Of all the things the missing from the first “Cars,” — and the were many — more screen time for Larry The Cable Guy was not one of them.
Yet, in “Cars 2,” he takes center stage for the majority of the film’s run time. Sure, he’s represented by a rusty tow truck on the screen, but it’s pure The Cable Guy, with stupidity emblazoned on him like a Trans-Am hood bird, making this marginal Pixar entry as fun as a rainy-day weekend trip along Route 1 in the summertime. (This last one is a local beach reference for those reading this outside my publishing area).
It pains me to speak ill of Pixar, a studio that has consistently provided me (and my family) with hours of indelible cinematic memories year after year. The original “Cars” is the only film from their library that is not in regular rotation in our DVD player (even the animated shorts compilation gets more love). Continue reading →
Dirty Rotten Socundrels (1988)
Stanley Shapiro (original)
Dale Launer (update)
Steve Martin as Freddy Benson
Michael Caine as Lawrence Jamison
Glenne Headley as Janet Colgate
Dana Ivey as Mrs. Reed
Anton Rodgers as Inspector Andre
Ian McDiarmid as Arthur
By Bo from Last Blog on the Left
Pre-screening memories:The film trailer is a dying art. There was a time, not so very long ago, when the trailer was its own entity, less a preview of the film advertised than a separate entity, possibly containing no actual footage from the film, whose raison d’être was to capture the tone of the film. The trailer for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was of this type, featuring Steve Martin and Michael Caine strolling along an elegant seaside path, dressed to the nines. As they pass woman at the edge of the path, Martin casually extends his arm and gives the woman a shove into the waters of the Mediterranean.
It was at that moment I knew I had to see the film.
And what a film it was… Filled with cons, deception and a monkey-boy obsessed with Oklahoma. I was already a fan of Martin’s, and Caine brings a touch of class to any production, but to see a film move deftly between broad comedy and sly wit was a revelation to a young film-goer who had yet to see the sophistication and silliness of a Billy Wilder film, or the bawdy wit of the Marx Brothers. In many ways, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was a gateway film, one that led to the aforementioned comedic classics, but it still maintained its own lofty stature in my recollection.
New memories: Returning to the film after far too long away, it remains a gem. Martin’s assumed elegance curtailed by the genuine sophistication of Caine, the reed across the legs, the revelation of just how good Glenne Headly is in the film… seeing the movie again is like reuniting with an old friend and finding that the chemistry is still there, awaiting the slightest breath to rekindle it fully. Better still, this old friend had moves that a younger viewer missed entirely, and it’s nice to discover that movies one remembers fondly are not only as good, but better, than memory describes. I don’t believe it will be quite so long before I put the cork on my fork and revisit this genuinely funny film again.
Only his second (credited) film, Dale had certified himself as a go-to name for comedy with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. His first film, Ruthless People garnered him much attention (including from Mick Jaggar, the details of which you can find out about in this podcast).
Dale details the tale of taking a 1964 script from Stanley Shapiro from a David Niven-Marlon Brando comedy called Bedtime Story and its path to the screen.
Dale went on to help Marissa Tomei win an Oscar as the screenwriter to My Cousin Vinny, then stepped into the director’s chair himself, helming a young Sandra Bullock in Love Potion No. 9.
Dale’s original plans for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels were a bit different than what played on screen. Just what were they? Guess you’ll just have to listen to the podcast.