Today! Because you have the whitest white part of the eyes I’ve ever seen. Do you floss?
Hot Shots! (1991)
Directed by Jim Abrahams
Starring Charlie Sheen, Valeria Golino, Jon Cryer, Cary Elwes (x4), Lloyd Bridges, Kevin Dunn, William O’Leary, Kristy Swanson, Bill Irwin (x2), Bruce A. Young, Ryan Stiles, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Heidi Swedberg, Don Lake
Indirectly responsible for foisting Two and a Half Men on the world, I imagine, Hot Shots! is a direct parody of Top Gun, plus a bunch of other movies mocked along the way. Abrahams spun off from his frequent collaborators the Zucker brothers to concoct this largely solid gagfest with Naked Gun/Police Academy writer Pat Proft, and while a little dated today – this movie being the height of Gulf War comedy – it’s still a pretty funny movie, all things considered.
As mentioned earlier, there aren’t a ton of opportunities to see Cary Elwes do zany comedy – despite this being what he does best, outside of smarmy villain roles – so couple that with Airplane! vet Lloyd Bridges, future Veep great Kevin Dunn, clowning genius Bill Irwin, improv maestro Ryan Stiles, and a weirdly suited for this type of comedy Valeria Golino, and Hot Shots! totally keeps the comedy rolling. I’ve mentioned before how franchise films blend together for me from when I was a kid, and Hot Shots! Part Deux is no exception. It’s more a Rambo thing, right? So that makes it a little easier to differentiate.
But yes, this was the first teaming of Sheen and Cryer, who would go on to have such inexplicable success on that long-running CBS sitcom my parents loved. A show virtually devoid of jokes, carried by Cryer’s fully committed performance, balancing the fact that Sheen just kept showing up and collecting paychecks. Charlie’s colossal implosion in the late ’00s does not need further recounting here, but did it surprise anybody, really? And considering he was a pretty solid comedic actor (and a serviceable dramatic one, too), the distance he tumbled from Platoon to getting fired from the likes of Two and a Half Men is forever astounding. But God bless Jon Cryer. That guy is a trooper.
It should come as no surprise that Hot Shots! didn’t really contend with Silence of the Lambs for Best Picture in ’91, but did the Hannibal Lecter film create any wide awareness of obscure culinary devices, like today’s awardee, Best Chafing Dish? I think not!
Irwin joins the Two-Timers club, after his epic physicality in #365’s Popeye, but today it’s Cary Elwes advancing to the Four-Timers club that nabs the spotlight! Leading #395 Robin Hood: Men in Tights, co-starring as Lord Homewood in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Not the Mel Brooks version! Got it!), and his stepdad-to-be work in #351 Liar Liar led to this, and all before he put in that odd stint on the late seasons of The X-Files. Remember that? You may have blocked it out, it was like season 9.
Director Abrahams also joins the exclusive Two-Timers Directing wing, as only the 15th inductee thus far, following his teamwork helming of #355 Top Secret! with the Zuckers.