Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Movie Review: THE VILLAIN

Though most of my reviews are for new releases, this is one I just had to write--because it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, and because almost no one I know has ever seen it. 


Released in 1979, The Villain could best be described as a live action Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner movie. It stars Kirk Douglas in a rare comedic turn as Cactus Jack Slade, "a mistake nature made--a trick fate has played on itself," as the theme song says. Cactus Jack's a would-be villain in the old west, a guy with a room temperature IQ who's his own worst enemy. As the story opens, he's trying unsuccessfully to rob a bank. When he can't open the safe, he decides to blow it up. The dynamite brings down the building...but fails to budge the safe.


Still, the crooked banker, Avery Simpson (Jack Elam), sees potential in Cactus Jack and enlists him to steal a large sum of money being transported by Charming Jones (Ann-Margret) to her rich daddy, Parody Jones (Strother Martin). However, Parody has hired an escort for his daughter--Handsome Stranger (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who's strong as an ox but not quite as smart. In fact, he's almost as dumb as Cactus Jack. When Charming asks about his unusual name, he explains, "I was named after my father."

Okaaaaaay....


As they travel toward their destination, Charming tries every way she can to seduce Handsome Stranger, but he's oblivious to her advances. He's also oblivious to Cactus Jack's pursuit--and multiple bungled attempts to rob them. While Cactus Jack could be Wile E. Coyote, Handsome Stranger's no Road Runner.


  Add to the mix two Indians hired by the banker, Nervous Elk (Paul Lynde) and Mashing Finger (Robert Tessier). Nervous Elk observes, "This one needs to be looked after."


He does indeed--and is, by his smarter-than-the-average horse, Whiskey, who has to save Jack from himself more than once. Whether he's being run over by a gigantic boulder or gluing himself to the railroad tracks, Cactus Jack is nothing if not persistent! Too bad he's so stupid. Does he really think using a handbook for villains is a good idea?



Does Cactus Jack end up blown up or flattened by an Acme anvil? Will Handsome Stranger finally realize he's traveling with a sexually frustrated woman? Will Whiskey get tired of saving his idiot master? If you can find a copy of The Villain on DVD, do give it a look! And if you can't find the DVD, here's the movie on YouTube.





19 comments:

  1. I remember this one! Your review is spot on!

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    1. Finally--someone who's seen it! Thanks, Cheryl!

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  2. I'm glad you pointed this one out to me. It is hilarious!

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    1. We found it by accident. I had no idea Kirk Douglas could be so flat-out funny!

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  3. Arnold in a western? How funny! Did you know there's a pretty good steak house in Indio called Cactus Jacks? LOL

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    1. I've only been in Indio once in my life--passing through about 36 years ago--so no. Is the food good?

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  4. Oh Gosh, this sounds somewhat familiar. Must look this one up.
    Some of my favorite character actors are in it.
    Do you remember the TV series F Troop ?

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I love F Troop! It still airs on MeTV.

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    2. I've never seen this one. Will share from my computer tomorrow.

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  5. Believe it or not, my husband and I watched that movie a long time ago. it was on television of all places. Yes, it is funny!

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    1. I believe it, Mari--that's how we found it!

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  6. I remember this movie! It was hilarious!

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    1. We have it in digital format--we had the DVD, but my son has been converting all of our DVDs to digital, storing them on an external hard drive.

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  7. I haven't seen it either Norma and we've just lost the only video store for miles :)

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    1. The video link here is actually the entire movie on YouTube, if you want to see it!

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  8. Unfortunately the link doesn't work for me here in Oz Norma :(

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  9. Unfortunately the link doesn't work for me here in Oz Norma :(

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