I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘Harry Dean Stanton’

Kelly’s Heroes

Monday, January 4th, 2016

tn_kellysheroesFor four years now it’s been my tradition to kick off a new year with Clint Eastwood. This year I’m starting it with Clint and a rowdy gang of G.I. goofballs including roughneck Telly Savalas, new agey Donald Sutherland, bitter wiseass Don Rickles and young, harmonica-playing, exactly-the-same-looking Harry Dean Stanton (credited as Dean Stanton). It kinda feels like one of those fun ensemble war pictures like THE DIRTY DOZEN or THE GREAT ESCAPE, except the idea behind it is much more cynical.

Clint plays Kelly, a once great soldier, demoted and disillusioned after an incorrect order caused him to blow up some of his own men. When he finds out about a stash of gold bars in a German bank he finally has a mission he can believe in again: get together a crew to penetrate the enemy lines early and get the loot. Everyone thinks/knows it’s crazy, but the lure of the bling is enough. In fact, they have trouble with more and more people joining the group and expecting a share.

At times it can be kind of a broad comedy, and with that old timey type of military humor where they complain about their job but they just talk about hating to have to lug heavy things around, or get bossed around, they don’t talk about the psychological trauma of having to kill people, or almost being killed, or seeing their friends killed. But in a way this is a very subversive movie, because here’s The Great War, the one we can all get behind, the one that made them The Greatest Generation, and our titleistical heroes never even mention ideals or what they’re fighting for. What they end up getting behind is a big payday. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Wild at Heart

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

tn_wildatheartSailor Ripley is the character who was born for Nicolas Cage to play. He’s the ultimate bad boy who you wouldn’t bring home to your parents, an old timey hoodlum ex-con, self-conscious about his rebellious image, and obsessed with Elvis, who he calls “E” for short. He talks like him, combs his hair kind of like him, sings his love songs only at important romantic milestones. He and his young girlfriend Lula (Laura Dern) love to dance together, and at one point they pull their Thunderbird convertible to the side of the highway, play heavy metal and dance, which to him mostly means jumping around doing karate kicks and punches. They don’t have to discuss that they’re going to do this, so you gotta assume it’s one of their regular activities.

Sailor wears a snakeskin jacket, which he proudly says on more than one occasion “represents a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom.” He’s a self-professed “robber and a manslaughterer” and hasn’t “had any parental guidance.” He started smoking when he was “about four,” and cigarette brand loyalty seem to be one tradition he and Lula inherit from their parents. He knows many unsavory characters from his time as an underworld driver, including Lula’s mother Marietta Fortune (Dern’s real life mother Diane Ladd), who is so serious about keeping Sailor away from her daughter that she takes a hit out on him. She’s also so wicked that she frequently goes on cackling jags and is several times depicted as the WIZARD OF OZ witch, flying on a broom or watching them in a crystal ball. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Seven Psychopaths

Friday, February 8th, 2013

tn_sevenpsychopathsNow that I’ve seen SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS I understand why the ads made it look so dumb: it’s too hard to explain. They made it look like some corny post-Tarantino “isn’t it funny, they’re hardened criminals but they’re arguing over a Shih Tzu!” type bullshit. And that’s in there – writer/director Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES) is about the only guy whose style can remind me of Tarantino in a good way – but overall it’s weirder and more distinct than that.

In IN BRUGES the protagonists were hit men, and there was a subplot about a movie being filmed near where they’re staying. In this one the movie business is more central. Colin Farrell plays a clearly idiotic screenwriter trying to write something called SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, but he doesn’t have much more than a title. He doesn’t even have seven psychopaths, so he just spends his time trying to think of concepts for different psychopaths, sometimes based on stories he’s heard or seen in the news. So we see these stories in his head, or going on around him, and fictional reality begins to blend with fiction-within-fiction. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Last Stand

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

tn_thelaststandWith THE LAST STAND, Arnold Schwarzenegger officially kicks off his Old Man Period, sort of following the Clint Eastwood precedent. And I’m all for it. Alot of people love nothing more than shaming actors, especially action stars, for failing to conquer time and science, and instead succumbing to the biological changes that occur as a result of human aging. They love jokes about John McClane on a walker or Rambo wearing Depends. Ha ha, I bet when you were Mr. Universe you never guessed that your cells would change in tandem with the passage of time and you would end up with a different physicality that would lead to new health challenges! Serves ya right, grandpa! (And when I say “grandpa” I use it in the sense of “old men are the worst thing there is” and not in reference to my actual grandfather, who we call “Pa-Pa.”)

Of course, real fans of Badass Cinema put Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood on a pedestal. We know that a mug with some miles on it always trumps a babyface. Grizzled veteran beats young hotshot in pretty much all cases except maybe Bruce Lee. So we welcome Old Man Arnold.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Avengers

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

tn_avengersspoilerish

As much as I enjoyed Uma Thurman and the teddy bear costumes in the original AVENGERS, this one is an improvement. It’s a fun super hero movie with lots of colorful super-characters like in the X-MEN pictures, but with more of a disaster-movie-level of spectacle. Instead of just fighting 1-3 supervillains they’re fighting an alien invasion. As you know this teams up characters from IRON MAN 1-2, THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008) (arguably), CAPTAIN AMERICA and THOR under the direction and writing of Joss Whedon (SERENITY, Buffy the Vampire, all that). If they had had some guy from Doctor Who in there and based it on a video game or anime it would’ve had the monopoly on all of the existing nerd audiences. But also it’s fun for all of us.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

92 in the Shade

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

This guy Don’s been bugging me to review 92 IN THE SHADE since he nominated it for the BADASS 100 update and nobody else had seen it. And it clearly sounded worth seeing but I think the title had bad associations for me because it reminded me of a porno this dude I used to work with liked to watch. That one was called 92 AND STILL BANGIN’. Don’s movie is alot better, in my personal opinion. Your mileage may vary.

The title probaly could describe the heat in Key West where it takes place, but the movie never really shows or mentions it being that hot. So it could also describe the tensions between the young man (Pete Fonda) back in town resuming his job as a fishing guide and his main rival (Warren God Damn Oates). That’s a hell of a ’70s cast already, and then you also got Harry Dean Stanton as another rival, Margot Kidder as Fonda’s girlfriend, William Hickey as his dad, Burgess Meredith as some other dude, even Joe “MANIAC” Spinell as a client. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Cockfighter

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

Well when you want a good sports movie you go to Monte Hellman, the fellow who also did the great racing movie Two Lane Black Top and Silent Night, Deadly Night 3. Now I know some of you from the title, you’re gonna say, “Oh, Vern’s reviewing a gay porno” but no, it’s about chickens.

I don’t know if you are familiar with cockfighting, cock is a term for rooster and what they do, they put two roosters in a circle and have them fight each other. Sometimes they put little metal hooks on their legs to make them more deadly. You know, it is basically like the dog fights we have up here but this is what they do in the south, because chickens are more readily available I guess. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.