Movie Music Mega Madness: Dragnet



Dragnet (1987)

220px-Dragnet_movieI don’t even know where to begin with this musical moment. I stumbled across this amusing and embarrassing nugget of 80s kitsch when I was watching a review of a very old Tom Hanks movie called Mazes & Monsters (I’m sure we’ll review that for a future Schlocktoberfest) and even though I’ve seen Dragnet a 100 times I must’ve forgotten this song. Performed by Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks rapping terribly (Hanks sounds like a Beastie Boy to be honest) it even had it’s own video which to my memory and knowledge I’ve never seen until now. It’s downright hysterical. It reminds me of Cop Rock.

If you’ve never seen Dragnet, the premise is simple. It’s a spoof/homage of the classic 1960s TV show with polar-opposite buddy-cops, by-the-book Dan Ackroyd and rough-around-the-edges Tom Hanks solving a major crime in LA. It was one of the first TV adapted movies and it was funny (at the time—It’s been ages since I’ve seen it) and I still remember and quote from it from time to time. But remember when Tom Hanks was only a comedic actor? This was right before Big and ever since he’s been pretty much Mr. Serious Actor although he’s still one fantastic personality and talent but I miss the old crazy funny Hanks.

What was it about the 80s and rap music though? I know it was a very new, exciting and fresh musical genre but everyone and their brother got involved and mostly to bad effect. One could argue that even the professional rappers of those early days are not up to musical snuff (Kurtis Blow? Whodini? MC Hammer?) but that’s akin to comparing Gerry & The Pacemakers to Led Zeppelin I suppose. Every decade has its pioneers and they all seem tamer than the new. But all you would need is a few minutes to check out old rap youtube clips and cringe at what was hip (hop) at the time. And like I said, everyone got involved when they probably shouldn’t have. Like Rodney Dangerfield.

Or the 85 Chicago Bears.

Hell, even Freddy Krueger had TWO rap songs courtesy of The Fat Boys and Will Smith!

But why would Dragnet, starring two older white dudes have not only a rap song about LA’s cult crime wave but also have them dance in the respective video? It’s like every decision in the 80s was 15% dares and 85% cocaine-inspired.

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