of a teenager. His sensibility was juvenile.

Jeff Ayeroff [Was a creative director of Warner Bros. Records and the cochairman of Virgin Records America]: Michael Bay was known as “the little Fincher.” They said, “He’s not as artistic, but he’s got drive. He’s gonna chew through everything.” He did the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself” for me at Virgin. He was an ego-fucking-maniac.

There are some kinder ones in there too. But I figured that if I didn’t know about his relationship with Fincher before this section of the book, then there had to be others out there that don’t either.

Personally, I can’t stand Michael Bay because he clearly has a lot of talent, but for some reason has decided not to use it…most of the time.

The video was also directed by Reynaldo Villalobos who is an accomplished cinematographer.

The video was produced by both John Beug and Kim Dempster. Dempster produced at least nine music videos, including four of them for David Fincher. She also directed the movie Marmalade (2004).

Enjoy!