The A.V. Club has agreed to sponsor 10 days of programming in’s Summer Drive-In Series. We’re providing a preview of each day’s movie (or movies) here.

Up today: Hudson Hawk (1991)


Richard E. Grant’s wonderful diary With Nails provides fascinating insight into how 1991’s notorious Hudson Hawk went horribly awry. Heavyweight producer Joel Silver and star Bruce Willis seem to inhabit a different universe than screenwriter Daniel Waters and director Michael Lehmann (both of Heathers fame), money was thrown around mindlessly, and no bad idea was turned down, including Danny Aiello’s self-serving suggestion that his character show up at the end despite blowing up but good in one of the film’s many clattering setpieces. The result is a gargantuan In Like Flint style spy spoof with Willis as a smartass burglar who becomes mixed up with scenery-devouring bad guys Grant and Sandra Bernhard alongside blue-collar sidekick Aiello. Hawk contains many of the elements that would make Austin Powers such an iconic franchise—campy humor, zingy riffing on the globe-trotting spy genre, outsized performances and a proudly retro sensibility—but in a less palatable, appealing form.

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