Under-Appreciated Guy Movies
It seems that there are plenty of guy movies out there that everyone knows and loves. You know, flicks like Stripes, Kelley's Heroes, Pulp Fiction, Cool Hand Luke, or any James Bond installment. Great though they are, you won't find them discussed on this page.
Then there are those cult movies that have a strong underground following, and lots of web pages singing their praises. You know, gems like The Evil Dead, Plan Nine From Outer Space, and Blue Velvet. You won't find them masticated on this page, either.
No, sirree Bob. Right here on this little page, we will devote ourselves to appreciating, nay,
celebrating, those under-appreciated movies that are as good as any in the first two categories, but are not given their proper levels of respect, either by the mainstream or by the cult circuit. Eventually, I will flesh this out, but for now I'm mostly just listing some of Larry's and my favorite unsung classics, and some initial comments spewed out of my memory in a drunken stupor, as brainstormed over martinis at Carmine's Clamhouse on a recent Thursday Night. Over the next few weeks, I plan to add editorial comments and complete capsule reviews of these under-loved nuggets of guy-movie history, as the spirit moves me. Enjoy!!!
- Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
How this movie has escaped popular adulation is beyond my feeble brain! John Carpenter's magnum opus has something for everyone: love, intrigue, cynicism, swashbuckling, horror, kung-fu, magic, major butt-kicking, and of course James Hong! (not to mention Mr. Thursday Night, Kurt Russell!!) One inside joke after another, starting with Kurt's dead-on impression of John Wayne, and ending with Victor Wong's good chinaman defeating James Hong's bad chinaman. And Kim Cattrall, enough to make a movie a classic all by herself, is just an extra mitzvah! "May the wings of liberty never lose a feather!" (and can the sequel be long in coming? More Trouble In Little China? We can only pray to the god of the East.)
NOTE: be sure to check out twenty quotes for this flick!
- The Great Race (1965)
Before Blake Edwards started making movies on the advice of his shrink, he used to put together some real entertaining beauties. Start with Jack Lemmon and Stony, I mean, Tony Curtis, and you already have a winner. But toss in Peter Falk and you know you have something extra special. Add in Natalie (doesn't float) Wood, Arthur O'Connell, Keenan Wynn, Denver Pyle, and the immortal Larry Storch, and you are definitely on your way. Not that a cast maketh a movie, of course; this episodic, multi-parodic sendup of every movie genre known to man keeps you yowling with laughter and incredulity as the around-the-globe auto race unfolds. The Three Stooges would be proud to take part in such a great pie fight! Classic Quotes: "Push the button, Max!"...."Who is this here Texas Jack?"....."Now will you give me some fightin' room?"....."I never mix my pies!"
- High Road to China (1983)
This flick is a classic example of good old fashioned chemistry. Tom Selleck and Bess Armstrong are feuding misfits who you just know will eventually get together, and plenty of facial expressions and body language promise an ending that eventually delivers. Toss in Robert Morley, Jack Weston, and Brian Blessed, plus some great scenery and lost-generation tension, and you know you've got some classic scenes on their way. Classic quote: "The oxen are slow, but the earth is patient."
- The Last Boy Scout (1991)
Tony Scott deserves to be hung by his thumbs for being one of the first directors to make the mistake of pointing a camera at Tom Cruise in "Top Gun" and "Days of Thunder". But he has been steadily redeeming himself ever since with classics like "True Romance" and "Enemy of the State". Why his early triumph, "The Last Boy Scout" didn't become a cult classic is beyond me! You've got Bruce Willis, playing a private detective so world-weary that he makes Humphrey Bogart look like Donny Osmond. And a little girl that would make Linda Blair blush. You've got a gun-fight during an NFL game in the first damn reel of the film!! Plus a potpourri of bad guys led by the sniveling genius of Taylor Negron, you've got the ultimate cop buddy, Joe Santos, and a sidekick role that even made a Wayans Brother look good!!! Add in the snappy dialogue and you have an all-time underappreciated classic.
NOTE: see our twenty quotes page for this flick
- Roadhouse (1989)
Talk about the perfect blend of the old and the new! The grizzled veteran Ben Gazzara, duking it out (both literally and figuratively) with still fairly new Patrick Swayze, in Rowdy Herrington's classic version of the most all-time fist-and-fury-festival ever to be committed to celluloid. And toss in Sam Waterston, er, ah, I mean, Sam Elliott, who is both old and young at the same time, just to keep you guessing. And Kelly Lynch, ouch, the hits just keep on coming!! How can you NOT love a movie with a line like "It's the kind of place where they sweep up the eyeballs after closing time."
- Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
Give me a break, already, talk about an embarassment of riches! John Wayne is enough to make any movie a must-see, but you add in Dean Martin and his easy-going who-gives-a-fuck charm, and you've got a high-octane viewing requirement!! But director Henry Hathaway didn't stop there; he tossed in James Gregory, Earl Holliman, George Kennedy (in the world's greatest axe-handle-to-the-face scene ever!) and even Dennis Hopper to create one of the funkiest, iconoclastiest, and yet strangely most cannonical westerns ever lensed. Classic quote: "You didn't clumb it, you climbed it!"
- The Vikings (1958)
This Richard Fleischer film might well be my favorite movie of all time. It came out the year I was born, so you know it had to be awesome. Kirk Douglas, Stony Curtis, and Ernest Borgnine mix it up over wine, wenches, and war, with Janet Leigh tossed into the mix just to lend pulchritudinous interest. High drama, high intrigue, and lotsa Vikings high on mead! And not a single issue that isn't totally tongue in cheek, while at the same time maintaining a serious tone of political incorrectness, long before it was even needed. Not to mention one of the great eye-gouging falcon scenes ever to come out of Hollywood. What's more, the immortal Orson Welles, the Big O himself, narrates the openning!! You know you are in for something special before your sofa cushion even gets warm. Classic quotes: Eric: "why did he hesitate???"....and of course: "Odinnnnnnn!!!!!!!!"
STILL TO COME:
The Quick and the Dead
Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead
The Last Seduction
Red Rock West
By the by, if you have other nuggets that belong on this list, or care to disagree with some of our nuggets, send me an e-mail; all opinions will be given the respect that they deserve (but no more than that!).