Johnny Dangerously (1984)

Directed by Amy Heckerling
Written by Harry Colomby, Jeff Harris, Bernie Kukoff & Norman Steinberg
Starring Michael Keaton, Joe Piscopo, Marilu Henner, Peter Boyle, Maureen Stapleton


Anamorphic: No.

My Advice: Own it.

Johnny (Keaton) is a good kid. But he comes from a family of extremely modest means. His mother (Stapleton), God love her, needs so many operations--how in the world can they afford to keep her healthy? There's only one thing to do: get a fargin' job working for the mob under the tutelage of Jock Dundee (Boyle). But as he progresses through the ranks of organized crime, he'll have to deal with a bombshell (Henner), a brother (Griffin Dunne) who wants to fight organized crime, a corrupt D.A. (Danny DeVito) who, and a rival within the ranks of the gang named Vermin (Piscopo). How will he ever survive?

What a damn fun movie. Everything about it is hilarious and has slipped into the ranks of pop culture legend--from Piscopo's .88 Magnum to Richard Dimitri declaring "Fargin' War." These were the days when both Keaton and Piscopo both had relatively healthy movie careers--ah, memories. Everyone is in extremely fine form, though the standouts have to be the aforementioned Piscopo and Maureen Stapleton, whose ironing endurance would taunt even the most powerful of Olympian gods. It's just one of those delightfully silly films that you want to pop in about once a year, and thankfully it's here in widescreen finally as a DVD.

Trouble is, that's all you get, other than a trailer. And some appropriately sick menus--but you know I'm not big on menus. The spartan nature of the disc is odd, to be frank. Granted, this probably isn't high on Fox's list of films to get any kind of mondo treatment--a Keaton/Piscopo/Heckerling commentary is probably beyond hope--but how hard is it to dig up the music video of Weird Al's "This is the Life" song that served as the film's theme song?

The good news is that fans of the film will want to own it anyway, just to have it in this format. Everyone else, the five of you who haven't seen it, should probably at least give it a rental.

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