When Bad Guys Were P*ssies.

Maybe it was 9/11, you know? Like, maybe the horror and shock of that day forced us to ‘grow up’ for better or worse. We got tougher, a bit more wary and jaded. I don’t know. Maybe it was something else; Western Culture catching up a tiny bit with our European brethren, psychologically speaking. Whatever the case, the fact remains that back in the 80’s and early-90’s, we were soft, pink, mewling little kittens. 2015 us could wipe the floor with 1988 us.  Fact.

Here’s what led me down this particular path of discovery.  Recently I was doing an image search for actor Lee Tergesen.  I’d considered putting together another “That One Guy” blog, with a slight difference in focus:  I’d concentrate on one particular actor. Perhaps make a series of such posts, one for each iconic character actor. Lee is one of those guys who’s been in a lot of films and TV shows, usually sort of disappearing into his role, which is what makes him such a great actor.  The same guy who played Tobias Beecher on HBO’s prison drama ‘Oz’ also played one of Wayne and Garth’s metalhead buddies, thrashing along to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ before appearing as Evan ‘Scribe’ Wright in ‘Generation: Kill’ and so on and so forth.  Anyway, one of his earliest roles was that of Rosie in ‘Point Break.’

Rosie was the archetypical scary biker tough guy.  Bodhi’s muscle, in a very real sense. (Note to self: consider a blog entry that examines how Bodhi, Utah, and Rosie were all manifestations of the Super-Ego, Ego, and Id.) Rosie was frightening, and supposedly capable of gutting someone with nary a concern other than trying to avoid getting any ‘on his shoes.’  I remember seeing the film when I was not quite twenty years old and thinking he was fairly intimidating. Rosie wasn’t a surfer, he was ostensibly some sort of biker.  An outsider, even among the outsiders. He was a savage, and hey, remember that scene at the bonfire?  Remember?  The others are out surfing at night, but Rosie is back on the beach, drinking, and spitting booze onto the fire, making it flare up.  Remember?  I wonder what sort of wickedly potent, liver-pounding rot-gut booze he was slugging?

Wait…seriously?  He’s drinking…

KICK THAT FIRE, ROSIE!  YEAH!  KICK IT!  KICK IT AGAIN!

KICK THAT FIRE, ROSIE! YEAH! KICK IT! KICK IT AGAIN!

CORONA?!  Are you fucking kidding me? A beer?! I mean, don’t get me wrong: beer is great. And Corona is easily one of the top-fifty beers from Mexico. But, c’mon. Rosie is a terrifying monster in bike leathers. He should be drinking moonshine or whiskey…maybe 151…ANYTHING approaching 100 proof. Beer? BEER THAT ONLY TASTES GOOD WITH A STINKIN’ LIME IN IT?! Might as well have been a Zima. (Actually, Zima was a malt liquor beverage with a higher alcohol content than most beers, so it would have been MORE manly.)  A kid that had never actually (up to that point) been to an illegal beach bonfire or nearly incinerated a friend while spitting and igniting grain alcohol and other things that maybe I should stop talking about right now might have been impressed with Rosie.  Shit, I was.  Now I realize he’d get his ass kicked in any place outside of Malibu.  Perhaps his ending was the most realistic part of the film.  It happens off-screen, but Utah tells Bodhi that Rosie apparently got knifed to death in Mexico.  What if that was Rosie’s first trip outside of his home county?  He thinks he’s a tough guy, orders a Corona ‘straight up’ and the Mexicans beat the living shit out of him with bottles of Pacifico and Modelo.

So, R.I.P Rosie and his tough-guy image. I sat there thinking about him, and my mind flashed on another badass that maybe wasn’t. Bennett.  The bad guy from ‘Commando.’ the actor’s name is Vernon Wells, and yes, I could do an entire ‘That One Guy’ on him.  The dude’s appeared in everything from ‘The Power Rangers’ to ‘Innerspace’ and has no fewer than twenty-one projects due to be released this year alone. But the role you will probably remember him from was from the iconic Mad Max sequel, ‘The Road Warrior.’  He played a character named Wez and holy shitballs, was he scary.

Even the Kurgan would turn tail and run from all that crazy.

Even the Kurgan would turn tail and run from all that crazy.

Wells would go on to almost exactly replicate that performance as a party-crashing biker/euphemism in ‘Weird Science.’  Again, an impressively crazy, wild-eyed psychopath on a motorcycle.  Jesus, I almost crapped my pants just thinking about him.

When the guy from 'The Hills Have Eyes' is your sidekick, you are officially a bad-ass.

When the guy from ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ is your sidekick, you are officially a bad-ass.

So when you learn that Vernon Wells is playing the nemesis in an Arnold Schwarzenegger action-adventure flick, you think “AW, YISSS!!  MOTHER FUCKING BAD-ASSERY!” and then you get to the theater and see…

Hey, nice tactical sweater-vest!

Hey, nice tactical sweater-vest!

Freddie Mercury?!  What the actual fuck, man?  What happened?  Is that vest made of old pop-tops or just nasty grey yarn that his grandma didn’t want, because seriously, who wants an olive-grey tea cozy?  Nobody, that’s who. Good call, grandma. While I’m talking about relatives, Bennett looks more like your weird uncle Gary that collects Thomas the Tank Engine stuff even though he doesn’t have any kids.  Maybe that’s more unsettling.  Could the makers of Commando been deliberately trying to give off that pedophile subtext?  After all, the main point of the ‘plot’ is that Arnold’s daughter has been kidnapped…were the studio types making a statement?  A subtle, veiled threat to the virtue and physical well-being of the girl in order to make moviegoers even more uneasy?

"Hey, kids...wanna see my Percy?"

“Hey, kids…wanna see my Percy?”

Or had Wells simply let himself go between roles?  Like, the casting director didn’t request an up-to-date headshot, and when Wells rolled up to his trailer on the first day of shooting, the director was all “Well…huh.  Fuck it, we’re on a schedule people.  Keep the mustache.  We’re rolling in five.”  Occam’s Razor makes that seem like the more likely scenario.  Either way, though, you’re never truly convinced that this doughy, sweater-vested, Bob’s Burgers cosplay guy is going to be able to physically match up with Arnold’s character.  They may as well have cast Kevin Spacey as the bad guy, although holy shit: Kevin Spacey in a mustache would be a GREAT Bob’s Burgers cosplay.

A really smug Bob 'Keyser' Belcher.

A really smug Bob ‘Keyser’ Belcher.

The point is, we were seemingly much more easily intimidated back in the day.  I won’t even get into how the Friday the 13th movies look so dated compared to modern horror films and television.  Seriously, the Jason Vorhees flicks remind me of old 50’s Martian invasion movies.  But initially, they were terrifying enough to spawn a generation’s worth of sequels.  I guess that’s sort of comforting.  The things that scare us often turn out to be not so bad after all.  Laughable, even.  (Gene Simmons used to terrify people.  Let that sink in for a second.) There’s a lesson there somewhere.  Sleep tight, America.

Reboot THIS! (Part Two: Sequels)

When last we spoke, you and I, we discussed Hollywood’s fondness for rebooting franchises every few years and churning out sequel after sequel.  (Okay, I did most of the talking, but you nodded silent agreement.)  In that blog post, I humbly submitted some films that are prime candidates for reboots/remakes, and this time I’m offering up some slam-dunk sequels.

Pump Up The Volume (Likelihood of awfulness: AVERAGE)

Now he looks like Costner's little brother, which OH MY GOD!! ROBIN HOOD WAS RIGHT!!

Now he looks like Costner’s little brother, which OH MY GOD!! ROBIN HOOD WAS RIGHT!!

Kids today don’t remember the good ol’ days of Christian Slater being the ultimate heart-throb. It’s hard for today’s generation to recall when Slates was like a rebellious combination of Leo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, and Johnny Depp.  He was dreamy, sexy, quirky, and dangerous.  He played vengeful skateboarders and sociopathic high-school rebels and his hair would fall into his eyes and he’d smirk and YOU COULD HEAR THE PANTIES HITTING THE FLOOR!! Anyhoo, the original Pump Up the Volume was not based on that Technotronic jam you’d hear at Chicago Bulls games, but was instead a story about how one kid fought the system…with ROCK MUSIC!!  Slater’s pirate radio station rocked out all the coolest underground bands back when there was such a thing as “underground.”  That’s why I think this story deserves a sequel:  thanks to the internet and digital music sharing, etc. ANYONE can have their own “radio” station.  Now imagine that ol’ Happy Harry Hard-On (Christian Slater’s on-air persona) has become a high school teacher, but still has the soul of a rebel.  In fact, perhaps he discovers mistreatment of some of the students in his class (or bullying or illegal standard testing or whatever hot-button topic works at the time) but the school shuts down the local internets or something so Harry must teach the kids how to do it OL-SKOOL and is threatened with termination and such but it’s totes okay because he’s taught the kids to find their own voice and DAMN THE MAN!!  Throw in some cyber-hacking bullshit and you’ve got yourself a stand-up-and-cheer feel-good movie with a bitchin’ soundtrack.  Plus, seeing Christian Slater play the adult for a change would be cool.

Real Genius (Likelihood of awfulness: High)

No, look again.  It's NOT Axl Rose.

No, look again. It’s NOT Axl Rose.

This would probably suck.  No lie, I would really cringe if I heard they were going through with plans for a follow-up to one of my favorite movies of all time (there have been repeated rumors since 2007 that Val Kilmer had already signed on for a yet-to-be developed sequel.)  I would cringe because the original is so perfect that there’s NO WAY they could make me love a second one any more than the first.  That being said, in the right hands (Shane Black springs to mind) it would be a lot of fun to see Chris Knight as either a college professor or even a private-sector company man.  Perhaps Chris has lost his way, and some upstart college wonks would have to show him the path back to the man he was in college, slaving away for Dr. Hathaway’s nefarious schemes.  Sure, a fat Val Kilmer would be depressing, but the dude can still be funny.  Team him with a Michael Cera or go the other way and have Chloë Grace Moretz play a sassy young lady, maybe even (GASP!) Chris Knight’s long-lost daughter.  Again, with the right script and director, this would be wonderful.  However, in the wrong hands, it could be Slap Shot 2.

Point Break (Likelihood of awfulness: Guaranteed)

In fairness, it was almost impossible to find an unflattering pic of Keanu.

In fairness, it was almost impossible to find an unflattering pic of Keanu.

Again, in a perfect world, this would work.  In the world we actually live in, however, this is doomed.  There was a great deal of talk about a sequel, but then, well…Patrick Swayze died.  He was totally on-board and excited to participate in the planned follow-up.  With Swayze, it could have worked.  Hell, the Fast ‘N’ Furious series basically ripped off the Point Break formula, and they’ve done pretty well for themselves (or so I’m told.  I’ve yet to see a single one of those films.)  Without Swayze, this doesn’t really stand a chance.  To make matters worse, there are rumblings of a reboot, with surfing only being a part of the big-picture “world of x-treme sports and illegal street racing” backdrop.  Okay, first off, who still uses “x-treme” to describe ANYTHING?!  Secondly, did Hollywood follow my lead and ignore the plot of every Fast ‘N’ Furious released thus far?  Because it seems like they have that covered.  Yeah, the sad thing is this will happen and it will be terrible and I will cry.

48 Hrs. (Likelihood of awfulness: Average)

Welcome to...Jurassic Park!

Welcome to…Jurassic Park!

“Hey, asshole!” you shout at the computer. “They already DID a sequel to this!  It was Another 48 Hours and it was…well…” and then you stare at your shoes and male little back-and-forth sweeps in the dust with your toes.  (Why is there dust on the floor where your computer is located?  Jesus, Swiffer that shit!  Place looks like a pig sty!) Yes, there was a sequel, and yes it was lackluster.  Do it right, and this is an aging-cops-and-robbers buddy cop movie that could realistically revamp the whole formula.  And hopefully the screenwriters would twist things up and make it seem fresh: perhaps Eddie Murphy’s con-man Reggie Hammond is now a bail bondsman or something.  Perhaps a skip-trace bounty hunter (although the original movie worked because even though the premise was far-fetched, it wasn’t completely beyond belief.)  Nolte’s Jack Cates is retired, maybe working as a night security guy or something, and Eddie needs his help to track down some bad guy.  It would be fun, and both these actors (especially Murphy) could use a sure-fire hit.

The Last Starfighter (Likelihood of awfulness: Less Than You’d Think)

Yes, it's true.  Under that state-of-the-art makeup is the head bad-guy from Robocop.

Yes, it’s true. Under that state-of-the-art makeup is the head bad-guy from Robocop.

My alternate-timeline brother Vex Pop (not his real name) and I have already discussed this idea and think it’s pretty goddam good.  Hell, we almost have a treatment ready.  This would literally write itself.  In fact, GPA Entertainment has a project called “Starfighter” stuck in pre-production that many feel is either a reboot or sequel.    For those unfamiliar with the original The Last Starfighter, here’s the plot:  The Rylan Star League has come under attack by the Ko-Dan Armada.  To recruit new Starfighters, they plant coin-op arcade games throughout the galaxy and guess what?  Those games are actually training simulators, and when you break a certain score they come down from space to your trailer park and ask you to fight bad guys in a pretty awfully-rendered CGI spaceship! (Hey, it was 1984, and yes, they’d come a long way since TRON, but still had quite a way to go.)  Anyway, the kid plays the game,  goes to space, teams up with a reptilian co-pilot/navigator, and totally saves the universe.  Now, imagine that same scenario…but with Xbox Live.  Jesus, do you know how many kids play CoD on any given weeknight?  You could even have the recruiters themselves playing against everyone, anonymously gauging progress and gamer scores.  Hell, you could actually have an entire recruiting class from all over the world, Willy Wonka style.  Even better, maybe some are old guys like me and others are foul-mouthed little pricks who say terrible things about your mom, blacks, and gays (not always in the order) from the safety of their living room.  Watching these twerps react to a alien-filled space boot camp would be awesome.  Alex Rogan (the kid from the first movie) is now Admiral Rogan, and High Chancellor Grig has tasked him with outfitting a new class of Gunstar Starfighter with talented pilots because of some threat or another. Honestly, the bad guy is an afterthought, because the whole recruitment and training part of the film just sets up the epic finale.  Even better, what if some of the Starfighters/pilots are actually fighting the war from their living rooms in what they think is a giant massively multiplayer shooter? Drone tech has come a long way on this planet…why couldn’t an advanced spacefaring race translate that to home consoles?  In other words, some of those kids playing think it’s a big tournament, but IT’S TOTALLY REAL!!!  And finally, one of the best parts of this whole enterprise would be that for once… for ONCE…we’d have a movie tie-in video game that made complete sense.

Point Break Breakdown

Yeah, I did it.  Pulled out my worn DVD copy of Point Break.  Watched it.  It was awesome.  It is always awesome.  My wife?  She don’t think it’s so awesome.  In fact, she says “Why you wanna watch that thang agin fer da ate-hunnert time, foo?”  (It’s true.  My wife is a crude stereotype of various ethnic and regional caricatures.  I love that about her.)

Yet another stereotype!  I'm rollin'!  (Like a rolling pin.  Get it?)

Yet another stereotype! I’m rollin’! (Like a rolling pin. Get it?)

Her point, delivered in some made-up patois, was that I tend to watch the same movies over and over again.  This is in part because A) there aren’t a whole lot of good movies out there that bear repeat viewing B) Netflix doesn’t update their selections nearly often enough for my tastes and C) flicks like Point Break are popcorn.  Not terribly fulfilling, but they’re awesome in a pinch.  You can always throw a bag of Pop Secret in the ol’ microwave, and you can always find a movie like Point Break on one of the cable networks even if you don’t have access to a DVD copy.  Perfect.

Real subtle, Spike.  Really. Also?  Maybe just change the name to "PENIS TEEVEE!"

Real subtle, Spike. Really. Also? Maybe just change the name to “PENIS TEEVEE!”

But upon my most recent viewing of the epic tale of young FBI agent Johnny Utah (ed. note: if you haven’t seen Point Break and/or don’t know the plot synopsis or principal characters, then you won’t get much out of this blog, as I have little time to recap the subtle intricacies of the whole tale.  Sorry!) several points leapt out at me, like daggers of the mind (actually nothing like that, but I’m on a roll and LOVE parentheses.) For example:

I seriously don’t think Busey ever learned his lines.  At all.  Was most of his performance ad-libbed?  Not a bad guess.  For example, watch the scene where he’s in the car and Utah is about to get pummeled by the Surf Nazis.  He either can’t remember his lines, never learned them, or was distracted by something off-camera.  Terrible.  (But brilliant, because it’s Busey.)

LOL! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING!

LOL! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!

At no point does Utah ever ask (or even wonder, it would seem) what the hell Bodhi does for a living.  I mean, kid…wake up.  You’re investigating a bunch of bank robberies.  The chief suspects would appear to be surfers.  And here’s a surfer who has a multi-story concrete-bunker mansion full of candles and pictures and fire-eaters and stoned chicks and it’s pretty much right on the beach and HOW THE FUCK DO YOU AFFORD THIS PLACE, BODHI?!?!  ALSO, WHAT IS YOUR REAL NAME?!?! JUST IN CASE IT’S ON SOME INTERPOL WATCH LIST OR SOMETHING!

This guy wants to be Flea.  He is not.  Also, his hat is a shirt.  Radical.

This guy wants to be Flea. He is not. Also, his hat is a shirt. Radical.

Keanu and Swayze were teammates before this movie.  Yep.  In the classic (actually pretty bad) hockey flick Youngblood.  Keanu didn’t have a huge role.  He was one of the goalies on Patrick’s Hamilton Mustangs and I think he was supposed to be Québécois.  Or retarded.  Maybe both.

See?  Goalies are CRAY-ZAY!!!

See? Goalies are CRAY-ZAY!!!

Lori Petty was fucking huge in the 90’s.  This flick, Tank Girl, A League of their Own, In The Army Now…then…what?  Where did she go?  Also, is she a lesbian?  If so, that’s a waste, because she’s hella cute and has amazing eyes and a sexy little voice.

Oh, yeah.  She's starring in "The Rachel Maddow Story."

Oh, yeah. She’s starring in “The Rachel Maddow Story.”

“Hide the shit!” is one of my favorite lines in any movie, and it’s been used in a bunch of them.  I also like to yell it loudly when I have unexpected guests arrive at my door, just in case it actually IS the cops and they’re coming for my shit.

"We know you're in there, Watson!  We can hear you doing weird hair stuff!"

“We know you’re in there, Watson! We can hear you doing weird hair stuff!”

You know I love and am fascinated by quantum mechanics and such.  As an amateur quantum physics aficionado, let me assure you that there is no way Utah’s surf board would’ve fit in his Shelby Mustang, even with the windows down.  Dude.  Like, not ever.  Simply not possible.  The board seemed to be about an 8′ funboard with chunky rails.  The only possible way to do it would be to put down the windows on both driver and passenger sides and stick the board straight through. The problem with this configuration, of course, is that there would be no way to drive the car.  Unless you had a little midget with a periscope, in which case maybe the car would get going so fast that there would be lift created by the board sticking out on both sides and the Mustang would actually end up airborne!  A flying FBI surf-mobile!  Fuck, I hope they make a sequel and it includes a midget-driven primer-covered flying FBI surf mobile.  God damn, I can smell the Oscars…

Get Dinklage on set NOW!!!

Get Dinklage on set NOW!!!