I was searching endlessly for a movie to watch today and I came across one that instantly peaked my interest. Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club) was one of the coolest bad asses in the 80’s and so I decided to watch him in From The Hip for today’s film. Robin Weathers (Nelson) is a trial lawyer in Boston who is sick and tired of taking those types of cases. He wants to be a full fledged defense attorney, but he can’t do so at his firm. That is until he starts to be a rebel rouser in the courtroom which brings him lots of attention and a big win. After that big win, he is given a huge promotion at the firm despite others not wanting him to so they set him up with a murder case they feel he is guaranteed to lose. The film also stars John Hurt (V For Vendetta) as Douglas Benoit, Elizabeth Perkins (Big) as Jo Ann, David Alan Grier (In The Army Now) as Steve Hadley, Darren McGavin (A Christmas Story) as Craig Duncan, Dan Monahan (Porky’s) as Larry, Nancy Marchand (The Sopranos) as Roberta Winnaker, Allan Arbus (Coffy) as Phil Ames, Ray Walston (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) as 1ST Judge, Edward Winter (Porky’s II: The Next Day) as Raymond Torkenson, and the film was directed by Bob Clark (Porky’s).
This film in my opinion is actually two different movies in one and obviously I’ll explain it to you. The film starts off as this outrageous comedy about a jokester using the system to get ahead by fooling his peers. Then the film turns into an serious crime drama for the second half of the film as he ponders whether what he is doing is right or wrong. I am and always have been a huge fan of Judd Nelson and he definitely does not disappoint in this film, but the real dynamic of this film goes to John Hurt. Hurt absolutely raises the bar for Judd Nelson in this film with his brilliant performance which brings out the brilliance in Judd Nelson. John Hurt’s performance in the film is actually exhilarating for a film that otherwise is trying to find it’s identity. The other thing that bothered me about this film is that it takes place in Boston, but was filmed in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. So, I am assuming for the most part that the picture above is not the city of Boston. The only thing that was authentic to the city of Boston was the Boston Celtics memorabilia and the New England Patriots sweatshirt he wears. There are barely any outside scenes shot for this film other than on the roof of Nelson’s roof which is OK, but I love shots of the city of Boston. Don’t however hold that against the film because it is enjoyable to watch. I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.
For today’s film, I wanted a little comedy in my life and so I chose a film featuring my favorite actor to ever play Batman in Michael Keaton (Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)). The film is called Johnny Dangerously and it stars Keaton as the title character in this spoof film of 1930’s gangster movies. Johnny was just your ordinary average kid in New York City until some unfortunate events plunged him into the gangster life. Johnny is able to keep his life of crime a secret from his family for a very long time, but how long could it last. His brother Tommy (Griffin Dunne) is the district attorney hellbent on bringing down all the gangsters of New York. After being set up by a rival gangster named Danny Vermin (Joe Piscopo) and sent to jail, Tommy will have to prove that Johnny is is innocent before he gets the chair. The film also stars Marilu Henner (Taxi) as Lil, Maureen Stapleton (The Money Pit) as Ma Kelly, Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein) as Jocko Dundee, Richard Dimitri (When Things Were Rotten) as Moronie, Dom DeLuise (Blazing Saddles) as The Pope, Danny DeVito (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) as Burr, Ray Walston (Lost In Space) as Vendor, Dick Butkus (My Two Dads) as Arthur, and the film was directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless).
I want to start off saying that I am huge fan of anything that takes place in the 1930’s gangster prohibition era and even though it’s a spoof film, I loved it. Michael Keaton is just masterful as the slick, charismatic gangster Johnny Dangerously. He is everything you would expect from that era as his personality certainly fits the character. Marilu Henner is also fantastic and she looks absolutely beautiful in this film. For a spoof film, there are so many heavyweights of the comedy world for that time. You have the always colorful and great Dom DeLuise who graces us with his presence. There is the very underrated Joe Piscopo who never gets enough credit for his comic abilities and the great performances he has had over those years. Then there are guys like the late and great Peter Boyle, Danny DeVito, Ray Walston, and so many more. I was a huge fan of Richard Dimitiri in this film with his overly broken English with his words like Fraggin or Icehole which reminded me of most of my family members. The film was fun to watch as I laughed so much at all the small things and the obvious jokes. Spoof films used to be fun and they always had great writing unlike the spoof films we get today which are overly sexual in their joke writing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they don’t make them like they used to. Check the film out on Netflix if you are a fan of spoof films. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.