Daily Archives: April 16, 2020

BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – The Warriors (1979)

3.5 readers, come out to play….3.5 readers, come out to play…

My coronavirus marathon of cult movies continues, this time with that gangland classic, “The Warriors.”

Now, I spent most of my adult life never even having heard of this film.  Then it the past few years, I started seeing references to it pop up here and there, people quoting the line when the Warriors are invited to “rumble” or, to “come out to play.”

The plot?  Peace is about to break out amongst all the gangs of New York City.  Cyrus, the popular leader of the Riffs, has called a giant meeting, asking all the gangs to meet him in the Bronx.  In a passionate speech, he points out the gangs are stronger together than apart, that they can do more working together than fighting one another.

It looks like a long lasting truce is about to come to fruition, when he’s shot in cold blood by the Rogues and worse, the Warriors are framed for the crime.

Even worse than the worst, the Warriors have to make a 50 mile trek to the safety of their home turf on Coney Island, forced to fight for their lives against a multitude of street hoodlums, all looking for vengeance on the gang they falsely believe took the life of their savior.

Michael Beck plays Swan, the Warriors’ leader aka their “War Chief.”  He is forced into the unenviable position of having to lead his gang home, not to mention having his authority called into question by his hot headed number two, Ajax, played by a young James Remar, who modern viewers might recognize today as Dexter’s adopted father Harry in Dexter.  It’s possible there are other young actors in this film who went on to bigger, better things but Remar was the only one I recognized.

The movie’s style is gritty, almost as if the producers were trying to say there’s no whitewash here.  We’re showing you gang life in all its sordid, nasty glory.  Except, about five minutes into the film, you get the impression that they’re not really doing that at all.  The uniforms of the various gangs are silly, sometimes downright hysterical.  The Warriors are chased by the Baseball Furies, a bunch of baseball bat wielding, team uniform wearing weirdos.

Do street gangs actually wear such fanciful, perfectly matched costumes in real life?  No.  To the film’s credit, there is a brief reference to the fact that they’re only dressing so matchy-matchy because they’re going to Cyrus’ gang summit and want to wear their colors to represent their turf.  OK.  I guess I can give that a pass then.

Meanwhile, in an early scene at the gang summit, we see fools in all sorts of silly matching outfits, the gang of street mimes being the most memorable.

Is that tongue in cheek?  Probably.  This is definitely a Hollywood version of gang life.  Not so schmaltzy as in West Side Story, where the gangs ward each other off with their fancy dance moves.  It’s definitely rougher than that, though at times, sillier.

I’ll give it this.  The plot is simple and straight and sometimes that can be great in a movie.  The twists are few, if any, and really, it’s just a survival flick.  The terms are set forth early.  They have been framed.  Bad guys who don’t know they have been framed want them dead.  They need to get home before they are killed.  What keeps the bad guys from just going to their turf?  I don’t know.  Rules and reasons, I guess.

Obviously, there are plenty of things that don’t fly today.  The Warriors are pretty quick to label each other with “the F word for homosexuals” at the slightest sign of weakness.  Oh, and they’re a Native American themed gang with nary a Native American within its ranks, so there’s that.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  SPOILER ALERT:  There’s a scene where a group of ladies pick up the Warriors and invite them back to their apartment, seemingly on the auspices of offering nookie.  In reality, they trap our favorite gang and attempt to murder them.  I’m proud to say I would never fall for such a rouse, as whenever a woman flirts with me I always, without fail, assume that it’s all just a rouse intended to lead me to my demise.  While none of us know for sure how we will die, I know for me, it will never be because I was tricked into thinking a woman found me attractive.  So, there’s that.

Why Politicians Aren’t Motivated to Do the Right Thing

Hey 3.5 readers.

I try to avoid getting political on this fine blog, largely because the Internet/social media has ushered in a whole new era where people debate, not by the Marquess of Queensberry rules of old, but rather like the pro-wrestlers of today.

In other words, in the past, two parties would show up, debate, stay relatively cordial, and then agree to disagree.

Today, it’s pretty much you’ll inevitably say something that offends someone and rather than explain their side, they’ll just conk you on the head with a folding chair, Hollywood Hulk Hogan style.  OK, they won’t use a chair, but they’ll use fighting words.  They’ll get personal and at some point, it will be implied that your mother wears combat boots (less of an insult today than it was 30 years ago, but anyway.)

I digress.

Our political system sucks and politicians aren’t motivated to do the right thing.  TV and social media means the politicians react to the headlines of today, while they are happening right now, and in life, whether it is a disaster or a suspicious lump on your nether regions, what you did in the past to prepare for these sorts of things is more important than what you do once disaster strikes.

Think about your own budget.  Do you spend recklessly?  Maybe you do.  We’ve all been there from time to time.  But still, you have a general awareness that you need to save.  You need to pay bills on time.  You need to keep some money on hand for a rainy day.  Sure, you’ll see nice things and want them, but hopefully, some voice in your head reminds you that it might be easy to charge it on the credit card today, as if that credit is free money, but the bill will come back to haunt you.

Our politicians have zero motivation to NOT spend foolishly.  They have no motivation to prepare for a rainy day.  They have no motivation to keep borrowing low and they definitely have no motivation to keep some money on hand for a rainy day.

Think about the coronavirus.  I hate to break it to you, but we aren’t in a situation where everything is going to open up in May or whenever and we no longer have to worry about catching a dreaded disease.  This shutdown was never about that.  It was a fear that our hospitals weren’t up to snuff, that they didn’t have enough medical equipment, beds, and space to take care of a large influx of sick people.  Thus, if too many sick people flood the system, the medical staff can’t respond to patients fast enough.  This leads to more people getting sick and not being cured and before you know it, wammo.  It’s the Walking Dead world, and we are all Rick Grimes.  Actually, I’m awesome, so I’ll be Rick Grimes.  You nerds will be Shane at best.

Why didn’t the politicians prepare?  Swine flu happened in 2009.  That wasn’t as deadly as corona, but it was still bad.  It was bad enough that it scared Hollywood into making a movie called Contagion where Gwyneth Paltrow’s virus fighting doctor character (SPOILER ALERT) dies and gets his face cut off so her body can be studied for science.

But the politicians weren’t that motivated.  Politicians don’t get applause for making sure hospitals have enough beds.  They don’t get praise for making sure hospitals have enough ventilators.  They don’t get likes for making sure hospitals have enough masks and gloves or space.

Politicians get applause for dissing their opponents.  They get applause for dishing out free money and why not?  If you’re dumb enough to give me your credit card and tell me its ok to spend whatever I want, then  I’ll gladly buy a round of drinks for every schmuck at the bar, take the applause, then stick you with the bill.  Am I going to buy equipment to make sure people can be helped in the event of a crisis?  Pfft.  No.  Where’s the applause in that?

Think about how you run your own household.  You probably have some kind of a budget, even if its in your head.  You keep track of bills and expenses.  Maybe not on a nice flowchart but you have a general idea.  You have an idea of what in your house is broken and falling apart.  You have an idea of how much longer you can use this not so good appliance before you have to cave in and buy a new one.  You want to buy that fancy watch, sweet leather jacket or go on that awesome vacation, but you balance those wants with the needs of maybe some day you’ll need a new dishwasher, or your fear that a pipe will burst and you’ll need to hire a contractor to fix it and you wont be able to if youve spent all your money on comic books and bubblegum.

Unfortunately, politicians look at tax revenue as free money.  Free money to use to reward allies and punish opponents.  Free money to waste and why not because more free money will always come along.  And I hate to break it to you, but the money you give them today was already spent a long time ago.  The nation is being run on loans, or if you think about it, on a massive credit card.

When you see the US helping everyone around the world, that’s nice, until you realize we ran up the credit card to do it.  If you use your credit card to buy your neighbor’s kid an XBox, people will think you’re a nice person…for about five minutes, until everyone realizes your own kid doesn’t have shoes and your credit card bill is so high and your free cash is so low that your own kid will have to run around barefoot.

Overall, I wish there was a better system where politicians of both parties were inspired to keep costs and debts low, and to save, save, save for a rainy day.  To spend money on necessities rather than wants, to prepare for disasters ahead of time.

Long story short, 3.5 readers, unless you poop a crazy amount, you probably were always keeping a few spare rolls in your closet, so when the corona shit hit the fan, you didn’t have to run to the store and do a battle royale with all the people who didn’t keep enough rolls of butt wipe handy.  You did it because you knew you had to take care of yourself.  No one else will.

Politicians don’t think like that.  Spend, spend, spend.  Ignore potential looming disasters.  Someday, some other schmuck will be stuck with the bill and the blame while they’re chilling out on a beach somewhere…with all our toilet paper.

End of BQB rant.  Thank you.

PS – Imagine you are a parent.  You send your kid off to college.  You give them a prepaid debit card and tell them this is for important things only.  Your kid comes home and tells you they spent all their money on booze, parties, and they bought gifts for their dumb friends.  But then they tell you that they don’t have any money for text books, clothes or basic necessities.

Next time a politician gets on TV and tells you they spent your money helping out some OTHER country, maybe remind them that they were supposed to make sure the kids in America had shoes and textbooks and food first.

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Dead Heat (1988)

Not gonna lie, 3.5 readers.  This one is total garbage, yet the fun kind of garbage…like when you find a fresh eclair sitting on the top of the garbage, right there on a paper plate ala George Costanza and you debate whether or not to eat it.  (Don’t eat it, especially in this day and age.)

My coronavirus 1980s B movie marathon continues with this little gem that honestly, I had forgotten for a long time.

When I was watching “They Live” the other day, it made me think of a scene from a movie I saw when I was a kid where two undead zombie cops, after dying on the job, walk off into heaven, cracking jokes all the while.

For a second, I thought “They Live” was what I was thinking of, but it wasn’t.  So I did a deep dive on google and figured out what I was looking for was the 1988 crapfest Dead Heat.

It stars Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams as Detectives Doug Bigelow and Roger Mortis (cheesy, I know.)  When they respond to the scene of a jewelry heist only to find two masked gunmen who are able to survive despite being shot a ridiculous number of times, they find themselves hopping down a rabbit hole of intrigue, mystery and absurdly dark humor.

Long story short, Mortis is killed during the investigation, only to be brought back to life by the crime ring’s resurrection machine.  Alas, the machine is not foolproof, and Mortis has 12 hours to solve his own murder before he croaks for good.  A running joke is that his face and body fall apart throughout the film.

It’s morbid.  It’s downright sick in some parts.  A strange side trip to a restaurant leaves the duo fighting off undead cow and duck carcasses that were brought back to life after being stored in the meat locker.

Not gonna lie.  The plot is dumb.  The writing is dumb.  The jokes are so corny they are funny.  The special effects are lousy by today’s standards though for its time, not that bad.  Piscopo always got a bad rap as an unfunny comedian but I thought he actually pulled this movie together.

Vincent Price and Darren McGavin of Ralphie’s Dad in a Christmas story fame star as the film’s villains.  At some point, I lost track of what they were up to other than it is some sort of cabal of rich folk paying big bucks so they can live forever.  How that ties in to the undead jewelry robbers is beyond me.

I’ll admit though the movie starts out strong and finishes strong, I found the middle lagging, especially because Piscopo’s character disappears for a good chunk at that time.  At the middle point I found myself yawning and wishing for it to be over, but it redeems itself at the end when Mortis basically becomes a full fledged zombie, running around, absorbing bullets and beatings without a care in the world.

Unfortunately, this is one bad B movie that is probably destined for the toilet of cinema history.  At first, I had a hard time finding it until my smart TV suggested I could watch it for free on some app I’d never heard of called Tubi.  This movie has to be given away just to keep it alive, pun intended.

STATUS:  Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again and I admit, some of these 80s movies seem funnier as a kid only as an adult I look back and think, “Holy shit.  How did I get so old.  Was I really alive when the world looked like this and made movies like this?”

At any rate, it’s worth a peak.  Maybe get up in the middle to get some popcorn and go to the bathroom.  Wash your hands to avoid the COVID.  And Piscopo gets a bad rap because he was good in this.  He has some of the cheesiest jokes imaginable, but he delivers them with great enthusiasm, like he was hired to do a job and damn it, it doesn’t matter if this movie sucks, he’s going to smile and deliver those crap lines with as much gusto as he can.

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