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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Gary Busey

Lost Highway (1997)

Sometimes, you’ve just got to get off the road. Like, way off the road.

Cool and happenin’ jazz musician Fred (Bill Pullman) lives a pretty fine life with his lovely wife (Patricia Arquette). But for some reason, he constantly keeps on thinking that she’s having an affair, driving him to go a little bit nuts in the head. However, he is shocked when he discovers that she’s dead and is being framed for it all, without he himself knowing whether or not he actually did it. Meanwhile, I think, there’s a young mechanic named Pete (Balthazar Getty) who is suddenly drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress (Patricia Arquette) who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend (Robert Loggia). Are these two tales linked? And if so, by what?

Uh. I’ll take my chances at a Motel 6.

Lost Highway is, no surprise, another one of David Lynch’s mind-benders that probably takes more time to watch and decipher it, again and again, than is probably necessary. However, there’s also some fun to be had in that, what with the movie not forgetting to constantly throw small hints, clues and little bits and pieces at us that may or may not tell us the whole story, or may just lead us down a path towards more darkness and confusion than ever before. Then again, there’s some fun to be had in that, especially when Lynch himself seems to know of the maze he’s taking us on, rather making stuff as he goes along, as he can often sometimes seem to do.

And in Lost Highway, there’s some fun to be had, but also some annoyance, too. In a way, it’s hard to really pin-point what it is about this movie works and what doesn’t, as much as it’s easy to say what’s hitting its mark the way it’s intended to, and what isn’t. For Lynch here, it seems like he’s got the mood down perfectly; there’s a creepy air of neo-noir mystery, coldness, and darkness that actually makes it more interesting to watch, despite the slow pace and sometimes meandering story. But Lynch clearly put a lot of effort into the way the movie look, felt and sounded, with all aspects being top-notch and creating a very paranoid, sometimes eerie aura of danger lurking somewhere underneath, and it pays off.

Then, you get to the story and well, there’s a lot to be desired.

It’s not that Lynch made a mistake in telling these two different stories and demanding that we make the connection in our times, by ourselves, it’s just that they aren’t all that interesting to watch. Bill Pullman’s story has some interest-factor because of it seeming like an attack on the male-psyche, whereas Balthazar Getty’s seems to sort of go nowhere. It’s as if Lynch was so enchanted with Arquette in the first place, that he didn’t really care how much mileage he could get out of her – so long as she was willing to act in two, somewhat different roles, then so be it.

Like, is she even real?

And well, there’s not a problem with that, either, because Arquette is quite good in both roles, playing up her beauty and sweetness, as well as her possible viciousness and danger, too. Arquette’s dual roles, while showing her off as being both sleek and sexy, also give her a chance to fool around with the audience, not allowing us to know whether or not she’s a good person, a bad one, or even a person at all. After all, she could just be a figment of these two guys’ imaginations, as well as our owns. The movie doesn’t always make that clear and while it’s a solid job on Lynch’s part for keeping that guess up and about, it’s also a solid job on Arquette’s too for never losing our attention.

But it does deserve to be noted that Lost Highway, by a certain point, at least, does seem to have painted itself into a corner that it can’t get out of and when it’s all done, there’s a big question-mark left. While you can say that about practically every other Lynch flick, it feels more frustrating here, where it’s as if Lynch himself didn’t have the answers or conclusions, but instead, just wanted to take his good old time, going wherever he oh so pleased. Sure, that’s fine, mostly because it’s an entertaining and compelling watch, but sometimes, a little help here and there could definitely help.

Actually, I know they do. But hey, that’s why I am me and David Lynch is, thank heavens, David Lynch.

Consensus: Odd, creepy and downright freaky, Lost Highway highlights Lynch at his most subversive, but also shows that his knack for storytelling doesn’t always pan-out as well as he may intend.

7 / 10

Yeah, don’t ask.

Photos Courtesy of: Jay’s Analysis

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Lethal Weapon (1987)

Buddy cop movies: Yeah, we’re too old for that s**t.

Following the death of his wife, Los Angeles police detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) seems to have lost his mind a whole lot and gone totally off the deep end. While he is still working cases to the best of his abilities, he’s also become reckless, to the point of where he’s not only putting his own life in the line of danger, but those around him as well. However, when he’s reassigned and partnered with Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), he can’t help but clash with the older, by-the-books guy. Murtaugh is much more of a straight and narrow family man, whereas Riggs is a wild card who can’t be tamed, nor tied down and automatically, the two find stuff to bicker and banter about, even if none of it really matters to the job. But one fateful day, together, they uncover a massive drug-trafficking ring. Now, they have something to investigate and go after, which also means that they both have to learn how to trust one another and makes sure that they’ve both got the other’s back, even as dangerous as the situations can sometimes be.

Uh oh, everybody. Mel's about to snap. Look out!

Uh oh, everybody. Mel’s about to snap. Look out!

Lethal Weapon is a difficult movie to review all of these years later, because of how far, wide and weird the buddy-cop genre has gotten. There’s been many iterations over the years and while you definitely can’t say that Lethal Weapon invented it by any means, you can definitely make the argument that it helped popularize it and bring it back to the mainstream masses. After all, it showed that it didn’t matter odd your two buddies were – as long as they had a nice bit of chemistry and the movie itself was fun, then guess what? They can be as much of polar opposites as you want them to be!

And yes, Lethal Weapon definitely benefits from the great duo of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson – neither of whom were huge names by this point, but were slowly making their presences known to the audience out there. For some reason, they just gel so perfectly together like a solidly put-together sandwich of peanut butter and jelly on white; Glover is hard-as-nails and all about doing it the old school way, whereas Gibson is all about being a wild child no matter where he goes. It’s kind of corny, but because it’s Shane Black writing the script, believe me, it’s far from it.

Okay, maybe it is corny, but that’s sort of the point.

You can tell that Black has an affinity for these characters and this genre of action that, whenever he gets the chance to let his creative genius fly, he can’t help but let loose. So many conventions and cliches that writers would get attacked and put on a stick for, somehow, Black doesn’t have to go through; mostly, it’s due to the fact that his writing is two different things at the same time. One, it’s a homage to the kinds of movies he loves, but on the other hand, it’s also the same kind of movie that he’s creating and parodying, in and of itself. Anybody will tell you the best parody movies are the kinds that take on a serious route as they run on along and quite making wisecracks about stuff that always happen; Black never stops with the wisecracks, but it’s always fun to watch and listen to, even when, yet again, it feels like this has all been done before.

But that’s sort of the blessing and the curse of being released in 1987. For one, it was the heyday of action movies and right before they all took off the map to become the supreme juggernauts that they still continue to be until this very day, but it’s also placed in such a spot in movie history, that it’s hard to judge and base it on what’s considered “hip”, “cool”, and “in” nowadays. Black has clearly gone on to create better stuff in the years since, but Lethal Weapon will always and forever be his baby; it has his stamp all over it, to the point where it makes you wonder if anyone else could have written this and been as successful as he was.

Yup. He says it.

Yup. He says it.

But none of that jabbering matters.

What does matter in a movie such as this that the humor delivers, the action kicks all the right butt, and the characters are at least somewhat likable. Gibson and Glover are so immensely talented that they could have been playing pet rocks for all we knew – they’d still fire on all cylinders. It’s especially great to see the one role that really sent Gibson over into the American mainstream, where he portrays a wild fire, who may be a bit of a bad boy, but also the kind that saves the day at the end of everything. It’s a mixture of both sides that always kept Gibson interesting and mysterious, but especially so here.

And yeah, Glover’s great, too. He has the great line of the movie, obviously, but even the scenes with his family feel honest and pertinent to creating a bigger picture of who this character is. The dinner-scene between Murtaugh’s family and Riggs is entertaining, but also interesting in that it gives us a breather right slap dab in the middle, but doesn’t feel like it’s wasting anyone’s time or money. It’s just settling down so that we get to know these characters and their talented performers. No problem with that, as long as the bullets go flying and the cars do explode.

Which they do.

Plenty. Of. Times.

Consensus: Lethal Weapon will forever stand the test of time for being solidly entertaining buddy-cop flick, even if its been awfully duplicated over the years.

8 / 10

It's Shane Black so, uh, duh explosions.

It’s Shane Black so, uh, duh explosions.

Photos Courtesy of: Last Road Reviews

Piranha 3DD (2012)

Piranha’s just aren’t cool. Face it.

There’s something in the water again. And this time no one is safe from the flesh eating fish as they sink their razor sharp teeth into the visitors of the best summer attraction, The Big Wet Water Park.

Even though it has its haters, Piranha 3D was still a fun movie because it didn’t take itself too seriously, was gory as hell, and had a lot of unabashed fun to it that made it worth watching (especially if you’re buddies one night and looking for entertainment and you have no beer). However, they should have just left it that and stayed away from more Piranha’s cause honestly, who the hell cares?

This is the first flick to ever come out in theaters and Video-On-Demand at the same time, but if you want to save your money and not hate everything about yourself, just stay at home and not bother watching it. First of all, director John Gulager doesn’t do shit here with this promising premise, or anything else he has at his display either. The film looked as if it had no budget whatsoever, and half of the sets/effects are used from the first movie (pretty freakin’ obvious, too); all of the energy that the first one had, is lost in this sequel because it doesn’t even feel like these guys made this movie with the word “fun” in mind, they just tried to cash in on the “Piranha” name; and the scares just weren’t here at all. I know that these types of films aren’t really depending on being scary, but there wasn’t even a single “boo” moment to get me through here and there. Everything just sort of happened with no care whatsoever.

Also, the writing was just freakin’ terrible. The first flick had bits of humor here and there, but this film barely had any which really disappointed me because when you have a plot filled with piranha’s, water, boobs, and gore, you should be gettin’ a laugh-out-loud riot like the first. Instead, you just get some shit that tries hard as hell to be funny with it’s “look at me being quirky and weird” fashion, and ends up not even bringing a chuckle out of me once. Then again, humor is subjective so maybe you’ll find a lot more to laugh at than my sorry-ass did.

Anybody that’s going to see this film (or staying home to watch this, what I suggest more) knows that there’s going to be plenty of boobs and blood. Actually, that’s exactly what you get and I can say that the film does deliver on that promise but not with the same intensity as the first. The memorable sequence in the first one where all of the piranha’s come into invade the lake, killing and ripping to sheds, thousands and thousands of people was a freakin’ awesome scene and is sort of here too, but not with the same kinetic or creative energy as that one. It was just boring, with blood and gore that seemed too tame for a sequel like this, and the naked chicks weren’t even hot. They were just crass, and even though that’s not a bad thing for some people, for me, it just should have been placed better.

If there is anything that’s one bit of a redeeming quality for this flick, it’s David Hasselhoff playing the one character he plays to perfection: David Hasselhoff. Hasselhoff’s extended-cameo is actually pretty funny but definitely not used in the right way. It almost seemed like the film didn’t know what to do with him so they just stuck a bunch of Baywatch-like scenes in there and made it seem like they were doing something so funny and collective with him. It’s weird, he’s easily the best thing in this movie but he is also the most disappointing aspect of it as well. Don’t Hassle the Hoff, especially when you put him in a piece of shit like this.

As for the rest of the cast, they all try their hardest but nobody can really get past the paper-thin characters here. Katrina Bowden and Danielle Panabaker were nice ladies to look at, but ultimately, just seemed terribly bland; David Koechner usually can make me laugh in anything he does, but didn’t have me chuckle once at him; and Ving Rhames shows up to give this film a spark of energy and fun that it needed, but is also just another reminder as to how and why the first flick was so much better and so much fun in the first place. Also, be on the look-out for a Gary Busey cameo that sucks. Honestly, how the hell can you mess up a Gary Busey cameo!?!?

Consensus: Piranha 3DD tries it hardest to be like the first, but is unoriginal, unimaginative, has no sense of what’s funny or what humor is, features plenty of boobs and gore but not as much as it should, and is a sequel that doesn’t do anything other than try to cash-in on the “Piranha” name. Fuck this shit.

1/10=Total and Utter Crap!!!

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

It seems like Todd Phillips must really like some Hunter S. Thompson himself.

Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his Samoan lawyer, Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), go on a three-day romp from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Motoring across the Mojave Desert on the way to Sin City, Duke and his purple haze passenger ingest a cornucopia of drugs ranging from acid to ether.

After seeing ‘The Rum Diary‘ for the bore that it was, I realized that I needed to see the one and only Depp and Thompson connection that everybody’s been talking about for so long. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.

I haven’t really been all that familiar with a lot of Hunter S. Thompson‘s stuff but I can say that from what I know and hear, his shit is really crazy and out-of-this-world. This film is really freakin’ weird and it’s all about the insanely-real, and drug-influenced nightmares that go through this guy’s head when he’s taking LSD, coke, and some other crazy stuff that I didn’t even know existed. The whole film feels like a pretty long acid trip, which is much thanks to director Terry Gilliam.

Gilliam is great at these very eccentric and trippy set pieces that really get inside of your head and wonder just if what you are looking at is real, or all just a dream/imagination. Gilliam makes from what I hear pretty unfilmable stuff, and makes it damn realistic but not without making a lot of these drug-induced nightmares very funny and just very crazy to watch. Gilliam was the perfect choice for this type of film and even though this definitely isn’t the type of film that will make you wanna do some drugs, there is still a lot here that shows what it’s like to be on drugs and just how effed up your perception of reality can actually be.

The problem I think this film has is that a lot of the tone feels a bit uneven. Everything starts off all hilarious and very funny, without any type of real judgment on these dudes and all of the shameful things they do when they are completely drugged up, but that all starts to go away by the end of the film and that’s when it gets pretty dark. It blends right into this depressing kind of a film that doesn’t try to throw any messages about how “drugs are bad” at you, but to me, this still seemed a bit weird considering I spent the whole time just practically laughing at all these dudes.

I also feel like the film is a little too long and some scenes could have definitely been cut out, even though it seems like they were just going along with the material. The whole angle with the little, church girl seemed random and unneeded, and the diner scene where Gonzo totally gets big and nasty seemed very out-of-place for a film like this. It was a little too serious, a little too dark, and a little too sad to be placed in a movie where two guys are just tripped out the whole entire time.

Despite those little problems though, I still had a blast with this film, mainly because of the cast. Johnny Depp is the freakin’ man and totally crazy as Raoul Duke. Depp, as we all know, is perfect at playing these eccentric and cartoonish characters, and what he does here not only made me laugh but just watch his whole performance with happiness knowing just how great he really is with these sort of characters. Benicio del Toro is also totally convincing and crazy too as Dr. Gonzo. They are both great together and it’s funny how two completely different actors with two different styles, can come together on a film and just make everything seem like their having a great time with their roles.

Let me also not forget to mention that there are also tons and tons of cameos from a bunch of A-listers and random celebrities such as Ellen Barkin, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Flea, Lyle Lovett, Cameron Diaz, and even the man himself, Hunter S. Thompson. Oh and then there’s also Garey Busey, but he’s barely ever hard to miss in any film.

Consensus: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has its fair share of being too long and too uneven, but at other times, still has a direction from Gilliam that is beautifully trippy and inspired, and the cast just makes this whole bizarr-o film seem real without getting too serious.

8/10=Matinee!!

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Point Break (1991)

Surfers that rob banks.

To nab the culprits behind a string of bank heists, brash young G-man Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) poses as a wave rider to infiltrate a group of surfers who may have pulled off the robberies in this high-speed cult favorite. But after gaining the trust of the gang’s charismatic leader (Patrick Swayze), Utah gets swept up in their heady lifestyle — and is soon forced to decide where his loyalties lie. Gary Busey plays Utah’s testy partner.

That premise right there makes this film seem like a parody of itself and one that isn’t to be taken too seriously at all. But after two viewings already, this guilty pleasure never stops to entertain.

I might just have to point it out right now because in case you couldn’t tell already but this film is pretty cheesy. The dialogue here is all that macho, hammy bullshit that we hear in plenty of film’s that just drip with cheese and a lot of the time you’ll actually find yourself laughing at parts you really aren’t supposed to.

I mean for a second let’s think about this for a second, there’s this cop named Johnny Utah who basically learns how to surf, within a day. I don’t understand that one and neither do I understand the idea of the masks for the bank robberies considering you probably can’t see too well with them on anyway. I don’t know little stuff like that was pretty dumb but I think after you read the premise you’ll come to expect that already.

However, if you can get past all of that, this is a bangin’ film for many reasons, but the main one being director Kathryn Bigelow, who is yes, a chick. Bigelow knows how to film action the right way because she gives a lot of great scenes that are full of tension, style, and just overall bad-assness. I still don’t know what to call this; either a heist film, action movie, or a thriller, but if you look at it, you can also call it the first “extreme sports” movie that was ever made really.

There’s a couple of cool action sequences such as a chase scene through the under-belly of L.A. which was pretty cool, two awesome skydiving sequences, and a shoot-out scene that really has nothing to do with the plot, but still awesome. The action here is all-over-the-place but at the same time totally awesome because even though the dialogue and script may be terrible, the action will hold you over by how intense and stylish it looks.

Now when it comes to the acting it’s pretty good because the two lead actors they have here are just so cheesy, that it’s actually awesome. Keanu Reeves plays Johnny Utah (seriously?) and does his usual act where he says all of his lines with that “I don’t really know how to read my lines” voice, and that total over-play of some pretty bad jokes. However, I don’t really think Keanu is a bad actor because the one thing I will say about him is that even though he isn’t good by any real means, he still hasn’t gone around saying how good he is, or how he deserves an Oscar so badly. So for the most part, Keanu isn’t that bad here and he’s not really bad overall, just lame.

Patrick Swayze is always amazing in everything he does and he plays the surfer guru named Bodhi. Swayze just dreaps with coolness and honestly it may seem like I’m totally over-exaggerating a role about a surfer dude but Swayze plays him so well and has us love him but at the same time not know if we can actually trust him. As always, Swayze never stops to impress. Let’s also not forget that we have Gary Busey trying to play the steady FBI agent to Reeves’ wild-cat persona. It’s not that believable but Busey just fun to watch here and really made me laugh at times I didn’t expect to.

Consensus: The script is pretty horrendous and has it’s fair share of cheap, dumb lines, but the action is awesome, the story gets more fresh as it goes along, and the acting is actually pretty good for what it’s worth eventually adding up to a great guy’s movie directed by a woman.

8/10=Matinee!!

Point Break (1991)

Keanu Reeves tries to step away from a bro called Ted, to acting more serious playing a cop named Johnny Utah. Let the laughter begin.

Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), is a rookie FBI agent and former Ohio State quarterback who, with his partner Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), is investigating a string of bank robberies. Suspecting a connection between the bank robbers?known as the Ex-Presidents because they use masks of former US presidents?and local surfers, Utah goes undercover to infiltrate the surfing community.

The film sounds like a self-parody in itself(bank robbers who are actually surfers}, but it is anything but. It is a very exciting thriller, that features great scenes of action filled with a feel of mystery to it all.

The action scenes are surely the high point of this film. There are action scenes such as ones that are in the air, or there is one that is a chasescene through the slums of LA. Both are filmed with each amount of excitement and never get confusing of who is where.

The film does something very extradionary with having many categories put into one. It can be described as an action film, heist move, or simply a thriller. This is also groundbreaking because it is one of the first “extreme sports” movies.

The only problem I did have with this film is that although, I will agree he is the man, at some points it seems that Keanu Reeves just acts like hes reading lines that came from a script and not really fully thinking about them and acting them out. Though Swayze, as usual, gives another great iconic performance.

Though this movie takes a lot of crticism for being dumb I think it is still a great thrill ride to watch and it is a very awesome story to be a part of. At points its so mindless that it’s great to watch.

The ending is great and if you fully understand it you will be thinking the same thing.

9/10=Full Price!!!