Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: Character Name in Title

Happy 2018, just in case I didn't wish it to you already. Thursday Movie Picks, hosted once again by our fearless leader in exploring the fourth day of the work week, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves. She's got lots of great topics lined up for us to play with, starting with this one. We're talking movies with a character's name in the title. I was going to go the super easy route and just pick out three Batman titles and call it a day. I couldn't start the year like that. I needed something more...um...Dell. Looking back through my recent picks for TMP, I've been playing it pretty straight. Being more Dell, means at least trying to go with a theme within the theme. You know what? The most beautiful woman in the history of the Delliverse, other than Mrs. Dell...and Nia Long, of course, starred in a bunch of movies in which her character's name serves as the title. I'm talking none other than Pam Grier. Before posting any of those, I realized I used most of them at one time or another for TMP. However, the train of thought that brought me to the mercy of Ms. Grier's considerable womanhood led me here...


Cleopatra Jones
(1973)
Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson), Cleo for short, travels the world as a supermodel, Jack. But that's just a cover for her real gig, ya dig? No? Then peep this, she does the James Bond thing for Uncle Sam, bustin' up big drug cartels and whatnot.Yeah man, she even got a bad ride - a brand new, '73 Corvette Stingray, silver and black - look mean when it come 'round the corner. To be honest, I don't even know he she fit in that thang, this babe stands 'bout 6'2." Anyway, she done messed with the wrong one. She took out a whole poppy field that belongs to Mommy (Shelley Winters), the baddest druglord out there. And Mommy wants some get-back.

(Oddity to watch for: Shelley Winters as the oversexed lesbian druglord)


TNT Jackson
(1974)
Listen, that Neeson dude ain't the only one with a particular set of skills. This chick, Diana Jackson (Jeannie Bell) - that's what her mama call 'er but we call 'er TNT, showed her stuff 30 years before that. Her brother went missing all the way the hell over in Hong Kong. Don't know what that jive turkey doin' way over there anyhow, but TNT ain't ask no questions. She just got her ass on the first thang smokin' and starts whuppin' all sortsa ass - black, white, AND Chinese - makes no difference to her, ya get where I'm coming from? (Full Review)

(Oddity to watch for: Star Jeannie Bell was only the second African-American Playmate of the Month in the history of Playboy magazine - RIP Hef; possibly the greatest continuity error of all-time)


Velvet Smooth
(1976)
So this dude I know got somebody musclin' in on his territory, but he's not sure who. You know he can't go to the pigs, so he hires this lady PI, Velvet Smooth (Johnnie Hill) to check things out for him. Next thing you know, she got big, rough-lookin' dudes comin' at her from every angle you can think of. But that don't phase her 'cuz she's a baaaaaaad mother (Shut yo' mouth!)...I'm just tallkin' 'bout Smooth, baby. 

(Oddity to watch for: some of the worst fight choreography ever featuring henchmen who wear Hannibal Lecter-like masks)




These three posters look NOTHING alike. 



20 comments:

  1. Pam Grier is the queen of Blaxploitation and yes, what a woman. I need to do more Blaxploitation as I want to see these films. I'm sure they're fun to watch just to see Whitey get what's coming to them.

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    1. Oh shit, I think I said something offensive. I'm sorry. I'm such a dumbass.

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  2. I like you're oddities you called out. I've never seen any of these, unfortunately. Cleopatra Jones I've at least heard of.

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    1. These are certainly of the so-bad-it's-awesome variety, so buyer beware.

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  3. Oh yes Pam Grier was truly queen of this subgenre and could not have been tougher but Tamara Dobson acquits herself well in Cleopatra Jones and Shelley was just the boiled ham to bite right into the role of Mommy and make a meal of it. I've also seen the sequel where Stella Stevens similarly tears it up as The Dragon Lady.

    TNT Jackson isn't quite as much fun but was a harmless time passer and a definite snapshot of the period it was made. I've never heard of Velvet Smooth (what a name!) but it sounds like a hoot.

    I also did a slight theme within the theme prodded by my first pick, a copy of which I received for Christmas and inspiration struck!

    Mary, Mary (1963)-Struggling New York book publisher Bob McKellaway (Barry Nelson-who is fine but his role has Jack Lemmon’s name all over it) is getting ready to marry his socialite fiancée Tiffany (a knockout Diane McBain) as soon as his divorce from first wife Mary (Debbie Reynolds) comes though. However his accountant Oscar (a delightful Hiram Sherman) requests Mary come up from Philadelphia for the day to straighten out some tax issues before the decree becomes final. Once together Bob and Mary start to jab wittily at each other and before you know it their attraction starts to resurface aided by the attentions to Mary of movie star and prospective author Dirk Winsten (Michael Rennie) and an inconvenient snowstorm. Betrays its stage origins (the play ran for over 1500 performances) but is often clever and witty. Both Rennie and Nelson repeat their Broadway roles.

    Rachel, Rachel (1968)-Rachel Cameron (Joanne Woodward) is a lonely middle-aged schoolteacher. Never married and still a virgin she lives a life of quiet desperation with her widowed mother over the funeral home left to them by her father. Over summer vacation she goes to a revival meeting with her best friend fellow teacher Calla (Estelle Parsons) during which she has an epiphany and begins to emerge from her shell taking her life in unexpected directions. Directed by Paul Newman as a vehicle for his wife this received four Oscar nominations including ones for Woodward, Parsons and Best Picture.

    Corrina, Corrina (1994)-Widower Manny Singer (Ray Liotta) is frustrated in his search for a nanny for his young daughter who has withdrawn into herself since her mother’s death and stopped speaking. When Corrina Washington (Whoopi Goldberg) applies she is able to break through the child’s reserve and is hired. As time passes she and Manny discover an attraction and grow closer but all does not go smoothly.

    And to show this is not strictly a female happenstance:

    Buddy Buddy (1981)-Trabucco (Walter Matthau) a hitman on a job to rub out a Mob informant before he testifies is waylaid by Victor Clooney (Jack Lemmon), the suicidal guy in the hotel room next door. Once he talks him off the ledge he plans to jump from their lives become intertwined and nothing goes as planned. Billy Wilder’s final film as director would seem to have everything needed to succeed, a reteaming of Lemmon and Matthau, a quality supporting cast and the great man himself behind the camera but even he admitted that it was more or less a miss.

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    1. Yes, Shelley Winters tears it up. The sequel is also a fun time.

      You've got me. I've only heard of Corrina, Corrina but I haven't watched it. I like Whoopi Goldberg, but the string of rom-com-ish movies she made during the late 80s/early 90s didn't appeal to me, especially after I got roped into seeing Sister Act and thought it was only so-so. For what it's worth, I also got roped into watching Sister Act 2 which I really enjoyed.

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    2. Ha! we had the opposite reaction to the Sister Act films. I loved the first and found the second a real slog to get through. Corrina, Corrina has some light moments but it's more of a drama with Whoopi on the subdued side.

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    3. It's one I might see if I come across it, but I can't say I'm going to seek it out.

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  4. I've never heard of any of these.

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    1. Wouldn't be surprised if you weren't the only one.

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  5. I desperately wanted to link you to Mark Eitzel's song "Cleopatra Jones," but I am evidently enough of a hipster that I listen to music that doesn't exist on YouTube.

    I really need to watch more blaxploitation. It's a real hole in my viewing history.

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    1. You got me. I've never even heard of that song.

      Everyone needs more blaxploitation in their lives.

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  6. Alas, the closest I've come to seeing any of these movies is Jackie Brown, which I considered picking.

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    1. And of course. Thanks for the link!

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    2. I love Jackie Brown. In that weird, Tarantino way, it's simultaneously very close to and far away from these movies.

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  7. I will need to revisit the first 2 since I saw them so very long ago. You know what’s sad is that these films and the great ladies..and men didn’t have anything much in the 1980’s. Actually, this reminds me of a tv show I used to watch, Get Christie Love

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    1. Ah, the 80s. The Blaxploitation fad was pretty much dead by then. Yes, I've seen Get Christie Love, too. Gun show.

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  8. OMG LOVE! Cleopatra Jones I don't like quite as much as Foxy Brown, but it's still a fun time. I haven't heard of your other two picks, but the names are definitely AMAZING.

    I sincerely hope that Taraji P. Henson can join the ranks of these bad-ass ladies in Proud Mary.

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    1. To be honest, none of these movies are as good Foxy Brown, or Coffy, which I like even better, but they are fun.

      Gotta correct you on one thing. Regardless of Proud Mary, Taraji P. Henson is already a bad-ass lady.

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