Okay, back at this again for another week. I have been listing a bunch of flicks that I am shocked people have not seen that have generally been in my top 5 or top 10. As I said in prior columns, I worked at a video store so my opinions actually matter. Really, It does. Anyway, I have a few terrabytes of flicks on various hard drives connected to a Raspberry Pi that just plays randomly, so I don’t have to decide what to watch. This just happened to show up last week as I was trying to figure out what would be next…
Yup, DRAGNET. Seriously, the comedy that they made in 1987 with Akyroyd and Hanks. The remake/retelling of the old 1967 TV show with Harry Morgan. I am telling you: this flick is killer. Why? Let me get there.
We get introduced to Pep Streebek (played by Tom Hanks), he is a cop, but does not take it seriously. He gets partnered with Joe Friday (played by one of the top 3 comedy actors of all time, Dan Aykroyd). And yes, he is the nephew of the original Joe Friday from the original TV show. The nod to the original doesn’t end there. Harry Morgan is the Captain and you kind of feel he is not in on the joke. But I think that is what adds to this flick.
These two get partnered up as they begin investigating a bunch of weird thefts. A entire run of a porn magazine “Bait,”, a snake, and a lion’s mane from a zoo. Just weird things. The mystery leads them to a cult called P.A.G.A.N… The People Against Goodness and Normalcy. I know this may not be selling it, but I assure you the scenes of Hanks and Aykroyd together are perfect. Oh, and the supporting characters are insane. I know I mention Harry Morgan (yup, third time), but besides him there is Alexandra Paul (Baywatch), Jack O’Halloran (Superman 2 NON), Dabney Coleman (as a Hugh Hefner Kinko copy), and Elizabeth Ashley (you will recognize her). Oh, and the triple crown EGOT (Non-Grammy) god Christopher Plummer as Reverend Jonathan Whirley. As I am typing this I am saying it how he says it in the movie. He is amazing in this flick. A really cool cameo by Kathleen Freeman as a landlord. I love her scene because is it is a complete opposite of her famous Sister Mary Stigmata in BLUES BROTHERS. A little hidden gem when you see it.
But this is comedy gold. The director is Tom Mankiewicz. And you are all, like, why do I know that name? Well, he only wrote the screenplay for DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER< THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, LIVE AND LET DIE, LADYHAWKE, and THE EAGLE HAS LANDED. Oh, and did I mention that he was hired by Richard Donner to rewrite the screenplay for SUPERMAN 1 & 2? Well, this is his directorial debut, and he did not get many more after this. But with him and Aykroyd writing this flick, the comedy dialogue is perfect. As much as I love those Bond flicks for the action, I also love the comedy he bestowed on those flicks. This is a perfect combination of both.
And like most flicks I recommend, I think you need to hear the memorable lines:
“Frank quit, moved to Ukiah, bought a goat farm.”
“Jump on this and spin, cop!”
“Muzz. Emil Muzz.”
“Oh, thank God, vibrator repair!”
“Don’t forget your goat leggings.”
This flick is just a fun comedy that gets overlooked way too much by way too many people. Hanks is awesome as he was in all of those 80s comedy flicks. He is funny effortlessly, and Aykroyd is just a comedy god. Looks like it is on Apple TV for four bucks, which is a solid rental. Oh, last thing: when you are done go find the “City of Crime” music video. Yup, a music video. Did I mention it was choreographed by Paula Abdul. Just 80s gold.