Archive for the ‘Country’ Category

DG LOGO Vigilante Force  Vigilante Force

 

This here is really me catching up: I mentioned it briefly in my 2014 positivity post, but I’m co-hosting the Daily Grindhouse podcast now with Joe and Freeman. Our most recent episode found us discussing 1976’s VIGILANTE FORCE, written and directed by George Armitage and starring Kris Kristofferson, Jan-Michael Vincent, Victoria Principal, and Bernadette Peters. It’s a crazy good time (we’re two for two on movie choices! And just wait until you hear our third episode, coming this week!)

 

[Click here to listen and download!]

Here is the trailer and then the copy I read on the show: I feel like I stumbled over my words a bit so for clarity’s sake and for completists, I wanted to make it available. (Sometimes I listen to my own voice and feel so deeply grateful my parents decided to make me pretty.)

 

 

FIRE

 

 

 

Elk Hills, California is a boom town. Oil-field workers drawn to the town by black gold run wild in the streets, drinking heavily and getting in raucous and very costly bar fights (staged by veteran stuntman Buddy Joe Hooker). This movie is set in the 1970s, when it was made, but it plays out like the Old West. One early bar fight BEGINS with a man getting shot in the gut and then escalates from there. The marauders have shoot-outs in the street with the police. One young man decides he’s had enough. Ben Arnold (played by Jan-Michael Vincent) is a widower and single father with a nice, pretty girlfriend (played by Victoria Principal). Ben tells the city elders, including the mayor (played by Brad Dexter, the member of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN everyone always forgets) and David Doyle (best known as Bosley from Charlie’s Angels) that he’s going for outside help.

 

 

BERNADETTE

 

 

Ben’s older brother Aaron is a Vietnam vet working a lousy menial job at an airfield. Ben recruits Aaron and his shitkicking drinking buddies from the service to come to Elk Hills to clean it up. Because Aaron is played by the ruggedly handsome and endlessly charming singer, songwriter, and movie star Kris Kristofferson, we feel like we may have seen this movie before: Good-guy gunslinger comes to lawless town and cleans it up for the decent folks. This isn’t what happens. After beating the oil workers down, Aaron makes a deal with some shady characters – one of them played by professional hard-ass Paul Gleason, best remembered for TRADING PLACES, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, and DIE HARD — to shake down the townspeople so that Aaron and his boys can swoop in and collect the protection tax. Aaron takes up with a spacey nightclub singer – Bernadette Peters, who nearly steals the movie away – but his callous treatment of her echoes his cruel treatment of the town. As Aaron’s tyranny escalates, Ben slowly realizes that his brother is kind of a monster, and recruits his own vigilante force to take him down. This happens in a wild, almost absurdly explosive climax well befitting a story with Biblical undertones. Call it Will Kane and Abel. That’s a HIGH NOON reference, son.

 

 

VIGILANTE FORCE

 

 

VIGILANTE FORCE

 

 

A Vietnam allegory that’s actually about Vietnam, VIGILANTE FORCE was written and directed by a smart, savvy, and sorely under-recognized filmmaker named George Armitage. Armitage started out directing for Roger Corman (whose brother Gene produced VIGILANTE FORCE). His feature previous to this one was HIT MAN, an Americanized version of GET CARTER starring Bernie Casey and Pam Grier. After VIGILANTE FORCE, he didn’t direct a theatrical feature until 1990’s MIAMI BLUES, the cult classic adaptation of the Charles Willeford novel starring a young Alec Baldwin. After writing the screenplay for the HBO movie THE LATE SHIFT, Armitage directed another cult classic, the John Cusack-starring GROSSE POINTE BLANK. Next, Armitage directed THE BIG BOUNCE, a poorly-received Elmore Leonard adaptation starring Owen Wilson and Morgan Freeman. That was 2004. He hasn’t made a film since. This is a mystery that all of humanity should be working to solve.

 

 

BOOM.

 

 

If you like us talking about VIGILANTE FORCE, be sure to check out our episode on STREET WARS!:

 

 

STREET WARS (1992)

 

 

 

 

@jonnyabomb

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Southern Comfort (1981)

 

Walter Hill has a new movie coming out this week called BULLET TO THE HEAD.  I’m cautiously looking forward to it, since I am a fan of many of Walter Hill’s movies.  This new one can go any of a few different ways, but I’m on board for any movie that gives sizable roles to Sarah Shahi and Sung Kang.  (You’ll know those names better someday soon.)

Here’s what I had to say about 48 HRS.,  STREETS OF FIRE, and TRESPASS.  And as of today, for Daily Grindhouse, I have had some words about SOUTHERN COMFORT:

 

>>>READ IT HERE!!!<<<

 

And I’m always reachable here:  @jonnyabomb

 

 

LAWLESS is a couple weeks old now, but it’s still way worth talking about.  It’s not to be confused with FLAWLESS, the Philip-Seymour-Hoffman-in-a-dress movie, nor is it to be confused with the upcoming DREDD movie, which as we all know is guaranteed to have a surplus of law.

Here’s what I said about LAWLESS before I saw it

WETTEST COUNTY was on my list of 50 most eagerly-awaited movies of the year.   But it’s not called that anymore, though.  Now it goes by the handle LAWLESS, a much more generic title which sounds a little cooler after knowing it was generously bestowed upon the movie by none other than Terrence Malick.  Whatever it’s called, it’s a John Hillcoat movie, which after THE PROPOSITION and The ROAD, promises good things.  I’m definitely getting a less-artsy, more-mainstream PUBLIC ENEMIES vibe from the new trailer, but that doesn’t strike me personally as a deterrent.

Check out the trailer, it made LAWLESS travel that much higher on my want-to-see-now meter:

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Now, to read what I had to say about LAWLESS after seeing it (spoiler warning: it’s a lot of very nice things), you’ll have to click over to Daily Grindhouse:

>>>LAWLESS!!!<<<

And make damn sure you check out that soundtrack: