Monthly Archives: August 2016

“Dost mine ears deceive me?”

I’ll admit…there was a period of time that I was too cool for Disney “cartoon” movies.

After “The Black Cauldron,” a lot of their features didn’t interest me.  I tried out “The Great Mouse Detective,” and found it rather dull.  “Oliver and Company,” didn’t appear to have a lot of heart based on the trailers I watched.  My sister’s infatuation with “The Little Mermaid” made me hate it and “Beauty and the Beast” didn’t have Ron Perlman in it…why would I waste my time? (I found out on a later viewing that disregarding “Beauty and the Beast” was a huge mistake.)

There was one that caught my eye and has been the one that I measure against all of the rest.  I’ll admit, Robin Williams was the reason I wanted to watch this movie.

I grew up watching re-runs of “Mork and Mindy,” “Popeye,” and later, “The World According to Garp;” along with his HBO stand up specials.  He caught fire in the 80s and we watched “The Survivors,” “The Best of Times,” “Club Paradise,” and the movie that made everyone take Robin Williams seriously–ironically–“Good Morning Vietnam.”

I loved “Dead Poets Society,” had an intelligent laugh at an underrated “Cadillac Man,” and adored “Awakenings.”  There are a few I have left off the list intentionally, because they are SO GREAT they will get their own spotlight.

Aladdin,” could’ve been a retread that fell on its face and I still would’ve loved it because of Robin.

Aladdin Genie

It was anything but a retread and DID NOT fall on its face.

I was not a person that was versed in the Arabian Nights stories.  I didn’t learn until later that year that it was based on a fable from that folklore.  So I thought that it was a very original story for a time.  Even after learning that it was an adaptation, the cleverness with which Williams brought the Genie to life made it seem beyond original.

There’ll never be a greater voice performance than the one he delivered for this film.  Rumor has it that there was so much ad-libbing on his part, there was 16 hours of unused footage.  I’d love to be able to hear that.  I’m sure there is plenty of footage that is not fit for Disney’s ears.

I used to get into arguments with people about the greatest Disney animated films.  In the 80s it was “The Sword in the Stone,” and “Robin Hood.”  Those were re-played and re-played on the Disney Channel over and over.  I’m not complaining, I re-watched and re-watched them.

I find that arguing over those things is a waste.  Rarely will you ever persuade someone to change their mind about a movie.  Your argument was so sound, I will now make that one my favorite.  

People like what they like.  I prefer “Aladdin” to the rest and I doubt that there will be any animated feature from Disney that will be able to change my opinion.

My friends all loved “The Lion King.”  That was a HUGE movie.  I watched it and it was good…It just didn’t have “it.”

“It” was Robin Williams.

Unfortunately, no other movies will.  I am grateful that I lived in a lifetime where I could wait with anticipation for his next performance that would wow us.




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“Of course I’m alright! Why, what have you heard?”

The late eighties tended to be short on satires. 

Satires were great, but people were getting sick of the same tired jokes that come with farces. 

Spaceballs” had great moments, but it didn’t have the heart that “Blazing Saddles,” “A Shot in the Dark,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “Silent Movie” had.    

One thing the 80s were not short on were action movies; a lot of them were a block of sharp drizzled with Velveeta. 

The target of this movie was “Top Gun.”

I am hesitant to admit, I watched “Top Gun” way more than I should’ve.  It came out around the same time that we had finally purchased a VCR and no one had ever shot fighter jets in a movie like that before.  The jet-fighting was pretty amazing!  I was still a little naive to understand that between the jet-fighting scenes, the movie was just corny at best.  Can someone please explain the volleyball on the beach?  … Please?

Now, it’s hard to believe it took five years to make a satire of “Top Gun.”  I mean it’s a movie that just lobs the material over home plate for the writer of “Hot Shots!” to hit it over the wall.

You have to mention Charlie Sheen first at this point in his life.  Outside of a #Great small role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Major League,”  Charlie Sheen was more well known and praised for his work in his dramatic films (“Lucas,” “Platoon,” “Wall Street,” “Young Guns,” etc.).  He had gone on to make a number of different flops, two of which I really enjoyed: “Men at Work” with his brother Emilio and “The Rookie” starring alongside Clint Eastwood.  He needed a win and “Hot Shots!” provided it.


Charlie is at his best when he is able to  deliver ridiculous dialogue with the expectation of making it sound dire:

“I’ve fallen for you like a blind roofer.”


“My heart is falling down around my ankles like a wet pair of pants. My whole life, all I’ve wanted to do is fly. Bomb stuff. Shoot people down.”

This movie is full of great actors. Cary Elwes plays the Iceman role to counter Charlie and the underrated and often forgotten comic genius of Lloyd Bridges is on full display.  If you are skeptical about this movie because of the polarity that Charlie Sheen can bring, see it for the benefit of Bridges.  He is right up there with Leslie Nielsen and Walter Brennan when it comes to stealing a scene and has grand comedic delivery/timing.  


I always think of “Hot Shots!” as the movie that gave Charlie a career.  He had a decent one before this one, but he found his true niche in farcical comedy.  There is something about his delivery of dialogue period, that makes us believe everything that he says; whether it be a drama or a farce–we buy it.  That is a rare gift and Charlie made a career out of farces over the next decade.

Like any farce, if you’re not in the mood or if you’re feeling pretentious, do us all a favor and avoid it.  If you need a laugh, watch this and the sequel back-to-back.  They’ll deliver.

Remember this:

“You can be my wingman any time.”

“Bullshit! You can be mine.”

Yes, “Hot Shots!” was able to make lines like that even funnier…and on purpose…


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