Archives for posts with tag: Gailard Sartain

There’s no guarantee a 1978 film about a 1958 musician will hold up decades after its release, but “The Buddy Holly Story” remains an easy watch. Of course, the biopic is assisted by generous helpings of Holly’s music. The film, which traces his career arc from small-town Texas beginnings to tragic death, echoes the timeless simplicity of Holly’s music, possessing an unscripted feel and casual irreverence. Gary Busey’s performance is riveting. Not that it’s perfect. There’s also a bit of a small, TV-movie feel and the narrative is burdened by cliché friction within The Crickets as Holly’s star takes off.

When musicians run out of ideas, they do a Christmas album. What if you had only one good idea in your whole career? “Ernest Saves Christmas” (1988) is Jim Varney’s yuletide iteration of his Ernest P. Worrell character, which was first introduced in television commercials and eventually became its own franchise. You’ve heard of lowbrow humor – with Varney’s effectedly verbose and inept (yet oddly likeable) redneck, we’re talking unibrow humor. The plot is irrelevant, but Santa has business succession problems, Ernest is harboring a runaway girl, and everyone is sweating because this movie was shot in Orlando. Yuletide hijinks ensue.

Former “Saturday Night Live” performer John Belushi made a movie (“Continental Divide”) that takes place in the Rockies. He died a few months later. SNL host John Candy died while filming a western called “Wagons East” (1994). Ex-SNLer Chris Farley died shortly after making the western “Almost Heroes.” (Career advice for Will Ferrell? Do salads, not drugs. Or westerns.) As for “Wagons East,” Candy does a pretty good job looking and acting the part of a bearded, mountain-man, wagonmaster. But the dialogue is lame and the cast is mostly B-listers (Richard Lewis, John C. McGinley) who just schtick it up.