R.I.P. Hal Needham 1931-2013

Stuntman extraordinaire Hal Needham passed away on October 25th, 2013 at the age of 82. Hal was the highest paid stuntman of his day and, when stunts peaked in the late 70s and early 80s (prior to greenscreen), he directed many of the stunt spectaculars of the day.

Hooper

Unfortunately none of Hal’s directorial efforts are currently available on streaming Netflix. He made the Smokey and the Bandit series, The Cannonball Run series, Megaforce, Stroker Ace, The Villain, and my favorite, his ode to stuntmen, Hooper.

Sadly, looking at all the classic movies that he did stunts on, it is clear that streaming Netflix has some huge holes in it. Foul Play, Gator, The Longest Yard (original), Chinatown, Blazing Saddles, McQ, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Rio Lobo, Chisum, Little Big Man, The Bridge at Remagen, the list goes on and on but the only I saw streaming is The French Connection II but that is a good one.

R.I.P. Hal Needham, you will be missed.

R.I.P. Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)

I was on another project for much of last week and am just now catching up on the news. Unfortunately we had a few passings, the most personal of which was that of criminal author Elmore Leonard. His writing was wonderfully wry and darkly comic, the majority of it focusing on criminal mischief and law enforcement, from the Old West to the New West.

Unfortunately there weren’t very many good adaptations of his work. Here are a few worth looking at on instant Netflix (Justified is Amazon Prime exclusive).

Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown (1997) – Rated R

Jackie Brown is an aging flight attendant who smuggles cash on the side. But when she’s busted and pressured to help with an investigation, she plans to play the opposing forces against each other and walk away with the dough.

While this is, first and foremost, a Quentin Tarantino film, Jackie Brown is based on Leonard’s novel, Rum Punch. The humor in the film is a mix of Tarantino and Leonard.

Hombre

Hombre (1967) – Not rated

Paul Newman stars as a half-Indian shunned by his fellow stagecoach passengers until a holdup forces them to trust him as he finds a way out of the desert. More 1960s than 1860s, this Western takes a hard look at racial injustice in the Old West.

Paul Newman is great in this semi-classic western.

Stick (1985) – Rated R

Ex-con Ernest “Stick” Stickley walks a fine line in this gritty crime drama, which follows the former crook trying to reconnect with his daughter and start a new life, all while seeking to find and punish the drug dealers who killed a close friend.”

Burt Reynolds playing Burt Reynolds. This was neither one of Burt’s best nor one of Leonard’s best.

Justified

Justified (2010-14)

Old-school U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is reassigned from Miami to his childhood home in the poor, rural coal-mining towns in Eastern Kentucky.

Justified evolved from Leonard’s short story Fire in the Hole but his imprint is all over the series and Timothy Olyphant is excellent as Marshal Raylan Givens. Justified is an Amazon exclusive so those with Amazon Prime can watch the first three seasons for FREE. Sorry Netflix fans.

Rest in Peace, Elmore Leonard – you will be missed.