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Who is Billy Jack?
August 8, 2007 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Who is Billy Jack? Tom Laughlin? The Born Losers, was the first in the series of counter culture action flicks. Here's a clip from the film named Billy Jack, that captures the character's response to racism. Eventually this series of films turn to poop, that is politics, with the film Billy Jack goes to Washington. As hokey as this character may seem, there is really something good about Billy Jack.
posted by snsranch (39 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great find. I saw it when I was a kid, but only remembered only one scene from it. It was listed on the youtube clip you posted.

I am going kick you in the face. Yeah!
posted by Mr_Zero at 3:55 PM on August 8, 2007


Han Bong-Soo.
posted by homunculus at 3:56 PM on August 8, 2007


I haven't even clicked on any of your links yet, and already I've got "One Tin Soldier" stuck in my head. Listen children to a story that was written long ago 'bout a kingdom on a mountain and the valley folk below.....
posted by maryh at 4:12 PM on August 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Billy Jack is just one of those movies that has something special. It's not "good" in the typical sense of the word, or even the "so bad it's good" sense either...it's just...Billy Jack. The improv, the Indian and Vietnam stuff, the counter-cultre stuff...lightening in a bottle.
posted by Snyder at 4:12 PM on August 8, 2007


Yep. Both of those clips were highly memorable. And when Bernard Posner finally gets his after what he does to Billy Jack's lady-friend. The movie is a bit dated (dirty hippies!) but his character is satisfying and was fun to watch. The Born Losers was fun too, which I think I saw after Billy Jack. I seem to remember another one he did where he carried around a samurai sword but was a cowboy in Mexico. Enjoyed that too.
posted by sluglicker at 4:14 PM on August 8, 2007


Why is it that when I commence with the surprise whoop-ass comeuppance but pause to make the long winded emotional speech beforehand somebody just hauls of and hits me over the head with a bottle.

"The Sheriff is over at the School. When ever I see a beauti...

CLONK!
posted by tkchrist at 4:33 PM on August 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Billy Jack is the true ancestor of the Eastwood/Bronson action hero of the '70s and 80's. The ingredients are all there: the ambivalemce, the reluctant, you-pushed-a-peave-loving-man-too-far violence, the liberal-cowboy attitude, the works.
posted by jonmc at 4:38 PM on August 8, 2007


Plus, Billy Jack is a perfect illustration of the confusion of the 70's: we wanted to be open and multicultural and liberal and all that shit, but we were also frustrated and pissed and wanted to kick some ass.

Plus Laughlin outweirds David Lynch without even trying.
posted by jonmc at 4:42 PM on August 8, 2007


In Billy Jack’s Moral Revolution, Billy Jack and Jean are recruited by mainstream Americans, Moderate Republicans, Democrats and Independents who hate both Parties and believe Congress has become so systemically corrupt it can’t possibly represent the people any more, to form a new mainstream – not fringe – 3rd Party, with exciting reforms to give real power back to the people (see 3rd Party enclosure). Throughout the film Billy Jack and Jean are under a horrendous siege in their struggle to try to save the heart and soul of America–and Its Constitution--before it’s too late. The movie is set to be released sometime in 2007.

Those of us who have been concerned about this kind of stuff, I think we can all sit back and relax now.
posted by anazgnos at 4:44 PM on August 8, 2007


When you are 11 or 12 years old and you watch Billy Jack on the midnight movie, life is good.
posted by vronsky at 4:52 PM on August 8, 2007


Channel surfed by Born Losers last night, and meant to google up the sizzling brunette (the one who practices a strip tease in the living room of her mother's mobile home).

Forgot all about her until now. Thanks for the reminder!

*googles*

Looks like everybody else has forgotten about her, too.

On preview: Metafilter: we want to be open and multicultural and liberal and all that shit, but we also want to kick some ass.
posted by notyou at 4:53 PM on August 8, 2007


And from the same era, but with a comic twist, anyone remember My Name is Trinity?
posted by vronsky at 4:58 PM on August 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


yeah notyou, I was wondering about her too. She had a quality about her. Looked like Dorothy Hamill. (actually now that I think about it she looked like ThePinkSuperhero too:)
posted by vronsky at 5:02 PM on August 8, 2007


Nathan Rabin has a good write-up of Billy Jack Goes to Washington over at the Onion AV Club.
posted by Rangeboy at 5:18 PM on August 8, 2007


Tom Laughlin: the man, the myth, the blog
posted by jonp72 at 5:27 PM on August 8, 2007


Aw man, vronsky, I *love* Terrence Hill movies. I've got "My name is Trinity on VHS and DVD. Both were, incidentally, found at truck stops.
posted by notsnot at 5:33 PM on August 8, 2007


Billy Jack was the ultimate vigilante. Charles Bronson couldn't quite get there, and neither could Clint, because Billy was kind of, well almost, a hippie vigilante - he really held back, but the bad guys made him be violent (yeah, right, but hey, we bought it as teenagers at least). There was another great movie from that era, with a hippie who held the buckets of sand out at his side during boot camp, with a smile, to the great consternation of his drill sergeant. Anyone remember that one?
posted by caddis at 6:22 PM on August 8, 2007


Caddis, I don't know the name of the movie, but Jan Michael Vincent was in it.
posted by Sailormom at 6:35 PM on August 8, 2007


with a hippie who held the buckets of sand out at his side during boot camp, with a smile

That would be Tribes a 1970 made for TV affair with the great Jan Michael Vincent and the late Darren Mcgavin
posted by Megafly at 6:38 PM on August 8, 2007


My dad had a Billy Jack hat. He loved him some Billy Jack.
posted by jrossi4r at 6:42 PM on August 8, 2007


I've often heard of Billy Jack but never seen it. After school special much?
posted by DU at 6:54 PM on August 8, 2007


Jarvis Cocker, formerly of the Britpop band PULP, in a side project called Relaxed Muscle, has a song loosely based on this iconic cult figure. Video is here.
posted by novadrome at 7:48 PM on August 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


caddis, Baby Blue Marine. My parents were young when they had me in the 70s and I have a lot of memories of going to the drive-in with them as a small kid with their friends to watch movies.

DU dude, you can't see Billy Jack on an after school special. There are hippies, drugs, a commune, violence, and nudity.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:49 PM on August 8, 2007


Actually, that link to the Billy Jack music video is wrong and sends to a variety of spam sites. This was obviously not my intention. Whether I pasted the wrong URL somehow or YouTube has just gotten saavy, I'm not sure. Anyway, please disregard my previous post. :(
posted by novadrome at 7:53 PM on August 8, 2007


And from the same era, but with a comic twist, anyone remember My Name is Trinity?

I bought the first two Trinity movies on DVD as a double feature just two weeks ago - at the Dollar Store.

Good times.
posted by bradth27 at 7:54 PM on August 8, 2007


Billy Jack was totally the shit when I was in junior high school. Getting bad flashbacks now...
posted by hwestiii at 8:16 PM on August 8, 2007


After school special much?

Well, maybe, but not Born Losers -- the rape scenes are fairly tame, if there's such a thing as a tame rape scene in a movie, but definitely it's not something appropriate to 10-year-olds...I hope. (I'm cringing at the memory of my son, 10, seeing a trailer for Hostel and exclaiming, "Cooooool!" when we went to see King Kong.
posted by pax digita at 9:13 PM on August 8, 2007


Why is it that when I commence with the surprise whoop-ass comeuppance but pause to make the long winded emotional speech beforehand somebody just hauls of and hits me over the head with a bottle.

Because you're too slow, old man.
posted by homunculus at 9:16 PM on August 8, 2007


Jan-Michael Vincent was in both Tribes and Baby Blue Marine; Tribes was the one with the buckets of sand, though.

I always felt sorry for poor Martin in Billy Jack; no matter how much good he tries to do, he always gets punched in the stomach for his trouble.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:38 PM on August 8, 2007


wow. serious 'plate of shrimp' moment... i was just describing the ice cream store scene to a friend last night!

also, the goofy saturday night live parody of it, with paul simon. anyone remember that?

i was trying to explain what a big deal the billy jack film was, at the time it played in theaters. of course, that perceived importance might've been due to my family living amidst the rednecks, next to an indian reservation, in the shit-kickin' rural so-cal boonies.

we were involved with wild mustang rescue at the time, adopting 3 of 'em. one was a pregnant mare -- i got to see the foaling of a tough little colt, who was on his feet and running within minutes.

within the first few hours of his life, he managed to slam into a fence post and cut a gash in his shoulder. the vet came out and stitched up the wound, but the tough little newborn didn't even let it slow him down, just kept trotting around on shakey legs, making tiny kicks and nipping at the silly humans.

we named him billy jack, that day.
posted by lapolla at 12:37 AM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Tom Laughlin doesn't get his due as the original Hollywood Maverick.

For example, he was dissatisfied with his movie's marketing, so he sued to get control of the picture, rented theatres himself and made $32 million in 1970s dollars.

He was also the first person to combine a wide film release with saturation TV advertising.

In the early 1980s, Laughlin took out a series of full-page ads in the LA Times anonymously slamming the status quo in the movie system, which became a cause celebre in tinseltown. He culminated the ads by offering a one-time-only seminar on filmmaking, which promptly sold out. Most of the attendees were the rich and famous of Hollywood.

After the debacle of Billy Jack Goes to Washington, Laughlin became a world-reknowned expert on cancer,(YouTubeLink) being sought out by many notable institutions and figures in the fight against the disease.

If that weren't enough, he also wrote Tom Laughlin's 9 Secrets to Writing a Hit Movie, which writers of video games, comics and movies alike call their "secret weapon." No, really.

Now, don't get me wrong. Ol' Tom's as crazy as a sh1thouse rat, and he's slightly left of Mao, but he's a badass on and off the screen, and deserves some respect.
posted by ScarletPumpernickel at 12:49 AM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yes he does, and more than just some.

(also, it was "Tribes" thanks)
posted by caddis at 3:58 AM on August 9, 2007


Billy Jack for President
posted by caddis at 4:06 AM on August 9, 2007


When you are 11 or 12 years old and you watch Billy Jack on the midnight movie, life is good.

Truth.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:26 AM on August 9, 2007


also, the goofy saturday night live parody of it, with paul simon. anyone remember that?

"Where is that barrel of flour that you keep handy in order to desecrate members of the non-white race?"

"Why can't people be more like these scoops of ice cream?"
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:07 AM on August 9, 2007


Billy Paul! GO head hate your neighbors go ahead and cheat a friend...do in the name of...

One Tin Soldier.
posted by doctorschlock at 9:38 AM on August 9, 2007


Billy Jack is the first movie I remember seeing at a theatre (drive-in). Not exactly appropriate for a 7 year old but the movie stuck with me. I bought the DVD a couple years ago and I think I'll re-watch it this afternoon.
posted by deborah at 1:26 PM on August 9, 2007


Another one that made a big impression on me as a kid was Walking Tall.
posted by Mr_Zero at 2:01 PM on August 9, 2007


Billy Jack tossed me into the air once.

Seriously ... I was a kidling when McGovern breezed through town on a presidential whistle stop. Tom Laughlin was campaigning with him and played around with me.

The man can do no wrong in my eyes.
posted by RavinDave at 2:02 PM on August 9, 2007


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