50 Movies for 50 States Part Two: The `80s — #11 – Hawaii, Film – Hard Ticket to Hawaii

#11 – Hawaii, Hard Ticket to Hawaii

Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987), a Malibu Bay Films production, written and directed by Andy Sidaris, with Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Harold Diamond, Cynthia Brimhall, Patty Duffek and Rodrigo Obregon, cinematography by Howard Wexler, original music by Gary Stockdale, editing by Michael Haight, filmed at the Kaluakoi Resort in Moloka'i, Hawaii and the surrounding area

The plot – A pair of buxom, blonde female “agents” (It’s a little unclear what type of “agents” they are supposed to be…) find a cache of diamonds belonging to a drug kingpin, who will stop at nothing to get back his family jewels. The Playmates enlist the help of their spy buddies to help protect them. Unrelated initially but ultimately crucial to the main plot is a subplot involving a killer snake that was injected with the blood of cancer-ridden rats and manages to get loose.

Once upon a time there lived a man named Andy Sidaris … and he liked tits.

I know what you’re thinking. “So?”

But Andy really liked tits. Not like the average red-blooded male, who might take pleasure in the occasional peek at a woman’s life-giving milk vessels but more-or-less chooses to contain their giddiness lest they offend any close relations of the female persuasion. Andy liked tits and he wasn’t afraid to shout it from the rooftops like some modern-day tit prophet — a Nostradamus of boobies.

Andy Sidaris, in case you’re not familiar with his reputation, was a television director. Some might say he was a damn fine television director. Okay … he won SEVEN Emmys, so as far as his television work was concerned, Sidaris was a pro.

In the late 1960s, Andy directed a little sports television show for ABC called “Wide World of Sports.” But, as we all know, sports were not Andy’s first passion and, inevitably, his attention turned to the nubile young cheerleaders who graced the sidelines of the football and basketball games that “Wide World of Sports” covered on their program, as well as the occasional pretty young women in the stands. Eventually, Andy ordered his cameraman to focus more attention on T&A between plays – a move which was dubbed the “honey shot.” The “honey shot” was a huge success. In retrospect, some (Okay … Wikipedia) have referred to Sidaris as a “pioneer” in sports television … thanks in part to the fact that he really, really liked boobies.

Throughout the 1970s, Sidaris began expanding his body of work to include non-sports programming, including film.

Finally, in the 1980s, Andy discovered his true calling.

With his wife Irene producing, Andy began directing (and writing – a true auteur!) an independently-financed series of films that’s been referred to as his BBB series. That’s Bullets, Bombs and Babes, although more accurately the BBB should probably stand for Boobs, Boobs and Boobs. Beginning with 1985’s Malibu Express, the BBB series followed a simple format: hire a bunch of former Playboy Playmates (later, Penthouse Pets as well), teach them some crude martial arts and equip them with all sorts of weaponry, and make up some bullshit storyline having to do with spies or Russians or something. All of this was really just an excuse to get the ladies to take off their clothes … frequently.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii was Sidaris’s follow-up to Malibu Express and set a precedent for his later films. Rather than focus the film around a male protagonist, as was the case with Malibu Express, Hard Ticket to Hawaii puts two ass-kicking women up front – Dona Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, both former Playboy Playmates. In minor roles that showcased their best … uhm … “assets”, were two other Playmates.

Maybe I’ve given you the impression that there’s not much to these women aside from their bodies. Hardly. I won’t go as far as to refer to Sidaris as a feminist … still, compared with the male characters in Hard Ticket to Hawaii, the women seem far stronger and far more intelligent.

Donna (Dona Speir) and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlson) are masters of weaponry. Their just as deadly and accurate with a throwing star or a pair of nunchucks as they are with a pistol or a grenade.

Compare that to Rowdy (Ronn Moss), who chooses the bazooka as his primary weapon because of its “accuracy” or Malibu Express‘s Cody, whose terrible aim is a running joke throughout the first film. Although they’re on the same side, if it came down to a shootout, it’s clear the ladies would be in control. Even Jade (kickboxing “pioneer” Harold Diamond saddled with an unusually feminine moniker) has nothing on these femme fatales. Is it their fault that they do their best thinking in the hot tub … topless? I do my best thinking in the hot tub topless!

Anyway, I don’t want to get too bogged down talking about the sexual politics of Hard Ticket to Hawaii. Last week’s film was probably a better outlet for that type of discussion. After all, taking Hard Ticket to Hawaii too seriously defeats the purpose. After all, why should I take a film seriously that doesn’t take itself seriously? This movie is pure exploitation and there isn’t one full minute without some sort of crazy poo poo going on. In short, it delivers. There are boobs. There are bombs. There are babes. There are bullets. When it comes to a movie fully delivering on what it proclaims to be, you can’t pick a better movie than Hard Ticket to Hawaii.

The action scenes in Hard Ticket to Hawaii are legendary in their ridiculousness. Try searching it on YouTube if you don’t believe me. I’d be hard-pressed to choose my favorite sequence.

Maybe it’s the scene where an evil henchman chases our male leads on a skateboard, while holding a blow-up doll and firing at them with an Uzi (the weapon of choice for any `80s action hero or villain.) This scene ends in glorious overkill when Rowdy pulls out a bazooka and blasts the baddie into oblivion, making sure to fire off a second missile at the inflatable sex toy.

Or maybe it’s the scene where one of the agents dispatches his enemy with razorblades affixed to a Frisbee – and by “dispatches”, I mean “slices off his fingers.”

Or maybe it’s the “snake in a toilet” scene that Steve of Bad Idea Podcast described to me on Twitter as “like a religious experience.”

If there ever was a mad cult to be led by a charismatic old pervert like Andy Sidaris, I’d be the first in line to drink the Kool-Aid. Sadly, however, Sidaris died in 2007. No doubt he was carried to heaven by a pair of large-breasted angels while the theme from Hard Ticket To Hawaii played as a fanfare as he entered the pearly gates. Or at least that’s how I like to imagine it.

A simple, yet elegant tombstone: “Here lies Andy Sidaris. He liked tits. He liked tits A LOT.”

From the soundtrack: “Hard Ticket to Hawaii” performed by

Next week: Idaho


50 Movies for 50 States Contest Scoreboard

Tuesday’s contest was a showdown between @ghwalters and @LCosgrove. In the end, @ghwalters was the winner by a mere six minutes, breaking the tie which has hung over the 50 Movies for 50 States guessing game for the last several weeks. Make sure to check out @LCosgrove’s informative and entertaining podcast, Bad Idea Podcast. It’s a beautiful thing.

@iceybloop – 2

@ZeekZombieMan – 1

@DraconicVerses – 2

@VicarOfVHS – 2

@ghwalters – 4

@lowdudgeon – 2

@unclegeeky – 2

@LCosgrove – 2

@GCDB – 2

Every Tuesday, a new screenshot. Guess the movie, win 2 points. Remember: Only dirty cheaters use IMDb to play the 50 Movies for 50 States guessing game. If you’re a cheater, I will find you out and scold you.

Want to play? Follow Matt on Twitter at @CM_MattDunn.

Click here for the Instant Gratification archive.

Click here for the 50 Movies for 50 States archive

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