Lethal Weapon Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2018

The second review of the day comes from someone who I have just recently became blogging friends with: The Craggus. The Craggus is one of the writers from What the Craggus Saw. They have a lot of great articles so be sure to check them out. The Craggus joins the blogathon with a review of the 1980s action flick Lethal Weapon. Instead of me blabbering on, let’s get right to it.

Lethal Weapon movie poster

Dreaming Of A (Shane) Black Christmas

Christmas in July, you say? Well, there’s really only one filmmaker you can turn to if what you need is a little touch of Yuletide cheer in an otherwise balmy (and preferably Californian) climate: Shane Black, writer of six Christmas-adjacent movies (and director of three of them). No word yet on whether his upcoming “The Predator” will feature a nod to the festive season but given the trailer features Halloween, I’m going to guess not (unless the new Predator is particularly patient in his hunting).

His first script is perhaps the best example of why Black has been so fond of including the festive season as a backdrop to his violent, irreverent and freewheeling action black comedies. “Lethal Weapon” (1987), directed by the legendary Richard Donner, opens with an iconic and shocking suicide-themed opening, all the more jarring thanks to the jolly soundtrack choice of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’.

Rejuvenating and redefining the buddy cop genre, Black’s razor sharp script finds abundant energetic life in the perfectly cast ‘too old for this shit’ Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and kerr-aaaazzzy Riggs (Mel Gibson). The pairing of a dangerously unstable loose cannon with a weary, days from retirement veteran became an instant trope, often imitated but rarely equalled thanks to the chemistry of Gibson and Glover.

While Christmas is used thematically to illustrate and underline Riggs’ loneliness and isolation following the death of his wife, it’s also used as the shorthand for his eventual redemption which sees him join the Murtaugh family for a family dinner in a cosy Christmas coda as well as providing amusing backdrops for the action (which comes thick and fast) such as the coke-fuelled Christmas Tree lot shootout. It’s the constant thematic reminder of family and belonging that edge this movie far closer to being a genuine tale of a Christmas miracle, the only difference being it happens subtly in the background while the ballistic thrills and spills of a violent drug trafficking plot take up all the action. Christmas is the solid green spruce upon which Black drapes the tinsel, lights and baubles of sex and violence.

It’s quite unfair to reduce Black’s work to festive frippery when his trademarks are really: sharp dialogue, savage action and a darkly irreverent sense of humour but given that last one it’s little wonder he’s so fascinated by the idea of pairing mayhem with the most wonderful time of the year. It may have later become a gimmick, for sure, but one never quite so well realised and integrated since, “Lethal Weapon” remains his one true Christmas movie, rather than one which happens to be set at Christmas. Suck on that, “Die Hard”.


Lethal Weapon is one of my personal non-traditional Christmas films so it is great to see it as part of the blogathon.

Now I bet you are wondering who Craggus has decided to invite to our spectacular party? It is none other than Black Widow herself: Scarlett Johansson!

Scarlett Johansson

ScarJo has been on my short list of invitees for the last few years. I’m happy she finally gets to make her appearance at our yearly shindig.

And that’s it for day one of the Christmas in July Blogathon! Tomorrow, a regular collaborator of mine joins in the blogathon. Be sure to come back to see their unique entry.

Until next time, cheers!

My Fave Five Buddy Cop Films

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Ah, February.  Home of Valentine’s Day, the day you spend with that someone special.  But that “special someone” isn’t necessarily always a significant other.  Your other half might possibly be your best friend. There are plenty of inseparable friends to be found in film.  Buddy cop films have some of the most memorable pairs in cinematic history.  Whether they were friends at the start of the movie or forced to work together, they are always the best of friends at the the end.  We realize they are two peas in a pod and they wouldn’t be the same without each other. In the spirit of love and friendship, here are my five favorite buddy cop films.

Bad Boys movie poster 5) Bad Boys / Bad Boys II

Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) are long-time friends by the time we meet them at the beginning of Bad Boys.  Their friendship is without question, which is easily sold by the chemistry of the two leads.  Throughout the first film, we see how close they really are.  Even though their relationship is on the rocks in Bad Boys II, they clearly still have each others’ backs, as evident by the scene when Marcus’ daughter’s boyfriend comes by for a visit.  If the characters aren’t cool enough for you, these films are tried and true popcorn action flicks, very reminiscent of the classic 80s buddy cop films.  These are the type of films you can just sit back and enjoy.

End of Watch movie poster4) End of Watch

End of Watch might be the most realistic buddy cop film on this list. End of Watch follows Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena), two beat cops in Los Angeles in a documentary style.  Despite the found-footage-esque camera style, the action is still very tight and crisp.  Normally I’m not a huge fan of it but it is well done and works for the story.  Also through this technique, the friendship can really be felt between Brian and Mike.  From patrolling in their squad car, to making a drug bust, to their home lives and everything in between.  Their friendship is displayed so well that the ending comes as a punch to the gut.

21 Jump Street movie poster3) 21 Jump Street / 22 Jump Street

Based on a TV series from the 80s, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are tasked with bringing down a drug dealer by infiltrating a high school… as students.  Schmidt and Jenko start on opposite sides of the popularity ladder but become extremely close friends, almost inseparable.  One of my favorite scenes from the series is when the pair is talking to the counselor in 22 Jump Street about their relationship, where they sound like a married couple. The whole premise of the series is to parody reboots and sequels, to which it does a fantastic job, including many tongue-in-cheek jokes clearly aimed at said reboots and sequels. In the current day and age of Hollywood, it’s nice to see films that can poke fun at themselves.

The Heat movie poster2) The Heat

When I first went to see The Heat, I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as much as I have.  Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) and Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) come from complete opposite sides of the spectrum.  Ashburn is a very by the book FBI agent and Mullins is more of a do-anything-to-get-the-job-done detective.  Although this dynamic has been done many times before this film came out, Bullock and McCarthy make it feel fun and refreshing.  The two comediennes show that they can kick ass with the best of any 80s action male duo.

Lethal Weapon movie poster1) Lethal Weapon series

The best buddy cop films start with the two leads at odds with each other.  Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is a sergeant in the LAPD about to retire when he is forced to work with Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), a seemingly insane narcotics officer of the LAPD.  Riggs and Murtaugh are absolutely nothing alike, at least they seem that way at first.  Although they are at each others throats in the beginning, they become very close friends.  Together they stop drug smugglers, weapon smugglers, and illegal immigrant smugglers.  They dealt with a lot of smugglers.  Lethal Weapon shows what a buddy cop film can be at the genre’s best.

Honorable mentions include Rush Hour, The Other Guys, Starsky & Hutch, Hot Fuzz, and Tango & Cash.

What are some of your favorite buddy cop films?

Lethal Weapon (1987) by The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger – Ultimate 80s Blogathon

It’s Zoe’s turn in the Ultimate 80s Blogathon. She gives us her review of the classic buddy cop film Lethal Weapon. Go check it out!

Tranquil Dreams

We’re in Week 3 now! Next up, we have Zoe from The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger.  She runs a fantastic blog full of reviews on movies, books and TV series.  She participates in the Blindspot series and also Sporadic Scene segment which is absolutely fun! Head on over and check out her lovely posts! 🙂

Without further ado, let me hand it over to Zoe and her Ultimate 80s choice: Lethal Weapon.

Lethal Weapon

Well, I’ll tell you what. You make it through tomorrow without killing anybody, especially me, or yourself, then I’ll start trusting you.” – Roger Murtaugh

SYNOPSIS: Roger Murtaugh is an aging family man and sensible veteran police officer just trying to make it through the day unscathed. Martin Riggs is a suicidal loose cannon cop who doesn’t care if he even lives to see the end of the day. Reluctantly thrown together to solve…

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Movie Quote of the Week – 12/11/15

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Answer to MWL 12/9/15: Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) – Lethal Weapon

I’m too old for this shit. – Roger Murtaugh

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and one Christmas turkey to the following people for answering correctly:

Rob (Movierob)
Dr. Humpp (Dr. Humpp’s Curious Collection)
Marta (Ramblings of a Cinefile)
That Other Critic (That Other Critic)
Tim (Filmfunkel)
Jesgear (Jesgear’s Blog)
Carly (Carly Hearts Movies)

My Fave Five Christmas Movies

It’s that time of year again.  Snow is falling, bright lights decorate houses on every street, the Salvation Army bell ringers are outside every grocery store you can see, and TBS is having a 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon.  Yes, it’s the holiday season.  While you and your family are gathered by the fireplace sipping eggnog, sitting at the table playing a game of cards, or whatever your holiday traditions may be, chances are you do so with a Christmas movie playing.  Everyone has something different they like about the holiday season and there are plenty of movies to reflect that.  Here are my five favorite Christmas movies.

Honorable Mentions) Die Hard & Lethal WeaponLethal Weapon movie poster Die Hard movie poster

I have included Die Hard and Lethal Weapon on this list because they aren’t what could be considered “traditional” Christmas movies.  They take place during Christmas (the lowest requirement for a Christmas film) but that’s about the only relation to Christmas they have.  However, they are both great movies.  And on top of that, they both produced catch phrases that would last throughout both franchises.  They may not be the most traditional of Christmas films, but they are Christmas films nonetheless.

Elf movie poster5) Elf

Will Ferrell’s humor is hit or miss with audiences (based on people I’ve talked to at least).  But in Elf, he hits the mark.  Even those who I know aren’t Ferrell fans enjoy this movie.  The innocent and good natured Buddy the Elf resonates with everyone.  It’s always entertaining to see someone like Buddy who comes from a small town experience New York City for the first time.  There’s something about that fish-out-of-water element in the Big Apple that is so humorous.

4) The Polar ExpressThe Polar Express movie poster

When I was but a wee lad, I enjoyed the book The Polar Express.  Then it was brought onto the big screen, and the sense of wonderment only grew.  It can be difficult to adapt a children’s book into a movie, but The Polar Express shows how to do it correctly, and with style.  The animation uses contrasts efficiently and before Frozen, this was the pinnacle of snow animation, creating a gorgeously unique style that still looks amazing ten years later.

Christmas Vacation movie poster3) Christmas Vacation

Oh Christmas Vacation, how I love you.  I believe this was the first movie from National Lampoon’s Vacation series that I saw, and it is probably the best of the series.  Clark Griswald is once again played by the amazing Chevy Chase, whose comedic timing is spot-on in this film.  Even the supporting cast each get their moments.  But what I would have to say is my favorite part about Christmas Vacation is how it takes traditional holiday events that we loath (or like), such as in-laws staying for a few days or decorating the house with lights, and takes them to the extreme.  Sometimes real-life events make for the most touching.

2) A Christmas StoryA Christmas Story movie poster

This is the Christmas movies of all Christmas movies, or at least TBS thinks so since they play it for 24-hours.  But I would have to agree.  Every kid can relate to Ralphie, the young version played by Peter Billingsley, looking for that on awesome gift under the tree on Christmas morning.  The narration from an older Ralphie, voiced by Jean Shepard, is the perfect compliment to what is going on in the story.  Ralphie’s parents and friends, Ralphie’s daydreams, everything is skewed to fit a child’s perspective and it creates one of the best Christmas films out there.

The Santa Claus movie poster1) The Santa Clause

The Santa Clause was THE Christmas movie of my childhood.  This is the film I do not go without watching every year.  This was one of Tim Allen’s first movies since he started on Home Improvement and he carried much of Tim Taylor into this movie.  I think what appeals to me most is that Scott Calvin, Allen’s character, didn’t want to be Santa Claus, he was selfish and didn’t want the responsibility.  There is a big difference in his attitude between his first and second outings as Santa.  And I couldn’t forget all the cool elf gadgets.  Tinsel, jet packs, the sleigh’s CD dispenser.  Everything is just cool.  The cute little touches, like the Rose Sucha Clatter ladder company, just add to the experience.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!