Let’s Wish Happy Birthday to “The Last Boy Scout” (oh, and also Tough Guy Digest!)

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Maybe for a birthday gift we chip in to get Darian Hallenbeck a new puppet.

A number of noteworthy events have occurred on Dec. 13th over the years, including the concession of the 2000 presidential race by Al Gore, the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and the election of Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the UN. Now we can add to that list the creation of Tough Guy Digest, which went live one year ago today with our celebration of the 25th anniversary of “The Last Boy Scout.” The choice of film to kick off our little experiment was no accident, as the Bruce Willis-Damon Wayans shoot-‘em-up in many ways represents a lot of the same qualities Tough Guy Digest strives for: hilarious, profane, old-school, full of fun camaraderie, and whose greatness may not be recognized until years down the road:

Great it is though, and one of the reasons the Tough Guy Squad created this site was to show some love for movies like “The Last Boy Scout” which are still not nearly as appreciated as they should be (plus it gives us an excuse when our significant others ask why we need to spend an evening watching an action movie we’ve already seen 30 times before). For instance, far from being a disposable piece of junk cinema, “The Last Boy Scout” has been the gift the keeps on giving in terms of providing abundant material to chew on, starting with our epic Tough Guy Round Table in which, among other things, we:

– Noted that Joe Hallenbeck’s partner Mike takes a very relaxed view of leaving Joe’s house – even after just sleeping with his wife – despite the fact that he knows Joe is on his way back.

– Admired how much danger Hallenbeck was willing to put himself in for just $500.

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– Got confused about why Joe does a complete 180 on continuing to investigate Corey’s murder within the space of a minute.

– Wondered how on earth Joe could be arrested twice in less than 12 hours for a shootout and later a car bombing, and still been home in time to catch “Lethal Weapon.”

– Worried about how witnessing the events of “The Last Boy Scout” and just being Joe’s daughter in general will affect poor Darian Hallenbeck’s emotional development.

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– Listed our favorite lines of dialogue, including “Think Jimmy, think. What would Joe do? He’d shoot everyone and smoke some cigarettes.” One that note, while we celebrated the brilliance of Shane Black’s script, we also acknowledged that some of what was removed during filming was probably for the best.

– Gave a shout out to comedian Taylor Negron, cast against type and turning in one of the most unexpectedly awesome bad performances in an era of fantastic bad guys.

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Now you would think after spending 5,000 words discussing the film that there would be no other angles we could uncover, but you’d be wrong, as back in October Kevin noted that “The Last Boy Scout’s” cynical take on professional football accurately predicts the state of the NFL 25 years later (although Jerry Jones doesn’t employ a professional hit squad … that we know of). He also explored in more detail the fact that in real life, a top player for a professional football team committing suicide on the field in prime time should have more of an impact, yet in “The Last Boy Scout” no one in Los Angeles (even his own teammates!) seems to care. Maybe this is just proof that L.A. sports fans are the worst.

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Finally, we used “The Last Boy Scout” to kick off our “No Small Parts” series that celebrates actors who make a lasting impression in just a few minutes of screentime. Hell, there are several candidates just in the “The Last Boy Scout” that you could pick for this, including Negron as Mr. Milo, Jack Kehler as the “Scrabble guy” who should have paid more attention to what was in Joe’s trunk than trying to impress him with his vocabulary, and Badja Djola as the henchman whose downfall is enjoying Hallenbeck’s fat wife jokes a little too much.

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Of course out of everyone, we had to highlight Kim Coates – in one of his first roles – as the hitman who makes Hallenbeck, as well as everyone in the audience, want to shove his nose through his brain after repeatedly offering Joe a light and giving him a punch instead. The two-minute scene accounts for almost all of his role in the film, but his back-and-forth with Willis was so memorable it was the centerpiece of most of the ads for the film, and unsurprisingly Coates has not stopped working since.

So thanks “Last Boy Scout” for starting us off in style, and thanks to our growing list of readers and fans who have supported us for the past year. I can say that we have some great content coming up in 2018, as well as some ideas for expanding into other areas to spread our love of great action and great movies in general. After all, since no one else is probably going to be doing a detailed, months-in-the-making breakdown of the forgotten Clint Eastwood-Charlie Sheen buddy cop film “The Rookie” in 2018, it might as well be us.

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