Director: Peter Fonda

Staring:  Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Verna Bloom

Viewed On Starz

Great Transfer


This is not your typical run of the mill Western.  There is so much more going on here.  If you are like me and just looking for another killer spaghetti Western this one probably isn’t for you.  The film starts off slow but there is still some violence that creeps in, some of it is sort of shocking, but it’s not done gratuitously, and it happens between a more complex story (for a Western of this time period).  Everything about this is different then most the Westerns that come out during this period.  The film is artsy in a way that is hard for me to explain.  

The cinematography with the slow dissolves, Fonda’s eye for every single detail is pretty amazing as a director/actor. The dialog is just perfect.  The shooting locations are great and look beautiful and are totally believable.  Fonda’s character “Harry” speaks plainly and rarely.  To me he looks a lot like a young Clint Eastwood with his scruff and cold demeanor.  

This is another “buddy” flick in which Fonda and Warren Oats are companions who have traveled the west for seven years together.  Fonda decides its time to return home to his wife and child who he had walked out on seven years prior.   He brings along his buddy “Arch” played by Warren Oats.  Oats in my opinion steals the show.  He’s completely lovable and a great actor who never really got his due.  Unfortunately he died in 1982 at 53 of a heart attack.  

This film isn’t just a western.  It’s a story about love, commitment and yup….revenge. It’s sad and brutal.   I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed this one.  It’s one that I somehow kept avoiding forever because it wasn’t on my radar as the type of gunslinger movie I usually enjoy. Don’t sleep on this like I did.  It’s a true American masterpiece. (NW)


Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Heath Row: HR  Matt Average: MA


Tribute to Verna Bloom: Animal House at the Aero April 4, 2019. Photo: Matt Average


Director: John Landis

Starring: John Belushi, John Vernon, Tom Hulce, Verna Bloom, Martha Smith, Kevin Bacon, Mark Metcalf, Tim Matheson, Karen Allen, Stephen Furst, Mary Louise Weller, Donald Sutherland, James Daughton

Still one of the absolute best comedies ever. Even better when seen with an audience. Even better when director John Landis and Martha Smith (Babs Jansen) are there to talk about the movie. 


Martha Smith, and John Landis at the Aero, April 4, 2019. Photograph: Matt Average


THE DEVASTATOR (aka Hostile Takeover, aka Office Party) (1988)


Director: George Mihalka

Starring: David Warner (Eugene Bracken), Michael Ironside (Larry Gaylord), Kate

Vernon (Sally), Will Lyman (Smolen), John Vernon (Mayor)

Music: Billy Bryans, Aaron Davis

Viewed: Streaming Amazon Prime

Transfer quality: Bad


A man takes three co-workers hostage while working overtime on Thanksgiving weekend. He has no demands. –IMDB

This short description should have come with a spoiler alert, because that was pretty much it.

Man, this was a long slog. I had to pause this more than once to check that I was watching the right movie.

There’s a moment towards the middle of this where I got excited that I would get to see “The Devastator,” when Police Chief Smolen (Will Lyman) rues the Mayor’s (John Vernon, Animal House, Savage Streets) decision to bring in the SWAT team for assistance and refers to SWAT commander Garlas (Anthony Sherwood, Terror Train, Heartbreak High) as “Robocop.” I actually woke up and sat up in my chair a bit, hopeful that this shallow attempt at a “deep” philosophical movie was going to ride off the rails into something amazing. I was sadly mistaken, however, as Garlas turned out to be just a cut-rate Billy Dee Williams trying, very unconvincingly I might add, to out strut Chief Smolen. So no Devastator, terrible soundtrack, and an atrocious transfer…seriously, the only redeeming value of this film is that it gives you the ability to link Scanners to Animal House in a game of 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

I suppose rebranding this film as “The Devastator” achieved its goal of suckering me into wasting an hour and a half of my movie watching time, but I wasn’t happy about it. I’m not even convinced this is a legit title, as IMDB lists the possible titles as Hostile Takeover and Office Party. Screw you, Amazon. (DC)


Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Heath Row: HR  Matt Average: MR