The Movies of Sex, Lies & Soybeans
The classic movies I reference in Sex, Lies, and Soybeans (SLS) are generally favorites of mine, or they serve some other purpose in the book.
Notes / Disclaimers: First, I do not pretend to be an expert in movies. Second, I try to limit the use of superlatives like “great” and “terrific.” Third, I try not to repeat reviews and comments that are already on hundreds of other web sites. I’m not trying to create an “all encompassing” movie review site. However, I do sometimes add what I hope are interesting comments about that movie / actors / director / producer, and, in some cases, I may comment on less-well-known (okay, obscure) movies by those actors and directors. I hope some of these comments jog your memory about movies you may have forgotten.
Here is the list, in the order they appear in the book, with a few comments:
ROCKY (1976) Terrific movie, and certainly one of the best sports movies of all time. Like him or not, based on his work as a writer, director, and actor, Stallone must be considered one of the great film artists of this era. He created two unforgettable characters: Rocky and Rambo. How many artists have created even one unforgettable character?
THE ODD COUPLE (1968) Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau shine. Some of Matthau’s early movies are worth watching again: Charlie Varrick (1973), The Sunshine Boys (1975), and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), where he, Robert Shaw (another great actor), and the rest of the cast will help you forget the mediocre 2009 remake with Travolta and Washington. Some of Lemmon’s less-well-known movies: Save the Tiger (1973), and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). And let us not forget The Fortune Cookie (1966), with both Lemmon and Matthau. Final note: The Odd Couple television series with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman was also very good.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998) A cult classic, with Jeff Bridges in his best role, and a fine supporting cast led by John Goodman. I get a lot of comments when I wear my “The Dude Abides” T-shirt. The Coen brothers have done many great movies: Fargo (1996), which is one of my all time favorites, O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000), which is an average movie but does have some very fine music, No Country for Old Men (2007) with Tommie Lee Jones, and their first effort, Blood Simple (1984).
DIRTY HARRY (1971) Clint Eastwood has been in, and directed, many great movies. This is his best acting performance (Isn’t it … punk?) or perhaps, more correctly, this is the best character he ever portrayed. Also noteworthy is Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (2004) with Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman.
THE TERMINATOR (1984) and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991) These are two of the best Sci-Fi / Action movies ever, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and James Cameron (producer, director, co-writer) at their best. Follow-ups Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation are not worth watching.
TELL THEM JOHNNY WADD IS HERE (1976) The well-endowed John Holmes made some of the best classic porno movies ever. I’m no expert in porno films, but another classic is Deep Throat (1972), noteworthy because some of it was filmed at the Voyager Inn hotel in North Miami, Florida, which was about a mile from where I used to live. When I was just a child, I used to “deep throat” Tyler’s fried chicken (an entire dinner for 99 cents!) and Royal Castle hamburgers (15 cents each!) right across the street from the Voyager. Those were the days …
TRADING PLACES (1983) A classic with Eddie Murphy (at his funniest), Dan Aykroyd, and Jamie Lee Curtis. The characters played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche (Reginald and Mortimer Duke) were the inspiration for the names Mor-tay and Ar-nay used in Chapter 29. Curtis also starred in the scariest new-release movie I ever saw: Halloween (1978), and Aykroyd, great on Saturday Night Live, co-starred in one of the best and saddest movies I’ve ever seen: Driving Miss Daisy (1989). John Landis (director) did many great films, including Animal House (1978) and The Blues Brothers (1980), both with John Belushi (Ah, Johnny, you were gone before your time), and the "Thriller" music video with Michael Jackson.
CADDYSHACK (1980) Maybe the funniest sports movie ever made. A tour de force by Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and many others. How many great lines have come from this movie? Too many to count, Cinderella boy …
FORREST GUMP (1994) Chapter 36 contains a near-quote from this movie. Do you remember what the actual quote was? If so, you’re pretty intelligent.
XXXXXX (XXXX) Chapter 36 contains what I think is a quote, or a paraphrased quote, from a movie: “Kick it right below the door knob,” but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what movie it came from. Help, anyone?
THE WEREWOLF (1956) and THE WOLFMAN (1941) In Chapter 45 I needed some B-level horror movie titles, so I used these. The great Lon Chaney, Jr. was in The Wolfman.