FF143 - Flight of the Intruder

pre-roll announcement

A: Hey, it is the hosts of Friendly Fire here, telling you to vote, and specifically who to vote for. We have seen enough films on Friendly Fire to know what a "country descending into" type of genre gives you. We would very much like the story of these United States not to turn into that.

J: Boy you said it, Adam! Whether you consider yourself to be a real leftist who isn't going to vote for Biden because the Democrats and the Republicans are just two sides of the same coin, or whether you are a red-blooded American Second Amendment fan who doesn't want to lose their freedoms and feels like they should vote for Donald Trump just to own the libs, we want to encourage you as listeners of Friendly Fire to join with us in voting for Joe Biden, the right down the middle American candidate who isn't going to drive our republic into civil war…

B: … and actually has a shot at winning!

J: Yeah, don't vote for the Green Party here, please. And don't vote for Trump!

B: The election is November 3rd. Make a plan! Make sure you vote early if you have that option where you are, or by mail to stay safe if you have that option where you are! Make sure you get your ballot in the mail earlier than Election Day! Give it plenty of time to get there and be safe!

A: If you have thoughts about this pre-roll, you can email those comments to xes.nietsneknufxam|flesruoykcufog#xes.nietsneknufxam|flesruoykcufog.

B: Thank you!

Intro by Adam Pranica

I was up late flipping the channels the other night, which is the best time for a local PBS station to put on their premium shit. If you are lucky, you will get that Alone in the Wilderness show about Dick Proenneke and the sledding Wolverines, or a mini-marathon of Joy of Painting, which is just the perfect way to fall asleep, and sometimes one of a treasure-trove of classic concert films.

Now, I know I present myself as the very hip-and-now host of Friendly Fire, but I will have you know that my musical interests have always been before my time. The very first concert I ever went to was Jimmy Page and Robert Plant at the Tacoma Dome, the giant concert venue with the acoustics of a shipping container south of Seattle. I was in middle school and - let me tell you - wearing that concert T-shirt the next day did not have the "making me cool" effect that I had hoped for, except with the teachers, which - as you could guess - had the opposite effect.

So I really like settling into an old concert film from time to time, and one of my favorites that I have lucked into on PBS has been from The Highwaymen, recorded live at the Nassau Coliseum in New York in 1990. The first time I saw it, it blew my mind! Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson: They are the four richest men in country music and they are singing songs about being long-haul truckers or ship-captains or dam-builders. Only Kris Kristofferson can credibly be all three.

Four of the best, standing in a row, each taking a lyric before everyone sang the chorus. It made me wonder why we don't get more supergroups. The idea is so tantalizing and you don't just get them in bands, they are probably most pervasive in sports teams, but also and maybe especially in fictional worlds like comic books and movies.

But a supergroup is no guarantee of success. That doesn't stop people from trying. For every Traveling Wilburys, there is a 2004 L.A. Lakers. For every Velvet Revolver there is a Justice League. Look, you get my point! Just because you cram a bunch of talent into a project doesn't make it good. I should know, I am one of the hosts of Friendly Fire. War movies are a movie genre especially tantalizing to a studio interested in supergroups, and I think that is because you can hire a guy for a day and kill him that night, giving their star wagon to someone else while the bed is still warm.

It is why every great actor from 1998 is in The Thin Red Line. It is also why everyone who used the star wagon after Nick Nolte hated his guts. You just know that guy was murder on the plumbing! You can tell that this was the idea with Flight of the Intruder, a film that feels produced by the same people who make superhero films today: Willem Dafoe and The Marlboro Man have been in separate movies for far too long! Danny Glover should be in this, he is great in everything! Ving Rhames? Seems like he will be a star one day. Let's use him now!

We can't have only one director, that is horseshit! Give me John Milius and John McTiernan and fighter planes and a rogue mission and the biggest drum of fake blood you can find. The movie poster practically designed itself! This film should have been a license to print dough. Instead, this was just another supergroup that didn't work, not even Basil Poledouris could save it. It honestly could have used a Waylon Jennings in it for a verse or two. And like a town square in Hanoi stocked with missiles, films like these make great targets for shows like ours. It is a spectacular mess, like We Are The World. "Tell you what: I came here to bomb!" on today's Friendly Fire: Flight of the Intruder.

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