Friday, July 22, 2011

Worth Mentioning - They Said It Couldn't Happen Again

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

This week, Cody discovers treasure through a bad movie event and Jay talks Goodbye Solo.

Last weekend, a consolidation of bloggers hosted their second Netflix Instant Bad Movie Marathon, where three movies perceived as being bad were watched and anyone could join in on the live tweeting with the hashtag #badnetflix. Having enjoyed the Cheese Magnet live tweeting events for H.O.T.S. and Black Belt Jones, I decided to participate in this one as well. I'm glad I did, because the first movie we watched was


This film, directed by a fellow named Worth Keeter, contains everything you could possibly want from an '80s action movie, or perhaps from movies in general.

It starts off with a bunch of ninjas with machine guns kidnapping a man who is the world's leading expert in lazer technology. The ninjas are working for a group of neo-Nazis called The Order of the Black Eagle, which is led by a grown-up Hitler youth and is based in an old temple ruin in South America near the village of El Gato Grande (The Big Ugly). They've saved Hitler's brain, along with the rest of him, keeping their Fuhrer's cryogenically frozen body in their headquarters. Hitler's birthday is coming up and the Black Eagles have big plans, which include reviving him and firing the large proton beam they're forcing the lazer expert to work on.

It's up to special agent Duncan Jax to stop them. Played by Michael Bolton lookalike Ian Hunter, Jax is presented as the American answer to James Bond, although his accent doesn't quite sound American. They lean heavily on attempting to ape Bond in the first act, including having Jax wear a tux under a mission outfit, visit swanky locations, and get briefed by a Q-type character about the gadgets he's getting for his mission, which include a lighter that fires an explosive discharge, a grappling rope in a cigarette holder, a wire saw in a tie, a Thunderball-esque breathing apparatus, etc.

At first, Duncan Jax is teamed with a female agent named Tiffany Youngblood, and when things go awry he ends up leading a raid on the Nazi base with a team of mercenaries headed by another female agent, this one named Maxie Ryder. Ryder's mercenaries are like a low budget, live action answer to the '80s G.I. Joes, each has their own style, specialty, and cool nickname: Cowboy, Hammer, Spike, Special Delivery, Bolt, and Juice.

Spike, whose weapon of choice is knives, is played by Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman, who unfortunately passed away before this film was released. There's a dedication to her in the end credits.

Watch during the climactic battle, which is 10 minutes of the villains proving to be completely inept and getting their asses handed to them, to see what I'm assuming is an accident that could've resulted in a terrible injury, but apparently didn't: Hammer tosses a bad guy off a three wheeler ATV and drives the vehicle off, casually running over the stuntman's head as he goes.

I've gotten this far without even mentioning the best, most memorable thing in this movie - Duncan Jax has a pet baboon named Boon who accompanies him on missions, wearing cute outfits, giving people the "F-U" arm jerk, and operating machinery. He wins over the hearts and minds of the audience during one sequence in particular, when he comes to save the day driving a tank. A baboon driving a tank. I didn't know my life was missing this until I saw it.

The Order of the Black Eagle may be a "bad" movie, but it is spectacular in its badness and totally awesome.

Duncan Jax returns in a sequel called Unmasking the Idol, which is also available on Netflix. I will be watching that A.S.A.P.


This is a very weird film, in which a love story between a sailor and a single mother is paired with a subplot of the woman's son getting mixed up with a bad group of kids who have their own twisted view of the world.

Kris Kristofferson plays the titular sailor, Jim Cameron, who meets young widow Anne, played by Sarah Miles, when she gets permission to give her excited thirteen-year-old son Jonathan a tour of his ship. To show her gratitude for the kind way Cameron deals with the situation, Anne invites him to dinner. Soon they're falling in love and engaging in sex so steamy that it was even featured in a Playboy spread at the time.

Unbeknownst to them, there's a hole in the bedroom wall, through which Jonathan spies on all of Anne's intimate activities. Jonathan is not happy about Anne and Cameron spending so much time together, taking their attention away from him and the sea. And there are even darker things going on with Jonathan...

Jonathan is part of a group of boys led by a kid known only as Chief. Anne has told Jonathan to stay away from Chief, a good call that Jonathan ignores. Chief is practically a cult leader to his pals, discouraging them from acting their age, telling them that their only responsibility is to each other. The other boys are not to be addressed by name but by number, Two through Five. He tells them that there's no such thing as right and wrong or morality, adults just made up these rules to protect themselves, and the rules must be broken. Aside from his sermons, Chief casually feeds firecrackers to seagulls and leads the boys in the dissection of animals.

It's this strange, disturbing Jonathan/Chief storyline that will make this movie stick in my mind, it was totally unexpected and the places it goes to are nowhere good.

Jay's mentions:

First off, I announced my new film over at Shoe Strings With No Shoes and will probably have a few special feature blog posts coming to Life Between Frames within the next week or two. I have shot two heavy days of principal photography and will be blogging about those once I announce some casting news.

Directed by Ramin Bahrani
Starring Souleymane Sy Savane and Red West.

I saw this movie back in February of 2010, but I haven't gotten around to watching any new movies lately, so I figured I'd mention it now since it is definitely deserving of some words here.

The story is short and sweet, Solo is a Senegalese cab driver in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He forms a bond with an older white man named William when William offers him a sweet deal-- drive him to the top of the nearby Blowing Rock Mountain and leave him there. Solo finds this to be an odd proposal and wonders as to the secrecy William engages during their discussions of it. The film is dedicated to the time they spend together leading up to that cab ride.

The acting in the film is great, as Souleymane Sy Savane and Red West both turn in awesome performances from completely different ends of the spectrum. Solo is fast-talking and fun-loving while William is old, weathered, and chooses his words very wisely. The two of them couldn't be more perfect for their respective roles and they share an odd but entertaining chemistry.

If you're a fan of films like these then I highly recommend that you take the ride and give this one a view. It's still available for instant viewing on Netflix so go check it out! Here's the trailer though be warned, I thought it was a little corny compared to the actual film. Especially the random shot of Solo playing soccer after yelling out "Original player!" in a completely different scene.

Interesting side note: Through seeing this film I also learned that Red West was great friends with Elvis.

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