Hudson Hawk

tn_hudsonhawkBruceTo celebrate the release of my new review book that’s named after Bruce Willis it’s only appropriate that I review a Bruce movie I never reviewed before. And by far the most requested title in that category is the notorious-flop-turned-minor-cult-movie HUDSON HAWK.

I’ll start by laying out the three basic schools of thought about why HUDSON HAWK crashed and burned.

1. The McClane Factor. Audiences had originally loved Bruce as David Addison on MOONLIGHTING. Nobody expected DIE HARD to be so good. But it re-invented action and it re-invented Bruce. Sure, they still had a taste for David Addison, but they hungered for John McClane, especially right here in 1991. Moonlighting was over, DIE HARD 2 had just happened, Comedy Bruce had been shed to reveal Action Bruce fully grown beneath… then all the sudden he comes out with this. It’s like, all due respect to the black eye mask, but right after you see THE BIG BOSS or FIST OF FURY for the first time you’re not anxious for Bruce Lee to go back to playing Kato.

HUDSON HAWK is way more MOONLIGHTING than DIE HARD. His character is the opposite of John McClane in many ways. McClane is a cop, Hawk is a cat burglar. McClane is a working stiff, Hawk loves cappucino. McClane wears an undershirt and no shoes, Hawk a fancy black overcoat and hat. McClane makes smartass comments to leaven his seemingly doomed situation, when Hawk makes them it emphasizes his fearlessnes. McClane is having trouble keeping his marriage together, Hawk is so smooth he scores a hot nun. If you went into this movie hoping to see a character kind of like John McClane you would feel a little like Karl hanging from a chain.

2. The media was out to get Bruce. This seems to be Bruce’s theory. Some of the critics and other media establishment individuals weren’t onboard the Nakatomi Express yet. They looked down their noses at DIE HARD, especially after there was a sequel. They thought it was low culture, dumb violence for dumb people. So they wanted Bruce to fall on his ass, and this obviously self-indulgent pet project with a cocky attitude and shameless silliness was too juicy a target to pass up. It was panned viciously and that may have contributed to its financial failure.

3. It wasn’t very good.

Which of these is the real reason? I have always believed it was a Neopolitan ice cream style striped-combo of the three. But after my latest viewing I put less emphasis on the third one. I think I’ve seen it three times now, and each time liked it better than before. Admittedly it started at a pretty low level of liking, but this time was the best so far. It doesn’t all work, but if you’re in the right mood it’s funny and unusual.

Bruce plays Eddie something, aka the Hudson Hawk, or I thought that’s what they said but at some point they seem to switch to Hudson Hawk being his actual name. Anyway he’s a very talented cat burglar just out of the joint, relaxing and discussing a straight career path with his brother and co-bar owner Tommy Five-Tone (Danny Aiello) when some crooks called the Mario Brothers (no relation) force them to do a museum heist. This turns out to be a setup by nefarious CIA man James Coburn and a team of younger agents (he calls them “the MTV-IA”) code-named after candy bars.

In the movie’s most perfectly surreal moment he’s just survived a harrowing high speed gurney-roll through freeway traffic when David Caruso rappels down from who knows where and holds out a card that says, “MY NAME IS KIT KAT. THIS IS NOT A DREAM.” Next thing you know the Hawk is poisoned, packed in styrofoam shipping peanuts and flown to Rome where he’s forced to steal Leonardo Da Vinci’s codex from the Vatican. In the process he falls for a pretty girl (Andie McDowell) who’s trying to keep the Vatican’s artifacts safe, and he turns out to be embroiled in an evil plot to rebuild a hidden Da Vinci invention that creates gold (not because they want to be rich but because they want to destroy the world economy).

Jesus, I gotta add theory #4, that the movie failed because these were the fucking movie posters they made:

That stupid one on the left I remember as the poster but also I found this one on the right, which says:

–I don’t think so.

For Christ’s sake, man. I know somebody probly worked hard at least on the typography there on one of them, and everybody has bills to pay. Don’t want to make anybody feel bad, but come on. Let’s have some pride in our work, fellas. I personally believe you could’ve done better. just my 2 cents.

The screenplay was credited to two writers, Steven E. de Souza (the E is for Excellence [nah, just kidding, it’s so he doesn’t get confused with all the other Steven de Souzas]) and Daniel Waters. De Souza is famous for being one of the writers of DIE HARD, and his credits also include 48 HOURS, COMMANDO and RICOCHET. But also THE FLINSTONES, BEVERLY HILLS COP 2-3, STREET FIGHTER (also director), JUDGE DREDD, and as much as I love it I gotta say KNOCK OFF. Waters meanwhile is known as the visionary writer of HEATHERS, but also had a streak of big studio movies: THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE, then this, BATMAN RETURNS and DEMOLITION MAN. My guess is that de Souza wrote the thing up based on Bruce and his friend Robert Kraft’s story notes, then Waters probly went in and rewrote all the dialogue.

The weak side of it is the summer event movie side of it. It has that early ’90s mediocre studio fantasy adventure feel, with effects by ILM (for a Da Vinci flying machine and exploding gold machine) and a score working itself up too much trying to sound epic and thrilling no matter what’s on screen. If this was supposed to work on multiple levels I don’t think the fantasy adventure level quite succeeded. Bruce does too much swinging around and falling with comical looks on his face for the action to have any weight to it, and Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard are too campy and over the top as the villains to be taken seriously at all.

I mean I’m just saying I doubt anybody’s watching this thing excited to get to the flying machine sequence.

But as a comedy it’s much more successful because it’s jam-packed with goofy little touches (a bomb shooting onto a thug’s head, Caruso painted silver and disguised as a statue) and a Shane Blackian amount of quips. Everybody always has a smartass comment to rattle off to everybody else’s smartass comment. They’re even making clever quips when they claim that they can’t make clever quips. At one point Coburn says, “I wish I could come up with this glib repartee the way you guys can. But I can’t, so I’ll just paralyze you.”

And glib is just the right word for it. Everybody jokes to cover any fear of death they may have. When they’ve been paralyzed and shown a shocking USA Today cover story Hawk and Tommy try to get them to turn to section B to check the Mets score.

I’m sure some of you will quote your favorite lines in the comments. Here’s a couple of mine:

Asked how much time he did Hawk says, “Put it this way. I never saw E.T.”

Richard E. Grant The butler guy slashes the mobster and says, “So much for his cut.” Then, “Forgive my dry British humor.”

The moronic Butterfinger thinks he’s in France (he’s in Italy) and announces, “Ah, to be in Par-ee and in love!”

Also, one of the most ridiculous one-liners ever, after somebody gets beheaded: “I guess you won’t be going to that hat  convention in July!”

(why July? Hudson Hawk really has a detailed idea of this imaginary hat convention. I’m surprised he didn’t say where it happens and how much it costs for a VIP badge.)

I like the candy bar agents, a colorful bunch of characters. The standout is Butterfinger, a huge, dumb oaf with a Boz-like haircut. When part of a plan is going awry he asks, “You want me to rape him?” so they distract him with his copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. When he’s shot he calls Coburn “coach.” Then there’s the mute Kit Kat. As he falls over dead thankfully he has a card prepared that says, “I ALWAYS LIKED YOU.”

If you’re like me, the main thing you remember about this movie is the heist sequence at the beginning, where Hawk and Tommy sing “Would You Like To Swing On a Star” to themselves while sneaking around the museum, because they have the lengths of songs memorized and use them to time their movements. Of course this makes no sense at all, and Tommy even points it out (“You know they invented something while you were inside – it’s called ‘the watch'”). But if you just go with it it makes for a fun little musical number. Aiello actually isn’t a bad singer and Bruce does better than on RETURN OF BRUNO.

This actually has a bit of that Bruno in it, because it’s Bruce indulging his white bluesman sensibilities, showing off what songs he loves and thinking he looks real fuckin cool adjusting that hat all the time.

What I didn’t know until I watched the DVD extra “The Story of Hudson Hawk” is that this movie comes entirely out of Bruce’s music-playing. It’s actually a really good half hour featurette of Bruce and co-story writer/music supervisor Robert Kraft. Kraft is at the piano for the whole interview and plays and sings the theme song much more appealingly than Dr. John did on the end credits. They explain that they met in 1979 when Kraft’s band was performing in a club. Bruce was in the audience and was presumptuous enough to pull out a harmonica and start playing with them. You’d think this would get Bruce beat up, but instead they became friends. Later Kraft wrote the song, Bruce vowed it would be a movie some day, many years passed and then somehow he turned out to be right.

So for Bruce fans this is a must-see, because it shows you so much of Bruce’s personality. It captures his wiseass side, his musical persona, a little bit of his action side, his Jersey pride and his friendship with Kraft. It shows that as much as we love Action Bruce it’s not a bad idea to invite Comedy Bruce out every once in a while. This movie has really grown on me over the years, from “not very good” to “actually has some funny parts” to “for the most part I like this!”

a couple notes:

1. I don’t know why they’re making such a big deal about Willis and Stallone working together on THE EXPENDABLES, because they already worked together on this one. Well, Frank Stallone, anyway.

2. This was not the first time Bruce collaborated with Kraft on a movie. Kraft wrote a song for LOOK WHO’S TALKING TOO.

3. IMDb’s database recommends that if I like HUDSON HAWK I may also like Jodorowsky’s HOLY MOUNTAIN and BLUE STREAK starring Martin Lawrence.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 1:28 am and is filed under Bruce, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

111 Responses to “Hudson Hawk”

  1. I don’t think HUDSON HAWK deserved the BATMAN AND ROBIN levels of vitriol it attracted at the time, but at the same time it’s just not very good. I get that it’s supposed to be a parody of bad action films, but that never really works (see also LAST ACTION HERO) because action movies tend to be parodies in themselves. I get that the one-liners are incredibly cheesy on purpose, but that doesn’t make them any funnier, does it? It has a few good moments, but everything about the film is so self-satisfied and smug (especially Bruce, just look at him smirking away in his stupid hat) I’m not surprised so many people hated it.

  2. I’m an aspiring filmmaker and I hope one day to make an action comedy with a similar surreal and absurd style

    hopefully it’ll be one people want to see however

  3. No, sorry, I think it was all about reason number three. This film is an awful mess, it has understatement and overacting, wants to present a suave hero and at the same time go for broad slapstick, it’s neither funny nor exciting – it’s just bad, so bad it should be glad that Battlefield Earth came around.

  4. I liked parts of it , but every time I see it , I like it a little bit less. As Vern pointed out , it’s very dated , that 90’s action/comedy mix , and not in a good way. The movie also feels unfocused , jumping all over the place , from location to location , and from comedy to not very good action. But I liked Bruce in it , and Coburn. The thing I always remember first of this movie is the guy with the double knives , and that final decapitation , that was really cool .

    CrustaceanHate : I sometimes make the same Hudson Hawk/Last Action Hero connection. Both are movies trying to mix things up , and that’s a plus , but both are flawed in some way or another ( and I even liked the cartoon cat in LAH , usually the most hated thing in that movie). Of the 2 movies , in the end , I like more LAH because I think the action is a little better .

  5. Andie McDowell is pretty?

    Jeez, she’s a vacuum. I kind of liked the villains in this but that was it.

  6. Crustacean Hate – it kinda reminds me of “The Last Boy Scout”, another movie that should’ve been so much better than it was. I don’t think I’ve ever got through to the end of “Hudson Hawk”. The nearest I can remember, it seemed to be a string of incidents without any real hook to the story or characters. I can’t even remember Andie MacDowell, although that’s unfortunately par for the course (you know Hugh Grant should’ve ended up with Kristen Scott Thomas in “Four Weddings”). I don’t know what it is about her… if you said “what’s Andie MacDowell been in” to me, I’d immediately think the L’Oreal commercials, with “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Groundhog day” coming in a distant second / third. The weird thing is that both of those films are excellent, but I just can’t think of what she added to them personally. I don’t think she’s a bad actor, so what is it…? Forgettability?

  7. CallMeKermit: The thing that spoils THE LAST ACTION HERO for me is that annoying fucking kid whose job is to basically ruin every joke in the film by over-explaining it. Still, I think the idea of an action hero trying to live in the “real world” is a good one, so good on them for trying.

    Paul: I like THE LAST BOY SCOUT more than I like this one, but it’s got a similar amount of rapid-fire one-liners (not surprising since it’s a Shane Black film) with a similar hit-to-miss ratio.

  8. I love HUDSON HAWK. Love the singing, love the wacky villains, love the cringe-worthy one-liners (“Betty Jo Byarski? I can get you an address on that, if you want.”), love that it gets really violent for three or four seconds at a time, love how big and bloated it is for this kind of lightweight adventure picture. As far as the special effects go, I will argue that is has the best bloodless full-body explosion of all time. If you freeze frame it you can see the auctioneer’s arm flying through the air still holding the gavel.

    Not that I’ve done that. Every time I’ve watched it. Which is probably like 15 times.

  9. “My pension!” screams James Coburn while riding the hood of a car into an explosion.

    Hudson Hawk isn’t a good movie, it is a great movie. It is a fun movie. It is a ridiculous movie filled with one performance after another trying to go over the top of the last. Richard E. Grant’s continuous toothy grin is the perfect metaphor within the movie, we’re having a great time. I’ll leave it at that for now, let the normal rage spill and come back.

    I loved it in the theater, I’ve hooked almost as many people on it as I have with Shakes the Clown, and am still hoping to one day get a real special edition with commentaries from the Heathers team and Bruce with de Souza. Good times.

  10. Seriously, there is anything in the world that can ever convince me Hudson Hawk is terrible (same for The Last Boy Scout).

  11. Andie McDowell gives one of the worst line readings in history of film at the end of Four Weddings with “Oh really, I haven’t noticed” when Hugh Grant says it’s raining. It’s really painfully bad.

  12. Kevin Holsinger

    April 28th, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Good morning, Vern and all.

    I haven’t watched Hudson Hawk in years, but I do recall liking it. I think the “problem” was that the humor was rather bizarre. Worked for me, but I can easily see it not working for others.

    Though, I think part of the problem is the curse of Andie McDowell. She doesn’t always star in bad movies, but she’s got a long track record of not starring in financially successful movies.

    Sort of like Bai Ling. If you see either of those names in the credits, don’t expect a high box office return.

  13. Great to see some Hudson Hawk love! It’s not exactly high art, but it’s a genuinely fun movie.

    Oh, and I hate to be that guy… but it wasn’t Richard E Grant who delivered the “dry British humor” line, it was the butler character. Grant, however did give us the classic, “If Da Vinci was alive today, he’d be eating microwave sushi in the back of a Cadillac, naked, with the both of us”. I love that guy.

  14. I think Andie McDowell’s little “I must talk to the dolphins now” freak-out is clearly the highlight of her acting career.

  15. Jareth Cutestory

    April 28th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    The idea that the media was out to get Bruce (or at least Bruce’s films) isn’t far-fetched. I took an introductory film studies class the autumn before DIE HARD 2 was released, and the professor made a lot of snide jokes about the subtitle
    DIE HARDER. Apparently he thought it typified the manner in which blockbusters dumb down cinema language and the population in general. This sentiment was echoed in the press fairly often. I think it was only afer ten or twelve years that the original DIE HARD came to be appreciated as a classic.

    The most recent film that we studied in that class was FULL METAL JACKET, which isn’t a bad film, but it could easily be argued that DIE HARD’s critical reputation has surpassed it. A real come-from-behind victory.

    Paul: Andie MacDowell is anything but forgettable in SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE.

  16. The problem with HUDSON HAWK maybe that it tries too hard to be funny, rapid fire with the jokes with the hit ratio of that scene in PREDATOR when those guys blast the total crap out of that poor jungle. Or basically HELP! on steroids and HGH.

    Some gags I must admit, I laughed. The singing scene, the cross, David Caruso (he should have had more scenes), that ambulance chase with the latte and Frank Stallone (liked that dialogue meta-dig at Sly), but damn there are so many more “jokes” that just fell flat on their ass for me.

    Not good, not bad, just there. Not one of the worst movies ever made, just perhaps one of the more disposable.

    Mr. Majestyk – I think considering she was the 3rd/fourth choice of that production, I think she was inspired to go all method acting projection there.

  17. Jareth – I think when Michael Bay came into prominence is when DIE HARD became the classic. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    Of course action never really gets that much respect even though alot of them are better made, better acted, and better commentary than some of the “serious” movies around at the time. Look at Ed Harris in THE ABYSS. Wouldn’t that calibre of acting and all acting-out scenes be considered for some awards if it wasn’t in a sci-fi summer blockbuster release?

    Or take those BOURNE movies, I mean who else* at the time made as good thematic (entertaining) splash against the Dubya Years? Because lets admit it, almost every other anti-Dubya movie at the time was pretentious whining like LIONS FOR LAMBS or whatever useless bullshit?

    Some exceptions exist, like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK which was a major Oscar contender at the time. Though by now more people have seen it and enjoyed it more than the winner in 1981. Which is only remembered for its soundtrack.

    *=I’m sure someone here will mention V FOR VENDETTA. I guess.

  18. Sandra Bernhard is the girl from King of Comedy right? She was awesome in that movie. The thought of her chasing after Jerry Lewis through NYC in her bra and panties, calling after him, still cracks me up.

    RRA-It’s a double edged sword. Most times action movies get no attention whatsoever and that sucks. but then when they do get some notice, it’s because some asshole reads crazy meanings into them and starts whining and blaming the film and filmmaker for some tragedy or other.

    At least we’ll always have ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER.

  19. I think the other problem with action movies getting so little respect is because the definition of ‘action movie’ is incredibly fluid and subjective. You could make the argument that No Country for Old Men is an action movie, and it’d be hard to argue with that statement, just like you could probably stick the Bourne movies under a ‘conspiracy thriller’ headline and put them on the same shelf as stuff like the Parralax View. Like I said, there is no real ‘action’ genre, every single movie within that heading can be put under some different title. Cop drama, science fiction, mystery, hostage thriller, take your pick.

  20. Jareth Cutestory

    April 28th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    RRA: You know, I seem to remember THE ROCK enjoyed a good critical response when it was released, and it coasted on that reputation for a good ten years (when the hangover from ARMAGEDDON finally wore off). I remember this quite well because I always felt like a bit of a lepper around all the supporters of THE ROCK and it’s ilk. I just didn’t get it. Same thing with Woo’s FACE/OFF, which I can appreciate a bit more than THE ROCK, but still just don’t get.

    Actually, 1996 in general saw the release of a whole bunch of movies that I just don’t get: HAPPY GILMOUR, FROM DUSK TO DAWN, ROMEO & JULIET (aka MY SO-CALLED SHAKESPEARE), even FARGO: I like it, but don’t think it’s anywhere near the Coen’s best.

    Fortunately, time seems to have made a big correction in how Bay is perceived.

  21. this movie makes me barf

  22. Brendan – You might have a point. And technically I suppose, the 2000s have had two Best Picture winners in GLADIATOR and HURT LOCKER, both classified as historical drama and war movies….but lets admit it, both in heart are well-crafted (or well-received at least) actioneers.

    Vern – You should get around to reviewing GLADIATOR sometime. I know you didn’t care for it as much as everyone else at the time, but why exactly?

  23. Is it as bad as Bruce’s video game vehicle, APOCALYPSE, in which Bruce plays a scientist who has to break out of prison and stop the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Devil from destroying the world, in the far future?

  24. I also found Gladiator pretty lackluster. I saw it when it came out and immediately forgot everything about it.

  25. Horrible movie. Everyone is so sure they’re being funny and making goofyfaces and making me cringe. If you like this movie you relinquish for all time the right to call people sheep for liking stupid movies that you personally don’t, and you don’t get to make fun of any movie Stephen Sommers or Michael Bay have made. Not that anyone here does that. But now you never can.

  26. Gladiator is a great movie and deserves all the praise it gets but for me the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven is Ridley Scott’s masterpiece. Maybe after seeing Robin Hood though I’ll think differently.

  27. You’re right. We’re sheep for liking the movie that everybody has called one of the worst movies of all time for about 20 years now.

  28. Funny how the Razzies are as short sighted and in the moment opaque as the Oscars.

    Then again, how many Razzies winners are truely THAT BAD?

    I mean ok SHOWGIRLS is a mess but it’s got some interesting touches. Maybe as a movie it could have worked if a good actress had been casted in the lead. I didn’t like RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART 2, but that’s not the same as saying its a bad movie. STAR TREK V was just dull. Some people liked FORD FAIRLANE, as with HUDSON HAWK both are now (at best) cult pictures, I have some fond defense of THE POSTMAN which wasn’t all there.

    Look bullshit like HOWARD THE DUCK or BATTLEFIELD EARTH deserve those prizes or at least being nominated. So yeah the Razzies have a similar hit/miss ratio to the Oscars.

  29. Click my name for my review. I thought this was a decent caper — but I never thought to try re-watching it again.

    Incidentally, please watch Sex & Death 101. Written by John Waters. I think it’s his best work since Heathers, though some might find it gimmicky and predictable. It’s a comedy. A dark comedy with romance, like Heathers.

  30. It’s a shame that I seriously don’t have anything to say about that movie. I remember watching it when it played for the first time on German TV. I guess I was 13 or 14 then and convinced my mother to watch it that evening. Let’s say that she was seriously pissed that I made her watch this dumb movie and even I, who was still young enough to think that Super Mario Bros is one of the greatest movies ever, never bothered to watch it again.
    Although over the last few years I played with the thought of renting the DVD again. Maybe I will during the next few weeks. It’s just been way too long.

  31. No Mr. Majestyk…this is the kind of movies people like when they grew up with it. Are you around 35 or so? I’m just making a guess, I could be wrong.

    But Hudson Hawk is the kind of horseshit movie that for some reason movie geeks will give a willing pass to, while denouncing G.I. Joe for being stupid and silly. That’s what I’m saying.

  32. I like GI Joe too. I like stupid, silly action movies, whenever they were made. If you want to knock me for that, fine. But don’t call me a sheep.

  33. Jones, I raise your bluff and say that Steven Sommers makes shitty movies and I love Ford Fairlane, and Hudson Hawk.

    Jareth, are you a white American who was 18 in 1996? That might explain why you don’t get Happy Gilmore, Face Off, From Dusk Til Dawn, Fargo and The Rock. For the record, I was. Don’t judge.

  34. I think I don’t like Gladiator because the fights are edited horribly.

  35. Jareth Cutestory

    April 28th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Mr. Majestyk: I’ve heard people who didn’t like GLADIATOR revisit their opinion of the film after seeing 300. I don’t understand the comparison myself; all either film has ever really accomplished for me was to motivate me to not bother sitting through TROY, ALEXANDER or KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

    RRA: I always figured the Razzies exist soley to comment on the Oscars. I see them like a political cartoon that is handcuffed to whatever scandal is in the headlines. Or like when some genius decided that the best response to Schwartzenegger’s recall campaign against Davis was to nominate Gary Coleman as well (and he was able to gather enough signatures and raise the fee to get Coleman on the ticket).

    For the record, Coleman said he’s vote for Schwartzenegger.

  36. Jareth Cutestory

    April 28th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Lawrence: I was way past my teenage years in 1996. But more importantly, I think I must have been off on some tangent. You know, like how you get immersed into a certain kind of film or a certain kind of music, and when you bother to see what’s going on in the mainstream, it’s like hearing a different language. I think I was on a Godard kick or something in ’96. And I liked TRAINSPOTTING, so I wasn’t a complete lost cause.

  37. I always thought the Razzies only exist to give some unfunny dumb-asses and snobs a lobby for their hate for Stallone and Madonna and let them point out everything again, what millions of critics said before them (Kinda like that guy on YouTube with his 90 minute Star Wars reviews).
    So I guess the Razzie people are the prototypes of the angry internet users you meet pretty much everywhere.

  38. Unless Gladiator has a hookah-smoking goat that I forgot about, there’s no way comparing it to 300 is going to make me like it more.

  39. Jareth Cutestory

    April 28th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    CJ Holden: In fairness to Plinkett, he has some incisive points to make about genre film in general, things like action staging, narrative and character construction. His AVATAR review is actually pretty succinct and informative. His humour, of course, is open to debate.

    From what I can see on Wikipedia, the Razzies sort of grew out of a party that some publicist held at his house to celebrate the Oscars. If that’s true, it seems less cynical than I would have thougth.

  40. That was in the early eighties, Jareth. A lot can happen in 30 years. It might have started out as a lark, but it’s a business now: a joyless, unimaginative, unfunny business.

  41. Jareth Cutestory

    April 28th, 2010 at 10:16 am

    I don’t doubt that you’re right, Mr. M. You know the old saying: time wounds all heels.

  42. A classic.


  43. “Can you FUCKIN’ believe it?!”

  44. Jesus, who doesn’t like Holy Mountain?

  45. My reaction to HUDSON HAWk is the reverse of Vern’s: The first time i watched it, i really liked it. The more I watch it, though, the less i do. Nowdays, it seems, i only see the faults, and the good stuff that once charmed me, no longer works.

  46. Lawrence: I would dare to challenge your assessment of Andie MacDowell’s line-reading. Not that it isn’t bad (I agree, it is), but there’s just so much worse out there. Frexample:

    Rebecca Gayheart: “I prefer the term eccentric. But then I guess I am a little nutty.” (Urban Legend.)
    Hayden Christiansen: “Noooooooooooooooooo!” (Surely I don’t need to say which film this comes from.)
    Anything anybody actually says in John Carpenter’s “Halloween”. It’s “totally” great until someone starts talking, thank God “the shape” is mute.
    Razor and Blade – “You need an army.” “That’s right, a hacker army.” The only point in this entire ridiculous space-opera of a film when it fell flat.

    And any line from any of the following embarrassingly awful vocal performances: Michelle Pfeifer trying and epically failing to be sultry in “Batman Returns”, Jason Issacs who can’t even keep up a blatantly fake accent in “Die Hard 3”, cringingly-pompous Raul Julia in “Streetfighter: The Movie”, screeching harridan Jamie Lee Curtis in “True Lies”, not-really-good-at-faking-orgasms-in-every-single-scene Famke Janssen in “Goldeneye”, and everything Halle Berry has ever been in that I’ve seen (to give her her props though, I never watched “Monster’s Ball”, and she got an oscar win for that one).

    On the Razzies – I’ve made the point before that if you happen to have started your career singing rather than acting, you will get nommed, no matter whether or not you deserve it. Look at Britney Spears in “Crossroads” (which is actually not quite as bad as you’d think it would be). It’s the same as Vern has pointed out regarding Bruce’s nomination for “Armageddon” – she didn’t actually do anything dreadfully wrong in that movie, playing essentially an idealized version of herself pretty well.

    But yeah, I don’t think the Golden Raspberries get much credit nowadays. Every year they seem to make some decision that pretty much everyone disagrees with. Case in point: last year they nominated “GI Joe” for worst movie. Seriously, I agree that it’s hardly a masterpiece (although I enjoyed it), but they needed to choose five movies as the absolute worst of the year, and they came up with that? Other than Marlon Wayans’ painfully horrible acting for a part that essentially comprises being the token black sidekick who surprisingly DOESN’T get killed off two thirds of the way through (essentially reprising his role from “Dungeons and Dragons”, except that in D&D it’s almost worse because he mercifully does get killed off but then is brought back to life at the very end) I can’t think what on earth that movie did to earn this amount of bile. All I can say is that if “GI Joe” is honestly the worst film you’ve seen all year, you’ve not seen enough really bad movies to be responsible for a list like this.

  47. You nailed it, Paul: The Razzies simply do not strive for excellence in their chosen field, which is terribleness. If they were really doing their job, they would be pointing out obscure or subtle examples of terribleness that I, a mere amateur terribleness enthusiast, would not have the time nor discernment to find on my own.

  48. Jareth Cutestory

    April 28th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I heard that any old schmoe from the public can vote for a Razzie via the award show’s web site. I don’t know if is it voting from a pre-arranged list, or if you can nominate movies too.

    I just looked at the 2010 Razzie “winners” and saw that it was a pretty predictable list, much of it directed at TRANSFORMERS 2. The Oscar winners actually look like they’re casting a wider net for their films with stuff like THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES. But ultimately I think they’re both pretty sad exercises in self-congratualtion.

  49. I wish the Razzies were more of an anti-Oscars. There was this “worst art” prize around 1991 which was announced before the Turner art prize, and both were given to the same guy. That’s the kind of level I wish the Razzies were at, they should attack lousy “credible” fare like desperate Oscar bait, not movies everyone’s already considered benneth contempt between its release and the award ceremony. I mean, I could have told you this year’s winner would be the winner a couple of days after it openned in the US, and I bet a lot of you could have to. Sandra Bullock may be happy to appear at the Razzies all smiles and wheelbarrows and “I can take a joke, me!” to be told some romantic comedy she made that sat in the vault for two years stinks, but how happy would she be to turn up if THE BLIND SIDE were up for some Razzies?

    From 85 onwards, the only Razzie Winner I’ve seen I would personally say _was_ the worst movie that year (from my experience) was BURN HOLLYWOOD BURN. Maybe GIGLI. I mean, for example, THE LOVE GURU was shockingly bad, but it was still better than MEET THE SPARTANS. It’s all about what will get a cheap laugh when they read the name out.

    P.S. I love HUDSON HAWK. Even quite like the Game Boy Game.

  50. Bunny…ball ball!


  51. Jareth Cutestory

    April 28th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    PacMac: Yeah, I cringe when I see “worst couple” on the Razzies; it’s like my fucking high school yearbook comittee came up with that shit. It would be so much better if they took the considerable media attention they get to underscore things like:

    Worst Use of CGI
    Least Convincing Plot Twist
    Worst Action Staging
    Most Inappropriate Use Of Stereotypes
    Most Shameless Comeback Attempt
    Most Hollow Exercise In Cross-marketing
    Likely Cocaine-related Budget Over-run

  52. What can i say, i’m a sucker for this and Last Boy Scout.

    I know the mixing of styles (in both films) doesn’t work for everyone, but nobodies perfect. Both films are pretty good for chilling out with and just going with the flow. Some bits work, others don’t, but they both are good no brain viewing and some days thats all you need.

    Still don’t get the hate around them though ? Maybe it’s because people don’t like seeing Bruce being smug without a vest on

  53. I thought LAST BOY SCOUT was fairly well regarded these days? Not that I really consider IMDB a real barometer of anything, but it has a decent score (for a pre-internet hype film) on there for example. I think some people get turned off because it does have a real mean streak to it, as well as some things people find tasteless (pre-KICK ASS profane young girl). I’d take it over any of the LETHAL WEAPONs personally.

  54. THE LAST BOY SCOUT was the last great action movie of the eighties.

    Yes, I am aware that it came out in 1991. I stand by my statement.

  55. Paul — I think that’s James Earl Jones intoning the “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” in question. And frankly I don’t know how else you could have really done it except going all-out. Like a wimpy “oh no!” would have been better? Not to defend the horrible cliche of that scene, but that’s the writing and direction, not the reading.

  56. For the best no-ing in the history of cinema, I refer you to Brad Dourif in the director’s cut of Halloween II, which I found surprisingly moving and human for a movie about a stuntman who stabs people 50 times. True, it’s more of a “No, no, no, no, nonononono!” than a full-fledged “NOOOOOOOOOO!” but I really felt for my man in that scene. It’s some of his very best work, in my opinion. I mean, the fact that I’ve been his biggest fan since GRIM PRAIRIE TALES and I’ve had a crush on Danielle Harris since THE LAST BOY SCOUT (See what I did there? That’s what’s known as “bringin’ it on home”) might have affected my experience somewhat, but I hold that it’s still some damn fine no-ing.

  57. caruso_stalker217

    April 28th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    HUDSON HAWK is good shit.

  58. Majestyk – I’ve never seen the Halloween sequels (which should hardly be a surprise, I’m on record saying the original is overrated and not anything close to being as good as “The Thing”). But it does bring up the question of which is the worst “Noooo” moment? There was one in the “Watchmen” movie that I thought was a lot worse than the general quality of the film, which I enjoyed. Star Wars – first three were ok, second three I found unwatchable.

    Also, after this post and the last, I would like to point out that I don’t ONLY watch really cheesy / bad movies, they just come up naturally in a “Razzies” discussion.

  59. Paul: Just to be clear, I meant Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN II, which I enjoyed more as a drama than a horror movie. Sheriff Brackett’s ordeal just devastated me. I think it might be the second best HALLOWEEN movie, even though it doesn’t really need to be a HALLOWEEN movie at all.

  60. I think this is the best “NOOOOO” is this:

  61. Heehee, that’s a good “noooo”.

  62. Having finally seen ISHTAR, it bares alot of striking similarities to HUDSON HAWK.

    Both were chaotic overbudget productions considered at the time, and still by some, some of the worst movies ever produced. In reality they are OK comedies which by ego hubris or incompatability, were unable to fully pull off whether movie they had mind originally. Now they both have a few fans here and there who have a point that the movies aren’t as bad as their reputations, even watchable.

    But good? No.

  63. You should read Richard E Grant’s account on the making of the film from his book
    of film diaries, With Nails. It’s an eye-opener to say the least. Just a gigantic
    clusterfuck all around.

  64. Mr. M: I agree with Douriff’s “NOOO” scene. It’s rare that I get choked up about a slasher victim. Has he ever been nominated for anything? He’s great in EXORSIST 3 (so good in fact, that he inspired Jeffery Dahmer to wear colored contacts like his when he went to pick up his victims!)
    Btw, you should review DAHMER, Vern!

  65. I like this movie. I prefer comedies that take action premises or horror premises and find funny situations in what should be a serious story. I like stuff like Bride of Chucky, Ghsotbusters, Crank and Team America way more than most straightup comedies about a fat obnoxious dude and a skinny uptight dude on a road trip or some shit.

  66. EXORCIST 3 is a true horror classic that is genuinely freaky scary and it came out during a period when there was no such animal. A horror film featuring adults with adult relationships and problems. Straight ahead filmmaking with solid actors delivering interesting dialogue. It’s just as good as the original EXORCIST if you can forgive some studio muddling near the end. The Demon’s revenge scheme is exquisitely convoluted and effective and, yes, Brad Douriff is brilliant. I’ve often recommended this picture and I just as often pair it with the CHANGELING (1980) in a double feature. It’s another goody.

    Mr. M – I’d forgotten about GRIM PRAIRIE TALES. I’ll have track that one down. Thanks.

  67. Mr. S – A simple inclining of the head would have been loads more effective.

  68. For an obscure, subtle example of terribleness, I’d nominate Matt Damon’s performance in Saving Private Ryan, which has got to be some of the worst improv acting I’ve ever seen in a movie. And the story he tells is so horrible and date-rapey that it reminded me a little of Burt Young talking about “cock insurance” in Once Upon a Time in America. I think that scene pretty much sinks the entire third act, and, possibly the movie.

    And, to offer a sort of anti-Razzie: I’ve always liked Sophia Coppola in Godfather 3.

  69. also…Razzie Nominee for worst musical score:

    “John Carpenter’s THE THING Music by Ennio Morricone”

    Worst director:

    “Brian dePalma/DRESSED TO KILL”
    “Stanley Kubrick/THE SHINING”


  70. anthony: Dourif was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (he was Billy Bibbit, the stuttering guy who kills himself, a role that also earned him a Golden Globe for Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture) and he got nominated for an Emmy for DEADWOOD. He’s also got a slew of sci-fi and horror festival awards and nominations (including one for his scary-as-fucking-balls performance in EXORCIST III), including a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for his supporting role in BODY PARTS.

    (I didn’t know all this off the top of my head, by the way. He might be my personal Adopt-A-B-Movie-Actor but that doesn’t mean I’m obsessed or anything. Really.)

    Darryll: GRIM PRAIRIE TALES is sadly not on DVD, but having recently watched it on VHS, I can say that it’s actually better than I remembered. The tales themselves are nothing special, but the framing material with Dourif and James Earl Jones is great. Their conversations about the various segments have a lot to say about the different functions and interpretations of horror stories, from those that function solely on a visceral level to those that have some kind of deeper meaning. It’s worth hunting down.

  71. To clarify something: those were actual razzie nominations…Kubrick, Morricone’s great The Thing score, and De Palma for making Dressed to Kill?. I submit that anybody who likes and has any understanding of movies would never put those things on a worst of list.

  72. Now that I had time to think about it , another deeply-flawed-but-with-good-parts movie that I usually connect with Last Action Hero and Hudson Hawk is Tango and Cash. That movie also feels unfocused and a little thrown together. I like some of the humor and I think that Stallone and Russel really work well together ( I really want to see another movie with them…Expendables 2 perhaps?) , but I also don’t understand ( or I just don’t get ) a lot of stuff in Tango and Cash : Why there’s a gadget-department in the police station , like in a Bond movie ? Why the futuristic vehicle ? It’s supposed to be Science Fiction? With that said , I like some parts of all of these 3 movies ( each made by one of the biggest action star ever, soon to be re-united by Stallone) , and I think that their problems are a direct result of trying to mix things up and trying to mix humor with action .

    And 2 more things :

    1) That Danny Trejo interview is awesome .

    2) Holy shit , there was a Gameboy Hudson Hawk game ? Shameless tie-in products are older than I think!

  73. I saw this movie once, in theaters. I’m a willis fan but I was 9 when this came out and I was a far bigger fan of the then-current TV show “Out of This World,” which had the “Swing on A Star” song as its theme song. So this movie lost me from the get go (“Dad, why is Bruce and that fat guy singing the theme song to my favorite show? What’s going on? Can I freeze time?”)

    I was a bit older when Last Action Hero came out and I remember there being no other films that came out at the time so I ended up seeing it in theaters three times. Which is probably the only time I’ve seen a movie more than once in the theater. So I definitely have more of a superficial connection to that one. But I remember somewhat digging this film.

    Watching clips of this movie now, on YouTube, are making me wince though. And I doubt I can make it through this beast from start to finish.

  74. I saw this one years ago. Didn’t think it was great by any means, but didn’t think it was as awful as I’d heard it was, either. Essentially, it was something I’d watch once and be okay with, but not real likely to watch again anytime soon. Last Action Hero, Last Boyscout, and Tango and Cash I feel roughly the same way about, though I enjoy all three of them a bit more than Hudson Hawk.

    Then again, I feel about the same way about Gladiator, too. I watched it once, didn’t hate it but didn’t think it was nearly as praiseworthy as other people seemed to, and marked it off as something I’m not likely to see again anytime soon.

  75. I remember an interview fairly recently where Andie McDowell offered her own theory on Hudson Hawk’s failure – that the R-rating killed them, and it would have been a big hit with kids had they had a PG-13 rating. I like her theory, even though it’s totally ludicrous, since the plot is way too convoluted and the movie’s lacking in action (it’s not really an R-rated movie kids could get behind like The Matrix or Terminator or anything). I mean, it’s odd that there was an NES game and the aforementioned Game Boy game tie-in for what was essentially a wacky comedy/vanity project, but I can’t see this movie being a big hit with kids. (Personally, I REALLY wanted to see this movie but I was 12, and had to wait for VHS, but I’m no indicator of popular taste)

  76. neal2zod – What doomed HUDSON HAWK most of all was that the movie was in the press trades DOA with the highly reported production problems.

    If you ask me.

  77. Vern, you should read Richard E Grant’s book. It has a chapter about making this movie and is an interesting read. Bruce basically took over the shoot.

  78. I have to say, Last Action Hero and Hudson Hawk have a lot more going for them, both in conception and in execution, than either Tango & Cash or Last Boy Scout–though LAH moreso than HH.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t call T&C a failure. (Or LBS interesting, for that matter. {g}) Whereas I certainly consider LAH to be an interesting failure; with the failure largely being due to the same thing practically everyone complains about: the kid just keeps complaining about how stupid everything is, rather than spending using and abusing his dangerous genre savvy. (There’s a little of that, but not a lot. When THE chief audience identifier keeps being a wet blanket in the situation the story is trying to sell, “interesting failure” is about the best that can be expected.)

    WS: I don’t even remember anything Matt Damon did in SPR. (Uh, he’s Ryan, the paratrooper they’re trying to save, right?) I guess I was too distracted by the problem of taking and holding that town against oncoming tank troops.

    And yeah, even though I don’t much like Kubrick’s “The Shining” (or anything else he’s ever done, for that matter), I still wouldn’t call it bad directing. It’s quite good in many regards (some weird lapses aside, such as The Least Interesting Way To Film An Introductory Conversation Imaginable. {g})

  79. Mr.M: the hooka-smoking goat was mentioned in the scene where Oliver Reed is complaining about the animals he was sold, but that scene was edited to be a bit tighter and so it was cut out. (The line about gay giraffes was funnier, so that’s understandable.) {source needed}

  80. Sabreman, you’re the opposite of me. I found my shadow. Kubrick is impeccable and I love the opening sequence of The Shining. Love Last Boy Scout the most out of all the films (the gun in the puppet shit gets me every time).

  81. Jareth Cutestory

    April 29th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Sabreman: I’m not a huge Kubrick fan, but Jameson’s essay on THE SHINING suggests an interesting approach to the film that I hadn’t really thought about, that is, Jack’s breakdown is the result of failed class-based aspirations to be a Gatsby type figure.

    On a more pedestrian level, I found THE SHINING is better appreciated as a ghost story than as a horror film. And the Diane Arbus allusion of the twin girls really schools similar attempts at intertextuality in other films, most notably the Witkin rip off in JACOB’s LADDER. The movie is rich enough in this sort of stuff to spend time thinking about it.

    Of course, I’m also not a fan of Stephen King. Maybe if I thought his work was any good I’d have more reservations about Kubrick’s film.

  82. This is one of those movies thats so unbelievably terrible that its a lot of fun to watch. Much like Batman and Robin. You just stare in awe at how bad it is. In contrast, a bad film like say Battlefield Earth is terrible but its not enjoyable to watch. Its also an example of someone who becomes so rich/famous/successful that they think they can do anything they want and the suits have no choice but go along with it. The result is a self indulgent mess that acts as a reality check. It seems like every actor, singer, etc., who becomes a mega star usually has to get one of these out of their system before they can start making good stuff again.

    I actually really liked last action hero. Charles dance was a great bad guy in that one. He’s actually a pretty underrated as far as actors who always play villians go. He’s not in the same league as say Alan Rickman or Michael Wincott but he’s up there.

  83. “I found THE SHINING is better appreciated as a ghost story than as a horror film.”

    Jareth Cutestory – Maybe the greatest gothic horror film ever made?

    that or Robert Wise’s THE HAUNTING.

  84. That’s a tough call, RRA. THE SHINING is creepy as hell, of course, but I think maybe THE HAUNTING gets under your skin more. I showed it to a girl who didn’t like horror movies once and she ended up punching me for letting her think that a black-and-white horror movie was safe.

  85. I’m going to piss alot of you off and say that I think The Changeling trumps them both. It has all the technical mastery of both those movies AND a beating, broken heart that made me love all the main characters and root for them to escape with their lives. I can’t honestly say the same thing about HAUNTING and SHINING. And betwee those two I got to give it to HAUNTING. The fucking prologue had me on edge with the spiral staircase bit (beautifully reused in SHUTTER ISLAND).

  86. “I think The Changeling trumps them both.”

    Brendan – Sure why not?

    Is it me or we been sorta lacking a damn good haunted house movie in recent years?

    I mean the only one that maybe comes to mind, at least in excellently executing the atmospheric mechanics without necessarily containing poltergeist phantoms*, was that brilliant “Blink” episode from the new DOCTOR WHO series. But that’s TV so it doesn’t count.

    Any suggestions? I mean “recent years” as in the last 10-15 years.

    *=A classic example of that: ALIEN.

  87. Jareth Cutestory

    April 29th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    RRA: I prefer THE HAUNTING to both THE CHANGELING and THE SHINING, but I like all three. Brendan makes a good point about George C. Scott’s great performance in THE CHANGELING. He really carries that movie on his back. Also one of the best seance scenes I’ve ever watched.

    As for more recent films: geez, I can only think of the shitty ones, like that HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL remake with Geoffrey Rush and the girl who sang “Stay.”

    I liked SILENT HILL, which is kinda-sorta a haunted house movie, but I won’t pretend that it’s in the same league as the older films.

    The Japanese version of DARK WATER was okay. And I like THE OTHERS, but it wasn’t scary.

    PULSE (KAIRO) is kind of like a mutant, contemporary strain of the classic haunted house film. I like that one a lot.

  88. My favorite scene in CHANGELING is when Scott goes to ask the Mom to let him rip up the little girl’s room, and she describes the dream her daughter had, about her encountering the dead kid in her room. Then it cuts to that night, and the little girl gets up and goes to her room, and you know exactly what you’re going to see, but the scene just MMMMMMMMMMIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLKKKKKKKKKSSSSS the moment for all its worth until you get the little screaming. Smash cut to Scott ripping up the floorboards.

  89. Jareth Cutestory

    April 29th, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    And of course there’s the famous rubber ball. That’s the kind of chill that THE MOTHMAN PROPHECY attempted but fell way short.

  90. Oh man, that fucking rubber ball. It haunts me dude, it fucking haunts me.

  91. The Stone Killer

    April 30th, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Here’s my favorite line…


  92. How is a ghost story NOT a horror film?

  93. RRA – I fuckin’ recommend EL ORFANATO / THE ORPHANAGE. For me it’s right up there with the original HAUNTING, and maybe even THE SHINING. It’s exceptionally atmospheric and creepy, comparable in tone to THE OTHERS, but doesn’t share that meandering, romanticizing, gothic melancholy. THE ORPHANAGE keeps on ramping up the tension, and then you’ll hardly believe how it actually doesn’t pull any punches!
    To put it another way, it violently grabs you by the balls, then holds a flashlight under it’s face and continues to tell you a genuinely scary ghost-myster-thriller-story with a killer ending and pay-off, occasionally shaking your nut sack for effect. (No idea how the female audience felt about the movie.)

  94. CC, when that movie is Beetlejuice!

  95. I don’t know, I was a little bit unimpressed by El Orfanato. My first thought was “The Devil’s Backbone Light” and the longer I thought about it, the more prominent were the gaping plotholes.
    But I recommend it just for the scene with Geraldine Chaplin alone. That’s some seriously scary stuff!

  96. I really didn’t like Last Action Hero at all. It’s not that funny, the action set pieces aren’t that great, and the kid is fucking annoying. Epic Fail but I think it could be done great in a remake.

  97. Jareth Cutestory

    April 30th, 2010 at 7:22 am

    CC: Many ghost stories employ the conventions of horror, but just as often they don’t. Sometimes ghost stories focus more on the supernatural aspects (THE EYE), sometimes they are romances (like WUTHERING HEIGHTS), sometimes comedy (GHOSTBUSTERS);often they are more concerned with morality than they are with scares.

    There is a long literary tradition of ghost stories, so the form the narrative takes varies more than the fairly narrowly defined horror conventions, which tends to aspire to little else than to instill fear, horror, tension and terror (all of which are awesome goals).

    I’d say that Kubrick is mindful of horror conventions in THE SHINING, especially in his use of Penderecki on the soundtrack, but ultimately is more focused on exploring Jack’s breakdown, which he couches in familiar tropes from the psychological ghost story.

  98. CJ – Speaking of which, could DEVIL’S BACKBONE be counted?

  99. The real hudson hawk was in new york he did a fleet of emptying homes like the grinch that stole xmas left not a crumb big enough for a mouse he left nothing a empty home it was the 60’s the local police was in on it making sure the rich homes were cleared for the taking he was no exotic jewel thief nor was he a cat burgler his name was (eddie) Edward Gray from staten island NY and the news papers called him the huson hawk he did time in sing sing when he was cought but during his time he was made comfortable
    as he would not give up the police that was in on it so they took care of him i know this info because to my great dismay and shame—–he was my father he was no hero and less a hero as a father the movie was amusing and i had wished he was like that i would not have the shame he moved to ca worked for TRW during the aerospace era of the 80’s he stole gold use in the plating of electronic boards use for the shuttle and other craft in the redondo beach CA area he went to nevada and i have not heard of him since this is what i know about the true hudson hawk—–he was NO HERO

  100. Is that for real? I kind of think that’s real. Either way, thanks for posting.

  101. so I watched some of this today and holy shit, this movie is fucking nuts

    I’ll have to watch the whole thing one day

  102. While reading the anime discussion on the MONONOKE thread and reflecting on my own problems with anime (and asian cinema in general) I suddenly realized that HUDSON HAWK is the Hollywood version of the more over the top asian movies! Just think of all the weird tonal shifts! The movie goes from badass, to understated cool, to violent, to cartoonishly silly and back, often within less than one scene! It’s KUNG FU HUSTLE, 10 years before KUNG FU HUSTLE, minus the Kung Fu and with Bruce!

  103. That poster on the right was also the cover of the novelization, which as a HUDSON HAWK fan from the beginning, I read cover to cover. Yeah, a poster with the whole ensemble in their wild costumes and some action shots of flying on the da Vinci machine and the limo going off the cliff, would’ve helped.

  104. think i saw this first on Dinner and a Movie that TBS show, and i was sort of confused until the part when the gurney falls out of the back of the ambulance. I was pretty into it at that point. It wasn’t until I rented it and heard the actual line he says during that scene (How’s my driving? call 1-800-I’m-Gonna-Fucking-Die!) that i fell in love with this shit. I really like how the comedy ranges from absurd to whimsical to plain mean-spirited sometimes within the same scene. David Caruso’s mime spy rules (this must have been pretty close to King of New York, too bad that guy didn’t turn out too much quality shit later, he’s great in both), I really dug the villains in this, too. The scene where they explain their evil scheme is so over the top it started filling up another container. I dunno, as far as i can see this is definitely one of the best Bruce Willis joints out there, at least top of the second tier. I probably get this one out as much as Last Boy Scout and I probably like it more.

  105. So almost all of the reviews are saying MORTDECAI is horrendous garbage not worth a second of our attention, and I believe them… but then one of the few, VERY few, good reviews compares it affectionately to HUDSON HAWK and I find myself intrigued.

  106. Personally I got more a Blake Edwards vibe from it, which is a good thing in my book.

  107. A movie that advertises itself as one thing on the DVD cover but turns out the exact opposite would normally annoy me, unless that exact opposite turns out to be a very broad Shane Black-esque crime/comedy (in this case, Blackstick comedy?) with plenty of WTF moments like Bruce Willis jumping naked off of top-story apartment balconies then skateboarding naked through Venice beach streets, with the Willis Willy flapping in the wind, and Jason Momoa nailing the wannabe gangbanger with hilarious physical comedy. I predict future cult status.

    Mastor Troy - Google+

    Mastor Troy - Google+

  108. This movie is one that I keep wishing were better. Bruce Willis looks really cool with the haircut and trenchcoat, and there’s all these cool colourful ideas in it, like the MTV-IA and the Mario Brothers. James Coburn has an inherently great voice and it works well for comedy too. The villains played by Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard are delightful. Also a friend of mine really likes it. He feels it’s misunderstood the way I feel Last Action Hero is.

    But on the whole the movie comes across loud and sweaty and hyper and desperate. It just doesn’t work and it makes me sad every time. Also I really disliked the gimmick of crooning old songs to time the heists, and I suspect that idea is one of the filmmakers’ darlings and if you don’t like it, you’re watching the wrong movie. Every so often I give Hudson Hawk another try in case my tastes have matured but so far no luck.

    The remake solution doesn’t work for me because the look and feel of modern movies doesn’t speak to me, but maybe there’s a way the original movie could be recut somehow, with different editing and music, that would allow it to breathe and not be so exhausting.

    Re: Jareth Cutestory: The Rock has some obnoxious aspects but it’s the least bad Michael Bay movie. I didn’t enjoy Face/Off either. One minor thing that bothered me was that the reviews said that John Travolta and Nicolas Cage did a good job of acting like each other once they switched places, but to me it seemed like they acted the same as usual. I liked Happy Gilmore at the time but find it less enjoyable now.

    Re: ron: LOL :-)

    Re: RRA: I’ve gone back and forth on Star Trek V. The first time I saw it I was aware of its negative reputation so my immediate reaction after seeing it was “That wasn’t so bad.” But it turned out to be a delayed reaction where later that evening it all caught up with me and I felt like, “Oh yeah, now I get why it was bad.” But in the decades since then it’s become nostalgic and now I can focus on the parts of it that I like. In fact I watch it more frequently than the “good Star Trek movies” like II and IV.

    Ford Fairlane has a few good parts but it’s too mean. The tie-in comic book prequel was nice though, if only for the José Delbo art. Similarly The Postman was adapted from a surprisingly enjoyable David Brin short story (“Cyclops”) that was expanded into a novel, and does one of the few forms of post-apocalypse fiction that I can get behind, which is the putting-things-back-together-and-recivilising story. Too often in the post-apocalyptic genre the guy that wants to get organised and start bringing back civilisation is the villain.

    Howard the Duck deserves to be better than it is. It too is loud and hyper and desperate and headache-inducing but it means well and the effects are good.

    Re: Mr. Majestyk: The Razzies are best aimed at major studio productions that are overconfident and smug and should have known better. Of course you can always find worse movies if you include obscure B-movies filmed with a potato, but like Siskel & Ebert used to say when they were making up their yearly worst movie lists, there’s no point in punishing some microbudget movie that isn’t forcing itself on the general public. But you make a great point that a worst-movie list could be a useful guide for bad-movie aficionados if they inform you of the existence of movies you never knew about. Maybe there should be a separate award for that.

    Re: PacmanFever: Burn Hollywood Burn was bad on many levels. On top of which I lent it to someone and never got it back, so it has that added trauma associated with it. The Love Guru wasn’t quite as bad, and I’m tempted to say that it was just the victim of not being anywhere near as good as Mike Myers’ previous hits, but then I remember the urine-soaked-mop fight with Mike Myers’ face cheaply CGIed onto a child actor and Ben Kinglsey going crosseyed, and it reminds me why the movie felt insulting. Jon Oliver was good though.

    Re: Jareth Cutestory: I like your suggested categories.

    Re: PacmanFever: The Last Boy Scout does have a mean streak to it, and that’s what ultimately wrecks it for me. Otherwise it’s quite stylish and Bruce Willis plays a good depressed guy. That opening scene with Billy Blanks is amazing.

    Re: Mr. Subtlety: What struck me as lame about Darth Vader’s “NOOOOOOOOO!” was how high-pitched it was. And this was with James Earl Jones doing it. Also the Frankenstein walk as he gets off the operating table.

    Re: Paul: I don’t remember a “NOOOOOOO” in Watchmen. Looking at the IMDB quotes page it seems Nite Owl says it when Dr. Manhattan kills Rorschach, which I don’t think he witnessed in the graphic novel.

    Re: RRA: Yes, Ishtar is similar. Everyone said it was bad, I wanted to find reasons to like it anyway, but it was just too corny and unfunny. One theory is that director Elaine May was undermined all the way by the studio. From what I can tell, though, the things audiences didn’t like about the movie were the things she was going for, so a version of that movie where she received full support would have had the same problems.

    Re: Darryll, Brendan, Jareth Cutestory: The Changeling, George C. Scott, the ball: Yes!

    Re: WS: Sophia Coppola not that bad in Godfather III: Agree! Dressed to Kill: Didn’t make as good an impression on me. Probably not the worst director of the year but I vaguely remember that the movie cheats a little and was transphobic.

    Re: Mr. Majestyk: Brad Dourif: Yes!

    Re: CallMeKermiT: Tango & Cash: Yes. Not a great movie, a lot of padding in the last third, but a fun movie with lots of good parts.

    Re: CC: Ghost Dad?

    Re: Randy: I miss Dinner and a Movie. ♬ Beans and cornbread. ♬ A young unknown David Caruso was also in Abel Ferrara’s China Girl, a Romeo and Juliet update set at the Mulberry Street border between Little Italy and Chinatown. Caruso plays Mercury, the equivalent of Mercutio.

    Re: CJ Holden: You’re right about the Blake Edwards vibe (though I don’t think it was in a good way, in this case). :-)

  109. Hmm, don’t think I stand by preferring THE LAST BOY SCOUT to all of the LETHAL WEAPONs now, but as far as opinions from over a decade ago I no longer stand by go, at least it’s not embarrassing.

    I gave THE LOVE GURU another look a couple of years ago, I did get a couple of decent laughs but on the whole it was still pretty poor.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>