Fast Eddie

newmanLast night I watched the classic flick, ‘The Hustler’ starring Paul Newman. This 1961 melodrama about a small-time pool shark featured some high-stakes ‘stick’, a tragic love story and a lot of smoking. This movie serves as an interesting back story to Martin Scorcese’s 1986 follow-up ‘The Color of Money’ where a much older and wiser Eddie Felson mentors the young and talented nine-ball show-off, Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise), on how to become a major league pool hustler. Though lambasted as a weak successor to ‘The Hustler’, Newman’s reprisal of the character netted him a Best Actor Oscar that year.

Dreamers

mittyOne of my family’s favorite movies of late would have to be Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Aside from a catchy soundtrack, the story is inspiring and motivational. I think one of the central themes of the film is that it’s okay to dream, but until you start moving forward with a plan to accomplish your dreams, that’s all they’ll ever be.

Hermanstein

hermanI wonder if Boris Karloff was miffed when The Munsters debuted way back in 1964. Fred Gywnne’s characterization of the lovable and playful nitwit Herman Munster pretty much made a punchline out of the macabre image of Frankenstein’s monster that was a standard in horror for some 30 years. Thank goodness Karloff never lived to see Franken-Berry.

Stay Classy

burgundyIt’s my understanding that Will Ferrell’s recent cameo as weekend anchor on Bismarck’s very own KXMB was not only a brilliant buzz generator for his upcoming Anchorman sequel, but somewhat of a happy accident. I’ve heard rumors that his original intent was to follow in the footsteps of KFYR TV’s foul-mouthed rookie anchor A.J. Clemente, but the top brass at the station wasn’t interested in reopening that PR wound. Whether it’s true or not, it’s not hard to imagine that Ferrell would’ve had a little fun at KFYR’s expense.

 

Indispensible Expendability

 

I couldn’t help but chuckle in 2010 when I saw the trailer advertising ‘the Expendables’. Looks like Stallone took all that pent-up testosterone left over from the 80s to recruit a roster of action-hero poster boys to star in some age-defying feat of heroism. I was admittedly ‘kind of’ intrigued. Last week the second installment hit theaters – this time with Ah-nuld. Now, that teenage boy inside of me is a little more curious knowing that an encore might warrant some attention. I can’t help but wonder how time has treated this reunion of beloved, muscle heads.

Having seen neither film I can’t help but dismiss it as 90 minutes of explosive, shell-spraying machismo filled with the familiar, tongue-in-cheek one-liners. In other words – it would be a great guy flick. I may have to catch up with this franchise. My teenage son has already expressed some interest though I find it hard to believe that these sexagenarians will connect with his demographic.

In an age of Hollywood reboots, it’s nice to see some stars embracing the genre that made them who they are. If you’ve seen it, let me know if these over-the-hill heroes are worth the price of admission. If anything, it could give Planet Hollywood a shot in the arm.

Hollywood Retreads

I realize that this formula has been around for a while but in my opinion it’s getting downright ridiculous. The latest Hollywood 80s love-fest is with TV actioner The A-Team. Don’t get me wrong. I was among the millions that tuned in to watch The A-Team as a kid, but the campy special-op Vietnam vets that MacGyvered their way out of peril each week with Reagan-era machine-gun-toting inaccuracy was a genre that shouldn’t be messed with (I still marvel at the way the ultra-violence was made palatable for prime time by making sure any vehicle that rolled forty times featured a shot of the passengers crawling out uninjured. And don’t even get me started with all the lead flying and no one getting killed; even my Dad snickered at the shoddy marksmanship of the “A” Team.)

No one doubts that this series had a profound impact on 80s culture (Mr. T was not only a household name but camouflage and muscle shirts became a fashion staple) but it’s as if Hollywood is harvesting the low-hanging fruit. They’ve discovered a bank roll with Gen X man-boys the world over. My guess is it won’t be long before Magnum PI starring Robert Downey Jr. in a ‘stache gets the silver screen send-up. They’ll probably even cast Selleck himself to make a cameo as a villain or something.