So I still use than damn red envelope Netflix service! Yes, it’s true, DVDs still come to my residence regularly. Yes, I may be one of the last people in the country but hey let’s be honest, the selection of DVD’s they have are far and away better than the forgettable movies & bland series they churn out onto their streaming service. Well, yesterday they delivered an interesting one to my mail box: 2003’s ‘Highwaymen’ from Robert Harmon the director of 1986’s ‘The Hitcher’, easily one of the best highway horror movies of ALL time. Well it turns out Harmon had another trick up his sleeve that he saved for the 2000’s, between his run on the Tom Selleck ‘Jesse Stone’ movies (ok that I was surprised to find out about). Hey that’s besides the point because Harmon clearly has some skills when he gets into his element of car related horror, at least I think so!
I had very, very low expectations for ‘Highwaymen’, the early 2000’s aren’t exactly my choice era for movie viewing and my discovery of his ‘Jesse Stone’ flicks didn’t exactly add to the excitement (or maybe I’m missing something? Are the Jesse Stone movies actually totally RAD?!). However from the opening of this one my interest was peaked and a weird movie that hung around in my queue for ages began to transform into somewhat of a forgotten gem before my very eyes. Jim Cavezial stars as traumatized husband who witnesses his wife murdered in broad daylight, while walking on the side of a country road from a clearly intentional hit and run. From there we skip ahead in time and it seems the same 1972 Cadillac Eldorado is back on the road and out for some more deadly “hit and run” fun, this time targeting two women driving at night on the highway. From behind the beastly car’s wheel we can see a strange man with crude prosthetic limbs aggressively shifting the gears and enjoying the roadway terror all too much.
Only one of the women survives the encounter and ends up meeting Cavezial seemingly “by chance” and the two embark on a creepy road adventure to get revenge on the maniac serial killer driver. I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining this one was and that might be because of just how absurd this one’s plot really is and how straight it’s all played. You’re going to have to suspend your disbelief for pretty much every action sequence here, as I said it’s totally absurd but in the best ways possible.
That’s not say they’re not totally enjoyable, action packed and thrilling, Harmon’s got the chops here and jam packs some crazy ass shit into a barely 80 minute run time and it’s all beautifully filmed. There’s some epic road battles here and the psycho villain (who’d probably hung out with Rutger Hauer’s character from the Hitcher back in the 80’s), simply referred to as “Fargo” is a bizarre creation as he’s essentially merged with his vintage car to cause ultimate terror on the highway. Throw in a little ridiculous backstory and you’e got a pretty unique little highway horror flick that’s pace never lets up.
If you’re looking for a quick, action packed, car based horror thriller this one is a pretty fun one that’d be perfect to pair up as the opening act for a double feature with the 1986 cult classic ‘The Hitcher’! It’s not gotten much love over the years, probably because no one’s really heard of it or given it a chance (damn you Jesse Stone!). However as far as road based horror goes I think Highwayman is on it’s way to becoming a cult classic as it’s, at least in my opinion, in my opinion aged quite well over the last 17 years! Give it a shot!
After the last two installments of the “Skywalker Saga” sequel trilogy ‘The Force Awakens & The Last Jedi’ from Disney I’ve decided to look elsewhere for a good fix of the iconic series til ‘Episode IX’ drops. There’s definitely not a better spot to start than with Timothy Zahn’s iconic “Thrawn” Trilogy!! There’s a lot of Star Wars fans out there, like myself, who’ve never really seriously delved into the EU (expanded universe) stuff, I’d been recommended this trilogy of books, ‘Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising & The Last Command’ for a long time as they’re considered by many fans the real Episodes 7, 8 & 9. I can firmly say I’d wished they’d have drawn from this storyline for the current trilogy as it’s not a direct “retelling” that mirrors the original trilogy. It has incredible villains at it’s core as well, that bury characters like Snoke, Kylo Ren & Phasma. The current trilogy is actually more of a reboot, borrowing major plot points from previous movies, even Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi” while supposedly attempting to subvert audience expectations still follows very similar beats with the original trilogy.
Heir to the Empire is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, the Rebellion, which is now known as the New Republic, is still fighting the final remnants of the Imperial resistance and trying to set up a strong new government. But in outer reaches of the galaxy, the most cunning of all the hand picked Grand Admirals is quickly gaining power and preparing to launch a series of deadly attacks on the New Republic. After convincing a crazed Dark Jedi to join his side, Grand Admiral ‘Thrawn’ is scheming his ultimate victory. I’ve been listening to the audio books, narrated by Marc Thomson and damn does that guy nail the voices of almost all character to perfection, as I listened I could picture it all unfolding on screen with the original actors, so if you’re a bit late to the party (it came out in 1991!) & wanna check this out most definitely check out this version of the story, it’s a ton of fun.
So obviously I began to think about how much I’d like to see this basic story on the big screen & while it is true, that because of the newest trilogy they’d have to change a few of the plot points I think they could still manage to tell a decent version of the original story. Fore instance Leia is newly pregnant with twins at the time in the book, that’d have to change, it’d have to be baby Kylo and it could take place a bit later than 5 years after Return of the Jedi. Still though, this story could indeed be brought to the big screen as many of the major characters required for this adventure have actually already been recast in ‘Solo’ and ‘Rogue One’. I have my doubts however this movie would happen at this point in time, as ‘Solo’ was a bit of a flop and perhaps Disney wouldn’t want to take a chance recasting the original trilogy characters again. If they ever do bring this to life though, I’ve got the actors right here cast that’d likely please hardcore fans- let’s take a look at some choices for major characters in the story that I think would be great for the movie version of the epic trilogy….
Han Solo: Alden Ehrenreich
Obviously we’ve got to to cast Alden again as Han right? To keep with continuity of the new ‘Solo’ film it makes perfect sense he’d be up for the role again. I of course wish they’d have given Anthony Ingruber a shot as he’s a spitting image and mastered the general vibe of Harrison Ford. But in this case we’ve already got our new Han so we might as well roll with it right? That’s the good thing here, some of the casting is already complete. Phew!
Lando Calrissian: Donald Glover
Another no brainer, as Glover did an excellent job as portraying Lando in ‘Solo’. He had it down and obviously did his homework on mastering a similar swagger of icon Billie Dee Williams. There’s a lot of Lando here in this Star Wars adventure and it further cements him and Han’s friendship after the events of ROTJ. It’d be amazing to see Glover back again and cement his legacy as a younger Lando once again as this story has a good deal of trouble for him and Han to get into!
Princess Leia: Billie Lourd
To me Billie Lourd is the only real option for Leia. She’s the perfect age to play the role, she’s totally beautiful like Carrie and she’s Carrie’s daughter!! She’s also looks a lot like her and has already expressed interest in playing a young version of the character. How truly sweet would it be to have her play her mother’s iconic character? Check this out as she states how she wishes she could play a young Leia:
I know she’s got a small role in the latest trilogy but this would be a whole new timeline. I’d love to see Billie as Leia learning to use a lightsaber as well as tapping into the Force like she did in the book. How could you turn her down for the role? You’d have to have no damn soul!
It was finally time to check out a sequel for one of my fave horror movies of all time, The Hitcher! Yep, what many people don’t know is that they did indeed make a sequel for the 1986 classic. No, this ain’t a sequel to the highly un-needed 2007 remake. “The Hitcher 2: I’ve Been Waiting” came out in 2003, yeah it took me ten years to finally become curious enough in this movie to check it out. Perhaps this sudden interest came in a recent conversation about the films villain, played by none other than Jake Busey.
So some might think, a sequel for The Hitcher might just be about some random folks who pick up another crazed hitchhiker. Well what kind of sequel would that really be?! Nope! This one succeeds on one level, by bringing C. Thomas Howell, the original’s hero, Jim Halsey back! Now that’s what I like to see in a sequel, the original star power return. However cool this seems it makes you wonder how in holy hell Jim Halsey could realistically ever pick up another hitchhiker after the crazy shit that went down in the original?!!
To me, it didn’t really matter at first because it was just pretty cool seeing him onscreen 17 years later, as the same character and seeing just what the hell that character was up to. Turns out he was a cop, he flies planes and he’s a little crazy. Rightfully so! Halsey has been struggling still with those visions of the events of the original film shown in flashbacks throughout. He’s wound so tight that he decides to go on a road trip with his girlfriend, flying there in his plane and then picking up a car to drive down that same highway Rutger Hauer terrorized him on in 1986!
Sounds good thus far right? Well things get real stupid REAL quick folks. Yep it doesn’t take long before they see a man crash his motorcycle and then jump onto the side of the road……..yeah….hitchhiking!!! Now there’s no WAY Halsey would ever pick up another one of these guys right?! WRONG! His girlfriend talks him into it and there you have it, motherfuckin’ Jake Busey and his big ass teeth sitting in the back seat of the car. BAD bad news. Now what are the god damn chances that the one hitchhiker Jim Halsey sees after driving the damn car for like 15 minutes down the road would be a god damn psychotic serial killer?!! Apparently Halsey is a hitchhiking serial killer magnet! The sheer absurdity of this damn story line is almost brilliant! This movie is just so damn stupid I couldn’t turn the shit off!
Let me make this point clear as day Jake Busey is most certainly NOT Rutger Hauer!! Busey’s attempt at recreating Hauer’s intensity is laughable at best. He gives a ton of lame ass one liners every chance he gets and comes across as an incredibly irritating nitwit rather than remotely frightening. When Hauer was in the car it made you cringe, but when Busey’s in the back seat you just wanna slap the shit out of him for acting like such a nimrod.
So what follows really is pretty forgettable. It’s kinda the same plot as the first one, with maybe one unexpected event to keep it mildly disappointingly interesting. Hell Busey even uses the whole “finger in the french fries” schtick in this one too as each and every turn of the film ends up with some moronic dialogue with Busey somehow convincing the cops he’s just an innocent bystander. Perhaps they just thought he was mentally challenged? Oh yeah and let’s not forget they throw in the “roped to the semi” shit again too. But as with most everything this film delivers it never amounts to anything remotely interesting just to more shitty dialogue from the oh so “crazy” Busey. I’d say this one is a full on grade A suck fest and the only reason to check this out is to see C. Thomas Howell as Jim Halsey one last time. If you’re a fan of moronic sequels that fail miserably this one is a MUST see!!!
Looks like the buzz has officially been blown off the roof for the the newest Grindhouse flick “Hobo with a Shotgun”! This promising sleez-fest stars everybody’s favorite hitchhikin’ android Rutger Hauer! How can you go wrong really? Well interestingly enough I have thus far heard some really mixed reviews for this flick. Some claim it’s a mega cult classic while others have said it’s got all hype an no delivery-just alot of bad filming and wretchedly lame gore . Well I say-i’ll decide for myself bcause so far this DOES look like a winner-as Hauer has gotta be one of the most menacing men in movie history!
This one started as a fake trailer in a contest to win a slot to be featured in the Canadian viewing of Tarantino & Rodriguez’s masterpeice double feature, “Grindhouse”-which was probably the most enjoyable theatrical experience of the last decade! Anyway here’s the trailer-what do you think?