What would a 1970s-era “Expendables” cast look like? We’ll tell you

What would a 1970s-era “Expendables” cast look like? We’ll tell you (photo)

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Okay, yes, “The Expendables,” ended up being better as an “idea” than a reality. Sylvester Stallone gathered a bunch of over-the-hill action stars (including his “Rocky IV” opponent, Dolph Lundgren, and his “Get Carter” pal, Mickey Rourke) for a bloody shoot-’em-up designed to show all the young whippersnappers out there that the old men still got it. The resulting film had its moments but was ultimately too confusing, too haphazard and too, well, expendable.

But what are sequels for if not a chance to make things all better (don’t answer that)? Stallone has gathered an even more impressive cast for “The Expendables 2” — Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme will be contributing to the mayhem this time around, and Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both of whom only had cameo appearances in the original film, will have much larger roles in the new adventure. And, of course, all of the old gang is back, including Lundgren (how…? Never mind), Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews and Randy Couture.

All of this casting news has us wondering what the lineup of action stars would’ve been if “The Expendables” had been made in the 1970s. Here are the mighty men that might’ve wreaked havoc back in the day.

charlesbronson.jpgCharles Bronson

The leader of the pack, natch. Bronson was a tough guy from the day he was born — seriously, this dude probably came out of the womb with those weather-beaten features and that steely gaze. Some of Chuck’s most memorable gigs include “The Great Escape” (1963), “The Dirty Dozen” (1967), “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968), “The Mechanic” (1972) and, of course, “Death Wish” (1974). Paul Kersey of “Death Wish” might be the role that Bronson is most remembered for — he went on to play the poor, angry, violent man in a couple of ’80s sequels as well. And, for the record, Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie, “Bronson,” is not about Charles — but it should be.

malcolmmcdowell.jpgMalcolm McDowell

The “Clockwork Orange” star is our pick for Jason Statham’s stand-in. The young British actor caused quite a stir with his lead performance as Alex in Stanley Kubrick’s classic dystopian tale — as a fan of a “bit of the ol’ ultraviolence,” McDowell is an ideal addition to Charles Bronson’s team of rugged rogues. Some of McDowell’s other memorable ’70s romps include “Aces High” (1976), “Voyage of the Damned” (1976), “The Passage” (1979) and, of course, that gorgeous, mind-boggling, brilliant mess, “Caligula” (1979). Oh, that’s a fun one.

stevemcqueen.jpgSteve McQueen

Of course the Tunnel King would bring in the Cooler King! Charles Bronson’s “The Great Escape” cohort would have to be in on the “Expendables” action. McQueen would definitely show off the driving skills he exhibited to legendary effect in “Bullitt” (1968), crashing through the proceedings with Bronson looking (just a little) nervous in the passenger seat. McQueen was a huge star in his day, appearing as Thomas Crown in “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968), Junior Bonner in “Junior Bonner” (1972) and Doc McCoy in “The Getaway” (1972).

brucelee.jpgBruce Lee

Okay, how amazing would this be? Where as Stallone had Jet Li, Charles Bronson would have Bruce Lee! The “Enter the Dragon” star would leap and kick all over the place, smashing in doors and walls and taking on, like, five hundred bad guys at once. Lee’s greatest film is definitely his last, the astonishing “Enter the Dragon” (1973), but we’re also quite fond of “Fists of Fury” (1971), “Fist of Fury” (1972) and “The Way of the Dragon” (1972). However, we’re imagining a scenario in which Bronson tells Lee that he offered him the part because he “loved him as Kato on ‘The Green Hornet.'”

leemarvin.jpgLee Marvin

Charles Bronson would be morally obligated to bring his “Dirty Dozen” pal into the mix. Lee Marvin was so cool, sheep counted him — and then he slaughtered them and ate them raw. Another one of cinema’s all-time awesomest tough guys, Marvin started kicking ass and taking names in the ’50s, playing hard-ass military characters in “Attack,” “Pillars of the Sky” and “The Rack” (all 1956). Some of his best gigs include “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962), “The Killers” (1964), “Ship of Fools” (1965), “Point Blank” (1967) and “Sergeant Ryker” (1968). He reprised his role as Major John Reisman in the TV movie, “The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission” (1985), and his last film was “The Delta Force” (1986), which co-starred Chuck Norris, who will be appearing in “The Expendables 2.” Coincidence? We think not.

richardroundtree.jpgRichard Roundtree

Who’s the black private dick who’s a sex machine with all the chicks? It’s the star of “Shaft,” of course, and as Isaac Hayes would say, you’re “damn right” he would be part of Charles Bronson’s team. Roundtree would spend most of the movie punching dudes in the face, running over other dudes with sweet pimped-out cars and bedding bodacious babes — all at the same time. Roundtree was so damn cool as John Shaft, he went on to play the role in “Shaft’s Big Score!” (1972), “Shaft in Africa” (1973) and in the “Shaft” TV series (1973-1974). He was also in “Earthquake,” so in reference to this, he’d have to greet Bronson and the rest of the gang in every scene with, “What’s shakin’?” Damn right.

genehackman.jpgGene Hackman

So who’s the big baddie these dudes would be taking on, anyway? The villain of the ’70s “Expendables” would definitely be played by Gene Hackman, one of the hardest of the ’70s hardasses. Hackman still holds the title of the best comic book movie villain of all time (sorry, Heath) for his inimitable portrayal of Lex Luthor in “Superman” (1978) and its sequels, and he kicked all sorts of butt as Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle, the rugged and occasionally racist detective in “The French Connection” (1971) and its 1975 sequel. Hackman was also a part of “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972), went crazy paranoid in “The Conversation” (1974) and took “A Bridge Too Far” (1977). Who would dare take on the greatest criminal mind of our time?

clinteastwood.jpgObligatory Cameos: Clint Eastwood & Charlton Heston

The scene in the church between Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Scwarzenegger in “The Expendables” was completely bizarre. What the hell were they supposed to be talking about, anyway? And why did Arnold look like he was about to completely break at any second (or something)? It was weird and anti-climactic, but hey, it was a scene featuring Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Our choices for the ’70s equivalents of Arnold & Bruce are Clint Eastwood and Charlton Heston. The “Dirty Harry” star could just kind of growl and squint and the “Omega Man” himself could just kind of grin and mug whilst Charles Bronson glares and looks tired. There wouldn’t even have to be any spoken dialogue — how’s that for confusing?

Who would you cast in a 1970’s era “Expendables” movie? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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