As far as films that tried to cash in on the zany, spoof-comedy trend that was started by Airplane!, you can do a lot worse than Amy Heckerling's Johnny Dangerously. Michael Keaton plays Johnny, your average newsie with a heart of gold, who goes to work for gangster Jocko Dundee (Peter Boyle) in order to pay for his mother's much-needed surgery and to support his younger brother Tommy's dream of becoming a lawyer. But in order to spare his mother the shame, Johnny keeps his life of crime a secret from her (but no one else, apparently, save little Tommy). He grows up to be a glib and charming crook beloved by the Lower East Side. Only rival crime boss Roman Moronie (Richard Dimitri), a man possessed of a ludicrously filthy mouth (although he mispronounces ever single swear), is out to get him. Oh, and Danny Vermin (the uh-mazing Joe Piscopo), his childhood nemesis, also has it in for good ol' Johnny. Throw in Marilu Henner as his moll and a nonstop stream of sight gags and riffs on the American crime drama, and you have a pretty good movie. The Webster Film Series screens Johnny Dangerously at 8 p.m. at the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries) as the last Strange Brew film of the year. Tickets are $4.
Wed., Dec. 2, 2009