Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: The Underdog


Hey, Thursday fans. Welcome to another edition of Thursday Movie Picks. That's if I can get this done before the stroke of midnight. We'll see how this goes. Anyhoo, the topic chosen this week by our host, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, in her infinite wisdom, is underdogs. That's a perfect fit with the NCAA Basketball Tournament, AKA March Madness, now in full swing. We love seeing the little guy beating the big guy, and that's what this post is all about. The question is, can I find some underdog movies you haven't seen a billion times, already. Maybe. Let's give it a shot.


D.C. Cab
(1983)
The Underdog: The D. C. Cab Company
Long before Uber came into existence, people used to call local cab companies when they needed a ride and had money to burn. The D.C. Cab company was one such company. Of course, they may have been the worst such company ever, at least in cinematic history. When we meet them their cars were raggedy, their drivers got robbed on a daily basis, most of those drivers are incompetent or, at least, unprofessional, and they're about to be run out of business by the superior Emerald Cab Company. Gary Busey, Mr. T, and Marsha Warfield led hilarity ensues. Well, really, Charlie Barnett leads this thing, but you don't know who he is. I do because it's one of the Movies I Grew Up With.

The Last Dragon
(1985)
The Underdog: Bruce Leroy
Bruce Leroy (Taimak) is an unabashed fan of the real Bruce Lee. He's such a fan he dresses like Lee and watches Lee's movies while eating popcorn with chopsticks. He only speaks in psuedo-Bruce, psuedo-philosophical clips. All of this marks him as an outcast in Harlem. Leroy does have one thing going for him. He is also a martial arts master, himself. He also finds himself trying to rescue the girl of his dreams from corporate baddies. What makes him an outcast? There's another villain in town, Sho-Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem (AKA "the baddest mofo lowdown 'round this town!"), against whom Leroy seems to not stand a chance. Yup, this is another one of the Movies I Grew Up With.

Super
(2011)
The Underdog: Frank AKA The Crimson Bolt
Frank (Rainn Wilson) has just lost the only girl he's ever loved, or more accurately, the only girl who has ever loved him, to her demons. She's got a drug habit and has holed up with the local kingpin. So what is Frank to do? He decides to become a superhero and try to rescue his woman. Of course, he has to put himself through training, so he starts reading comic books. He also gets some tips from the psycho who works at the comic shop played by a totally unhinged Ellen Page. She eventually becomes his sidekick. Let's just say neither of them is really suited for the job. Click here for my full review.

Phew...made it with a minute to spare.


20 comments:

  1. Oh, I like these choices. D.C. Cab is fucking nuts. Plus, how can you not root for a team that feature Gary Busey, Mr. T, Adam Baldwin, Paul Rodriguez, Bill Maher, and the Barbarian Brothers? The Last Dragon. "Am I the meanest? Sho'nuff!!! Am I the prettiest? Sho'nuff!!!! Am I... the baddest mofo in this town? Sho'nuff!!!!!" I still mark out every time Ernie Reyes Jr. gets mad and beats up one of Sho'nuff's goons. Super is underrated. It's bloody but fun as I just love seeing Ellen Page in that costume.

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    1. Always glad to see more love for DC Cab and The Last Dragon. Ellen Page was great in Super.

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  2. Oh Dell you do come up with the off center picks! I've seen only one of these-D.C. Cab which was ridiculous and quite stupid really but fun if you walk into it with that knowledge. Super sounds preposterous, in a way an even more absurdist take on the John Ritter film Hero at Large which was quite absurd to begin with. How did I miss The Last Dragon? It sound like one of the package of junky "cinema" along with The Malibu Bikini Shop, Hard Ticket to Hawaii etc that populated late night TV in the 80's and 90's!

    I know that usually underdog films are geared to be inspirational sometimes to the point of mawkishness but if they're done right they can be enjoyable and uplifting in the best way which my three picks are for me. I love all three but my last is one of my all time favs.

    Little Miss Sunshine (2006)-Young Olive (Abigail Breslin) has a dream shared by her grandfather (Alan Arkin). She wants to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine contest but that requires a road trip with her dysfunctional family, inventor dad Richard (Greg Kinnear), willfully mute brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), suicidal Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) and flustered mom Sheryl (Toni Collette). At first it looks doubtful but then they all pile into the van and go on a bumpy road to give Olive her chance despite the odds. Just quirky enough to be charming without wearing out its welcome thanks to a great cast all doing terrific work. Arkin won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

    Miracle (2004)-The true story of Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) the hockey coach who took the rough material that was the US hockey team and whipped them into Olympic gold medal winning shape. Wonderfully detailed with athletes rather than actors as the team mates, though they perform their lines well, and a powerfully convincing lead performance from Russell, one of his best. Despite the known outcome the film is quite involving and the end exciting.

    October Sky (1999)-Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is just another backwoods teen in a slowly dying coal town in the 50’s until he witnesses Sputnik flying by one night. Filled with the wonder of space and encouraged by his young teacher Miss Riley (Laura Dern) he convinces his friends O’Dell & Roy Lee to work with him to try and build rockets. Enlisting the school outcast and brain Quentin they plunge in against many obstacles, including the stubborn resistance of Homer’s good but pigheaded father (Chris Cooper). Meeting with some success they determine to enter the national science competition in pursuit of college scholarships. A great film with tremendous performances full of determination to succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds and all around American can-doism with one of the most beautifully evocative and fitting scores ever.

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    1. DC Cab is perfectly ridiculous in every way. Super is definitely a more absurdists version of Hero at Large, even more than Kick-Ass, if you've seen that. The Last Dragon is pretty much the opposite of those movies. It's got a few choice words but it's really a family flick. Believe it or not this was made by Motown Films, yes the same Motown. In fact, the actual title when it was released was Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon.

      I adore Little Miss Sunshine. Such a wonderful film, that is. Somehow, I haven't seen Miracle. I know all about the actual story so I never felt inclined to watch it. Haven't seen October Sky, either.

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    2. I think you'll love both of them. I know you liked Hidden Figures and October Sky though different in many ways has a similar vibe.

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    3. Cool. I've always heard good things about October Sky, just haven't gotten to it.

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  3. I have not seen any of these films but I have heard of the first 2 and the third one sounds quirky and fun to watch...now on my list to see.

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    1. It is quirky, but it is very dark comedy. And it gets quite gory. Just a warning.

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  4. YES I love that you picked Super! That movie is so amazing. I expected it to be a dumb comedy throughout then it just got dark. I haven't seen The Last Dragon since I was a kid, and I've never seen D.C Cab.

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    1. Oh yeah, Super gets dark quick and gets progressively darker. D.C. Cab is great fun.

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  5. Super is SO underrated. Ellen Page is HILARIOUS in it, and it'a all-around much better than the similarly-premised Kick-Ass.

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    1. I personally prefer Kick-Ass, but really appreciate Super. It is very underrated.

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  6. I haven't seen any of these but I think I'll watch Super, that suit is enough to make me want to see it. Also, it sounds fun.

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    1. That suit is priceless, isn't it? It is fun. Just be warned, it's also dark and very bloody.

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  7. The Last dragon sounds good! I was not a fan of of Super, I found Ellen Page disturbing and the rest of the film super sad.

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    1. Oh, she was definitely disturbing, but I'm pretty sure that was on purpose. No arguing there is an undercurrent of sadness to it all, too, so I can see why you wouldn't like it. The Last Dragon is loads more fun, though.

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  8. The last one is such a great premise.

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  9. Good picks. Your first someone sounds insane. Gary Busey and Mr T in the same movie...

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