Flash Gordon, 1980
Originally published in the Standard-Examiner newspaper.
If ever there was a "guilty pleasure" that makes me "feel good," it is the 1980 film "Flash Gordon," starring Sam Jones in the title role. As a boy, I saw this film in theaters at least six times. When my parents got cable television in 1981, I watched it at least three times on HBO in one day.
Based on Alex Raymond's popular comic strip of the 1930s, Flash Gordon rockets to the planet Mongo with Dale Arden and Professor Hans Zarkov to save the Earth from the evil clutches of Ming the Merciless, played by Max von Sydow.
I find this film appealing because Sam Jones in the role of Flash seems a bit naive, and the lava-lamp-cheesy special effects add to the campy flavor of the film. If you don't take it too seriously, "Flash Gordon" is a delightful film to watch at 3 a.m. in the morning. Keep watching the skies!!!
-- Steve Stones