208. Johnny Dangerously


Movie: Johnny Dangerously

Release Date: December 21, 1984

Director: Amy Heckerling

Starring: Michael Keaton, Joe Piscopo, Marilu Henner, Maureen Stapleton, Peter Boyle, Griffin Dunne, Glynnis O’Connor, Dom DeLuise, Richard Dimitri, Danny DeVito.

Tag Lines: “Organized crime has never been this disorganized!”

“WANTED * MICHAEL KEATON * for being wacky, outrageous & rude in the ‘new’ hit comedy!”

“Organized crime has never been so disorganized!”

Relevance: Music and movies have always been the real loves of my life. Nothing influences me more than those two art forms. It is true today at forty-nine and just as true in 1983 when I was twelve years old. My pre-teen years were spent listening to all sorts of music, but by twelve I was definitely developing my own taste. Basically, anything that made me smile and dance, I was sold.

By 1983, my family had MTV and a lot of my time dancing and smiling was spent in front of the television. “Weird Al” Yankovic was starting to be played a lot on that channel with songs like “Ricky” and “I Love Rocky Road.” And I loved them. The following year “Weird Al” catapulted into mainstream pop culture with the Michael Jackson parody “Eat It.” “‘Weird Al’ Yankovic in 3-D” was one of my favorite albums of that year and the cassette never left my boom box. I am sure to the dismay of my family.

I did not see ‘Johnny Dangerously’ in theaters. In fact, I am not really sure when I saw the film for the first time. I know that I rented it from Blockbuster as soon as it was released and was pleasantly surprised as soon as the credits began. “Weird Al” Yankovic’s song “This is the Life” was playing. I already knew that song from his album “Dare To Be Stupid.” I got that cassette as soon as it was released in the early summer of 1985. So I am guessing I rented the film sometime over those summer months. And as soon as I heard that song playing, I knew I was going to love the movie.

And boy, did I. In fact my entire family did. It eventually started playing on HBO and became one of those films that was watched every single time it was on. We laughed so much at the silliness. Even my mom, who despised “silly” movies laughed a few times. Mostly she would roll her eyes and say “That’s so stupid.” Although she laughed while she said that. She really loved Michael Keaton, Marilu Henner and Maureen Stapleton so much that she forgave the overall oddball humor of the film and just gave in to the laughs. She even forgave me when I would walked around the house calling everyone an “ice-hole” and “bastage” a la Roman Maroni.

‘Johnny Dangerously’ may not be remembered by a lot of people, but it is a movie that I adored and it has stayed with me throughout my entire life. I have such great memories of my family sitting in front of the television watching the movie and laughing. Laughing a lot. Those are great memories to hold onto. The fact that “Weird Al” is part of those memories just makes them all that much grander.

Today’s Thoughts: “You shouldn’t hang me on a hook, Johnny. My father hung me on a hook once. Once!”

I probably have not seen ‘Johnny Dangerously’ since the 1980’s. I do not own it on any format so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find it as it is not the most remembered film on the planet. Thankfully I did and I was very, very excited. Hey, it’s 2020. It’s the little things that get me through the days.

As soon as “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “This is the Life” began I started laughing and didn’t stop for ninety minutes. I watched the movie by myself as my son slept upstairs in his room. I am sure I woke him up a few times from my laughing, because I literally laughed out loud, chortled and guffawed many times. The movie is just as silly as I remember and just as funny. There are so many puns, one-liners, sight gags, slapstick and sexual innuendos to make even the most stoic of humans at least smirk. The ensemble cast is delightful. Everybody from Michael Keaton, Marilu Henner, Maureen Stapleton all the way to Dom DeLuise’s cameo as the Pope makes me giddy. And was Danny DeVito’s character gay and really coming on to Johnny Dangerously? That was something I missed watching it as a teenager. Hmmm, I like the film even more now.

‘Johnny Dangerously’ has to be one of my favorite parodies of all time. It’s just plain fun. And as I always say, good comedy is good comedy no matter how many years pass. I laughed as a kid watching this movie and I laughed just as much, if not more, as an adult.

Ways to Watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, DVD Availability.


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