With Michael Keaton’s resurgence in what is undoubtedly one of the year’s 10 best films, Birdman, a lot of people have been talking about the role that made him a certified A-lister in the first place – Batman. Obviously, you could argue that Keaton was already on his way to leading man status seven years earlier in Night Shift, or perhaps he really stated his case for stardom in Tim Burton’s classic Beetlejuice. Batman was always unique, though, because it was the role that started a bizarre and inexplicable decline into one forgettable title after another. Unless, of course, you enjoyed Speechless and Jack Frost, in which case you probably never noticed anything at all.
But none of Keaton’s movies matter, not even Birdman, when it comes to a movie that some of us think is the best and most absurdly underrated film of his great career. On December 21, 1984, Keaton hit the big screen with Joe Piscopo, Marilu Henner and a cast of character actors in Johnny Dangerously, the story of Johnny Kelly, a sweet nightclub owner who loves his mama by day and one of the city’s most notorious criminals by night. Much like Top Secret, which was released earlier that same year, Johnny Dangerously received a mild reception from critics and earned limited spoils at the box office, because at that point in time, the spoof genre was simply dried up. Johnny was the second feature effort of director Amy Heckerling, but back then her name carried little value, because her first film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, was initially hated by critics. Little did they know these films would help her become a God of the Cult Classics.
Longtime readers of FilmDrunk might remember when quoting this movie was like a religion to us, especially since one of the site’s oldest commenters, Pauly Dangerously, dedicated his handle to the film. While we may have slipped on those references over the years, it doesn’t mean we don’t still love this movie like no other. So for the film’s 30th anniversary, I’d like to pay tribute to a wonderful comedy script, written by Harry Colomby, Jeff Harris, Bernie Kukoff and Norman Steinberg, by celebrating the best lines that you can still use in so many situations, mostly because they’re cleverly clean. That Roman Moronie sure knew how to leave his mark. Even if he wasn’t from Sweden.
“You lousy cork-soakers.”
Thanks to this film’s great lines, a young Burnsy was reprimanded many times in school for calling classmates “fargin’ iceholes.” But I also blame these lines for making me think that the word bastard was actually “bass turd,” which was hilarious to me because it was poop, man. That mistake led to me being grounded for a weekend. Still, the best thing that Moronie ever did for us was offer us these creative alternative curse words, not only because they’re technically clean, but also because your stupid friends who have never watched this movie won’t get them. It’s a great way to determine who doesn’t belong in your life.
While I have no statistics to back this up, I am confident that more people still quote this line in their daily dialogue than any other line in movie history. It goes so well with anything, from being interrupted in conversation to someone borrowing your copy of Johnny Dangerously and then NEVER RETURNING IT. Fargin’ iceholes, my friends are. Danny Vermin was full of great quotes, including another fun one that my friends and I used to think was great until everyone became overly sensitive to every word in the English language.
“I am handicapped. I’m psychotic.”
A fun thing about Vermin that means absolutely nothing, because it’s simply a really vague coincidence, is that he tells Johnny, “I’ll be late for target practice, there’s an opera letting out.” It makes me laugh because Keaton would go on to star in Batman, a movie in which his character’s parents were shot outside of an opera. Again, this is simply a coincidence, unless… JOE PISCOPO CAN SEE THE FUTURE. Haha, just kidding. If that were the case, people would still know who he is.