Janne the Director’s Favorite Rare Movies Top 100 List #56: Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)
Life was so much better back in the days when they used Bon Jovi songs in movies and it was not part of a joke.
This movie takes place in a near future where Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson is what are left of the macho movie heroes of the 80’s. You know the smoking, eye rolling, and drinking smartasses with hearts of gold that is banned from films today. Actually Robert Downing Jr is bringing sexy back in this area… but for the sake of my argument; let’s pretend he isn’t.
It doesn’t have an original bone in its body and steals clichés without mercy from movies like Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Tango & Cash and other movies with & in the title. But it does it with swagger and charm and embraces the fact that the movie is the last breath of a dying genre.
Both Harley Davidson and Marlboro Man are antiques – even their names have lost their value. They lived in a world where smoking Marlboro or riding Harleys without a helmet wasn’t dangerous and dumb… it was cool. Now they are as cool as Vanilla Ice. Or Bon Jovi.
Harley Davidson & Marlboro Man [and Mickey Rourke & Don Johnson] are the walkman whose batteries is even too old and big for your MP3-player, the beeper that silently cries in the shadow of your iPhone, the dusty VHS-shelf at the highway gas station (Odds are that you could find a copy of this movie on that dusty shelf)…
Antiques without value are just junk… unless they have sentimental value.
PREVIOUS ON THE LIST: 57. Up in Smoke (1978)
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