Quick Movie Review: D.C. Cab (1983)

Wow, how is this movie not up there with other 80s icon movies like Beverly Hills Cop and Fletch? Well, possibly because it’s not a tight script like those movies. Many, I love those two flicks. Anyway, DC Cab might suffer from less good plot, but it benefits from starring Mr. T, Adam Bladwin (Jane from Firefly), Gary Busey, Bill Maher and Paul Rodriguez. The idea is that Baldwin’s dad was a cabbie but he died, so Baldwin came to DC to learn how to be a cabbie with the ensemble cast. Like Car Wash, another movie involving Joel Schumacker (he wrote the story for this one and directed) DC Cab features a bunch of blue collar dudes just trying to make a living and be generally alright people while putting up with all the bullshit that comes from doing those kinds of jobs.

In the end, the movie turns out to be a weird kind of ransom story with Baldwin and some jaded rich children getting kidnapped and his fellow cabbies rallying to save him (and the kids presumably).

I added this movie to my queue for two reasons. The first being that I remembered this poster/cover from the old VHS days of video rental and the second being that it stars my namesake Mr. T. Okay, so he’s not my namesake, but I did get the chance to interview the guy once while at Wizard and it was a truly amazing experience (look for the full transcript coming soon). He’s kind of a bit player in the movie, but he does his usual schtick. The real surprise here was Busey who I didn’t even know was in the flick but acted exactly as you might expect him to. I had a great time watching this flick last night and would recommend anyone to do the same on Netflix’s instant watch, but the movie expires today. Maybe this will be like one of those Starz movies that “deletes” and then reappears right away, but I would recommend this for any 80s action/comedy fans who don’t mind watching a little nonsense before seeing Mr. T rough some dudes up.

Firefly: The Series (2002)

As I mentioned in one of these posts over the last few days, the missus and I have been watching a bunch of TV on DVD lately. We burned through the second season of Mad Men and all of Firefly and are four discs into the first season of Alias. I completely missed out on/didn’t care about Firefly when it first aired and didn’t have much interest in it until recently when Rickey and Sam gave it to us to check out and we couldn’t say no (also, nothing else is on). I’ve been told the proper order to consume the entertainment in (TV, both comic series’ and then Serenity), so I figured I’d blog about them in that order.

Damn, this is a great show you guys. I realize I’m super late to the game on this, but Joss Whedon actually really impressed me with this show. I’ve been kind of down on him after being really bored with the one episode of Dollhouse I watched and not being too impressed with Astonishing X-Men. Being a big fan of Buffy, both of those were disappointing for me. Plus, we went back and watched the first season of Angel, which was hard to get into. I was starting to think that Whedon didn’t have the ability to hook viewers with a new show right away. I was getting sick of people saying “Yeah, the early stuff isn’t great, but you’ve got to get through it to get to the good stuff.” What kind of rationale is that? I understand that in the age where we can watch everything online or on DVD that it becomes much easier to go back and catch up on a show that got bad or started off poorly, but why should we? If you want me to watch your show, here’s an idea, wow me from the beginning.

And that’s exactly what Whedon and company did with Firefly. Right out of the gate, BAM, I’m engrossed. The characters are cool and interesting and all have their own mysteries about them. Things are seeded for future episodes (something Whedon does better than most) and the effects are sick. I was surprised throughout the entire series how good the spaceships, space stations and alien worlds looked. Plus, of course, the premise of “cowboys in space” is just too cool.

Firefly also doesn’t get too caught up in the characters that Whedon seems stuck on now. You don’t have the geeky guy and Kaylee only kind of gets into that Kitty Pryde territory that Whedon so clearly loves. Plus, Mal’s just a rad character, kind of Preacher meets Han Solo and Nathan Fillion does an awesome job with him.

I’m also a big fan of Jayne because, to me, he’s the Wolverine of the group. He’s the badass, a/immoral dude who loves what he does and is the best at it (at least amongst the crew). But, unlike the merry mutant, Jayne isn’t over used. He’s like Wolverine at his earliest, a cool character who we got glimpses of without being overloaded on him. It’s a good way to go.

I think my favorite episode has to be “Out Of Gas.” The story structure, presentation and character development are all just crazy awesome, but the finale “Objects In Space” was also pretty sick. I liked Early and was glad to see River not just be a crazy weirdo. These are the kinds of episodes that Whedon excels at, it’s too bad they tend to take place late in a season.

I don’t know why the show was canceled or any of the details (because I didn’t look them up, I don’t want any more spoilers than what I already know), but it really is too bad Firefly didn’t get the proper support from the network (like airing the episodes in the correct order). It came out during my college days, so I assume that’s why I was out of the loop (though I do vaguely remember it’s existence).

Here’s hoping that whatever Whedon’s next project will not only start off strong, but get a network backing it that knows what to do with his kind of show. I’m even contemplating going back and watching Dollhouse’s first season in short order. I keep hearing about some kind of game changer, but, I gotta be honest, I REALLY didn’t like that one episode I saw. I mean, it was BAD. I guess I could skip it (or at least the “most dangerous game” parts. Uch, I don’t even like thinking about it.

Up next? The trades!