Goodbye Uncle Monty!
The great character Actor Richard Griffiths has passed away – known for roles in “Harry Potter” and of course, as “Uncle Monty” in “Withnail & I!”
5 GREAT Cult Films!
“Withnail & I” is just one of 5 great cult movies I want to share, and more on the great actor Griffiths, too!
“What’re you? A fuckin’ parrot?”
If you are tired of the same old garbage being shown in the movie theaters, why don’t you take a journey into the past and check out these classic cult films!
5 – Used Cars – 1980
When the owner of a struggling used car lot is killed, it’s up to the lot’s hot-shot salesman to save the property from falling into the hands of the owner’s ruthless brother and used-car rival.
Meet Rudy Russo, the sleaziest used car salesman there is – well, except for all the others. Rudy wants to be a State Senator, and he’ll bribe anyone he needs to in order to achieve his dream of higher office. This hilariously profane comedy was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who went on to make “Back To The Future”.
Along with his partner in crime Gerrit Graham, Russell dreams up a plot to screw his arch enemy Roy Fuchs, played with a deliciousness by veteran character actor Jack Warden.
As Roy Fuchs spits out when he disagrees with the local elected officials:
“That Mayor – he don’t know DICK!”
Here is some great trivia, courtesy of IMDB: In a scene where Roy Fuchs (Jack Warden) walks up to Rudy (Kurt Russell) and Jeff (Gerrit Graham) – Graham didn’t have any lines and kept pestering Director Robert Zemeckis for something to say. Finally, he just decides to repeat whatever Russell said to Warden. Apparently Warden was unaware of what Graham was doing, thus his line:
“What’re you? A fuckin’ parrot?”
It was Warden’s genuine annoyance at Graham, which worked so well in the scene that it was included in the final cut.
Michael McKean and David Lander (Lenny and Squiggy) have small roles as techno-geeks who jam President Carter’s State of the Union address in order to plug in an ad for the used car lot…by cutting in live from Roy Fuchs’ used car lot across the street, making use of his cars for their “live pyrotechnics”…
[President Carter on TV]
President Carter: -high inflation. What is the solution?
[TV cuts to commercial for Luke’s yard taking place in Roy’s yard]
Jeff: You want the solution to inflation? Hi, friends. Marshall Lucky here for New Deal Used Cars, where we’re lowering inflation not only by fighting high prices, not only by murdering high prices, but by blowing the living shit out of high prices. Yessir. Here’s an example. It’s a 1972 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, for sixty-two ninety-nine. That price is too high.
Jeff: Yessir. Here’s another one. It’s a Lincoln Continental, Mark IV, 1973. It’s loaded. It’s got air conditioning. It’s got a stereo. It’s got white-wall radial tires. It’s got power steering, power brakes, power seats, power windows. And a price that is just too high.
[Jim appears on car behind him in costume]
Freddie: [on microphone] Look out, Marshall Lucky. It’s High Prices.
Jeff: Take this, you dirty ol’ High Prices.
[“shoots” Jim, who puts on a very convincing act]
Jim: AHHHH. Ya got me Marshall. Ahhhhh…
Jeff: [shocked] Jesus Christ.
[winks at screen]
Jeff: Yessir, that’s New Deal Used Cars… Now wait just a Goddamn minute. What the hell is this? Is this a 1974 Mercedes 450SL for *twenty-four thousand dollars*? That’s too fucking high.
[blows up car with dynamite. Roy watches at home]
Roy: You sonova bitch.
Jeff: [laughs] Yessir. We blew the shit out of that over-priced motherfucker just the way we blow the shit out of *all* high prices, down here at New Deal Used Cars. So y’all come on down. Did you hear what I said? New Deal Used Cars. So y’all come on down. Did you hear what I said?
[TV cuts back to President]
President Carter: I have heard you, with unmistakable clarity…
Roy: You sonova bitch.
[kicks TV and electrocutes himself]
Hilarious movie….but on to something a bit more serious…
4 – The Stepford Wives 1975
Joanna Eberhart has come to the quaint little town of Stepford, Connecticut with her family, but soon discovers there lies a sinister truth in the all too perfect behavior of the female residents.
They are all just TOO perfect! Katherine Ross stars as the newcomer to the neighborhood who realizes the term “Stepford Wives” isn’t a compliment…and in fact, that phrase iss till used to describe lifeless, subservient women…
Tina Louise from “Gilligan’s Island” is one of the local women who doesn’t seem to have any ambition – except to please her husband, any time of the day or night…
Ross decides something is very wrong, and seeks help from her Doctor…
Joanna Eberhart: It’ll happen to me before then. When you come back, there will be a woman with my name and my face, she’ll cook and clean like crazy, but she won’t take pictures and she won’t be me! She’ll be… like the robots at Disneyland.
Dr. Fancher: Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give you a prescription that you get filled, then you get your children and GET THE HELL OUT! Don’t tell your husband, don’t tell anybody, just get in your car and drive somewhere you feel safe.
And of course, she is discovered before she can get away, and comes to a shocking realization when she stabs one of the wives…
Bobbie Markowe: [after being stabbed] Oh Joanna! My new dress! How could you do a thing like that? Just when I was going to give you coffee! How could you do a thing like that? I thought we were friends! Just when I was going to… how could you do a thing like that… just when I was going to give you coffee! Oh Joanna… I thought we were friends… I thought we were friends… friends… coffee… how could you do a thing like that? Like that? Like that? Like that? Friends… friends…
This is a classic thriller badly remade with Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick…stick with the original! Speaking of original….
3 – Chuck & Buck – 2000. Writer/Driector/Actor Mike White wrote this uniquely original, dark black comedy about a young man who never wants to grow up – or give up a friendship that has a dark past…
Buck is a man-child who has lived his existence in a life of Romper Room, kindergarten collages, and lollipops. When his mother dies suddenly, Buck remembers his old childhood friend Chuck, with whom he feels a need to reconnect after having invited him to his mother’s funeral.
After his mother’s death, Buck treks out to Los Angeles where Chuck, an up-and-coming music record executive, is living his life. Buck ends up developing an obsession with Chuck and begins stalking him.
Mike White is Buck O’Brien, and Chris Weitz is his own buddy Charlie ‘Chuck’ Sitter. Weitz is the acclaimed Director of “About A Boy”, another terrific film – but here he is content to act.
Lupe Ontiveros is Beverly Franco, the manager of a small Hollywood theater – where Buck shows up one day.
Buck O’Brien: Hi.
Beverly Franco: How can I help you?
Buck O’Brien: Um, do you put on plays here, and people come and see ’em?
Beverly Franco: Well, this is a theater.
Buck decides to stage a play – all about his friendship with Chuck. Beverly helps him find a cast – and who does he choose for the pivotal role of Chuck than Sam…
Sam is Chris Weitz’s real-life brother Chris…and his role as possibly “the worst actor to ever step on a stage” is both hilarious and touching…
Whatever you do, avoid reading ANYTHING about this movie before you watch it – the dark twists and turns of the story play best when you don’t expect them…and it is a beautifully acted story of a childhood friendship that meant much more to one of them than the other…
2 – The Wicker Man. 1973 –
“FLESH TO TOUCH! FLESH TO BURN! DON’T KEEP THE WICKER MAN WAITING!”
There are times when words simply cannot describe the “power of strange” – this cult classic is simply one of the strangest films ever made – and spawned possibly the worst remake of all time!
Police Sergeant Howie, played by Edward Woodward, is called to an island village in search of a missing girl whom the locals claim never existed. Stranger still, however, are the rituals that take place there.
Veteran horror film Actor Christopher Lee is Lord Summerisle, who has some original ideas for worship…
Britt Ekland was immediately launched into movie infamy as Willow…a “free spirit” who performs one of the strangest and yes, “most nude-ist” dances in movie history…it was revealed later that the nude scene was a body double…but the dancing is all her…
“The Wicker Man” is widely regarded as one of the best horror films ever made. Not bad for a film that was disowned by its makers on release.
Sergeant Howie: Your lordship seems strangely… unconcerned.
Lord Summerisle: Well I’m confident your suspicions are wrong, Sergeant. We don’t commit murder here. We’re a deeply religious people.
Sergeant Howie: Religious? With ruined churches, no ministers, no priests… and children dancing naked!
Lord Summerisle: They do love their divinity lessons.
Sergeant Howie: [outraged] But they are… a-are NAKED!
Lord Summerisle: Naturally! It’s much too dangerous to jump through fire with their clothes on!
The Movie’s Shocking Finale!
Things continue to get stranger and stranger until the shocking climax of the film is revealed:
Lord Summerisle: Do sit down, Sergeant. Shocks are so much better absorbed with the knees bent.
A remake with Nicolas Cage did all but bury any interest in the original – but seek it out – it is a trip that few filmmakers take any longer.
1 – Withnail & I 1987. The classic cult hit from England!
London 1969 – two unemployed actors, Withnail and Marwood are freezing in their unheated flat – and flat broke. Tney need a plan, and fast.
Marwood: What about whatshisname?
Withnail: What about him?
Marwood: Why don’t you give him a call?
Withnail: What for?
Marwood: Ask him about his house.
Withnail: You want me to call whatshisname and ask him about his house?
Marwood: Why not?
Withnail: All right. What’s his number?
Marwood: I’ve no idea. I’ve never met him.
Withnail: Well neither have I. What the fuck are you talking about?
Drug Dealer Danny, he of the super-sized spiffs, just can’t get along with Withnail…
Danny: I don’t advise a haircut, man. All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. Hairs are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos, and transmit them directly into the brain. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight.
Withnail: What absolute twaddle.
Fed up, they decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail’s uncle Monty’s country cottage. But when they get there, it rains non-stop, there’s no food, and their basic survival skills turn out to be somewhat limited. Matters are not helped by the arrival of Uncle Monty, who shows an uncomfortably keen interest in Marwood…
Sadly, Richard Griffiths just died of complication following heart surgery. He was 65, and although most will remember him for his roles in the “Harry Potter” films, it was his Uncle Monty that I will always remember him for…
Remembering Uncle Monty!
This movie is hilarious, and a perfect snapshot of life at the end of the 60’s – when hip, mod London turned into the cold, harsh reality of life as a struggling Actor. And of course, UNCLE MONTY.
This is a tour de force performance by Richard Grant, who exudes manic, crazy charm at every turn, such as when he storms into a fancy restauraant and demands, well…
Withnail: “We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now!”
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