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Fess up SJ: Who forgot it was the 22nd anniversary of Cannonball Run II?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Bubbler, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    We're damn near through half the calendar year and no one the board -- no one! -- mentioned that this was the 22nd anniversary of the release of one of the greatest cinematic ... how do I describe it? Masterpiece? Paradigm-shifting piece of art? Six-star (five isn't enough) slab of sublime comedy? How 'bout titanic tone poem otherwise known as ... Cannonball Run II.

    Well thank God it was one of the myriad Encore channels I get on my dish service, otherwise I might have totally missed the awesome significance of this anniversary, this movie and the truly life-changing acting and actors therein. Even though I caught it an hour into the film, I feel affirmed about my choice to blow off The Office, the Mets-Red Sox game, a World Cup soccer replay, and the other 200 shows some might foolishly opine were better on my dish service (including programs in Spanish, French, German, Old Swabian, etc.) to be baptised in its brilliance.

    And thank God a Google search indicated that it was released on June 29, 1984. Whew! Didn't miss it!

    For SportsJournalists.com's intransigence, and to offer penace for my own oversight, I offer 22 reasons why this might very well be the greatest film ever made:

    1. The handicap of a pre-determined storyline and familiar characters were enough of a headache for the producers of the film and director Hal Needham, nevermind the Byzantine subtleties of mastering the script. So the solution? Hit it out of the park. Make a movie that combined the greatest aspects of Taxi, the Match Game, the Rat Pack, flunkies from the Godfather series, Dukes of Hazzard, stuttering country singers, Jackie Chan, Dean Martin Presents, Gomer Pyle, M*A*S*H*, Kojak, Jaws from Bond, and the waning popularity of Burt Reynolds. Box office gold.

    2. The film's use of well-past-their-due-date-stars, cheesy, set piece wackiness dating to the 60s, a reliance on car chases made popular in the 70s, and gratuitous T&A struck a blow towards the ironic entertainment now prevalent. Needham wanted a video montage, a breakdance sequence, and a cameo by Naked Eyes to update it, but producers dissuaded him saying it would take away from the ironic art.

    3. It was Dean Martin's final film. Can't say the man didn't go swaggering out on top.

    4. It was Joe Theismann's first film. Can't say the man didn't start on top.

    And he knew his limitations by never playing a role that wasn't himself again. One reason LT was reportedly distraught when he snapped Thiesmann's leg a year later was that it might eliminate a possible CB III, which sadly, it did. LT's coke intake went up 256 percent in 1986 as a result.

    5. CB II was also the film debut of Fred Dryer, who played a bumbling highway patrolman. He said he always thought Hunter was a step down.

    6. Frankie baby! No not Frank Langella or even Frank Stallone. Frank Sinatra played himself. Upon his death, Sinatra infuriated CB II devotees by saying he'd rather fess up to mob connections than associate with the film. Like Martin, his final acting role in a movie (he did voice work, but never acted again).

    7. Shirley MacLaine, hot off of her Oscar in Terms of Endearment, reportedly said Terms was a contract obligation so she could free herself to play Sister Veronica in CB II.

    "Jesus, what a depressing bunch of horseshit that movie was, and Jack Nicholson smells like six-day-old Brut half the time," said MacLaine on Terms of Endearment. "I was always jealous of Sally Field for working with Burt in Smokey and the Bandit, and I wanted Smokey and the Bandit II badly, but Sally re-upped. Fuck you Norma Rae! CB II finally gave me my chance. And when you add Dom DeLuise into the mix, it was a no-brainer."

    MacLaine didn't act in another movie again for four years after CB II, admitting she thought it would take the equivalent of an Olympiad to recover from the mental exhaustion of the demanding role.

    8. Jim Nabors played Pvt. Homer Lyle. It's an example of how the film stretched the actors well past the envelope of their stereotypes. More ...

    9. Jamie Farr's sensitive portrayal of The Sheik had America well prepared for tolerance to the Muslim world when 9/11 occurred 17 years later.

    10. Finally, Jackie Chan made America ready to shatter the stereotypes of the Pacific Rim with his sensitive portrayal of a Kung Fu expert and video-game addicted engineer traveling cross country in a small Mitsubishi loaded with gadgets.

    11. Schools of thought exist that CB II -- director Needham's third in his quartet of early 80s influential tomes -- was the best. There are enthusiastic cults devoted to Megaforce, Stroker Ace or Needham's CB II follow-up, Rad, but CB II enjoys The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly-like respect among fans and critics.

    The Needham Institute, a film school opened at Indiana State University in 2004 to study his opuses, maintains CB II is the best.
    Directors laud it as film perfection incarnate.

    "CB II was what I really had in mind when I made Lawrence of Arabia," said British director legend Sir David Lean, just after making his final film, A Passage to India, also released in 1984. "I don't know why I wasted time on this Passage piece of shite. I found out early on in the process that you just can't replicate a CB II-like car chase with elephants, a wacky, easy-to-fool Sepoy and an Untouchable."

    (more) ...
  2. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Re: Fess up SportsJournalists.com: Who forgot it was the 22nd anniversary of Cannonball Run II?

    (cont. ...)

    12. Though the soundtrack only contained two original songs, its quality supersedes its paucity. Ray Stevens and Menudo, need I say more?

    13. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as Don Corleone. Paul Sorvino as Paulie. James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano. All famous dons.

    All bow to Charles Nelson Reilly as Don Don Canneloni. Legend has it that Sorvino told Martin Scorsese that instead of the Paulie character communicating via pay phones, he thought he should pay Reilly proper tribute by communicating through magic markered index cards. Scorsese refused, and he and Sorvino haven't spoken since.

    14. Urban legend has it that CB II hotties Susan Anton and Catherine Bach reportedly used access to Thiesmann to set up a three-way with then-Redskins kicker Mark Moseley. Thiesmann has always noted the irony of being Moseley's holder in more ways than one, and many believe it's why Thiesmann has a hard-on for preferring backup QBs to hold kicks in the NFL instead of punters.

    15. Tony Danza contined to add to his rep as the second-best actor to continually work with an ape (never edging out Clint Eastwood) by appearing with an organutan. This was hot on the heels of Going Ape!

    16. Reynolds, DeLuise and others were priming America for their late 80s white-hot brilliance of Win, Lose or Draw!

    17. Chest hair was a hot topic on the set ... Reynolds' chest hair. His only demand to repeat the role of J.J. was that he wanted five minutes to expose his chest to the world, claiming that Reagan's morning in America could only be fostered if America's women were lulled to productivity by the Aqua Velvet-like sexiness of his chest, strategically exposed through the plastic zipper of his faux-Adidas velour track suit.
    He also had a rider written into his contract which stipulated that the good folks at White Rain hair care had to make a conditioner specifically for his chest hair so that it would maintain its "sheen" whilst on-screen.

    "When I was with Sally, she told me she wanted it to feel not as rough as a Brillo pad, but not as soft as forest brush. Dinah? She was just into my pubic hair, heh!" Reynolds told Entertainment Tonight's Rona Barrett in 1984. "Loni likes it smooth. She specifically said she wants my chest hair to feel like the pelt of flying squirrel, brown ones, not the grey ones, heh! Whatever, I aim to please the ladies. Don't forget to see me in Stick, heh!"

    18. Marilu Henner's portrayal of skanky Betty, MacLaine's cohort, reportedly gave Sammy Davis Jr. his last recorded erection.

    19. The most glaring theme in the film? Dom DeLuise's duel role as Victor/Captain Chaos is a clear reference to the duality of Jesus Christ. He is man, he is God. Apparently, man laughs with a wheeze, has a pornstache and has an uncomfortable man crush on Reynolds, but that's acceptable poetic license.

    20. CB II was released in 1984 and many wonder if there's a deeper meaning. Was the ease of JJ and Captain Chaos' victory a prediction of the 1984 Presidential election? Were the myriad forces at work to undermine the serious Cannonball competitors a reflection of divisions in Beirut and the U.S. response at the time? None of the above. CB II was an allegory about D-Day, which had its 40th anniversary in June 1984. The Cannonballers were the Allies, attacking Fortress Europe (aka hillbilly cops, mobsters, those who didn't understand the smarmy charm of Reynolds, those killjoys who wouldn't know a broad joke, a bird-flipping joke, a rack joke or a broad, bird-flipping rack joke) and gradually fighting and winning the good fight.


    22. F. Murray Abraham, who won for Best Actor in 1984 for Amadeus, was allegedly going to invite DeLuise on stage to publically claim his trophy for the Captain Chaos role.

    Such is the magnitude of the film. Celebrate it. Immerse oneself in it. Live it.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Have you considered therapy, bubbs?
  4. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    This is therapy.
  5. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Oh, geez, we're fucked.
  6. Bubba Fett

    Bubba Fett Active Member

  7. Jack_Kerouac

    Jack_Kerouac Member

    Bubbler, I love you in all your Cheeseheady glory, but you need help, man. ;)
  8. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Goddamn if that post wasn't entertaining as hell, Bubs. Have you considered smoking the occasional marijuana cigarette? It may calm you down.
  9. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    I always wanted to be... Captain USA! Dunn-dunn-DUNN!

    (Yes, I too am certifiably nuts, like Planters.)
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    The credit bloopers rocked.
  11. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    Bubbler, can you do one of these for Gumball Rally, my favorite of the genre?
  12. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    megaforce rocked
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