Sunday, June 10, 2012

(30) Stars of Summer - Day 10: Pam Grier

There are no words. Well, there's one word. GodDAMN.

We're over a week into this, but if you're just joining us here are the rules. Check out this list of all the month's actors with links to what's available on Netflix Instant. If you're not a Netflix subscriber, maybe this will help.

Day 1: Jimmy Stewart
Day 2: Catherine Deneuve
Day 3: Christopher Lee
Day 4: Bette Davis
Day 5: Nicolas Cage
Day 6: Diane Keaton 
Day 7: Orson Welles 
Day 8: Catherine Keener 
Day 9: Kurt Russell


  1. CLASS OF 1999 (1990)

    "The Terminator" meets "Escape From New York" set in high school (a neat way from having to show a world-gone-to-hell future the flick couldn't afford) with evil corporations (deliciously personified by Stacy Keach doing mad scientist schtick) using Malcolm McDowell's crime-infested school as a test ground for their new military-turned-civilian teacher cyborgs. Since the gang/punk students are all unlikable (even so-bland-it-hurts-to-root-for-him Bradley Gregg's Cody) you root for the teachers to inflict maximum damage before their eventual malfunction leads to a blow-out. Pam Grier's Mrs. Connors has the screen presence and wooden delivery to make her the perfect "bionic bitch," and the whole cast knows what type of movie they're in. If Patrick ever brings back the 'Heavy Action' column I hope to see "Class of 1999" (a sequel-in-name-only to Lester's own "Class of 1984") picked apart in it thoroughly.

  2. Ghosts Of Mars

    An action-heavy siege movie created by a man who built his career on suspense, yet it manages to remain completely uninvolving. Grier is wasted in a small role as a commander who appears to suffer from a tragic affliction that causes her to speak only in exposition. Carpenter himself said he was burned out when he made this, and it shows.

  3. Ghosts of Mars (2001)

    John Carpenter takes a bold new direction, by re-imagining Assault on Precinct 13 as a crappy sci-fi action movie. As JP already said, Pam Grier is wasted in the movie. Natasha Henstridge makes a very attractive block of wood, however. Of the entire cast, only Jason Statham is having anything approaching a good time. And who can forget Joanna Cassidy's daring escape by hot-air balloon? Yep. Hot-air balloon. On Mars.

    I need to re-watch Jackie Brown to get the taste of this out of my mouth.

  4. Wilder aka Slow Burn (2000)

    Pam Grier plays Della Wilder a Chicago policewoman drawn into a conspiracy involving a pharmaceutical company. Unfortunately for a film starring Grier and featuring Rutger Hauer in the supporting cast, as a doctor who quickly goes from prime suspect to sidekick helping to solve the case, it’s incredibly dull. Avoid.

  5. Bucktown (1975)

    A blaxploitation answer to Walking Tall with Fred "The Hammer" Williamson as the movie's Buford Pusser. Good to see him and Pam Grier in the same movie, even if she is pretty much just playing the part of worried girlfriend; if Jack Hill had made the movie, she would have gotten shit done HER DAMN SELF. Still, she's impossibly hot and the movie is very entertaining. Also features a very young Carl Weathers.

  6. Scream Blacula Scream (1973)

    I actually haven't seen the original 'Blacula', so I cannot compare the two, but this is a rather forgettable vampire parody with Grier making no real impact. William Marshall in the title role, however, is an actor with a suprisingly strong presence, and it's a shame he never made any impact outside of this role.

  7. I also went with GHOSTS OF MARS. How on Earth was this directed by the same guy who directed THE THING? There is zero sense of atmosphere in this movie. All the sets look like movie sets, way too brightly lit when the subject matter calls for dark and ominous. The script it actually really interesting, so it's a shame that the final result is below pedestrian. Ugh.

  8. That is awesome! He also has a juicy scene in 'Amazon Women On The Moon' (1987) where he plays the captain of The Video Pirates.

  9. Forgive me, my comment about William Marshall in 'Amazon Women' is meant to be a direct reply to Patrick, but it came up as its own post. If this one does as well, sorry.

  10. Friday Foster(1975)
    The beautiful Pam Grier plays the title character, an intrepid photo-journalist who witnesses and photographs an assassination attempt and the bad actress playing her friend is murdered. This has a few blaxploitation cliches and has an interesting take on the villains but still in a round about way blames "THE MAN". Pam Grier doesn't really get to kick much ass either, but does have the obligatory topless scenes. It also has Yaphet Kotto, Carl "Action Jackson" Weathers, Eartha Kitt, Scatman Crothers and...Thurston Howell, III?! Recommended.

    1. I forget who played her boss in this, but her exchanges with Grier's exchanges with him in the beginning were hilarious. This film makes for great group viewing, as long as you don't mind others watching while you bop your head to the soundtrack.

  11. Escape From L.A.

    Given Pam Grier's somewhat small role, this is (unintentionally) more of a continuation of Kurt Russell's day. It's been years since I've seen EFNY, but the sense of déjà vu here was present from first introduction of Snake Plissken. The film is funniest when it's making obvious cheap shots at the title city and the chase scenes are fun. This sequel might be less vilified by Carpenter fans if it cut some of filler, which includes, I kid you not, a life-or-death basketball challenge.