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A Movie A Day: Quint on CADILLAC MAN (1990)
You’re an ass half. It takes two of you to make an ass-whole!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Bridging yesterday’s KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT to today’s 1990 Robin Williams comedy CADILLAC MAN is casting director Debra Zane. It was a stretch, but there was a connection! Over the next few days we spend some time in the ‘80s and late ‘70s before diving back down into noir and crime of the ‘40s and ‘50s. That’s one thing I really like about this list is we can go from studio comedy to obscure noir within a couple of moves. It’s like playing some weird movie chess or 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Maybe the people in talkback warning me off of this movie played out in my favor, but I quite enjoyed this movie. It’s filled to the brim with nostalgic late ‘80s/early ‘90s cheese, pink neon, shoulder padded women’s business suits and Fran Drescher, which was probably also what led to my enjoyment as I have some good memories of comedies of this era, like the vastly under-appreciated and under-seen BACK TO THE BEACH. Robin Williams is a used car salesman at the end of his rope. He has too many girlfriends, an ex-wife and such a strong desired to be… well, desired… that he spends all of his money on women. It’s not that he’s a man-whore… I take that back, he might be, but he’s not in it for the sex, but the emotional connection, so he’ll pay out the nose in order to be a girl’s savior and be wanted and desired for it. One of the few women he hasn’t fucked, Donna (played by Annabella Sciorra), is having an affair with one of the other salesman at the used car lot and her near-retarded simple husband storms in one day with guns blazing, threatening to kill whomever is fucking his wife. It’s a sale day, so the place is packed and it turns into a hostage situation.

Tim Robbins plays the husband and maybe that also figures into my digging of this movie. I love crazy Tim Robbins, especially crazy ‘80s Tim Robbins. I’m not ashamed to admit my love for Howard The Duck and Robbins’ awesomely over-the-top performance in that movie. He's really likable in this movie, vulnerable and easily manipulated, but likable, like a big stupid dog that claims you as his own. Strange that this was only 2 years before THE PLAYER and BOB ROBERTS and only 4 years before SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. What a fast climb to the top he had. I even enjoyed Fran Drescher’s performance (and boobs… I was shocked to see her cha-chas at the beginning of the film) as one of Williams’ dames, a bored rich wife of a millionaire husband. Maybe she’s coasting off her good vibes from UHF or maybe it was just the boobs. Somehow she didn’t make me want to stick a knitting needle in my ear. Also, playing to my late ‘80s/early ‘90s fetish side was the appearance of Lori Petty (in very sexy lingerie, I might add) as the quirky, arty girlfriend of Williams’ character. Goddamn, I had such a crush on her in this era… POINT BREAK, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN… probably up until TANK GIRL… Big thing for her. If you’ve been following along, you’ll also remember I’m fond of movies that break the fourth wall (ie speaking to the audience, looking directly into the camera) and they do that a lot here. THE MATCHMAKER did it so much better, but we are involved as voyeurs of this story. Williams is still riding strong, enjoying the comedy of it. He should, as he did this right smack dab in-between DEAD POETS SOCIETY and AWAKENINGS. You can tell he loves what he does and there’s an innocent way he uses R-rated language that I miss from him today. There’s also a dead-man’s blank stare in his eyes he has in his comedy work today and seeing him so vibrant and alive, light sparkling in each eye-ball, really emphasizes just how much I miss that Robin Williams. It was good seeing his stand-up a few years back, but damn… I wish he’d do another comedy that’s not some safe homogenized studio family comedy shit. He goes for edgy and interesting indie serious roles, why not some comedy? The last time I can remember that light and him doing R-rated comedy was DEATH TO SMOOCHY. I don't care what everybody else on this planet says, Rainbow Randolph was awesome. Final Thoughts: Roger Donaldson (THE BOUNTY, COCKTAIL, SPECIES, THE BANK JOB) directed and Ken Friedman (JOHNNY HANDSOME) scripted, making a flick that is light on story, heavy on convenience, but also full of interesting characters and made me laugh a whole lot some 18 years after it was released. It’s not for everybody, but if you have an ‘80s comedy, Lori Petty or hairy-knuckled still-alive-in-the-eyes Robin Williams fetish, then give it a shot.

The schedule for the next 7 days is: Saturday, July 19th: THE SURE THING (1985) Sunday, July 20th: MOVING VIOLATIONS (1985) Monday, July 21st: MEATBALLS (1979) Tuesday, July 22nd: CAST A GIANT SHADOW (1966) Wednesday, July 23rd: OUT OF THE PAST (1947) Thursday, July 24th: THE BIG STEAL (1949) Friday, July 25th: WHERE DANGER LIVES (1950) Tomorrow we follow Tim Robbins over to Rob Reiner's 1985 Romantic Dramedy THE SURE THING! See you folks then! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut

Readers Talkback
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  • July 18, 2008, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Tim Robbins carried that movie

    by Magic Rat

    the Robin Williams part could have been played by anyone. I also think you're giving Williams a hard time on his recent comedies. Yeah, they've been pretty bad, but that's more to do with him being around so long he's done basically all he can do in comedy movies. What comedic actor stays funny in movies for more than 20 years anyway? At least the guy has potential in dramas.

  • July 18, 2008, 11:43 p.m. CST

    DEATH TO SMOOCHY is fucking great

    by caruso_stalker217

    Williams is hilarious in that movie.

  • July 18, 2008, 11:44 p.m. CST

    Love-love-love Lori Petty

    by BillEmic

    Glad to see some appreciation for one of Hollywood's more obscure (and actually uber-talented) beauties. <3

  • July 18, 2008, 11:59 p.m. CST

    Back to the Beach was GREAT!

    by The Funketeer

    If only to see Stevie and Dick Dale playing together for a few seconds. Cadillac Man, however, was a turd. I also find it insane that you haven't seen Meatballs yet. What red blooded American male didn't watch that movie a million times when they were in Jr. High?

  • July 19, 2008, 12:04 a.m. CST

    death to smoochy IS great!

    by Jubba

    i had forgotten about it...but it's a great movie!

  • July 19, 2008, 12:13 a.m. CST

    Robin Willians...ugh.

    by fiester

    Seriously. That guy in cinematic cyanide. I won't watch anything with him in it anymore.

  • July 19, 2008, 12:14 a.m. CST

    I always loved this flick, had it back to back on VHS

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    with Let it Ride. I fuckin LUUUURVE Let it Ride. Oh, and Rainbow Randolph does rule all.

  • July 19, 2008, 12:19 a.m. CST

    I'm going on safari, mother-fucker!

    by DivisionPost


  • July 19, 2008, 12:29 a.m. CST

    It's COCK! It's not a rocket, you sick fuck!

    by caruso_stalker217

    I'm Rainbow FUCKIN' Randolph!

  • July 19, 2008, 12:38 a.m. CST

    by caruso_stalker217

  • July 19, 2008, 1:02 a.m. CST

    The above links

    by Napoleon Park

    are not to topless pics of Fran Drescher and therefore are of no relevance to me.

  • July 19, 2008, 1:16 a.m. CST

    That's not light in his eyes

    by critter42c

    That's about 250mg of the finest Columbian Snow he could get, with a heroin chaser on top...

  • July 19, 2008, 1:31 a.m. CST


    by stumpysdad

    rare poster... that being said, had to relog in to te show my appreciation for this column!! have loved how youve rediscovered many of my favorite classics (often wondering HOW you couldve missed that one?!?!?!) but i see MEATBALLS coming up, seriously, how have you not seen that?!?!?!? I first saw it at a drive-in when it came out with 2 or 3 other tenny bopper is the suff of legend and often fills out my 'Top #' lists when I'm short a spot....I hope you love it I look forward to the column, until then I leave you with this...are you ready for the summer?

  • July 19, 2008, 2:19 a.m. CST

    cadillac man was the shit

    by ironic_name

    the he bites fran's ass.. <P> and I too had / have a thing for lori petty. <P> sideboob in point break!

  • July 19, 2008, 2:22 a.m. CST

    moving violations is with bill murray's jerky brother, right?

    by ironic_name

  • July 19, 2008, 2:24 a.m. CST

    A Good Film!

    by Kefrif

    Like NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYan ks before me, I had a VHS of this years back and think its an ace little film. First watched it as a kid on late night TV and laughed my ass off - doesn't recommended enough in my opinion.

  • July 19, 2008, 2:25 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    Whatever he did it made him funny. Long live artists and (controlled) drug use, I say.

  • July 19, 2008, 2:52 a.m. CST

    doesnt anyone have any decency anymore?!?

    by TheDudeintheShadows

    OOWW shit i think i burned my balls

  • July 19, 2008, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Is this Pepperoni?

    by kikuchiyoboy

    <br> <p align="center">Gib <br> During the first Gemini mission some thought was actually given to the notion of sending up a man and a woman together. <br> <br> Woman <br> Really? <br> <br> Gib <br> Uh huh. <br> A cosmic Adam and Eve if you will. Bound together in a highly sophisticated nerve center at the head of the largest, most powerful rocket yet known. It's giant thrusters blasting into the dark void. As they hurtle toward their final destination, the gushing wellspring of life itself... <br> How would you like to have a sexual encounter so intense it could conceivably change your political views? <br> <br> A man walks in during their conversation and leans in toward the woman. <br> <br> Man <br> Would you like to dance. <br> <br> Woman <br> Yes. Please. <br> <br> The woman walks off with the other man. <br> <br> Gib <br> I'll take that as a no. <br> <br> Can't believe "The Sure Thing" is 23 years ago... man where does the time go. Sorry I jumped ahead of time into the Sure Thing TB. But I used love that movie. Still holds up for an 80's "college/teen" film. <br> Can't wait till your write up for that.

  • July 19, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST

    I will not abandon you

    by felt pelt

    The phrasing of "I will not abandon you" still sticks in my head decades later.

  • July 19, 2008, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Williams & Murphy

    by EyeofPolyphemus

    Robin Williams is like Eddie Murphy. They both did raunchy comedy for years and they have gone about as far as they can with it. Besides, when comedians reach a certain age, that sort of thing is creepy rather than funny. They both had to move into other fare in recent years. </p> Jim Carrey has taken note with many of the roles he has chosen since Ace Ventura.

  • July 19, 2008, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Saw Out of the Past in film class

    by O_Goncho

    I fell asleep for like 5 minutes near the beginning and when I was nudged back to full-alert I spent the rest of the film with literally no idea what was going on. Bored the arse off me. I should probably watch it again, but the memories keep me away, so I'll be interested to see what you have to say, Quint, just remember - constant vigilence.

  • July 19, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Back to the Beach is a MUCH better film than this tripe

    by jmyoung666

    I mean really, it has Robin Williams - What are the odds it's going to suck? I saw it in the theater in 1990 and was cpmpletely non-plussed.

  • July 19, 2008, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Out of the Past is great.

    by jmyoung666

    Don't want to oversell it, but it was good.

  • July 19, 2008, 10:18 a.m. CST

    I haven't seen it since it came out

    by canopus

    But I remember not liking this movie very much, I do remember liking the beginning, when he tries to sell a car to the widow at her husband's funeral.

  • July 19, 2008, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Who the fuck warned you off this movie?

    by Lenny Nero

    It's absolutely hilarious and a great example of near-one set comedy.

  • July 19, 2008, 11:45 a.m. CST

    But it only takes half an ass to do Gremlins 2!!!

    by theredtoad

  • July 19, 2008, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Howard The Duck

    by Jinxo

    Funniest thing when I saw Howard The Duck wasn't even in the movie. I went with my brother and some friends. At the movies my brother would always buy Lemonheads. So we're watching and the scene comes on where Lea Thompson walks on wearing this hot little nightie. All of a sudden I just hear the clatter of Lemonheads hitting the floor. Sort of summed up the slackjawed (or for my brother slack armed) reaction we all had to that nightie. But the Lemonheads shifted us all into just laughing our heads off.

  • July 19, 2008, 12:27 p.m. CST


    by Elliot Cowan

    I never studied for my exams. I went to the movies instead. I distinctly remember going to see this and maybe Willow on the same day. I always enjoyed it, although I haven't seen it for um...nearly 18 years or so...

  • July 19, 2008, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Robbins was also Merlin in TOP GUN

    by Tacom

    So at least he got to be in one successful movie in 1986!

  • July 19, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Bring on The Sure Thing

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Excuse me, I have to go kick the shit out of somebody

  • July 19, 2008, 9:42 p.m. CST

    ROGER DONALDSON made Cadillac Man?!

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    God, that fucker has made EVERY kind of movie imaginable.

  • July 20, 2008, 4:12 a.m. CST

    I totally agree about Williams

    by alynch3

    He just doesn't seem to be trying anymore. If there's a silver lining, he did finally sign up for a project that at least based on description seems funny as hell.

  • July 20, 2008, 11:04 a.m. CST

    You should have made the next movie...

    by REDD

    "The Best of Times", with Robin Williams and Kurt Russell; and then after that, "Used Cars" with Kurt Russell.

  • July 20, 2008, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Spamster - just because Paul WS Anderson

    by SpencerTrilby

    happened to direct a decent (if not clearly good) SF/horror film, doesn't make it akin to Howard The Duck all of a sudden. The guy is a hack, but one's gotta admit when he put some effort, balls and talent in a movie. <p> I can't believe I'm defending this assclown... But yeah, you could've found much worse 90's sci-fi shit to make your point. How about the 5th element? Or Sphere?

  • July 21, 2008, 9:59 a.m. CST

    To Felt Pelt

    by DrAstroZoom

    I agree. "I will not abandon you! I will NOT abandon you!" still strikes me as ridiculously funny. "Cadillac Man" is "Dog Day Afternoon's" spunky little brother.

  • July 21, 2008, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Why aging 'dirty' comedians go clean

    by ArcadianDS

    They wake up one day and realize they have little children.