Sgt. Bilko Is an Underrated Comedy

Jonathan Lynn doesn’t seem to get much respect as a director. And yet he directed several excellent films, including Clue, My Cousin Vinny, and Sgt. Bilko (1996). Yes, I lump that last film in with those earlier ones because I think it’s a superb comedy. Steve Martin is at the top of his game as a comedian, being effortlessly charming and funny. Plus, it has Phil Hartman as its main villain. You can’t go wrong with that kind of pairing.

To put it mildly, Sgt. Bilko is an underrated comedy. I remember when it first came out, I was surprised that it got savaged by critics. I thought it was genuinely hilarious, and as proof I offer one of the funniest scenes in the movie. This is a flashback where Bilko is explaining an old scheme he cooked up that accidentally got his superior officer in a lot of trouble. If you haven’t seen this before, you’re in for a treat. Continue reading

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Pleasant Surprises: Now and Then

Do you remember how you felt when you first heard that the likes of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk were actually going to appear in the same film together or that two living legends like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were finally going to share the screen? Now imagine that you didn’t know about those team-up movies until two decades after the fact. That’s what happened to me a few days ago. I randomly saw a picture of a young Christina Ricci above the movie title Now and Then on Netflix. I asked my wife if she had ever heard of that movie and she said yes and got to introduce me to it, which is a rare occurrence. I’m usually the one who opens her eyes to the wonders of obscure films.

As I pored over this film’s impressive cast, I was amazed I had never heard of it before. It has one of the most talented collections of actors I have ever seen. It’s practically the Dream Team for moviegoers like me who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Let’s talk about all of the famous people in Now and Then and see if it’s worth a watch for that novelty alone. Continue reading

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Overcoming the Fear of Name-Calling

Being called a mean name hurts. My parents taught me to ignore personal insults, but that was easier said than done. Thankfully, I managed to avoid stooping to my bullies’ level and instead killed them with kindness. It’s so much more satisfying to lift someone up than to take revenge on them. The first step to reaching that goal is to overcome the fear of name-calling. Here are three examples from movies and a TV show that illustrate this. Continue reading

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6 Movies Contained Within The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead was first published in 1943, and it’s had quite an impact ever since. Its story is so epic and contains so many elements that entire films have been made about plot points that are only small parts of the overall book. Let’s identify six movies contained within it to marvel at just how many types of stories spring from The Fountainhead. Continue reading

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Each Toy Story Movie Summed Up in 1 Word

I was worried when I heard that there was going to be a Toy Story 4 because the third one ended the series on a high note. I thought that it could only be downhill from there. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover Toy Story 4 is a solid sequel that ties up some loose threads from the previous film and finishes Woody’s story in a satisfying way.

In honor of this monumental achievement of four practically perfect films in the Toy Story series, I would like to boil down each of them to a single word that describes their unique themes. And then I’ll provide elements of their stories that correspond to those words. Continue reading

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Why 007 Can Never Be a Woman

Beyond the fact that Ian Fleming created him as a white man and that’s how he’s always been portrayed on film and TV from the very beginning, James Bond can never be a woman for a few important reasons. And that’s true of any actor who bears the title 007. Continue reading

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Is ‘Hasta La Vista, Baby’ a Bait-and-Switch?

Terminator 2: Judgment Day has a number of great lines, and probably the most famous is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s legendary delivery of “Hasta la vista, baby.” But I’ve started to wonder if it was originally intended as a bait-and-switch, meaning that we were supposed to anticipate him saying a different line, but instead got that one. Let me make the case by first sharing the scene that introduced a number of potential catchphrases to the Terminator’s lexicon.

As you can see, John Connor gives the Terminator several options to choose from, and the Terminator even experiments with them a little, producing “Chill out, dickwad.” It’s a funny little scene that has a great payoff. Later, the T-1000 gets drenched in liquid nitrogen and starts breaking off his extremities as they stick to the ground. Pretty soon he’s frozen solid, and the Terminator sees this as a perfect opportunity for one of his quips. Which one does he choose? You know the answer.

Even though this is an iconic moment, doesn’t it seem like a more appropriate line would have been “Chill out, dickwad”? I mean, the setup is perfect. The T-1000 is frozen solid, so it’s the perfect time for a cold-related pun. Were we supposed to think that that’s where the film was going? Was it supposed to be a surprise when the Terminator said “Hasta la vista, baby” instead? I’m not sure. This wouldn’t be the first time James Cameron has used a fun little scene to set up something amazing later on, the way he did with Ripley’s power loader in Aliens and liquid oxygen in The Abyss.

I’m definitely not saying that the line should have been anything other than what we got, but it’s just interesting that there was another perfectly plausible alternative. What do you think? Was “Hasta la vista, baby” intended as a bait-and-switch?

Oh, and Arnold Schwarzenegger more than made up for the lack of an icy pun in this instance a few years later with his infamous portrayal of Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin.

This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.

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