Friday, June 24, 2011

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane

"The King of Pain" is a blogathon hosted by the site The Dark of the Matinee. The goal is to watch a bad movie from a friend or family member's DVD collection. The complete list of participating blogs will go up June 28 at the host site.

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
from Reid's DVD collection

Of course I remember Andrew Dice Clay. I didn't think much of him during the peak of his popularity, such as it was. I preferred Sam Kinison. (What can I say? I was a dumb teenager who didn't know better.) I have no doubt that stand-up comedy is one of the toughest acts anyone can do, and it probably does make it somewhat easier if one can adopt an on-stage persona that makes one identifiable. But when your schtick consists of acting like a wanna-be John Travolta making juvenile sex jokes, how far can you really go with that? Actually, in watching The Adventures of Ford Fairlane last night, ADC did remind me in places of another, better stand-up comic: Rodney Dangerfield. Maybe it was all the mugging for the camera and the exaggerated gestures. Of course, in ADC's case, that's all part of his Guido look.

Terry told me once about the Guidos she grew up around, and according to her, the stereotypes are true: over-exaggerated sense of manhood, tacky fashion sense, love of cars and of cruising in them, questionable treatment of women. It's one thing to see them in a movie or TV show; quite another to be around them, I'd imagine, which is why my first-hand experience with them is limited.

Here in New York we have a radio deejay named Joe Causi who has a similar schtick, but the big difference is that you want to hang out with him and party with him, because he still comes across as a down-to-earth guy and not as God's gift to humanity. ADC probably would have no use for him, though, since he plays disco oldies as well as rock oldies. A major theme in Fairlane is the need for True Rock to stay alive in the face of glitzy, soulless pop. Ed O'Neill's character, for instance, is a former disco singer turned cop, so he's a natural nemesis to ADC's "rock and roll detective." We know Ford's a rock and roll detective because we're constantly reminded of it by every other character Ford comes into contact with.

Fairlane is a piece of crap, make no mistake: it has pretensions of being a modern Sam Spade-type crime movie crossed with Beverly Hills Cop, but fails utterly at both. Its awfulness is more "stoopid" than plain bad, however - it wants to be genuinely entertaining, but has no idea how, so it settles for simple goofiness, like the class clown trying to get attention by making silly faces and impressions. It may get a few laughs at first, but it wears mighty thin before long. As a result, my level of contempt for it is not that deep, despite the presence of Gilbert Gottfried (who, thankfully, dies fairly early in the movie). Still, I would not watch this again.

Fairlane is from Reid's DVD collection, which he says is over 500 strong. He kept insisting that not only did he have worse movies than this, but that I wouldn't hate it as much as I thought I would. Normally our taste in movies is somewhat compatible, but I think he has a tendency to go down roads that I wouldn't, movie-wise. This is certainly one of them.


  1. "like the class clown trying to get attention by making silly faces and impressions"

    Exactly. See, I LOVE that dude. He makes me smile. Not always. I mean in the background as I write this is the utterly horrible "The Suit" starring Jackie Chan, which only has the eye candy of Jennifer Love going for it. Chan is totally doing that class clown schtick though, even dragging James Brown in.

    In many way Fairlane does the same, but for some reason, it makes me laugh. I like ADC's schtick, always have. (Him and Kinnison were very good friends btw, along with Pauley Shore and The Coreys).

    I think it really for me is Maddie Corman and Robert Englund that bring the spark to the screen that make me smile most.

    I still swear though I have movies in my collection that are way way way worse. I own them more from even some of the worse films in history have something in them, be it an unrealized concept not used anywhere else yet, or a special effect or that great undiscovered actress, or well a lot of things that give it merit... of some kind.

    (cross-posting this comment in a different format to my blog I believe is an imperative now)

  2. That's good that he makes you smile. Really.

  3. Ha this sounds like the kind of dumb movie I'd totally watch on some obscure movie channel at 1 in the afternoon, but I haven't even heard of it! Sounds pretty ridiculous.

    I grew up around those guido types as well but it's never something I could relate to, just not really my thing. Then again I'm a pretty bad Italian-American. I don't even tan.

  4. If one had to watch 'Fairlane,' those are probably the best circumstances to watch it.

  5. I have fond memories of sitting through this one on video. Was not the worst thing ever, but it was still pretty crappy. I still do not understand Clay's popularity around that time. His stand up was not that great to begin with.

  6. I suspect people who liked ADC then like 'Jersey Shore' now.

  7. This is a classic! People who grew up before the 80's knows this!
    You gotta take it for what it is, you have obviously misunderstood something!

  8. Well, you've certainly convinced me with your deductive reasoning and critical analysis.


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