Tag Archives: Don Johnson

If These Movies Are On Television, Then I Will Watch Them

30 Jul

The other day, I wrote a post about the BBC and its list of the 100 best American films, and a commenter said that I should provide my own list of top movies. Unfortunately, I am not a movie critic and cannot delve into the intricacies of acting and directing. I only know what movies I like and do not like.

With that in mind, I decided to take this challenge into a different direction. When I am scrolling through the guide, there are some things that I will automatically click on and watch for a while. This includes a few movies with different levels of quality. If I cannot make a list of the greatest movies of all time, then I can make a list of the 10 movies I will always watch if I see them on the television guide.

They are coming at you in the order that I thought of them.

Manhunter (1986) – This was on last night and led me to write this post. It is the first movie about Hannibal Lecter and is directed by Michael Mann. In other words, it is Silence of the Lambs meets Miami Vice. You may have seen its remake, Red Dragon, but this one is a lot more entertaining.

Flash Gordon (1980) – Let Dino de Laurentiis try to capitalize on the Star Wars phenomenon, and this is what you get. It has some great actors and some not-so-great actors, but they are all having a good time. It would have been awesome to been in the room when Flash attacked Ming’s guards by playing football. On top of that, Ornella Muti is there in all her glory.Ornella

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) – Two stars of the 1980s, Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke, try to make their transition into the next decade. They ride motorcycles. They go after drug dealers. They act cool. Well, acting might be too strong of a word. I have already written about this one and will move on down the line.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) – When I become king, a new law will make its way across the land. As a testament to its greatness, everyone must watch this movie. Clint Eastwood is awesome, and it is filled with awesome quotes. I should know because I have them all memorized. In the early days of this blog, I wrote an extensive post about this one.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – As with the previous movies, I have already written about this one. Burt Reynolds is at his peak. Jackie Gleason is hilarious. I saw it five times when it was in release and can never watch it too many times. The only problem is that television cleans up the language and, in the process, destroys a lot of the laughs.

El Dorado (1966) – I could have listed a ton of John Wayne movies, but I think I click on this one more than any other. It could be because this one is on regularly. Anyway, it is a script that was filmed several times, but it never gets old. Oh yeah, there is one other thing. As I have written before, it is a poetic movie.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) – This is a terrible movie. Klinton Spilsbury never made another movie. Heck, he did not really make this one. James Keach was brought in to dub his lines. However, it has some redeeming qualities. Merle Haggard sings the theme song, and part of it was filmed in Monument Valley.

Logan’s Run (1976) – I am a big fan of dystopian movies, and this is one of my favorites. How can post-apocalyptic life be bad with scantily clad women everywhere? On top of that, a push of a button can make one of the scantily clad women appear instantly in your apartment. The only thing that could go wrong is that Carrousel ride at the age of 30. On second thought, it would probably be better to live with a bunch of cats in a destroyed Washington, D.C.Cats

For Love of the Game (1999) – This is a movie that used to hit me on a deep emotional level. As the years pass, it does not have the same effect. Despite that, it is still a good movie. Kevin Costner has made a bunch of sports movies, but this is my favorite one. It could be because Vin Scully is calling the game.

Legends of the Fall (1994) – This is another movie that reaches me on an emotional level, but it is also interesting in a historical sense. Obviously, it is about a family that goes through years of heartache. However, it is also about rum-running during Prohibition. They talk about the Volstead Act and smuggling alcohol across the Canadian border. I could go deeper into a historical analysis, but I may need that for another post.

Now, let us analyze the list by decade.

1960s – 1

1970s – 3

1980s – 3

1990s – 3

Interestingly, nothing made in the past 16 years has knocked a movie off this list. I wonder what that means.

Then, there is this. Over half of the list was filmed between 1976 and 1986. Those must have been formative movie years for me.

Anyway, those are the movies that I will always watch if I find them on television. What are a few of the movies that would make your list?

Movie Wisdom – Ellen Barkin Edition

13 Aug

At times, movies can offer words for us to live by – bits of wisdom that we would do well to take with us after the credits roll. Throughout the life of this blog, the movies of several performers have been analyzed for such nuggets. These have been Burt Reynolds, Don Knotts, Kevin Costner, Paul Newman, George Peppard, Don Johnson, Jodie Foster and Tommy Lee Jones.

Usually, these take place after I have watched a movie and thought to myself, “Hey, that was a pretty good line.” The other day, I caught the end of one of the all time great movies, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and thought to myself, “Hey, that was a pretty good line.”

Then, I thought about whose career could be analyzed for more words of wisdom. I haven’t seen that many Peter Weller movies, and the rules state that I must have seen a movie to use it. Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Lloyd were options. However, one person has appeared in a couple of movies that I can watch over and over. For that reason, this post explores the wisdom within the movies of Ellen Barkin.Ellen Barkin

From Diner

If you don’t have good dreams you got nightmares.

From Eddie and the Cruisers

There’s nothing can’t be fixed.

From The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

You can check your anatomy all you want, and even though there may be normal variation, when it comes right down to it, this far inside the head it all looks the same.

Don’t be mean; we don’t have to be mean, cuz, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

Pictures don’t lie.

History is-a made at night. Character is what you are in the dark.

From The Big Easy

New Orleans is a marvelous environment for coincidence.

From Wild Bill

You ought to know better than to touch another man’s hat.

Whiskey’s good for a man… helps him put things in perspective.

A man that cheats at cards ain’t got no religion.

From Ocean’s Thirteen

The moment you become embarrassed of who you are, you lose yourself.

Six Degrees of Joe Walsh

7 May

I have been flipping through the television dial (yes, television used to have dials that you actually got out of the chair and turned) and hit upon Guitar Center Sessions on the Audience channel. Tonight’s episode features Joe Walsh, one of the all time greats. This guy isn’t just a great guitar player. He has lived one crazy life.Joe Walsh

Walsh has had a varied career as a solo artist and member of several bands, but he may be best known as one of The Eagles. That band was founded by Don Henley and Glenn Frey. When the band broke up, they both had successful solo careers. Frey even spent some time acting on Miami Vice.Glenn Frey

Miami Vice made Don Johnson famous for his white suits, pastel shirts and cool cars. He was the definition of the 1980s. Johnson tried to parlay his television fame to the movies, but, like many television stars, the transfer didn’t go so well. However, he just appeared as a plantation owner in Django Unchained, the controversial and Oscar-winning film by Quentin Tarantino.Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino came to the attention of most people when he made Pulp Fiction. Of course, that was a ground breaking film that revitalized the career of John Travolta. He danced. He killed. He got killed before showing back up at the end of the movie. It takes a heck of a writer to come up with something like that.

Welcome Back, Kotter introduced Travolta to television audiences as one of the Sweathogs. A vehicle for comedian Gabe Kaplan, the show ended up focusing on the misfits in an inner city high school. There was Vinnie Barbarino, Horshack, Boom Boom Washington, and Epstein. It stayed on for a couple of years and launched Travolta, unlike Don Johnson, to movie stardom. Kaplan went on to play poker and become a poker commentator.Gabe Kaplan

As a member of the professional poker community, Kaplan has played against many of the great players and won Amarillo Slim’s  Super Bowl of Poker in 1980. Slim was considered one of poker’s great players, but he was a better talker. After his win in the 1972 World Series of Poker, Slim appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.Amarillo Slim

Johnny Carson’s father was known as “Kit” Carson, whose nickname was derived from a famous figure in the history of the American West. He gained fame through many endeavors, including being a trapper in the Rocky Mountains.Kit Carson

One of Joe Walsh’s best songs is Rocky Mountain Way.

Into the Sunset

1 Apr

It’s a cliché of the western movie genre. The hero has lived through some adventure, and, when it’s over, he gets on his horse and rides into the sunset. I have watched that scene dozens of times, and it fascinates me every time.

What happens when they disappear over the horizon? What happens after the “The End” placard covers the screen? Does the hero take time off before finding another adventure? Does he die of wounds suffered during the movie? Does he live happily ever after in some frontier town?

All of those questions go through my mind because I have to know the rest of the story. It doesn’t matter how bad the movie is. I still want to know what happens after the credits roll. However, something else goes through my mind, as well. The “into the sunset” scene isn’t always the same.

One of the greatest “into the sunset” scenes doesn’t even have a horse. In The Searchers, Ethan Edwards spends years attempting to rescue his niece from her Comanche captors. When he returns with her, everyone goes into the house except for him. He turns and walks into the desert as the door closes behind him.The Searchers

Where did Edwards go? Did he leave because most of his family was dead? Did he wander because there was no purpose in his life? All of the wars were over. Or, did he think back over the past years before turning around and coming back?

John Wayne walked away in The Searchers, but Clint Eastwood could be the king of “into the sunset” rides. In The Outlaw Josey Wales, he is bleeding as he rides away. Does he live? If so, then does he go back to the friends that he has gained throughout the movie? Or, does he disappear from history?

Sometimes, he completely disappears because we really don’t know what he is. In Pale Rider, Eastwood evaporates from the scene. Is he some kind of spirit or is he just a mysterious gunman?

Those were great, but my favorite Eastwood ending comes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Blondie leaves Tuco with a noose around his neck and gold at his feet. After an impossible rifle shot to save Tuco, Blondie rides away to one of the greatest movie scores of all time.

A more recent western has an “into the sunset” scene at the end. The difference is the adventure that precedes it. In Cowboys and Aliens, James Bond defeats aliens with the help of Indiana Jones. Oh, Boyd Crowder helps out, too. This time the hero is truly a loner. His wife is dead. His alien love interest is dead. He is considered dead. Heck, the dog doesn’t even go with him. In this one, the hero probably went somewhere and cried.

The cool thing about “into the sunset” scenes is that they are no longer reserved for westerns only. Remember what happened at the end of The Dark Knight? He agrees to be the fall guy and live life as a villain. Then, he hops on his jacked out motorcycle and rides into a tunnel. There is no sunset, but there is a cool speech and some kind of light up ahead. I hope it’s not a train.The Dark Knight

Everybody knows what happened to him after that because we have sequels now. There should not have been a sequel to this one. Wondering what happened to Batman was a lot better than knowing that he faked his death and ended up with Catwoman.

Ok, so John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Bond and Batman all have had great scenes to end movies. However my favorite “into the sunset” scene comes from a movie that isn’t very good. At the end of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Don Johnson, as Marlboro, goes back to his roots and enters a rodeo. At the same time, Mickey Rourke, as Harley, rides his motorcycle into the sunset with an 80s vixen on the back and Black Eyed Susan playing in the background.Harley Ending

Why is that my favorite? Because it’s the only one that seems like a happy ending. He’s not alone. He’s not wounded. And, there is no doubt that something good is going to happen further down the road.

Movie Wisdom – Don Johnson Edition

3 Jan

Occasionally, I delve into movies to find lessons to live by. There have been examinations of movies by Burt Reynolds, Don Knotts, Kevin Costner, Paul Newman and George Peppard. This post will look at the worldly wisdom that can be found in the movies of Don Johnson. Wait, that’s not right. It will look at the worldly wisdom of one movie starring Don Johnson, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.Marlboro Man

The movie was released in 1991 but had the 1980s written all over it. Don Johnson (Marlboro Man), and Mickey Rourke (Harley Davidson) are buddies on motorcycles in the future of 1996. An evil banker – bankers have been used as villains throughout the generations – is foreclosing on their favorite bar. To fight back, they rob the bank’s armored car to get the funds to pay off the bar’s note.

It turns out that the banker is also a drug dealer, and they rob the wrong cargo. Along the way, the get girls, get shot and get most of their friends killed. Some of these friends have product names like Virginia Slim, Jack  Daniels, and Jose Cuervo.

I must admit that it is one of my favorite movies, and I watch each time it shows up on the Direct TV guide. It’s not the best movie ever. It may even be one of the worst. But, it’s cool. It has Big John Studd, a professional wrestler; it has two of the hottest women of the 1980s, Vanessa Williams and Tia Carrere; and, it has Marlboro quoting stuff that his old man used to say.

My old man told me, before he left this shitty world, never chase buses or women, you’ll always be left behind.

My old man told me, before he left this shitty world, the right woman can make ya, and the wrong woman can break ya.

My old man used to tell me before he left this shitty world, five rules of playing pool for cash. Lesson #1, always shoot with a cigarette in your mouth. Lesson #2, always know the table before you shoot. Lesson #3, make sure you chalk that stick… real good… before each shot! Lesson #4, never make a bet… if you can’t pay the debt. Lesson #5, if you lose, make sure you stand up straight and tall like a man.

There it is – wisdom according to one of the best 80s movies made in the 90s.