In Time for Father’s Day. TIFF Bell Lightbox Summer Series: The Rise of Beefcake Cinema


English: TIFF Bell Lightbox, one day before it...
English: TIFF Bell Lightbox, one day before its official opening, shot from Dhaba Restaurant across the street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you in Toronto, or near by, there is a fantastic summer cinema series at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Bell Lightbox cinema down on King Street which begins this Saturday night coinciding with Father’s Day, and it might just be the ideal gift for the Dad in your kid’s life.The series is called Schwarzenegger/Stallone: The Rise of Beefcake Cinema series and it follows Arnie and Sly’s rise to box-office royalty, signaling the beginning of a new era in action movies; the Age of Beefcake.  This series is programmed by Todd Brown who also programmed “Back to the ’80’s and Bangkok Dangerous: The Cinema of Nicolas Cage for the TIFF.

The kind folks at the TIFF forwarded me a link to their Summer trailer that has some clips of the series – http://www.youtube.com/user/tiff

It runs from June 16th to September 1st, every Saturday night this summer.

Looking at the movies included in this series, I noticed a few that I had actually seen, and a bunch that I had always wanted to see.  IT’s funny looking back at how these two guys, Stallone and Schwarzenegger brought on a steroidally enhanced renaissance of an even more disreputable form: the fifties Italian muscle man epics, which were given new life in 1982 with the double-barrel blast of First Blood and Conan the Barbarian.   Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger had both started out in the seventies as bit players and supporting actors, but as the new decade dawned, these pronunciationally challenged behemoths became icons, and replaced the more realistically scaled tough guys of the sixties and seventies — Steve McQueen, Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson — with a new ideal: the super-buff, superhuman action hero.

The movies in the series and their showing dates are below;

The Terminator – Saturday, June 16, 8:00 p.m.

James Cameron’s low-budget sci-fi action thriller launched Arnold Schwarzenegger to stardom in his role as an unstoppable cyborg assassin programmed with a nicely deadpan sense of humour.

First Blood – Saturday, June 30, 8:00 p.m.

Sylvester Stallone had his first non-Rocky hit playing lovable sociopath John Rambo in this lean, mean action thriller, in which the eternally misunderstood killing machine is hunted through the forests of the Pacific Northwest by an army of cops and National Guardsmen.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Saturday, July 14, 8:00 p.m.

Having had his switch flipped from “Evil” to “Good,” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s invincible cyborg returns to protect the adolescent future leader of the human resistance from another, even more formidable Terminator.

Cliffhanger – Saturday, July 21, 8:00 p.m.

In this white-knuckle, physics-defying thriller, Sylvester Stallone plays an alpine rescue ranger battling a gang of high-tech thieves who have landed on his mountain looking to retrieve their lost loot.

Conan the Barbarian – Saturday, July 28, 8:00 p.m.

Arnold Schwarzenegger crushes his enemies, sees them driven before him and hears the lamentations of the women as the mighty, sword-swinging warrior in John Milius’ mildly fascist fantasy epic.

Demolition Man – Saturday, August 4, 8:00 p.m.

A disgraced 20th-century cop (Sylvester Stallone) is released from his cryogenic prison in a utopic future to hunt down his psychotic, recently defrosted nemesis (Wesley Snipes).

Total Recall – Saturday, August 11, 8:00 p.m.

Arnold Schwarzenegger teams up with Dutch master of excess Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop) for this stupendously violent, gleefully nasty and polymorphously perverse science-fiction thriller.

Daylight – Saturday, August 18, 8:00 p.m.

Sylvester Stallone continued his quest to redefine himself for the 1990s in this old-fashioned disaster film, playing a former Manhattan EMS chief who descends into a collapsed, rapidly flooding tunnel to lead the survivors to safety.

The Running Man – Saturday, August 25, 8:00 p.m.

Stephen King wrote the source novel for this sci-fi action flick, in which a wrongly accused man (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in a dystopian future must battle his way through a deadly gladiatorial game show to regain his freedom.

Rocky – Saturday, September 1, 8:00 p.m.

Sylvester Stallone went from bit player to overnight sensation as the writer and star of this much-loved, Academy Award–winning underdog tale.

What a great selection of movies and a great date night activity.

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