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What do you get when you unite an all star cast consisting of Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, and Elle Macpherson? In most cases a pretty decent movie.....unless that movie is directed by Joel Schumacher. 1997, Schumacher put the final nail into the coffin that was the Batman movie franchise with his second take on the DC Comics flagship character in Batman & Robin.
This was almost the end for comic book based films, and in a sense it was for several years, as Hollywood, and fans decided it was time for a much needed hiatus from one epic celluloid disaster after another. Batman & Robin flatlined the film series with it's fourth installment until it was later revisited as Batman Begins in 2005, and it's resurrection was only made possible with careful execution of the Quickening Principle, by completely (and I mean completely) ignoring the previous nightmares.
Batman & Robin was so overloaded with neon colors, musicals, and bad acting, that it actually made the original Batman movie starring Adam West look dramatic. There was more corn and cheese in this film that it actually starts to look like the last shit I took. Schumacher's explanation for the vivid use of color was that he was trying to give the films a comic book feel.....great idea Joe, that really fucking worked. Nothing makes more sense for a villiain in Gotham than drenching onesself in glow in the dark paint, carry neon nun-chuks, and stand underneath black lights.....all in an effort to hide from the ever watchful eyes of the Dark Knight. Why not wear a sandwich board that says 'Hey Batman, come kick my ass!".
Aside from amazingly bad visuals, Joel Schumacher is a master at directing any acting ability out of his performers. Not since George Lucas, has their been a more accomplished expert at this. Of course Schwarzenegger never had any, but I like to think that Clooney, Thurman, and maybe even O'Donnell had an ounce of artistic ability prior to jumping on the set......and if they did.....Schumacher dragged it out back, fucked it to death, and then shot it.
Batman & Robin represents a footnote in time for comic book movies, and the comic book industry as whole. Not only did the films cease to draw, but the comic book world was collapsing around it. The movie highlights what quite possibly was the darkest hour for comic books, and nearly brought about it's end. There is nothing watchable in this film. Nothing worth seeing, unless you truly want to suffer and throw away 125 minutes of your life. Batman & Robin is so bad, that it's almost unworthy of the Berry. Almost. In fact it is so bad, I will annoint it twice.
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
HULK SMASH! Not in this film he doesn't. No, why make an action film out of a character built on destruction when you can instead overdevelop an unecessary backstory about a young boy who grew up in an abusive household. Great idea.
Ang Lee, the director of Brokeback Mountain , in his first foray with a comic book based feature failed miserably. Trying to show an emotionally damaged man who becomes a monster (with the help of some genetic mutations through nano-technology, apparently because radiation is TOO dated) he leaves us gasping and gawking as to why? The Hulk doesn't even appear on the screen until an hour has passed and by the time he does.....who cares. Really? The only decent scene in this film, is when the Hulk breaks out of an underground military base and goes on a rampage....albeit a very brief one, that again doesn't occur till the end of the film. He throws tanks, catches rockets, takes down helicopters and jumps across the desert miles at a time. That concludes the only cool part of the film, which amounts to a whopping 5 minutes (and I'm being really fucking generous on that time estimate).
Ang should have taken a page from the old 70's TV show, and had Eric Bana (the dude who played Banner) hanging a picture on a wall, strike his thumb accidentally with his tack hammer, Hulk-Out and destroy a couple of cities......and maybe Gloucester, Massachussetts. That would have been it. That's all you need. It's the Hulk for love of Fletch! You could have used Nick Nolte (who was completely useless in this feature) as the first casualty.
The Hulk sucked big green ass. Plain and simple. Aside from the action sequence I mention above, there is no reason to submit yourself to this torture. Use the scene selection menu, and skip ahead and enjoy. I assure you will miss nothing before, and if you shut it off when he transforms back into Banner, you will have yourself a splendid viewing experience. If you don't listen to me, and watch the entire film, you will only end up hating yourself, and me.....because I am always right.
Hamlin Grade: .5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Are we spotlighting movies based off of comic books this week? No. Not intentionally, but it is happening. The one thing we will always spotlight. Bad Movies.
In 2003, Marvel Comics thought it might be a good idea to ride the wave of comic character based features by mining their rich history and making a film about one of their lesser known characters. Enter Daredevil. Now, by himself, in comic book format, Daredevil is a pretty interesting character. As a young boy, Matt Murdock was splashed by toxic (and probably radioactive material, this being the theme of the 1960s....can't imagine why) waste in the face, and instantly blinded. However, while the toxic material did take his eye-sight, it enhanced his other four senses to such a degree (superhero like even!) that he would never succumb to his new handicap. As he grew older, he was trained by a Ninja master named Stick (who was also blind, and by the way none of this is in the film, so don't get excited) he eventually evolved into the costume vigilante known as Daredevil. Daredevil would make a career patrolling the New York City neighborhood known as Hell's Kitchen (it's now called Clinton presumably to help real estate sales...duh) in the evening, and by day, as an attorney defend the rights of victims as attorney Matt Murdock. Daredevil the movie, covers none of this, other than his freak accident.
The casting of Daredevil, honestly could have been a lot worse. Ben Affleck I think does a decent job as Matt Murdock, and in costume as Daredevil himself. Although not costumed, his arch-nemesis Bullseye was played well by Colin Farell. His love interest Elektra played by the lovely Jennifer Garner, and the Kingpin of Crime, played by Michael Duncan Clarke. Quite an cadre of actors. The one thing missing....a story. The movie makes little effort to piece the players together, and in the end becomes a variety of vignettes that never find a way to gel.
The biggest problem (aside from lack of script), was that Daredevil isn't the household name that Spiderman, or the X-Men are and the character doesn't have the strength to truly support a film by himself.....especially without a story. While Daredevil, does have a couple of cool action sequences, including a pointless fight between Elektra and Daredevil in a playground, it provides little else. Matt Murdock also makes no effort himself to hide the fact that he is Daredevil. Isn't that the point of being a blind lawyer, so that no one will suspect that you are actually breaking the law in the evening by supporting and in fact promoting vigilantism? By the end of the movie, everyone knows who Daredevil is, including a reporter Ben Urich played by Joe Pantoliano (the asshole that fucked over everyone in the Matrix) who is about to release a newspaper article at the end of the film announcing that Daredevil is Matt Murdock, but doesnt'....why? Because he has morals? Or maybe he thinks that Daredevil is doing some good? Perhaps, but we'll never know. The Forensic Assistant played by Kevin Smith (he used to write Daredevil, so of course he should have a cameo) even figures out Daredevil's true identity.
This movie really becomes an example of how not to make a comic book character movie. Not only does it totally confuse those not familiar with the characters, it completely alienates the fans who love and support the comic book. Keep your hand on a six pack of beer, and your finger on the fast forward button, and you might actually be able to milk some entertainment from Daredevil. The man without fear. Oooh scary.
Hamlin Grade: 1
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Superman Returns. Why'd you bother?
After a mysterious 5 year dissapearance, Superman finds his way back to Earth, in probably the most regrettable superhero sequel of all time. Taking a page from the Highlander franchise, Superman Returns embraces the Quickening Principle by completely ignoring Superman III, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (and why? both movies, as bad as they were, were far superior to this flying piece of shit) and supposedly picking up where Superman II left off. But not really.
While it does follow some aspects of the story from part 2, it completely ignores others. Lois Lane, played by Kate Bosworth (who is famous for something, but I haven't figured it out yet.....I don't think it's her acting ability, and certainly not her looks) is the bane of this film. She's a cunt. From minute one, she's completely unlikeable. She also harbors an anger for Superman. Why? Cuz he left Earth without saying goodbye. Get over yourself bitch. Now here's the story flaw. Yes, in Superman II, Superman and Lois had a relationship while he was human, but then realizing she wasn't good in the sack (like the ho's from Krypton) he went and got his powers back. At the conclusion of the second film, Superman also pulled some jedi mind trick action, and erased her memory, so she would have no recollection of their brief relationship. So, from our point of view, why is Lois so angry at Superman? Their relationship was based on an interview, and that was it. Really no relationship at all, professional colleagues at best. So her being angry at Superman, makes as much sense as a local reporter being pissed at a ball player who gets traded to another team and never speaks to him again. Did I mention she's a cunt? Ok, so let's suspend disbelief and forget all that happened in the last film, or at least that part, and assume, she and superman were having some sort affair, and he left her. Superman returns, to find her married, and with a child.....who is roughly 5 years old....HMMMMMM. We'll get back to that.
Superman once again faces off against his old adversary Lex Luthor. This is one of things that has always bothered me about Superman. There is no one capable of fighting him. Aside from Superman II, which pitted him against opponents from his homeworld, who can fight him? Really? So the greatest villian he has, is a really smart bald guy. That's like throwing Stephen Hawkings in the ring with Mike Tyson (when he could fight). Does that seem like a even battle (no, but holy shit I would pay to see that)? Even when Lex Luthor has kryptonite (the green rock from Superman's homeworld that causes him harm), you know he doesn't stand a chance, so what's the point? If you can't bench press skyscrapers, really you have no business throwing down a challenge to Superman.
The creepiest thing about this movie, is that they found an actor in Brandon Routh, a veritable clone of Christopher Reeve. On paper, that may seem cool, but in reality, its fucked up....way to creepy. His voice was similiar too. When it comes down to it, Christopher Reeve, much like Timothy Dalton is to Bond, is the one true Superman. Everything else is just Sean Connery....or in this case Brandon Routh. The film makers couldn't help themselves either, having already fucked up the story, why stop there, let's fuck up the costume too! Let's make the red on his costume, dark burgundy, so it almost looks gray on screen, and can we make his boots really big, so they look like clown feet? You bet your ass we can! How about the logo on his chest? Can we make that smaller, and 3-D? Oh FUCK YEAH! Excellent, we now have the perfect harbinger for this abortion of a tale!
Ok back to that cunt Lane. Hints are dropped here and there, until finally it's revealed that Lois's little kid is in fact the spawn of Superman. How do we know this? Well, while be held captive by Luthor, the superkid tosses a piano at one of his henchmen to save his mother. But afterwards does nothing heroic or super to save them. So maybe this is why Lois is so mad? Perhaps, but who cares. She's so angry throughout the movie, that when I figure out why she's so angry at Superman, I'm glad he didn't say goodbye. I would have taken off on her too.
Superman Returns ends with an anti-climatic showdown between him and Luthor, and Taj (the kid from Van Wilder), and blah blah blah, who fucking cares at this point. Yeah he saves the day, visit's Lois's house, and meets his son, pillages a bunch of Brando's old lines while the kid is sleeping and then flys up into space. Will there be another Superman movie? Unfortunately, there probably will be. I only hope they ignore this movie too, and start fresh, and PLEASE do me one favor...giive Jimmy Olsen a fucking tie already. It's 2006!! Nobody, especially a kid in his 20's is wearing a bow tie, unless they are going to a prom! Superman Returns is a disaster throughout. Even the special effects are lame. The flying sequences are poorly done, and you can tell when it's CGI because of the poorly crafted clay looking face of the actor's computer model. Nothing can save this movie....except for the OFF button on your television.
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
If I were to be stuck on a desert isle and only permitted to watch the body of work of one filmmaker, it might be the Brothers Coen. I know, I know, technically speaking they are two different people, but they act as one entity. Has any filmmaker had as great a success as the Coen brothers did with their first three films? You would be hard pressed to surpass Blood Simple, Raising Arizona and Miller's Crossing as your first three films. Indeed, many filmmakers would be delighted if they had three such films in their entire career, but that's exactly what Joel and Ethan Coen produced straight out of the gate. And their growth from film to film was amazing. By the time they got to Miller's Crossing I began to think that they could do no wrong. They produced intelligent scripts, superbly shot, and they never went back to the same story, let alone genre.
So there I am on my desert island with nothing but a TV, a DVD player and a stack of Coen brother's movies. If at this point you are worried about what possible power source I would use to run these mechanisms, I suggest you stop reading this review and begin watching Lost. So there I am, I've just inserted Barton Fink, when suddenly a giant wave comes crashing in and washes all the other films away. Oh well, what am I worried about? After all, I have no foreknowledge that The Lady Killers, Intolerable Cruelty, The Big Lebowski and The Hudsucker Proxy are all going to be sub-par, I've got the Coen Brothers fourth film, Barton Fink to look forward to. This is the 1991 film that won every major award at the Cannes Film Festival, what could possibly go wrong?
And thus began my slow disillusionment with the brothers Coen. Mind you, I'm not completely down on them, and at times (as with Fargo) I'm downright giddy with excitement at the thought of one of their films coming out, but they've lost that special aura and I'll never be able to look at them the same way again. Well we only build up idols to tear them down, so let's bring in that wrecking ball, shall we?
Let's get the story out of the way right off the bat. Barton Fink is the darling of Broadway. His current play is a big hit and Hollywood comes a calling. Barton has certain ethics, however, and he doesn't want to compromise his work. He's passionate about writing stories of the common man. Aw heck, what harm could come from a little time spent in Los Angeles? Oh, losing your soul for starters, and that's exactly what happens to Barton during the course of this film.
Helping him along the way is John Mahoney playing W.P. Mayhew, a brilliant older author who came out to Hollywood long ago and quickly lost his own soul. He now spends his days punishing his liver. Barton looks to him for advice when he should be looking at him as a cautionary tale. Then there's Judy Davis playing Mayhew's wife who has been trying to help her mate out by writing his works and now turns her attention to Barton. Judy's thanks for her little infidelity is to wind up dead by Fink's side the next morning. And let's not forget the traveling salesman, Charlie Meadows, played by John Goodman. Charlie's the only one who believes in Barton and tries to help him out by disposing of the body. Turns out Charlie is an expert in the field as he's a serial killer himself. And playing the part of Fink is John Turturro. Never my favorite actor, he's downright annoying in this film. Whine, whine, whine, cry, cry, cry. There's nothing quite so pathetic as Turturro squirting a few.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the Coen Brothers were trying to do with this film. The underlying themes are apparent enough, but what led them to make this particular film? And then it hit me; it's their homage to David Lynch. Sure it is; weird things that show up simply because they're visually stimulating, the lethargic pace, and even Barton's hair which can't help but remind you of Jack Nance from Eraserhead. Or maybe Kid
Barton Fink isn't interesting enough visually to carry me along, nor is its storyline strong enough to keep my attention. The film is less than the sum of its parts. There's a brief bright spot when Tony Shalhoub shows up, but he disappears far too quickly. God I hope Fargo washes up on shore soon.
Hamlin Grade: 3
Big Daddy Yum Yum
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. So you thought a holiday that celebrates our total rape, exploitation, conquering, and eventual extermination of a people would go untouched by us? No my friends, the Knights of the Bad Movie are here as always to defend the undefendable (unless it's in the form of a spectacularly shitty ass film....like The Bronx Executioner), and in some small way, right the wrongs of the past by bringing justice to our Native American friends.
Initially, I was going to review 1492: Conquest of Paradise, starring Gerard Depardieu as Christopher Columbus which chronicled the adventures of the famed explorer during his pursuit of the New World. While his efforts did open the doors for future explorers, the fact still remains that he landed in the Virgin Islands, and not the continent of North America where he is credited to this day as the discoverer of....and it was he that fathered the downfall of the Native American. The truth is, that it was really all the fault of that son of bitch Amerigo Vespucci. So rather than review a movie that covers the birth of the Native American extermination, I thought it more appropriate to cover a film in which this holocaust is in it's full renaissance, for lack of a better term. And let's be honest, with the way that Gerard Dapardieu is looking these days, he'd be more believable in an infomercial explaining the Medicare Advantage to elderly people.That being said, I give you The Last of the Mohicans.
The title of the film is truly appropriate for this Thanksgiving holiday, as it highlights the crest of the Mohawk culture. The Last of the Mohicans is actually a great movie, but it does warehouse some outstanding bad movie elements. Set to the back drop of the French and Indian War, The Last of the Mohicans is a tale of a forbidden love, a love that just cannot be, but fights to blossom between Hawkeye (or Nathaniel Poe) played by Daniel Day-Lewis, and Cora Munro played by Madeleine Stowe. Nathaniel is the adopted son of the last of the Mohawk people, and Cora, the daughter of a British officer. See. Forbidden love.
The Last of the Mohicans does represent one of the finer war movies of that era. To date, there really hasn't been a decent movie about the Colonial times or the Revolutionary War....and no, Mel Gibson's The Patriot does not count. The battle sequences are spectacular, and the hand to hand combat scenes even better. Almost too good. Nathaniel, his step brother, and step father, are all formidable opponents. Unbeknownst to me, the Mohawks were actually back woods ninjas, that produced a unique fighting style, that combines the rifle, clubs, daggers, swords, and some Brazilian Jujitsu ground fighting techniques. I'm just fucking with you. They didn't really use swords. Several of the close quarters combat sequences were most likely inspiration for the Wachowski Brothers when they were filming Keanu during the Matrix.
The movie follows the fortuitous meeting of Nathaniel and his family and Cora, her sister, and Major Duncan Heyward as they are ambushed by a Huron raiding party. Nat and his crew save the day with Nin-hawk skills (Moh-ja?) and rescue the three travellers, and guide them to Fort William Henry which is under siege by the French (during this little camping trip, Nathaniel lays the ground work for the sweet loving he will eventually be administering to Cora). Sadly the Fort falls days later, and the group is trapped and forced to surrender alongside all of the British soldiers. The French offer gracious terms, and allow the defeated British army to leave the field of battle unharmed. However, during their march of shame, they are ambushed by the Huron (damn them!). Once again, the Huron, kill everyone, but Nat and friends, Cora, Alice and Duncan!
CANOE CHASE! Yes! Imagine the car chase scene from Ronin, and replace the high octane burning european sports cars, with deer skin wrapped canoes on the Hudson, and you have a action packed pursuit of epic proportions. From this point forward, The Last of the Mohicans becomes a cat and mouse chase, with a few more fight scenes peppered in for excitment. Daniel Day-Lewis, Oscar calibre (and winning) actor that he is, does have a tendency to lay it on a little thick, and sometimes over act. This movie is no exception. What has this film orbiting the realm of bad movies are some of the lines he spews throughout. Most could have been stated matter of factly, but DDL brandishes a fist in the air and belts out his lines like an orator on crack cocaine. Here's a sampling of some of his better speeches:
"Someday I think you and I are going to have a serious disagreement. "
"Well, we face to the north and, real subtle like, turn left. "
"I am Le Long Carabine! My death is a great honor to the Huron, take me! "
"In case your aim is better than your judgment. "
"My father's people say that at the birth of the sun and of his brother the moon, their mother died. So the sun gave to the earth her body, from which was to spring all life. And he drew forth from her breast the stars, and the stars he threw into the night sky to remind him of her soul. So there's the Cameron's monument. My folks' too, I guess." (this speech pretty much rocks Madeliene Stowe right out of her panties....I fill up a bit when I hear it too....DDL is the man!)
and by far my favorite:
"No, you submit, do you hear? You be strong, you survive... You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you. "
Throw in Madeleine Stowe's acting which reaches Dakota Fanning levels of irritation at times and you suddenly find yourself watching a bad movie called The Last of the Mohicans. A bad movie that is loaded with tons of goodness.
From all of us here at Bad Movie Knights, have a Happy Thanksgiving. To our Native American friends.....sorry our forefathers were such fucking assholes.
Hamlin Grade: 6
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
"Can you dig it?" Yes I can! Well, wait a minute, I'm pretty sure I can. That is, I think I really like this movie, or rather I remember digging it. Once. A long time ago. I remember the basics. The Warriors are one of many gangs in New York that get the summons to a big gang jamboree up in the Bronx. Once they get there, they are surrounded by other gangs with silly names in silly costumes, and a member of one of the other gangs shoots the gang leader supreme and blames the Warriors for the murder. The Warriors then have to fight their way through other gangs and cops back to their home turf in Brooklyn. I remember all of that, I just don't remember the finer points. Let's refresh our memories, shall we?
Oh, that's right, there are no finer points. This is simply a running movie. They get into a situation, fight their way out of it and run. They get into another situation, fight their way out of it and fun again. Repeat that with a few variations for 90 minutes. Looking at this movie with fresh eyes, it's actually a bit of a snore. It's the kind of movie that should be viewed at a drive-in, you know, where there are lots of distractions and you can just tune into the picture once in a while. That doesn't mean that there aren't a few really good bad movie moments in this film, it's just that they are few and far in-between.
I must point out that this was the Ultimate Director's Cut of the movie. What do you get for the extra expense? A whole lot of people who were involved in the film telling you what a great and original movie it is. And the director (Walter Hill who I admit to being a fairly big fan of) explaining how the movie would have been so much better if he had been able to follow his vision all the way through. He does so in this cut, but I can hardly say that the changes are revelatory. They mostly consist of two things; a brief intro as to the genesis of the story, and comic book-like transitions. Back in ancient Greece it appears that there was a tribe of mercenary soldiers, and after the war between Sparta and Athens they found themselves thousands of miles from safety and had to fight their way back. There now, makes everything better, doesn't it?
The Warrior's are the second third most pathetic New York gang I've ever witnessed in a movie coming in right behind the Jets and the Sharks. Who is buying this? And their baddest asses, James Remar, is just about as annoying an actor as you will ever find. "I'm going to be really intense in every part I ever play and I'm going to snarl all of my lines out through my ruined vocal chords! Don't try and stop me! I'll do it again! I'm intense!" Besides being pathetic, they're just plain stupid. I want them all to die. not just a couple of them, every single one of them and their stupid leather vests.
The only bright spot for me is the completely over the top acting of David Patrick Kelly who plays the leader of the Rogues. "Warriors, come out and play-yay. Warriors, come out and play-yay. Warriors, come out and play-yay!" You just can't teach a face like that. Nor can you teach a body like that. My god, look at the size of that kid's arms. Alfalfa had twenty pounds on the guy.
All I can say is that if these guys are running the neighborhood, thank god I don't live in Brooklyn. I might just giggle myself to death.
Hamlin Grade: 3
Big Daddy Yum Yum
"Who am I?" That question will haunt you throughout the entirety of this epic film. Fresh off his success with Platoon, Oliver Stone once again pairs up with superstar Charlie Sheen. You thought Viet Nam was a harrowing experience, but you haven't seen anything until you've delved into the world of Wall Street in the 1980's. Wall Street! "Any better and it would be a sin."
Charlie's traded in his fatigues and camouflage make-up in exchange for power ties and suspenders. That's the only way he can blend into the fast-paced, high tension world that is Wall Street! Charlie plays Budd Foxx, a trader who can't get to the top fast enough. Buddy's got a problem, however, as his career is stuck in a rut. He's desperate to play with the big dogs, big dogs like Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. There's something in Bud's way, though, as he just isn't that bright. In Sheen's most challenging role to date, he's actually able to fully inhabit a stupid person. It's amazing, just one look at his deer-in-the-headlight eyes and you know there's nothing going on in that head of his. How was he overlooked by the academy? If his acting was any better "it would be a sin." Wall Street!
And Gordon, he the devil. He's just trying to suck up as many souls as possible. Suck them up and spit them out. In Michael Douglas's most challenging role to date, he's able to perfectly play a soulless creepy guy. It's almost as if he's not acting, as if he really is a creepy guy. That's brilliant! That's Wall Street! He not only lures Bud in with the promise of money, but with sex as well, and that sex is in the form of Daryl Hannah. Surely a more gorgeous and talented actress has never graced the silver screen. In a Meryl Streep-like turn, she's able to doff her obviously Mensa-worthy intelligence and play someone who's truly vacuous. She completely disappears into the character of Darien Taylor. Wall Street!
But there's more. John C. McGinley stars as Marvin. Is there any part this man cannot play? No wonder Stone has also cast him in Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Nixon and Any Given Sunday. Clearly Ollie's got a hard-on for McGinley, and who can blame him? If he had only cast him in Alexander he would have had a sure-fire blockbuster on his hands. We've also got James Spader as Roger Barnes and Sean Young as Kate Gekko. Brilliant! Wall Street!
Then at the end of the movie, Charlie Sheen tries to cry not once, but twice. The first time in a scene with his real life father, I think he almost succeeded. Sheen on Sheen loving. Outstanding! Wall Street!
Quite frankly, the only thing keeping this film from being the best movie ever made is the addition of Terrance Stamp and Hal Holbrook in the film. Those two hacks would drag any movie down. Oliver Stone, how do you do it? "Who am I?" No, no, the question should be, "Who are you, Oliver Stone? Who are you?" Wall Street!
Hamlin Grade: 5
Big Daddy Yum Yum
While browsing through movies to purchase I ran across one I had not seen since Milli Vanilli last topped the pop charts; The January Man. As you might guess, my bad movie collection is, what some would call, impressive. Others would simply find it appalling. Once in a while, however, I treat myself to a good movie, and I recalled The January Man falling into that category. After reading the all star line up of Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandon, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Harvey Keitel, I bought it without giving it another thought.
Well, I'm reviewing it for my fellow Knights which means my memory is not so bueno. The January Man is a mystery thriller set in the big apple. Unfortunately, there is no real mystery to solve and this film is anything but thrilling. Kline gives perhaps his worst performance as Nick Starkey, an eccentric cop who has a knack for catching serial killers. Kline's attempt at a New York accent rivals Costner's work in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. God I Hate Costner! Keitel's portrayal of Starkey's brother, the Commissioner of police, possesses less flavor then Wonder Bread. Apparently there is no love lost between these two, and Sarandon completes the wicked triangle. Hold on, a second triangle of lust is created by Mastrantonio! Saucy!! Saucy!! As hot as this may sound, there is no chemistry between the players involved and the relationships fail to add anything to the overall storyline. When all is said and done, these romances will just have you asking why? In the name of Kevin Costner, why?
The brighter performances are provided in the smaller roles. Rod Steiger plays the Mayor like some drunken sailor who's mastery of foul language is only outdone by Danny Aiello. It seems like Danny's soul purpose is to shout curse words for our amusement. Alan Rickman is solid as usual playing Starkey's sidekick. So how is it that all of these talented thespians have gathered together to create such mediocrity? It reminds me of the Untouchables except I can not blame the evil force that is Costner. Costner!!! This movie is bad, but it's not bad enough to be great. Having said that, I can't help but enjoy this middle of the road quirky character piece. Guilty pleasure I suppose.
Hamlin Grade: 3
Fletch is a killing word!
Medicine Man (pronouced Medi-shin Man) shtars Sean Connery (who is eashily the third besht Jamesh Bond) ash Dr. Robert Campbell. Deep within the Amashon Rain Foreshts Campbell hash made an amazshing dishcovery. A cure for what he callsh the 'fucking plague of the 20th shentury'.....cansher.
Dr. Rae Crane (played by amazingly irritating Lorraine Braco (Tony Shopranosh Shycologisht)) vishits Campbell in the jungle to determine if the drug company she worksh for should continue to fund hish reshearch. After realizshing what Campbell hash dishcovered, she ish immediately thrilled. Campbell however doeshn't share her enthushiashtishm. While he dishcovered the cure for cansher, he hash be unable to reprodushe the sherum....and ish understandably pisshed off (like the previoush village medishin man he dishgracshed).
Dr. Crane, who Campbell beginsh referring to ash Dr. Bronxsh (due to her origin of birth...very creative) wantsh to help him redishcover the cure. Time however ish not on their shide. Indushtrialishts are conshtructing a road which will passh through village and deshtroy the delicate eco-shyshtem which generated the original cure. Medi-shin Manat shome pointsh bordersh on becoming a save the rain foreshtsh campaign, and depending on which vershion of the movie you shee, beginsh with a 10 minute disshertation narrated by Jamesh Earl Jonesh. Dr. Bronxsh also findsh out that Campbell carries a dark shecret with him, that tormentsh him to thish day. Can she help Campbell find the cure again? Perhapsh.
Shot in lavish (those two wordsh are probably the only onesh that shound normal coming from Connery'sh lipsh) locationsh, Medi-shin Man ish loaded with eye candy (not including the hundredsh of bare native asshesh that are generoushly dishplayed throughout the feature), and the shtory ish compelling. If their ish a cure for cansher, surely it would be found in one of the lasht unexplored placshes on earth, and why not ushe thish film ash a vehicle to promote conshervation? If the cure for cansher ish there, then maybe we will one day find a cure for shpeech impediments ash well? Who knowsh?
Hamlin Grade: 3.5
Timothy Dalton ish the one true Jamesh Bond,
In what probably should have been his last installment of the Rocky franchise, Sylvester Stallone returns to suck le the teet as Rocky once more. Rocky V is a turning point for the character who has consistently defied the odds (and believability) by facing off and defeating opponenents several hundred pounds his senior.
Rocky V opens with a creative montage of the Rocky IV fight with Ivan Drago (Dolph, Dolph) peppered into the opening credits. While Rocky is the victor, the achievement was a costly one. Battered and beaten for 15 rounds, Rocky sits shaking and shivering in the locker room shower (following an unnecessary full nude scene which shows off Stallone's award winning glutes) and appears to have reverted to his retarded Rocky I persona. The tables have turned completely now, as Adrien (played by Talia Shire, who has to be the most irritating on screen presence this side of Dakota Fanning) who began the franchise as the retard you take to the zoo, has metamorphosed into an intelligent, outspoken, and completely unlikable individual. Rocky explains to her that he feels as though something may be bruised on the inside....DAIN BRAMAGE!
Let's not stop there. Rocky returns home to find that Pauly had signed a power of attorney clause with their accountant, and his less than legitimate real estate dealings have left the Balboa family with no money. We have come full circle. Rocky is a moron again, and he is once again destitute, so he moves his family back to the old Philadelpia neighborhood where the original franchise was spawned. The only difference is the aforementioned Adrien who is just an annoying, over protective asshole. Perhaps Dolph could have given her a shot in the chops too, just to level the playing field a touch, or maybe followed Carlo into the bathroom with a leather belt of his own. Pauly's character hasn't developed at all in five movies. He's still a drunk dickhead.
Rocky decides to re-open the old gym that Mickey left him (probably one of the funniest scenes ever was Rocky crying over Mickey's raisin-like carcass....MA MA MIIIIICKEY!) in order to get a little cash flow. Adrien, doing her part gets her old job back at the pet store. Truly heart warming how the Balboa's unite and adapt to their new situation. Of course, while trying to adjust to their new lives, Rocky is constantly dogged by a 'Don King' facsimile in the form of fight promoter Duke. Duke is trying to get Balboa back in the ring to throwdown with his prize fighter Union Cane. Duke's efforts are deflected by Adrien at almost every opportunity.
Enter Tommy 'The Machine' Gunn. Played by a pre-HIV+ Tommy Morrison, Tommy Gunn is a fighter from Oklahoma who persuades Rocky to become his manager. Reluctant at first, Rocky soon sees that he can live vicariously through Gunn, and proceeds to train him. Gunn manages to rise through the ranks rapidly, but can't manage to shake the monicker of being Balboa's clone, or puppet. Duke quickly sweeps in and showers him with money, gifts, some ass (perhaps where he acquired his AIDS), and a title shot. Gunn drops the news on Rocky at Christmas dinner that he will be signing with Duke to get his shot at the championship and dropping Balboa as his manager. What an asshole.
I should mention that Rocky's son, whose played by Stallone's real son, has an unimportant and really uninteresting side story as a rich kid trying to adapt to the mean streets of Philly, and their wonderful public education system. Apparently it is the norm for a young 'E' from Entourage to kick your ass and steal your coat on day one, and then beat the shit out of you every day thereafter and relieve you of your lunch money. 'E' as a bad ass? Come on. Even with the mullet just doesn't work.....unless Stallone's kid is that much of a pussy....which apparently he is. So his kid trains, and solves his own problems, all the while being ignored by his dad who is too busy cultivating a relationship with Gunn. This whole 'who cares' portion of the movie is almost as annoying as Talia Shire herself. Almost.
So Rocky's prodigy, Tommy Gunn drops him and goes on to defeat Union Cane for the championship, and is booed mercilessly by the fans who still adore Rocky. Following his win, he is further chastised by the press corps and reaches his boiling point. Duke convinces Gunn that he must defeat Balboa in the ring in order to stand on his own....and what better way to lay down a challenge to his former trainer than at the local watering hole where Pauly and Rocky share some libation.
Gunn whose temper gets the better of him, refuses to listen to Duke, and goads Rocky into a fight right outside of the bar. Rocky V ends with a ridiculous street fight set to the movie's main theme....a semi-rap hip hop cut of a tune called 'Go For It', which is the unofficial tag line of the film (his son uses it prior to beating up 'E', and then regurgitates the same line during the street fight to his dad in a shameful effort to inspire his fallen father.....this scene is almost a duplicate of how his kid in Over the Top, used the Kenny Loggins title song 'Meet me half way' as motivation.....i'm talking major league douche chills).
Rocky V should have been the final nail in the coffin for the character, but we all know that this is just not to be. Hopefully Rocky VI is utilizes the Quickening principle and ignores it's previous sequel in it's entirety....cuz Rocky V sucked the big donkey.
Hamlin Grade: 1.5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
We're in the future yet again and people are dressing in a very silly manner. Primary color unisex outfits. They also have upturned collars in the future. Just how far in the future do we have to go before we become imbeciles? No, seriously? Are we getting close? I demand an answer!
Beyond that I don't really care about this movie. It's Logan's Run again, and quite frankly I'm convinced that particular story will never be told to my satisfaction. 99% of the world's population is destroyed by a virus and now 400 years later in 2415, the remaining survivors live in a city with a controlled environment. This movie is slick, I'll give you that, but not realistic. CGI effects stick out like a sore thumb and most of them seem to be in the movie simply because they had a big old budget. This movie never grabbed me by the balls and pulled me along, and quite frankly, if such a movie stars Charlize Theron, that's exactly what I want it to do.
And I love Charlize. I think she's just about the most beautiful actress working today and the girl's got skills. I can only assume she got paid a whole lot of money to appear in this stinker, but she's not the only one who sold out. I mean what the hell are Frances MacDormand and Pete Postlethwaite doing slumming around? Ah, hah, hah! Now that's acting. Seriously, they were able to get through this movie while retaining straight faces. That deserves some kind of merit.
So we have three movies all of which suck. But don't give up hope, there's supposed to be a remake of the original Logan's Run coming out in 2007. Oh boy, is that going to be great!
And so I don't have any interest in really reviewing this movie for you, and I know you're a bit disappointed. To make it up to you I'm going to give you a bit of advice. When you win the Oscar for best actor or supporting actor don't turn around immediately and make an action movie. Let's take a look at three such stars who did just that. Nicholas Cage wins the Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas in 1995. He then turns around in 1996 and makes The Rock. Halle Berry wins the Oscar for Monster's Ball in 2001 and makes Catwoman in 2004. And then we have Charlize winning the Oscar for her role in Monster in 2003 and then she goes on to make this piece of crap in 2005. I suppose it could have been worse. They could have turned to Cuba Gooding Jr.
Big Daddy Yum Yum
Superstar Tom Cruise teams up with Superstar Director Steven Spielberg. What could go wrong in this scenario? Absolutely nothing, provided that you're okay with completely stealing material without so much as a nod to the original. The plagiarism is so blatant as to be laughable. Let's take a look.
We're in the future again, 2054 to be exact, and our world has become a much better place thanks to Big Brother. The police force of our nation's capital (Logan's Run was also set in the same area) has a new foolproof tool to fight crime; three psychics (Pre Cogs) who can predict violent crime. They're in a permanent dreamlike state and can foresee future murders. As a result, the Department of Pre Crime has virtually eliminated murder. Super cop John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is the darling of the department and leads his unit on these important pre-crime raids. Once they've interrupted the crime in progress, the suspect is "haloed" and hauled off to jail. The haloing process puts the prisoner in a catatonic state and he is safely stored away. Can you say George Orwell?
How did John Anderton come to be the department darling? Six years ago, just before the Department of Pre Crime came to be, John's own son was killed and the murder was never solved. As a result, John is the most dedicated officer in the department. But even he's not perfect and has a dirty little secret; John's a hop-head, hitting the pipe nightly and popping in home movies of his late son. Aw, that's so sad. Hmmn, perhaps pathetic is a more proper term.
And drugs are essential to this movie as that is how the Pre Cogs came to exist in the first place. Much like the flipper babies of yesteryear, the Pre Cogs are a result of mothers taking drugs while pregnant. The babies were born with special powers to see horrible events in the future. Most of them died, but three of them, a set of twins named Arthur and Darryl and a female named Agatha, played by Samantha Morton, have survived and have been imprisoned...er, hired to become pre-cogs.
This program is on the verge of going nation wide, and Pre-Crime Director and founder, Lamar Burgess, played by Max von Sydow (ah, we've been Beaned), doesn't want anything messing up his little system. Of course there are flaws in the system and the movie quickly becomes predictable as Cruise tries to unravel the mystery. So let's get on to the plagiarism!
Cruise is a Pre-Crime cop in search of people trying to break the law. Michael York was a Sandman seeking out Runners.
The cops in both movies wear Black outfits.
Cruise is framed for a crime he did not commit. York was forced to run before his time.
Cruise has his eyes replaced by a plastic surgeon to avoid detection. York attempts to have a plastic surgery to avoid capture. (Side note: we've been Beaned again, the plastic surgeon is played by none other than Peter Stormare.)
Both movies have a chase which leads to our heroes hiding in a sex club.
And there's so much more to hate. We get no less than three Cum Sore Its in this film. At one point Agatha tells Cruise, "I'm sorry, John, but you're going to have to run again." No, Agatha, we're all sorry. Then there's the relentless product placement in the film. No class. And let's talk about Colin Farrell for a moment. What has this bitch ever really done? I truly think he's in line for a good smacking around. At one point in the movie, Cruise and Farrell get into a good old fashioned fist fight and I found myself actually rooting for Cruise. "Come on, give him a hair-lip!" Actually, I wish they would both cock-punch each other to death, but that would be too much to ask for.
The humor in this movie is woefully out of character and we are also subjected to a cameo from Cruise's ugly cousin, William Mapother. And here's a plot device I never want to see again; if you've got a piece of damning evidence about something really important, don't go to someone really powerful (oh, I don't know, Police Chief, Government official, CEO of a company) before you've told anyone else about it, and for God's sake, don't meet them alone in their own home. I was happy to see Farrell die, but they could have done so in a more original way.
Minority Report is a decent film if you can overlook the blatant plagiarizing. It certainly didn't want for a budget, clocking in at a cool 100 million. And even Fletch makes an appearance as Cruise’s best buddy. But when all is said and done, I agree with Agatha, "I'm tired, I'm tired of the future." You said it, freak.
Hamlin Grade : 4
Big Daddy Yum Yum
Welcome to the sexy future as envisioned by filmmakers from 1976. If you're going to make a movie about the sexy future you're also going to need a sexy star. Enter Michael York as Logan. Sexy! When did the world realize Michael York was gay? For that matter, when did Michael York figure it out for himself? Well it was the swinging 70's, so we'll let that go for the moment.
It's the year 2274, and the world is not what it was; "Sometime in the 23rd century...the survivors of war, overpopulation and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo-mechanisms which provide everything. There's just one catch: life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of Carrousel." Fantastic!
In the future, everyone is having lots of fun, but they've also become morons. Let's start with their attire. They all dress in shades of red or green. Every single adult. Hooray, it's like Christmas 365 days a year! These costumes make the outfits from the original Star Trek series look hip. Then on their 30th birthday, they gather into an arena where they float to their deaths. It's a lot like the showers at Auschwitz only with an audience. Oh, but don't worry, you'll be reborn. Morons. The smart ones try to flee, but they are inevitably hunted down by the Sandmen. Nighty night suckers.
What's not to like about the future? Everything is provided for these people; shelter, clothing, food, drink, drugs and a sex closet. Wait a minute? A sex closet?! That's right, a sex closet. You just hit the remote and a willing partner is teleported to your chamber. Michael relaxes in his sexy black robe (Sandmen are allowed to wear black because they're special) and presses a button. First one out of the closet is a dude. Michael rejects him, but takes just a moment or two to let his eyes linger. Busted! His next choice is more to his liking, a delicious little treat named Jessica, played by Jenny Agutter. Jessica's fairly reluctant and decides to leave. Could it be because she's got something to hide and recognizes Logan as a Sandman?
Logan learns that there's an underground organization at work trying to help runners flee to Sanctuary. It's a lot like the underground railroad. Um, yeah, except for the fact that every single person in the future is white. He's got good reason to take this organization down as his own life has been fast forwarded by the servo-machine and he is forced to become a runner himself.
Logan's Run is the case of a good story being let down by every element of the film. The acting is sub-par, I've already commented on the costumes, and the special effects are beyond lame. We’re only a year away from the premiere of Star Wars, so you can’t tell me there wasn’t better gadgetry in place. There's a good movie here, but this isn't it. Do look for Farrah Fawcett as Holly 13, an overgrown and falling apart D.C. (straight out of Planet of the Apes) and a climactic fight that William Shatner would be proud of. Also check out the extras at the very end of the movie. One of them holds up his hand in the Vulcan peace sign. I believe he was the only person in this movie that had enough self-awareness to know that it sucked.
But don't worry, this is only Logan's Run I. Tomorrow I shall review Logan's Run II.
Hamlin Grade: 3
Big Daddy Yum Yum
I had a hard time deciding what to finish off Schwarzenegger Week with, and after much deliberation, Pumping Iron won hands down.
Pumping Iron is a movie, actually its a documentary on the sport of bodybuilding that was released in 1977 that many people have not seen, and even more have never heard of. I can't give this film a higher recommendation, and hopefully by the end of this review, you will be aching to view it.
Pumping Iron, focuses in large part on Schwarzenegger as he prepares to defend and win his sixth Mr. Olympia title (he later came out of retirement to take his 7th in 1980). The Olympia in bodybuilding is equivalent to a best actor Oscar, or an MVP nod in professional sports. It is the highest honor a steroid riddled physique can achieve. The documentary covers Schwarzenegger's life, as well as the lives of several other bodybuilders, and while not meaning to be, is probably one of the funniest films I've ever seen.
This is vintage Schwarzenegger, not just physically, this is the real deal, there is no acting. You get to see who the man really is, and at times, what a total douchebag he can be (perhaps if people in California saw this flick, they may have thought twice about putting him in office). You get Ah-NULD's take on competition, the sport of bodybuilding, and his arrogant view of just about everyone else around him.
Schwarzenegger brings you into the sport, introduces us to many of it's participants, some of whom are even more ridiculous than he is. Just a few of his fellow sportsmen include Mike Katz, who was bullied as a child because of his religion, and still carries that rage with him, Lou Ferrigno, who attempted to unsuccessfully dethrone Schwarzenegger and gets made a fool of by him in front of parents, Ken Waller, a competitor of Katz who states how much he will fuck with him during the competition, and excutes his plan flawlessly and completely disrupts Katz, and Franco Columbo, close friend of Schwarzenegger's (so he thinks) who also falls victim to the Austrian's mind games.
Schwarzenegger will teach you how working out is just like having sex (coincidentally, gym memberships sky rocketed after the release of the film), shows you his training regimen, how in his spare time he travels to correctional facilities to pose down in front of large groups of men, his disdain for reporters during interviews, having breakfast with the Ferrigno family where he humiliates his counterpart, his post competition celebrations which include smoking a joint in full view of everyone (including Ferrigno), and then tells Ferrigno how he's gonna nail his sister at the end of the film.
Pumping Iron is dated, having been made nearly 30 years ago, but this movie is practically timeless, because if you listen to governor Schwarzenegger today, you can see the same attitude on display back then. He seems as though he treats politicians the same way he used to treat his former competitors. I can bench more than you, and have bigger arms, therefore I am better than you. Did that sport train him for the future or what?
Hamlin Grade: 6
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
1987 Tri-Star Pictures pre-production meeting
X: Alright we have Arnold on board for our next project, but I'd like to do something a little different with our star...
Z: (under breath) Like send him to some acting classes.
X: ...so lets brainstorm and throw out whatever comes to mind.
Z: (under breath) Oh no, here we go.
Y: Let's put that huge bod of his to use and make him a wrestler and have it like Rocky! You know, he's the underdog and overcomes his fears to become a champion. An oiled- up leather- boot, Speedo-wearing champion. Mm mm hmmmm delish.
Z: My god, have you ever seen Schwarzenegger?! Who's going to believe this guy is an underdog wrestler?
X: That's a good point Z, but I love the enthusiasm coming from you Y. Let's keep going.
Y: Okay, did you guys see that movie Dirty Dancing? I just loved it! We could like, do something like that, just add Arnold and we've got a hit.
Z: (under breath) Loaded gun please.
X: Speak up Z.
Z: I was just thinking how much I love Y's idea. We'll have Arnold play the shy foreigner while Liza Minnelli pulls him out of his shell through the gift of dance. Wait, better yet scratch Liza, we'll get Danny Terrio, he'll seduce Arnie with the Lambada. Christ why not make it a comedy?
X: A comedy! Now we're talking. But I need to reel you kids in. All this dancing business isn't going to fly. Let's try an action comedy, I don't want to get too crazy.
Z: (under breath) God forbid we do anything original.
X: You wanted to add something Z?
Z: Original...let's do something original, like...a buddy cop movie.
X: I like, go on.
Y: Let's team Arnold with someone funny...
Z: Yeah...that would be good for oh, say a comedy
Y: ..Right! Did you see About Last Night? Jim Belushi was hysterical.
Z: That will be great, he's just like his brother without the talent or the comedy.
X: I don't see getting Mr. Belushi on this project as a problem.
Z: I'm sure he'll be available.
X: Alright, Belushi and Schwarzenegger. Now how do we team this unlikely duo up?
Y: I'm seeing like a bath house in some eastern block country, you know they are so free with nudity, and out of the steam comes Arnold. He's there to make a bust, pectorals glistening, firm...
Z: Okay, that's enough! He's a cop from the Soviet Union who has come to the US, let's say Chicago, to track down the leader of a drug syndicate. There he teams up with Belushi and at first they hate each other. We'll give Arnold a 6 inch flat-top and dress him up in a green suit, now that's comedy.
X: That does sound funny.
Z: Sure, we'll even have Belushi call him Gumby, the kid's will love it. Soon the two learn to hate the police captain more then each other, and that is when the action will get turned up a notch. We'll get some hot young dancer like Gina Gershon for the sole reason of having a woman for the fellas to look at. We'll bring her in and as soon as we start to develop her character, we'll kill her off.
X: That is brilliant.
Z: I knew you'd love that. The whole movie will be a metaphor showing how Glasnost can work. Russian cop meets American cop, both put aside there differences to fight the evil powers of drug trafficking while cracking one liners. It will be terrible!
X: Once again Mr. Z, you have bagged the elephant! I'll have our writers start right away.
Z: (under breath) Do these people even listen to what I'm saying?
Hamlin Grade: 2 .5
Fletch is a killing word!
Word of advice. When a 6'4" Austiran knocks at your door and asks if you are Sarah Connor....the appropriate response is "No, she lives next door."
The Terminator, is probably Arnold Schwarzenegger's greatest movie ever, and for many reasons. Let's be honest here, just years removed from winning his 7th Mr. Olympia, Schwarzenegger was a physical specimen that would make most men piss themselves. Stuff him in a leather jacket, some sunglasses, outfit him with all manner of artillery, and give him three lines to speak the entire movie, and you have quite possibly the greatest casting decision since Naomi Watts in King Kong.
While Commando certainly solidified Schwarzenegger's super stardom, The Terminator has to be the initial spring-board. In 1984, The Terminator, which is probably James Cameron's best film, introduced mainstream America to the giant Austrian, and to a story that begged for sequels (at least one anyway...Terminator 3, kind of sucked donkey ass).
The basic premise (which is far from basic), in the future following World War 3, machines had taken over the world, but one human named John Connor, lead the humans to revolt and eventually overthrow the mechanized world. In a last ditch effort to change the outcome of the war, the machines utilized 'time displacement equipment' (a time machine to the lay-person) to send a Terminator (Schwarzenegger) back in time to kill his Connor's mother Sarah prior to his birth, thus erasing his existence, and preventing their power from being overthrown. John Connor sent Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) after the Terminator to prevent the murder of his mother and his subsequent demise.
The Terminator and Reese both arrive in Los Angeles in 1984, and quickly find their way to Sarah Connor. The Terminator drops by the local the automatic rifle shop (of which their must be many in L.A.), outfits himself with the latest hardware, grabs a phone book, and starts visiting all of the Sarah Connor(es) in L.A., and after a quick cup of coffee, puts several bullets in them.....with the 45 Loooon Slide wit DAH LazUH SighTING (you know your weapons buddy, just not how to pronounce them, by the way....when is the Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40 Watt Range going to be available? I'm a 50 Watt man myself, but a 40'll do nicely). Reese, Sarah, and the Terminator all meet for the first time at a club called Tech Noir (yeah I know it, it's on Pico), and thus the chase begins!
Reese finally grabs Sarah, throws her in a car, drives her 125 MPH down the opposite direction of a one way street, holds her back against her seat, and screams:
"Are you injured? Are you shot?
Do exactly what I say. Exactly. Don't move unless I say. Don't make a sound unless I say. DO YOU UNDERSTAND!?"
Incidentally, I do this on all my first dates, after I pick the ladies up. 60% of the time, it works every time.
Terminator ends up becoming a long cat and mouse chase through Los Angeles, where just about everyone that witnesses it, becomes Collateral Damage (another terrific Schwarzenegger film). An entire police station, Sarah's Mom (the cabin at Big Bear Lake), a gun store owner, a shit load of clubbers at Tech Noir, couple of punks that provide the Terminator with his sweet clothes (one of whom was Bill Paxton) all end up dead or critically wounded. The movie climaxes brilliantly in a final battle, that almost seems never ending.
All in all, this is Schwarzenegger's finest hour. The part of the Terminator was perfect for him, because it rarely required him to speak, and all he had to do was look like a bad ass. Until Terminator 2: Judgement Day, a movie that fit him so well was never seen again....and even the sequel shyed away from the original formula as they tryed to develop a personality and a relationship with the Terminator and young John Connor..... I digress. For what it is, this movie is brilliant! When Schwarzenegger speaks.....even better!
Hamlin Grade: 6.5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
A few months ago, a couple of friends of mine were telling me about an acquaitance of theirs. Their friends oldest boy had recently begun to show an interest in dancing, singing, and other activities that most would consider less than masculine. The father of the child (who sounds like a major league asshole), fearing the worst put the child on a strict regimen of action flicks consisting of the masters (Stallone, Van Damme, Seagal, and of course Schwarzenegger) in an effort to slap the 'gay' out of the child. As misguided as his intentions were, I believe his course of action would promote rather than discourage the poor kids feelings, and help him to further embrace his inner Swayze. Allow me to elaborate.
Most of the movies in this child's steady diet of heterosexual cinema, subscribe to a formula of well muscled, sweaty, liberally oiled, predominantly shirtless men, posing with large, phallic artillery, that spew hot flame. One such movie destined to forge this young boy into a man's man, was Predator.
Now Predator, while being a kick ass action flick, is probably one of the gayest movies ever made. Here's the premise. Let's take a helicopter, loaded with artillery, pack it with testosterone in the form of seven special forces soldiers (Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, and Shane Black), and then deposit this penis party in the middle of a jungle.
Predator starts off it's sausage-fest with a 7 on 300 battle, and the special forces unit quickly dispatches this small army that Schwarzenegger easily could have wiped out himself (and actually did in Commando, in fact, I think this is the same exact cast from Commando called in to die as spectacularly as they did in that film) all in an effort to stimulate their already over-heated errogenous zones. Of course, in a lame attempt to not look like a completely misogynistic film, the Cock Squad recruits themselves a vagina, in the form of a women captive, who aside from a really long winded and uneccessary diatribe, adds nothing to the film, and is really just there to be the token female.
The big battle is just an hors d'oeuvre for these cock craving soldiers of fortune....the main course....the Predator! 9 feet of pure alien man love, sporting dread locks, a pair of speedo briefs, and stuffed into a fish net body stocking, the Predator is ready for a very heterosexual game of who has the biggest dick. What do the seven special forces soldiers do? Why take their shirts off and prepare for battle or course! By this point in the film, any homosexual desire you may have had, should be completely erradicated from your mind.
The Predator stalks the military unit and picks them off one by one, leaving Schwarzennegger as his final prey. Shirtless, and greased up with jungle mud (NICE) the two enter nature's arena to do battle and prove who is gay....I mean who is the champion!
As far as a homosexual exorcism kit.....Predator is not the movie for you. If you are comfortable with your sexuality, you will find it action packed, exciting and very entertaining. If you are on the fence however, Predator will drive you right to your knees.....where Fletch is currently positioned with a full mouth. GET TOO DA CHOPPPPAH!!!
Hamlin Grade: 5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Raw Deal. Watching this movie will give you raw eyes, and possibly a raw ass.... it's kind of like living Fletch for a week....or perhaps a long weekend.
I'm all for suspending disbelief when it comes to movies, but Schwarzenegger, infiltrating the Mafia by becoming one of them, in an effort to take them down, and then get reinstated into the FBI? First, what mob is going to welcome in a giant Austrian man who wants to be a 'GuuDE Fell-UH' without thinking twice about it?
Why the Patrovina family of course!
Schwarzenegger stars as Mark Kaminsky, a former FBI agent who was tossed out of the Bureau for being a little too 'hands on' with a suspect, finds himself a nice little sheriff's position in a small town in the Carolinas. Ok first flaw.....what FBI agent doesn't give a suspect the back room treatment with a telephone book and a frayed electrical cord? And get tossed out? They are revered for that shit. Hell, I'm sure there are guys who's specialty is stripping individuals of their fingernails and filing down their teeth with a wood rasp......again, the premise of Kaminsky's fall from grace is total bullshit. Ok problem two, the movie opens with Sheriff Kaminsky in pursuit of a BMX riding criminal. How does he stop this assailant? By setting the highway on fire with some high octane deisel and a cuban cigar of course. Now in North Carolina, it's ok to burn the living shit out a criminal before their arrest, but roughing up a suspect in the FBI.....that's a big NO NO.
So we have Kaminsky, living an unfulfilled life in the backwoods of rural America, with his drunk off her ass wife Amy (played by Blanche Baker, the older sister from Sixteen Candles), who enjoys throwing chocolate cakes at her him....he has fully fallen from grace. Until his buddy and former FBI pal Chief Harry Shannon approaches him with a proposition (not that kind Fletch). Shannon's son Blair was killed while undercover (and with a name like Blair, it was probably a favor) by the Patrovina family. Shannon goes outside the Bureau, and finances Kaminsky with his own money, and a new identity to infiltrate the Patrovina family, and take them down. Kaminksy's new identity. Joey Brenner. JOEY FUCKING BRENNER!
So as Brenner, he begins by hitting some of Patrovina's competition by trashing another family's underground casino / hooch parlor by driving a bull dozer through it. Getting Patrovina's attention, he is immediately welcomed aboard. 'Hello my name is JO-EEEE Bren-UH'! Who wouldn't trust him? As a member of the family, he is now able to gather evidence and routinely meet Shannon at a safe house to deliver intel and photos on his new crew.
All is going well, Brenner is slowly gaining the confidence of the family, until they bring Brenner on a hit, to take down a cop that's been asking too many questions. The target turns out to be Kaminsky's / Brenner's friend and confidant Shannon. Realizing his friend is in danger, Brenner blows his cover and takes down the hit team, as they open fire on Shannon. Brenner kills everyone, but Shannon is shot several times, and lays mortally wounded. This of course sets Brenner off, and rather than use legal means to take down Patrovina, he embarks on a one man spree of vengeance. Que the convertible Cadillac, and the Rolling Stones 'Satisfaction' cassette tape and lets drive on out to the rocky quarry to kill the bad guys with high powered rifles that never require reloading. After quickly dispatching the Construction Crew of the Patrovina family, Brenner drives on over the to the Night Club Crew of the Patrovina family (where Patrovina himself is chilling). GUNS, GUNS, GUNS! Brenner in another Schwarzenegger style scene blows away everyone, including some top shelf liquor (to which Fletcher still loses sleep over) and takes down the Patrovina family.
Raw Deal ends with Kaminsky visiting his buddy Shannon who can't walk because several of the bullets damaged his spine. Kaminsky, always the supportive friend, throws Shannon out of his wheel chair, calls him a pussy, in so many words, and tells him to walk it off. Take a guess what happens. Medical mal-practice and further damage to this individual's spine? Of course not! Shannon walks, as his nurse looks on in tears, and Kaminsky gives him a purely heterosexual embrace. Raw Deal, is probably one of Schwarzenegger's more forgettable movies (not including Red Sonja, Twins, Junior, and Jingle All the Way....holy shit was that bad), and while it is tedious at many parts, does have some classic action in parts..... it's biggest downfall, is that he tries to hard to act, has way too many lines, and really.....Ah-NULD as a gangsta? Gimme a fucking break.
Hamlin Grade: 2
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Schwarzenegger continues his relentless assault on the box office with his 1987 smash hit The Running Man!
The Running Man is set in a futuristic fascist world, that is ruled by an oppressive, propagandizing government ( Alan Moore used this feature to plagiarise...I mean create his epic V for Vendetta....however he failed miserably, since that book and movie sucked massive rhino cock) . Schwarzenegger stars as soldier Ben Richards who is imprisoned for not strafing a group of innocent civilians during a food riot with his gunship. Upon escaping with some rebels (Yaphet Koto, and half the band of Fleetwood Mac), Ben Richards is re-captured and forced to take part in a sadistic game show called The Running Man, which is hosted by Damon Killian (played by Richard Dawson, who took a brief hiatus from molesting young women while greeting them on the Family Feud). The Running Man, gives criminals an opportunity to play for their freedom while fighting for their lives on the show.
That's it. That's the whole movie. Ok I will elaborate slightly.
Ben Richards gets wrapped up in some yellow spandex, crammed into a rocket car, and launched into the game zone (which is old Los Angeles, or perhaps San Francisco after the big earth quake), an apocolyptic looking setting, littered with mutant assholes on motorcycles. Richards is deposited there alongside two of his rebel friends William Laughlin (Yaphet Koto, which for the record is probably one of the coolest fucking names in Hollywood), Harold Weiss (actor not important enough to list), and shortly after Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso) who is the bitch that turned Richards in and put him in his current situation, and eventual love interest for the giant Austrian. Bad Movie Knight Note: In case you still aren't convinced that Yaphet Koto is the coolest mother fucker on the planet....Koto turned down the role of Lando Calrissian in 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back' (1980). He feared that Lando would be killed in the movie, and that he would be forever typecast (quoted from IMDB.com). Somewhere Billy Dee Williams is hoping the script for Under Cover Brother 2 arrives in the mail.....
While in the game zone, Runners are hunted by Stalkers, who are in turn cheered on and bet on by a live studio audience, people on the street, in bars, and at home. The Stalkers are made up of a retired Sumo Wrestler, a former Football Player, an Ex-Navy SEaL turned Professional Wrestler, a German Leather Bar Douchebag, and a big fat gay guy that sings opera. Truly terrifying. There is Sub Zero (Professor Toru Tanaka), who is a large ice skating goalie who shoots exploding pucks, Buzzsaw (Gus Rethwisch), a motorcycle riding, chain-saw wielding madman, Dynamo (Erland van Lidth), the opera singing, electricity shooting fat gay guy, Fireball (Jim Brown) the unable to help Maurice Claurette flame throwing guy, and Captain Freedom (Jesse 'The Body' Ventura) who had retired from stalking to become an announcer for the The Running Man, but unretires to face Richards. Got all that?
While Richards negotiates this obstacle course of death that is not unlike Fletch's bedroom (where many a young girl has payed the ultimate price.....and seen him nekkid...right...CONNIE!...no offense Megan....you are just a rebound and will soon be tossed onto the pile with the rest of the women that Fletch has destroyed!), his counterparts, Laughlin and Weiss are attempting to bring down the Government Network, by accessing the satellite uplink codes, and delivering them to Fleetwood Mac, so they can broadcast the truth over the network. In order to get to Fleetwood Mac, Richards must fight the Stalkers, kill them in a unique and clever way, and then deliver a 'witty' line, that sounds all the more hilarious coming from a guy who is supposed to be American (Ben Richards) but has a ridiculously thick Austrian accent.....suspend disbelief I guess?
1987 was a good year for Schwarzenegger and The Running Man represents the apex of the Ah-Nuld Timeline which manages to sustain itself well into the 1990's. The Running Man follows the early action movie formula that pits Schwarzenegger against impossible odds, and watch as he battles through the adversity like Fletch in a bath house. It also gives him an opportunity to make another attempt at acting with some more complex, two sentence lines.....but his main focus is beating ass.....because more than 10 words is one, too difficult to remember, and two.....way too difficult to remember.
Hamlin Grade: 5.5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
In 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger, starred in Commando. A movie that would complete his transformation from bodybuilder, to movie star. Commando, unfortunately for us, would be the first time, Schwarzenegger would actually be required to act. His prior films, had him star as very wooden, stiff, barely speaking, Barbarians, or Cyborgs, in Commando, as John Matrix, Schwarzenegger not only had to portray a normal guy (normal in this case, would be 6 foot plus, 240 pounds, and trained by special forces), but also a father. Did he pull it off? Nah. But really that's ok, because, while his acting, is so bad that Shatner laughs at him, Schwarzenegger blows the shit of everything and almost makes you believe that one man could defeat an entire army.
Commando begins with a group of very bad men, which include Bennet, who used to be part of Matrix's special forces team (played by Vernon Wells), and Arius (played by Dan Hedaya, the dude who was married to Carla on Cheers) who kidnap John Matrix, and his daughter Jenny (played by Alyssa Milano, who is fresh out of her Who's the Boss years, and is just teaspoons away from becoming the total piece that she is today). By threatening to kill Jenny, they force John Matrix to fly to Valverde to kill the President (whom Matrix is buddies with, since helping with the revolution there, and restore him to power), and in doing such, Arius can succeed him as the leader of the country.
Matrix is escorted to the airport, where he delivers the line that will become his calling card for the remainder of his career:
I'll be back!
Yes we are aware of this Ah-Nuld. Of course his former colleague Bennet (dressed in chain mail and leather pants....he looks more like a gay biker than a special forces guy...but let's give him the benefit of the doubt) untimidated by Matrix retorts with "Joooohn, I'll be waiting Joooohn!" Either a veiled threat, or a promise of a vibrant sexual encounter to come later in the feature....either way, Bennet seems a formidable adversary.
At the airport, Sully (played by the great David Patrick Kelly of Dreamscape) and Henriques bring Matrix to the gate, and explain to him that if he deviates from the plan in anyway, his daughter will be killed. The flight to Valverde is 10 hours, and he will ride shotgun with Henriques the entire way and call in once landing. Sully waits to see them off after a brief exchange with the kidnapped special forces soldier, Matrix replies with "You a funny guy Sully. That's why I'm going to kill you last." If you haven't realized it by now, this movie is peppered with some of the best lines in movie history and I will do my best to give you a sampling of this amazingly delivered dialogue.
Setting his watch to 10 hours, Matrix boards the plane, and quietly (not really) crushed Henriques face with an elbow, and then snaps his neck. He quickly covers his corpse with a pillow and blanket and prepares his escape. This is the 80s and accessing every part of an airplane is quite easy, so Matrix utilizes the galley food elevator to breach the cargo hold, and then access the still deployed landing gear. Luckily the airport is surrounded by a marsh, and Matrix is able to leap from the landing gear and survive his 300 foot parachute free descent, and plumment safely to the water unharmed. He now has less than 10 hours, to find Bennet, Arius, and rescue his daughter before her captors realize that Matrix is not on the plane.
Following Sully who has just exited the airport, and is busy hitting on a stewardess named Cindy (played by the smoking hot Rae Dawn Chong). Sully's best pick up line of 'You fucking whore' is unsuccessful, and he trudges on in look of other 'slash' elsewhere. Matrix, kidnaps Cindy in a roundabout way, and forces her to chase Sully down. After a brief encounter at a mall, Sully spots Matrix and flees to call his superiors to let them know Matrix is not on the plane, and has broken their deal. The footchase goes to the streets, and Cindy and Matrix eventually run Sully's Porsche off the road in the mountains of California. This is probably one the greatest scenes ever in a movie. Matrix holds Sully by one leg upside down over the edge of a cliff. The filming was so bad that you can see the cable which actually holds Sully, and prevents him from falling. Wringing him of information about the whereabouts of his daughter, he delivers his final message to Sully.."Sully, you remember when I said I would kill you last?" to which Sully responds.."That, that's right Matrix you did!", and Matrix "I LIED!", dropping the dimunitive henchmen to his death.
After following a few more leads, Matrix, along with his new companion Cindy (yes Fletch, CINDY!) discover the location of his daughter, and prepare to assault the small island fortress where she is being held captive. Before beginning his campaign, he gives Cindy instructions on what to do when the action begins. How will Cindy know when the action begins? "Because all fucking hell is going to break loose!" Oh HELL YEAH! Armed with 21inch bi's, glistening, well oiled pectorals, and more weapons of mass destruction than the entire country of Iraq (in actuality I carry more weapons of mass destruction on my person than the country of Iraq), Matrix cut's a path through an army of mercenaries (all who have worse aim than Bill Clinton) till he faces off against his nemesis Bennet. Commando ends with the typical who has the biggest cock battle at the end between the hero and the nemesis. In this case Matrix is more generously endowed, as he responds to several blows delivered unto him by Bennet, and thrusts his large pipe deep with Bennet who responds with a gasp, and release of hot steam.
Commando, as far as action movies go, kicks ass. The one guy versus an army, gives the director the opportunity to showcase every fire arm in existence (at that time), against the back drop of Schwarzenegger's chiseled, rock hard, phsyique (man, am I filling up). Artillery, firepower, biceps, and explosions. Unfortunately this is perhaps the only movie Rae Dawn Chong has starred in where she doesn't get nekkid, so the only breasts we are offered are Schwarzenegger's.....which we will gladly accept! Commando's shining achievement however, is in it's dialogue. While most of Schwarzenegger's lines are delivered through lips that are constantly battling the thick Austrian drawl he tries to unscuccesfully conceal, are hilarious, but in many cases, the best lines come from the elite cadre of thespians that surround him. Here's a list of some of the finer moments:
Sully: "You Fucking Whore!"
Sully: "This bar used to be great for hunting slash..."
Security Guard: "Attention all units, emergency on theater level, suspect six foot two, brown hair. He is one gigantic motherfucker. "
Cooke: "You scared motherfucker? Well you should be because this green beret is going to kick your big ass. "
Bennet: "I really love listening to your little pissant soldiers trying to talk tough. They make me laugh. If Matrix was here, he'd laugh too. "
Hamlin Grade: 6
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Who needs acting, when you have 21 inch biceps? Well, frankly Arnold Schwarzenegger does.
Arnold Schwarzenegger exemplifies the 'American Dream'. Coming to the United States with nothing in the 1960's, he rapidly became a champion bodybuilder in the 1970's, parlayed that success into a movie career that took Hollywood by storm in the 1980's, and 1990's, married into American Royalty, and entered politics following the turn of the century where he took Washington by storm (but not really).
We, the Knights of the Bad Movie, felt that honoring Mr. Schwarzenegger's film career was long overdue. A man who's filmography spans 4 decades (and not one film contains a shred of acting, not a shred I tell you!), and even with a brief hiatus to govern those tree-huggers in KALLY-Forn-YUH, it shows no sign of stopping (unless he pumps out Junior 2).
Join us as we enter the world of Schwarzenegger!
The Running Man
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,