Tag Archives: Jonathan Banks

The Set of 400: #37 – My Favorite Sale at Penney’s

Today! Because I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley –

Airplane! (1980)

Directed by Jim Abrahams (x3), David Zucker (x4), and Jerry Zucker (x3)

Starring Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty (x3), Leslie Nielsen (x3), Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges (x2), Robert Stack (x3), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Stephen Stucker (x2), Jonathan Banks (x3), Barbara Billingsley, Lorna Patterson, Maureen McGovern, Joyce Bulifant, Gregory Itzin (x4), James Hong (x2), David Leisure, Ethel Merman, Jason Wingreen (x2), Jimmie Walker

Does anyone actually watch Airport anymore? Any of the Airport movies? I knew in some vague way growing up that they existed – that Airplane! was a direct parody of those films – but I never saw any of them until I was probably in college. Because those movies are nonsense. Now, by 1980, all four Airport films had been released, so I’m guessing the time was ripe to lambaste those hokey melodramas, but it kinda feels like making a parody of Twilight, no? Like, we all know its garbage, so how to escalate that and make fun of it? This being said, were you to glance at Airport‘s statistics, and found how it was nominated for ten Academy Awards including Best Picture, and figured ol’ Joe for hyperbole, you’d be wrong. The 1970 Oscars were clearly insane.

When you’ve got Dean Martin playing a pilot, no tongue in cheek, you know there are problems

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The Set of 400: #273 – My Favorite Cabbie Bias

Today! Because I’m using rented bullets for my gun. We’ve all got problems –

The Cheap Detective (1978)

Directed by Robert Moore

Starring Peter Falk, Madeline Kahn, John Houseman, Stockard Channing, James Coco (x2), Eileen Brennan, Dom DeLuise (x3), Louise Fletcher, Marsha Mason, Abe Vigoda, Vic Tayback, David Ogden Stiers, Scatman Crothers (x2), Nicol Williamson, Paul Williams, Phil Silvers, Fernando Lamas, Sid Caesar, Ann-Margret, James Cromwell, Jonathan Banks (x2)

A spiritual sequel to the zany Neil Simon comedy Murder By Death, The Cheap Detective is a more direct parody than its predecessor, taking Peter Falk’s twisted Bogart impression and slamming Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and The Big Sleep together into one silly 1940’s San Francisco mystery, replete with Nazis, secret identities, Romanians, stolen treasure, and an acronymed pseudo-villain named Vladimir Tserijemiwtz, which works out to Ezra C.V. Mildew Dezire Jr.!

Many members of the large cast appeared in Murder By Death as well, including Coco, Brennan, and Cromwell, but Falk’s is the only character transplanted over more or less intact, even with a different name (Lou Peckinpaugh here, Sam Diamond in Murder). These movies are in the rare group of Neil Simon screenplays that weren’t adapted from his stage plays, which includes The Out-of-Towners, The Goodbye Girl, and Seems Like Old Times. They do, however, have that indefinable Neil Simon-ness about their jokes, which mostly land, even if they can verge into mild racism here and there. Ah, the 1970s!

And some vintage Sid Caesar shtick!

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The Set of 400: #281 – My Favorite Radio War of the Worlds Explanation

Today! Because it’s not my goddamn planet. Understand, monkey boy?

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

Directed by W.D. Richter

Starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow (x2), Ellen Barkin (x2), Christopher Lloyd (x3), Jeff Goldblum (x2), Lewis Smith, Clancy Brown, Rosalind Cash, Ronald Lacey, Vincent Schiavelli (x3), Carl Lumbly, Dan Hedaya, Jonathan Banks, John Ashton, Yakov Smirnoff

Playing like the third or fourth sequel to a property that didn’t previously exist, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension doesn’t waste a ton of time explaining the hows and whys of the title character – a brain surgeon/rock musician who heads up a crime fighting team named the Hong Kong Cavaliers, none of whom appear to be from southern China. But there’s no reason to get too bogged down in all that – this movie plunges you straight into the action, with Banzai breaking the ethereal barrier to the 8th Dimension, and all the alien invasion/global intrigue that follows.

Quite the crew!

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