John Frankenheimer's FRENCH CONNECTION II (1975) on Blu-ray.I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fernando Rey was the coolest, most suave and unflappable motherfucker to ever appear on-screen. The Most Interesting Man In The World from Dos Equis Beer? A whiny little bitch that Rey would blow away with a wave of his pinky finger if they ever crossed paths. "French Connection II," which kind-of blows the open-ended final moments of "The French Connection" without compromising its power, tilts the playing fields and lets Rey play essentially a down-to-Earth drug-dealing Bond villain. In the original "FC" Alain Charnier had to be two steps ahead of the NYPD detectives on his tail to move around town, avoid the cops to deliver his drug shipments. In "FC II" loud-talking, ugly bull-in-a-china-shop American detective Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle (Gene Hackman) hops across the pond and, at the mercy of his French handlers and the mafia's hold over the Marsailles drug trade, has to go through hell to get the man he's been chasing after for years.An unnecessary but well-made and reasonably-entertaining 70's cop flick (with a great foot chase through Marsailles traffic), "French Connection II" comes to a grinding halt when a give-Hackman-an-acting-nomination middle act drags for what seems to be hours. You should both sympathize and be horrified when Doyle gets his comeuppance after Charnier hooks him up on smack and then goes through withdrawl, but it comes across more as Oscar-bait vanity than harrowing (though Gene is excellent throughout). It's also a neat time capsule of how the drug trade operated, in real life and as portrayed by movies like this, in the swinging disco era in the rarely-used-as-central-location streets of Marsailles.Patrick says there are Hollywood movies that are just fine and should be baselines for 'average' to 'good' movies (like "The Town"). The world would be a better place if the inevitable sequels to hit movies were as competently-made and just-good-enough as "French Connection II." It never comes close to Friedkin's original (Roy Scheider's "Buddy" Russo is dearly missed because, except for Rey, Hackman towers over the local acting pool) but it wasn't ever trying to be in its league, let alone top it.
That whole middle sequence really worked for me (Popeye deserved that harrowing a karmic punishment,) and I thought Hackman killed it; plus it's got an amazingly ballsy kung-fu movie ending that's like a big fuck you to the ending of the first movie (which also has a great ending.) This is one of my favorite sequels, and I personally consider them two halves of one long movie Kill Bill-style.
Equilibrium (2002)Quick Thoughts:Emotion stopping drugs, a new form of martial arts known as Gunkata (LOL), and Christian Bale. Man this movie was just a flatline for about the first 90 minutes as watching Christian Bale deal with having emotions (which barely looks any different from when he was on the drugs) and also taking a trip through a boring grey concrete blahness. That being said the last 15 minutes has a full on Gunkata action sequence (again LOL) that is so damn goofy yet well shot it almost makes me want to reccommend the movie. I said Almost. Also Taye Diggs gets to scream "I'm not feeling, he's feeling!" 8 Word Review:Christian Bale softens- throws puppy into car trunk.
Yeah, Taye Diggs is an awful actor and it really shows in this film. That final gun showdown was ridiculous, but a damn great action set piece. We can thank John Woo for everyone at the time trying to up The Killer and Hard Boiled.
Greatest Movie Ever Rolled (2012) – First ViewingDocumentary about Doug Benson (stoner) and Graham Elwood (non-stoner) on a stand-up comedy tour in the heartland. The hook is they funded the movie about the tour with the tour itself. Turns out that idea is NOT VERY INTERESTING. Nothing at all really happens. The amount of pot Doug ingests is amazing though. If you find Doug Benson funny (I think he’s mildly funny), it’s probably worth a watch, otherwise skip it.
Altered States (1980)A Harvard scientist starts to experiment with a unknown Mexican hallucinogenic drug inside of a hyperbolic chamber to discover the origin of life. About two thirds of the movie was really interesting and I really enjoyed the story. The hallucinations were pretty good and music was especially eerie which i though heightened the mood. William Hurt is really good as the male lead scientist who besides having a wife and family who loves him unconditionally only seems to care about getting deeper into these hallucinations to find the truth he's looking for. I don't want spoil anything so I will just say that the final act just didn't do it for me. Added note: Early CGI is hilarious.
CARTOON ALL-STARS TO THE RESCUE (1990) This was a TV special (later released as a stand-alone “movie” on home video, so I’m counting it) that features a ton of the current and classic Saturday morning cartoon characters in one show, with them teaching a troubled youth about why drugs are bad. As you can guess, the message is ham-fisted and the depictions of drug use are unintentionally comical. BUT, if you’re a cartoon junkie like me, it’s a hoot to see so many characters in one show, interacting with each other. We got Michelangelo from TMNT, Slimer from Real Ghostbusters, Alf, the nephews from DuckTales, Garfield, the Chipmunks, the Muppet Babies, and old-timers like Bugs Bunny and Winnie the Pooh. Oh, and the Smurfs, who were apparently still around as late as ’90. The animators actually do a good job of making it look like characters are in the same “world.” Then, it ends with this incredibly dark dream sequence where a kid is chased around a nightmare carnival. Freddy Krueger even gets name-dropped, which shows where that franchise was in 1990. This was a hoot, but if you have no nostalgia for these old ‘toons, you’re not going to get anything out of this.
YES! Great choice! I wouldn't have even thought of this one for today's category. This is one of the best things ever made, and If you haven't seen this, it's worth looking up. It originally aired in primetime, with all four networks showing it at the same time. On top of all the other stuff mac mentioned, Robert Loggia plays the evil plume of pot smoke, and ALF threatens to eat Garfield! Michaelangelo says to the kid: "You fell through a radical hole, dude! You could've avoided it, but you weren't thinking. Your brain must be, like, really messed up." The characters band together to sing "A Million Wonderful Ways to Say No" by Menken and Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast) over the end credits. It's unbelievable!
Oh shit, I just looked it up, and it wasn't Robert Loggia, it was George C. Scott! My bad.
I hate cartoon movies, but this sounds freaking amazing. Can't believe I never saw this as a kid.
Drug War (2012)Dick. Consider yourself kicked!Top choice Patrick. so good. so very very good. im not really much of a crime/action guy but this one was spot on all round. Text book example of "Less is More" in multiple ways. ... So many things I want to comment on, but would all be to say that this movie should be seen by you. Yes, YOU!Badassdeafmutesploitation!
Great minds think alike, Brad!
and in our case I guess its just a coincidence.
I was talking about me and Patrick.
Oh ZING! *grumble grumble*
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. If you want exploitative take on drugs, might as well go with the guy who exploited himself and his image, right? The movie is more or less a faithful adaptation of the book, with Johnny Depp playing Duke and Benicio Del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. The movie, like the book, is cut into two parts. During party one, the pair go to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, but they get too wrapped up in drug use to actually cover it. In the second part, they are sent to cover a police convention on drugs. This is one of those strange little Terry Gilliam joints that doesn't seem to fit into his overall catalog at first. Except, it actually really does. It's like a dark retelling of Munchausen, set in the modern age where the storyteller is seen as a reckless lunatic rather than a grand adventurer.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)You can practically hear the pitch meeting: "The Odd Couple, but they're stoners!" Amiably goofy road comedy with likable leads, some great cameos, and a few solid laughs. I'm pretty far from the target audience, but I still found a lot to enjoy. Chris Meloni should do more comedy.
Scarface (1983)Well, I already blew the "only new-to-me movies" rule with Lifeforce, so I decided with a leisurely weekend to revisit one of my favorites. To me, there is no better symbol of the drug-addled 80s than Tony Montana diving face-first into a giant mound of blow. This movie has several classic sequences (the chainsaw, the final shootout), but I think one of the best scenes is with Tony, his wife, and his friend in the restaurant near the end, where Tony is starting to realize the ultimate pointlessness of everything he has been doing. There's no doubt that Tony is a "bad guy," but his ultimate downfall is he can't be quite ruthless enough for the sharks surrounding him. Say goodnight to the bad guy, mang.
Evil Bong (FMS): Hahaha! What the hell?! There are more of them as well, and they look even crazier! So this was, interesting... Crazy, very silly and so bad. But I kind of want to watch the other movies so it must have been that so bad it is entertaining (I will not use the word good here because no). Foxy Brown: Because Pam Grier. Man I love Pam Grier. Does anyone not have a crush on her? Great revenge movie. I think I yelled out 'BURN MOTHER FUCKER' at one point so this movie works on me!
Pam Grier is such a badass! I will proudly admit I have a she-crush on her! LOVE her in Jackie Brown (also my favorite Tarantino movie)!
Nice! Jackie Brown is my favourite movie character. I love that movie one of my favourites. (All my crushes are she crushes so I can't speak to that haha) She is also great in The L word, I feel Kit is basically her haha!
Amanda win the "most right answer of the day" award.
Traffic (2000)Maybe it's unfair to say this since I haven't seen Requiem for a Dream in like eight years, but I appreciated Traffic so much for saying more than just "hey, did you know drugs are bad and ruin your life?" It's a movie that doesn't seem to have much of a moral, it sort of just drops you into the middle of these complicated situations and lets you sort out your own feelings. I loved how good a dad Michael Douglas became! His terrifically brief final speech at the White House sold me on the whole movie, and his crusade to find his daughter in the bad part of town sealed the deal. Really really great, although my favorite movie from 2000 might still be Chicken Run.
Drug War (2013)Not that I needed one, but was looking for a good excuse to watch this again - one of my favourite movies of 2013 remains so. It reworks a lot of the classic undercover cop/sting movie tropes to make something that feels fresh and new. I love it - hahahaha!
Best "hero's final moment"
New Jack City (1991) 3rd viewing dir. Mario Van PeeblesI loved this film when it came out so thought I would check out again. Holds up pretty well, although way melodramatic at times. Ice-T's acting debut (as a non-MC) He's not very good. Chris Rock is awesome as crackhead "Pookie." I wish he had been able to do more serious roles through his career. Snipes is legit. Judd Nelson is Judd Nelson, Michael Michele is beautiful and should have become a household name. Not sure why Mario Van Peebles didn't become a HUGE director. He does a really great job in this. He followed up with Posse and Panther; both of which bombed, so maybe that's why. The soundtrack to this was a big deal, reaching number 1 on the Billboard R&B albums and staying strong for 2 months. It is also the reason I got to make out with a lot of girls thanks to Color Me Badd' - "I Wanna Sex You Up". I am forever grateful.
Dazed and Confused (1993)I keep telling myself that I'm only going to watch movies that are new to me for Junesplotation, but then I go and watch Dazed and Confused, a movie I've seen countless times and will find any excuse to watch again. While I was a teenager in the 90's, never did drugs and never paddled boys on the ass (that you guys know of), this movie feel so...FAMILIAR to me. It's about more than smoking weed, drinking beer and picking up "those high school girls, man." I love it so much, although reading these comments reminds me that I continue to ignore Patrick when he says to watch Drug War. I should probably do that.
Reefer Madness (1936)For about 40 minutes of this I was thinking, "You know, this isn't that bad for something that's basically a filmed church play with amateur actors. Sure, it's stiff and dull, but I've seen worse." Then...oh, then the goofy drug overacting begins and I saw just how weird this movie could get.
Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams (1981, dir. Tommy Chong) This was the first Cheech & Chong movie I've ever seen. Maybe it was the wrong place to start (I know Up in Smoke is considered their "classic"), or maybe I'm just never going to be a fan of drug humor. It was an interesting time capsule, but I never even came close to laughing. The joke seems to be that people do drugs. Nothing funny happens on drugs. But people do them, and I guess that's funny.
Death Wish 3- First time seeing itCharles Bronson takes on a street gang. Gang members are doing drugs throughout the movie. I’m not sure what new things I can say about this movie. I had a blast watching it. The movie is pure insanity. I’m still trying to comprehend the last 30 minutes. If you haven’t seen this, you are missing out on a real treat. Act fast. The movie is expiring from Netflix Streaming at the end of the month. Are any of the other Death Wish movies worth seeing?RIP The Giggler
The first Death Wish is the closest thing to a "good" movie in the series, but if you like the wackiness of 3 I might check out DW 4. It's not the nonstop entertainment that 3 is, but there are moments (especially near the end) that make it all worth it. Women need to stop getting romantically involved with Paul Kersey.Thanks for joining us!RIP The Giggler
The Weird World of LSD (1967) full movieUnrelated silent B&W vignettes with ominous, Criswellian narration warning us of the irreparably destructive effects of LSD. A man laying on his couch flapping his arms believes he is a giant chicken; he falls down dead shortly after. We're told a woman playing with kittens believes she has become a cat, but "the relationship to cats can hardly be satisfying or fulfilling to a normal person." Another woman imagines that she falls in love with a mannequin. A lonely fat guy imagines his dinner is bigger than it really is and is disappointed when he straightens out. "Soon he is back where he started, with fond memories, perhaps, but his stomach a bit more empty." There are three stripteases, a strangulation (committed by one of the only non-wasted characters in the movie,) and the same guy who thought he was a chicken murders all his female roommates and dies again when he strangles himself in the bathtub.Welcome to the Streets with Lenny the Lion (1989) full movie (26 minutes)Lenny the Lion is a hand puppet who comes to the big city (in Mississippi) to find his fortune but is conned (by Sneaky the Snake) into becoming a crack dealer his first day there. Sneaky works for the Grim Reaper (here called Mr. Crack.) He says to Sneaky "I don't care who gets hurt! The bottom line is you have a quota to maintain!"There are two musical numbers ("Crack Attack" and "I Can Ssssupply All Your Needsssss") and the final image is a skull made of (real) cocaine. I felt like I was losing my mind.ABC Afterschool Specials: Stoned! (1980) full movie (out of order Youtube playlist - 32 minutes)Scott Baio is nerdy high-schooler Jack (who's ripped like Jesus.) He's crushing on the new girl in school, but doesn't have the confidence to talk to her until he starts smoking pot. Then he turns into "Super Jack," gets the girl, but starts doing bad in Spanish class & hits his older brother with an oar. He learns his lesson in the end.
Curt-Hiss the Drug Free Snake (1988) full movie (32 minutes)More anti-drug puppets. This one is a courtroom drama. Curt-Hiss can't prosecute Shady Mongoose because his star witness chickens out, and his congressman won't listen to him when he demands stronger drug laws. Officer Patrick sings a song about whether or not he should plant evidence ("What's a Good Cop to Do?") The Grim Reaper's in this one too, and he also gets to sing. Curt-Hiss' girlfriend gets tied to a bomb by Shady; she sings about it ("When this thing goes boom, I'll be all over this room.") It all ends with Curt-Hiss telling us to reaffirm our faith in God in front of an American Flag, and urging kids to write their congressmen. Everything about this thing terrifying.Death Drug (1978) trailerPhilip Michael Thomas (Tubbs from Miami Vice!) is an aspiring rock star who's just been signed to Total Experience records. He becomes addicted to PCP and it fucks everything up. He thinks the Gap Band is trying to kill him, his hairbrush turns into a baby crocodile, and he freaks out bad in a supermarket. He dies when he stands in the street yelling "You want a piece of me?? Come and get me!" to a tractor-trailer. The movie was shot in the '70s, but wasn't released until Vice was big, so they added an opening scene of a guy foaming at the mouth attacking roller skaters, and a full music video for Thomas' song "Just the Way I Planned It."I had a hell of a day.
No kidding! :-P