It was 1989. People were off doing their thing, as they always do. People on the streets were happy, care-free and generally content with their lives – but sadly, deep down, the people knew something was missing. Something that could revolutionize grammar in this country for eons to come. A word, or a phrase, that when used could fill a human being with all the compassion and beauty this dreadful world could muster up. Thankfully, we had the legendary Biz Markie to help soothe us all with the single greatest and most eloquent set of words ever paired together: Oh Snap! Granted, The Biz didn’t exactly create the phrase, nor has he taken credit for it; but if you ask me no one has ever used it to a better degree than he did when dropping his now classic song “Just a Friend”. A lovely mish mash of rap and soul, blended with comedy and a self deprecating sense of humor uncommon to the genre. Biz Markie’s handle of the English language can never be questioned, and his performance never denied:
“I arrived in front of the dormitory,
‘Yo! Could you tell me where is door 3?’
They showed me where it was, for the moment, I didn’t know I was in for such an event.
So I came to her room, opened the door…
Guess what I saw?
Some fella tongue kissin’ my girl in the mouth, I was so in shock my heart went down south.”
Just the use of the words in that setting lets you know… this is something I never expected to see. Ever since discovering The Biz, or whatever set me on the use of this phrase, it has been in my vocabulary non-stop for a good period of time. I don’t know exactly how it happened, how to stop it or if I even want to put an end to the lunacy; but I know I feel sorry for Biz and I know Oh Snap is a good reason why I pity the big man. So, when describing a scene that either shocked me or set me back in my seat out of pure love for cinema – I can think of no better description than a “oh snap” type of moment. It may very well be the greatest term science has ever uncovered, and for the purposes of this article, we will pretend that science did in fact uncover it. To be a little serious, the purpose of this article isn’t going to be obscure (as the rest of my regular boasting and egocentric writing tends to be), I’m just going to focus on those flicks we all pretty much know and love. Because, if you’ve actually seen it, reading about it will be even more tubular right!?… Anyway, let’s get started.
Number Five – Ricky-Oh: Story of Ricky – Ricky Punches Through A Dude’s Jaw!
In a film so full of bodily carnage, it’s hard to choose just one scene to list because nearly everywhere you look, someone is either loosing a limb or an essential organ. The one scene that I know of where pretty much every one I’ve ever shown to has said “oh man, that’s sick” is during the sequence where Ricky is placed in a jail alongside the prison local prison giant, who seems to be a bit sore about Ricky killing his friends. The giant tries to lay a beating on our hero, but Ricky just isn’t the type of guy to be outdone. So he eventually punches through the big guy’s arm, shattering his fist into shreds of bloody meat. This big fellow, being an admirably tough guy himself, refuses to give up the fight, so Ricky is forced into the position of teaching our large and not so in charge sack of blood just who is who. Ricky punches straight through his jaw, and forever making Corbin Bernsen’s Dentist character look like a complete sissy when it comes to dishing out pain for tooth decay. It’s about as gory a Kung Fu film as you’re going to find, and just as fun. Although I don’t think it would be too fair to say the jaw-punch is the tip of the iceberg (I mean, wow, not even in Story of Ricky is that easy to top), but the carnage is spread throughout the film and concludes in a gory psychopathic prison riot including mutants, shredders and exploding bodies. In the end, who could say no to mindless and intensely grotesque violence!?
Number Four – Hard Boiled – Biggest Gun Battle in History
I would have to turn in my card as ‘Asian Cinema Fan’ if I didn’t put something from John Woo on this list, and when it comes to John Woo action set pieces, nothing beats Hard Boiled. Nothing! The sequence lasts about twenty minutes and starts from the morgue of a hospital and ends on the outside of it. Tony Leung and Chow Yun Fat shoot about two hundred goons along the way when they’re not diving from one hallway to another tossing handguns back and forth. The sequence is long smack full of explosions that go boom real good, and it easily tops any list of Action scenes I could possibly come up with. There are shotguns, machine guns, handguns, explosives and a lot of fire and broken glass. It’s not as gory as Woo’s usual work, but the pure size of this section of the film topples pretty much anything that stands in it’s way. Not even that sequence in Terminator II where Arnie grabs the chain gun can beat it. If you haven’t seen Hard Boiled, you’ve been treating yourself poorly and I highly recommend you start thinking of yourself for a change and buy the film immediately. Even if it means starving you and your family. They’ll understand, and they’ll love watching Phillip Kwok dive through glass windows while shooting his gun! Note: Do not starve your family, Rogue Cinema takes no responsibility for my or your actions, so please, keep me out of your insanity.
Number Three – Godmonster of Indian Flats – Hippy Chick Dances With Sheep Monster
In a film full of bizarre and moronic moments (just try and watch the end sequence without uttering the word ‘huh?’), the hippy chick meets sheep monster is something that will haunt me to my grave. It’s something so incredibly stupid, so incredibly bizarre that to not list it would be such a catastrophe that I’m not sure the earth could handle such a grave mistake. It would throw the Earth off it’s axis and create a black hole that would surely devour the planet and all of it’s inhabitants, thus snuffing out all human and animal life as we very well know it. I may not know much about science, but I know what I just said was 100% factual. Basically somewhere in the film a giant sheep is let loose on a small town, and one of leading characters happens to be a Hippy Chick. You can maybe put it together. Hippy Girl chases Sheep Monster and she tries her best to lure the monster down back into his cage by dancing with him and trying to hypnotize him. Maybe it was the fact that she said she had “been following [the monster] since all the way back at the Glory Hole“ I kid you not. Easily one of the strangest moments in cinema, only the ending to the film tops it, but the dancing sequence will always be a favorite of mine. I both laugh and am mortified every time I see it on screen. Although 90% of this audience will likely have never seen this very strange piece of Drive-In schlock, I highly recommend it for something truly insane.
Number Two – Ichi the Killer – Kakihara Cuts Out Own Tounge
Some are probably screaming, ‘wait, Godmonster of Indian Flats… Ichi the Killer, what the heck happened to the idea of keeping this thing mainstream!?’ Well, I’ll give you Godmonster of Indian Flats, that one is a bit obscure, but among the Asian cinema scene it’s hard to get more well known that Ichi is right now. There are gorier scenes and definitely things far more disturbing during the running time of Takashi Miike’s classic super-yakuza feature, but watching the brilliant Tadanobu Asano slice his tongue off is just one of those things that sticks in your head. I mean really, of all the lacerations of the tongue ever brought on screen, has there ever been one so delightfully tongue in cheek? And yes, pun very much intended. The sequence where the insidious Kakihara (Asano) cuts his tongue out in response to the Yakuza hierarchy’s disapproval of his methods is one of those scenes in cinematic history that you will never forget. You could add a certain laceration in Audition to the very same category, but how could you add that without spoiling the treat for everyone? When Kakihara begins his slicing, it makes some sick and it makes some laugh. I’m part of the group who finds it to be a hoot. It’s not that I’m sick, it’s that the scene doesn’t play out like you’re supposed to vomit in your seat. Kakihara takes everything in stride, yet the terrified grimaces of his higher ups is all the audience needs. The scene never really gets grotesque, but it’s so unforgettable in the levels of strange cinema it provides that you can’t help but sit back in your seat and be mesmerized. My list of cinematic moments are bound to vary with the changing of the winds, but there’s no denying Kakihara’s scene is one of those essential moments in cinema that truly deserves a mention.
Number One – They Live – Biggest and Baddest Fist Fight Ever
The big finale, the A-Number One… Ta-Da! Yeah, it’s perhaps a bit underwhelming because everyone on earth has likely seen it – but I’m a fan of a good fight right now, and they don’t come better than in They Live. Sure, okay, the film may very well shove it’s seemingly social ‘moral’ down your throat with the intensity of Jack Black singing a rock opera based around the life of Ronny James Dio, but never has there been a finer film made with a wrestler as the star. Not even Mr. Nanny could top this one, actually, Mr. Nanny comes nowhere close to this one. If you’ve heard of They Live, you’ve probably heard about the biggest, baddest, roughest, toughest street brawl ever to have been put to celluloid. These days it’s almost legendary, probably thanks in no small part to the guys over at South Park who made a huge reference to the back alley street fight in one of their episodes. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, the the toughest Canadian grappler to ever grace a kilt takes on Keith David, the baddest and meanest (not to mention underused) actor this side of Hollywood. Rowdy’s character Nada demands that Keith David’s character put these sunglasses on his face so he can see how the aliens are subliminally controlling every one. Keith, ever so bluntly puts it “I don’t want to be involved”, but Rowdy being the tough son of a gun that he is doesn’t take no for an answer. Just before the showdown truly begins, we’re given some of the best dialogue ever. “I’m giving you a choice. Either put on these glasses or start eating that trash can” and Keith bravely replies only with “Not this year”. How can you not love this film? The two begin the most brilliant set of fisticuffs you’ll likely ever see. Body slams, punches, kicks, knees, headbuts, nothing is off limits. A brutal onslaught of back-alley beatdown ensues for seemingly far longer than need be. The scene is what b-movies should be about. Average Joe’s beating each other into ground beef.
Hey, I claim to speak for no one but myself – and the point of the article is to be slightly humorous and entertaining, not to inform you all about films you’ve probably already seen. There are moments we all cherish, and that make us all reach for our Biz Markie references once in a while. For the moment, these are mine. Hopefully sometime in the future I’ll bang out another one of these things, only with more obscure films and even more obscure hip hop references!