Saturday, June 27, 2015

Junesploitation Day 27: Cars!

100 minutes of sound and fury exploding on the screen!

61 comments:

  1. Lethal Weapon (1987)

    Ok I will admit a little bit of a cheat (although there is some good car action in the last act of the film) but I had just gotten the box set and wanted a guaranteed winner. I doubt there’s many people on the site but just in case you haven’t it stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as the best buddy cops ever who have to take down an evil group of mercenaries and of course things get personal. It had been a little while since I rewatched the original (yet I feel like I’ve seen the sequels a 100 times). This is by far the best of the series (although 2 and 3 are still solid, 4 is for completists only) and is the shining example of a great buddy cop movie that also has some good drama behind it. Also I think this is the only movie I’ve ever seen to combine looney tunes, three stooges, and suicide contemplation. Random question for the group- have there been any buddy cop movies in the last few years that have had this excellent mesh of drama, action, and comedy?

    8 Word Review (In Preparation for SMM)

    “Hey, are all attempted suicide jumpers immediately arrested?”

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    1. One of those things I haven't been able to unsee since it was pointed out to me: when Riggs and Suicide Guy jump, you can clearly see the handcuffs break and they hold hands all the way down. I don't know why I love that, but I love that.

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  2. BLACK MOON RISING (1986, 100 min.) on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi7ZTV_wU70)

    A Roger Corman-produced amalgamation of “Gone and Sixty Seconds” (the newest one), “Thief” and many of the genre tropes from “Escape from New York” (not surprising since John Carpenter came up with the story and co-wrote the screenplay), “Black Moon Rising” is a thief-stealing-from-thieves corporate heist/action movie in which a cool “Knight Rider”-like super vehicle happens to be one of two McGuffins moving the plot along. The movie jumps through hoops to get Tommy Lee Jones’ government-hired charismatic data thief and Linda Hamilton’s Angelina Jolie-type professional car thief to like each other and work together, mainly by making their respective bosses/handlers (Bubba ‘Don’t fuck with the government’ Smith for TLJ, Robert ‘Dirty Old Bastard’ Vaughn for Hamilton) prototypical 80’s a-holes. There are literally three or four movies happening at once here (my personal favorite being the one in which Vaughn obsesses over Hamilton while watching her through monitors), and the one about the cool car is only here to service the others.

    At least “Black Moon Rising” bookends some decent car chase/action scenes (including a stunt similar one in “Furious 7” done with miniatures), but the middle section is one lengthy build-up for the third act break-in into the bad guys’ well-guarded lair. Typical 80’s sex scenes (#Sexysaxophonesploitation) and sudden outbursts of violence kill time, which are as flimsy as the thinly-veiled ignorance of the filmmakers about the science behind the super car they’re concocted. At one point Hamilton says outloud the car is ’made of Kevlar,’ which is obviously there to explain why machine-gun fire doesn’t damage it but ruins the illusion of speed it’s supposed to achieve. Not a bad movie, just one aggressively forgettable despite Two Face and Sarah Connor jumping from building to building while driving K.I.T.T.'s spiritual cousin.

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  3. The Driver (1978)

    Lest anyone think 2011's Drive was an original concept, there's this movie. Ryan O'Neal plays the titular driver, who takes jobs helping criminals evade police after committing robberies. Bruce Dern plays a wonderfully A-holish detective trying to capture him. If you're a fan of chase scenes, this has a lot to offer. The overall story is basic, but good enough. You've seen this premise done before. I did get a kick out of the fact that there are no named characters in the movie. Everyone is referred to by the role they play or some defining physical characteristic. It serves no real purpose, but I still found it interesting.

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    1. The Driver is Walter Hill doing what Walter Hill does: kick ass all over the screen. Spare, precise, and completely professional -- like a getaway driver.

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  4. CHRISTINE (1983)
    Usually on my birthday, I watch movies by my favorite director(s). Wasn't able to do that last year, as I was away from home, but this year? It's on. John Carpenter is up and willing to answer the call.

    I lost my DVD of this, and I haven't seen anything recently about the reissue of the Twilight Time Blu (that hopefully won't cost $125), so I ordered the special edition DVD in time to get it two days ago, and have been waiting specifically to do this on my birthday (normally if I got a Carpenter flick in the mail it'd be watched within minutes of receiving it) -- Junesploitation certainly comes at a great time for me, and will every year!

    Thanks for making my birthday month WAY cooler, F This Movie!

    (and yes, I love this movie; it's fairly underrated IMHO)

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    1. Woo birthday times! Glad you got your hands on it I remember us talking about it last year!

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    2. Thanks, Gabby! Yeah, I looked and looked and couldn't find it! So, come Scary Movie Month, you wanna do anything about it this year (so sorry) I have a copy now!

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    4. Up for chatting about it whenever Albert :)

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  5. Crash! a.k.a Akaza, the God of Vengeance (1977) Dir. Charles Band (yeah, that guy)

    Start a movie off with a slow motion car and a funk song?  You peak my ears.   Keep that same level of music going after the opening scene?  I'm impressed.  Give me some great 70's film work with hard push-in's, soft focus and slow-mo dissolves setting up a car explosion?  Love it.  Introduce me to a screen beauty I've never seen until I looked her up and realize she is the the girl who played Lolita (Sue Lyon) so now I feel really weird?  Yep.  Throw in a doberman trying to kill her while she's driving an introduce a weird occult idol? Give me all this within the first 5 minutes of the movie?!  I'm HOOKED! 

    Another entry in the "Phantom Car" sub-genre (which is under-appreciated in my opinion) where a botched car crash murder leads to a demonically controlled car among other things.   The music is awesome, there are plenty of excellent stunts, car chases and car crashes throughout and a strange enough story that kept my interest.  Add in the horror element which includes wheelchair possession, add a touch of Hitchcock and crash a shit load of cars to top things off and it's a classic  (you would really fail if you didn't crash a bunch of cars in a film called "crash!").   

    Strong flick for Cars! day except I want the score,  and from my limited search, it appears to be unavailable :(  

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  6. Highwaymen (2004)

    A killer in a Cadillac.
    A man driven to revenge.
    Blood flows red on the highway.

    Director Robert Harmon, who also directed The Hitcher, returns to the dark side of America's highways.

    Jim Caviezel stars as man, who after the hit and run death of his wife, goes all Mad Max and travels the highways in a suped-up Barracuda searching for the man responsible. He is convinced that this was no accident and that the man is a serial killer who uses his Cadillac El Dorado as his weapon.

    I like this movie. This is the second time I've seen it.
    I'm a sucker for long, ominous shots of empty highways, burly cars, and a man on a revenge mission.
    Highwaymen is a very solid revenge thriller. It was never given a wide theatrical release and that's a shame.
    If you like brooding revenge films with vehicular mayhem, I recommend you seek this one out.

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    1. That's a good flick. Caviezel, Faison, and Feore are solid, and Rhona Mitra is Rhona Mitra.

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  7. Final Alliance (1990)
    The Hoff and his trained puma facing off against a biker gang and the strange, ass backwards down that is totally cool with their raping and pillaging (not really sure what religion that preacher subscribes to…). Though it may not precisely fit the ‘cars’ them, per se, plenty of vehicles are featured, including an incredible car crash, barrel roll, and subsequent explosion. From the onset of this film, a beautiful cacophony of cliche 80s synth interspliced with the howl of a puma, I knew I had stumbled upon something truly special. I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel where Vincent D’Onofrio tries to weaponize pumas. Recommended handily for fans of the Hoff, pumas, and 80s biker gangs alike.

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  8. DEATH RACE: INFERNO aka DEATH RACE 3 (2012)

    Jesus. After a while, it was a hoot watching for terrible acting from various South African models, Dougray Scott sleep-walking through a villain role, somebody called something (Lucas?) in the lead who's a 5th-rate Jason Statham, shots that aren't matched correctly (not even close), some decent car wrecks and terrible CGI blood. The only bright spots are Danny Trejo having some fun and an actress named Kim Syster who's the death race doctor.

    I shoulda just watched Christine.

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  9. Christine (1983)

    It's about a killer car. You all know it. What's there to say? It's a classic. There's great suspense, the effects are brilliantly made and the song choices are excellent.

    Though I don't get why everyone in the movie is lusting after Alexandra Paul when Kelly Preston's up for grabs.

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  10. Need For Speed (2014)

    Odd pacing and reckless endangerment aside (the "heroes" have a total disregard for the safety and lives of anyone around them), I kinda dug this one. It probably helps that my expectations were somewhere in the sub-basement area, but I enjoyed the (practical!) stunt work and snazzy cars enough that it's easier than I expected to overlook the flaws.

    Aaron Paul is kinda bland (and tiny) and doesn't have much of a character to play. In fact, nobody in the cast really stands out, at least not in a good way. I actually felt a little bad for Michael Keaton, reprising the role of Beetlejuice here. Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi has a few good moments as the lookout Benny, though I couldn't tell you anything about his character other than he's the lookout. That's the sort of thing that passes for characterization in this movie. Still...practical stunts go a long way with me, I guess, because I had fun anyway. It's not as wackadoodle as the Fast & Furious movies have become, but then again nothing is.

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    1. The practical stunts are the standout for sure. I recommend this to people all the time on the merit of the stunts.
      You just don't see many mainstream releases do practical car stunts anymore.

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    2. It's stupid and the story/characterizations are thinner than your average starving supermodel, but I enjoyed the HELL outta this, and solely because of the stunts (okay, and a little for Imogen Poots). Tons of B-movie fun.

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    3. Yeah, the Poots as well!

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  11. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Dir. Monte Hellmen) (First Time Viewing): Now this is a movie. In an era where movies are dumbed down and have to repeat themselves due to people “watching” movies while simultaneously playing on their phones, it’s refreshing to see a movie that gives you NOTHING. It has so much to say but spells out so little for you. Also seeing music legend James Taylor use the word “motherfucker” is a Junesploitation highlight. The last scene, specifically the last shot, is why I go to the movies. I’ll be thinking about this movie for years.

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  12. MY CHAUFFER (1986)

    A free-spirited young woman gets a job as a limo driver, ruffling feathers among all the rich snobs she works for. I like how the movie starts with this premise in place. There’s no 15-20 minutes of her backstory, landing the job, etc. She just shows up as a wacky limo driver in the opening scene and we're off and running. Deborah Foreman (of VALLEY GIRL and APRIL FOOL’S DAY) wants to be the next Robin Williams, doing a bunch of wacky voices and personas. Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones is the love interest, but at no point does he wear a t-shirt with his own name on it. There’s also a crazy punk rocker who’s in one scene, but who was prominently featured in the trailer. Then Penn and Teller of all people show up for a surprisingly R-rated extended cameo. But, overall, the movie is cute, silly, and very, very, very ‘80s.

    Accompanying short film: HOSTAGE (2002). Remember when these internet BMW short films were a big deal? Sure, they’re commercials in disguise, but we nonetheless get a John Woo-directed car chase, and he does car action just as slickly as he does gun action.

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  13. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

    Decided to chase down a copy of this one after hearing about it on The Canon, and found one just in time to watch it for Cars day today. The movie is a case study in form following function: everything about it is nihilistically minimal, from the men and their cars to the writing and editing of the film itself. The film is so completely disinterested in helping the audience along (e.g. no establishing shots, let alone exposition) that there were some moments in the middle where the film lost me, but it so perfectly stuck the landing that I think I'll be remembering this film for quite some time. A bit difficult to find (or maybe I'm just bad at looking) but well worth the effort.

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    1. Ugh find+replace "the film" with "it". I'll learn to use pronouns some day.

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  14. Death Proof (2007)

    Since I watched Planet Terror on Zombies! day, what was I gonna do, not watch Death Proof on Cars! day? Nuh-uh.

    "Lesser" Tarantino for sure, but even lesser QT is miles better than most anything else. Splitting the movie into two distinct parts and the switch from dinged-up film to HD is a little jarring, and (unlike most QT films) at times the dialogue feels too much (we get is, all the girls are real sassy), but when it lets loose, I'm all in.

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  15. Christine (1983)
    Nerd buys demon car; vehicular homicide rates rise exponentially.
    So this one's popular today! First viewing for me. It took me this long to get to it because even though I'm a Stephen King fan, this was one of my least favourite of his work (my favourite King car story, From a Buick 8, is just too weird to ever reach the screen). This is one of those rare occasions where I liked the movie more than the book. I love the effects in Carpenter's films, and the only word for watching a flaming car run down a high school bully who looks like he's forty is bitchin'. I've been pretty shaky on Carpenter, but this one makes me want to keep trying.

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    1. Everything Carpenter made between Assault on Precinct 13 and They Live is good to classic cinema.

      The man had a string of awesome that I've yet to see beat (Walter Hill came close during the same era, if you could erase Brewster's Millions from existence).

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  16. VANISHING POINT (1971)
    The laconic cool of Barry Newman.
    The super soul of Cleavon Little.
    The motherfucking white Dodge Challenger.
    Vanishing Point.
    Yeah.

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    1. I have still never seen this. I am a person who is a bastard person.

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    2. Untrue. You're simply a person who hasn't seen Vanishing Point YET.

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  17. Hit and Run (2012)

    To use a much used and beloved catch phrase. It's fine. Should have watched death proof.

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  18. "If they scatter go for the baby and the mother"

    Death Race 2000 1975

    Classic Corman movie that still makes me smile, it did feel really dated this time but as a car movie its good fun to try to work out what the cars are underneath all the add ons, famously the cars broke down a lot a had to be pushed down hills to get shots of them moving, good #Carsplotation fun

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  19. DUEL (1971)
    Even in his first movie, Spielberg is up to his regular tricks. This is a stressful, suspenseful movie, which has clearly always been one of Spielberg's greatest strengths. The guy knows how to make a scene difficult. The whole movie is just a guy in a car and a different guy in a bigger car, but it is interesting and stressful and scary in a lot of different parts. This has to be one of the best "first movies" out there.

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    1. The camera work in Duel never ceases to engage and impress me, and not just the scenes involving the truck and the chase. For instance, the single, handheld take of Weaver going into the diner, making the phone call and leaving is incredible.

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    2. Agreed on one of the best first movies. One hell of a ride

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    3. Watched this as well and it is fantastic.

      Chase movies usually go stale for me after the first action sequence but this one keeps the energy and pace up until the very end. Speilberg never lets your interest in Weaver wane.

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    4. Duel rules. Surprised no one watched Breakdown. Little nods to Duel and a terrific movie.

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    5. "Breakdown" is more about the plot and the characters than the cars, though. I remember J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan and Kurt Russell, but other than a generic truck I couldn't tell you what vehicle any of these characters was driving. Then again, #Loopholesploitation! :-)

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  20. Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

    Just kidding. I watched Duel.

    Speilberg's first film may not be my favorite but it is incredibly solid. Weaver really makes you feel his escalating terror and you're as exhausted as he seems at the end.

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  21. Grand Theft Auto (1977, dir. Ron Howard)

    Just outstanding. Howard's objective seems to have been to physically destroy as many things as possible, and he succeeds beautifully. Like Fury Road, it's just one long chase, and it ends at a demolition derby. It's got momentum up the ying-yang. Also the only PG-rated movie I've heard the word "chicken-fucker" used in.

    The Italian Job (1969, dir. Peter Collinson)

    I kind of watched this by accident, but it's a perfect Cars! day pick. Has no agenda but to be cool and entertaining, and really couldn't be any more well-made or fun. Even though I wouldn't necessarily say it's perfect, it is pretty much perfect.

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  22. A couple of first viewings today, with drastically different results.

    Cars 2 (2011)

    I had a pretty big Pix-hard-on after seeing Inside Out yesterday, so I decided to go back and fill in some blanks from their filmography. I really should have went another direction, but hey, it was Cars day. I guess everyone knows this, but this movie is pretty violent for a kids movie. Cars are shot, blown up, etc. They constantly talk openly about killing people (cars). It's not a good movie, but it's not a horrible movie. It's a movie. It exists.

    Bullitt (1968)

    I've been meaning to see this for so long but just never did for one reason or another. This movie is really good, and not just for the car aspect. Sure, that chase is great, but it's only like 10 minutes in a two hour movie. There is alot more to love, including a good detective plot and some really blunt reality. The reality isn't shocking in a forceful way, but it's shocking in its nonchalance about death and violence. What's great is that the movie asserts this before it openly talks about it, and somehow it becomes the point. Movies like this don't need to have something to say, but this one does, and that's what elevates it a step above the rest.

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  23. Mad Max Fury Road (2015) Dir. George Miller

    Finally. Awesome as expected! I believe it lived up to the hype for the most part, but these people going crazy saying it's the best action movie ever need to watch more action movies.

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    1. Probably the shortest and most accurate review of this movie I've read haha.

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    2. :) well, I figured everything else has already been said.

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  24. The Driver: Ynfortunately not connected to this one so it kind of slipped by with the notice of some merits but little impact.

    Smokey Bites the Dust: I have a large affection for Smokey and the Bandit and this seemed wacky. It is not goood but silly so at least has something.

    Love the Beast: This Eric Banna documentary is a bit odd. Comparing a horse to a car really is done yes. Can we please acknowelege though that horses are intilligent emotional creatures who live, breathe, eat, bond and engage with the world, other horses and their owners. Cars, well as much as I get it as I have collectors mania, comparing them to animals as wonderful as horses seems really silly. But anyway, glad I watched it. Bana's passion makes it more interesting.

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  25. Drive Hard (2014)
    Rescued this from exclusion on the Netflix Instant queue. It was okay. Cusack and Jane keep the film lively. I have yet to find a Brian Trenchard-Smith film that is all bad. I don't think such a thing exists.

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  26. Vanishing Point (1971) first time viewing

    I've had this sitting around for a while. Perfect car movie to watch tonight. I enjoyed it. Fast cars. Great landscape shots. And Barry Newman as Kowalski is so cool in this film. Glad I finally got around to watching it.

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  27. Drive Hard (2014)

    Its weird watching a movie that is set in a city you used to live in. I kept thinking to myself, "The geography on that car chase doesn quite work" and "that exterior doesnt match that interior", but it was all in good fun.

    Not the worst way to spend 90 minutes

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  28. Killdozer! (1974)
    Ever since Planet Terror popularized the title for me, I've wanted to see this picture. Made in Duel's wake, Killdozer relies on standard 70s tv shooting technique. It's shot competently, but rather flatly. A 6-man construction crew is beseiged by their own bulldozer when it makes physical contact with a meteorite and becones possessed by the malevolent alien energy force within it. Consider this the motor vehicle equivalent of The Thing From Another World. I knew next to nothing about this movie when I started it. Robert Urich's appearance was a cool shock.

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  29. The Car (1977)
    One of the best movies I've watched all month! An amalgamation of JAWS and Duel, Sheriff James Brolin has a nightmare on his hands when a black Lincoln Continental begins mowing people down in his small town. And the car is just as hard to put down as Bruce the shark. Two of my favorite character actors are among the cast: Ronny Cox and R.G. Armstrong. Deathdream's John Marley plays a deputy. I was surprised to see Kim and Kyle Richards playing Berlin's daughters. Leonard Rosenmann's score is spare but perfectly placed. I like how, instead of constantly using the score to announce the car's entrance, we hear the car's engine roaring, coming closer and closer.

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    1. ** Berlin's, hahahaha... Brolin's. (I love auto correct.)

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    2. And again I have to say: I saw that on the big screen in 1977 age 11.
      As ridiculous as it is, I still love this movie. It simply works. A guilty pleasure I regularly watch with great joy.

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  30. Dead End (2003)

    On their way to Grandma's...stuff happens.

    A movie I'd never heard of but looked interesting. It really wasn't. It's about a family that get lost after taking a wrong turn. They find a girl holding a baby in the middle of the road. She's not what she seems...but who really is? They get picked off one by one. The problem is there wasn't enough tension. Lin Shaye goes a little crazy and that's kinda fun. Honestly, I would rather have watched In Fear, again. It's got a lot more tension and dread. I think that's an underrated Irish horror movie that came out 2 years ago. Don't watch Dead End, watch In Fear.

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  31. Starship Troopers (1997, Paul Verhoeven)

    Spaceships are just the cars of the future, right? This is a huge stretch, but I moved today and I haven't been able to unpack my computer yet. We're playing this at the theatre I work at, so I'm gonna cut myself some slack and cheat a little.

    Actual review:

    Jake Busey and Denise Richards are neck-and-neck for my favorite terrible performance of all time.

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  32. Cannonball (aka Carquake (1976, dir. Paul Bartel)

    While not as much fun per minute as Death Race 2000, Paul Bartel's other cross country car race movie for New World is super entertaining more for its cast than its premise (which was later ripped off for the Cannonball Run movies). This is a movie starring David Carradine, Dick Miller, Mary Woronov looking super foxy, Archie Hahn, Veronica Hamel, James Keach, Gerrit Graham, Robert Carradine and Belinda Balaski looking super foxy. There are cameos by Roger Corman, Don Simpson, Jonathan Kaplan, Allan Arkush & Joe Dante and, at one point, a scene in which Paul Bartel, Martin Scorsese and Sylvester Stallone share a bucket of fried chicken. Everything crashes and explodes in the last reel for no other reason than because that needs to happen in a movie like this. I'll stop writing because I assume you have already ordered this on Amazon. One of the best finds of Junesploitation for me.

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    1. It's a pretty damn cool movie. I have the Blue Underground dvd.

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  33. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) (first time viewing)

    A racer and his mechanic rob a store so they can fund their way into big time racing. The whole movie is pretty much one long police chase with Peter Fonda being nutty, Adam Roarke being the calm and collected one, and Vic Morrow doing everything in his power to catch them. Brings nothing new to the table, but it's a fun movie. The Impala and Charger that they drive are pretty sweet. Then there's the abrupt ending...very jarring. Pretty good if you're looking for a simple chase movie.

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  34. Maximum Overdrive (1986)

    Reportedly when people ask Stephen King why he hasn't directed another movie since Maximum Overdrive he says, "Watch Maximum Overdrive."

    Try watching it and remembering this is the man who wrote Shawshank Redemption, The Body, The Green Mile, The Stand.....and this.
    A director an author does not make.
    This movie is like eleven million times better with the F This Movie podcast commentary.

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