The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 7.07.14 Issue #314: Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)
Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz on 07.07.2014
The 3rd Annual July: A Month of Chuck Norris continues with Chuck’s 1983 effort Lone Wolf McQuade plus a new batch of Things to Watch Out For This Week, a new B-Movie Babe is named, a new Douchebag of the Week is crowned and more!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #314: Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)
The 3rd Annual July: A Month of Chuck Norris: Week 2
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never tried to build a time machine out of an old refrigerator, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number three hundred and fourteen, The 3rd Annual July: A Month of Chuck Norris continues with Chuck's 1983 effort Lone Wolf McQuade, directed by Steve Carver.
Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)
In the big scheme of things, Lone Wolf McQuade is the most important movie in the filmography of star Chuck Norris because it establishes, for the first time, the idea of the mythic Chuck Norris hero. It's also the only time, at least so far, that Norris has played a kind of mythic hero (unless you count the character Norris played in Forrest Warrior, and at the moment I'm not going to. And I guess you could consider Booker from The Expendables 2 a kind of mythic hero considering the way he's introduced to the audience). Every other movie from this point forward, outside of the ones I just mentioned, has Norris playing what amounts to a regular guy. Yes, he always plays a badass that knows karate, etc, but there's a chance you might see Matt Hunter (Invasion U.S.A.) or Jake Wilder (Top Dog) on the street or in a mall somewhere. Texas Ranger JJ McQuade, the "Lone Wolf," is the kind of guy you're only going to see when the shit hits the fan because, when he isn't tracking down bad guys, he's living in the desert, living off the grid, drinking beer, shooting things with his shotgun, or taking care of horses. Lone Wolf McQuade is also important because it's the first time Norris appears onscreen with a full on beard.
So, yeah, Norris is Texas Ranger JJ McQuade, a notorious badass cop who plays by his own rules. We first meet him out in the desert taking down a band of horse thieves led by a shirtless fat guy who likes wearing a leather vest. McQuade watches the thieves through his detached rifle scope while standing on a cliff and just waits to make his move. McQuade's plan changes, however, when a band of inept Texas State Troopers show up and get captured. McQuade decides to let the horse thieves know he's there by shooting at them, which leads to the head thief shooting one of the troopers. McQuade then "surrenders" by walking down to the thieves, beating the crap out of the leader, and then killing almost all of them with an Uzi. It's here that McQuade meets Kayo (Robert Beltran), a State Trooper he will eventually spend quite a bit of time with. McQuade then travels back to HQ where his old Ranger pal Dakota (the immortal L.Q. Jones) is the focus of a big retirement ceremony. Dakota, like McQuade, is "old school" and is far more interested in taking down bad guys, drinking beer, and not wearing his shirt tucked in. After listening to Dakota's short but sweet speech and filling him in on the horse thief case, McQuade has to meet with his boss T. Tyler (R.G. Armstrong), a tight ass that doesn't like McQuade's "style." He tells McQuade that he's a dinosaur and that he isn't going to put up with his "lone wolf" nonsense anymore. McQuade needs to be nicer, with a family, and he needs to start going to church. McQuade also needs to start cooperating with any and all federal law enforcement agencies. And on top of all of that, Tyler wants McQuade to take on a partner. Kayo. As you'd expect, McQuade isn't too keen on working with Kayo and just blows him off and goes back to his decrepit house in the desert.
As McQuade gets cleaned up, drinks more beer, and engages in his morning gun workout (he shoots stuff in his backyard. McQuade has either a .44 magnum or a .357 and a nifty short barrel shotgun that just destroys everything it hits), the scene shifts to the desert compound of Rawley Wilkes (David Carradine), a sleazy arms dealer/former European karate champion. Wilkes is about to complete a deal to supply some sort of revolutionary with weapons but, as it tends to go in the criminal underworld, the revolutionary tries to double cross Wilkes and take more than he's ordered. Wilkes immediately takes out the lead revolutionary and then his heavily armed henchmen take out the others. Wilkes then lights up a cigar and orders his henchmen to bury the now dead revolutionaries. So as soon as you see him, just in case you weren't paying attention to the music, you know that Wilkes is a killer and a bad, bad man.
So then some stuff happens, we find out that McQuade is divorced and has a teen daughter (Sally, as played by Dana Kimmell) and an ugly ex-wife (Molly, as played by Sharon Farrell) and that McQuade likes to take Sally horseback riding. It's while at the stables/horse racing track that McQuade meets Wilkes (he's also into horses) and his mega hot girlfriend Lola (Barbara Carrera). McQuade and Lola share a moment, and suddenly they're hot for one another. Wilkes, pissed that someone is moving in on his territory (why is he screwing around with my girlfriend? And does he know that I'm a sleazy arms dealer?), decides that he wants to fight McQuade in the ring. McQuade demurs and decides to focus on finding a way to bang Lola. Who the hell is Wilkes anyway?
So then some more stuff happens, McQuade and Lola go on a date, and Wilkes decides that he's had enough of McQuade and he's going to start doing stuff to him and his family. Wilkes' henchmen kill Sally's boyfriend Bobby (Robert Jordan) and then try to kill Sally. McQuade has no idea at this point that Wilkes has essentially put a contract out on him, so he tries to make his injured daughter feel better, tries to make Lola his girlfriend, and tries to do his job. A military convoy was attacked and weaponry stolen. Who the heck did it? McQuade intends to find out.
The rest of the movie follows the same sort of pattern. McQuade investigates, Wilkes gets pissed, McQuade has no idea that Wilkes is pissed, and then more stuff happens. The FBI, in the guise of Agent Jackson (the great Leon Isaac Kennedy), and the ATF Agent Burnside (John Anderson) get pissed at McQuade because he's withholding evidence and demand that he work with them. McQuade doesn't want to, but he eventually decides to work with Jackson and Burnside and help them infiltrate a desert compound that just so happens to be owned by Wilkes. I'm not going to say any more because this plot is long and freaking ridiculous. It works and it's great but, when you map it out, it's just ridiculous (a lot of stuff happens in this freaking movie).
And I didn't even mention Falcon (Daniel Frishman), the crippled midget crime boss that rides around in a motorized wheelchair, carries a gigantic handgun, likes video games, and is at once in league with Wilkes and then out of league with him. Falcon is the weirdest part of the movie. He's like a low rent James Bond type villain that doesn't seem to fit in with everything else. But then you have to remember that McQuade has a special engine in his dirty truck that, at the push of a button, allows him to drive away from pursuers and eventually jump out of the ground after being buried alive. Did the Texas Ranger version of Q put that engine modification in McQuade's truck?
I've always found it strange that McQuade didn't figure out that Wilkes was the person behind everything immediately. And when both Dakota and his wolf dog are killed by Wilkes' henchmen McQuade doesn't flip out. He gets sad and pounds his fist into the sand, but he doesn't go into a depression or lose his mind and start killing random bad guys. Is that what lone wolf guys do?
Some of the secondary performances are kind of stilted. Kennedy gets better at the end of the movie, but when we first meet him it's obvious that he's trying to act tough. And Anderson's Burnside may be one of the most ridiculous bureaucratic cop stereotypes in the history of action cinema. It's hard to believe that he could be that stubborn and stupid, especially when he tries to arrest everyone at the Wilkes desert compound when he only has two guys and a megaphone. Did he really think that Wilkes would give up?
Norris is superb as McQuade. Every moment he's on screen is damn near action movie perfection. Even when what he's doing is kind of stagy, like when he holsters his gun and puts his hat on before going into the final siege, it still works. Norris is also kind of mellow when he isn't kicking ass. His dialogue isn't clunky, either, which helps. Norris also has good chemistry with Carrera, which helps there, too. I would like to know why McQuade is constantly drinking beer. I mean, he even drinks beer while driving his truck. Wasn't that illegal back in Texas in 1983? Is that something "lone wolf" types do?
Carradine is sleaze personified as Wilkes. You know he's a piece of crap as soon as you see him and you can't wait to see McQuade beat the crap out of him. Carradine's final epic fight with Norris is nothing short of a great moment in action movie history. The build-up to the fight, the differences in fighting style (McQuade is stoic and fast, very to the point, while Wilkes is more showy and arrogant. Watch Wilkes settle into his stand-off with McQuade and do that thing with his wrist. What an asshole). I've often wondered if Wilkes was meant to survive and return in a sequel. I mean, we don't see him die, and since he's a sneaky sleazebag why is it so hard to believe that he didn't escape via tunnel or something?
Carrera, who had quite the 1983 in terms of hotness (she was one of the villains in Never Say Never Again), does a great job as Lola. She's a nice person stuck in a bad situation who also happens to be someone willing to star death in the eye. She actually goes out to McQuade's house and cleans it. Cleans it!. And she replaces McQuade's regular beer with light beer! Jesus Christ what the hell is wrong with her? Doesn't she know what could happen to her doing that kind of thing?
The standout support performance belongs to LQ Jones. He's freaking hilarious as Dakota. He has absolutely no problem drinking in front of his boss or asking his buddy McQuade if he would like to bang Lola. He also enjoys tormenting bad guys by firing machine guns at them. Yes, that's terrible, but it's kind of fun watching someone who enjoys doing that kind of thing doing that kind of thing. I kind of wish he figured more into the ending.
Beltran is okay as Kayo. You sort of respect his enthusiasm in terms of working with McQuade but that's about all you end up liking about him. He just isn't good enough to be partners with McQuade. The man is just in the way.
The soundtrack, composed by Francesco De Masi, is epic in its scope. It makes the movie feel like a spaghetti western, which helps with the whole "myth" thing that the movie ends up promoting. Once you hear it you will want to hear it again. Why isn't this soundtrack easily available?
And why the heck didn't we ever get a sequel? Out of all of the movies Chuck Norris did you would think that there would have been at least one Lone Wolf McQuade sequel. There are plenty of bad guys out there to take down, not to mention one pissed off crippled midget in a motorized wheelchair. It just doesn't make any sense.
Lone Wolf McQuade is a great movie. It is the ultimate Chuck Norris movie in terms of what we think of Chuck Norris at the moment. It essentially invented the idea of Chuck Norris.
And that, people, is Chuck Norris.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 50+. Chuck kills like twenty of them at the beginning of the movie.
Explosions: Multiple, big and small.
Nudity?: None. It's rated PG. We should have had some, though. Definitely.
Doobage: Horse stealing, rock moving, water spitting, a big ass machete, exploding truck, face kicking, Uzi attack, a retirement party, sleaze, a house out in the middle of the desert, a wolf dog, shirtless gun practice, short barrel shotgun hooey, an ugly ex-wife, horse riding, hand shaking, a hootenanny, a karate demonstration, hilarious racism, attempted broken bottle to the neck, multiple moments of ass kicking, a small bar fight, boyfriend killing, car destruction, a messy office, a computer, more water spitting, gate smashing, a high speed chase, a truck ride, exploding oil tanker, suspect beating, hand smashing, Uzi torture, house cleaning, a beer freak out, a slow motion kiss in the mud, a revolving door, chair bondage, pipe smoking, neck breaking, mandatory unpaid vacation, dog shooting, ground punching, some off road driving, trench building, a shootout, attempted truck burying, star stealing, multiple instances of beer drinking, a messed up wrist, slow motion wooden beam kicking, Mexico, people repelling down the side of a mountain, crossbow attack, another gun battle, multiple explosions, an M60 attack, bulldozer attack, a grenade mistake, sand to the eyes, vicious jumping sidekick to the face, backhand to the face, grenade attack with massive explosion, and a promise for more.
Kim Richards?: Attempted. Twice.
Gratuitous: Opening theme involving a wolf and spaghetti western type music, Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris with a beard, a fat shirtless bad guy, exploding truck, Chuck Norris with an Uzi, LQ Jones, a tight ass boss, David Carradine, David Carradine being a sleazy prick, Barbara Carrera, Chuck Norris drinking beer, shirtless gun practice, an ugly ex-wife, a "Carate" license plate, a crippled midget in a motorized wheelchair, attempted karate brawl, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Combat Handguns magazine, William "Larry" Sanderson, attempted house cleaning, a slow motion kiss in the mud, a federal indictment, a fridge full of beer, trench building, a super engine, Chuck Norris in Mexico, Chuck Norris driving a bulldozer, amazing music for the final fight, and a promise for more.
Best lines: "JJ McQuade! Texas Ranger! Do not move!," "Ain't nobody ever killed a Texas Ranger and lived to tell about it," "The best always have style," "You've got to be kidding," "Trust is the most important thing in our business," "Bury'em," "Kid, get out of here. And forget that partner crap!," "I didn't know you take days off," "My kind of trouble doesn't take vacations," "How would you like to bite that in the butt, develop lockjaw, and be dragged to your death?," "I understand you're very good with your hands and feet. Pretty good," "I don't want you dancing with no greaser! You are a greaser, aren't you?," "Sonofabitch!," "Remember me, Snow?," "You stay right there, boy. Don't even breathe," "What the hell are you doing? Where's my beer?," "Lady, if I want to kill myself it's my own business," "You want my star, captain?," "Pretty jittery for a ranger," "Candy-ass feds," ‘Now this is my idea of fun," "Ranger! You sonofabitch!," "Get me a beer, kid" "Jim! I am so happy that you're alive!," "Remember me, greaser? Yeah, I never forget an asshole," "Welcome to my hacienda, Mr. McQuade. How nice of you to pay a social visit," and "JJ McQuade you'll never change! Oh, hell!"
Next week: The 3rd Annual July: A Month of Chuck Norris continues with Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985)!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There's not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey (this really is going to happen at some point). And it would be cool if you "liked" it, too.
-The Raid 2: I got to see this goddamn awesome sequel on the big screen and it is just freaking amazing. Non-stop action, gory fights, and two scenes where a guy gets shot in the face at point blank range with a shotgun and we get to see it (not to mention a full auto handgun to the face). You absolutely have to see this.
-Stage Fright: Apparently this is some sort of low budget horror musical thing. I think it may have had a small theatrical release earlier this year, so, if you live in a big city there's a chance you may have had the ability to see this in an actual movie theatre. Did you? Minnie Driver and Meatloaf appear.
-Prisoners of the Sun: Roger Christian, of Battlefield Earth infamy, is behind this low budget horror flick about explorers/adventurers unleashing some sort of ancient Egyptian evil thing. The great John Rhys Davies stars, and, best of all, it doesn't look half bad. What more do you really need to check it out?
-The Backpacker: This appears to be a low budget knock off of Wolf Creek, featuring a similar storyline about people being chased through the woods by a heavily armed psychopath in Australia. You would think that with the general popularity of Wolf Creek we would have more of these kinds of movies.
-Dead Drop: Luke Goss and Cole Hauser star in this low budget action flick that looks both incredibly badass and incredibly complicated. It's apparently all about the CIA, assassins, a drug cartel, and other assorted action movie hooha. You know you want to see it. Go ahead, watch the trailer and tell yourself you don't want to see it. Go ahead.
See? You can't do it.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
TV Quick Hits
-Taxi Brooklyn thoughts: I didn't have high hopes for this new NBC summer series, mostly because it looked ridiculous. How the hell does anyone in this day and age of gritty, hip and edgy police procedurals full of grim storylines do an action comedy cop show? Yes, we have Brooklyn 99 but that's a sitcom. I mean a full on, one hour comedy cop show. How the heck does that happen? The last one I remember was Fox's The Good Guys, a great show starring Bradley Whitford that lasted one season of 20 episodes. Not exactly a tremendous modern track record. I have no idea if the show is a hit ratings wise, but I am happy to say that Taxi Brooklyn is a good show. It isn't a great show, at least not yet, but it is worth checking out.
Chyler Leigh is fantastic as Caitlyn Sullivan, the badass female cop that the NYPD refuses to give a car to, and she has great partner chemistry with Jacky Ido, who plays badass French cab driver Leo Romba. It does seem a bit gimmicky to have Romba drive Sullivan around and to have them solve cases together like some 1970's show, but it basically works. It's funny, although I don't think it's quite funny enough. The action and cop stuff is well produced and looks good (just about every NBC show, even when it's terrible, looks good), but it needs to amp up the funny stuff. It doesn't need to be Brooklyn 99, but it should be, well, funnier. Less serious.
Or am I wrong about that? Is the show good enough as is in terms of its tone? Should it instead try to be more like other cop shows and focus solely on the case of the week and be more action oriented?
I'm going to keep watching and see where it goes. Whatever path it ends up taking I hope the show continues to get better. It's worth checking out.
-Falling Skies Season 4 premiere thoughts: I was surprised that the fourth season of this TNT sci-fi show would start off with most of the main cast captured by the suddenly more aggressive espheni and have Noah Wyle's Tom Mason's essentially benched, locked up in a prison cell next to the slowly going crazy Dan Weaver (Will Patton). Sure, Tom is carving the U.S. Constitution into the wall of his cell and is figuring out how to be a motorcycle riding flame thrower wielding vigilante, but is it really a good idea to have Moon Bloodgood's Anne Glass leading the resistance? Isn't that a recipe for disaster?
I'm disturbed more by Dan's mental breakdown than the propaganda campaign the espheni are waging with the unharnessed human children. Dan, while a bit of an asshole (he's not at John Pope level asshole but then few people on Falling Skies are), has had a rough go of it since the start of the show. He was forced into becoming a commander because of his military experience, he had to figure out how to work with Tom without killing him, he showed his human side when his missing daughter showed up, and then he started having those medial issues that caused his hands to shake (did the show ever say what his health issue was? I don't remember). And then there was all that bullshit with Pope in the encampment and trying to keep the peace. Doesn't he deserve at least a few episodes of general happiness? I mean, Tom got to bang Alice. Who does Dan get to bang?
I didn't see the esphani propaganda thing coming. Why didn't the alien collective do that from the beginning? That plan would have made more sense than the one the force originally went with (the whole "harness" thing). I mean, capturing the kids, growing those harness things, putting them on, making sure they don't get taken by their human parents, etc. Sure, the harness helped break the resistance spirit of some of the human rebels since the kids essentially became mindless zombies, but, again, isn't that more labor intensive than using propaganda? Did the esphani have to do the harness thing in order to build up its own infrastructure in order to do the propaganda thing? Or is the propaganda thing a kind of last resort since they originally thought that humanity would buckle under brute force? If this doesn't work are the esphani going to unleash some super weapon they haven't used yet?
And what the heck is going on with the Vom? Cochise is still around but the Vom main force is gone. Or are they? Is it possible that the Cochise's father is just in hiding, waiting to see what the esphani are really up to? They're probably gone, but then they'll probably come back later in the season. They claim they want to destroy the esphani. What better place to do it a little bit than on Earth?
And what the heck is going on with Tom's hybrid daughter? Do we know what her deal is yet (I haven't watched the second episode yet)?
I hope that this show keeps going and that we get a season five. Basic cable networks don't seem to be interested in keeping a show around unless it wins awards. High ratings don't seem to matter all that much. Is The Last Ship cutting into Falling Skies' popularity?
-What the hell is wrong with TNA?: I'll admit that I've never really been a fan of TNA. Despite featuring some excellent wrestlers and some decent matches I've never been able to get into the show as a whole. When I did sort of watch Impact religiously couldn't stand it when the wrestlers or the announcers would engage in "inside" conversations and make snide remarks about the WWE (Konan talking about Vince McMahon, Rhino talking about ECW) instead of focusing on their own show. And when the company, with Hulk Hogan back again, tried to restart the old "Monday Night Wars" I just couldn't follow what the hell was going on. So, over the last few years I've only watched TNA every now and then. As a wrestling fan admitting that is personally disgraceful, but the show was just… ugh.
So I watched the last ninety minutes or so of last Thursday's Impact and I have absolutely no idea what the hell was going on. The matches were generally okay (the main event between champion Bobby Lashley and Eric Young was a pretty good TV match) but the rest of the show was a mess. The backstage segments with Kurt Angle were lame as fuck and, well, all of the backstage segments were lame as fuck. Is TNA doing a kind of perpetual "hidden camera" thing where everything that "happens" backstage is all handheld and whatnot? Who thought that was a good idea?
I hate backstage segments regardless of the company. I'm fine with interviews and the occasional brawl but the rest of it is just shit that makes no sense. Why would two guys who have never teamed before allow cameras into their locker room as they discuss strategy for their match? And why would they wait two hours to have that conversation if they appeared in the show's first segment? Isn't that conversation something people would have immediately back in the locker room? And on top of that the segments come off as overly staged. Wrestling itself may be staged and everyone may know that but you still want to put on a good show, right? Am I the only one who hates backstage segments?
Impact is also overly produced yet comes off as a badly taped show. The Bobby Rood bit in the main event is one of the worst things I've ever seen in all of my years of watching wrestling. It was just terrible.
Impact needs to focus on the wrestling. The rest of it needs to go. The rest of it is just bullshit.
And, no, I'm not a pro-WWE acolyte. I wish WWE would ditch the backstage segments and be a wrestling show instead of an "action-adventure male soap opera." That's bullshit, too.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Barbara Carrera
** What's Going On Here?: Why is the 1960's Batman TV show on IFC?
You know, I like the 1960's Batman TV show as much as the next nerd, but why is Batman now on IFC? Has IFC finally stopped being a movie channel and become yet another basic cable network that shows whatever the heck it wants?
IFC used to be all about "independent" movies. Sundance, too. Now the Sundance Channel, or just Sundance Channel, is Sundance TV and airs original series and reruns of Law & Order. And IFC, when it isn't airing Marc Maron's show or that horrendous Comedy Bang Bang thing, is airing The Hunt for Red October and Robocop, two fine movies but not exactly "indie." So what the hell happened?
AMC is no longer American Movie Classics. It's the network that airs The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Kevin Smith's comic book show. AMC still airs movies most of the day but even then you get the feeling that the network would rather program endless marathons of its original shows. That's probably the ultimate goal.
I mean, look at HBO. Does HBO still talk about the new movies it shows or is it all about its "cutting edge original programming?"
TCM hasn't succumbed to the "we need original programming" thing yet. TCM is still about movies 99% of the time. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if TCM starts airing its own shows in the near future. Or CSI: Miami reruns. Ridiculous? Yes. But it still could happen.
Batman is a good show. It deserves to be on TV. But on IFC? What's TV Land for?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to the U.S. Supreme Court for its Hobby Lobby decision last week. The 5-4 decision, which furthered the cause of both corporate personhood and the right wing Christian theocracy movement, wasn't all that surprising since the court is run by John Roberts, the corporate world's favorite justice, and Anthony Kennedy seems to side with the loons whenever a case like this comes up, but it still sucks. And it won't be long before more "closely held corporations" get rid of all of their contraception coverage (because you don't want to create controversy with the religious right) and start going after gay people. And they will go after gay people and atheists and anyone else deemed "unfit."
But we've come a long way, haven't we? Aren't more states open to gay marriage? Isn't society as a whole more open to homosexuals? Sure. But the business world isn't general society, and as boycotts rarely ever work, they all know that the country may not like discrimination and may like using contraception but everyone is still going to spend money at Walmart anyway.
The Democrats need to stop being so goddamn timid and they need to get involved in this shit. They need to make everyone aware of what this is really all about. The right hates women. Period. No bullshit. Why is that so fucking hard to say?
And then there's the ultra-right wing media machine, for foaming its pants over the Hobby Lobby decision and repeatedly saying that the decision is a win for "personal responsibility." Why should a business have to pay for a woman to have sex without getting pregnant? Birth control isn't healthcare. And all women have to do is not have sex and there won't be any problems (that's what drug addict Rush Limbaugh said). But Viagra, Cialis, and general erectile dysfunction will continue to be covered because dick problems are real problems and women aren't supposed to enjoy sex anyway. You know, Jesus and all that. And if you believe anything else you're a subversive Communist homosexual who wants to surrender to the Islamists and Saul Alinsky. And you want women to "rely on government" because you hate men.
It just goes on and on like this, folks. Endlessly. And real human beings in the 21st century take them seriously.
And finally there's Paul LePage, Republican Governor of Maine, for referring to Social Security and Medicaid as welfare. LePage, a teabagger psychopath of the highest order, is apparently on some sort of crusade to end any and all social safety net programs because it's all just "redistribution." It's bullshit, of course, but then that has never stopped any of the teabaggers from freaking out about programs that may help someone other than the ultra-rich (you know, God's real chosen people and the doers, not the takers).
How the fuck did this guy get elected?
And now a Moment of Chuck
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
I was actually excited for the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona, mostly because I was going to get a chance to see the whole thing. I usually end up missing most of the race due to "other commitments" but this year I was finally going to get to see the whole thing. So, of course, it had to rain Saturday night and the race was moved to Sunday morning, which meant I was going to have to miss a good chunk of it due to a different prior commitment. And with the Indycar race running at roughly the same time I wasn't going to be able to watch all of it. Again.
So the Coke Zero 400 ended up a rain shortened event that saw two huge wrecks take out several top teams (Jimmie Johnson was destroyed in the first wreck) and an eventual first time winner in Aric Almirola. Almirola, driving for Richard Petty's team, was strong throughout the day and probably would have been in a position to contend for the win even without the big wrecks. He really was that good. Brian Vickers ended up second and Kurt Busch finished third.
Tony Stewart was quite upset after the first wreck, as he told the TNT reporter that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. was trying too hard to "be a hero" when a "competition caution" was set to come out one lap after the accident anyway. I was surprised that people were so aggressive at the start of the race. The excuse given was no one wanted to be caught off guard by another rain delay and that's why every position counted as soon as the green flag came out. That's ridiculous, of course, as the race wouldn't be official until lap 80 and NASCAR wasn't going to suddenly alter the rules after 20 laps and deem the race official, so why be so aggressive at the start? Yes, you want to put a show on for the people watching but you can't win and be in a position to win if you're not still on the track at the end.
Was it me or did the big packs seem bigger this time? And did it seem as though it was even harder to pass than usual? The whole "bump draft" thing is back in play and it looks like plenty of people have forgotten how to do it. It sure looked like that is what caused both massive wrecks.
Danica Patrick ended up having a god day, finishing eighth after missing the major portions of both big wrecks. She probably would have been a bigger factor had the race been restarted. For whatever reason she seemed faster than usual.
Was I the only one annoyed with all of the "anniversary of Richard Petty's 200th Cup win" talk during the rain delay? The announcers always talk about Petty's last win every Firecracker 400 but I thought the talk this year was a bit much. And, for the love of God, with all of the conspiracy theories out there about NASCAR fixing races and whatnot, why add more fuel to the fire here? I can guarantee you that we're going to see lots of talk about that this week.
The Nationwide race on Friday night, also delayed by rain, was decent. The finish was ridiculous as Kasey Kahne ended up beating Regan Smith by some miniscule amount to win his first Nationwide race in several years. We're probably not going to see a similar finish this weekend when Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at Loudon. That race will probably end up a runaway. The Camping World Truck Series will be back in action this Friday night at Iowa as part of that track's Indycar weekend.
And speaking of Indycar, Juan Pablo Montoya picked up his first Indycar win in fourteen years at Pocono yesterday, starting on the pole and remaining up front the entire race to beat Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves for the victory. It wasn't a barn burner like Indy or Texas, but it was a god 500 mile oval race that saw some interesting it and fuel strategy come into play at the end, not to mention some incredibly stupid bullshit from Will Power.
What the heck is the deal with Power this year? He seems to get a penalty for something every race. He was penalized at Pocono for blatant blocking, a call he didn't agree with until he was forced to agree with it after seeing a replay. I'm curious to know what kind of spin Power was going to try to put on the incident if he hadn't been forced to see the replay. It was kind of fun, though, to hear him suddenly stop whining for a millisecond. The NBC Sports Network announcers were right in their "Hey, you did it, man" response to his "whoa is me" shit. He may be a consistent winner but how the hell does Roger Penske put up with him?
Josef Newgarden finally had a good race as he finished eighth and was in contention for the win. He, much like Kanaan, was on a specific fuel strategy that might have worked had there been more caution towards the end of the race. It was a good strategy as oval races with long green periods tend to get nasty at the end but for whatever reason that didn't happen at Pocono. Kanaan left after the race seriously pissed off. What the heck does he have to do to catch a break?
Carlos Munoz had a good day, too, finishing third. He was in contention for the last half of the race but just couldn't find a way to go faster. The same thing happened to both Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon, who finished fourth and fifth respectively. They were steady throughout the first part of the race and then came alive towards the end. They both needed good finishes.
Why can't Marco Andretti figure out how to win a 500 mile race? And why was oval master Ed Carpenter mired in the back all day? Where did his speed go?
Will Jack Hawksworth be back this season? His 100 G wreck in qualifying apparently caused some kind of minor heart damage that kept him out of the car at Pocono, which is a damn shame because he probably would have been fun to watch come through the field. But heart damage, even "minor" damage, is nothing to screw around with. Hopefully everything will turn out okay and he'll be back.
Will the series be back at Pocono in 2015? The crowd seemed smaller this year, and that can't be considered a positive. The series belongs at Pocono. Indycar needs to find a way to get more people and more cars to show up for this event. 21 starters is too small a field.
Iowa is next on the schedule. The race is this Saturday night at 8pm EST on the NBC Sports Network. It should be a good show.
Well, I think that'll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there's anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
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Lone Wolf McQuade
Chuck Norris- JJ McQuade David Carradine- Rawley Wilkes Barbara Carrera- Lola Richardson Leon Isaac Kennedy- Agent Jackson Robert Beltran- Kayo L.Q. Jones- Dakota Dana Kimmell- Sally McQuade R.G. Armstrong- T. Tyler Sharon Farrell- Molly Jorge Cervera Jr.- Jefe Daniel Frishman- Falcon William Sanderson- Snow John Anderson- Burnside
Directed by Steve Carver Screenplay by B.J. Nelson, based on a story by H. Kaye Dyal and B.J. Nelson
Distributed by Orion Pictures and MGM Home Entertainment
Rated PG for violence and language Runtime- 107 minutes