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Box Art

Forgotten Friday - Johnny Dangerously

Short Version: Long before Sly Stallone did Oscar, Michael Keaton was already showing us the comedy in Organized Crime.

Release: December 21, 1984

Genre: Comedy

Director: Amy Heckerling

Staring: Michael Keaton, Joe Piscopo, Marilu Henner, Maureen Stapleton, Peter Boyle, Dom DeLuise, Danny DeVito

» Review

Forgotten Friday - Johnny Dangerously

By Rodney - September 25, 2009 - 06:44 America/Montreal

Thanks for checking out our Forgotten Fridays feature. This is a feature to review some older films that maybe you have forgotten about or maybe never got around to seeing that we just want to share. They may not be old, maybe not forgotten, but they are not new. Just fun to share.

Today’s review is Johnny Dangerously


Set in the 1930’s, an honest, goodhearted man is forced to turn to a life of crime to finance his neurotic mother’s skyrocketing medical bills. Johnny Kelly is a family man, proud of his brother (the District Attourney) and takes on the street name Johnny Dangerously. He runs the show differently trying to make his life of crime as clean as it can be while hiding his double life from his Mother and Brother.


The charm of Michael Keaton shines brightest in this lesser known film in his catalogue, which is saying a lot with the personality this guy hefts around. But that isn’t all. The film just oozes with some great depression era gangster campiness that refuses to let you take it seriously which keeps you rolling in the fun.

Johnny Dangerously breaks the fourth wall in a public service message condemning smoking and pulling a stick of bubblegum out of his silver cigarette case. He also forbids his gang members from using foul language immortalizing “Fragging Bastidges” among film geeks.

The supporting cast is inspired as well grabbing iconic ganster types like Danny Devito, Joe Piscopo and Dom Delouise. While Piscopop plays the rival badass who wants the gang for his own truely criminal ways, Delouise gets to play the Pope. Both comicly fitting in their roles. Marilu Henner seems to have been born for that era as the character she plays is perfect for her look and demeanor.

And its all suitably kicked off by Weird Al’s “This is the Life” for an opening credits theme song. Awesomeness.


The humour is a bit dated. If you watch old 80s sitcoms and wonder why anyone thought this was ever funny, then this might not appeal to you. There is a certain frame of mind when approaching this. Its an acquired taste but one easily swallowed.


The film isn’t brilliant, and its not perfect. But what it is, it does really well. Its a hell of a lot of fun, charming as all get out and a perfectly enjoyable comedy. I always enjoy Michael Keaton most in his comedies and I think in part it has much to do with his appearance in this film. This was one of his earlier films right off the set of Mr.Mom and after this came Gung Ho, Beetlejuice and Batman. But no one seems to remember this one.

I am going to introduce a new rating system for my Forgotten Fridays picks.

Since all of these Forgotten Friday reviews are going to be what I would already give a high rating to, I had a Tv, Rent or Buy scale going on, but it would seem that an overwhelming majority of my picks get a BUY rating.

So with every Forgotten Friday you see from now on, you get to rate your anticipation for yourself!

TV – If you are at least a little curious, catch it if it comes on TV.
Rent – If it is something you have heard of and forgotten, or just remember enjoying this as much as I did once upon a time, go rent it.
Buy – But if you are like me, and you agree with my review you should go buy it. If its featured here, I already have.


  1. James says:

    I love this film. It’s one of my all time favorite movies.

    Don’t be a fargin icehole - run out and BUY this film now!

  2. Iam Wright says:

    “It shoots through schools.”

  3. David Lopan says:

    YES!!! “You farging icehole!!!” Hahaha!!! What an awesome movie!

  4. Grave says:

    You shouldn’t have slapped me johnny. My mother slapped me one time…one. You shouldn’t have shotme Johnny. My father tried to shoot me once…once.
    You shouldn’t hang me on the wall Johnny. My uncle tried that once….once.

    If you love Oscar then this movie is right up your alley.

  5. Matt S says:

    Perhaps you should feature a pre-1980s film on Forgotten Fridays one of these days (there sure are a lot of ‘em to choose from). Its not a huge deal, but you’ve done quite a few of these and they’re mostly mid-80s early 90s films, we haven’t even touched 1970’s or prior. I think the oldest Forgotten Friday featured so far was made in 1983. I think there’s an audience on this site for it, I’m only 21 and I love a ton of movies from the 70s and even longer before “my time”. I dunno just a suggestion. Cheers.

  6. cltmikey says:

    My Mother forget Johnny Dangerously once…just…once.

  7. Jim says:

    This movie was fargin great!!
    Another good pick Rodney.

  8. Edvin says:

    Fireworks in the air:
    Looks like Johnny’s getting laid

    Man I loved this movie.

  9. Jimbo says:

    This is the first forgotten friday i haven’t seen and more than willing to give it a go. For me Oscar was great because of Tim Curry and Ms Tomaei is there any on screen magic in this that comes close?

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