Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: The (2nd) Greatest Summer of Movies Continues with Dragnet

1982 may have been the Greatest Summer of Movies Ever, according to the Alamo Drafthouse, but 1987 was a close second.

It may be hard to believe, in this age of Bubba Gump Shrimp Companies on every corner, but Tom Hanks used to not be taken very seriously as an actor. Don't get me wrong, I've always had a soft spot for the guy, from Bosom Buddies to Bachelor Party to Joe Versus the Volcano. Sure, the pre-Philadelphia years featured some clunkers (Nothing in Common? The Bonfire of the Vanities?), but where would the '80s have been without "A little vino would be keen-o?" Or the cautionary horrors of Rona Jaffe's Mazes and Monsters?

No one can really answer that question, but I bet the Berlin Wall would still be up, is all I'm saying.

Dragnet was released when Hollywood still had a modicum of shame. The venerable cop show was an old property even in 1987, and Universal was actually respectful enough to include the original Bill Gannon -- Harry Morgan -- as the captain. The phenomenon was novel enough 25 years ago that even though the movie wasn't critically well-received, it was spared the apoplectic spluttering that now greets even the faintest rumor of a cinematic "reimagining." Is it perfect? Hell no, but it was perfectly adequate for a summer flick, and promoted safe sex besides. Take that, Three Men and a Baby.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar