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  • Your Mod Movie Monday Movie Suggestion: Tough Guys, 1986

    Posted on December 4th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    tough-guys-posterI’ve always been a fan of gangster films, from The Public Enemy to Johnny Dangerously. There are dozens of great gangster/crime comedies, but one that’s often overlooked is a gem from 1986,

    Tough Guys

    Starring Kirk Douglass, Burt Lancaster, Eli Wallach, Charles Durning, Alexis Smith, and Dana Carvey.

    It’s a great concept: Two big-time bank robbers (Douglass and Lancaster) get busted robbing a train in 1956, and serve a 30 year stretch for their trouble. They get out in 1986…at the ages of 68 and 72, but it tip-top shape. (This is attributed to years of being…you guessed it, tough guys in prison). They’ve been totally disconnected from modern life, and once paroled the have to try to adjust to a 1980’s world of wimpy street gangs, rap music, strange fashions, and the “old neighborhood” not being what it used to be.

    If life on the outside ain’t bad enough, they’re hounded by the cop who busted them in ’56 (Durning) and are followed relentlessly by a hit-man bent on fulfilling a 30-year old contract (Wallach). In between crappy jobs and bad rest home grub, they manage to score a couple of broads…and with the help of their P.O. (Carvey), even try their hand at a few jobs they’re good at…

    TOUGH GUYS, Eli Wallach, Dana Carvey, Alexis Smith, 1986

    TOUGH GUYS, Eli Wallach, Dana Carvey, Alexis Smith, 1986

    It’s not the most well produced film (it’s filmed in that kind of “flat” style that was too common in the 1980s, with no real “style”) but the acting is top notch, and watching these two old time tough guys act like they’re 30 years old again is great. There’s even a small part by Billy Barty (no pun intended).

    Irony: One of Eli Wallach’s lines, is that if he gets locked up while trying to kill Lancaster and Douglass’ characters, that he’ll wait another 30 years and come after them again. It’s funny, because at their ages there’s no way they’d last that long.

    Kirk Douglas & Burt Lancaster

    Kirk Douglas & Burt Lancaster

    Well…as it turns out, it’s been 26 years since the movie came out, and although we said goodbye to Burt Lancaster in 1994, Kirk Douglass is still kickin’…at the age of 96, Durning is still going at 79, and Eli Wallach…according to IMDB…is still ready to pull that hit at the rip old age of 95.

    Maybe it’s time for a Tough Guys 2?

    BTW: For our “younger” readers, dig this: Dana Carvey is 57. Yeah.

    Here’s the trailer…

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from Cell Block 8

  • Marty, 1955 staring Ernest Borgnine, for Mod (Vintage) Movie Monday

    Posted on July 9th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    ernestborgnineisshowninascenefromthe1955filmmartyIn remembrance of Ernest Borgnine who passed away last week at the cool old age of 95, this week’s Mod-Vintage Movie Monday is

    Marty, from 1955

    When a movie wins best Actor in a Leading Role (Borgnine), Best Director (Delbert Mann), Best Writing, Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky) and Best Picture, you know it’s got to be good. Damned good. So it is with Marty. Marty is an Italian New York City (Bronx) butcher, who at 34 years old has not yet tied the knot. In fact. looking 20 years older, he doesn’t have much luck with any dames. He lives his life day to day, trying to be a nice guy and an all around good person. And he is…but nice guys finish last, don’t they?

    Marty is constantly hounded by his family to get married. Trouble is, he can’t even manage to hold a girl’s attention for more than five minutes. Then along comes Clara, an average-looking schoolteacher who’s not the flashy-trashy chicks that seems to be swinging off the trees. They connect…but can they make it work?marty-poster

    Marty is a great mid-50s slice of life story, with fantastic performances by Borgnine, Jerry Paris and Betsy Blair. It’s part Noir, part love story and part comedy, with the fun coming from the daily lives of the characters and how they interact, not from cheesy one-liners or puns. One of my favorite scenes is when Marty and his buddy are trying to figure out what to do that night. “Let’s call Mary Feeney…”

    Food: Since Marty is a butcher, it only makes sense to have some meat. Here’s and easy pot roast recipe that’s been a standard in my family for 50+ years.

    5-8 lb Chuck or Bottom Round Roast
    Fresh Carrots, Celery, Potatoes, Onions, string beans
    Canned or frozen peas, corn
    Lipton Onion Soup Mix
    Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Bay Leaves
    Bouillon Cubes
    Flour

    Sprinkle salt and pepper on the roast. In a large pot, sear the beef on high heat in a tablespoon of oil, turning until each side is brown. Add one large onion, potatoes, carrots, and celery (all diced into large chunks) and string beans, one can corn and one can peas (with water), and one cup of water. Bring to boil. Separately, dissolve bouillon cube and onion soup mix in one cup cold water. Add on teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Pour into pot and bring to boil. Add 2-3 bay leaves. Once at full boil, reduce to simmer, stir and cover. Add another cup of water and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste broth; add more water as needed and seasoning to taste. Allow roast to simmer (low) covered for at least two hours. Roast is done when it is tender enough to pull apart with a fork.

    Gravy: Remove two cups of broth, add one bouillon cube and bring to boil. Reduce heat and whisk in flour one tablespoon at a time, allowing to thicken a few minutes between additions. Thicken and add seasoning to taste. I like mine peppery.

    Booze: Schlitz Beer, or Chianti wine, the kind that comes wrapped in a basket weave.

    Here’s the trailer…

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the kitchen at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Lounge, Fort Lauderdale, FLmarty-tommy