I don’t think it’s particularly ballsy to create a list or try to canonize shit. I mean, would Dalton from Road House tell people what his Top Ten Favorite TV Shows are? Probably not. He’d just give you a stone cold look and tell you he doesn’t watch much television. That being said, it’s not my job to be ballsy so much as it is to inform folks WHAT IS BALLSY. You see, it’s more of a responsibility than a desire. Click the link above for the Top 20 Ballsy Films. Dalton might think it’s lame but then again he has a degree in Philosophy so who knows?
It’s a popular misconception that only men have balls. I was just watching Lita Ford and Heart on That Metal Show and it became clear to me that these chicks definitely had balls. Now I don’t mean they’re “chicks with dicks” or anything f’d up like that. I’m not talking literal balls. I’m talking figurative balls. Personally I’ve never been much for girly girls, I like myself a good ballsy woman. A woman who can dish it as much as she can take it. A woman who can roll up her sleeves and put in a little hard work. A woman who’ll change a tire for you or push a wheelbarrow full of bricks. And if she’s wearing a little dress and has long, wavy hair as she’s doing this, all the better. I mean, I like ballsy women. Not men. Fuck that shit. Anyway, below are three examples of ballsy broads I’ve got great affection for…
As anyone who knows my ass knows, my fav QT movie is Jackie Brown. I watch that film like every couple months. It’s kind of bananas, but that’s my business, okay? Played by the great Pam Grier, the character Jackie Brown is perhaps the ballsiest lady in the history of cinema. She even puts Sam Jackson in his place, thrusting a gun into his nutsack and tellin’ him what’s what. Damn, Sam! She plays the cops, the criminals, every single motherfucker who she comes into contact with and she gets away with a big pile of $$$. Jackie is her own woman, playing by her own rules, and she isn’t afraid to bring out the balls when required. Pam Grier has played many ballsy women, but Jackie Brown is the ballsiest.
A lot of people hate Courtney Love. She’s sort of the Yoko Ono of the grunge world and she scares all the straights. That’s personally what I love about Miss Love. She’s a true rocker girl and not in that polite and boring Lilith Fair kind of way. Courtney brought the goods with her band Hole (and with her very underrated solo album, America’s Sweetheart). Her shearing screams and shouts were even more powerful than her late husband’s and she could write a ballsy rocker right alongside a smokey ballad. And what if she sleeps around, does a buttload of drugs and acts like a raging lunatic? The last time I checked, that’s what rock n’ roll is all about. If Courtney was a man she’d be considered a superstud for her antics, but sexism can be a real bitch. Fuck sexism. That’s what I say. A real ballsy guy isn’t threatened by a real ballsy girl. He embraces that shit.
Ann and Nancy Wilson
Yeah. The two ladies who inspired this post. The two founding (and only constant) members of Heart, Ann and Nancy were ballsy enough to try something no other woman had tried before: To be like Led Zeppelin. Grant it, they didn’t consistently achieve this lofty goal, but goddamnit if they didn’t sometimes hit the mark. Just listen to the galloping, chugging-along-like-an-iron-horse guitar line of “Barracuda”. But the Zeppelin thing didn’t stop there. Heart had an epic scope to their best songs and even when they got more pop in the 1980s, they still managed to put the POWER into power ballad. A ballsy man, a TRUE ballsy man, can admit to getting all choked up when Ann delivers those riveting vocals in “Alone” and Nancy does one of her awesome kicks as she strums a righteous chord on her guitar. Heart dared to rock the Heavens and what’s ballsier than that? They had many good albums, but my personal favorite is 1980’s Bebe Le Strange. I don’t know what the title means (I don’t speak French) but I know it rocks much like the album. Punchy, hard, bluesy and with a little sass to boot. The ultimate Ballsy Girl Album.
To the above women and especially the Wilson Sisters, I salute your balls…!!
In England, the term “geezer” doesn’t mean old fucker. It’s more like “dude” or to be more precise, it’s a way of saying this guy is an all right, ballsy kind of guy. He likes football, drinking beer and banging birds. And there’s a good chance this geezer is working class. Fittingly, the first heavy metal band ever, the mighty Black Sabbath, was formed by four delinquent geezers from a dreary working class part of England named Birmingham. The bassist’s first name was even Geezer! It doesn’t get more geezer than that. Black Sabbath and to a lesser degree, Led Zeppelin, didn’t impress the critics of their day. They were too busy rocking the balls of adolescent, down-on-their-luck souls who wanted some, dark, ballsy and majestic rock n’ roll. Black Sabbath was a “people’s band”. And they liked cocaine.
Fast-forward to the end of the 1970s and you have a bunch of snotty punk rockers who claim to be for “the people” but for the most part seemed to care more about being cool than kicking a whorehouse amount of ass for their audiences. This is where Judas Priest and, arguably the ballsiest band of all time, Motörhead came in. They took the speed of punk rock but combined it with musicianship and actually giving a shit about the music they were making. In a totally non-elitist move, Motörhead’s first smash single in England was a cover of “Louie, Louie”. This was music you could drink a few pints to as you charmed a busty barmaid with a dirty joke. It was the music of life after a week filled with bullshit. This harder, faster brand of heavy metal evolved into the N.W.O.B.H.M. (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). This musical movement never gained as many headlines as punk rock and it’s no surprise: Punk at its worst was perfect fodder for magazines and news reports about the decline of British youth with its flashy mohawks and anarchistic posturing. The N.W.O.B.H.M. was just about the music and a deep connection with the legions of young rock fans who knew the difference between the posers and the real deal. This is why most of the N.W.O.B.H.M. bands still sound as fresh and exciting today as they did in 1980.
But who the fuck are these N.W.O.B.H.M. bands?
Priest and Motörhead oftentimes get included in the list even though they both predated the movement. Diamond Head, who Metallica owes their early sound to, was one of the best examples of a N.W.O.B.H.M band. Their debut, 1980’s Lightning To The Nations, was so underground you could only get it by mail-order. Lars Ulrich had definitely ordered his copy. Metallica ended up covering half of the album. Def Leppard are also cited as a N.W.O.B.H.M. band and their earlier albums do contain some hard-hitting, AC/DC-type heavy metal that’s highly melodic but not at the expense of their sonic power. It’s great letting loose on the weekend music. The most noteworthy of the N.W.O.B.H.M. bands, however, is without doubt Iron Maiden. They went on to global success with their second singer Bruce Dickinson, but it’s on their first two albums Iron Maiden truly laid the gauntlet down. 1980’s Iron Maiden and 1981’s Killers are the best example of the N.W.O.B.H.M. sound and spirit. If Lemmy drove Motörhead with a thundering locomotive bass, Steve Harris drove Maiden with a galloping army of iron-clad warhorses bass. Paul Di’Anno is the vocalist on these first two albums and even if he lacks Dickinson’s epic sweep, he compensates with the most important ingredient in rock n’ roll singing: Balls. In fact, Maiden with Di’Anno was a punchier, meaner and altogether different animal than their subsequent, more theatrical incarnation. They were a band from the street and for the street. Di’Anno with his short hair, angry wop blood and limited vocal range could have been easily confused for a punk. But he wasn’t. He was a geezer. Maiden was and IS music for geezers. Critics might’ve thought Maiden wasn’t clever enough or too self-serious, but these motherfuckers were storming the fucking gates on behalf of the people. Working class people. You don’t bust your ass all weeklong to listen to Elvis Costello’s snide brand of elitist pop. You want to hear a band that’s throwing their balls onto the battlefield and charging forth with energy and purpose.
Maiden was such a band.
And their people’s anthem was “Running Free”. The bastards might lock down your body, but they can’t lock down your spirit. You’re going to fuck up the night and do all the things your boss doesn’t have the balls to do: Fight, fuck and throw up a lot of booze!
To this day, you blast some Maiden or Motörhead and you’ll find yourself drawing a line in the sand. Are you ballsy enough to listen to some real rock n’ roll? Then crank it up.
One of the downsides to being a hardass loner is one day you find yourself desperately in need of drinking buddies…and not just any kind of drinking buddies: Awesome Drinking Buddies!
Like Jim Morrison had in the motion-picture, The Doors. Remember those dudes? There was three of ‘em and each one filled a specific and much needed role. There was 1.) Michael Madsen. His role was to be Jim’s intellectual equal and the only one that was allowed to bust the Lizard King’s balls from to time to time. You always need a guy like this around to keep your ass in check. There was 2.) Billy Idol. His role was to be the surly British bloke and he’d back up Jim with a “Fuck off, Ray!” whenever necessary. And finally there was 3.) The Fat Guy. His role was to be the jovial, teddy bear-like fat guy that’s always there to make a bad situation into a good time. Fat Guys have been the life of the party since the dawn of time and any booze-loving entourage is incomplete without one.
So essentially I’m looking for these guys or damn near equivalents (e.g. the British guy could be substituted with a Scotsman or an Aussie). If you can fit into any of the roles cited above, then by all means contact me and we’ll hit the fucking bar and Make The Myths!!!!
I love them. I love Charles Bronson. In the purest way a man can love another man. It’s like he’s my father or an older brother or a really cool drifter uncle that pops up every few years more world-weary than the last time you saw him. He’s a rock. You can’t depend on much, but you can depend on Bronson. Even after his death, he’s still there for me in my DVD collection: Mr. Majestyk, Once Upon A Time in the West and the first three Death Wish films.
There’s the rub, if you were expecting a rub. The first three Death Wish movies are great. However, Death Wish IV: The Crackdown and Death Wish V: The Face of Death leave something to be desired. You see, the first three films were directed by a mad genius named Michael Winner (how could you lose with a name like ‘Winner’?). As such, they had a singular Michael Winner vision. Dare I say ‘epic’? Damn straight I dare! Winner’s Death Wish trilogy is as epic as epic comes! The first Death Wish is a straight-up crime drama with top-notch performances, acting, script, directing, you name it. The second film is far seedier and more exploitive; it’s essentially a revenge flick and the quality has dropped appropriately. The third film—the gem in Winner’s trilogy—is an over-the-top, balls-out, action extravaganza, which negates all pretense of serious film-making and surrenders wholeheartedly to the absurd. And oh, what a surrender! Death Wish 3 could be the most watchable movie ever made. Bronson’s character, Paul Kersey, kills more creeps in the last half hour of the film than he does in the entire Death Wish franchise. What makes Winner’s Death Wish trilogy so ingenious is the way each film pulls you deeper into a crime laden fantasy world in which Paul Kersey slowly but surely transformers from a vulnerable architect into a creep-slaying super hero. The first weapon he uses against a creep in Death Wish is a sock filled with quarters; the last weapon he uses against a creep in Death Wish 3 is a missile-launcher. Genius!
Death Wish IV and V, on the other hand, are not only superfluous, they’re totally anticlimactic. The ante isn’t upped and the story isn’t even continued. I mean, they’re still about Paul Kersey killing creeps, but there’s no narrative links to the first three films. There are numerous loose ends never tied up. For example, the freaks that raped and killed Kersey’s wife in Death Wish got away with it! That’s right: Kersey never found out who those freaks were and never got a chance to waste them proper. The kicker is the head freak was played by a young Jeff Goldblum. Now that would have been something to see: An older Charles Bronson up against a middle-aged Jeff Goldblum! Man, such a missed opportunity…or was it? Couldn’t they make Death Wish 6 and give this franchise the climatic send-off it deserves?
Now hear me out before screaming “But Charles Bronson is dead?!” Believe me. I know Charles Bronson is dead. I mourned his death when it happened. I also know that Charles Bronson is the only man who could play Paul Kersey. Then how could there be another Death Wish film? You have to open your mind, close-minded reader. It would be an insult to put another live actor in Bronson’s shoes…but what about CGI? Or even Anime-style animation? It could be a tribute to Bronson that way; his iconic image preserved and utilized for one final Paul Kersey outing. Hell, maybe they could even use out-takes from the other Death Wish films? They did that with Peter Sellers in Trail of the Pink Panther. The thing is to think outside the box, people. The franchise can’t end with the whimper of Death Wish IV and V. The story-arc from the first three Death Wish films needs to be concluded. We need closure; as does Paul Kersey. That’s why I wrote a six-page treatment for Death Wish 6: The Last Death Wish. If any Hollywood producers are out there, hit me up and we can make this happen. I’ve got Paul Kersey using a fucking stealth glider in it!