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Archive for the ‘Dabney Coleman’ Category

manwithredshoeLeave it to Benn Farrell, the largest tool in the shed, to find a Tom Hanks movie that is almost as bad as Joe Versus the Volcano and then make me watch it. To be honest I have wanted to see this movie for years and by giving this to me as a challenge I was finally able to watch it.  Now that I have seen it I wish I hadn’t.  I can’t remember the last time I watched a comedy and had one chuckle and that’s it, certainly not any other film that Hanks is in.  I chuckled a couple of times in both Volcano and Dragnet.  This is a bad, bad, very bad, film.

Ross, played by Charles Durning (To Be or Not to Be,) is the CIA director and Cooper, played by Dabney Coleman (Dragnet,) who does something in the CIA, wants Ross’s job.  Cooper sets up Ross by framing one of his agents so Ross has 48 hours to exonerate himself and frame Cooper at the same time.  So Ross has one of his agents to randomly pick someone at the airport and pretend to meet this person in order to have Cooper’s agents think that he is the secret witness to save Ross at the hearing.  Ross’s agents picks Richard, played by Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies,) who happens to be arriving at the airport wearing one red shoe, because his friends Morris, played by Jim Belushi (Red Heat,) and his wife Paula, played by Carrie Fisher (Star Wars: The Force Awakens.)  They are all musicians who play for the Washington DC symphony.  Cooper wanting to know what Richard has to save Ross sends his team of agents including the lovely Maddy, played by Lori Singer (Footloose – 1984,) to investigate, question, and eliminate Richard.  However things get complicated when we discover Paula is trying to cheat on Morris with Richard, Cooper’s agents and Ross’s agents get in each other’s wary, and despite barely meeting him, Maddy begins to fall in love with Richard.

The best scene in the movie is when the 29 year old hot Carrie Fisher is rolling around in a bed with Tom Hanks in nothing more than her very 80’s underwear.  She fills out the bra and panties quite well.  The rolling around on the bed is about 20 seconds long and its glorious but it doesn’t make for the 1 hour 31 minutes and 30 seconds of boredom.

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The one scene where I chuckled was at the beginning of act 3 when Richard, Paula, and Morris are performing for the symphony when Richard sees Maddy in the audience and starts to botch his solo performance which causes Paula to notice Richard noticing Maddy and she stops playing her flute which causes Morris to notice Paula getting jealous of Richard looking at Maddy which cause him to do a loud drum solo which aggravates the conductor so much, played by David Ogden Stiers (Better Off Dead,)to lose after the performance and storm off. That whole scene drew a couple of chuckles and maybe a smile, but that’s it, for the entire movie.

To start off on the things I don’t like, I will start with Tom Hanks. I will assume since I have never seen this in any of the over 20+ movies I have watched of his that the choice of having Hanks play Richard as this stiff, unfunny, straight man, was the decision of the director.  Hanks had already filmed both Bachelor Party and Splash where we saw Hanks be hilarious and good.  In this film he is one step away from being an emotionless actor and as stiff as a statue.  It’s like his entire body was pumped with Botox and everything was still stiff.  It is just against every other performance that I have seen of Hanks that it can’t be because of his choice.  Imagine a comedy with Robin Williams where the director tells Robin to be the straight man and just follow script, no improvisation.  That was this for Hanks.

I also believe this because every other actor in this film was just as stiff.  Ok, that’s not true, both Belushi and Fisher actually seemed like living beings in this film.  But everyone else, it seemed, were told to take their roles of super spies seriously.  My guess is that the director and writer thought the scenes of near missies would be the humor of the film. But because the actors were so stiff in their performance, the physical “comedy,” was so slow that it didn’t work.  It’s as if this movie was a spoof of the spy films and they went over too over the top so it didn’t work.  Except this wasn’t a spoof of a spy film but a comedic spy film.  Nothing worked at all.

I really can’t think of anything else to say. The only redeeming thing about this film is the near nakedness of Princess Leah.  I mean sure Lori Singer is hot as well but nowhere near good enough to make up for this bore-a-thon.  Still not as bad as Joe Versus the Volcano, but this is a close second to the worst Tom Hanks movie ever.  Even Tom Hanks said of this film, “Not a very good movie. It doesn’t have any real, clear focus to it. It isn’t about anything particularly that you can honestly understand. It made no money at all.”  Take his advice and stay away, if it every shows up, which it won’t, unless one of your closest friends is a tool and makes you watch it.  Then find a way to smite him or her.

 

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dragnetI have a friend named Reed who is kind of a tool but also one of the most decent humans on the planet. When it comes to movies he and I disagree on a lot of things.  For example I enjoy movies made after 1980 and in general he believes cinema died after it.   One thing that I do that drives him nuts is when I say things like, “That movie is awful, but fun to watch so it’s good.” An example would but Hot Tub Time Machine.  I mention this because back when I saw this film in the 80’s I would have said the same thing about Dragnet, awful but fun to watch so it’s good.  I haven’t seen this movie since I sold my VHS copy of this to a pawn shop sometime in the 90’s, I decided to buy the three pack DVD set of Tom Hanks 80’s comedies on Amazon that included this film Dragnet, The Money Pit (which I already had so now I have 2, who wants one?,) and The ‘Burbs.  I bought it because it’s cheap and this month is our dedication to movies with the great Tom Hanks in them.  Well now that I am older and a little bit more grown up I have watched this film again and I no longer believe that it’s fun to watch so it’s mostly just bad now, which is sad.

Dragnet is a remake/homage to the 1950’s and 60’s classic TV show starring Jack Webb.  In the movie, his nephew Sargent Friday, played by Dan Aykroyd (Pearl Harbor,) and his new partner Pep Streebek, played by Tom Hanks (The Money Pit,) are investigating a string of robberies where the culprits leave calling card with the name PAGAN on it.  As they continue to investigate Friday and Streebek discover that the PAGAN group is not only interested in stealing cars but a far more nefarious goal that includes leaders of the religious community and the police department.

This movie doesn’t work because of its one main gag and that is it tries to satire a TV show that was silly to 1980’s audience but was treated as a serious police drama back in the 1950’s.  The writers of the movie, which include Aykroyd, took all of the mannerism of Jack Web as Joe Friday one step too far.  This can be seen when Aykroyd, as Friday, would do odd things like point to the obvious door in the building or repeat out loud what can easily be read or when reading off a law that was broken Friday would list all of the numbers with points.  But not just say Penal code 136.4 but Penal Code 145.876.2.4.1. Basically even though it seems that the TV show is ripe for mocking, the direction they went in this film was wrong.  You can’t treat the old TV show with awe and respect and turn around and mock it at the same time.

The only reason this movie is funny at all is because of Hanks.  He is the wise cracking funny man to Aykroyd’s straight man Friday.  There are many scenes that he makes tolerable and the best way to describe him in this film would be if you take his character from the movie Bachelor Party and turned him into a cop who is a smart guy who likes to have a good time that is witty and has great timing in delivering the comedy.  This movie also, in some way, was the beginning of the end as Dan Aykroyd being a bankable comedic actor. After this film he was in no real successful comedy that he was the star in.  He had some mild success in The Great Outdoors but that’s it.  He did much better in drama’s such as Driving Miss Daisy, and Chaplin.  This, too me, is kind of sad because he very much wanted this movie to succeed because he was a big fan of the TV show and it was a dream of his to make this movie.  But while his heart was willing his acting and writing made it impossible to like this film.

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The ending is something that I used to love as a kid but now I look at it and ask myself what the hell was I thinking?  After the police had showed up to stop the mass gassing of the soft core porn owner, Jerry Caesar, played by Dabney Coleman (Wargames,) the mastermind of the whole plan, Reverend Whirley, played by Christopher Plummer (Syriana,) had escaped with his hostage and Friday’s love interest Connie Swail, played by Alexandra Paul (Christine,) and had made it to the airport and flew off in a private jet just as Friday and Streebek arrive.  So it looks like the reverend will make it to Mexico as the plane is flying south in daylight when he looks over and sees an F-15 fighter plane that belongs to the LAPD and Friday is sitting in the back looking at Whirley, shaking his head and pointing down as the old school Dragnet them plays in the background.  Now as a kid I loved this scenes just because I thought it was awesome that they had an F-15 and that they would blow them out of the sky if he didn’t land.  What can I say?  I was a dumb kid who loved the military.  But now I think why would Whirley concede and land at the airport because he should have known that as long as the hostage was in the airplane there is no way they would shoot it down.  Plus the reverend had escaped late at night/early morning but in the dark.  Los Angeles isn’t that far from Mexico so it seems odd that it was bright daylight when the F-15 caught up to the leer jet.  How is possible that he is not in Mexico at this point which would make him free?  I guess I should suspend my disbelief but Im old now at it gets harder and harder.

This is not a good movie.  Of all of the Tom Hanks films, I only have Joe Versus the Volcano as the film that has Hanks in it that is worse than Dragnet.  Although I hate A League of their Own so much that I would say it’s close to this one.  The movie didn’t work and is sad on many levels.  I will say I was nice to see Harry Morgan in the film reprising his role for the TV show, even in a minor capacity.  Rarely will I ever say that Reed is right when it comes to movies, however this is the one rare time he is right.  This is bad.  I would say skip this but there is no chance that this movie would come up on cable TV of any kind.  Unless they do a bad 80’s comedy marathon but why would they do that?

P.S.  I almost forgot, during the end credits you get to hear Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd rap to a 80’s rap song about the movie.  That may be the one reason to watch this movie just so you can hear that.

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