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RUN DMC is Tougher Than Leather
March 2, 2012 9:07 PM   Subscribe

"The script was originally turned down by Spike Lee who went and directed Do the Right Thing instead. Not a good move on your part Spike, not a good move at all." In the end, Rick Rubin directed the 1988 Run DMC film Tougher than Leather, which has been described as "vile, vicious, despicable, stupid, sexist, racist and horrendously made."

According to Wikipedia, "It was briefly available on VHS, but went out of print within two years due to poor sales and a rumored injunction by the Beastie Boys and Capitol Records, their new label. For this reason, it is almost certain that New Line will never release it on DVD." The entire movie is on Youtube
posted by Hoopo (30 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Sometimes there's no difference between in-house and outhouse"

I'm totally stealing that line.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:32 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Too bad if it's not generally available. I think every artist and performer has the responsibility to make sure that their WORST work is always available, if only to provide opportunities for detox-ing addicted fans.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:37 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Having watched the first minute and 30 seconds, I'm assuming the entire film is one continuous shot, rivaling in length that of Russian Ark. Kudos Mr. Rubin. Kudos.
posted by gwint at 9:43 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Spike Lee won that bet a million times over.
posted by xmutex at 9:44 PM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Indeed, safe to say, he did the right thing.
posted by mannequito at 9:45 PM on March 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


It really was an awful movie, but man, I loved getting high and watching it in high school.
posted by padraigin at 9:48 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really was an awful movie, but man, I loved getting high and watching it in high school.

Word boogie.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:56 PM on March 2, 2012


It really was an awful movie, word boogie.
posted by Mblue at 10:26 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man I totally loaned out my VHS copy to someone I don't work with anymore. Need to go to that guy's house with a gold adidas shoe around my neck.
posted by thecjm at 10:29 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I was a fresh faced 17 year old living in rural England I requested the Run DMC album Tougher Than Leather for my birthday. On the big day I did indeed get a copy of the album, but it had been a close thing apparently. My Mum had gone into our local record shop and asked for Leather for Toughies by Ron Dempsey.
posted by jontyjago at 10:44 PM on March 2, 2012 [28 favorites]


I actually saw this in theaters. Yes, I was that suburban white kid in the '80s.
posted by mykescipark at 10:46 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's both pre-internet, entirely independent and almost underground.

In 40 years, Spike will be forgotten and this movie will be 'rediscovered' as a forgotten paean to NYC Rap culture of the '80s.

I said it first.
posted by vhsiv at 10:51 PM on March 2, 2012


Metafilter: Stealing That Line.
posted by alex_skazat at 10:56 PM on March 2, 2012


vile, vicious, despicable, stupid, sexist, racist..."

Isn't it funny how any movie described in those kinds of terms will seem almost laughably quaint 20 years later? This is no exception.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:36 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


However, if you're a fan of feet slowly clomping down hallways this is *really* the film for you.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:37 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I saw this in the theater walked out after about 15 minutes. This is the only movie I have ever walked out on. No idea why my friend wanted to go (he walked out, too).
posted by Glinn at 11:48 PM on March 2, 2012


In 40 years, Spike will be forgotten and this movie will be 'rediscovered' as a forgotten paean to NYC Rap culture of the '80s.

"Yeah, well remember that time you bet me which movie would have the bigger box-office," E.T." or "Krush Groove?"

"Hey! Time's gonna tell on that one."

Whoooo's house? Ruuuun's House! (say what?) Whoooo's house? Ruuuun's House!
posted by ShutterBun at 11:54 PM on March 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


In 40 years, Spike will be forgotten and this movie will be 'rediscovered' as a forgotten paean to NYC Rap culture of the '80s.

Only if all records of Wild Style, Krush Groove, Beat Street, and Style Wars have somehow been completely eradicated.

I was a huge Run DMC fan as a kid in the 80's and I distinctly remember thinking Tougher than Leather movie was garbage. See also: Rappin, and both of the Breakin movies. The album Tougher than Leather, while not their best, was still pretty good.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:00 AM on March 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Any move that ends in the creation of Do The Right Thing is the right move, no matter what.

That's it? THAT'S IT
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:25 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw Beat Street at the Holloway Odeon, a crappy bit of Islington, north London. I think it was 11am on a Saturday morning, but the atmosphere (and the noise) in the cinema was insane. Great to see a clip again.
posted by colie at 1:45 AM on March 3, 2012


Related: Maclolm McLaren's documentary "Duck Rock." (excerpt)
posted by ShutterBun at 2:09 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The linked Washington Post review compares Tougher Than Leather unfavorably to the Fat Boys' cinematic efforts. Ouch.

DISORDERLIES!!! WOOOO!!!
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 4:30 AM on March 3, 2012


Beat street, the king of the beat
See me rocking that beat from across the street ahuh huh huh
Beat street is a lesson too, you can't let the streets beat you.

that is all I remember
posted by Ad hominem at 6:04 AM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, this movie is great!
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 6:35 AM on March 3, 2012


Actually, this movie seems to be several music videos wrapped around the premise of a narrative. Michael Bay has done far, far less.

From an anthropological and nostalgia perspective, the performance footage is worth the price of admission (In this case, SLYT and an internet connection). It also has the distinction of not being set in some LA ghetto, like all of the other Hip-Hop movies of that period..

(It's slowly occurring to me that the 80s were a golden age for independent movies and comic book literature.)
posted by vhsiv at 6:58 AM on March 3, 2012


It may have been a crap movie, but I did serious injury to my ears listening to the same-titled album constantly for an entire summer.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:04 AM on March 3, 2012


And it’s shot like an arthouse music video, too, which only adds to enjoyment.

Nice.
posted by Artw at 7:15 AM on March 3, 2012


The fact that a great musical act made a really shitty movie is much less interesting to me (after all, it's hardly uncommon; see some of Roy Orbison's movies sometime, if you can find them) than that Rick Rubin is playing completely against type, if that Time profile is to be believed, unless he's changed hugely since then. (He's certainly gotten rid of the unibrow since.) Also, I'd thought that the actress in the picture with him, Lois Ayres, looked a little familiar; be warned that doing a Google image search on her will be NSFW even if you've got the filter on. I'd always wondered if Melanie Griffith's character Holly Body in Body Double was based on her, at least visually.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:57 AM on March 3, 2012


It was the other way around, Halloween Jack. Ayres got the look from Body Double. (her character in Devil in Miss Jones 4 is a dead ringer)
posted by ShutterBun at 3:44 PM on March 3, 2012


Comparing this film to either of the Breakin' films is really unfair on them. Together, those films ARE the Citizen Kane of "Let's Save The Rec Center" films.
posted by cerulgalactus at 3:54 PM on March 3, 2012


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