Written by / 9/11/2012 / No comments /

FIFTEEN MOVIES WHILE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND

FIFTEEN DESERT ISLAND PICKS BY CULT FILM FREAK
These are not part of the greatest movies list, nor the personal favorites, but a list of fifteen movies to watch, again and again, if stranded on a desert island... So there! 
INTO THE NIGHT (JOHN LANDIS)
Jeff Goldblum glancing into the bedroom, seeing his wife in bed with another man… Dan Aykroyd suggests a hooker in Vegas… Michelle Pfeiffer falling in the airport parking lot like Griffin Dunne on the Moors in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON… David Bowie hides with a knife in a dark corner before fighting Carl Perkins… An Abbott and Costello monster movie playing on several television sets builds more suspense than any soundtrack could… First of three Desert Island pick written by Ron Koslow… Clu Gulager’s crooked FBI man takes some of the loot for himself, and asks, “Who’re you gonna tell?” – without needing an answer… Great, subtle Neo Noir...
CAGE (LANG ELLIOTT)
Brain damaged from Vietnam Lou Ferrigno learns how to read children books and then, during a tantrum, knocks over learning blocks… Reb Brown tells off a pretty insurance adjuster… Lou battles bulky dude in cage… Reb battles another bulky dude in cage… Michael Dante steals scenes as a troubled mobster in debt… You can watch this movie again and again, and it's far deeper than its title suggests...
CORVETTE SUMMER (MATTHEW ROBBINS)
Mark Hamill builds a killer Corvette from scraps in a junkyard… Hitchhiking to Las Vegas… A hooker in a van… Kim Milford blows up his own car... And in that same year's LASERBLAST, he blew up a STAR WARS sign... This is a movie with everything: trying to be both a drive-in exploitation flick and a mainstream big star action vehicle...
THE LINEUP (DON SIEGEL)
Eli Wallach learning how to pronounce words on an airplane… Wallach kills one guy in a steam bath, which is kind of homoerotic for its day, and intense… Powder on the doll’s face isn't what it seems… Vaughan Taylor playing a villain and falls onto the ice… Richard Jaekel drinks to drive the getaway car… Wallach's only been better in one movie as THE UGLY...
THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (JOHN HUSTON)
In a film with the gorgeous Marilyn Monroe, the prettiest actress appears at the end: the cause of Sam Jaffe’s fate and a talented jukebox dancer… Sterling Hayden’s accent comes and goes… The horses at the end seem to be eating the poor Noir anti-hero… John McIntyre turns off the police radios to show how the police are needed without seeming preachy… The heist isn’t the peak… James Whitmore’s posture… Brad Dexter’s cold eyes… One of the best Noirs ever...
BIRDS OF PREY (WILLIAM A. GRAHAM)
The helicopter scenes mixed with World War II battle footage… David Janssen sings along to jazz music without vocals because of copyright issues from the original TV movie… Ralph Meeker is stubborn and tough… The three bad guys with goatees and shades… One boring scene with a stock ingenue doesn't ruin this ever-watchable flick that would've made a great pilot (literally) for a series...
LIFEGUARD (DANIEL PETRIE)
Sam Elliott takes his time in a film that takes its time… All the lovely ladies, or rather, conquests… The class reunion is a bummer except for Anne Archer… The stud falls in love and has to grow up, and becomes a nervous mental wishbone on whether to keep on the beach or finally get a lucrative yet crappy job... Kathleen Quinlin as a 17-year-old strumpet when years earlier she was a high school senior in AMERICAN GRAFFITI… Second pick on the list written by Ron Koslow following INTO THE NIGHT, and now another…
FIRSTBORN (MICHAEL APTED)
Ron Koslow written movie… How Peter Weller’s character slowly progresses, or rather, regresses into a cocaine snorting Neanderthal when he started out a cool fella dating a single mom with two kids… Firstborn Christopher Collet’s rage builds up and winds down at the same time…Cory and Chris would return in the gloriously awful PRAYER FOR THE ROLLERBOYS...
THE ROARING TWENTIES (RAOUL WALSH)
James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart working together and yet, still hating each other… The war scenes, the hard luck scenes, and then the mob life, all good times until the stock market crashes, as does our love-struck anti-hero...
GUNG HO (RON HOWARD)
Michael Keaton lost in Japan… Michael Keaton even more lost back in America… Long Duck Dong turns in a great, semi-serious performance… Clint Howard gets a standing ovation within a Union meeting… Michael Keaton falling off his chair is great, reminiscent of his older flicks, like the one that started his career, also directed by Howard, NIGHT SHIFT… George Wendt bullies a Japanese woman in a grocery store… Cameo by Michelle Johnson, who was asked by yours truly if she had a bigger role that was cut, and she said yes, it was because viewers in pre-screenings didn't want nice guy Keaton to cheat on feminist girlfriend Mimi Rogers… Rick Overton reads magazines in the can while John Turturro defends his rights…
SSSSSSS (BERNARD L. KOWOLSKI)
The one and only Strother Martin in one of his only starring roles; as usually he serves as a side-character, though always memorable... Reb Brown as a bully… Dirk Benedict slowly morphs into a snake… Heather Menzies hates Reb Brown, and her father is the guy turning her man serpentine...
CAPTAIN AMERICA (RON HOLCOMB)
Heather Menzies loves Reb Brown… Reb driving his van lackadaisically during the opening credits… Reb sketches rocks on the beach and wants to make a career of it… Captain America’s plastic shield… The motorcycle… Lance LeGualt as the first villain before Steve Forrest wants to blow up the world… Robin Mattson as the sexy young damsel in distress… Reb acts incredibly in stuff like UNCOMMON VALOR and CAGE but is a bit dull here, but he's Reb, so it's okay...
JOURNEY INTO FEAR (NORMAN FOSTER)
Orson Welles as a Turkish General who spouts a glorious diatribe… Joseph Cotton and Everett Sloane along with him, although Cotton is the main star… Dolores Del Rio as a Tiger Woman… The hit man listens to a scratchy turntable… The climactic shootout in the rain, on the building, after the entire picture, taking place on a boat, yields slowburn suspense... And Welles admits he didn't co-direct this movie with the exception of a nice camera glide at the opening...
PIRANHA (JOE DANTE)
So to keep safe from the water, to remain content on the island, there's just no escaping killer fish after JAWS… Dick Miller as the Murray Hamilton type… Bradford Dillman loves tequila… Keenan Wynn’s dog, Brandy, lives, unlike Pippit… Heather Menzies plays a JAWS video game… Written by Belinda Balaski dies awesomely in Dante flicks… John Sayles wrote this script as well as ALLIGATOR and THE HOWLING, making him pretty damn awesome...
LET'S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER (HAL ASHBY)
Gonna need music on the Desert Island… Hal Ashby captures the Stones at their most laidback… Mick Jagger rules the stage… Keith and Ronnie’s notes fly into the breeze wonderfully… Charlie and Bill can’t lose… The sporadic montage scenes of the band's past is nice but not overdone... The camera, unlike early Stone's footage/concerts, doesn't just center on Mick... Hal captures everything, and beyond...
DESERT ISLAND 15 LIST BY JAMES M. TATE
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