Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Airplane Movies


Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking. Please direct your attention to the attendants at the front of the site.


Please note there is only exit. It is located in the top right hand corner and marked with a large red 'x.' In the event of an emergency, put your head between your legs as far as possible and kiss your ass goodbye.

Of course, all of this just means that our wonderful host, Wanderer @ Wandering Through the Shelves has chosen Airplane Movies as our topic for this week's Thursday Movie Picks. We've already taxied down the runway, now let's take off.

The Concorde: Airport '79
(1979)
What the hell is going on in that picture? Oh, we'll get to that in a minute. Let's start with some real life facts. If you grew up in the 80s or earlier, you are well aware that the Concorde was a real plane. It was the world's first commercially used supersonic jet. By supersonic, I mean it flew at twice the speed of sound. It made trans-Atlantic flights in less than half the time of other commercial airliners. If memory serves, it was also bigger than a 747. The few French and British companies that used them put them down in the early 2000s because they were losing tons of money on them due to the rising cost of fuel and lack of interest after 9/11. Now, onto the movie. It bears the word "Airport" because it is the fourth movie in that hugely successful franchise. They should have stopped at three. Here, an American company has just purchased a Concorde and sends it on its maiden flight. Of course, some arms dealer wants to blow it out the sky thanks to some Russian connections he has. Cold War stuff. And away we go on a nutty, inadvertently hilarious adventure. As proof, let's talk about that picture. You're not seeing it wrong. What's going in is the pilot, none other than disaster movie staple George Kennedy, is doing barrel rolls while evading a couple of fighter jets, and simultaneously firing a flare gun out the window of the cockpit to confuse the heat-seeking missiles fired by the fighter planes. All with a plane full of passengers. Seriously.


Stewardess School
(1986)
We follow a guy who can't cut it as a pilot thanks to his ridiculously poor eyesight. Since he still wants to fly he enrolls in Stewardess School. I have no idea if that's really thing, or if a guy could get into in the '80s. Anyhoo, once he gets there, he's part of a class of misfits that the lady who runs things wants to get rid of. Of course, they all graduate and are assigned to Stromboli Air where things go haywire on their first flight. So basically, it's a rip-off of Police Academy made for the late night cable crowd. So yeah, I've seen this a few times. Anything that happens is of much less importance than the numerous shots of Judy Landers in various stages of undress. As proof, check out the movie poster below featuring her draped across a motorcycle because that makes sense for a movie about stewardesses.




Airplane vs. Volcano
(2014)
Just off the coast of Hawaii, or somewhere in the midst of its seven islands, it's not really clear to me, a circle of  volcanoes has suddenly sprouted out of the ocean. When I suddenly, I really mean it, like, it happens in all of ten minutes. And these aren't just any volcanoes, these are constantly active ones spewing hot lava everywhere. By lava, I mean really horrible cgi orangey stuff. With that comes lots of smoke. By smoke, I mean super-duper billowy even more horrible cgi gray stuff that looks like it was made on a computer that was out of date in the early 90s. This movie is like live-action and animation mixed in the worst way possible. Anyhoo, a commercial airliner was minding its own business when it found itself directly over this newly formed ring of volcanoes. Superman...er...Dean Cain is one of the plane's passengers. Good thing because, as tends to happen in such movies, both pilots shortly find themselves dead. Cain and company try to keep the plane in the air and get out of harm's way. That's not so easy because before the pilots kicked the bucket they locked the auto-pilot and no one else knows the password to unlock it. It seems the best they can do is force it to fly in a circle above said volcanoes. Uh-huh. Sigh. The military gets involved trying to save them, and Robin Givens is the expert volcanologist they bring in to help them. If you reach back into the furthest recesses of your mind, you might remember a time when Dean Cain and Robin Givens were legitimate actors. This movie is proof that that time has long since passed. To point is so much wrong happens here, it's right. For instance, look at that pic again. Let me 'splain. One of the engines has gone out and some dude thinks he can fix it. So, the smart folks on board get every seat belt on the plane and tie it together somehow, wrap it around dude's waist and sends him out there in mid-flight. Mind you they are circling volcanoes and have been for quite some time. Lava is all over the damn place. If you know anything about lava you don't really have to be all that close to it to feel it. Not only doesn't this dude feel it, he doesn't have on any type of protective gear, not even gloves while he's out there messing with this engine. Last I checked, metal was a damn good conductor of heat. This dude doesn't even pretend the metal parts on the outside of a plane directly over lava spewing volcanoes could possibly be hot. Gotta love it. In other words, this and every movie in this post qualifies as so bad it's awesome!


Bonus Pick...

Because This is What You Were Expecting...


Snakes on a Plane
(2006)
If there's a movie that embodies the spirit of "so bad it's awesome," this is the one. The story, which I even forget, involves a witness in a high profile case against a gangster is being flown from Hawaii to California to testify. The important part of this is that one of those agents is, of course, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Instead of either blowing up the plane or sending in some of his goons to kill the witness, our gangster is a bit more creative. He sets it up so that a time-release crate full of poisonous snakes is placed on board the plane. When the crate opens, all hell breaks loose. By hell, I mean cheesy dialogue, bad special fx, and just pure nuttiness. And I dare you not to get pumped up when Jackson says THE iconic line. Yeah, the one where he tells us everything of which he's had enough.


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24 comments:

  1. MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES ON A MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!!!! Man, I had fun seeing that in the theaters. Airport '79: Concorde has been showing a lot lately on Cinemax. From what I've seen so far, it's pretty bad. A waste of Alain Delon and Sylvia Kristel doesn't get naked. Fuck that!

    Stewardess School, now you're talking. Ah, that is so hilarious. Especially what Judy Landers does to calm that passenger. I also love the part of the fat woman (I forgot her name) where she sees everyone eating and she goes "aw fuck it" as she kills her diet.

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    1. SoaP is tremendous fun. Wow, had no idea Concorde was playing on Cinemax. Yes, it's bad. And no, Sylvia Kristel does not do what she does best. Very impressed you've seen Stewardess School. That one's a gold mine.

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  2. I almost went with Snakes on a Plane, that movie was hilariously terrible. I haven't seen the others. I did see the Concorde at the Dulles Air and Space museum though, that was a gorgeous plane. The windows were so tiny.

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    1. Hilariously terrible is a great phrase for it. Never saw a Concorde in person though. I would love to. Apparently, at least according to this movie, those tiny windows slide open, lol.

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  3. I have always wanted to see Snakes on a Plane and just never have.

    I don't know what's wrong with me.

    But the real story here is that image from Concorde being the funniest thing I've ever seen, ever. LOVE that you go there every week with these!

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    1. SoaP is a movie to watch while indulging in adult beverages. I'm sure there's a drinking game to be made from this movie that will leave you hammered.

      Funny thing is I actually forgot about that scene in Concorde until I rewatched last week for the first time in years. Pure hilarity. Thanks.

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  4. I've always wanted to see "Snakes on a Plane" but never have. Even if it's bad I think it's worth watching only for Jackson's line!

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    1. It is firmly within that realm of films that are horrible, but really entertaining. Have at it.

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  5. What a collection! I can and can't believe I've only seen the first one! Frankly after the first Airport they should have stopped though Airport '77 where they're underwater while ridiculous is better than the other sequels. Concorde though makes sure the series goes out on an ignominious note, the scene you highlight is a perfect example of the hooty foolishness it asks us to swallow.

    I can't tell you how many times I passed by Stewardess School in video stores, just the picture of Judy Landers on the cover, hell the presence of Judy Landers in the cast!, kept me from watching, now I regret that...I'll probably never be able to find it now. I purposely avoided Snakes on a Plane because it got such a trashing but you make it sound like fun so I'll have to give it a look. Airplane vs. Volcano is a new one to me but Dean Cain & Robin Givens and that storyline make it an eye rolling must see!

    Love these kind of films and had trouble settling on only three so my solution was to do five. It could have been ten!

    Airport (1970)-The big one that started the disaster trend of the 70’s. A little hokey to be sure but eminently watchable. Multiple storylines intersect during a major snowstorm inside an airport when a desperate man boards a plane bound for Rome carrying a bomb. It’s all rather melodramatic but the all-star cast keeps it entertaining. Helen Hayes won a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance but it’s Maureen Stapleton who gives a real and very touching portrayal of a woman in an impossible situation. Jacqueline Bissett is young and beautiful, the chicest stewardess to ever fly the friendly skies.

    Flight of the Phoenix (1965)-During a sandstorm in the Sahara a plane crashes in the desert, by chance one of the passengers is an airplane designer who formulates a plan to build a flyable plane from the wreckage but they must rush before their food and water runs out. Great cast, Jimmy Stewart, Peter Finch, Richard Attenborough and Ernest Borgnine among others, in a tense adventure. This was remade with Dennis Quaid in 2004, avoid that version it is T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E!!

    Five Came Back (1939)-Twelve people (including a young Lucille Ball) bound on a flight for South America are blown off course in a storm and crash land in a jungle known to be inhabited by head hunters. As the crew race against time to fix the plane the situation brings out the best and worst among the survivors. When at last the engine is repaired only five can fly out, who will they be? Trim little thriller was remade as Back from Eternity in the 50’s.

    Bonuses-Jet over the Atlantic (1959)-Utterly preposterous low budget quasi-thriller with gaping plot holes and absurd actions but still sorta fun. It's the very absurdity of the story, poison gas floating through the plane that only effects certain people, guns being shot off willy-nilly without regard to the fact that they are aboard a plane that makes you suspend belief and enjoy it for what it is. Even with all its faults this is still more fun than suffering through many other more self-important films. Something for a rainy afternoon.

    Zero Hour! (1957)-The film that was the inspiration for Airplane! is a competently made drama if you can watch it as a separate viewing experience…but that’s a big if. Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell play it straight but you can see the influence they had on the other film. Sterling Hayden is stiff as a board, Lloyd Bridges had to change practically nothing to parody it. Even if you are trying to be detached and see it apart from the spoof a line will pop up like "Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit smoking." and it takes you right out of the movie.

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    1. Thanks. Funny you mention avoiding SS because of Landers. For me as a teen, she was all the more reason to see a movie.

      I've seen the original Airport, but it was so long ago I don't remember anything of it. Haven't seen the original FotP, but unfortunately, I have watched the remake. Bad choice on my part. Never even heard of FCB or JOtA. FCB intrigues me if only for the chance to see a young Lucille Ball do something pre-I Love Lucy. Been meaning to watch ZH simply because Airplane! is so great. Need to get on it.

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  6. Let's be honest here: Airplane! is surely the single greatest airplane movie ever made.

    And don't call me Shirley.

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    1. No argument from me. It's probably my favorite spoof of all-time.

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  7. O. M. G. these all look AMAZING.

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    1. Amaze-balls would probably be a more appropriate term for these flicks.

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  8. You had me at Dean Cain and Robin Givens:) What more can be said unless they are on a plane travelling through a volcano while it is Christmas time and they fall in love trying to get the Christmas presents to the orphans on time. Good ole George Kennedy-I love it that he was in every Airport movie and this one takes the cake! The Stewardess movie sounds like a great way to see all the guest stars from the Loveboat. I have to see that one too. Nothing like bad movies that are so bad they are good. I still have to see Snakes on a Plane

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    1. Sadly, Givens is never on the plane. She's on the ground trying to help plan the rescue. It is streaming on Netflix right now. Please check out the nuttiness os SS, but Concorde is where you're more likely to see Love Boat guest stars with Kennedy, Susan Blakely, Jimmie Walker, Charo, and Cicely Tyson in the cast among others. Now go watch Snakes on a Plane, now!

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  9. I haven't seen any of these movies but I wanted to watch Snakes on a Plane and Airplane vs Volcano - quite curious about the 'fame' of the former, in the mood for a good bad movie for the latter. Great picks!

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    1. Please be in the mood for a good bad movie when you watch either one. Thanks.

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  10. And the fact that Jackson threatened to pull out when they were going to change name haha. My favourite is the the totally obvious Airplane, but it could be in just for that scene of "pull yourself together" with the ever increasing weapons.

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    1. Forgot SLJ did that, lol. Truth told, Airplane! is my favorite, too.

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  11. I haven't seen any of these either, but an amusing write up Dell. I love the explanation for that shot from the Concorde movie, haha how bizarre! I really want to see Snakes on a Plane, it sounds like some cheesy fun

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    1. Thanks! Snakes on a Plane in definitely cheesy fun.

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  12. Airplane vs. Volcano - is this a SyFy movie, they're big on the whole versus thing. What will they pair up next.

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    1. I think so. It was made by Asylum, so there's a good chance of it.

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