Tag Archives: Randy Quaid

The Set of 400: #73 – My Favorite Bicycle Joust

Today! Because if it were our plane, it would be crashing –

Quick Change (1990)

Directed by Bill Murray and Howard Franklin

Starring Bill Murray (x8), Geena Davis (x3), Randy Quaid (x4), Jason Robards (x3), Phil Hartman (x2), Tony Shalhoub (x3), Philip Bosco (x3), Bob Elliott, Jack Gilpin, Reg E. Cathey, Jamey Sheridan, Kurtwood Smith (x2), Kathryn Grody, Stanley Tucci (x2), Victor Argo

If there was one Bill Murray movie that could be described as criminally underseen (for quality and also pun reasons) it would be Quick Change (with the possible exception of Nothing Lasts Forever). It wasn’t a big hit in its day – marketing issues, maybe? – but did land on cable repeatedly in that sweet spot period for me in the early ’90s, thus I began a long affection for this sorta dark, sorta zany bank robbery comedy. Because it has been a minor part of my life for so long, I have a random array of stories connected to it, so bear with me for a bit.

But first, hunt up Nothing Lasts Forever – it’s bananas

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The Set of 400: #119 – My Favorite Attic Home Movies

Today! Because I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery –

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Directed by Jeremiah Chechik

Starring Chevy Chase (x3), Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid (x3), Juliette Lewis (x3), Johnny Galecki, Diane Ladd, E.G. Marshall (x3), Doris Roberts, John Randolph, William Hickey (x3), Mae Questel, Miriam Flynn, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (x2), Nicholas Guest, Brian Doyle-Murray (x4), Sam McMurray, Alexander Folk, Cody Burger, Ellen Latzen, Nicolette Scorsese

The funniest Christmas movie ever made, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation also falls into that oft-mentioned scenario where I think of its predecessors as being prequels. In other cases like this, it usually plays out that the sequel is so vastly superior to the original movie that I can’t help but think of the films this way. Here though, the issue is more that I’ve seen (and I actively see) Christmas Vacation way more than Vacation or European Vacation. The original Vacation is still a really funny movie, and without it some little bits in Christmas probably wouldn’t work as well – some, like the car getting such major air, are straight retread jokes – but I’m going to estimate that I’ve seen Christmas Vacation three or four dozen times in my life, whereas I’ve probably sat and watched Vacation once in the last two decades.

It also has one of the most perfect last lines in movie history

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The Set of 400: #269 – My Favorite Non-Scranton Scranton Cameo

Today! Because sometimes a bowler just has to face the music –

 

Kingpin (1996)

Directed by the Farrelly Brothers (x3)

Starring Woody Harrelson (x4), Randy Quaid (x2), Bill Murray (x4), Vanessa Angel, Chris Elliott, Willie Garson (x3), Googy Gress (x2), Lin Shaye, William Jordan, Prudence Wright Holmes, Richard Tyson, Zen Gesner

The Farrellys direct precursor to There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin is cut from very much the same cloth, with slightly lesser results. However! While I recognize it seems borderline insane that the four current Two-Timer directors are Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, and the Farrelly Brothers, rest assured, this is their last appearance on the list. Dumb comedies are only gonna rise so high! Or are they?

No, I recognize Mary as the superior film, to be sure – I guess I just got a little tired of it, as it became this giant, omnipresent comedy two years later, endlessly referenced and pointed back to for years to come. And this largely swallowed Kingpin, a movie I much prefer for two big reasons – 1) the fact that Woody Harrelson’s broken bowler Roy Munson is so defeated by life that he ends up in Scranton, PA to start the film (Shoutout, hometown!) and 2) Bill Murray is beyond words amazing as the villain “Big Ern” Ernie McCracken. Like a lot of ’90s comedies, it’s pretty mean-spirited in retrospect – not just Big Ern being a complete asshole, but the movie’s general take on everybody – but I think it works better than some because there is a genuine relationship that forms between Munson and Randy Quaid’s backwards Amish bowler Ishmael, so that the overarching takeaway feeling from the film is positive, as opposed to pitiable.

Bowling pals!

But yes, Big Ern is the greatest

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The Set of 400: #318 – My Favorite Ineffective Nuclear Device

Today! Because that’s what I call a close encounter –

Independence Day (1996)

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Starring Will Smith (x2), Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Mary McDonnell (x2), Vivica A. Fox, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, Harvey Fierstein, Adam Baldwin, Margaret Colin, James Rebhorn, Brent Spiner, Mae Whitman, Harry Connick Jr., Dan Lauria, Rance Howard (x2)

That crowd-pleasingest of crowd pleasers from the glorious summer of ’96, Independence Day is a bombastic, overblown, super-long, mega-destructive alien disaster movie – a War of the Worlds that no movie studio would allow to end with something like a pesky virus wiping out the enemy. Oh no, there had better be shots of the entire country (and a little lip service to the rest of the world) getting decimated by giant warships, the country and general morale laid low, before the stirring rally commences. This was all before 9/11, mind you. It’s hard to say how this would’ve played after. Judging by the thorough rejection of the pointless sequel twenty years later, I’m guesing not well?

In fairness, Resurgence was a bunch of ridiculous nonsense

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