After the “success” of the Mac and Me Running Diary, letters came pouring in from all over the country asking me to comment on more classic movies from the 80s. And while that statement may be a bold faced lie, I will continue the charade to maintain a positive self image. Psychology!
This week on our quarterly adventure to the past, we bring you, Disney’s Flight of the Navigator. I can vividly remember this being one of my favorite movies as a kid, but I have absolutely no recollection of what it is about. Based on the cover shot above, I can only assume good things. So, without further ado, here we go.
0:00 – Just look at this DVD menu. The excitement is now palpable.
Note: Being that the only person listed in the credits on the box is Joey Cramer, I just went to IMDB to see if there are any other names to be excited about. Sarah Jessica Parker, Bob Barker, and the voice of Paul Reubens aka Pee Wee Herman (He is credited as Paul Mall). This movie came out 6 weeks before Pee-Wee’s Playhouse debuted on TV so it is safe to say 1986 was the best year in Paul Reubens’ life.
0:00:36 – We have a silver unidentified flying object flying over a city.
0:00:45 – Fake out. It is just a Frisbee. We now bring you the title sequence over athletic dogs catching frisbees in their mouths
0:01:02 – Bad miss there for the Plaxico Burress of this intro. Hit him right in the mouth and he dropped it
0:01:51 – 80% success rate in this open for the dogs. You would think they would only include the winners
0:02:41 – Despite being released in 1986, this movie begins in South Florida on the 4th of July in 1978.
0:03:00 – Our cover hero is making his dog, Bruiser, watch the other dogs perform. He tries to him to do cool tricks, but Bruiser must be an old dog because he sure doesn’t give a damn about any of these new tricks
0:03:41 – Judith and Rocky won the Dog Frisbee Championship, but get no love in the movie.
0:03:50 – Things veer from PC real quick for a disney movie
Our hero’s little wiener brother: That dumb dog will never catch a frisbee
Our Hero: Don’t call Bruiser dumb
OHLWB: How about retarded.
0:03:55 – Why is this woman in the background wearing a one-piece swimsuit? Everyone else is wearing normal clothes
0:04:08 – Ominous shadow blocks out the sun. Everyone gawks, stands, and points. Look at this, right to action in the 80s
0:04:10 – Goddamn. It is just a blimp.
0:04:28 – OHLWB is a mini version of Squints from the Sandlot mixed with Fuller from Home Alone. This kid sucks so much he never got another job in Hollywood. He doesn’t even have an IMDB picture. Fu***n Albie.
0:05:10 – Our Hero, David, and his parents are listening to Grease in the car. That movie came out June 1, 1978. I appreciate the attention to detail there Disney
0:05:33 – Holy Crap. David lives in Cameron Diaz’s house from Something About Mary.
0:05:47 – Jennifer rides by on her bike. David is smitten. She seems so popular.
0:06:10 – And David is a creep. He is staring at her through his telescope. His dad walks in and catches him. When David admits he is afraid to talk to her, his dad drops some knowledge. “If you are going to learn to swim, you are gonna have to jump in the water”
0:08:26 – Ok. Where in Florida can you walk from the beach to a deciduous forest in 2 minutes?
0:08:40 – David gets real introspective while talking to Bruiser:
“Wanna know my real problem, I don’t know what I want out of life anymore”
Fun Fact: David grows up to start the band Rusty Jumpsuit, the first ever Emo band
0:09:22 – A scared David screams, “Get back Jack, I’ve got a gun” to no one in particular
0:10:20 – After being scared by his brother, David falls off a cliff and presumably gets knocked out cold. He wakes up and goes home only to find a strange woman and man living in his house. This is some Back to the Future II type stuff. No wonder I liked it so much as a kid
0:13:26 – After being taken to the police station, David is matched to a missing persons report and overhears the fact that he was pronounced dead.
0:14:14 – We are sometime in the future because the cops are stunned when David still thinks Jimmy Carter is President.
0:15:01 – David faints after being reunited with his much older parents
0:16:25 – We are introduced to Louis Faraday of NASA (Daniel Faraday’s father). It is amazing how many scientists in movies are named Faraday. We are also introduced to the spaceship.
0:19:35 – We are now 8 years in the future and Older OHLWB is slightly more tolerable and lucky for him, he grew out of that awkward phase
0:23:01 – OOHLWB is actually a pretty decent human being
0:23:30 – NASA still can’t get into the spaceship
0:24:32 – David is being given a lie detector test of some kind.
Nurse: The alpha waves are coming in at 12.8 cycles per second.
Nurse: He’s communicating directly with the computer in binary code
Doctor: How the hell is he doing that
What ridiculous dialogue.
0:24:22 – David’s brain just drew a picture of the spaceship. A copy of the picture was faxed to NASA and they are already here to recruit David to come to their “hospital.” When David’s family isn’t pursuaded and ready to leave, NASA drops the “Well I guess you’ll never want to learn the truth” bomb. They got em. Hook. Line, and Sinker.
0:28:35 – “If you want to watch TV, this is a remote control wand”
Wow. Just looked it up, IR remotes didn’t become the norm until the early 1980s. More great continuity stuff
0:28:40 – Apparently in 1986, NASA had Star Trek-esque mechanical doors. Why the hell aren’t these everywhere yet. I’ve been using door knobs for way to long
0:29:11 – And Mail Robots that talk? What the hell happened to you NASA. You used to be cool. R.A.L.F (Robotic Assistance Labor Facilitator)
0:29:15 – I bet there were a lot of kids who joined NASA after this movie and were disappointed with their experience once they got there. But then again, they did put a rover on Mars so I guess they got over it
0:29:19 – A young SJP plays the NASA Honeypot put here to flirt with David and make him feel at ease
0:29:54 – David can’t Believe Starsky & Hutch (1975-1979) got cancelled
0:30:33 – These conversation are amazing. David hyping Bee Gees (Staying Alive and Night Fever came out in 1977). SJP has purple hair and is stoked about seeing Twisted Sister last night. She is also shocked David has never seen a music video. MTV has officially made it. Currently playing: the hit song from Blancmange – Lose Your Love. This music video deserves its own running diary
0:31:04 – When David asks for a Coke, SJP asks if he wants Classic, Diet, Cherry, Caffeine Free, or New Coke
0:31:30 – In another good guy move OOHLWB has taught Bruiser how to catch frisbees. He also just dropped a “shit” in a Disney movie. The 80s were so tolerant
0:35:08 – The scientists manage to communicate with the spaceship through David’s brain. NASA reveals that while traveling at the speed of light, a 4.4 hour trip for David would have been 8 years for everyone else
0:35:10 – I’m pretty sure David was the voice of this kid from Billy Madison.
0:36:45 – SJP was kind of hot when she was in the single-giant-bangle-dangle-earing phase. Maybe Mr. Big would have made his move sooner had he known her then.
Ed. Note: I don’t know if that is a real Sex and the City reference, but it is already skeptical enough that I can fake that much
0:37:45 – David wants to leave
0:37:50 – There it is. The typical older “hot” chick telling a slightly dorky 80s movie young hero that he is cute despite the fact he has no chance with her. See also: The Goonies
0:37:51 – David doesn’t mind staying
0:39:10 – David sneaks out in the belly of RALF. When RALF pulls up in front of a quarantined area. He is buzzed in by the guard, no questions asked. You had one job Phil!
0:41:53 – David finally comes face to face with the spaceship. Despite NASA not knowing how to get in, the ship literally rolls out the stairs for David. The cockpit looks like something out of a David Bowie wet dream
0:44:25 – Spoiler Alert. David is the Navigator
0:47:59 – Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
Ship: Do you wish to activate evasive maneuvers?
David: But I don’t have any maneuvers
SJP could have told you that. Ba-zing! You want some ice for that burn David?
0:49:05 – Anytime David makes a request, the ship says “Compliance.” That’s his thing
David: I don’t know what to do. Go 20 miles from here so I can think
(Ship rockets 20 miles into space)
David: I meant 20 miles on the ground, not straight up
0:52:41 – Victoria Jackson is in this movie?
0:53:54 – David is taking a leak in the field with cows. The ship doesn’t understand what is he doing.
0:53:30 – The ship was sent to study humans and their inferior brains. The ship crashed into electrical wires and lost all the maps it needed to get back home. The maps are in David’s brain.
tl:dr The GPS running on the iPhone in the ship died and he forgot his power cord so he has to resort to reading a regular map to get home.
0:54:45 – In exchange for the maps, the ship agrees to take David home.
0:56:40 – When asked to take them to some place they can’t be found, the Ship, now named Max, dives into the ocean.
David: Under the water? Will this thing leak
Max: No. You are the one who leaks, remember.
David: (This Face)
0:58:51 – David looks at all the other aliens being studied by Max
Max: That is a Gromglot, he’s not dangerous
David: Can I hold him
Max: I don’t care, just keep him quiet.
0:59:30 – David suggests that Max try laughing because it will make him feel good. This must be the first glimpse anyone ever got at the now iconic Pee Wee Herman laugh
1:00:10 – Wonder what Bruiser is up to. Feel like trusty-dog-sidekick is missing from this movie. Boy disappears for 8 years, the only one who accepts him back without question is his dog. I want a re-write
1:00:41 – Max says: “I am ready to perform the mind transfer.” That doesn’t sound creepy. At least David doesn’t accept this at face value
David: How many times have you done this?
David: You mean never?
1:01:18 – Mind transfer takes two seconds. Similar to the time Marge was impregnated by Kang
1:01:33 – After the Mind Transfer robotic Max turned into Pee-Wee Herman. Silly voice and goofing around. And some nice McDonald’s Product Placement
1:05:51 – SJP is Narcing on NASA telling David’s parents about what is going on. NASA looks pissed.
SJP: Faraday had the ship in a hanger and it took off with David inside it
Mom: What are we going to do?
Dad: Faraday. That bastard. He is going to wish he never met us
Salty language in a Disney film. Different time I guess
1:06:25 – SJP tries to sneak out the backdoor when the NASA Thugs show up. But she is busted. This is the last we see of her. Poor SJP.
1:07:10 – Max flies the ship to Tokyo. Then to San Francisco. They are lost. Robotic Max was in control, but Pee-Wee Max is off the rails and not on his game.
1:07:25 – “Rice a Roni, the San Francisco treat.” No wonder I never forgot that jingle
1:08:14 – David, still obsessing over SJP, wonders outloud if those geeks in the car are listening to Twisted Sister like Carolyn. It is instead a made up song called “Trapped in my Mind”
1:09:28 – (While high in the clouds) “That looked like Texas”
1:10:10 – Max wants to hear more music like “Trapped in my Mind”
Max: How’s this (Plays Opera)
David: That’s not music
Max: (Changes to Bossa Nova)
David: Change it quick
Max: (Beach Boys – “I Get Around”)
David: Hold it! Now this is music!
(Cue Karaoke Dance Party)
1:11:01 – This movie really has no focus right now.
1:11:40 – David’s parents are pissed they have to wait till 11 to watch get more info on the spaceship on the news. CNN was launched in 1980, but I guess they weren’t a staple yet
1:12:30 – David stops at Big Al’s Gator Ranch to call his parents. Max takes this opportunity to insult Big Al for no reason. Also, the dad who stops off next to Big Al looks like a Eli Manning/Steve Scully love child
1:14:18 – David asks Jeff for directions since he doesn’t know where the house is. He needs a signal from the air that NASA won’t know about
1:14:28 – Did David just buy cigarettes?
1:14:55 – Al: “He just said he wanted to phone home” (4 years after ET)
1:14:57 – Based on this shot, True Detective season two must have been an homage to this movie. No wonder it was so bad
1:14:59 – Wait. I thought they were in Florida. That is definitely LA
1:15:57 – David’s family is watching Price is Right in quarantine
1:16:20 – Max: My creatures are so hungry they could eat a Zigzog. It’s kind of like a hippo, but with feathers
1:16:42 – Jeff and Bruiser sneak onto the roof to set off fireworks
1:17:10 – Bob Barker!
1:17:18 – Jeff sucks at fireworks. First he knocks the box off the roof. Then the first two fireworks shoot down. Third time is the charm.
1:19:00 – NASA has the place surrounded. David is reluctant to go home, especially since his friends are 20 years old. Max says it is too dangerous to take him back in time. Faraday tries to coax him off the ship, but David runs back on.
David: That’s my family, but it’s not my home. If I stay there those scientists will treat me like a Guinea Pig for the rest of my life
Max: If you go back in time with me, you could be vaporized
David: That’s a chance I’ll just have to take. Max will I ever see you again
Max: I don’t know
1:22:57 – Time travel in the 80s
1:23:04 – David wakes up in the woods again and runs home. Fingers crossed….
1:23:31 – Victory! His family and Weiner Jeff are back to normal. That little alien thing stayed in David’s backpack and will grow up to be Mac. The brothers love each other now. But sadly, Bruiser is back to sucking at catching a frisbee. And Jennifer is still ignoring David.
1:26:12 – See you later Navigator.