It was only a matter of time…
The B Action Movie Thread has been a gargantuan mainstay of this site for several years. So, in our continued efforts to dominate the internet in every conceivable way, here is a weekly column. A digest, if you will. Dig in and we’ll see you in the thread!
THIS WEEK ON THE B ACTION MOVIE THREAD (Last Week’s Installment)
Rene here with the round up for the most fast paced message board thread on the entire internet. Starting on page 1390 and finishing up on 1396 we had a very impressive week, and one day that depressed us all.
Here are some highlights.
Fat Elvis watched the first 3 Death Wish films. His thoughts on thread favorite Death Wish 3 are as follows.
“THEY KILLED THE GIGGLER, MAN!!!”
Thoughts on DW III (so far) :
Morally reprehensible, but in the most ridiculously fun way possible! Bronson’s girl has just been incinerated in a fiery car crash, but, hey, on a positive note at least she wasn’t raped first. (Tho Winner doesn’t disappoint his fans—movie continues franchise streak, 3 for 3 in rape related fatalities)
duke fleed watched Ong Bak 3 and reviewed it as only he can.
Rene (Mr.Eko), I just saw…The most, Ong BakTacular, Bone JAAring, display of, Thai Martial Artistry in the final entry of the Ong Bak Trilogy…Ong Bak 3! Flying elbows, knees, Chains, and of course…Elephant Fu along with…curses (not the swearing kind, the killing kind), and a quick romantic subplot too! This is…Clearly Tony Jaa’s best film, and the first…Great Film of 2011!
I mentioned that I was going to see The Green Hornet, and wadew1 said that he had heard that the 3D wasn’t that good. I saw it later that evening, and of course IT WAS A BLAST!
Tyler Foster returns to the thread and gives a list of his favorite 3D movies.
Moltisanti posted this great poster for a Burt Lancaster movie.
We discover that the realistic Mortal Kombat fan trailer that was made starring Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan is becoming a web series.
HunterTarantino (Mike) watches Number One With A Bullet, and shoots it in the face for being a boring piece of crap.
The Perfect Weapon talks about going to a sports bar, and posts the Youtube Video for the official beer of the thread LABATT MAXIMUM ICE
I talk about my further reading of the novelization of The Thing, as it keeps getting better, and describes the scene that the picture at the top is from in more detail.
We discuss how Britt Reid is the second banana to Kato, just like how Jack Burton essentially was to Wang Chi in Big Trouble In Little China.
On page 1393 , we discover that Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to do a project called With Wings As Eagles and Perfect Weapon posts a link to info about the movie that Arnold wanted to do back in the 1990’s with Paul Verhoeven (!) called Crusades.
wadew1 posts this picture of a very excited Ed Harris.
Then on page 1394…. The shit hits the fan.
Here’s the link to that shitty news, and some choice quotes from thread regulars.
felix: I can’t believe they are even considering this crap. Glover will probably show up as the grizzled old Police Chief that mentors our new heroes.
Hans Gruber’s EYE CONDITION: I personally am not bothered by this news… though they are all entertaining in a way, I only find the first Lethal Weapon to be good. I find the sequels embarassingly bad, especially part two. I am sorry… it is not a popular opinion… but this is my feelings…
HunterTarantino: Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck!!!!!!!!
NathanW: I hope they remake it with chicks, or possible midgets, at least do something interesting with the reboot.
Rene (Mr.Eko): They could just put Diora Baird and Kelly Brook in there and call it LETHAL WEAPONS.
Fat Elvis: A LW reboot? I hope Mel isn’t reduced to playing the suicide jumper!
duke fleed: I would call the re-boot…Lethal Weapons.
Martin Riggs- Jason Statham
Roger Murtaugh- Idris Elba
Mrs. Murtaugh- Vanessa Williams
General Peter McCallister- Liam Neeson
Mr. Joshua- Scott Adkins
Endo- Wu Jing (SPL)
In a re-boot, I would have a newly married…Roger Murtaugh, team up with Martin Riggs.
On page 1395 Vacuum Jockey uses the terrible news about these remakes and spins it into positive talk about how to do remakes right.
THE MIND OF RENE F. RANGEL
Rene is one of the foremost luminaries of The B Action Movie Thread, in no small part because of his undying—and often unironic—love of movies that usually don’t get a lot of praise or any praise at all. He loves his local Redbox and always jumps at the allure of a new dollar rental. He frequents Target, Big Lots, FYE, Sam Goody, and many other stores for DVD bargains and enjoys meals at Buffalo Wild Wings, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster. Here’s a selection of choice quotes from the man himself—no matter how bizarre he gets with his taste, you can’t help but love him.
“Men At Work is so hilarious. It was one of my childhood favorites, and it still is. I’ve always worked under the assumption that since Estevez wrote it as well as directed it, that him naming Charlie Sheen’s character “Carl Taylor” is a reference to his Platoon character “Chris Taylor” and that Charlie Sheen is playing the son of his character from Platoon who is a garbage man in L.A. and wants to open a surf shop with his buddy. Louis is probably also really King. He came back from Vietnam and married the sister of the guy who manages the garbage truck business that they work for. Yes, I’m saying that Emilio Estevez wrote and directed a pseudo sequel to Platoon.”
“I had another Redbox incident a little while ago. I just wanted to return Love Ranch, and this guy who had just gotten to it before I did was taking his sweet time with it. I politely asked him if I could just return what I had, and the lady with him told me to wait my turn. Once they just got what they wanted, the lady told the kid behind me to tell me to hurry up. What a nice world we live in where people help each other out. Cockroach woman.”
“Chris Evans could be the next Sly or Bruno. He’s got TONS of natural charisma, and he’s just so damn likable. If and that’s a big IF they ever get too insane and remake something sacred like Die Hard, I could see either him or Rogen as McClane. Rogen is in shape now, and he’s proven he can do action, as well as having that everyman quality that not too many actors have nowadays.”
THIS WEEK’S MOVIE
MIKE FLYNN HONORS QUIET COOL
Nowadays—especially in recent years, with the success of the Lord of the Rings films and being folded into Warner Bros. —it’s easy to forget that New Line Cinema was one of the B-movie greats of the late 20th century. Their association with John Waters and distribution of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Evil Dead led to New Line becoming one of the genre greats of the 1980’s and 90’s. A Nightmare on Elm Street made them. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles legitimized them. Hulk Hogan’s acting career didn’t do any good, but it sure added to their legacy. Beyond the famous product, however, there are other, more obscure gems like Alone in the Dark and The Hidden that New Line shepherded, and unfortunately, the bigger films they’ve gambled on have overshadowed these hidden (no pun intended) gems.
1986’s Quiet Cool is one of those films. It’s the sort of thing that HBO would only air at night because of its R rating, and your best bet to see it was if you were up late on a Friday night. Maybe you’ve seen its mediocre VHS box art browsing the video store. Except for a bare-bones budget DVD and a fairly heavy rotation on IFC in the last few years, Quiet Cool is a primarily unknown action film, and I love the ever-loving fuck out of it. Co-written and directed by the equally unfamiliar Clay Borris, Quiet Cool is relentlessly fast-paced at a quick and dirty 81 minutes, so there’s not a lick of fat on the thing.
Immediately, we’re treated to a score reminiscent of anything Harold Faltermeyer or Jan Hammer has composed over images of flowing marijuana plants. Following that, we waste no time in setting up the mission of our hero, New York cop Joe Dylanne (James Fucking Remar), who has just arrested a cackling, roller-skating purse snatcher that he just spotted on the street. Dylanne gets a call from Katy (Daphne Ashebrook), a past flame (by old flame, I mean she moved west ten months earlier) that her Casey Siemaszko-lookalike kid brother Joshua (Adam Coleman Howard) has gone missing in the woodlands of Northern California. Turns out a group of thugs led by the villanious Valence (Nick Cassavetes, who would reprise his role two weeks after this film’s release in The Wraith) have slaughtered her family, and her brother has taken to the wilderness for justice with his guerrilla warfare tactics. Dylanne and Joshua meet up while in the same vicinity of the bad guys, and together they fight to take down Valence and “The Man” he works for!
I want to digress for a minute about Nick Cassavetes. Between this, The Wraith, and Blind Fury, he’s essentially the dark-haired action version of William Zabka. Valence is supposed to be this backwoods pot dealer who should maybe be missing a tooth and wearing flannel shirts and cheap blue jeans. Nevertheless, Valence has an Uncle Jesse haircut that contrasts with his redneck persona. Mind you, this is why Quiet Cool and so many 80’s action pictures are so fun—these anachronisms and contradictions are ludicrous in of their own without irony, something more organic and a hell of a lot funnier than a latter-day, postmodern version of the idea.
The score—by Jay Ferguson, who would later find fame with his theme for the American version of The Office—is a testament to that. In a serious sense, the thing is a clusterfuck of synthesizers and wailing sax and guitar, and one piece of the score sounds like the theme from ALF. A lot of films have attempted to create an 80’s score in a modern film, and these sorts of compositions having success—Watchmen and Doomsday are two examples—but you can easily see the modern trappings between the keyboard strokes. The real deal, like what Ferguson does here, is the sort of unrefined and primitive, for lack of better words, embodiment that’s hard to replicate now, and it’s yet another alluring curiosity that adds to the spectacle.
Quiet Cool also stands out for being one of the only movies that James Remar has ever headlined, and while it goes without saying the world is better for it, it’s a shame he never hit the big time. Though he’s best known today for his role on Dexter, Remar has always been one of the most serviceable character actors in the business because as hero here, antihero in The Warriors, or villain in 48 Hrs., he has an interchangeable swagger that speaks his respective character’s language no matter what kind of role he plays, and he always commands a presence and stands out among everyone (feel free to argue that Michael Beck is a better actor). As Dylanne, Remar is as good as any hard-edged cop you’ve seen from this period, and furthermore, you can clearly see how he could have knocked it out of the park as Hicks in Aliens. Like Michael Biehn, his emotions are genuinely intense, and his ruggedness speaks physically.
Speaking of The Warriors and 48 Hrs., it’s staggeringly interesting that Remar is headlining a film that shares a horde of qualities with those films’ director, Walter Hill. Hill has always maintained the sensibilities of the Western within his films, and without any argument, Quiet Cool is as much a neo-Western as Extreme Prejudice or Last Man Standing. The film follows a conventional Western plot, that of an east coast lawman heading out west and encountering oppression. Borris applies the touch as subtle enough to not be glaringly obvious, but anyone who has seen a decent number of Westerns will pick up on this. Furthermore, Joshua could not only signify a male variation on the type of character Mattie Ross functioned as in True Grit, but his battle tactics and appearance could quite easily represent the role of Native Americans in the genre. The weaponry is also extremely genre-friendly—both sides of the law stick to revolvers instead of semi-automatic pistols and favor shotguns over automatic weapons (an assault rifle shows up but the thug carrying it gets dispatched pretty quickly), and Joshua creates the sort of hunting traps that a Predator would nod in approval to. Plus, it leads to some fantastic custom kills in the film’s climax.
It’s those Western sensibilities of Quiet Cool are exactly what makes the film such fun. At its core, not only is it a neo-Western, but it’s an urban action film set in rural trappings. Since Cheech and Chong hit it big and all the way up to the age of Pineapple Express and Proposition 19, marijuana has always had a sort of metropolitan embodiment in pop culture, hindering that the sources of the drug are in these flowing forest areas. Quiet Cool barely indents stoner culture into the film, except for a few scattered moments—you’ll also notice that one of Valence’s henchmen is named Toker. The fact that Remar shows up in Pineapple Express should also hint at that significance as well, as will the fact that Chris Mulkey plays a character named Red, much like Danny McBride in that film. In that sense, David Gordon Green, Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow and company probably paid attention to Quiet Cool, and aside from these implied connections, it’s a shame the film hasn’t taken off more than it already has. You owe it to yourself to smoke it if you got it and check it out.
I had no idea what Quiet Cool was until it was discussed on The B-Action Thread early in 2009. that great poster was put up, and most of us were still wondering if that was David Patrick Kelly standing next to James Remar.
James Remar. A movie starring him. That’s enough to get me to watch it. I blind bought the movie after hearing all the great things in the thread about it. It wasn’t a hard decision. I got it for about 5 bucks from Deep Discount during the summer of 2009, and had a blast watching it.
Remar vs. Weed Farmers and a kid doing Rambo traps? Excellent.
Nick Cassavetes is the leader of the weed farmers, and among his group is Katey Sagal’s brother Joey Sagal who really should be in more movies (his performance in The Return Of Swamp Thing should have netted him more action movies.)
Right from the beginning, we see Remar busting a roller boogie thug, and all the way to the show down at the town in the end where he’s sporting twin double barrels. New Line Cinema even fits in A Nightmare On Elm Street, when Joey Sagal is in the cabin, and watching it on vhs.
Check this movie out. When people talk about forgotten gems, this movie should be at the forefront.
This is just an insane movie. And I don’t have much to add, really. From a purely artistic standpoint, the movie is terrible. That much should be clear. Beyond the cheesy production values and very bad acting, however, you find something that is undeniably entertaining.
I like how, in a manner much like Breakdown, the ENTIRE FUCKING TOWN is evil. I guess I have to see it again to be sure. But, as the movie ends and the survivors walk into the sunset, I was under the impression that all the bad guys were dead and the entire town was deserted.
I like the reveal of the ultimate villain. It’s one of those delicious “You’ve gotta be fucking KIDDING me!” moments that only work in truly silly epics such as this. And I should also point out that said villain gets a monumentally funny comeuppance.
Finally… I like how the victimized hippie family is introduced enjoying a picnic in the woods while the dad listens to The Mommas and the Poppas on his gigantic cinder block-sized walkman. We certainly hear California Dreamin’ a lot in this movie. Probably because it was the only 60s rock piece they could afford. So they milk it like crazy. It’s even used at a key moment in the film – to signify a BADASS “shit just got real” moment. I don’t know that the serene melodies of The Mommas and the Poppas have ever been used in this fashion. And that’s why I watch movies. To see something I’ve never seen before… No matter how ridiculous or absurd it may be.
Mike’s right. This is a gem from an era that has died. The era of the neighborhood video store. Which brings me to….
ERIX AND HIS VIDEO STORE NOSTALGIA
I guess we’ve got to admit it’s getting better (getting better all the time) when it comes to watching movies. What with the technology allowing us to basically have movie theaters in our houses. Yeah, I have a Blu Ray player… Whoop-dee-doo and all that.
But indulge me for a minute as I lament the time worn cliché of the video store.
And I’m not talking about Blockbuster or any of the big chain stores. I’m talking about the Mom & Pop deals they used to have near your house. Where you’d walk in and be surrounded by huge shelves stacked with empty VHS boxes of all shapes and sizes. Oh it was a pleasure to just walk around looking at those boxes, wasn’t it?
I remember, back then, I was particularly obsessed with this box.
I still think it’s a striking cover image. It stuck with me all these years. Which is more than I can say for the movie itself. For some reason, even though I was obsessed with this movie, I never got to see it until years later. I think it was one of those cases where I saw it at one video store that I wasn’t a member of. And they didn’t have it at the place where I was.
But anyway, I did eventually find it for sale for $9.99 at a PathMark or something. The box was different and the back of the box had a white sticker that said Recorded in LP mode for highest possible quality. The actual movie turned out to be a boring Canadian melodrama that climaxes in a farmhouse where a bunch of people get shot in the stomach with a shotgun. It’s probably noteworthy for being the only movie that allowed John Candy a sex scene. The woman he fucks is kind of hot, so good for him I guess. But the movie is boring and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Thinking back on video stores also brings back a favorite childhood memory of mine. I would often rent these R-rated horror and action flicks. And my favorite way to watch them was I’d get up like at 5 in the morning (while it was still dark out) go into the living room while my parents were still sleeping, and watch the movie using the headphones that my dad had set up for me the night before.
I watched the Silent Night, Deadly Night trilogy in this way (I say trilogy because 4 & 5 didn’t exist yet and I still haven’t seen them). I watched Bad Taste this way. I also watched a forgotten Tom Savini horror flick (shot on video) called The Ripper. As well as a very bad movie with Kevin Dillon that I don’t remember called Remote Control. So not all of it was good.
Last House On The Left was a special case. My stepmom really didn’t want me to see it. (Oh, but My Beautiful Launderette and Salvador were very appropriate for my 9-year old self, right mom?) So my dad gave me the camcorder and I stayed up late on my loft bed watching Wes Craven’s debut film through the viewfinder.
Another fond memory is when I went to the video store on Mulberry Street to return Dead Poets Society.
It went something like this:
Hey Erik! What did you rent? *sees tape* *awkward silence* …yeah but Robin Williams is a really talented guy. He’s really talented. Anyway, check this out *pulls out a copy of Alien Nation* you’re gonna like this one. It’s got a lot of action.
He was right. I did like it.
Eventually, while I was finishing high school, I got to work in a video store myself. FLAGSHIP VIDEO in Jackson Heights, NY.
That was basically a dream come true. One of the girls that worked there – her name was Karem (with an m) was my first really big masturbatory crush. But she had a boyfriend that would’ve kicked my ass twice so I never bothered asking her out.
STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!
What was I talking about? Oh… Right… My dream come true. I loved it because I got to be the one who kept the boxes in order. I got to be the one who recommended movies to people. Which leads me to one more amusing anecdote and then I’ll get out of your hair.
One time, this woman comes in looking for a movie to watch for the evening.
She: So, what do you recommend?
Me: Well, in the new releases we have CLIFFHANGER. And that’s a lot of fun if you like good action pictures.
She: Would you say this is appropriate to watch with my son? He’s eleven.
Me: Well… As you can see, the film is rated R. And I can tell you that it is very violent.
She: Oh… Are the people who die evil? Because, if that’s the case, and the violence happens to the evil people, then I can explain to my son that they are EVIL and they deserve to die.
Me: Well… Several people die in the film and not all of them are evil. But the villains do die. And they do so very violently.
She: I’ll take that one then.
Sigh… I miss video stores so much.