Monday, April 10, 2017


Arkansas, 1950's.  A small town radio station has a show called "A Face in the Crowd".  It's about normal folks and their normal lives.  One day they feature the guitar playing and banter of a drifter named Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes.  He's an overnight sensation and before long his popularity has reached Memphis and finally New York City where he gets a television show that is watched by over 50 million people a week!  That's all well and good...except for the fact that ol' "Lonesome" Rhodes is a complete fake that'll do and say anything to make a quick buck...or make a quick fuck with a teenage girl.

While the basic story of A FACE IN THE CROWD is still as relevant today as it was in 1957...sadly we've gone way, way beyond a fake entertainer suckering the stupid masses out of their money.  And because of that, this film feels out of date.  Another thing that lessens the power of the film is "Lonesome" Rhodes didn't have any enemies.  His rise to fame seemed very easy and while I'm sure that was done on purpose, I still think it would have been more entertaining if there had been a power struggle or something.  Maybe a government official who saw through Lonesome's bullshit?   That's just my two-cents.

As it is though, A FACE IN THE CROWD is a well-made film and Andy Griffith makes a great con man.  Patricia Neal is great as well and I wish that Walter Matthau had a bigger role.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Leroy Green, known around town as Bruce Leroy, is a peace-loving young man who has dedicated his life to being the best martial artist in the world.  In his spare time, he works at his dad's pizza place.

One day, while hanging out at an incredibly crowded movie theater that's showing a Bruce Lee film, Leroy is relaxing and eating popcorn with chopsticks when in walks Sho'nuff (the self-proclaimed "The Shogun of Harlem") and his minions.  Sho'nuff is boasting loudly that he's the baddest mofo in town when somebody yells out that Bruce Leroy could kick his ass.  This doesn't go over too well with Sho'nuff.  Bruce escapes the riot, but now he's on Sho'nuff's radar.

That is a great start to the film and honestly the only story the film needs (besides some romance), but for whatever reason the filmmakers decide to make the main story about a local crime lord who wants his girlfriend to be a popular singer!  What the fuck?  So now instead of enjoying the adventures of the highly entertaining Sho'nuff trying to kick Bruce Leroy's ass, we're mildly entertained by this goofy crime dude and his boring henchmen.  At the same time, Vanity is the hostess of a popular music program.  The crime dude kidnaps her as part of his plan to do whatever the hell it is he's doing...or something.  I didn't care.

THE LAST DRAGON is a good film, but it's kinda depressing to think about how much potential it had to be a totally awesome film!  The character of Sho'nuff is fantastic and should've had twice as much screentime as he did have.  To do so, the secondary story about Leroy's little brother and his boring friends should have been cut completely and replaced with the Sho'nuff and his crew kicking ass.

As it is, THE LAST DRAGON is still a fun film with some really good scenes and a number of totally worthless scenes.  Sho'nuff alone is worth the price of admission. Double-feature with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.