Emilio Estevez

Over Under - Large

John Huston’s 1941 detective tale The Maltese Falcon gets credit for a lot of things. Not the least of which is the launching of both Huston’s career and the career of its star, Humphrey Bogart. It also gets credit for beginning the longstanding and successful onscreen pairing of Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, and heck, more often than not it’s pointed to as the beginning of the entire film noir movement of the 40s. That’s a lot of acclaim for a pretty simple mystery story about a salty detective named Sam Spade trying to find the whereabouts of a statue shaped like a bird. The late 70s and early 80s were a time when genre films were king. Not only were the titans of the industry, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, tearing up the box office with huge event franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but lots of other directors were getting in on the act as well. Joe Dante hit it big with horror/comedy Gremlins, Robert Zemeckis struck gold with sci-fi/comedy Back to the Future, and even directors like Walter Hill made their names doing exploitation stuff like The Warriors. But, despite having the schlocky grit of something like The Warriors and the goofy humor of something like Gremlins, Alex Cox’s 1984 film Repo Man remains a movie remembered only by those plugged into the pulse of cult film. It’s a trivia question, an obscure pick, and not a cherished childhood memory like all the others.

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Over Under - Large

The concept of satire has been around for a really long time. I’m sure it goes back to some famous Roman or something. But the modern spoof movie as we’ve come to understand it has much more recent roots. Now, by spoof I’m not talking about satire in general, something that comments on familiar tropes, I’m talking about one movie that makes direct references to other, very famous movies. A lot of people trace these things back to the 1980 release Airplane!, a movie that’s still highly regarded and that launched its creators on the path to doing things like Top Secret!, The Naked Gun, and Hot Shots!; all films that are also generally well-regarded among fans of comedies. One spoof that isn’t so fondly remembered is the 1993 film National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1. Its star, Emilio Estevez, got so much crap for starring in what was viewed as a lesser spoof movie, right after his brother did the Hot Shots! movies, that they even had to address the issue in the film. And the director, Gene Quintano, he didn’t go on to do shit. Does this movie deserve the reputation it has for being a bottom tier pretender, though? No way! Have you watched it lately? There’s a lot of good stuff in there.

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Seeing as this is the first go around, you might be wondering to yourself what “Over/Under” is, and rightly so. It’s a new weekly column in which I will take to task a film that has gotten more than its fair share of success and praise, and then champion a related film that comparatively gets little play. This isn’t necessarily to say that the first film is bad and the second one good, just that the disparity in love between the two is a wrong that needs to be righted. But if you choose to believe that what I’m writing is more mean-spirited and antagonistic than intended, that’s fine with me too. Let’s spar in the comments; I could use the attention. For our inaugural column we’ll be looking at John Hughes’s 1985 detention drama The Breakfast Club, a film that the teenagers who work for me still mention as being a classic, and David Seltzer’s 1986 nerd meets girl movie Lucas, a film that I can’t get a darn one of those kids to give a chance.

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Your mission, if you choose to accept it… During an undercover mission in Prague, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) witnesses his spy team picked off one by one—including his mentor and friend, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). With the blame of sabotage and treason on his head, Hunt goes on the run to clear his name, entrap the real conspirators and deliver the perfect dose of tentpole bravado.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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