Longtime readers of this site know that I adored the man (and his cousin/Cannon partner Yoram Globus), and have referred to him in turns as "the king of the 1980s," "an arm-wrestling auteur," "breakdance pioneer," "Norris whisperer," "Mama Rose to Van Damme's Gypsy," and "a Charles Bronson casting agency." He made trash, he made art– and all of it was fabulous: he presided over the most seminal action flicks of the 80s (BLOODSPORT, DEATH WISH 3) as well as genuine high art (Konchalavsky and Bunker's RUNAWAY TRAIN, Cassavetes' LOVE STREAMS, Schroeder & Bukowski's BARFLY, etc.). He directed films personally (THE APPLE, OVER THE TOP, THE DELTA FORCE), and was an unparalleled wheeler-dealer who believed in the integrity of every project, whether it was THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 or Zeferelli's OTELLO.
I cannot describe how much joy this man has brought me. As a child, the first film I ever saw on the big screen carried his stamp (SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE), and there have been times in my life where I was broke, depressed, bored, what have you– and just what the doctor ordered (Doc Golan, that is) was BLOODSPORT, DEATH WISH 3, RAPPIN', BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, or whatever the case may be.
It was my pleasure to see he and Globus in person several times during a Lincoln Center retrospective a few years ago, and it was my honor to meet the man himself (albeit briefly, but while wearing a Cannon Films t-shirt) at the after-party to a screening of THE APPLE. You can read about those zany experiences here.
So this weekend, pick a Cannon Film (or one that Golan worked on outside of that glorious company), have some friends over, pick up some junk food, some beers, or whatever floats your boat, and watch it. Watch the hell out of it! And raise a toast to a man who empirically raised the levels of fun on this sorry planet. I'll be doing MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE myself, but I have a few others I can recommend:
Splits, full-contact, and JCVD crazy-face in BLOODSPORT.
BIM exercise hour and disco dystopia in THE APPLE.
Chicken's good and it's my car in DEATH WISH 3.
Acting greatness and a light dose of Danny Trejo in RUNAWAY TRAIN.
Boomboxes and Bronson's loose in DEATH WISH II.
The Ninja film finds its voice in ENTER THE NINJA.
Robby Rosa treats himself to "mucho money" in SALSA.
Not payin' and not punkin' in DEATH WARRANT.
Dennis Hopper double fists chainsaws and 80s Gran Guignol reaches operatic heights in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2.
Gutter Rouke and Bukowski realness in BARFLY.
John Glover and Clarence Williams III scare the bejeesus out of Roy Scheider in 52 PICK-UP.
High-steppin' Chris Walken and feline grace in PUSS IN BOOTS.
Poor man's Indiana Jones and holy Chuck in FIREWALKER.
Chuck's Rambo routine in MISSING IN ACTION.
High fashion, low blows, and killer soccer balls in DEATH WISH 5: THE FACE OF DEATH.
Naked space vampires and slummin' Patrick Stewart in LIFEFORCE.
Explodin' Trejo, roller-skatin' panic, and Bronson sandwich makin' in DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN.
Chuck "treats that lady nice" in THE HERO AND THE TERROR.
Ninja madness and mustache choppin' in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.
Bronson, Mormons, and a dearth of action in MESSENGER OF DEATH.
Oscar-chasin' Christopher Reeve and pimpin' Morgan Freeman in STREET SMART.
Flamethrower vigilantes and Mario Van Peebles pushing the boundaries of good (?) taste in EXTERMINATOR 2.
Norris tailpipe action, crabby Lee Marvin, and beers for everyone in THE DELTA FORCE.
The perversions and high-kickin' senior citizens of KINJITE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS.
"Toejams" and "fart brains" in MURPHY'S LAW (but hold the mayo!).
Knife-sharpening and facial contortions in CYBORG.
Axe gangs, pizza-scissorin', and AWESOM robot fashion in COBRA.
Bayou Chuck, l'il armadillos, and slick Billy Drago in INVASION U.S.A.
or Menahem teamin' up with George A. Romero and Tom Savini for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD '90.
P.S., the New York Times also posted a surprisingly reverent obituary that's worth your time.