For, Friday, March 12, 2021

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every now and again back in the day I would write a ‘Hicks on Flicks’ column that was bits and pieces of information I had gleaned as the Deseret News film critic, none of which would rise to a level suitable for a full column. The items below may seem outdated … and yet Sylvester Stallone is still making sequels (though, thankfully, ‘Cobra II’ never came about), James Bond movies still come out regularly (‘No Time to Die’ is due in October) and ‘new’ Beatles flicks still show up every few years (Peter Jackson’s ‘Get Back’ will be in theaters this August). This column was published on Feb. 22, 1987.

And clearing the debris from the movie critic’s desk we find:

SOME GOOD NEWS: Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo III” won’t be opening on the Fourth of July after all — production delays, they say.

The bad news is that it will eventually open, probably later in the year.

They have to film it first. But given Stallone’s salary — $12 million a picture — it might be cheaper just to have him go from town to town and act it out live.

Meanwhile, Stallone’s current film “Over the Top,” about arm-wrestling, performed under expectations at the box office.

But never one to rest on his laurels when he can remake them, Stallone reportedly has two more firm projects on the docket after he finishes the latest “Rambo” epic — “Cobra II” and, yes, Virginia, “Rocky V.”

Perhaps, due to the failure of “Over the Top” to go over the top, Stallone’s salary will drop from $12 million to $6 million per picture.

Just kidding. (Sly’s agent almost had a heart attack; he thought he’d have to sell six of his limos.)

007 IS ON THE WAY: You can’t go to a movie these days without seeing the preview for the upcoming James Bond epic “The Living Daylights,”  whose most quotable ad line is that Timothy Dalton is “The most dangerous Bond ever.”

What’s interesting, though, is how you can predict Bondisms after all these years.

A friend and I were watching the preview recently — it was my fifth time, his first — and he predicted word for word a line Bond would speak.

The preview shows Bond escaping a dangerous situation by parachuting onto the boat of a beautiful woman. He uses her phone to call his superiors and says he’ll make his report in an hour. She offers him a drink, with a seductive smile.

At this point my friend leans over and whispers, “Make that two.”

Bond looks at the drink and says into the phone, “Make that two.”

Let’s hope the film as a whole is less predictable than that.

BEATLES ON VHS AGAIN: The Beatles second movie “Help!” has just come out on tape, and it holds up very well as a nostalgic rock-and-roll movie. It’s also very funny.

The last time I saw “Help!” was during a brief revival at Trolley Square about seven years ago, in the last run of public showings before ownership reverted back to the film’s producer. It was a poor print with the color washed out; all reds and pinks.

But on video it sparkles (except for some wear at the points where reel changes were made); great color, some of the earliest rock ’n’ roll music videos ever made (and their influence on todays’ MTV-style pieces is amazing), and most of them much are funnier and more visually interesting than anything produced now.

And those great songs — “Hide Your Love Away,” “Ticket to Ride,” “I Need You,” etc.

And “Rumpole of the Bailey” fans will recognize Leo McKern as the villain in the silly story of a cult trying to get one of Ringo’s rings.

“Help!” is also very droll and witty. For example, John and Ringo in an elevator:

Ringo: “What first attracted you to me?”

John: “Well, you’re very polite, aren’t you?”


Gene Siskel, left, Roger Ebert, Johnny Carson, 'The Tonight Show'

I also love that running gag about the channel swimmer.

Rent or buy “Help!” and show your kids what all the fuss was about, back when the Beatles (and the world) were young.

The only thing better is “A Hard Day’s Night,” and you can rent or buy that one, as well.

Come on, now. Wouldn’t it be more fun than sitting through your kids’ 217th viewing of “Purple Rain”?

IT’S A GAMBLE: I watched last week as Gene Siskel made a bet with Johnny Carson on the “Tonight” show that if his predictions for the Oscar race — that “Platoon” would win best picture, Paul Newman would win best actor and Kathleen Turner would win best actress — are wrong, he will sit through all the “Friday the 13th” movies back to back.

That’s a bet I wouldn’t even consider.

I’m old enough to remember when “The Greatest Show on Earth” won best picture over “High Noon” and “The Quiet Man,” which nobody predicted.

EDITOR’S ENDNOTE: Sadly, both Johnny Carson and Gene Siskel have left us but there’s still a lot of gambling each year as to who will take home the Academy Award statuettes. Oh, and Siskel was right about two of his three predictions: ‘Platoon’ won Best Picture and Paul Newman won Best Actor (for ‘The Color of Money’). But Turner (for ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’) lost to Marlee Matlin (for ‘Children of a Lesser God’). Maybe he only had to watch a third of the ‘Friday the 13th’ movies.