Sunday, May 19, 2013

24 Hours: Tango & Cash (24th and 3rd) Anniversary

Movies.  Anniversaries.  Movie anniversaries.  Movies as anniversaries.  That's how this crazy weekend got started.  A weekend that would include 5 movies at 3 venues in 24 hours.

12:01 AM, Saturday, 5.18...

You see, three years ago a local Los Angeles theater played a Sylvester Stallone triple feature of Cobra, Tango & Cash and Cliffhanger.  Randomly, I met a fellow Stallone fan and her friend at the event.  Cut to today, we're all still seeing movies together and celebrated our anniversary at a midnight screening of 1989's Tango & Cash at The Cinefamily's Heavy Hitter Midnites series.

Who programs movies like this?  Why, the same action movie connoisseur who programmed it three years ago!  He's a huge fan of action movies and absolutely loves Tango & Cash in a passionate, non-ironic way.  Which is the best way to love anything because it's real.  I actually overheard some clowns (at another theater) talking about paying to see Star Trek Into Darkness just so they could rip it apart ((This is why people still make fun of genre and pop culture fans because some of them are self haters.) You know what's really cool?  Being cool with yourself.)

Apparently, Warner Brothers does not have a copy of T&C in their vault so tonight's 35mm print was provided by a private collector within The Academy Film Archive.  Surprisingly there were at least a dozen members in the audience who had never seen the flick before.  Get ready for a surprise!

If you haven't seen this movie by now, I'm not going to try to convince you to.  Just know that it's awesome and ridiculous at the same time.  It concerns two of Los Angeles' top cops, Detective Ray "Armani with a badge" Tango and Gabriel "eats burritos and wears boots that fire bullets" Cash played by messrs Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell.  They're set up by a powerful crime syndicate headed by mice lover/sniffer Jack Palance (You.  Are.  My number one...Guy!) and James Hong (Lo-Pan!).  The duo have to escape a corrupt prison, fight the clock and blow up a warehouse to clear their names.  Hilarious, homo erotic, big haired, cross dressing, car chasing, back seat humping, gun shooting, fist fighting, RV from Hell-ing, 80's synth-scored hijinks ensues.

I forgot how many familiar faces line the cast.  Beyond Stallone, Russell, Palance and Hong you get pre-Lois and Clark Teri Hatcher, Brion James (Steel Dawn), Geoffrey Lewis (Double Impact, JCVD as twins alert!), Philip Tan (Surf Ninjas), Michael J. Pollard (I Come In Peace), Edward Bunker (cameos in Best of the Best I & II), Michael Jeter (The Green Mile) and the Face himself, Robert Z'Dar!

The chemistry between Stallone and Russell is great and they both look like they're having a good time between the constant ribbing and unrelenting action.  Stallone wasn't bromantic with Arnold yet so there's a few zingers tossed at the Austrian Oak.

It would be interesting to hear some of the stories behind this weirdly funny action movie as credited director Andrei Konchalavskiy was replaced towards the end of production by Albert Magnoli (Nash Bridges!) as the producers didn't like the serious tone he was going for.  It's said that Patrick Swayze was originally set to play Cash but dropped out to headline 80's "philosophical karate bouncer" classic Road House.  Stallone had original Director of Photography Barry Sonnenfeld fired because he wasn't being lit to satisfaction.  The budget swelled as production problems arose and is said to have hit $55 million.

Nevertheless, the movie ended up being a Top 20 grosser in 1989, Russell's biggest hit behind Backdraft and Stargate and a top 10 for Stallone.

It was a fun night and start to my crazy Saturday.  So how about that sequel?

Until then, check out some of the best programming in Los Angeles (Van Damme Triple Feature, come on!) at

Check out this great "bad cop, worse cop" bit:

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