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 B-Action Thread Round up for the week.
Let us take a moment though to reflect on the loss of the lovely Tura Satana. Star of Faster Pussycat. Kill! Kill! She was quite the beauty, and even though Russ Meyer was always accused of using women as toys, people should see that this movie in particular empowers women. Tura Satana is a badass in this movie.
Page 1404 also has Erix revealing that he will be doing THE MIAMI VICE EXPERIENCE, where in he will watch every episode of the series, and do a blog on each one. I think someone tried doing that a few years back with another show. His first 2 entries were enough to get me to run out to Target and buy the first season for $10. It’s been years since I’ve seen episodes of Miami Vice.
On page 1405, felix posts an interview with John Leguizamo were he talks about his book on working in Hollywood, and in particular, his feud with Steven Seagal. He mentions Seagal entering the area, and declaring that his word is law, Leguizamo laughed, and Seagal slammed him up against a wall.
HunterTarantino (Mike Flynn) returns to the B-Action Thread after a short absence, since his old laptop crashed, and now has a spiffy new one that even plays Blu-rays. He mentions an idea he has for a Friday The 13th movie that melds together all the movies into a singular continuity, after the discussion felix and I had on the Friday The 13th novels that have been coming out the past few years.
Out To Sea gets referenced, and we remember that at one point in the movie, they are watching Predator on a tv.
It finally warms up, and I took in a viewing of the remake of The Mechanic. Here’s my take on it.
So since it’s not literally freezing here, we saw The Mechanic tonight! Quite the great piece of action cinema. Statham is methodical in his work, and all of the guys they go after are with degenerates, hitmen, or both. Foster handled himself well in the action scenes, and the climax was filled with a lot of explosions and bullets.
The ending of course has been slightly changed, but a part of it has been retained. At first it seemed that they were going the same route as the original, but then it got changed. Not complaining though, as it means there could be a sequel.
I give it a solid 9 out of 10. See it gents. It’s solid action entertainment.
Perfect Weapon and wadew1 both mention the UFC fight with Anderson “I’m Invincible!” Silva, and his “trainer” Steven Seagal in attendance.
duke fleed had this to say about The Mechanic.
Rene (Mr.Eko), I am glad to hear…The Mechanic…Fixed, the freezing temperatures of Texas, so you could see his movie. I found the film to be…High Caliber entertainment.
NathanW mentions seeing The Green Hornet and liking it, which spurred another discussion on The Green Hornet movie and how it’s shocking that more people on the boards haven’t seen it.
felix reveals that Stallone is doing a movie called Headshot before The Expendables II.
We all start talking about the Super Bowl tv spots. Captain America: The First Avenger gets most of the praise, as it does look like it’s going to be a fun movie.
After Damon Houx’s review of Brewster’s Millions, that spurs a discussion on Richard Pryor and his “PG Pryor” films, including a lengthy discussion on Superman III that leads to us talking about the terrible Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
Erix refers to Gene Hackman as the “American Michael Caine” which is a pretty astute description for him.
On page 1406, we belatedly discuss what Russell Faraday posted about watching the remake of House On Haunted Hill, and how it’s a pretty damn good remake.
Perfect Weapon posts that cheesy country song from Superman III
I got in the Blu-Ray of Hatchet II, and rave about how cool it was. Seriously, check out the movie if you’re a fan of 80’s horror, this is a good throwback. It’s also better than the first one.
Perfect Weapon finally saw Blood And Bone, and joined the ranks of us who absolutely love that movie.
Moltisanti chimes in that he liked The Green Hornet, but had the same problems with Rogen that a lot of other people had.
HunterTarantino reveals the release date of Seagal’s film, Born To Raise Hell. It will be born on April 19. That’s Seagal’s last full length feature thus far, as his tv series is getting turned into a series of DTV movies.
kain424 finally sees the exploitation classic, Black Mama, White Mama, and has fun with it.
I rented the American remake of Das Experiment, aptly titled, The Experiment with Forest Whitaker and Adrien Brody. It turned out to be an interesting little surprise, with Forest Whitaker once again hamming it up.
A discussion about Tura Satana pops up, and it leads to some talk about Russ Meyer, and I found this poster that should be on every guy’s wall.
S.D. Bob Plissken pops into the thread to ask us what modern Dolph movies are worth watching, and several of us chime in with what movies are worth watching.
Hunter posts short synopsis of his favorite episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia after felix mentions that he saw a few episodes.
Fat Elvis mentions a movie called Teenage Hitch-Hikers as well as 2 Charles Bronson movies called Borderline and Love And Bullets.
Borderline in particular sounds like it’s a movie set in present day. Fat Elvis provides us with a summary of it.
Charles Bronson switches from his traditional role as a vigilante to playing an actual lawman in this crime drama. Jeb Maynard (Bronson) is a border patrol agent who is trying to stem the tide of illegal aliens from Mexico into the United States. Jeb is hot on the trail of Hotchkiss (Ed Harris), a “coyote” who brings illegals into the United States for a hefty price and with little concern for their safety. But while Jeb is sworn to keep illegal immigrants out of America, he finds his relationship with Elena Morales (Karmin Murcelo) becoming more than professional. Elena is an illegal alien who wants to cooperate with Jeb by leading him to Hotchkiss, who smuggled her into the United States. But businesslike Jeb soon finds that the plight of Elena and her young son, who are desperate to build a better life for themselves, has touched a soft spot inside him.
Clarence Boddicker revisits a movie from his childhood, The Willies, and it turns out to be not as great as he remembered.
Fat Elvis mentions that John Lithgow’s performance in The Twilight Zone movie is one of his best, and that’s a statement that I wholeheartedly approve of. He really steals the movie from everyone else with his performance.
Gabe T. sees Kill The Irishman and he reports back that it’s pretty great. Which is good news, as a bunch of us are looking forward to it.
Perfect Weapon reveals to everyone that it’s been years since he’s seen scripted television shows, and hates reality tv. Especially, Jersey Shore. (We all hate that show)
I use his sports quote as a jumping off point to talk about North Dallas Forty, and how I hate football, but love that movie because it’s really about the players, and not so much about the sport itself.
Jox chimes in to tells us some great tidbits about Dolph’s movie Hidden Agenda, and why we should all check it out.
THE MIND OF RENE F. RANGEL
“I’m continuing watching The Experiment. Whitaker has gone off the rails. He smiles and realizes that he’s gotten a boner after having his guards spray the prisoners with fire extinguishers. THEN HE FEELS IT.”
“If it is like 1994, then Seagal should be making a sequel to On Deadly Ground. On Deadly Ground 2: Changing The Essence Of Man….WITH BULLETS.”
“I don’t know why Brewster’s Millions gets crapped on. I find it to be really funny, … Lots of great cameos, and it’s an interesting detour from action films for Walter Hill. I actually wonder why he decided to do this particular movie. Perhaps to show everyone that he could do other movies besides action?”
“Superman III may be my favorite of the Superman films.”
“I only own Superman IV: The Quest For Peace because I got it for $5 and it was that Deluxe Edition. It really is a terrible film.”
THIS WEEK’S MOVIE
MIKE IS QUITE FOND OF SILVER BULLET
No other author has quite captured the film industry by storm with a demand for film and television adaptations more than Stephen King. He’s indisputably the most iconic writer of the latter 20th century, and his versatility and interchangeability across multiple genres has solidified that. We can count down all the greats at length: The Shawshank Redemption. The Shining. Creepshow. Misery. Christine. The Green Mile. The Mist. Carrie.
Even now, we’ve got the Dark Tower series getting prepped for film and television, many of already-adapted properties are getting rebooted, and The Stand is finally getting the big-screen epic it deserves (if Walton Goggins is not cast as Henreid or Trashcan Man, I will cry). Hell, Pet Sematary is a spooky blast (The Ramones’ main theme is even better), and the Cat from Hell segment in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is King’s twisted brand of ironic terror at its absolute best. At the apex of King’s success in the early 80’s, the recently departed Dino De Laurentiis got his hands on the rights to several properties. Results varied wildly on the legend’s productions, from brilliant (The Dead Zone) to so-bad-it’s-awesome (Maximum Overdrive) to deep-fried dogshit masquerading as a corn dog (Firestarter).
Of his King adaptations, however, the one that I find myself coming back to more than others is Silver Bullet. The source material, Cycle of the Werewolf, is barely longer than one of his short stories and can be digested in a trip to Barnes and Noble. Cycle is primarily remembered by the striking illustrations that accompanies the prose, and when Phantasm creator Don Coscarelli signed on, his visual sensibilities were strongly suited for the flair of the imagery. It didn’t take long for Dino’s sensibilities to scare away Coscarelli, and Daniel Attias—who would later find a great career in television, directing episodes of The Wire and Deadwood, among many others—stepped in, and the rest was history. Rather than pave the way for something prestigious, Silver Bullet is a ludicrous and uneven experience befallen by its fairly deluded ambition to blend different genres and rise above being just a creature feature.
Mind you, this miscommunication only makes Silver Bullet one of the silliest and most entertaining offerings from the King adaptation catalog and 80’s horror. For one, Gary Busey was on the cusp of becoming the iconic character actor that he’s known to current generations as. Up to this point, he had earned an Oscar nomination for playing Buddy Holly and surfed (and presumably did every drug imaginable) with Jan-Michael Vincent for John Milius in the criminally underrated Big Wednesday, and his near-fatal motorcycle crash was years ahead. In the interim, he found himself unwilling to work on Elvis Presley’s birthday and get yelled at by Mr. T a lot, and it wasn’t until he became the dead pile of shit that Danny Glover wanted off his lawn in Lethal Weapon that he became a substantial commodity. With that in mind, an Oscar nominee taking the lead in a “lesser” Stephen King adaptation seemed stretching. Nevertheless, Busey is uncannily great as Uncle Red, an unemployed slob with a nasty beer gut who spends his days downing handles of Wild Turkey and watching pro wrestling. Unfortunately, just when he thought he had gotten past the age of playing The Hardy Boys Meet the Reverend Werewolf, his paraplegic nephew Marty (Corey Haim) literally cries wolf when an abnormal number of people turn up as Karo syrup-splattered latex molds whenever a full moon comes out.
When these gory deaths propel the plot forward, it becomes very apparent that Silver Bullet is a film that, in spite of it not falling into the action genre, ascends to the heights of something special. As soon as Bill Smitrovich begins to rally together a lynch mob against whatever is killing everybody, the whole film turns into every South Park episode where the moronic townsfolk fight blindly against malevolent means and bicker incessantly and incoherently about how to handle the problem, and then only realize the nature of it when a lot of horrible things happen. Perhaps this is best expressed by Herb Kincaid (Kent Broadhurst), who has to frequently remind everyone about the fact that HIS SON…WAS TORN…TO PIECES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! while flying his kite, and Sheriff Jerry Blake can gladly go fuck himself because when you’ve got a fucking werewolf shredding up pregnant teens and drunken pervs and Herb Kincaid’s SON…WHO WAS TORN…TO PIECES!!!!!!!!!, there’s only one justice that’ll fly, and it ain’t true justice. It’s private justice, AND YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT’S FUCKING PERSONAL!
Then more things get wretched when the townsfolk grab their identical shotguns and head out into the swamp to find some hungry hairy bad guys. Bar owner (a bar that gladly advertises Coors and frozen pizza, I might add) Lawrence Tierney wears a Team Zissou cap and gets beaten to death by The Big Lots Werewolf™ (more on that later) with his trusty baseball bat, THE PEACEMAKER (nothing to do with Clooney or Kidman). Another guy steps in a bear trap, and just as his buddy’s about to free him from the trap, more screams are heard, and the distraction is enough for the guy to close the bear trap and reinjure his friend. Another guy turns into arguably the funniest moment of non-realism in gore effects in film history:
So after all is said and done, Reverend Lowe (the always great Everett McGill), who is the de facto lycanthrope due to his calls for the vigilantes not to go searching and the fact that he’s just way too focused on God to care about a werewolf, is presiding over a funeral for, I’d guess five dead people from the massacre I described above. This is the second funeral scene—the first being for Herb’s boy who…WAS TORN…TO PIECES!!!!!!!!!!! At this rate, it’s starting to turn into that running gag in A Fish Called Wanda where Ken continually tries to murder the old lady but ends up inadvertently killing her Yorkshire terriers one by one in increasingly graphic fashion, only to keep leading to the woman weeping over the grave of her dogs.
To top all that off, Herb once again reiterates, “REVEREND! HE WAS TORN APART!” and cues the entire congregation to turn into even more Big Lots Werewolves™ and revolt against Lowe, who wakes up sweating so incessantly you’d have sworn he was having a night terror about killing James Rebhorn.
By going into a lot of summary about this, I haven’t even scraped the surface on why Silver Bullet is such a fun, silly 80’s B-horror outing. Busey and Haim may be the leads, but Smitrovich, Broadhurst, and a pre-Stepfather Terry O’Quinn give it every ounce of their effort to convey the madness of not only the town, but the bug-fucked insanity of even the most trivial scenes and the cavalcade of highly quotable dialogue, like when a very scared old man is put down by his wife when she asks if he’s “gonna make lemonade in his pants,” or hearing Red mouth off about an omelette with glass and rat poison and feeling “like a virgin on prom night.”
However, there’s two MVP’s of this movie—aside from Busey’s comical and overwrought performance and the equally absurdist way he screams upon seeing the werewolf for the first time. One is Everett McGill, who any Twin Peaks fan will recognize as Big Ed Hurley, the town mechanic and gas station owner, and also a great supporting player who’s turned up as Eric Bogosian’s main henchman in Under Siege 2 and tried to get in the way of Clint Eastwood (and failed to, of course) in Heartbreak Ridge. McGill is the most literal scenery chewer here, speaking every line of dialogue he gets with the gravitas of an Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams play. Reverend Lowe is a man of God and could have been Generic Religious Figure with a Dark Secret #872, but the fact that this is a goddamn werewolf movie lets him run wild and dial his acting to eleven at all times. In fact, this particular scene (shown below) led to me making this my avatar on the boards for quite some time, and in a way, it’s made me synonymous with the film. I won’t brag, however, as this is a film frequently discussed in the B Action Movie Thread for its crazy Busey madness, across-the-map grandstanding, and comically bad gore.
You may have noticed I have already mentioned the infamous Big Lots Werewolf™, a term that was derived from Rene’s frequent shopping sprees at the bargain emporium and the cheapness of the werewolf effects. This was four years after An American Werewolf in London and The Howling had patented the werewolf for the modern era, and having Oscar-winning effects guy Carlo Rimbaldi—he of E.T. and Alien fame among many others—design the werewolf for this film seemed like a good bet on something memorable. Alas, the only thing memorable about the creature effects is that, perhaps due to Dino’s money-saving techniques, the werewolf suit and transformation process look like the sort of thing you see at Target or Wal-Mart every October with the scraggly synthetic fur, rubbery skin, and obvious mask for the head. Even funnier is the estrogen-fueled reaction Red has upon Marty finally being vindicated that the Reverend Werewolf is a reality.
I didn’t even get a chance to mention Corey Haim’s resemblance to Justin Bieber and the absurdity of a gas-powered wheelchair. He does a great job of being an inquisitive and dangerously curious kid, and he plays it in such a way that his similar role in The Lost Boys feels overcooked (but then again, that film has so many more great elements where it’s not necessarily a burden on the film). However, Haim is an indifferent cause compared to the other, stronger, and funnier aspects of Silver Bullet. There’s no chance in hell that this is in the same league as what Kubrick and Cronenberg put forth to the table, but if you think Silver Bullet is not worth your time in any shape of the way, I suggest you do make yourself a broken glass and rat poison omelette.
Yeah… Silver Bullet is a gloriously cheesy movie. Basically, I just love how it makes me laugh at tragedy. Mike has already written at length about my favorite subplot in the film. That is to say, THE TRAGIC STORY OF HERB KINCAID AND HIS SON BRADY, WHO WAS TORN TO PIECES.
I’ve been quoting MY SON WAS TORN TO PIECES since I was eleven. Revisiting this film the other night, I was once again riveted by this little mini-movie.
I love how it just takes over the movie like that. It all starts with Herb first glimpsing his son’s body (in a pile, in a gazebo). We don’t see the body ourselves, but Herb’s epic reaction is all we need. I’m not going to say that Kent Broadhurst overacts… I mean, really, how would you react to finding your son’s mangled body in a gazebo? Probably much like Herb Kincaid. But, as it comes at the midway point of an already kind of cheesy movie, the effect is unavoidably hilarious. And it’s basically our introduction to this character.
We glimpse him earlier walking into the bar and asking: “Has anyone…seen…MY SON? … Brady?” Already we’re giggling.
Cut to him showing up at the gazebo and the laughter is uncontrollable.
I will say that, right before that, there is a very good scene of Terry O’Quinn holding a bloodied kite in his hand as he chants the Hail Mary. It’s a well-acted scene and probably the one genuinely eerie moment in the entire movie. O’Quinn also gets my favorite line in the movie (well… second favorite) – That is the craziest goddamn story I have ever heard in my life.
It’s almost like he’s this everyman stuck in an over-the-top scenario and he can’t keep up. He’s basically the audience. He wants to believe. He wants to be scared.
Anyway… Silver Bullet is not believable and it’s most certainly not scary. But it is very, very funny. And I have to assume that, since he adapted it himself, Stephen King knew what he was doing. He wanted us to laugh.
At least, I hope so.
“I feel like a virgin on Prom night.”
“OBscene phone call.”
I know it’s gotten a bit repetitive of me to link these movies to my childhood, but I just can’t pass up doling out my history with these films.
Silver Bullet is a movie that I saw back in the mid 90’s on the USA network. Back when that network had USA Up! All Night with the delectable Rhonda Shear, and the hilarious Gilbert Gottfried. (He’s hilarious and I don’t give a damn if you don’t think he is.) I caught it during an afternoon showing, and I had known about Stephen King for a long time.
Stephen King’s works and I have a long history. When I was 6, my Mother read some of her copy of The Stand to me. Mostly about The Trashcan Man, and how driving the cart with the nuclear missile exposed him to radiation and he was starting to fall apart. Literally. She also described The Dark Man with his denim clothing, and cowboy boots. I was hooked. This was also 1990, when IT aired on ABC, and I saw it with my Parents when it aired. I was scared shitless by that damn clown. Didn’t stop me from loving the works of the man, and becoming a lifelong fan of the horror genre.
Silver Bullet is often considered a minor film in the oeuvre of adaptations of Stephen King, but it’s one of the best. I own, and have read the novella that it’s based on, and let me tell you, it has some great stuff, but the movie works so much better.
The reason is GARY BUSEY. Gary Busey as Uncle Red. Silver Bullet is filled with lots of colorful character (actors) like Bill Smitrovich, Lawrence Tierney, Terry O’Quinn, and of course the other man who makes this movie worth watching. Everett McGill.
Apparently, Gary Busey ad-libbed a large amount of his dialogue, and there’s times where it’s evident. Also evident is his HUGE stomach, which was due to his over eating and blow addiction that this movie was made during the height of.
Silver Bullet has become one of the pinnacles of The B-Action Thread, as we tend to bring it up often, and Mike from time to time uses Reverend Lowe as his avatar, with his most memorable line of dialogue as his user title. It also led to the term “Big Lots Werewolf”, since the costume (which De Laurentiis reportedly hated) looks like a bargain costume. Make no mistake. This movie is HILARIOUS. I found some scenes of it to be scary as a kid, but when I revisited the movie on vhs when my friends and I rented it, I found it to be unintentionally hilarious, and loved it even more than I previously did. Gary Busey’s startled scream/look when he finally sees the werewolf is avatar or .gif worthy.
As I said previously, Silver Bullet scared me that first time I saw it on tv, and I remember my parents popping in from time to time to check out what I was watching, and when they knew it was that film, my Dad would stay and see most of it.
Everett McGill towards the later portion of the film also starts to resemble Jesse Custer, from Garth Ennis’ brilliant comic book Preacher. One would think that Garth Ennis saw Silver Bullet, and had Steve Dillon model Jesse Custer after Everett McGill.
Also of note is the late Corey Haim as the main character of the film, a paraplegic child who uses a motorized wheelchair (called the silver bullet) to get around, then Gary Busey uses his wizardly skills as an engineer to create THE SILVER BULLET. Basically a motorcycle that doubles as a wheelchair. Jay Chattaway’s score is notable for being very light hearted and during Corey Haim’s first ride on it, a great piece of fast paced music plays and goes perfectly with his joy of riding THE SILVER BULLET for the first time.
If you love horror movies, and want to see Gary Busey steal a movie (just like he and Tommy Lee Jones did in Under Siege), then see Silver Bullet. You won’t regret it. In fact, you’ll love the movie, and want to buy it. So you can see it over and over and over again. I know I cherish my dvd of it and wish it had that commentary that’s available on the Region 2 release.
THIS WEEK’S ICON
ERIX SALUTES GARY BUSEY
What was your first Gary Busey experience? Mine was, coincidentally enough, Silver Bullet. There I am, couldn’t be older than 10, watching Silver Bullet on tape, fascinated by this dynamic actor with spectacular teeth.
Silver Bullet finds Busey pre-motorcycle accident and it’s a good showcase for him. One of the rare times he’s played a heroic or sympathetic character. Because he’s one of those guys, like Walken, with a very singular screen presence – possibly fueled by the fact he may very well be clinically insane – that makes all of his characters unique, bringing a special flavor to the film he’s in. But also, because of that quirkiness, he seems at his best playing heavies.
The mayhem can cloud our judgment, especially in recent times. We can stand wide-eyed during one of his bizarre red carpet appearances, or even go as far back as the EPK for Predator 2 – where he starts rambling something or other about humanity and the apocalypse or whatever existential nonsense is coming out of his mouth, I don’t remember and I’m too lazy to pop the Blu Ray in right now. But, my point is, you can focus on that wackiness (which, admittedly, is very entertaining) and forget he’s actually a very good actor.
He always has been. Despite looking nothing like the guy, he was very successful in portraying Buddy Holly in the very imaginatively titled film The Buddy Holly Story. He’s also very good in the aforementioned Silver Bullet, playing Stephen King’s alter ego. It’s one of the highlights of that film. It’s the only performance that manages to be pitched at just the right balance of camp and reality. Most of the cast goes all over the place (especially Everett McGill), and it’s loads of fun. But Busey is the one that grounds it. He keeps you invested. He keeps you watching.
One of his most famous roles is as the sadistic and calculating Mr. Joshua * in Lethal Weapon. It’s actually a very effective and subtle performance. Given his reputation for oddness, it’s almost shocking to go back and see him as Joshua. This is not an over-the-top Bond villain, like you would expect from Busey. He’s actually very subdued… very chilling.
He’s played other villains, most notably wearing drag in Under Siege, and he’s always fun to watch. But in Lethal Weapon he’s genuinely scary.
My personal favorite slice of Busey is Point Break, though. In some ways, his performance as Angelo Pappas is a sequel to Uncle Red in Silver Bullet, once again taking the role of father figure for the young hero. The entire subplot of Keanu Reeves having to procure Busey’s very specific lunch of two meatball subs from across the street is actually my favorite part of the entire movie. You guys can have Bodhi and his kindergarten philosophy, Lori Petty and her androgyny. You can keep Reeves shooting his guns into the air in frustration. I’ll take Angelo Pappas and his meatball sandwiches. Classic stuff.
Other highlights? He basically steals The Firm from Tom Cruise and company. He’s only got two scenes. But one of them is the best scene in the movie – with one of my favorite lines from the 90s – HIS NAME…WAS JULIO IGLESIAS!
He hasn’t been around much lately, aside from behaving like a lunatic in public functions and talking about how he found Jesus on The E! True Hollywood Story (He didn’t find him there… He probably found him somewhere else. But he talked about it there.)
But I miss him. I’m hoping we’ll get Under Siege 3 with him reprising his role, preferably in drag. I know he got blown up. But if they brought back Larry Drake for the DTV Darkman sequel, they can do the same for Busey.
All kidding aside, I really do miss him. People don’t talk about him in this light, but he really is one of the best character actors of his generation. It really is too bad he’s crazier than hell.