dir. Kevin Hooks
As any faithful follower of my podcast is aware (you follow my podcast, right?), Roger and I are none too impressed with the tropes of 90s cinema: ironically self-referential, these films attempt not so much to tell compellingly sincere stories as revel in the artifice of their task, in a detached, hip way. Oh yeah, we'll use the tropes of this traditional genre, but we don't mean it. We're better than this material.
These movies wanted to have it both ways. They wanted to use the genre cliches, but they also wanted to show that they were too cool for such cliches by pointing them out. In a word, this kind of filmmaking was douchey. Of course, it would be a lie to state that this was the case for the entirety of 90s cinema. Case in point: Black Dog. Released in 1998, this trash gem very easily could have been released in 1987.
The story: Patrick Swayze is an ex-con ex-trucker with a vehicular manslaughter count on his record. He's got an eviction notice on account of so many past due mortgage payments. But now he's given the opportunity to pull in some serious scratch from a shady businessman. The task: transport illegal guns from Georgia to Jersey. Sure, Swayze's got a revoked license, but as long as he plays it clean, doesn't get into any traffic shenanigans, he can evade authorities, and make a cool $10,000—the exact amount needed for his mortgage. He agrees. An undercover FBI agent, a wisecracking kid, and a non-drunken/naked Randy Travis accompany Swayze on the trip. At FBI headquarters, bickering Charles S. Dutton and Stephen Tobolowsky monitor Swayze's every move. And criminal Meatloaf makes Swyaze's life a living hell. Trucks get blowed up real good.
I was giddy all through this movie. And after it finished I couldn't wait to write about it. Unfortunately, as soon as I sat down to write, nothing would come out. Yeah, it was fun, but this is a movie almost impossible to disect. I appreciate the fact that it's unapologetic, unironic trash, but there's not much else to it. Disposable trash sure makes for a fun watch, but what can you say about it?