Will you still need me, when I’m 64?

I had to get in the right frame of mind to even be approved to see “The Expendables,” the double-dose of testosterone featuring action film caves from ap the last few decades.

Stallone, Lundgren, Li, Stathem, even Willis and Schwarzenegger pop by for maximum flex appeal.

So I gathered two of my manliest male friends, went to the gym for a some squats, deadlifts, and various other weight training execercises designed to sculpt our frames into The Situation-approved slabs of beefcake. We followed up with a protein shake, some raw eggs, a round of small firearms training, then a 10-mile dead sprint to the theater, where we arm-wrestled for the best seats in the house.

We were pumped and ready to relive our childhood with the cast of “The Expendables.” All the muscle-clad men of our youth were going to lay waste to perhaps continents of bad guys armed with steady streams of heavy artillery, heavily oiled torsos, and an arsenal of witty one-liners while staring in the face of death. Continue reading

‘Demolition Man’ with Glenn Shadix

demolition_manposterFilm:
Demolition Man (1993)
Rated: R
Directed by:
Marco Brambilla
Written by:
Peter M. Lenkov
Robert Reneau
Starring:
Sylvester Stallone as John Spartan
Wesley Snipes as Simon Phoenix
Sandra Bullock as Lenina Huxley
Nigel Hawthorne as Dr. Cocteau
Benjamin Bratt as Alfredo Garcia
Glenn Shadix as Associate Bob

Denis Leary as Edgar Friendly
 

By Scott Knopf from HeShotCyrus

wesley2Pre-screening memories: The passion for Demolition Man was born out of a sense of Dredd to a young Scott. Judge Dredd, actually. The futuristic film (that was actually released after Demolition Man), co-starred a certain object of Scott’s affection — Rob Schneider. Kidding, it was Diane Lane, who Scott well documents on his blog.

slyThe interest in that film led him to check out this misunderstood slide of cinematic cheese when he was but a young lad and he was soon taken by its addictive qualities.

Though it is hardly considered a masterpiece, it is a film that never takes itself seriously, knows what it is and what it offers and proceeds to do just that.

glenn and wesleyBut it started as quite a different film and we were fortunate enough to be joined by co-star Glenn Shadix, who not only informs us about the metamorphosis, but give us plenty of backstage stories to help us all fully appreciate the film.

Demolition Man is a bit of a cheat by Natsukashi standards, in that we typically like distance between viewings of our films, but Scott could not help jump at the chance to find out more about a favorite in his film library.

Dowload Natsukashi’s ‘Demolition Man’ podcast right here

or get those joy-joy feelings right here on our site by listening below

Our featured guest: Glenn Shadix

glenn2Glenn returned to Natsukashi fresh from his visit from the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival to recollect on the rather colorful filming of this Sylvester Stallone comedic sci-fi flick, in which he played Nigel Hawthorne’s somewhat faithful charge, Associate Bob. As always, Glenn adds much to our understanding and appreciate of the film in general and his role in specific.

He speaks with reverence of his co-star, the late Nigel Hawthorne, the last-minute switch we provided Sandra Bullock one of her earliest on-screen roles, and what it was like to work with Stallone, Snipes and producer Joel Silver, known for such blockbuster action flicks as Lethal Weapon, The Matrix, and Die Hard.

You can certainly keep up with Glenn on his personal site, GlennShadix.com.

Thanks again, Glenn. We send many joy-joy greetings your way. Be well.

Episode XL: ‘Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man’ (with actor Jordan Lund)

harley_davidson_and_the_marlboro_man

Title: Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)
Rated: R
Directed by: Simon Wincer
Written by: Don Michael Paul
Starring: Mickey Rourke as Harley Davidson
                   Don Johnson as The Marlboro Man
                   Daniel Baldwin as Alexander
                   Vanessa Williams as Lulu Daniels
                  Tom Sizemore as Chance Wilder
                   Jordan Lund as ‘The Stagecoach Driver’
Tagline: “When the going gets tough…the tough take the law into their own hands”

By Rob R.

Pre-screening memories: The ’50s had their Brando and Dean, the ’60s had their McQueen, the ’70s had Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, and, to a lesser extent, Chuck Norris (sorry, Norris nerds).

But once the ’80s bounced in, things changed. It was tough for a young lad on the scrawny side to envision himself as any particular big-screen action star. All of the big box-office heroes inflated to such bulbous sizes, there were no legal ways to replicate their physique. And besides, I really did not want the veins in my forearms to resemble garden hoses under my skin.

Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme, Bosworth. These monsters of muscle paraded across the big screen like Macy’s Day floats. And for a kid who could barely hold a tether, it was all rather disheartening. It’s not to say that I did not enjoy these films, it’s just that I could never envision that my scrawny sack of skin could ever inflate to their levels of heroics.  (Sure, I had Dr. Jones and his archaeological adventures, but there were only three films of his released over the entire decade!)

These guys were loud and proud. All seething sinew and bulging biceps. Where were the svelte rebels? Where was the smoky mystique and normal physique of James Dean? The ornery playfulness of Reynolds? The normal human build of McQueen?

There was an actor emerging in this decade who seemed to rumble in like my cinematic savior. I first caught Mickey Rourke on HBO during a broadcast of Rumble Fish as the tortured Motorcycle Boy. He had but a few whispered lines, but each one mattered: “Blind terror in a fight can easily pass for courage.”

Yes, I thought. That’s me! I’m blinded by terror in fights! If he threw in a line about wetting one’s shorts, it would have fit to a ‘T.’

I loyally followed Rourke as the years progressed, though most of his films I had to sneak in late-night viewings of, like 9 ½ Weeks and Angel Heart. This was the guy responsible for the on-screen deflowering of the eldest Cosby kid! I’m sorry, but you do not get much cooler for a child of the era.

I can honestly say that I learned about international relations and poetry through his next films, Barfly, based on the life of street poet Charles Bukowski and his IRA assassin in A Prayer for the Dying. My devotion remained as his box-office dropped: the criminally underrated Homeboy (which he co-wrote, and featuring a killer Eric Clapton soundtrack), Walter Hill’s lovably grimy Johnny Handsome, the minor-but effective Desperate Hours, the sun-drenched sexcapades of  Wild Orchid (OK, perhaps even I cannot defend that one, but it still convinced me to buy the sexy soundtrack in the hopes that merely playing the CD for girls might get me laid. It didn’t.).

But for many, Rourke’s big-screen kiss-off was his role in Harley Davidson and Marlboro Man, which teamed him with Sonny Crockett.. er, Don Johnson in this wildly erratic mash-up of science-fiction, western, buddy flicks and motorcycle genres.

And for all the TNT Roadhouse devotees, you can have your Zen-spouting mullet master, give me Rourke and Johnson zipping down a desert highway on a hog and roughing up a gaggle of clichés dressed as bar patrons any day. I would call this a guilty pleasure, but I don’t even feel that guilty about my love for this film.

—————————————————————————————————

jordanlund_beard_small1Our featured guest: Jordan Lund: Star of stage and screens both big and small, Mr. Lund had one of the film’s most memorable lines (you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear what that was!). Roles include such projects as Lonesome Dove, Doc Hollywood, The American President, Law and Order, Firefly, ER, and The Bucket List, among many, many others. We were very fortunate to snag Mr. Lund to join us for this episode and please visit his site, as well as go check him out on stage in California in Circus Theatricals’ presentation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, February 21 through April 26 at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles. (You can get tickets here.)

Mr. Lund has many a story to share about the filming of Harley Davidson, as well as reflections of some of his other memorable screen roles. Thanks, Mr. Lund, for your time and tales. We welcome you back any time you wish to join us!

You can hear us all hit the open road right here, or shift down a little on the throttle and listen to the podcast below.

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‘Tango & Cash’

Tango & Cash (1989)
Rated: R
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky
Written by: Randy Feldman
Starring :          Sylvester Stallone as Ray Tango
                          
Kurt Russel as Gabe Cash
                          
Teri Hatcher as Kiki Tango
                          
Jack Palance as Yves Perret

Tagline: Two of L.A.’s top rival cops are going to work together… even if it kills them.

By Rob Rector

Pre-screening memories: It was moments before the dawn of a new decade. The crazy 80s were coming to a close, as was the career of one of the decade’s action stalwarts — Sylvester Stallone. For many growing up in the 80s, Stallone was the embodiment of manliness (however misguided that may have been). He was never as freakishly lumpy as Schwarzenegger and seemed as though he could easily be the cool older guy in the neighborhood who would let you peek at his firearm collection, pour over his stack of “Hustler’s” or perhaps let you sip a beer.

Sadly, there was no such neighbor in my little slice of suburbia. The closest thing we had was a gap-toothed guy who would watch us through his perpetually drawn blinds and smile menacingly and whose front yard was a graveyard of car parts that he would mow around until they were enveloped by vegetation.

Cinematically, Stallone was not one to go out with a whimper. He was going to go down swinging and show those new upstarts like Jeff Speakman and Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Brian Bosworth a thing or two about action.

And my friends and I were eager to watch. (For it was not too long after this that he would begin his trajectory downward with films like Rocky V, Oscar, Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot!, The Specialist and to the direct-to-video dustbin with films like D-Tox, Avenging Angelo and Shade.)

His latest was a pairing of him and Snake Plissken himself, Kurt Russel. They starred as two improbably named LAPD cops who “just can’t play by the rules.” Exactly the kind of cops we like on screen — just not in real life, as they usually end up on the wrong side of a video camera, bludgeoning away rights to random motorists.

While the plot itself left no actual bootprint on my brain, the script did drop some new vocabulary into our high school lexicon. Being the typical testosterone-saturated actioner, the expressions were both lewd and profane, but they were nonetheless influential. Being a male teen any new and creative euphemism or idiom or for intercourse was met with guffaws, a round of high-fives and a temporary admiration of one’s peers. (Of course, really any combination of a verb and noun could be inserted, Mad-Libs-style into the sentence “I’d like to ___________ her ___________” and, with the right emphasis on “her,” you’ve got yourself a new filth-filled expression.)

Forget the fact that none of us had really ever even performed said act.

So, when Sly refers to it as “bump uglies,” we knew we had a keeper.

The second expression we adopted was FUBAR. While new to us, it was actually one that originated during World War II as an acronym for F**ked Up Beyond All Recognition.

Other than that, I remember the two leads being oh-so-witty, able to launch a quip or a retort under the most extreme circumstances. And while the general plot escaped me (something with them being framed by someone and avenging something else). That, and the promise of manly men doing manly things with other manly, manly men in a mannish manner.

I was sure that revisiting the film would at least entertain on that level alone, right?

The answer is right here:

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