The Set of 400: #282 – My Favorite Grapevine

Today! Because you have violated my farging rights –

Johnny Dangerously (1984)

Directed by Amy Heckerling

Starring Michael Keaton (x2), Marilu Henner, Joe Piscopo, Danny DeVito (x3), Maureen Stapleton, Griffin Dunne, Peter Boyle (x2), Ron Carey, Ray Walston (x2), Dick Butkis, Dom DeLuise (x2), Richard Dimitri, Glynnis O’Connor, Alan Hale Jr., Carl Gottlieb (x2), Bob Eubanks, Jack Nance, Chuck Hicks, James Coco, Joe Flaherty (x3), Vincent Schiavelli (x2)

This zany gangster movie parody from the mid-’80s was another heavy rotation film in my house growing up, again for reasons I simply can’t explain. Before I knew him as Beetlejuice or Batman, Michael Keaton was Johnny Kelly, brother of D.A. Tommy Kelly, who morphs into good-natured mob figure Johnny Dangerously, the man whose last name is an adverb. And while the movie may not totally hold up as the years wear on, it still has a ton of great one-liners, and a load of terrifically funny performances, no matter your opinion of Joe Piscopo.

From equally good-natured mob boss Jocko Dundee (Peter Boyle) to psychotic mob hitman Danny Vermin (Piscopo!) to The Pope (Dom DeLuise), yes, the movie is a bit all over the place. Essentially a Mel Brooks style parody of the ’30s mobster/cop brothers film Manhattan Melodrama, Dangerously throws a ton of gags at you, with varying success, but with this many pro comedians on hand, more land than they probably have any business of doing. And yet, amidst all the Marilu Henners (as the lounge singer moll Lil) and Maureen Stapletons (as the Kelly brothers long suffering Ma), the movie is probably best remembered (if it’s remembered?) for the extreme Italian gangster stereotype character of Roman Moronie (played by Richard Dimitri), who hilariously mangles English curse words into “you fargin’ icehole” and “som-a-nom-batches,” and later gets deported to Sweden, despite not being from there.

“Say your prayers, icehole”

Also – hoo boy – 119 movies into this list and we finally get one directed by a woman. I’m sorry! Don’t blame me, blame Hollywood! Why haven’t there historically been more opportunities for women to direct the sort of dumb comedies and action movies that I’ve included on this list? It’s not fair. Amy Heckerling made objectively better films than this (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless), but Dangerously is her only film on this list. Sorry! I want inclusion and diversity, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not putting Look Who’s Talking in my top 400 just for balance! Women, unfairly, seem to get railroaded into strictly directing romantic comedies (again, historically), so young Joe’s interests weren’t going to gravitate to this area too often. Still, there are a few other women-directed films to come (admittedly, not many), so again, blame Hollywood! I sure do!

Johnny Dangerously is completely awardless, so let’s remedy that right now. Best Getaway Car Camoflage, for the tearaway wallpaper, including black, white, and one covered in duckies and bunnies!

Not to mention, disguised as nuns

We’ve got a whopping six new Two-Timers today – #393 The Dream Team co-stars Keaton and Boyle, #396 MASH‘s Carl Gottlieb, #365 Popeye’s Pappy, Ray Walston, #398 Ghost train ghost Vincent Schiavelli, and #395 Robin Hood: Men in Tights Dom DeLuise – and two Three-Timers, #375 Romancing the Stone/#310 Mars Attacks Danny DeVito and #344 Back to the Future Part II/#287 Stripes Joe Flaherty. This is becoming too much, folks! I like stats, but cripes!

Coming tomorrow! I’ve been ionized, but I’m okay now –

2 Comments

Filed under Movies

2 responses to “The Set of 400: #282 – My Favorite Grapevine

  1. shortgirlnation

    “Johnny Peligroso” … I would love to know how they translated Roman Moronie’s curses into Spanish, 😆

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