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The Bottom Shelf #20

06.30.2005

After a recent increase in e-mail requests, I decided to hit up Blockbuster with some of your picks. Credit goes to Bottom Shelf readers Tim and Andres for these two flicks!

ASSASSINS (1995)
Directed by Richard Donner
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas & Julianne Moore

-- click here to buy this DVD at Amazon.com --
-- click here to rent this movie at NetFlix.com --

Donner, of LETHAL WEAPON fame, is behind the camera for this one, shooting a script by a pre-cross dressing ecstasy taking Andy and Larry Wachowski. For one reason or another apparently this one didn’t fly over too well with critics, but it’s developed somewhat of a cult following as of late, especially after the success of THE MATRIX (a project the Wachowski brothers completed shortly after). The plot is a classic triangle showcasing Stallone (cardboard as ever) as a seasoned assassin trying to leave the business, only to meet a younger and more ambitious version of himself (Banderas). They team up for a final hit, but there is no fun in the plot running smoothly. Sly falls for Julianne Moore, Banderas goes nuts, and all hell breaks loose.

ASSASSINS is nothing mind-bending, but it’s entertaining and well written. Stallone is funny to watch, Julianne Moore holds her own, but Banderas is the real star of the show here. The entire cast has good chemistry, and this is just an overall fun movie. The whole thing is very 90’s, which is a good thing…especially for a cult audience. ASSASSINS should be available at most video stores, so check it out next time you want a carefree movie night, or afternoon if you’re one of those types…

Favorite Scene:

The graveyard scene, very Matrix-esque.

Favorite Quote:

“Killing a woman, it's not the same as killing a man. You have to pull the trigger a different way.”

Trivia Tidbit:

Christian Slater and Woody Harrelson turned down the Banderas role, and Sean Connery originally set to play the Stallone character.

See If You Liked:

THE SPECIALIST, SNIPER, THE ART OF WAR

187 (1997)
Directed by Kevin Reynolds
Starring Samuel L. Jackson

-- click here to buy this DVD at Amazon.com --
-- click here to rent this movie at NetFlix.com --

Okay, I’ve had some pretty crazy substitute teachers but I must say throughout my highschool education I have successfully managed to avoid any Russian roulette confrontations and bow and arrow assaults. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles kids in 187 are dealing with an angry, badass Samuel L Jackson. Sammy plays the role of Trevor Garfield, a good natured teacher who after an incident in New York moves out to LA and quickly goes from the frying pan into the fire. Two other teachers (pre-OC Kelly Rowan and John Heard) try to help, but can’t do anything significant. The school for whatever reason doesn’t seem to care about the troublemaking kids and gang activity on campus. Yeah, this place is a real mess. Anyway, Trevor stands up to two Latino students in particular, and things get out of control fast. At some point he ends up snapping, and the rest is for you to find out…

Despite this film getting some pretty bad reviews from the over analytical crowd, I happened to really enjoy it and apparently its picked up a sizeable following. The script was written by a former substitute teacher trying obviously to reflect on the public education system and its flaws. That said, it’s a plot with some ridiculous holes and somewhat overdone sequences, yet Sammy J creates a fascinating character and runs with it. See this if for nothing more than the ending, because it’s one of the most amusing I can remember seeing recently. Definitely a Bottom Shelf favorite, destined for mediocrity and unrecognized glory for years to come.

Favorite Scene:

The ending, obviously. Sure it’s ridiculous, but COME ON.

Favorite Quote:

“You're no real teacher, fool. You're just a sub.”

Trivia Tidbit:

187 is the California police code for *dum dum dum* Murder!

See If You Liked:

THE SUBSTITUTE (an equally bizarre substitute flick), DANGEROUS MINDS, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE.

ASSASSINS and 187, two profound cinematic achievements? No, just a nice way to spend a couple hours and watch some pretty crazy, weird and underappreciated stuff go down.

PREVIOUSLY:

The Straight Story / Gummo
Like Water for Chocolate / Slam
Falling Down / The Last Horror Movie
Spanish Prisoner / Near Dark
Bottle Rocket / The Long Goodbye
Swimming Pool / Session 9
Jules and Jim / Bully
The Apple / Troll 2
The Sweet Hereafter / Exotica
Happiness / In the Mood for Love
Blue Velvet / Living in Oblivion
They Live / Phantom of the Paradise
Summer School / Sleepaway Camp
George Washington / Tape
Say Anything / Battle Royale
Black Sunday / 29th Street
Blood Simple / Raising Arizona
Freaks / Hard Eight
Harold and Maude / Coffy

Source: JoBlo.com

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