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Trespass

tn_trespassDidn’t Robert Zemeckis used to be a big deal for movie nerds? Right now he’s mainly looked at as a heretic because of his obsession with doing those creepy motion computerized movies that I seem to be pretty alone in appreciating. But there was another Zemeckis before that, a live action one. Everybody loved that BACK TO THE FUTURE and a couple of his other movies. It seems like people used to put him up there just below Spielberg as one of those worshipped All-American brand name mainstream directors of the ’80s.

Then in the ’90s he did FORREST GUMP, which must’ve been his biggest hit and it won best picture and all that. It was a beloved commercial smash, but it rubbed some of us the wrong way. On the surface it’s fine but if you think about the subtext it kind of seems like it’s saying don’t worry, don’t think about anything, don’t have an opinion, don’t rebel, just do what your mama says and you’ll achieve all of your dreams, unless you ever did drugs or hung out with the Black Panthers. And your girlfriend will die from AIDS because she was a hippie.

Because of that I know people who still rant about Zemeckis being a “propagandist.” And then there are some who accuse him of being kind of an anti or reverse propagandist, deliberately pussyfooting around the politics to trick people of all stripes into thinking the movie’s on their side. The example of that is in GUMP when he makes a speech at the Vietnam protest in Washington. Somebody told me that in the book he actually makes an anti-war speech, but in the movie there’s microphone problems and you don’t hear what he says. So you just assume you agree with him, whatever your opinion is. You figure you and that retarded guy are on the exact same page politically.

But there was a time just a couple years before GUMP when, probly by accident, a movie that Zemeckis and his partner Bob Gale wrote wasn’t just nostalgic and feel-good, it was almost kinda relevant. It was directed by Walter Hill from an older Zemeckis/Gale script, it’s basically a b-movie with Bills Paxton and Sadler fighting Ices Cube and T, but it happens to be a real good time capsule of what was going on culturally right at that time.

mp_trespassTRESPASS was released on Christmas Day, 1992. That’s less than 2 years after Rodney King got beat by those cops, and less than 8 months after the riots. It was originally supposed to be called LOOTERS but for some reason that was a sensitive topic with the riots being so recent. Maybe a better reflection of where the country was at is that TRESPASS came out a week and a half after Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic”, and about a month after Ice Cube’s “The Predator,” but the best selling album of the year was a pop country album by Hannah Montana’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. The culture was on the verge of a major shift or split, and this story takes place right in the middle.

Paxton and Sadler play firefighters from Arkansas who, while fighting a fire, find themselves in possession of what they figure out is a map to some hidden gold. So one weekend they get in a pickup truck and go find this abandoned building in East St. Louis where the treasure is supposedly stashed. To Paxton it’s just a fun adventure, an exciting thing to do with his buddy, like being a kid again. But to Sadler it’s a way to pay off his debts and maybe have enough left over to be rich. So Paxton brings a metal detector, Sadler brings a gun. Could turn out to be a problem.

(Man, Paxton was always chasing after treasure. There was this one, there was TITANIC, there was A SIMPLE PLAN if a suitcase full of money counts as treasure, there was TWISTER if a twister counts as treasure.)

They got some bad fuckin luck too because at the exact time their plan comes together there also happens to be some gang members on top of the building tossing a traitor through a skylight. When the gangsters see the looters and realize they witnessed the murder it turns into a tense stand-off. The looters take Ice-T’s younger brother hostage and try to figure a way out of there without getting killed and, if at all possible, with the gold.

When this movie came out the hip hop influenced movie was a fairly new phenomenon. Ice-T had recently been in NEW JACK CITY and RICOCHET (after bit parts in hip hop movies like BREAKIN’ and RAPPIN’). Cube had only made BOYZ N THE HOOD. The soundtrack isn’t a classic or anything but it has a pretty impressive lineup including songs by Public Enemy, Gang Starr, Black Sheep and an Ice-T/Ice Cube team up.

Back then (and I think even still) people who weren’t into their music liked to say they couldn’t tell the difference between Ice-T and Ice Cube, but they’re actually very different from each other. Even in this movie, where they’re in the same gang, they’re always at odds. T is King James, the leader and a smooth professional type dresser (he even wears suspenders). Cube is Savon, the scowling, complaining underling who wears one of those puffy velvet hats that were okay to wear in the ’90s.

Also in the gang is Glen Plummer, who I consider a 90s staple since he was in MENACE II SOCIETY, SPEED, SHOWGIRLS (her friend and choreographer), STRANGE DAYS (the murdered rapper) and THE SUBSTITUTE (the other teacher who becomes friends with Berenger).

One element that’s pretty dated: there’s a character named “Video” who carries a camcorder around and videotapes everything, and it occasionally switches to the video point of view. It doesn’t have much of a story point, and even then I think it was an annoying cliche to have a character with a camera just so you can make a bold statement about our voyeuristic media-obsessed society or save money on film developing or whatever. People were so fascinated with that camcorder shit, it took forever for them to get sick of it and now we start all over with digital cameras, god damn it. Anyway, the DVD has some deleted scenes where you learn that in the longer cut Cube wanted the video as evidence that he wasn’t the murderer. I wish they left that in because not only would it make the Video character more useful, it would be a good irony for this post-riot story. After Rodney King people talked about camcorders as the only defense against bad cops, but of course that didn’t end up working for King.

I gotta mention that I’m not sure I buy these gangsters listening to Sir Mix-a-lot in the car. But maybe. He was a little harder back then, before the Grammy winning ass song. Man, people in Seattle were really into those first two Mix-a-lot albums back then, you shoulda seen it. I got a buddy who moved here from Austin, he was shocked to find out that all the places discussed in “My Posse’s On Broadway” were real locations in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and for my part I was shocked to learn that a guy from Austin knew the song “My Posse’s On Broadway.” How the hell did that get past the state border?

Anyway, like the best b-movies TRESPASS has a bunch of clever gimmicks and touches. For example Tiny Lister plays “Cletus,” but I thought they were calling him “Cleats,” which is what he wears. All the better to stomp your face in with. Personally I wouldn’t want anybody to stomp my face in with baseball cleats, but it’s gonna be even worse when it’s a big motherfucker like Lister. So that’s a cool weapon (have cleats ever been used in a kung fu movie?) but it has another use because the looters here the sound of his steps upstairs and then start using the metal detector on the ceiling to figure out where he’s standing.

One really original suspense sequence happens when Sadler wants to kill his junkie hostage and Paxton convinces him to just dope him up instead. So, while tied up, the junkie gives them instructions for preparing his heroin and then they have to try to shoot him up.

Because these guys are firemen it sets up some of their abilities: rappelling, chopping through floors and walls, escaping burning buildings, carrying people. I think all of these (and the cleats) could’ve been used a little more than they are, but I appreciate that they’re there.

King James does alot of ranting about “the white man” selling him drugs and then coming after him for re-selling them (as if there is only one white man doing all this). It’s not all that subversive, it was a pretty common type of philosophy to spit back then, but at least it makes his character a little more dimensional seeing how he tries to justify what he does.

What works best in the movie is the racial tension. The white guys aren’t blatant racists, they would never say any racial slurs I don’t think, and wouldn’t consider themselves racist. But they have a recognizable contempt and lack of understanding of the black characters. A truly enlightened white individual could have a color blind confrontation with King James and his men, they wouldn’t have to throw in a sarcastic “homey” here and there, but that’s the type of guy Sadler is – the sarcastic “homey” type.

You could justify talking like that to the criminals, but there’s also a homeless man (Art Evans) who stays in the building, and they decide to tie him up so he doesn’t get in the way of the gold. I like the dynamic – Paxton doesn’t want to tie him up, but doesn’t stop Sadler from doing it. Whenever they need his help they try to act like they’re his buddy and ask him some question about the layout of the building or something, and he’ll usually say “FUCK YOU!” When they finally do untie him they expect an automatic let-bygones-be-bygones policy, even though they’re the motherfuckers that just tied him to a chair for hours! And they’re oblivious to the fact that they’re asking for too much forgiveness. Not a bad depiction of race relations circa 1992. The guy is kind of an angry asshole, but jesus, I would be too if I were him.

I also like this theme of everybody claiming ownership of the building and the gold. I personally believe the homeless guy has the strongest claim to it, because it’s a building that he at least has used as shelter for some time. King James and his men consider it their territory, because it’s within the neighborhood where they kill people and sell drugs. The firemen consider it theirs because they’re the ones who were given the map. But the guy who gave them the map stole the gold anyway. None of these people here owns the land or what’s on it. All the claims are on a made up time-passage basis. Well, whoever owns this building hasn’t used it in a long time, who ever owned this gold hasn’t seen it in a long time.

When you think about it it kind of shows that the whole idea of ownership is kind of a crock of shit. But these guys want the gold because they’re materialists. They’re not following some Native American idea of the land belonging to Mother Earth.

So there you have it. Clearly a commercial movie, a small but solidly entertaining one. But also it’s America circa 1992 in disc form, and I bet it plays better now than it did back then. Good job Walter.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2010 at 2:36 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

97 Responses to “Trespass”

  1. Interesting. You didn’t much care for ARMORED, yet I consider that one to have the same strengths and weaknesses as TRESPASS. Both have potent castings, both have a solid rich if not exactly rocket science original premise, both take place primarily in one action setpiece, so they’re 3/4ths there to being a very good movie. But lack that last 1/4th, and thus they’re only OK, decent, not necessarily worth watching per say but if you caught it on TV, you would roll with it. Kinda like LOOKER I guess.

    But I guess in reflection, TREPASS is better. I liked that scene where the old man talks about why everyone goes nuts for GOLD…and he’s right. Also in retrospect, nice seeing two of the top “controversial” American rappers dramatically confront each other, whether its the guy behind “Cop Killer” or the spearhead of NWA who (arguably) made the greatest, most important rap album.

    Or to put it another way, imagine in 1998 in this alternate reality, Biggie Smalls and Tupac (already showed he had some decent chops in BULLET) had done a movie together. Big guy and little guy who’s big mouth on TV got him jail. We were denied that.

    Also William Sadler is usually one of those under-respected, ignored cool guys who really is fucking dependable when he’s given the ball. He made BOGUS JOURNEY better than it should have been, so its nice he gets some red meat in TRESPASS, with Bill Paxton not getting killed by a Terminator, Alien, or Predator here.

    So yeah Vern, I will agree: TRESPASS is watchable.

  2. Sounds like the same dynamic as JUDGEMENT NIGHT. Not that great a film, but extremely watchable and interesting. Special kudos to Denis Leary who manages to appear genuinely insane and unhinged.

    Sadler is one of the all-time great That Guy’s, ruling everything from Bill and Ted to Demon Knight to the Frank Darabont joints, up to and including stuff like that one episode of CSI he was in. He’s one of those guys who can be in a movie for the slightest amount of screentime and still manage to make the biggest impression.

  3. I’ve recently re-watched Undisputed , for research and to see if it’s as bad as I remembered . It isn’t , I liked some parts and Rhames and Snipes are good in that movie , but everything else is just sub-standard stuff , especially the action. Really nothing compared to The Driver , Hard Times and The Warriors (original cut) . I sure as hell consider Walter Hill way more important than Zemeckis in my movie-related education , and I’m sorry , I really don’t like his latest dead-eyes-cgi-character-movies , even if I consider them interesting experiments.
    So , I’m going to track down this one , I look forward to another good old school Walter Hill movie.

  4. …and good call on William Sadler and Demon Knight! Man that movie was fun ! I’ve recently seen him in The Hills Run Red and he was as good as always , one of those actors always reliable as a good guy or a bad guy ….and evrything in between.

  5. CallMeKermiT – And to add to that good Walter Hill mailbox, I would include GERONIMO, JOHNNY HANDSOME, EXTREME PREJUDICE, SOUTHERN COMFORT, and LONG RIDERS. Oh fuck it, also WILD BILL. Sorta more mixed bag, but the good is good enough. I guess.

    I really hope ST. VINCENT happens, which was supposed to have Mickey Rourke, who apparently everybody wants now so who knows?

    Hell John Milius is shipping around a Genghis Kahn movie starring Rourke.

    Which is either the most awesome bad idea ever, or the most awesome good idea ever.

  6. I’m glad William Sadler is respected among movie nerds and horror fans, but he really deserves to have at least a Stanley Tucci level of mainstream popularity. His scene Kinsey was a different kind of creepy.

    RRA – I don’t know if Mickey Rourke as Genghis Khan manages to clear the bar set by John Wayne, but I’d still pay to see it.

  7. Does Shaolin Soccer count as a kung-fu movie?

  8. If we’re talking Walter Hill, don’t forget 48 HRS and STREETS OF FIRE. SOF is flawed (they spend too much time driving around on the goddamn bus) but awesome and unique nonetheless. STREETS OF FIRE + RUMBLE FISH = SIN CITY.

    Random Hill stuff: Apparently, STREETS OF FIRE is sort of a prequel to THE WARRIORS, it’s said to take place in the same comic book / Technicolor universe, but it’s their 50s and Warriors is that world’s mid-70s.

    And THE WARRIORS was reportedly inspired by A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, in particular the gang rumble between the Droogs and “Billy Boy” in the beginning; and the shot of them all walking in slow motion along the Thames.

  9. “just do what your mama says and you’ll achieve all of your dreams,”
    Which is weird because we’re meant to view Forrest mother as a generally nice lady who’ll do anything for her son…but at the same time we’re told she named him after a member of the KKK…

  10. CC – First half of SOF is pretty good. The opening is brilliant in the visual storytelling mixing the concert with the abduction, Michael Pare is a solid legit no-nonsense tough guy (think Michael Beck but even more nails), Rick Moranis is awesome as the prick manager, Ed Harris’ wife is a legit tough gal (which isn’t easy), Diane Lane is lovely* enough that you could understand why the ex she dumped would march down to save her without hesitation, and even for the mid-1980s when most pop rock music was shit…..the movie has an effective soundtrack.

    The movie to me only falls apart in the 3rd Act. All the genuinely exciting momentum screeches to a dead halt, and the movie crashes. Nearly as bad as its box office performance. Also funny how the movie was inspired by a Bruce Sprinsteen song, yet the boss refused to license his song for SOF.

    Also Hill said somewhere the WARRIORS was inspired by not just ORANGE, but also the rock band KISS. Apparently Hill was tickled by that aspect of dressing up in full ridiculous galore for role play.

    *=I think Lane had to turn down SPLASH or one of those big roles to do FIRE. Poor gal.

  11. Stu – Didn’t she also bone a guy to get him into school without the disability classes?

  12. RRA : Yeah , there’s just too much good stuff to write it all down ! But I have to admit that I’ve never seen Street of Fire , because literally everybody here hates something about that movie , so I always skipped it in search for something better. I knew that it was intended to be the 50’s of the Warriors universe , and that’s pretty cool , but I always skipped it anyway.But I’ve got the soundtrack , in a still working cassette !

  13. CallMeKermiT – Yeah well apparently according to everybody around here too, everybody has a bitching at TDK for one reason or another. Doesn’t mean its not worth checking out.

    I must admit, I wouldn’t recommend STREETS first if one is to explore Walter Hill. But its still essential for that was made when Hill for a brief time had real power in Hollywood after 48 HRS. and decided to cash in his chips with STREETS, and it horribly backfired.

    Its entertaining and watchable. Ebert and Leonard Maltin made some of the criticisms at STREET I made, yet they still gave it thumbs up.

    I can understand that.

    Also, Willem Dafoe wearing rubber pants? WIN!

  14. I really liked this movie. The trailers made it seem like a Die Hard movie, but when it was really a stand-off movie about the gold, it worked. Like Vern said, some of what made it so great was seeing it in theaters and having Ice-T slap Ice Cube and then they point shotguns at each other. That was pretty badass.

  15. RRA- That would be the “do anything for her son” part.

  16. “…have cleats ever been used in a kung fu movie?” Not unless you consider Cobb a kung fu movie. (Where’s my rimshot?)

  17. RRA, I would think Diane Lane wins. Sure she didn’t star in Splash but flashforward to 2010 and she’s a much bigger star than Daryl Hannah ever was.

  18. Streets of Fire is one of my all time favorite movies. (The music alone is awesome) Used Cars is up there too. I’m surprised Zemeckis was mentioned and Used Cars wasn’t. What the hell is that all about?

  19. It’s interesting how much you can see Streets of Fire’s influence on video games like Double Dragon and Vigilante. Supposedly, the movie was a hit in Japan and (a lot of Japanese cartoons reference it).

    I always thought Streets of Fire and Phantom of the Paradise should have been runaway hits and Rocky Horror should be doomed to obscurity.

  20. hamslime – or I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND for that matter.

    Or DEATH BECOMES HER.

    Or CONTACT. Wait CONTACT sucked, fuck that.

  21. Forrest Gump – I remember watching that and thinking, “I can’t believe the guy who made Used Cars made this thing!” I enjoyed the book; it reads like an amusing rip-off of some of Andy Griffith’s old material such as “What it was was Football” and his performance in “No Time For Sergeants”. But, for some reason, they decided to combine that with “Born on the Fourth of July” and it became a movie straight from hell.

    I didn’t mind the it’s mostly accurate portrayal of hippies as sanctimonious assholes…But I absolutely hate the way it keeps heaping punishment after punishment on Jenny. To the point where she doesn’t even get to enjoy any of her debauchery. So, yeah, thumbs down.

  22. Not to mention Forest in the book cussed like a sailor. But oh no, he’s a mama’s boy in the movie.

    Did anyone here ever bother with the sequel?

  23. Jareth Cutestory

    July 2nd, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    RRA: I didn’t read the sequel, but apparently it begins with the Gump character complaining about how he was depicted in the film.

    My big complaint against GUMP (the film) is more technical: Sellers played a much less hamfisted idiot savant in BEING THERE and ZELIG did the whole intercutting-with-historical-footage thing to way better effect. Way, way, way better effect.

  24. I watched Streets of Fire about a year ago and I thought it was still awesome but holy fuck is Michael Pare a terrible actor. He almost kills that movie for me.

  25. Lawrence – i would say daryl hannah (why is a lady called daryl? that’s weird) was a bigger star in the 80’s than diane lane is now, or at leats more of a household name, but diane lane now is a far bigger and more respectable star than daryl hannah now. and she’s hotter and a better actress. though, i can help but think wistfully of what it would have been like to be in the theater as a kid with my family and getting PG-rated boob and butt shots of diane lane in SPLASH (though i was perfectly happy getting them of daryl hannah at the time).

    RRA – i thought CONTACT mostly sucked until the climactic sequence where she goes to space. seriously, i can’t think of any other time where i have done such a sudden 180 from being bored to tears to being utterly on the edge of my seat and invested in what was going on so late in a movie’s running time. i was watching the whole movie thinking, “this is terrible,” then all the sudden when it comes to the day she is actually going to board the alien ship and head into space, i was like, “oh my god i’m jodie foster and i’m about to go into space!!!” and the whole sequence was so well done from a visceral as well as an emotional standpoint. when she gets to the alien planet or wormhole or whatever (i forget the specifics), and she is on the beach that she drew as a kid, and david morse shows up, i was like, “DADDY!” so i would say CONTACT is about 85% suck with about 15% awes (pronounced “oss”).

    also, i feel like CASTAWAY doesn’t get enough respect; it was surprisingly really good. i was expecting to hate it (i hated FORREST GUMP and was feeling particularly anti-hanks at that point in history), but i thought it was really ballsy, well-down and emotionally affecting.

  26. Castaway was pretty good. I thought it would be more interesting as a silent (dialog-free. At least when Hanks gets stranded) movie

    I thought they pussed out by adding Wilson so they could have some dialog, but you have to admit (or I do anyway) that a filmmaker who can make me cry over a volleyball definitely has talent. So, yeah. I dug Castaway, but it’s still no Used Cars. First of all Jack Warden playing two characters, one you want dead, and the other is like a sweet older uncle or grandpa. You couldn’t get two characters that were further removed from each other and the same guy played both of them!

  27. How you feel about Sir Mix-A-Lot is how I feel about King of the Hill living in Texas. Not sure how anyone else gets it. For what it’s worth, I wore out the SWASS and Seminar tapes in middle school.

  28. I’ve always liked this one and I’m glad you reviewed it. I think it ranks with “Southern Comfort” as being one of Walter Hill’s best and, as usual, you summed up and picked out the finer points better than I ever could.

  29. And forget about the rap stuff, Ry Cooder delivers an awesome badass score in this one (as he does in all of his Hill collaborations, but the Trespass score is particularly dangerous to play when you’re on the edge of doin something severe).

  30. Virgin Gary – I’m pretty sure you’re responding exactly opposite to the popular opinion of CONTACT. I’m under the general impression that most folks think everything up to the space travel is a suspenseful, compelling, what the hell is going to happen piece of science fiction. But when she goes through the wormhole she just ends up on some fantasy beach and talks to her Dad instead of aliens. I can see how that would be a bit of a let down, all the build up of the mysterious signal and not one but two engineering attempts just to get zapped to some Earth-like location to meet a character we’ve already met. Personally I’ve always had a soft spot for CONTACT, both the novel and the movie. But it’s really just a mash-up of two far smarter works: the first half is a dumbed down version of Stanislaw Lem’s utterly brilliant HIS MASTER’S VOICE, the second half is a cribbed version of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY’S climax. I love Sagan but he really can’t take much credit for the ideas in CONTACT, only the characters are his.

  31. Beowulf was a very good movie, but those creepy digital characters spoiled the experience.

  32. Gwai Lo – that’s interesting. i respected the attempt at intelligent science fiction that characterized the first half (i haven’t read the novel btw), but i just thought the whole faith vs. science theme was done in a really blunt, heavy-handed way, almost to the point of being grown-inducing. and in general it was just boring and mildly cheesy. and it was this movie that first made me realize that jodie foster, who can be an effective actress in certain roles (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), pretty much acts like a frightened bird in every movie. i do a facial impersonation of her acting style, which obviously you guys can’t see, but i assure you, it is both uncannily accurate and oh so hilarious. and also, another waste of mcconaughey. but on the plus side, billy fitchener.

    with the wormhole sequence, it was just such a jolt (in a good sense) from the rest of the narrative. and i had no expectations for what was gonna happen, so whatever happened was exciting for me. and the emotional content worked. plus, she actually WAS talking to an alien, not her dad, anyway.

  33. ah good ole ole Bob Zemeckis, what a strange career he’s had

    I saw Beowulf in 2D and A Christmas Carol in 3D, they aren’t bad movies, but Zemeckis used to be on the same level as Spielberg (Used Cars, Back To The Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit are his masterpieces) and none of his CGI flicks are anywhere that good

    he’s sadly one of a long list of once great directors who have lost their mojo in recent years

    anyway as far as Forrest Gump goes, well it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I don’t get the hate, it may not be the best movie of 94 (hello Pulp Fiction!), but it’s an enjoyable movie aside, it was actually the first time I had ever heard of the Vietnam war as a kid

    p.s. I love Castaway, Wiiiiiiiiiiilsoooooooooooon!!!!

  34. also, I find the early 90’s absolutely fascinating, of course it was my first exposure to this crazy thing we call reality (I was born in 1989 you see) so of course I find it interesting

    although I was a little kid at the time, even I could sense the racial tension that in the air at the time, also I remember OJ, lots and lots of OJ, in fact I think I thought that at the time that the purpose of the news was so people could hear about this OJ person was doing

    also it seriously fucked with my head to see him the third Naked Gun movie

  35. I don’t know, but for me was Forrest Gump nothing more than a likable and well crafted Underdog story. Also I don’t know what’s so propagandistic about a movie where a man lives one unthinkable adventure after another, participates in a gazillion historic events and becomes one of the richest men in the world, but has no idea what’s going on around him.
    I would even go so far and say that the message of the movie is “Being Mama’s boy and an uptight American is the worst thing that can happen to you, because then you won’t notice all the adventure that is going on around you.” Think about it. Forrest tells the exciting story of his life to everybody who wants to hear it, but he is the only one who fails to notice how special it is. That’s kinda sad, isn’t it?

  36. I will be haunted by PG-13 visions of a 1983-era Diane Lane in an alternate universe version of SPLASH for the next 48 hours. Happy 4th Of July!!!

    (A friend of mine worked with her on Secretariat last year and said she was still the hottest woman on the set, hands down, no competition…)

  37. And: I think you could make a pretty good case that WEST SIDE STORY, THE WARRIORS, STREETS OF FIRE, KILL BILL, SIN CITY, DICK TRACY, TROUBLE IN MIND (remember that? With Lori Singer and Keith Carradine?) and ONE FROM THE HEART are all taking place in the same glorious, neon-lit, primary color, surreal universe, where the rumbles between rival gangs are occasionally broken up by musical numbers. : )

  38. When I said “literally everybody here hates something about that movie” , I was talking about here in Italy , not here in the comments section. I never said that in my opinion Streets of Fire is not worth watching , far from it . I want to see it because it’s linked to The Warriors , for its own merits and for the soundtrack . I always end up skipping it for one reason or another , more often than not because the people I rent movies with ( and watch movies with ) have already seen it and don’t like it a whole lot , like I said before . Just to clarify .

  39. When I was 12 or so, I was excited that a movie had both Ices in it. But Trespass was a letdown at the time–too solemn to be Die Hard, and not as chic as early 90s hood films like Boyz N the Hood and Juice. Except for maybe The Warriors, it’s my experience growing up that Hill movies have less kid-appeal than most in the action genre. I need to see this one again. It looks fascinating.

  40. I remember feeling Forrest Gump was a subtle poke at how America mythologizes successful people. Forrest might be agreeable, but his wins are often the product of cluelessness and luck, which contradicts the heroic qualities that people project onto their sports heroes, their “best” soldiers, their business titans, their pop icons. Haven’t gone back to see if this holds up.

    Not fully proud of this, but picked up the Streets of Fire CD on Tuesday. I actually like the musical portions of the film better than the action. Last fall the movie showed with Pare, Valkenburgh, and a writer taking questions after, and someone noted that Hill created the milieu around his ideals of what made the best rock and roll; you can hear the struggle between rootsier sounds and then-current 80s fringe all over the disc. Plus no one can mime an oversized, chorus-and-thunder Jim Steinman anthem like Diane Lane.

  41. Yeah, I don’t know about Forest. I’ve happily bought into stories that advocate accepting fate (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, LOST) but I think what leaves such a bad taste in my mouth with that movie is the way Zemeckis and Eric Roth (the writer) see fit to actively punish every character that tries to have some kind of choice. Drug addiction, amputation, disease, alcoholism, that’s what awaits people who try to seize control over their lives and try to have a say in how things work out.

  42. Ever hate something or someone and you can’t remember why? Thats how I feel about Contact.

    Things I remember about Streets of Fire:

    1. Willem Dafoe in weird pants.
    2. Rick Moranis being a dick.
    3. Diane Lane being ridiculously hot.
    4. The awesome Dan Hartmen song at the end, “I Can Dream About You”.
    5. Michael Pare being a pretty bad actor but still liking him (Remember Eddie and The Cruisers?)

    Trespass is pretty good. Its right there with Judgement Night as far as “white people lost in the ghetto” movies go. I liked Judgement Night more though. The scene where Jeremy Piven tries to talk his way out of getting killed is pretty harrowing. Oh, and Used Cars is still hilarious to this day.

  43. caruso_stalker217

    July 3rd, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    CONTACT is really more of a punishment than a movie.

  44. Gotta drop my 2 cents in. Never was overly impressed with Forrest Gump, but I do find all the pseudointellectual claptrap regarding its “subtext” to be, well, pseudointellectual claptrap. The movie didn’t seem to me to go out of its way to villify the Jenny character or make her one bit unlikable or unsympathetic. But guess what grownups, certain actions/lifestyles carry certain risks/consequences. More than a few of us would love to “rebel” against fate for wieghtloss and chisled abs on the pizza and cheesecake diet. How do ya think thats gonna work out for ya? Like it or not, convenient or not, fun or not it can’t All be GOOD just cause you want it to be. Or just to keep free from the faintest blemish, our fantasies of free spirited bliss. So i just find this pretense of a don’t question/conform subtext in the film silly.

  45. I’m interested in what you all hate so much about CONTACT. I don’t think it’s great by any stretch of the imagination but it’s at least ambitious, thought provoking sci-fi. We get far too little of that to hate on the scraps that Hollywood throws us in my opinion.

  46. Watching “Streets of Fire” right now . ( But I wasn’t able to find Trespass…damn , I wanted an old-school Walter Hill double-feature!)

  47. Old-school Hill? Go with Hard Times if you can find it. Although Crossroads might be better suited as a double feature since they both center around music.

    Of course you could do the Pare’ double feature and follow Streets of Fire with Eddie and The Cruisers. Those two movies go together like “peas and carrots” anyway.

  48. I noticed this in “Streets of Fire” : One of the singers in the bus is Grand L. Bush , Agent Johnson in Die Hard. You can see him in the back , trying to look cool…by chewing on his glasses.

  49. Gwai Lo – That VENTURE BROS. episode “Twenty Years to Midnight” perfectly summed up what was so silly about CONTACT.

    “I assumed this form, your father, so I wouldn’t frighten you as much as you would be if you had seen my original form.”

    “Are you BLEEP serious?!?”

  50. hamslime – shit I forgot all about HARD TIMES.

    Also, I liked CROSSROADS. Alot of people can’t get beyond the idea of the Karate Kid playing guitar, but consider this: Look at the late 50s when all those awesome black music acts like Little Richard and Chuck Berry and Perkins or whatever, several from the South which wasn’t exactly fun in the sun if you’re dark skinned.

    Then all that music going over to England, all those skinny white lower/middle class limey kids named John and Paul and George and Keith and Mick and Peter and, all with (probably cheap) guitars trying their damn best to emulate the chords and vocals and enthusiasm of those black musicians. In contrast the difference is almost comedy movie levels, but one doesn’t doubt the sincere nerdism.

    And no, I’m not comparing the Karate Kid to the British Invasion, but my point is good none the less. Its Walter Hill dabbling in blues/R&B mythology like if STREETS OF FIRE was his rock & roll myth or whatever.

    Besides, METALOCALYPSE referenced CROSSROADS in that one episode about that heavy metal group researching “the blues,” even with genre traditional selling soul to devil for the talent. That show is awesome.

  51. Daniel Strange

    July 3rd, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Zemeckis. I just happened to find BACK TO THE FUTURE, used, on DVD. I hadn’t bought it before only because I didn’t want to get the full trilogy (screw the sequels), but I bought it on its own and HOLY FUCKING SHIT I KNEW THAT WAS AN INCREDIBLE MOVIE BUT EVEN SO I FORGOT HOW FUCKING PERFECT IT IS. Hats off to Zemeckis for that one, big time.

    As for the rest of his stuff, hmm. ROGER RABBIT is ok, but possibly more enjoyable as a technical exercise than a story. FORREST GUMP, not my favorite (what’s the point of that movie?). I did like CASTAWAY for its single-minded devotion to the story it tells, and BEOWULF for being the equivalent of a disney theme park ride. The rest, either I haven’t seen it or I didn’t much care for it.

    What’s my point? My point is, Zemeckis had a few good flicks in him. That’s more than most directors do. He’s not my favorite, but he’s OK in my book. BACK TO THE FUTURE basically earns him a lifetime “get out of jail free” card, as far as I’m concerned.

    Actually, I’m really writing just to say this: someone should do a mash-up of William Sadler and Willem Dafoe.

  52. This movie is fucking awesome.

    Walter Hill is the most underrated director alive.

    That is all.

  53. I can see that, Daniel. Sadler was definitely reminding me alot of Dafoe in this one. Maybe they could play brothers.

  54. RRA – OK, that’s what I thought, as I mentioned in my post to Virgin Gary. But that’s like the climax of the movie, even it’s a climax of the anti variety there’s at least 90 minutes of pretty interesting story prior to that in my opinion. The first act, when SETI receives the signal and sets to work deciphering it, only to discover that it’s the blueprints for some sort of machine… well that’s what sci-fi is all about to me.

  55. Rogue4, the term “pseudointellectual” is pseudointellectual.

    But I kind of agree. Even though I understand why people have a problem with Forrest Gump’s conservative subtext, and I do think it exists, I think it’s probably unintentional and certainly not malicious.

    Forrest lives through all these amazing experiences that would leave the rest of us awestruck, but the only thing that amazes him is Jenny. Politics aside, it’s well-acted, well-written, definitely well-directed, and it’s a good movie.

    Not the best movie of 1994, but a good movie.

  56. Gwai Lo – That would be true if those minutes as helmed by Zemeckis was that compelling or even that intriguing.

    Instead, the guy gets seriously sidetracked by the whole “is atheism a good thing or not?” nonsense. Which is sad because the whole point of the movie I think it might have wanted to explore at one point or another when George Miller was involved, is paralling that the search for God and UFOs really is a faith thing without necessarily ever getting the reward for it or finding that pot of gold.

    Instead of silently chiding her for discarding God in the first place, maybe Zemeckis should have ended that whole movie in the point of not confirming or discarding her faith but instead…

    “Maybe?”

    Of course CONTACT really soured for me when sometime after I saw that bullshit in theatres, I saw 2001 again. That is a genuinely great movie about discovery, or being at awe at something indescribedly awesome.

    Which was a feeling I never quite got from CONTACT, in spite of John Hinckley’s muse going on what supposedly is the ultimate human trip, and the shitload of CGI and big budget Zemeckis got command of.

    Maybe Zemeckis just isn’t quite cut out for the psychology stuff?

  57. The term “pseudointellectual” is pseudointellectual. Pretty clever friendo, but snark doesn’t make for actual counterargument. Now viewing a movie or taking in any other piece of art is seldom a passive experience. But sometimes we project our baggage onto a piece a bit more heavily than others. And the analysis of Forrest Gump’s “subtext” just seems to me a case in point. A bit presumptive on my part, sure. But unless you genuinely believe that that’s genuinely where the film is comin from than the analysis just comes of as prententious blather. Thats where I’m comin from. Not as extreme a case, but this reminds me of the analysis of The Excorcist’s “subtext” of the patriarchal repression of burdgeoning female sexuality blabbity blah blah blah…

  58. Also, Robert Zemeckis’ “tales From The Crypt” episode with Larry Drake as the deranged Santa Claus remains one of my favorite episodes from the whole series.

  59. Ian – Yeah that was awesome. Same story also was used in the old TALES FROM THE CRYPT movie from the 70s, but yeah I think the Zemeckis version is better, more suspenseful, much more disturbing.

    Its like he wanted to play in the nasty sandbox, and he got it.

  60. Every science fiction film in existence is soured somewhat by 2001. No one has yet gotten out from under the shadow of that monolith. But I get the comparison, CONTACT is going for the same sense of awe and wonder, trying to dabble in the same realm of ideas, and doesn’t even come close. 2001 is my favorite film, hence my avatar, and that’s probably all I need to say about that. Despite over 40 years since its release and the quantum leaps special effects have taken over the years, I still don’t think anyone has even come within an order of magnitude of its intelligence and scope. If 2001 is well, a 2001 out of 10, then CONTACT is at most a 7.5. Zemeckis is no Kubrick, and Sagan is no Clarke.

    But I still give CONTACT that 7.5, which sounds like it’s a lot higher than what the rest of you are giving it. And I do think it explores the notion you mentioned of atheist faith in otherworldly life, and with all the religious business the movie gets into at the behest of the Matthew McConaughey character and Jodie Foster’s eventual plea for the world to take her claims on faith, I think the movie explicitly asks the viewer to make a connection between religious faith and faith in scientific theory without being able to prove the tangible reward. I don’t really think Zemeckis is “silently chiding her for discarding God” as he’s pushing an atheist to admit that faith is not strictly the province of the religious. Now you’re right that it’s ham-fisted, the James Woods character basically turns into a moustache twirling villain at the end as he bullies her with all the questions any sane, rational person would ask. So much for giving the voice of atheism a fair shake. The movie drops the ball in the third act, you’re right. HIS MASTER’S VOICE ends with a massive headscratcher of a question mark that confronts your shortcomings as a human being with the vast unknowable mysteries of the cosmos. CONTACT tries to wrap everything up with a neat little bow, and because it dabbles in the vast unknowable mysteries of the cosmos, such conclusivity is impossible.

    But like I said earlier, I really don’t think we get enough of this stuff, and I admire the effort. I remember thinking less of the film when I saw it in the theaters, but over the years I caught it on TV a few times and eventually bought the DVD and now I can sort of appreciate the attempt to create some visionary sci-fi cinema. Even if there wasn’t a bonafide visionary behind the camera.

  61. caruso_stalker217

    July 3rd, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Gwai Lo:

    I wouldn’t say I hate CONTACT, but after a while it just gets tedious. Things pick up when Jodie actually gets in the machine and you get the space travel and the whatnot, but so little screen time is devoted to that (interesting) stuff before they go back to the scenes with the talking and the faith and so on. It’s irritating.

    The other majorly irritating factor is the Matthew McConaughey character. I’ve never seen a character so glaringly outlive his usefulness in a film like he did. Just when you think they’re done with him he shows up on the panel to judge who should go on the mission. Then he shows up the night before Jodie Foster is going to leave. And then they put him in the goddamn control room! They give him a fucking headset and everything. The guy just won’t go away.

    Also, there’s that business with Jake Busey as the crazy cult dude. What fucking movie did they cut that in from?

  62. caruso_stalker217 – If I recall correctly the McConaughey character is a lot more irritating in the novel and he isn’t a good looking love interest. I think the Jake Busey/James Woods characters were supposed to be the extreme versions of the Foster/McConaughey dynamic. One is a hardline skeptic, the other a hardline religious nut, and I think we’re supposed to hate both of them and consider them villains. Meanwhile I think we’re intended to respect Foster/McConaughey and their ability to bend a little bit in their beliefs.

  63. caruso_stalker217

    July 4th, 2010 at 12:00 am

    James Woods was definitely in full-on prick mode.

    The Busey stuff just seemed completely out of place. Especially when he sabotages the first mission, taking the time to make an evil face to the camera.

  64. Hey man, that`s just Jake Busey`s face, he can`t help looking evil.

  65. caruso_stalker217

    July 4th, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Damn. I can’t argue with that.

  66. yeah, it’s the same jake busey face from THE FRIGHTENERS and maybe also “shasta mcnasty.” the reason the jake busey character existed in CONTACT is simple: they needed the first mission to be sabotaged so jodie foster could get on the secret japanese ship. obviously!

  67. This bums me out that a Trespass review should focus around Zemeckis. Even the Tales From The Crypt references in the comments about “And all through the House” when the one that we should be talking about is “The Man Who Was Death” starring William Sadler, directed by Walter Hill and music by Ry Cooder. I’ll put this one to Vern too. Doin a Trespass review and making Zemeckis the focal point is wrongheaded… He is an accomplished director of special effects (though his work was noticeably leadened post-gump when he decided to be a ‘serious artist’), but Hill is a fella who’s got a well thought-out idea about masculine heroes and their shortcomings.

  68. TALES FROM THE CRYPT might be my favorite tv show ever

    anyone ever see the last episode? it’s a crazy violent cartoon version of the three little pigs, great way to end a series in my opinion

  69. Tales From The Crypt rules! Anybody knows the Zemeckis-directed episode “with” Humphrey Bogart? :D

  70. Jareth Cutestory

    July 4th, 2010 at 8:43 am

    CONTACT would have benefitted from having Willem Dafoe and his crazy pants in it.

    Also, instead of her father, Jodi Foster should have been talking to an alien that assumed the form of a giant taco that shit ice cream.

  71. My problem with Contact: Most of it’s great, aside from some of the problems people have already mentioned (like the McConaughey character). The stuff about building the machine, the politics and the journey into space is all mostly wonderful…Jodi Foster meets an alien, and it takes the form of her father…Ok, disappointing, but I can accept that…but then, what spews out of his mouth is such a load of mediocre new age bullshit. What a let down! It’s like traveling to edge of the universe and finding Deepak Chopra there.

    It seems like with a lot of supposedly “transcendent” modern movies, transcendence is just matter of style – of imitating Stanley Kubrick – but when it comes time to actually deliver some transcendent ideas they always cop out and you realize that what you’ve been watching all along was just a standard story told in a portentous, slightly esoteric way.

  72. Jareth Cutestory

    July 4th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Ha! Deepak Chopra. That’s hilarious.

    I wonder if the film would have got funding if the alien had told Jodi Foster that mindless consumerism was destroying the planet, and that she had to instruct everyone to go back to the agrarian way of life or they’d all die.

  73. WS – all of that is on point. Agreed.

  74. Giggler – yeah, but it goes without saying that we like Walter Hill around here. I thought it was interesting that this particular one was written by Zemeckis since it doesn’t fit any of the various images of him I have. But despite the opening paragraph I thought my review was more focused on the year 1992 and how this movie fits in with what was going on in the U.S. at that time.

  75. The problem with discussing movies on the internet, to me is, that generally there’s a movie being discusses like Contact, and then someone will have to say “well, it wasn’t great like 2001.” You really mean that it wasn’t AS GREAT AS ONE OF THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE? No shit? Reeeally?

    It’s like internet folk have seen the classics therefore compare other movies directly to them. Why not compare how much better Contact was than Mission to Mars? Or discuss it on its own merits? Why does everything always be expected to be one of the best movies ever, or worthless? That’s why I like Vern, he enjoys movies on their own terms…stll wants them to be great, or at least try really hard. But sometimes if they’re not great and are simply just good or enjoyable, he can still give them a good grade.

  76. caruso_stalker217

    July 4th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Woah, woah, woah. Don’t be dissin’ MISSION TO MARS now. Where else are you gonna see a frozen Tim Robbins head? CONTACT didn’t have a frozen Tim Robbins head.

  77. For all my previous insistence on giving ambitious sci-fi a chance, MISSION TO MARS has straight up pissed on all the chances I’ve ever given it. And I’ve given it at least three. I remember I was so mad about that one when I saw it in the theater for the first time that I theater-hopped over to AMERICAN BEAUTY to get my admission’s worth. Brian De Palma, why hath ye forsaken me?

  78. Jareth Cutestory

    July 4th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Jones: I like the words that you wrote, but I don’t think they compare very favorably to Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

    Just kidding. And you’re right, there is a weird tendency for some opinions on the internet to be more polarized than you’d ever find them anywhere outside a Tea Bagger rally. But I think most of the regulars on this sight try to be even-handed.

    Gwai Lo: Speaking of ambitious science fiction, or the lack of it, did you see THE MAN FROM EARTH? It came out a few years ago.

    Also, is it wrong to have a crush on Maria from METROPOLIS?

  79. I did see THE MAN FROM EARTH, fantastic film. Actually brief digression here, I’m thinking of starting a website for the purposes of conducting an exhaustive academic survey of really obscure but smart science fiction (THE MAN FROM EARTH would be qualify) that hasn’t really been written about seriously before. I have a list of about 50 titles I endorse to start me off, and a stack of about 100-150 rarities I’m still catching up on, so I think I have the material. All I need is a bit of a kick in the ass I guess. But since I’ve spent the last two to three years (the length of time I’ve spent getting a screenwriting career off the ground, and specifically trying to work within the science fiction wheelhouse) accumulating all this specialized knowledge it would be a shame to let it stay cooped up in my head. I’m considering this because every time a critic or film website publishes a list of the greats it’s always so predictable: 2001, BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN, METROPOLIS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, etc. All great movies, but the layman would assume that the genre offers less than others. I have been consistently surprised by what I have been able to find with some serious digging. And I don’t see anyone else championing lost masterpieces from the Soviet Union so…

    But anyway, back to THE MAN FROM EARTH, I thought that was a great example of smart science fiction that blows your mind with nothing but ideas. It would make a fantastic stage play. I think perhaps a keener director behind the camera might have taken it over the top (picture Sidney Lumet’s dynamically shot treatment of 12 ANGRY MEN applied to the similar premise of a group of people having their minds changed by one guy in one static location) but it’s still one of the smarter sci-fi films in recent memory.

    And speaking of METROPOLIS, I saw the complete cut the other day at my local Cinematheque and it floored me. It’s like a completely different movie. The restoration is beautiful, but there’s an almost wholly restored subplot in there (The Thin Man and Josaphat), plus some meaty setpieces during the climax. This version has transformed what was always a bit of a dry academic exercise for me into the coherent piece of visionary cinema that it was always supposed to be. Or maybe I’ve just matured since the last time I saw it, but I don’t remember being so awed by the sophistication of the film during previous viewings.

  80. Jareth Cutestory

    July 4th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Gwai Lo: If you need a kick in the pants to motivate you, look no further than IMDB: their “best science fiction films of all time” puts JJ Abrams’ STAR TREK ahead of 12 MONKEYS and CHILDREN OF MEN, and BACK TO THE FUTURE ahead of 2001. Or maybe that’s the kind of list that would only motivate our pal AsimovLives. And by “motivate” I mean “come up with a bunch of funny pun names for Abrams and his film.”

    At any rate, if you ever get around to comparing and contrasting the two versions of SOLARIS, I’d be the first in line to read it.

  81. I’ll do you one better and compare the two film versions with the book.

  82. “THE MAN FROM EARTH would be qualify”

    I would also probably make more of an effort to proofread than I do here.

  83. The Last Airbender made 50 million dollars at the BO despite only 9% of the critics calling it anything than a piece of shit. But it was a movie based off a kids property. Are we getting to the point where films made for adults won’t even be made anymore?

  84. Gwai Lo – Yeah MISSION TO MARS can kiss my ass as well. Then again, that was such a fucked production. Gore Verbinski vacated the director’s chair weeks before shooting, and Brian DePalma was brought in to pinch direct. Which is why I usually don’t hold that mess against him.

    Still a silly movie, as if idiots tried to make their own 2001, and completely missing the original points of quality in the first place.

    Zach Snyder might as well have directed it.

  85. “The Last Airbender made 50 million dollars at the BO despite only 9% of the critics calling it anything than a piece of shit. But it was a movie based off a kids property. Are we getting to the point where films made for adults won’t even be made anymore?”

    The Last Airbender is an awesome cartoon, though. amazing action and really good characterization. if they’d done a faithful adaptation it would have been great

    i was psyched to see Streets of Fire for months… got my local cult cinema guys to show it. they hated it… i think it was too American. me? i love The Warriors, i love classic cars and Jim Steinman and all that… still thought it dragged a bit but spending time in the Streets of Fire world was fun

  86. Gwai Lo, consider your ass kicked.

    I would love to read about overlooked sci-fi gems.

  87. So guys I guess its official: Vern has to review STREETS OF FIRE.

  88. Hey, a little late to the discussion but just had to say that CONTACT is the only movie i ever walked out of. I still call it the worst movie i ever saw in cinema.

    Please watch the trailer again and tell me what exactly is missing plotwise in those 2 and a half minutes. And how long was the actual film, longer than 2 hours if i remember correct.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF3IZzXZ6Ig

    Speaking of Metropolis, they are showing the new cut in my local town here in Germany in September. Its an old Cinema from 1928 and its still the biggest Cinema in whole Germany, the Music will be played by an philharmonic orchestra. I cant wait :)

  89. Sweet, two supporters. I think that’s grounds to get started. Although I may have ruined my credibility before I even kick things off here by voicing support for CONTACT. Now I’m curious to know what Vern thinks of the movie.

  90. My favorite Zemeckis is still Used Cars.

    “Rudy, what the fuck is this? Rudy, this is a red car. Holy shit! A red chariot to take my ass straight to hell!”

  91. Gwai Lo, I think you should do it. When I started Seagalogy I didn’t think more than a handful of people would read it, but I thought just for such a book to exist would be a good thing. That sounds like a websight that should exist, and I know I could definitely get some tips from it because I can’t think of too many good ones after that list of obvious classics.

    I don’t remember Contact that well. I thought it was okay when I saw it. I think I did have some problems with the climax if I remember right.

  92. Gwai Lo : Count me in. I remember a while back ( but I don’t remember in what comments section) , we had an exchange about Eastern European SF both movie-related and book-related , about the Strugatsky brothers , Stalker and Tarkovsky , I believe , and I’m always game when it comes to reading about Hard-SF or obscure SF ( or ninjas and robot-ninjas , if you want). Actually I’m about to read the first Witcher book from Andrzej Sapkowski , finally translated in Italian , so I’m already in a Eastern-European-literature mindset !

  93. Well Vern good buddy if I got your support then consider it done. Seagalogy is a huge inspiration for me in that it makes academic film criticism fun and approachable. I did a Film Studies minor in university and “academic” in that context seemed to mean up your own ass with verbose, impractical theory. Not very fun to read and only interesting to other academics. I sometimes wondered if the writers were even watching the films they were reviewing, or if they were more interested in applying Foucault’s poststructuralist notions to the female gaze in PSYCHO or some garbage. I’m gonna have to figure out how to design a web sight, and come up with a decent name for the thing, (I was thinking UNCHARTED FRONTIERS or something nerdy like that but I’m actually starting to fancy a phrasing I used earlier in this talkback: IN THE SHADOW OF THE MONOLITH) but I think I’m sufficiently fired up to finally do this. CallMeKermiT, I could be wrong but I think that was the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION talkback? As it happens I’m reading a Strugatsky brothers book right now, HARD TO BE A GOD, and plan to watch the movie version when I’m done. Which, to my delight, features Werner Herzog in an acting role.

  94. Gwai-For what it’s worth, you’ve got this reader’s eye. I hope you get that site up and I hope to be as entertained and enlightened by it as I am by this place.

  95. If you mean lack thereof, then yeah.

  96. I finally checked this one out through the miracle of VOD. (Man, that shit is REALLY taking off right now over here! Finally lots of sites, full of good movies to affordable prices!) It’s really nothing special, but quiet entertaining.

    Actually the only reason why I bother to comment underneath this movie, are two Germany specific things, that stroke me as odd. 1) It has here the kinda generic title “The Rap Gang”. 2.) It has an “18” rating, despite no too explicit violence. If they would re-rate it, I can imagine it getting away with a 16 or maybe even a 12!

    The thing is, when the movie came out, I was just 10, so I wasn’t really paying attention, yet I wonder if the fear of hip hop was a thing at that time in my part of the world too and the depiction of black people, wielding guns and enjoying rap music, was reason enough for a rating, that was even for that time pretty high! (In comparison: Both DIE HARDs got away with a 16!) I really should do some further research on that topic.

  97. CJ – I think old white people around the world were all scared by gangster rap. I mean now in retrospect its so fucking silly, but remember the pissy letter the FBI sent NWA over “Fuck the Police.”

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