Friday, July 31, 2020

Only now does it occur to me... GLORY YEARS (1987)

Only now does it occur to me... that GLORY YEARS is an exercise in abject mediocrity. An HBO "five-part comedy-adventure series" following the Las Vegas-centric antics of three extremely mediocre dudes––played by George Dzundza (THE DEER HUNTER, BASIC INSTINCT), Archie Hahn (PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, GREMLINS 2), and Full Moon's own Tim Thomerson (TRANCERS, DOLLMAN)––

who gamble away the alumni fund from their twenty-year high school reunion and thereby launch a full two and a half hours' worth of half-baked Vegas shenanigans in the proto-HANGOVER vein. It's stale, it's lame, and it's peppered with weird, washed-up 80s cameos, like Mamie Van Doren as a madam

and Engelbert Humperdinck, Al Bernstein, and Joyce Brothers as themselves:

It's what the people want

When I made a heartfelt plea for Tim Thomerson to have larger, non-Charles Band-related roles in my review of NEAR DARK a decade (!) ago, I didn't mean this.

He does his best

However, the only reason we're here today is the "Of Whitesnakes and Witchboards... a Tawny Kitaen Retrospective."

And I've got the rootin-tootin zebra print to prove it!

As Thomerson's girlfriend, "Melinda,"

Kitaen is on screen for about 1/3 of the film, sometimes chiding Thomerson for being a sleaze, sometimes enacting wacky con-woman/gambler antics, sometimes just going around in statement bows, as is her wont.

At the very least, GLORY YEARS continues to establish two major trends in the Tawny canon. One is statement bows (see also: WITCHBOARD and CRYSTAL HEART). The other is getting married to a dopey dick at the climax (see also: BACHELOR PARTY).

Though, as you can see here, Tawny has combined her interest in weddings with her interest in statement bows. It's truly one of the Tawniest tableaux imaginable.

Generally speaking, her character is underused. She does get to sink her teeth into some comedy bits and a few dramatic scenes, however, so I'm sorry to report that a film this mediocre contains the role which might actually afford her the most performative range since she was possessed by a Depression-era axe murderer in WITCHBOARD. At the very least, GLORY YEARS demonstrates that Tawny deserved to play a supporting role in one of the sprawling Robert Altman Americana-mosaics, like SHORT CUTS or H.E.A.L.T.H. or A WEDDING; I just get the sense that she would have been a perfect fit for such an endeavor.

There are a shocking amount of Beatles tracks and classic Oldies tunes on the soundtrack which demonstrate that it was made during the sweet spot for music licensing, apparently. (Or else HBO dumped way too much money into this mess.) We also get a young Chazz Palminteri (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, A BRONX TALE) as a mafia hitman:

And the inimitable "Tiny" Lister (EXTREME PREJUDICE, NO HOLDS BARRED) as a hired goon who gets to make some delightfully over-the-top acting choices.

In the end, I would warn you to skip GLORY YEARS, but it would be difficult enough to stumble upon it in the course of a normal existence that I don't think it even requires such a warning. Can we let the Tawny retrospective end on such a note of mediocrity? I think not: stay tuned.

2 comments:

Jack Thursby said...

I'm a big Tim Thomerson fan too. This one looks like a miss but do you have any recommendations? Have seen Trancers, Near Dark, Dollman and Iron Eagle.

Sean Gill said...

Jack,

Nice. As for Thomerson, I enjoy the TRANCERS sequels (on the level at which one enjoys Full Moon anything––and in that vein, ZONE TROOPERS is pretty solid one as well, with Thomerson in the lead), THE HARVEST is pretty good (the lead there is Miguel Ferrer, who was rarely afforded the opportunity), and TT's a great villain in the underrated CHERRY 2000, to name a few.