Everyone please be aware that this:
2. Is awesome.
3. And is available right now for streaming on Netflix.
Written and directed by Mr. Burt Reynolds, "Stick" was based on the book by Elmore Leonard:
Burt Reynolds directed and starred in this actioner from an Elmore Leonard novel about an ex-con living dangerously close to the drug traffickers in Miami. When Stick (Reynolds) arrives in Miami just out of prison, an old buddy of his is murdered, sending Stick on a wild and complex journey to track down the killers. Along the way, he meets [Candice Bergen], the attractive Kyle, has to deal with [Charles Durning] Chucky...a mob go-fer, and the albino Moke. In order to better zap his enemies, Stick gets a job as chauffeur to rich Palm Beach underworld figure [George Segal] Barry — and the plot coils and twists from there until the bad guys get their due.
By the way, Charles Durning dons a craycray blonde wig and lots of even crazier outfits, which pretty much makes the film worth watching on its own. Even Alex Rocco has a part in it. (Also LOL at 'Palm Beach underworld figure.')
Burt made a lot of stunt-heavy, flashy action movies in the 80's and this one is no exception. Legendary stuntman Dar Robinson created some stunts for this film that are considered totally innovative—especially this one, called 'Moke's Fall.'
Robinson plays the evil hitman, Moke. In this scene, Moke falls to his death from a balcony. The stuntman used a new device developed for movie stunts called a 'decelerator' to allow him to fall, attached to a wire, more that 200 ft., stopping just before he hit the ground.
Stuntmen love this film for that scene alone. It's considered to be one of the best in Hollywood history, period. Shooting with decelerator allowed them to film the fall without having to stage the shot around a giant airbag, as was the usual case with falls of this nature on film. This was groundbreaking stuff for a film back then.
Robinson also made Sharky's Machine with Reynolds, and set the record for the the highest free-fall stunt from a building in a movie. To this day, it still holds that record.
In 1986, Robinson was working on the film 'Million Dollar Mystery,' and died while filming a motorcycle chase stunt. The three films he was working on at the time of his death, 'Cyclone, 'Million Dollar Mystery,' and 'Lethal Weapon' are all dedicated to him.
His only appearance as an actor on screen was when Burt cast him to play the villain in 'Stick.'
I love this movie, because it's very Florida-esque, in it's ability to lovingly capture the gritty beauty that us natives know it for. The real Florida is less sparkling, pristine beaches and Mickey Mouse and more shitty dive bars on A1A and sketchy vagabond drifters who somehow have exclusive access to some of the world's wealthiest people in the world. In South Florida, you can go from the sleaziest neighborhood to standing in the home of some famous billionaire within minutes.
'Stick' really plays on the idea of desperation in that world—the people who are fighting each other for the privilege of scraping up the crumbs of the elite class. Burt really got that (and continued to use it as a theme in a lot of his other films/shows), because he grew up in the shadows of those mansions and estates, just like me. This, from SFGate, really sums it up well:
"Stick" works because Reynolds, a man of the South (born in Georgia, raised in Florida), knows the vibe. Florida noir features sticky humidity and the alligator-infested Everglades. It's sunny in Los Angeles and San Francisco noirs, too, but at least people have big dreams, are busy doing things like making movies or running corporations. In Florida noirs, your deal goes through - and what? You lie sweating on a houseboat near your stash of cash?
I remember seeing this with my mom, and getting all excited because we recognized a highway sign or a building or something. I used to be able to identify just about every building/street in the opening shot, but now my memory is a little hazy.
Also, it is SO motherfucking 80s. This scene is one of the most badass badASS scenes of all time in any badass movie. "Got a light"?
Plus—-CANDACE BERGIN AS A FEMME FATALE!
Anyway, you can watch this great film now on Netflix and relieve all of its 80's movie glory. So give it a whirl if you want and let me know what you think. I just cracked open a bottle of pinot greeg and that's what I'm doing right now.
ETA: It's bad enough I have to correct my own shitty typos and shitty mistakes, but I just realized that SFGate said Burt was born in Georgia. Umm, no, it was LANSING, Michigan. *sigh*