To say AIRBORNE is a guilty pleasure is an insult to the movie. During it’s time, the movie was all teens talked about (which is the demographic for this movie). A movie about a slick teen who can rollerblade and surf and sound cool with anything that comes out of his mouth? A movie with Seth Green doing a clothes changing montage to Right Said Fred’s “Too Sexy?” A movie with a final show down between the Preps down Devil’s Backbone, the steepest and most dangerous hill in town? It’s impossible not to love this movie. If my words or this poster above doesn’t sell you, nothing will. My friends and I watched this religiously at the theater and would rollerblade all over town right after (this is before I put down my blades and picked up a skateboard for good). At 36, I’m trying to figure out what to call it now — not a guilty pleasure because I’m damn proud to own and watch it
Something I’ve always wandered about Warner Archives is why . one movie gets selected on DVD, and another on Blu-ray. The DVD quality looks good, but they have a clear strategy I’m still trying to grasp. A good example is the excellent Judgement Night. WA released it on DVD in early 2018, then on Blu-ray in 2019, putting a big smile on my face. I loooooove Judgement Night. While Airborne is 720p, it doesn’t look bad on my 80” 4K TV. A little blown out, but that’s going to be expected for anything on DVD, regardless of what company restores it.
Right now, AIRBORNE is only available on DVD, so if you want to join Mitchell Goosen (Shane McDermott) ride waves, zoom down hills, fly over overpasses to slide down a conveniently placed dump track with the back tilted up, you cannot lose with AIRBORNE.
Ninety perfect of Scarecrow is Gene Hackman and Al Pacino meandering and it’s captivating. It takes a lot of talent to watch two the greatest of all time justing wandering around, talking about their dreams of running a carwash captivating, and these two did it.
Two of the best performances of their careers.
Showdown in Little Tokyo
Showdown in Little Tokyo is a treasure for one reason: Brandon Lee. During his unfortunate short career, he was able to make three good movies, and this is one of them. In this gem, Dolph Lundgren and Lee star as L.A. cops and team up to take down the Yakuza (lead by 90’s villain Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). It’s got guns, Brandon Lee, and lots of kicks to the face, which means it’s worth your money.
Speaking of the Yakuza, Warner Archive has released Sydney Pollack’s 1974 masterpiece, The Yakuza. This the movie (starring the always-amazing Robert Mitchum) introduced American audiences to exactly what the Yakuza is, traditions, and what they are capable of, even on U.S. soil. In the movie, Mitchum plays a dick (also known as a private investigator) who heads back to Japan to help a friend get his daughter back from the Yakuza. It’s rather stupid to take on the Yakuza, period, and here it’s two white men with little skill taken them on on their own territory. I try not to add must-own, but if you are a collector, this is a must-own film.
Straight Time (DVD)
I have a deep affinity for this film because of it’s roots. It stars Dustin Hoffman as Max Dembo, an ex-con who, just released from prison, is trying to live a simple life without crime involved. I know you’ve seen this trope before, but this is an early version of this trope and one of the best. Why? It was adapted from a novel from Eddie Bunker (whom you know as Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs), a man who’s life story is incredible and the reason why this movie was made. You should read Bunker’s fascinating memoir, Education of a Felon. I’ll cut to this part: Bunker wrote this book in prison and eight drafts of the book was smuggled out of San Quentin prison before it finally got published. This got Hoffman’s attention, who read the book (and also helped Bunker get an early release), and made it into a film. He directed and starred in the film as the main character. (Fun tidbit: Michael Mann has helps writing the screenplay but is not credited.) Co-starring in the film: Gary Busey and the late, great Harry Dean Stanton, a young Kathy Bates, a super young Jake Busey (Gary’s son you saw in Starship Troopers), M. Emmet Walsh. The book this is adapted from, No Beast so Fierce, is worth your time just as much as the movie. It’s an excellent study on how convicts often have a hard time living a straight and narrow life for a myriad of reasons.