"THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY!"
September 28, 2019 10:58 PM   Subscribe

The music video for Tom Hanks & Dan Aykroyd's Dragnet (1987)-themed "City of Crime", performing choreography by Paula Abdul. (Tom re-performs a bit of it on Graham Norton decades later.) (Arguably the song is new lyrics set over Run-DMC's "King of Rock.")
posted by WCityMike (20 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Then there is the Art of Noise version.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:30 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Dragnet in FanFare.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:42 PM on September 28


I had no idea it was so recently discussed in Fanfare. I need to check out that site much more often. The Graham Norton link -- the fact that Tom could rap it decades later, and did -- was what delighted me. :)
posted by WCityMike at 11:44 PM on September 28


Dragnet is a treasure. Tom Hanks when he was still a sort of funny comedic actor, before morphing into “Tom Hanks, Thespian,” Dan Akroyd before the weirdness (or at least it becoming public knowledge).

And P.A.G.A.N.

People
Against
Goodness
And
Normalcy
posted by Ghidorah at 1:04 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Dragnet is not a great movie, not even really a good one. But it is extremely watchable, which is part of the reason why it made such great basic cable filler for years, and why it clings to a sliver of popular memory today.

As for this – well, the song itself is terrible, just an abomination. But the thing that sticks with you is how totally committed Hanks and Aykroyd are. Any winking or irony would completely undo the hope of this video being successful, but also would insulate the two of them from the outcome. Instead, they're all in – and if it sucks, they're going to look stupid, and foolish, and worst of all for a Hollywood movie star, deeply lame.

And they do look lame. But they also, kind of... don't? They're actually dancing pretty well for a couple of guys who are not professional dancers. Hanks is doing a not-bad Beastie Boys impression. The choreography is getting the most out of what they can do, and surrounds them with pros who are delivering the goods for what they can't.

If this all seems like a lot of work for a hopeless cause, it's worth remembering what inspired this in the first place: Ghostbusters. The song and video for Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters theme was a major hit – a big contributor to the success of the movie itself. It's easy to think that it was destined to be a standalone success, but that's just in retrospect. At the time when it was conceived, it doesn't seem like such a sure thing. Here again, you're asking a bunch of ex-SNL and SCTV comedians to dance for a music video that's going to run on MTV, hardly their home domain. The song itself was written in a couple of days by a mid-list R&B songwriter who cribbed the main riff off of Huey Lewis. The video also has some cameos by such oddball celebrities as George Wendt, Al Franken, and Peter Falk. Does that sound like something that's going to get played on MTV sixteen times a day?

Well, it did. Who's to say that "City of Crime" couldn't have the same success? Hanks and Aykroyd didn't cop out – they gave it their all. Ultimately, they were undone because Dragnet was no Ghostbusters, and City of Crime was no Ghostbusters Theme. Now they get to look like assholes on YouTube for their trouble. But I respect the effort and the commitment.
posted by workingdankoch at 2:20 AM on September 29 [15 favorites]


A not so great film, but, arguably one of the best movie scenes of the 1980s, Dan Ackroyd walking across the the railway tracks perfectly in character.

I think this was the last time he was really good in anything.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 2:40 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I'm old enough to remember being disappointed by this in the theater. (I was a kid, but even so I'm apparently hella old now.) The rap stood out as an inspired, goofy touch in a movie that was otherwise pretty blah. I never saw the music video until now, and it sure is... something. I don't know what it is, but it's a lot of it.

I think this was the last time he was really good in anything.

I think Aykroyd never stopped being a gifted performer, but he just hasn't been anywhere near a good script in decades. (That, sadly, includes the ones he writes.)

My favorite part of that Graham Norton clip was Peter Capaldi sitting there watching with that very 12th Doctor look that's somehow an amused smile and a disapproving scowl at the same time.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:01 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I think this was the last time he was really good in anything.

I think he was great in Grosse Pointe Blank, but I don't think he's lived up to his potential. I keep hoping he'll have a late career comeback. I've always had a fondness for Aykroyd.
posted by jzb at 3:11 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


The song itself was written in a couple of days by a mid-list R&B songwriter who cribbed the main riff off of Huey Lewis.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this interview with Ray Parker, Jr. (There are two more parts if you need more). While I can't fault your assessment of where he stood in the industry then, I did learn that he had serious background, like being mentored by James Jamerson and working on Stevie Wonder sessions.

He seems like a man who knows how to take care of business; for example, Lewis had to pay him after violating the NDA of the Ghostbusters infringement settlement.
posted by thelonius at 5:59 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


This would mash up so well with Paula's "Straight Up."
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:03 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


They're actually dancing pretty well for a couple of guys who are not professional dancers.

I think you mean dancing exactly as well as Elwood Blues and the kid from Big dancing on the piano at FAO Schwarz.

Also I like that in the linked video, Dan A's surname is spelled in two different ways and neither one of them is the correct way.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:05 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


lo-res version of the video which at least works for other UK viewers.

Never seen this before, but always loved re-watching Dragnet on its seeming perma-rotation.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 2:25 PM on September 29


That Art Of Noise video/version is perfection!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 2:27 PM on September 29


I think this was the last time he was really good in anything.

He was pretty decent in "Soul Man. "

And better than decent in Sneakers ("Cattle mutilations are up!")

And he got a deserved Oscar nomination in Driving Miss Daisy.

But yes, he has sucked out loud in a whole lot of stuff.
posted by billm at 4:35 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Dan Aykroyd's a pretty great dancer tbh. The Great Outdoors, Sneakers, multitudes of Blues Brothers videos.
posted by ApathyGirl at 4:45 PM on September 29


Man, this song was cringe worthy when it was released. I won't watch it again to confirm it still is.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:25 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


On the "Dan Akroyd weird direction" front, I submit Dragnet structural successor Loose Cannons starring Akroyd and a bewildered Gene Hackman... but it also includes an amazing orchestra-hit-heavy end credits song with Akroyd-voiced spoken word/interstitials by none other than Katey Sagal. Also, a familiar-feeling car chase mixing Dragnet and the original Muppet Movie's driving scenes.
posted by abulafa at 5:50 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Aykroyd was good in a serious role in House of Mirth, as I recall.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:16 PM on September 29


Since this thread has gone in a Dan Aykroyd filmography direction, I'll just note the utter bizarrity of Nothing But Trouble, with him in bizarre decaying makeup as a seemingly semi-supernaturally-icky judge and the Humpty Dance guy making an appearance ...
posted by WCityMike at 9:34 AM on September 30


"I'll just note the utter bizarrity of Nothing But Trouble, with him in bizarre decaying makeup"
Take a good look at that makeup. His nose is shaped like the head of a penis.
posted by billm at 10:53 PM on October 8


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