Saturday, January 17, 2015

Have you ever wanted to see a Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty reunion where Ned isn't anally raped by hillbillies?

Then Stroker Ace might be the movie for you!

I went on a kick where I read books that had been turned into movies and then I watched the movie to see the differences. I thought this would make me a better person.

It did not.

What happened instead was that I read Deliverance and somewhere around that time I found out that William Neely and Robert K. Ottum had written a book in 1971 titled Stand On It . Someone, probably Hank Moonjean, decided it would make an excellent vehicle (no pun intended) for Burt Reynolds.

The producers had me at Burt Reynolds. Hal Needham directing was just like icing on the cake.

Stroker Ace (1984)
PG, Film, 96 Minutes
Comedy
Dir: Hal Needham

Synopsis: Burt Reynolds is Stroker Ace. Stroker drives a race car and tries to convince Loni Anderson to take her clothes off. Ned Beatty is the bad guy who tries to profit from Stroker's success.

Pro:

Yeah... hard to find one.

Cons:

Numerous.

Burt Reynolds is really obnoxious and unlikable in this movie.

Procon:

Hal Needham. I am a big fan of Hal's work. Not because it is good, mind you, but because it was plentiful while I was growing up. Stroker Ace is not one of his finest hours.

The Verdict:

Would I recommend this film? No. While it is a terrible guilty pleasure that I occasionally watch.. I would never advise anyone to do this same. It is a terrible movie that destroyed Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham.

I have proof of the last statement.

(From Wikipedia)

Burt Reynolds turned down the role of astronaut Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment to do this film. The role went to Jack Nicholson, who went on to win an Academy Award. Reynolds said he made this decision because "I felt I owed Hal more than I owed Jim" but that it was a turning point in his career from which he never recovered. "That's where I lost them," he says of his fans.

The film was both a commercial and critical bomb. It received five Golden Raspberry Award nominations including Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Actress (Anderson) and Worst New Star (also for Anderson), winning one for Jim Nabors as Worst Supporting Actor.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

There are few things I enjoy more on a Saturday afternoon than watching a good movie, preferably a western or war movie. Yes, I realize this means I am getting old.

The Bridge at Remagen (1969)

PG, Film, 115 Minutes
War
Dir: John Guillermin

Synopsis: The Americans must make a push towards Remagen to trap 50 thousand German soldiers on the wrong side of the Rhine river, while the Germans try to keep the Ludendorff Bridge open as long as possibly to allow as many civilians and soldiers to cross as possible.


Pro:


World War Two movie.


Hal Needham. As some may know I love Hal Needham. While he is not the director of this fine movie he does have a connection as the stunt coordinator.


The trio of George Segal, Robert Vaughn, and Ben Gazzara really save this movie. Especially Ben Gazzara.


Con:


The movie looks like a 1969 movie and not a period piece during WWII. It is somewhat distracting.


Procon:


Nazis! This is a World War II movie and that means Nazis getting bushwhacked. Normally I love a good war movie with Nazis, however, this movie has a few too many German civilians in the way.


The Verdict:

Would I recommend this Film? Yes. There are problems with The Bridge at Regamen but it has some interesting aspects as well. While some of the German officers are Nazi bastards others are portrayed as compassionate, feeling human beings who try to act in the best interest of their men. Usually all we see are the unfeeling German Nazi Machines that seek total domination at any cost.





Thursday, January 8, 2015

WCW Thunder was a professional wrestling show that lasted from January 8, 1998 to March 21, 2001. It was produced by World Championship Wrestling and shown on TBS. As with everything WCW, Vince McMahon and WWE now own the rights to WCW Thunder. Vince may own the rights to the word Thunder. I wouldn't be surprised.

Thunder's first match featured the Macho Man Randy Savage and Chris Adams.

Some might question the addition of Adams to such a prominent and important inaugural match, but he was a top notch wrestler and held many championships throughout his career. Besides, he got plenty of heel heat when he nailed Savage with a chair supplied by Lex Luger.

Damn heels!

WCW loved using the word THUNDER .

The first featured the Thundercage. The Thundercage match featured a steel cage where the bars curve in at the top to prevent escape. Various weapons were tied to the bars and could be used at will. There were two ways to lose: a knock out or your "Terminator" aka manager tosses in the literal towel.

And the blow off match between former tag team , Ron Simmons and Butch Reed, was called the Thunder-Doom match. It too was just a steel cage match.

Someone was heavily under the influence of the 1985 movie Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome for years! Well, that, or, major pain medication. They named an entire broadcast WCW Thunder. I blame Ted Turner.

Seriously. He gave Hulk Hogan a television show... what was the title?


Okay, honestly, I don't know that Ted Turner had much to do with Thunder in Paradise . I know it was a direct to video film firsts and then TNT starting airing a watered down version. I'm too lazy to do real research. But, I think what little, shoddy, hap-hazard, proof I have given should be enough for you to believe.








Saturday, January 3, 2015

To properly discuss Up the Creek we have to start with the classic film Animal House . Animal House featured two of Up the Creek ’s stars: Tim Matheson and Stephen Furst.

Matheson was a fairly important character in Animal House and I think the producers of Creek thought that this importance might parlay into some lead actor credibility. In my opinion Matheson was never meant to be a comedic lead. He is missing a certain charisma. His particular charm is actually more suitable for playing the asshole villain. You can tell the really wanted him to be a Bill Murray but they would have settled for a Chevy Chase. Instead, they got Tim Matheson.

One of the break-away stars of Animal House was John Belushi. His character, Bluto, was a loveable, party animal, slob. Stephen Furst was a not so loveable loser in Animal House . I have witnessed Furst in more than one movie where the producers have hoped against hope that Furst would be the next Belushi. This was never more obvious than in Up the Creek .

Up the Creek (1984)
R, Film, 96 Minutes
Comedy
Dir: Robert Butler

Synopsis: A group of losers are recruited to enter an intercollegiate raft race.

Pro:

Jake the dog as Chuck the Wonder Dog, is not only portrayed as smarter than most of the characters in Up the Creek… it is also, in real life, more charismatic.

Dan Monahan aka Pee Wee from Porky’s. He is a likeable character and this film has few of those.

Jennifer Runyun as Heather Merriwether. She has the honor of second billing, after Matheson, and this is her first movie. Not bad. She is cute, likeable, and she has some great lines. “Why don’t you slip into something more comfortable? Like me.”

Con:

The premise… an intercollegiate raft race? Why would you recruit losers? The dean calls them the four worst students in the college…. So the Dean is willing to graduate them in any subject they want if they win? An intercollegiate raft race is worth that to the Dean?

Tim Matheson’s character as written tries way too hard to be the cool rebel. The character is mostly unlikeable and detracts from the movie.

The antagonist’s last name is Tozer… and Furst’s character’s name is Gonzer. They sound too much alike. No one caught that and thought to change the villain’s name to Johnson?

Procon:

None

The Verdict?

Would I recommend this film? Sure. It is not a brilliant film, but it is enough to entertain on a Saturday afternoon if a Clint Eastwood movie isn’t on. Think of it as one of those unfunny movies National Lampoon occasionally releases.