Brother’s Gonna Work It Out

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Goldie (Max Julien, Psych-Out) is a car thief who just finished 5 years in the slammer…now, in most movies he would be attempting to go straight, make one last score, or get revenge on someone who framed him…but instead Goldie is reinventing himself as a pimp extraordinaire. Not just for the money, prestige and women though…he wants to buy his mama (Juanita Moore) a nice house. To do so, he’s going to have to keep his game razor sharp…and do things he only dreamed of when he was a two-bit car thief. He’ll have to content with rival pimps like Pretty Tony (Dick Anthony Williams), dirty cops and his own Panther-like militant brother Olinga (Roger E. Mosley).  Luckily he’s got his sidekick Slim (Richard Pryor) to back him up. Beyond the flamboyant clothes, wocka-chicka music and deliciously smartass dialogue, The Mack is such an intelligent movie, in the way it deals not only with the life of a criminal on the mean streets and the struggle of a ghetto youth chasing the American dream…but really delving into what makes these people tick, what they think and believe and why they go to such extremes to get over…

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Mystery Roach

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It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Produced (but not directed) by William Castle, Bug is one of the weirder examples of the slew of ecologically-minded 70’s horror films where nature not only points out the folly of man but strikes back with a vengeance that verges on the Biblical. An earthquake unleashes prehistoric cockroaches from the bowels of the earth who can start fires and burn you alive. Bradford Dillman (a couple of years before he fought piranhas) is Parmiter, a Biology teacher called upon to study the phenomenon…who seems to be obsessed with their mating habits. In fact, at times he has so much sympathy for the chitinous killers that one wonders if he’s playing with a full deck of flashcards…

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You’re a true child of the 70’s if you recognize this kitchen.

Call Any Vegetable

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I suppose for alot of you who’ve seen John Carpenter’s remake (or the recent remake of his remake) the original Thing might not seem all that impressive. It doesn’t have the mindblowing FX (which to be fair, didn’t exist back then) or the blood and gore (which was verboten by the Hays Code back then) so instead of a constantly morphing, tentacled alien, you get James “Marshal Dillon” Arness with a Frankenstein-style flat cranium and gnarly root-like claws. Well, in case you didn’t know, Arness was 6’7” and one intimidating mother. It also doesn’t have the body count of a modern horror film…When’s the last time you saw one with more than one survivor at the end? But the characters are so interesting and funny and intelligent that you won’t want to see them die. The script is packed with the funniest smartass patter you’ll find anywhere. So dig it if you dare…and keep watching the skies!

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With A Capital T

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Meet the original Mr. T. (Robert Hooks) a smooth, uncompromising private eye with a stoic, no bullshit Lee Marvin-like demeanor. He’s hired by Chalky (Paul Winfield) and Pete (Ralph Waite, The Waltons. It’s fun to see him play an evil bastard for once.) to find out who’s been ripping off their gambling dens. Soon he finds himself caught in the middle of a gang war and framed for murder. There’s alot of t.v. talent involved in this flick…Besides Winfield and Waite, there’s William Smithers (Dallas) as the cop out to collar Mr. T, Gordon Jump (WKRP In Cincinnati) as a slumlord…and it was directed by Ivan Dixon, “Kinch” from Hogan’s Heroes. It’s a pretty underrated movie and has ended up on a few “worst” blaxploitation lists. I don’t see why…To me it’s a rock solid crime flick…and just dig that Marvin Gaye theme song…

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A Whole Lotta Woman

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Since this is post #300 and all, I thought it was high time to pay tribute to, in my opinion, the greatest blaxploitation movie of the 70’s. You sickies who’ve been following this blog from the beginning know how much I love Pam Grier, and this is her signature role. Coffy put her on the map, but Foxy made her a star and an icon. She kicks ass, takes names, and looks absolutely ravishing doing it…taking down pimps, pushers and sleazy politicians. It’s got all the action, sex, blood and outrageousness you expect from a blaxploitation flick, but with director Jack Hill’s (Spider Baby, Switchblade Sisters, The Big Doll House) trademark wit and heart…He delivers the goods without condescending to the audience and creates characters that feel real, that you truly care about. If you’ve never seen a blaxploitation film before, this is the best place to start. Just remember: “She’s brown sugar and spice…but if you don’t treat her nice…she’ll put you on ice!”

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Dixie Fried

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Awesome poster, no? And one helluva tagline. Don’t expect a rollicking, Foxy Brown style ass-kicking blastorama, though…this is more of a zeitgeisty roadtrip movie…on a shoestring. Statuesque blonde Dag (Dixie Peabody, also in Night Call Nurses) has been looking after and covering up for her klepto brother since they were kids…and when he gets his head ventilated for stealing a hog from a biker gang, she hits the road on a quest for vengeance with a couple of goofball hippie friends for backup….which leads to the obligatory Easy Rider type scenes of bikes on the highway, camping in the woods, and clashes with square authority figures…lots of sedate hangin’ and chattin’ scenes…punctuated by outburts of hysterical drama and violence. Dixie has gotten alot of knocks for her acting being amateurish, wooden, over the top, etc. but taking into account that her character Dag is obviously supposed to be at least somewhat deranged, I think it fits. Gotta wonder if Australians chuckle at Dag’s name, since it’s a slang term pertaining to sheep Down Under…

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It’s From Kansas

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Prime Cut is like one of Donald Westlake’s Parker pulps chucked into the gutter of cinematic moral insanity that is exploitation cinema at its finest. Eternally taciturn badass Lee Marvin is Nick, a Chicago mob enforcer sent to Kansas to settle a beef with upstart meatman Mary Anne, played with charmingly smarmy relish by Gene Hackman…

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And his brother Weenie (square-jawed leading man Gregory Walcott from Plan 9 From Outer Space, here playing way the hell against type) who’s about one cracked chromosome away from being a member of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Sawyer clan…

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See, Mary Anne and Weenie don’t just deal in meat, they have a sideline as flesh peddlers, trafficking in doped-up ingenues copped from the local orphanage…including Violet (the always haunting Janit Baldwin of Ruby, Gator Bait and Born Innocent) and Poppy (Sissy Spacek)…

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Nick of course falls for Poppy (anybody who’s seen at least one Sissy Spacek movie knows the feeling) and decides to take her with him, if they make it out of Kansas alive, that is…

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