While typing up a treatise on Pumping Iron, I discovered “Day of the Schwarzenegger” on the USA network. Terminator 2 was on, and it was up to where Linda Hamilton’s attacking Dr. Dyson. Cool, let’s watch. Some notent notables:
- Edward Furlong’s wearing a Public Enemy T-shirt. Who needs cyborgs from the future to off this kid? Surely SOMEONE at his high school wants to beat up the white kid wearing a Public Enemy T-shirt — especially if he’s got a sheaf of bangs in his face like that one goth kid in the Raisins episode of “South Park.” (By the way, someone totally had to explain “Raisins” to me.)
- S. Epatha Merkerson (of “Law & Order,” but then again 90% of all actors are of “Law & Order”) plays Dr. Dyson’s wife. Not exactly a plum role — pretty much just crying and screaming — but still.
- Robert Patrick is underrated and good. Even if he were overrated he`d still be underrated. Kind of like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Kind of the opposite of Duke University.
- Linda Hamilton is underrated and good. But I can’t think about her too much or it reminds me of James Cameron. Mojitos and mid-life crises for everyone!
I enjoyed T2 and its weirdly poignant ending (sneefiest robot thumbs-up ever), so I decided to stick around for the Big Arnie movie that followed it: Raw Deal (1986).
Oh, my frippin` frip. Monty, this seems strange to me. I wanted to watch all of it so I could provide a full heckle, but I just couldn’t. It was so Grade Z and inscrutable — traits exacerbated by the fact that EVERYBODY is in this movie. As in, “That’s that dude from Law & Order — normally the stuff he says makes sense.” I facepalmed twice from the cast alone.
Steven Hill, the dude on the left, is the one from Raw Deal. S. Epatha Merkerson is on the right.
(Quick sidebar about this picture: Separately they are dude from Raw Deal, lady from “Baywatch Nights,” Lumiere, Sam the Eagle, dude from Catwoman and Reba the Mail Lady. But together they are the Best. Cast. Ever. Also, Angie Harmon burns my eyes with hottness. Also, no one puts Baby in the corner. )
Okay. Back to Raw Deal:
- I went to IMDb to check out some things. The plot summary says something about Big Arnie having to be the sheriff of a small North Carolina town and crossing and double crossing and shenanigans. Yeah, I didn’t get that at all. I pretty much couldn’t tell who was good or bad or double agent or triple agent, but verily I wasn’t trying too hard. And if anything was supposed to be North Carolina I`m going to have to give that a big no. The whole movie looked shot in Vancouver before “shot in Vancouver” was invented — replete with Degrassi High film stock.
- Here’s an idea — if your star has a huge Austrian accent, why not give him an Austrian name? Mark Kaminsky? Pirates.
- Big Arnie has his hair slicked back like Renaldo the Heel. Every time he appeared in a scene I had that complete, fully articulated thought in my internal monologue: “Big Arnie has his hair slicked back like Renaldo the Heel.” It was very distracting.
- At one point he robs a woman at gunpoint in the back of a car, and she just reacts like, “Oh, you dashing rake, here’s all my jewelry.” But wa-a-a-it, I know that redhead from somewhere. Also, she looks like Mischa Barton, fulfilling today’s “hey, she looks like Mischa Barton” quota. Thanks to IMDb, I see she is Micki from the “Friday the 13th” TV series! BRAAAAAWK! This is a series that needs to be released on DVD in a big way. Cursed antiques, people — CURSED ANTIQUES. Of course, the part before the opening credits was always the best part of the show — except maybe for the spooky tinny trumpet Tower of Terror credits sequence (owowo cursed antiques!) And the dude was totally proto-Xander. But I digress.
I snarfed this image from Olaf’s F13 fan page. She made this face in *every episode*.
- A kingpin refers to “smack” and “junk.” I dunno — seems like a big drug kingpin wouldn’t talk like a community college narc. Maybe you shouldn’t write a screenplay after a latte and a reading of “Naked Lunch.”
- It had Robert Davi in it. Prolly you don’t know him by name — I sure didn’t, so here’s a picture:
Okay, don’t freak out? But you’ve got some DiCaprio on your shoulder.
So he sort of looks like Edward James Olmos. He and Big Arnie have these pointless Grade Z manlier-than-thou zing-offs:
Big Arnie: I`m sure Max has made many mistakes.
Robert Davi: Never the same one twice.
Big Arnie: That’s what she said.
Robert Davi: Takes one to know one.
Big Arnie: “I Know This Much Is True” by Wally Lamb.
Robert Davi: “I Know This Much Is True” by Spandau Ballet.
Big Arnie: Faced.
- It had Joe Regalbuto in it — you know, Frank Fontana from “Murphy Brown”? And I didn’t have to resort to IMDb to find any of that information. So if it’s wrong feel free to mock me. Hell, feel free to mock me regardless.
- This movie supports my conviction that Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a bad actor. All the actors here are hung out to dry — whether it’s Steven Hill fake bad golfing or Darren “poor man’s Gene Hackman” McGavin strolling in and out of a poorly-blocked and poorly-framed scene. And yet Big Arnie holds his own. The dialogue, with the Austrian accent that wouldn’t die, is as through a glass darkly, but for a dude that took up acting by force at 28 he’s really kind of a natural.
There is much more to say about Big Arnie but I`ll save it until I`m master of this Mac issue.
I got some complaints about The Return of the King. I got to express them before I go to film school and gain an appreciation for how hard it is to make a movie and what a prissy whiny Tolkien pedant I am for complaining about the most epic epic that ever epicked.
What was missing:
- 1) Saruman. Sooooo lemme get this straight. You have one human Big Bad that kicks Gandalf’s ass, drives the Fellowship into Moria, possesses the King of Rohan and manufactures an army “bred for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men” and in the end he receives his comeuppance *off-screen*? Move along, nothing to see here, Ents got it under control — oh, but Pippin, it looks like a Palantir got magically swept out of the top of the tower — pick that up for me won’t you?
Pfft. I didn’t need a Shire-scouring, but a little closure with Saruman and Grima would have been nice kthx.
Screw you guys, I`m going back to Star Wars.
- 2) Eowyn and Faramir. Was anybody satisfied with this resolution?
Eowyn: Wow, I sure was in love with Aragorn but ever since I was spurned and then suicidally heroic I just feel like a new woman — no need to show you though! I`ll just hold Faramir’s hand at the end though you never saw us so much as go to Applebee’s together.
Faramir: Wow, I was totally going to bring home a three-movie subplot about how I could never live up to my brother in my father’s eyes, and you`d think after not taking the Ring for myself (tho not as heroically as in the book) and nearly getting immolated by my dad I would get a little more satisfaction. But I guess I`ll just hold Eowyn’s hand and there’s really no need to show you why.
They did WHAT to my story arc?
Before I saw the movie I saw a publicity still of Eowyn and Aragorn in the Houses of Healing, and I was all like YAY for closure and moping and reconciliation, not to mention Aragorn’s acceptance as king by his people, which is nice. BUT NO. And apparently having your arm shattered by a Nazgul doesn’t mess up your stuff at all.
- 3) Sam and the Grey Havens. COME ON, JACKSON, THROW ME A FRIPPIN` BONE HERE. Even MAD Magazine caught how random and slapdash the Grey Havens stuff was — gotta go, can’t explain, smell you later. What this moment needed for extra special poignancy and tragedy (not that I didn’t cry like a first-grader anyway) was the realization that Sam will go too someday. Even Sam, the uber-Hobbit, who came back and got a wife and kids and got everything back to normal, will NEVER be like the other Hobbits, will ALWAYS be marked by his experience. SO Last Unicorn.
Of course, you`d have to give the fact that he was a ring-bearer more than the fleeting glimpse it got, but it would be worth it. I read that Tolkien’s stories are little more than a series of episodes that reassert the fundamental nature of each character. And it’s true that not one character changes from beginning to end — not even Eowyn, Lord love her. So I`m thinking the one profundity that comes of all this you-are-what-you-are is that even though Sam has carried The One Ring and even though he will have immortality in return he will always be Sam. I am dying of poignant
All this and no Oscar nom? Pwned.
What could have been cut to make room for it:
- Invasion of that guard post. You know, that one place? That the orcs took by river? That one time? Didn’t need to see it, should have been trimmed up, would have increased the impact of the last battle. Show the boats arriving, Faramir leaving. Maybe emphasize carnage of invasion when he leads the cavalry back. Trim up resulting battle. Done and done.
- Some of the Denethor stuff. It’s not as important and it doesn’t come to much. All you need is half of his talk with Gandalf and the dismissal/eating scene with Faramir and Pippin.
- Some of the Gates of Doom buildup and battle. Aragorn is kingly and heroic. Got it. The emphasis should be on the hobbits at this point.
- Everything with Frodo and Sam until Shelob. Gollum is duplicitous; Frodo is tormented; Samwise is loyal. I get it. I can understand catching up the audience, but once you’re on a third installment you’re punishing viewers who’ve seen the first two more than your helping viewers that haven’t. If they`d left in the scene at the end of Two Towers where Sam semi-apologizes to Gollum, and Gollum seems to accept it but really doesn’t, that’s all you need.
Hey, you know what else I would have changed?
4) The explanation of what was going on with Arwen. I can understand, OK, you need some reason for Elrond to suddenly take an interest and give Aragorn his sword. But wouldn’t it be enough that Arwen misses her boat and proves to Elrond that she ain’t going? So if Sauron wins, oh well, guess she’s pwned, too. Maybe that’s what Elrond meant with his “Arwen’s life is now tied to the fate of the Ring” stuff, but in that case why is she all loafed out on her fainting couch? Can’t get much sewing done when you’re unconscious.
So much heckling. So. Much. Heckling. I know this must blow your mind — someone saw Halle Berry’s Catwoman and has a bunch of snotty comments to make? Jinkies, what a scoop! But here’s the deal — when someone says a movie is bad, I like to know EXACTLY what is bad about it. Bad acting? Bad internal logic? Bad what? Is it bad enough to be good (Van Helsing, Center Stage) or just bad enough to be irritating (L.A. Confidential, Sphere)? Would I watch some of it if it came on TV?
Catwoman for me was missing the high camp that makes a bad movie good. The acting wasn’t bad, just lacking — with the exception of Benjamin Bratt, who was at his “Law & Order” darndest, and Sharon Stone, who knew exactly what movie she was in and dialed it up to 11. If Halle Berry had played it to the back row, or if she`d had that Bruce Campbell sly-boots-ness that rings my chimes so strongly, this movie could have hanged ten in the badness department. Still, as it was, it was nice and bad anyway.
Oops, I thought this was Dogwoman. Mah bad.
I went with my preferred heckling partner, and many of the following heckles are hers.
There are spoilers galore here. I hope you don’t mind.
Gawd, that was a lot. I can’t stop heckling sometimes. If you need more Halle heckle, here’s someone else’s vigorous (but brief) heckle of Monster’s Ball.
One thing that amazed me was how PG this movie was. No sex, no bad language, hokey violence — just dry as a bone. It reminds me that Alien vs. Predator is PG-13, which is refrikkadiculous. How can you take two intensely R-rated franchises and stir them up into hard and tasteless PG-13 muffins? I was excited for a while, when I figured out this was going to be a movie and not just a video game, and now — not so much.