A Movie A Day #341: Hot Pursuit (1987, directed by Steven Lisberger)


When high school student Dan Bartlett (John Cusack) is late arriving at the airport, he finds himself watching as the plane taking his girlfriend (Wendy Gazelle) and her parents (Monte Markham and Shelley Fabares) to the Caribbean takes off without him.  Dan catches the next available flight and tries to track down his girlfriend and her family.  Helping him out is a Ganja-smoking islander (Keith David) and a crusty sea captain (Robert Loggia).  Complicating matters is that Dan’s girlfriend has been kidnapped by pirates (Jerry Stiller and his son, Ben)!

John Cusack got his start appearing in dopey 80s teen comedies and Hot Pursuit shows why he eventually declared that he would never appear in another one.  Hot Pursuit relies on the idiot plot.  If everyone in the movie didn’t act like an idiot, there wouldn’t be much of a movie.  Cusack seems bored in his role, only waking up towards the end of the movie when he gets to pick up a machine gun and blow away the pirates’ hideout.  (Cusack even gets to do a Rambo-style yell while riddling the building with bullets.)  This was Ben Stiller’s film debut and he has a few funny scenes.  The movie probably would have worked better if Stiller and Cusack had switched roles.

One final note; Hot Pursuit was produced by Pierre David, who also produced several of David Cronenberg’s early films.  It’s probably not a coincidence that Wendy Gazzelle’s character is named Lori Cronenberg.

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Young Frontier: John Wayne in THE COWBOYS (Warner Brothers 1972)


cracked rear viewer

THE COWBOYS is not just another ‘John Wayne Movie’ from the latter part of his career. Not by a long shot. Duke had read the script and coveted the part of Wil Andersen, who’s forced to hire a bunch of wet behind the ears adolescents for a 400 mile cattle drive across the rugged Montana territory. Director Mark Rydell wanted George C. Scott for the role, but when John Wayne set his sights on something, he usually got what he wanted. The two men were at polar opposites of the political spectrum, and the Sanford Meisner-trained Rydell and Old Hollywood Wayne were expected to clash. They didn’t; putting their differences aside, they collaborated and cooperated  to make one of the best Westerns of the 70’s.

Andersen’s regular hands have all deserted him when gold is discovered nearby, leaving the aging rancher in the lurch. He heads for Boseman to look…

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12 Days of Random Christmas Songs: “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” (from DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS)


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“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was first broadcast on December 18, 1966, and has become a TV staple ever since! Directed by Looney Tunes animator Chuck Jones and narrated by the great Boris Karloff, one of the highlights is voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft (the original Tony the Tiger… “They’re grrrrrreat!) singing “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, an ode to the odious Grinch, and here it is! Enjoy, and save me some Roast Beast!:

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Weekly Reading Round-Up : 12/10/2017 – 12/16/2017


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

This was a pretty solid week of reading, with short graphic novels being something of a running theme —

I Am Not Okay With This is the latest release from Charles Forsman, and a much-hyped one at that, being something of a conceptual and thematic follow-up to The End Of The Fucking World, in that both works focus on the interior thought processes, and external actions, of alienated youth. Our protagonist this time out, an Olive Oyl doppleganger named Sydney, ups the ante in that she possesses obliquely-defined mental powers, but it’s her home and social lives (her father recently passed away from an apparent suicide, she has unrequited romantic feelings for her slightly older best friend, her sexuality seems either fluid or unresolved) that are of far more interest, and her “superhuman” abilities actually function as something of an unnecessary crutch in the scheme of things.

Which isn’t…

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Music Video of the Day: Praise You By Fatboy Slim (1998, dir by Spike Jonze)


This is perhaps the greatest music video of all time and it only cost $800 to make.

First a little background of how Spike Jonze came to direct this video.  Apparently, Jonze unsuccessfully lobbied for the chance to direct the video of Fatboy Slim’s Rockafeller Skank.  However, Jonze still made a video of himself dancing to the song and sent it to Fatboy Slim (also known as Norman Cook) as a gift/joke.  Cook was so impressed that he hired Jonze to make the video for Praise You.

Here’s what you really need to know about this video:

Despite the authenticity and the passion of the amateur performance captured in this video, The Torrance Community Dance Group does not exist.

Richard Koufey does not exist. That is Spike Jonze playing Koufey.  I don’t know if Jonze “performed in several B-boy posses” while growing up, as Koufey claims to have done.  There’s something oddly touching about the enthusiastic way that Jonze/Koufey shouts, “B-boy.”

The bewildered audience is real and their confused reaction to Koufey’s performance was real too.  This video was shot outside of a movie theater, without permission or permits.  What you’re seeing in this video is technically a crime, which makes it all the more enjoyable.  I’m not sure if the man who briefly turns off the music was in on it or not.  If that wasn’t planned out ahead of time, Jonze was definitely taking a risk by jumping on him.

Myself, I just love the enthusiasm of it all.  It takes talent to be both bad and good at the same time.

Enjoy!