Per usual, on a Wednesday night, as I do social media stuff for The Less Desirables, I watch either a crappy sci-fi/fantasy film from the 70s/80s or something nostalgic for me. It was the latter for me, tonight.
It was 1984’s Johnny Dangerously starring Michael Keaton, Joe Piscopo, Griffin Dunne, Marilu Henner and Maureen Stapleton.
I remember watching it any and every time I could find it on HBO when I was growing up. There were many one-liners that I loved as a kid. And, for whatever reason, I never got the over-the-top absurdity of it all. I got that he was trying to appeal to the best side of the kid, but I never got how incredibly implausible it was. I mean, snow in July, the $49.95 for pancreas surgery, and so on.
There are a lot of coincidences, too. Danny DeVito and Marilu Henner were both in Taxi. Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton were both in Batman Returns a few years later. Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo were in Wise Guys in 1986. When Johnny was talking about going “legit,” he said one of the benefits of doing so was that he could “say hi to his neighbor, Fred.” That neighbor was a reference to Fred Rogers, whom Keaton worked for as a stagehand in Pittsburgh. There are more things, too.
I loved the over exaggeration of the English language by Italian mob boss, Roman Moroni. Farggin’ Ice-holes. Having “your bells in a sling.” Bastiches. Cork-Soakers. You can figure out what each of those really is.
All the “you shouldn’t have done that, Johnny. My mother did that once… once,” lines. The fact that “Weird Al” Yankovic did the theme song (and it’s one of my favorite “Weird Al” tunes). The fact that Alan Hale, Jr. is the desk sergeant. The fact that Ray Walston is the newspaper vendor that goes from blind to deaf to an amnesiac. All those things make me love this movie more. There are little nuances all throughout and really, over half I never noticed until tonight. I don’t know how.
Rotten Tomatoes didn’t like it. They have it as only 44% Rotten. But the audience score was 63%. So, I guess pftpftpftpft (raspberry sound) to the critics for that one. Yeah, it wasn’t that good, but it was fun.
If you find it and get a chance to watch it, you need to. It may not be your cup of tea and you may think it’s stupid, but that’s okay. I like silly and stupid. It all works for me. So, that’s my love of this film, too. Yay, me!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Dominus vobiscum, Nabisco. Espiritu sanctu. They gasthebus. We gasthebus. You gasthebus. We missed the bus. They missed the bus. When’s the next bus? Summa cum laude. Magna cum laude. The radio’s too laude. Adeste fidelis. Semper fidelis. High fidelis. Post Meridian. Ante Meridian. Uncle Meridian. All the little Meridians. The Magna Carta. MasterCharge it. Dum procellas. Lotsa Vitalis.” – Charlie