Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '89 - Ed Harris ""

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Underrated '89 - Ed Harris

Ed is a life long film buff and has more movies than he has time to watch them. In addition to writing his own blog popcultureshack.blogspot.com, he has also written for CommanderBond.Net and The Agony Booth in the distant past. He can be found on Twitter as edharris1178 and on Letterboxd as edharris. He only asks that if you make a reference to the actor with the same name, you go a little deeper into the man's filmography than The Truman Show and Apollo 13.

He also feels that if there is such a thing as the worst movie ever made, it's probably a comedy. And said comedy is probably an American remake of a French comedy. He's learned that the hard way.

Sometimes good movies fall through the cracks. It’s a simple fact of life right along with the line at the DMV will always seem like hell on earth and the best way to end up hideously late for something important is to rush. On my own blog, I started an examination of forgotten cinematic gems of 1989. Here are some takes on a few that you may want to check out.

Disorganized Crime
I love a good caper comedy and this one certainly gets the job done. Corbin Bernsen plays a hapless thief who has put together a small group of crooks with a plan to rob a bank in a small town. Said plan gets derailed when Bernsen is arrested by two New Jersey cops who have been chasing him and the majority of film bounces from his character trying to escape the cops the remaining four crooks trying to pull off the heist by themselves.
Bernsen is solid in a mainly physical role (as in he gets beaten to hell for most of the movie through no fault but his own) as are Ed O’Neill and Daniel Roebuck as the none-too-bright cops chasing him and the crooks are equally entertaining with Fred Gwynne standing out as he tends to do. Disorganized Crime is a light, harmless bit of fun that is perfect for a rainy weekend afternoon viewing.
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Meet the Feebles
Next up is what I like to call The Muppet Show on enough cocaine to kill a small horse. Peter Jackson's second movie is Meet the Feebles, an admirably disgusting, and very funny dark musical comedy about a troupe of puppet performers and their many trials and tribulations. We get just about every sort of depravity known to man in this movie, done with some fantastic puppetry and a Sam Peckinpah-esque violent ending followed by a “Where are they now?” segment that hearkens back to American Graffiti and Animal House. It's the sort of film that kind of defies description. You have to see it for yourself to understand just how insane it is.
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Out Cold
John Lithgow, Teri Garr and Randy Quaid star in this endearingly dark comedy about love, murder and adultery. Lithgow plays the co-owner of a meat shop who is in love with the wife (Teri Garr) of his business partner. Said business partner is an unfaithful lout (though she has also been cheating on him) and one day, he ends up locked in the meat freezer overnight in a lovely chain of events that ends with him dead and Lithgow believing he is responsible. Randy Quaid is also on hand as a sleazy investigator Garr hired to get evidence her husband was cheating who ends up looking into the crime. The end result is a satisfying, dark comedy with interesting characters and a breezy pace. Amusingly enough, Teri Garr would re-team with Bruce McGill who plays her husband here for a Tales from the Crypt episode with a somewhat similar in premise (in that they’re stuck in an unhappy marriage with each other).
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Let It Ride
Richard Dreyfuss is a joy to watch in this comedy about a compulsive gambler who only wants to have the best day of his life at the horse races. He gets his wish and the film tracks him as he wins and wins while his wife (Teri Garr again) is off to the side. Dreyfuss carries the rather thin plot quite well and this one is worth a look.
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Fright Night Part 2
While not quite as good as the first, Fright Night Part 2 is an entertaining, fun sequel. William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall are back from, the original and this time, they are being menaced by Regine (Julie Carmen), sister to the vampire from the first film. While it more or less follows the same story beats as the original, it throws in some fun extras such as the goon squad working for Regine. My favorites are the ginormous guy who likes to eat bugs and the cocky werewolf, played by Brian Thompson and Johnathan Gries respectively.

The film sadly was screwed out of a good release thanks to a variety of issues including the Lyle and Eric Menendez murders and as a result, finding a decent copy of it is like finding a needle in a haystack. Still, this is a more than worthy sequel that benefits from a good cast, solid directing from Tommy Lee Wallace and some killer special effects.
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GhostBusters 2
Not too many people enjoyed this one that much but I think in some ways it’s nearly as funny as the original. Its five years later and the Ghostbusters have gone their separate ways thanks to the plot contrivance of the city suing the crap out of them and them essentially being declared frauds.

Even after everyone saw a huge marshmallow man King Kong his way up an apartment building.

Yeah.
Happily, the cast does an acceptable job of making you not really give a crap about all that by just doing what they do best. Bill Murray is still one of the great deadpan comics; Dan Aykroyd is his usual weird self, Harold Ramis does the exposition stuff and everybody else gives their all. Yes, the film is essentially the same plot as the first but I can't hate a film that decides the best way to stop the spirit of a European despot trapped inside a painting from bringing on the end times is wiring up the Statue of Liberty with some mood slime and walking her through the city. Hell, it ends up working after all!

Ghostbusters II isn't as good as the first but it still has its merits. The cast, as noted, does fine work. The f/x are top notch once more and I can't say no to prime Bill Murray.
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1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I really enjoyed Disorganized Crime when I saw it years ago.