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Posts Tagged ‘Dean Semler’

City Slickers

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

June 7, 1991. Despite the notable release of another odd Spike Lee movie, this week was won by more middle-of-the-road culture. It was the week that the original run of Twin Peaks ended. The #1 and #2 songs on the Billboard charts were “More Than Words” by Extreme and “I Wanna Sex U Up” by Color Me Badd. And the #1 movie was a nice normal comedy about wisecracking Billy Crystal birthing a cow to cope with the boredom of middle aged, middle class existence.

Like JUNGLE FEVER, CITY SLICKERS is about some lives upended and rearranged after a married man has an affair with a subordinate at his workplace. In this case the dude is Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern, C.H.U.D., FRANKENWEENIE), a wet blanket grocery store manager who is very unhappily married to a mean bully (Karla Tamburrelli, “Stewardess [Northeast Plane],” DIE HARD 2) until panicked young clerk Nancy (Yeardley Smith, then in her third season as the voice of Lisa Simpson) finds him outside of work to tell him she thinks she’s pregnant.

“Why is she telling you this?”

The scene goes down at the 39th birthday party of Mitch Robbins (43 year old Billy Crystal, ANIMALYMPICS) and inspires Phil to unleash twelve years of suppressed fury at his wife in front of the Robbins family and all their friends. If this was reality he’d for sure be the bad guy here, but we’ve already been primed to hate how this horrible wife talks to him and feel victory in him telling her off. (read the rest of this shit…)

SAN DIEGO EXCLUSIVE: K-9

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

tn_k-9sdccK-9 is a weird type of action-comedy that only existed in the ’80s. James Belushi plays own-rules-playing San Diego narcotics detective Mike Dooley, who sneakily borrows a K-9 patrol dog off the books for an unauthorized raid, and then treats the dog as his partner, talking to him as if he’s a human in a regular non-dog-related cop movie. And the dog, Jerry Lee (introducing Jerry Lee as himself according to the credits, which is a lie because the dog was named Rando and got totally fucked over because dogs aren’t SAG), will sometimes make human gestures like covering his face with his paws in embarrassment or making a little arf sound that resembles a human sigh.

It’s humor that often seems more for kids than adults, yet every single other aspect of the movie – the car chases, the bar fight, the shootouts, the angry chief, the arrogant, swimming-pool-lounging drug lord villain (Kevin Tighe, ROAD HOUSE), the relationship problems caused by his occupation, the dramatic score, etc. – is 100% standard issue PG-13 (when that was edgy) action movie. And I don’t mean as a parody, mimicking the style to get laughs from absurdity. They’re just making a movie how movies were made back then. It wasn’t weird at the time. (read the rest of this shit…)

Firestorm

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

This is a pretty enjoyable, totally forgettable action movie directed by Dean Semler, a cinematographer who also directed Steven Seagal’s historic first DTV picture THE PATRIOT. The star is Howie Long, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, currently of the Radio Shack commercials. After a supporting role in BROKEN ARROW they tried to give him the football-star-to-action-star transition like they did to Brian Bosworth. The Boz never caught on big, but he was able to continue starring in DTV movies for several years after STONE COLD. Things didn’t work out that way for Howie, and this is his only starring role. I was gonna say he was more comparable to Lyle Alzado, but I just looked up Lyle and he’s starred in more than I realized. So I don’t know who he’s comparable to.

Anyway, Howie’s movie career was not a success, that is if you define success as “the ability to make enough money that they can keep making action movies starring this particular football player.” That never happened, but as far as I’m concerned he is successful in this movie. He’s square but likable and I guess it’s just nice to see a capable hero you haven’t seen a million times before. (read the rest of this shit…)