The Long Kiss Goodnight

tn_longkissgoodnightI was looking through my notebook tonight and I found a review of THE LONG KISS GOOD NIGHT that I apparently never posted. It’s kind of like finding a dime under the couch.

It was actually Christmas time when I watched it. I had forgotten that’s when it took place, although I should’ve guessed, because it’s written by Shane Black. You write what you know, and the only thing Shane Black knows is what wiseass cops say together during the yuletide season. So I meant to post it to celebrate Christmas, but I guess instead we’ll post it to celebrate the recent news that Black is supposed to direct another movie (DOC SAVAGE).

There are a bunch of different posters, but I like this one for its DIE HARD 2ness.
There are a bunch of different posters, but I like this one for its DIE HARD 2ness.

This mismatched buddy teamup of Black and Renny Harlin didn’t make that much of an impression whenever I saw it before, but it’s pretty good, mainly because of Black’s usual smartass dialogue. It’s got a tone I like, an action movie that’s funny but serious. I guess that’s what you should expect from the godfather of the ’80s and ’90s style of action comedy. (Black, not Harlin. I like DIE HARD better, but you gotta admit LETHAL WEAPON was hugely influential too.)

Geena Davis plays Samantha Kane, a goodie-goodie school teacher and mother in a small, idyllic town who suddenly learns that she used to be Charlie Baltimore, gruff-talking, chain-smoking, knife-throwing super spy Cold Warrior. I mean one second she’s smiling and waving in the Christmas parade, taking advantage of her reputation as the hot teacher, next thing you know covert intelligence agencies are trying to murder her. Not cool. The nefarious CIA killers who thought she was dead come after her to finish the job, so she gets mixed up in this plan for a staged terrorist attack (creepily tied in with the first bombing of the World Trade Center). Plus she’s experiencing a split personality problem, even having threatening conversations with her other self in the mirror. So she and a low rent private eye (Samuel L. Jackson) go on a mission to uncover her past and straighten things out (i.e. kill the bad guys).

Davis isn’t always convincing with her tough talk, but it mostly works, and she’s great in the sensitive side of the role. Her bond with her daughter is very sweet, and there’s also a subplot about Jackson struggling to connect with his kid after a divorce, just like MONSTER SQUAD.

When this came out it probly seemed like kind of a novelty that a woman was kicking so much ass, but looking at it now the unusual thing is how smart and funny she gets to be. In a movie where everybody has a smartass response to everybody else’s smartass response, she gets the best ones, and that’s rare for a woman. Even before she’s Charlie Baltimore she’s mentally and comedically superior to those around her.

The only jokes I thought didn’t work were a couple really out of the blue ones pushing the housewife angle, like when she’s in a life or death situation and asks her daughter “Should we get a puppy?” for no reason. That was a little forced.

And some of the timing is a little off, but oh well. Like something’s a little crooked when a bad guy brings a hostage a teddy bear doll and self-righteously says “I am not a monster!” and then “Fuck you!” when the other guy’s not impressed. But it’s a funny enough concept that it works. Yeah buddy, you gave her a teddy bear doll, you are one of the all time humanitarians in my opinion, not just in the kidnapping community but in general.

The action’s pretty good too. My favorite touch is when Jackson’s being chased in a car near Samantha’s house so she grabs a pair of ice skates and crosses a frozen lake to catch up with them. Nice merging of her two personalities.

Davis and Jackson are both good and have chemistry. Craig Bierko makes a good unconventional villain. My only complaint is that as it gets to the big action climax it’s not good enough to really pull you all the way into action mode, and I was a little more interested in getting back to the characters. But it gets really emotional when the daughter is trying to revive her mom. I don’t know if the movie really earned it or if it’s just because the little girl is bawling her eyes out, but something really got me about hearing a little girl scream “Life is pain – you just get used to it!”

I was surprised how often it reminded me of KILL BILL. They’re two totally different movies, but they have some weird parallels. They’re both about cartoonishly skilled female assassins who quit the life when they got pregnant, and now have to fight their old employer (also former flame) before they can live normal settled down lives. Weirdly, the almost end of LONG KISS even has Davis driving a convertible with the top down, same as the end credits of KILL BILL 2. But that’s obviously a coincidence. Everybody knows KILL BILL was based on HARD TO KILL.

I liked this one. And to all a good night.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 2:54 am and is filed under Action, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

128 Responses to “The Long Kiss Goodnight”

  1. I met Shane Black at a preview of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and he said that he is proudest of this film as it let him exorcise a lot of issues about his own mother. He also said, on a randomly different subject, that all Robert Altman films should be put in a bin and set on fire. Funny guy though.

  2. I’m not a big fan of Robert Altman either

  3. One Guy From Andromeda

    February 26th, 2010 at 4:15 am

    I would gladly put this movie in a bin and set it on fire if that would save only one Altman film from destruction, but it still would be hard. This is a good one full of nice little touches. Sam Jackson’s character is awesome and it has some of the funniest Shane Black pieces of dialogue. Geena Davies just never did anything for me. Still, i’d like to be able to drink shots like her…

  4. Agree the bit with the guy giving the doll (not a teddy bear, as I recall) to the kid (after they’ve kidnapped her and beat up her mom) was odd – but (SPOILER) it was just a setup for the escape sequence later – the doll is one of those pissing dolls, and Charlie fills it up with petrol (or something flammable) and uses that to set off an improbably large explosion.

  5. Agreed, Craig Bierko is Da Bomb in this movie.

  6. “He’s been licking his asshole for the last three straight hours. I submit to you that there is nothing there worth more than an hour’s attention. I should think that whatever he is attempting to dislodge is either gone for good, or there to stay. Wouldn’t you agree?”
    this movie is quotable.

  7. Ugh, I agree on the “quotable” part, but to me this movie was an uneven schizophrenic mess. It just didn’t work for me at all. I like the scene where Geena Davis goes to meet what she thinks is an “old friend” and finds out that it’s actually somebody she was sent to kill, and I think the Samuel L Jackson character (an unusual one in this type of movie) goes a long way to saving it for me. But not quite enough. I love a lot of the ideas and the dialogue, but none of it fits together. It’s a shame.

  8. The thing I remember most about this movie was the odd choice to strap Davis to a water wheel in an attempt to torture her. The whole sequence seemed like an unnecessarily elaborate contrivance to get Davis in a wet t-shirt.

  9. When Jackson zings the bite em on the ear and yell “Pop goes the weasel” line, I lose it everytime.

  10. {{an uneven schizophrenic mess}}

    Yep, I tend to agree with that. One of the few movies I’ve started watching and never bothered to finish. (I’m very far from being any fan of THE LAST BOY SCOUT, but I think I watched even _that_ movie twice at some point.)

    I realize a lot of people are desperately happy that Shane Black will not only write but direct DOC SAVAGE, but as much as I love that character and his stories (maybe because of how much I love them), I have trouble feeling happy that S.B. is so involved. He can be very hit-or-miss.

  11. Of course, in fairness it could be argued:

    1.) the main protagonist is also an uneven schizophrenic mess;

    2.) Renny Harlin (having been driven insane by giving birth to DH2) directed it;

    3.) starring his wife or girlfriend or whatever Davis was to him.

    (I wonder if _Cutthroat Island_ preceded or followed this… anyone less lazy than I remember?)

  12. You know what I want to read?

    Black’s LETHAL WEAPON 5 script. Really someone at WB, post that fucker on the Net.

  13. Geena Davis never really worked as an action star but when she was great (THELMA & LOUISE), she was great (THE FLY). I have to wonder if this movie was a reaction to LA FEMME NIKITA. American filmmakers were enamored with that picture throughout the nineties and for good reason. It was kind of a game changer in terms of the roles for women in the action genre. It’s been a long time since I’ve seem LONG KISS but I remember the action not living up to the over the top situations. Anyone remember the rating on this?

  14. I liked this a lot, though it could have used more Brian Cox.

  15. That’s what she said.

  16. My lingering impression of this movie is a cool setup, and then a utter mess of a last hour.

    I would credit the quality of the setup to Black’s script, and the messiness to Renny Harlin, who (when active at least) is one of Hollywood’s premier hacks (although I did kind of like Deep Blue Sea, even with its obvious nods to about fourteen other films).

    May need to revisit this one.

  17. 1.) CUTTHROAT ISLAND (1995) came out the year before LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996). DEEP BLUE SEA followed in 1999.

    2. In Quebec, Canada, DEEP BLUE SEA was released under the title TERREUR SOUS LA MER (TERROR IN THE SEA), but was quickly renamed by the public TERREUR SOUS LA MERDE (TERROR IN THE SHIT).

    3.) Harlin was born Lauri Mauritz Harjola. Apparently he is the most successful Finnish director in Hollywood history, despite the $100 million CUTTHROAT ISLAND grossing only $10 million. Go, Finland!

    4.) LONG KISS GOODNIGHT is remembered in Ontario, Canada, as the film that accidentally burned down a heritage building in which part of the film was made.

  18. Darryll: I watched LA FEMME NIKITA again recently and enjoyed it. The set design and music are a bit dated (but not nearly as dated as MANHUNTER), and it’s not as bone-crunching as I remembered, but I really like the precision and minimalism of the script. It was funnier than I remembered too.

    I watched it as a double-bill with DIVA, which also held up well.

  19. Jareth – Yeah, It’s pretty great. The conflicts and the set-ups are brilliant and fresh and the concept of a badass girl assassin in something other than a Bond film was pretty novel at the time. Hollywood loved it too as evidenced by the remakes and television spinoffs and numerous copycats like LONG KISS. Apparently, the lesbian community really dug the TV show.

    I’m not sure why you brought it up but I love MANHUNTER. It’s dripping in style and tension and Tom Noonan is scary as hell. Yeah, Mann was still in Miami Vice mode with this one but I loved that too, so that’s OK. I dream of the day we get new editions of THIEF and THE KEEP on home video. Especially THE KEEP. Loved it on VHS as a kid.

  20. Other Kill Bill parallels – both movies have Sam Jackson, a one-eyed henchman, and the same song – The Zombies’ “She’s Not There”!

    I absolutely love this movie and think it’s Harlin’s best – I know it flopped but I think I heard the original script ended with a “Charlie Baltimore will return in…..” tag, James Bond-style. I still think Black’s Hollywood career is about to get a second act and I’d love to see a sequel.

  21. Darryll: MANHUNTER and TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A. are two films that I can appreciate for their craft, but just can’t get into, largely because of the soundtracks and fashions. There’s some line in my head that both films cross, a line between “acceptably dated” and “too steeped in the frivolous trends of the day.”

    If they ever made a version of TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A. without the Wang Chung score, the balance would tip back in the film’s favor. But I just find MANHUNTER too tacky to be enjoyed. But I know it’s a good film.

  22. I haven’t seen it all the way through in quite a while but I see bits and pieces of it on TV all the time and I have to say I’ve never really been all that convinced by this movie. Don’t get me wrong I certainly don’t dislike it, but I don’t love it either, I guess it would be around the 6 out of 10 area for me, which is fine but I’ve always felt like I should like this movie more. I think part of it may be I don’t much care for Geena Davis (although I actually like CUTTHROAT ISLAND, go figure!), but also I found that Black’s dialogue, which worked a treat for me in LW1 and LAST BOY SCOUT and even MONSTER SQUAD, slightly grated on me this time. The bit I always remember is when somebodys talking about the bane of human existence, or the metephorical black pit of despair or something and somebody says “yeah, I’ve seen it, it’s called BAYWATCH NIGHTS”, and I almost expect there to be a wacky “that’s the joke” bit of Talk Show Host music.

  23. Actually, Jareth, of those two films LIVE & DIE is the one that suffers for me. I guess because I place it in direct comparison to THE FRENCH CONNECTION it just doesn’t hold up. Too many cheesy digressions and romantic bullshit. MANHUNTER is much more focused and pointed. I’ll take it over RED DRAGON any day.

    But listen, don’t allow those period style choices to cloud your enjoyment of some of those old 80s flicks. If you can get past the Wang Chung and stuff you’ll uncover some real gems like the BILL & TED pictures or EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY (see how I brought it back around to Geena Davis?)

  24. Darryll: I was a teenager in the 1980s, so I saw a lot of that stuff when it was released. For the most part, I not only forgive the 1980s aesthetic (like in BILL & TED, which is ingenius), but actually think it helps the movie (like BETTY BLUE or Greenaway’s 1980s stuff).

    One of my problems with MANHUNTER is the MIAMI VICE look, which I associate with every affluent douchebag who walked around dressed like Crockett that summer. I know, it’s not fair to the film. Maybe if every jerk I knew in high school had dressed like Axel Foley, I’d have a bug up my ass about BEVERLY HILLS COP.

    But on a deeper level, Mann tends to coax performances out of his actors that evoke the postures and pouts of whatever fashion magazine was lying around at the time. To me, it inhibits a connection to the film if I’m looking
    at an actor strike a pose like a rock star or fashion model, much in the way that the now-cliched pop song montage takes me out of a film. I have little doubt that Mann’s recent version of MIAMI VICE will look just as corny in 20 years as the original does now due to his reliance on this technique.

    But HEAT is still awesome.

    Totally agree with you on the MANHUNTER vs RED DRAGON debate. It kind of amazes me that such a good cast can fail so spectacularly to distinguish the film.

    I’m more accepting of 1980s comedy than I am 1980s action, probably because all those 1980s clothes enhance the comedy, often unintentionally. When BACK TO SCHOOL was released, Robert Downey Jr.’s character just looked like a new wave guy. 30 years later, he looks like some sort of misfit harlequin, which adds a new layer of humour.

    We always hear about how great the ’80s was for Spielberg et cetera, but it was also the decade that produced classics like AFTER HOURS, GHOSTBUSTERS and ZELIG. Hell, I’ll even sit through crap like REVENGE OF THE NERDS if I flip past it on tv.

  25. WEIRD SCIENCE was on TV a little while ago. I hadn’t seen it in about twenty/twenty-five years. I sat through the whole thing and laughed my ass off. It was great. Since then, it’s been on TV a half dozen more times and I can’t even look at it again.

    Confession time: Whenever BACK TO THE BEACH with Franky Avalon and Annette Funicello comes on TV I can’t not watch it. It’s a sickness.

  26. “You two donkey-dicks couldn’t get laid in a morgue.”

    Bill Paxton’s finest moment.

  27. I love this film for how unafraid it is to have Sam Jackson appear to have the abilities of a real person instead of a cartoonish super-spy. It’s nice to see a regular guy trying to keep up with all the Bond-style insanity, and trying to be helpful in some small way. As such, I’ve gotta applaud Jackson for taking the somewhat demeaning job which usually goes to the female love interest – that takes some moxie.

  28. Jareth: If I recall correctly, Harlin asks every composer to work in a bit of “Finnlandia” for the score of each of his films, too.

  29. My favorite bit in Manhunter is when Peterson is on the plane and the pilot
    announces they’re coming into St. Louis, and you can see out the cockpit
    window the St. Louis arch and downtown. Mann HAD to go to St. Louis, he
    couldn’t cut to a plane on the ground, LA, or anywhere else. Michael Mann,
    you never let me down.

  30. I love this movie personally. I always really dug the big climax, with Jackson completely beat to shit, and then he wakes up to “Bad to the Bone” and basically saves the day, and it all ends with one of the biggest explosions in any movie ever.

  31. Jareth Cutestory: I agree on the “TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A.” soundtrack hate . That shit is inexcusable , every time I watch that movie , I skip the opening song . It’s just one of those things that pisses me off . But I like the movie and the craftsmanship of Friedkin , plus , in my opinion , it has the second best car chase in Friedkin’s career.

    On topic , I liked THE LONG KISS GOOD NIGHT but I liked it more for Black’s humor/writing and Harlin wierdness. I don’t really think that the action is all that good in this one , a little bit enjoyable, yes , but not great. The 2 things I always remember when talking about this movie are the 2 homeless guys as fake cops ( one of them puking !) and the drawing on Jackson’s notebook that looks like a dick and a duck . As I said , weird.

  32. Kermit: I also like how the protagonist in TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A. meets his untimely end. That was really a gutsy move. It says something about how immured we remain in the conventions of the crime film that new viewers can still be shocked 20 years after the fact.

  33. Jareth – Whats more shocking to me is the ending after that. How many movies today can pull off that one little scene means without explaining itself in filmatics or dialogue like LIVE & DIE did?

    Oh and fuck you guys, I like the soundtrack. It’s 80s junk, but fuck so is Tangerine Dream. But their shit for SORCERER and mother fuckin THIEF is still appropriate and kickass within that context.

  34. Never saw this. Man, the early Nineties was a horrible period for action films, wasn’t it?

    Free joyride in the Charger to the next guy who puts down MANHUNTER. Or maybe I should make that a wheelchair ride.

  35. I’m one of those that appreciates some of the dialogue but hates most of the movie. There are literally no good action sequences in the film when they should be more awesome.

    But I give them a pass for “You know what happens when you make an assumption? You make an ass out of you and umption” Don’t know why that has stuck with me all these years.

  36. I fucking hate everything that assclown Renny Harlin makes. He’s a slightly lesser dumb and slightly lesser incompetent and slightly lesser untalented version of Michael Bay. Only finnish. Fuck Harlin, fuck his movies, and fuck this movie too. Only action junkies can give it a pass because they are so addicted to the genre they can no longer see the bullshit. Yeah, so what Shane Black wrote it? Harlin fucked it up to the ground with his “directing”, and it’s the later, not the former, who’s more influencial on the finished product. Stop giving free passes for bad dumb shitty movies just because they are based on a Shane Black script which was rewriten by some hack writer later anyway.

  37. I thought you hate JJ Abrams?

  38. Jareth and RRA :On LIVE & DIE . I really like the fact that it’s not only a twist ending/gutsy move , but a double punch. For me the last scene after the death of the protagonist is fantastic . And something you don’t see often these days. As for the soundtrack , yes , it’s 80s junk , and there’s nothing wrong with that , I often like 80s music in movies from that particular decade , but in LIVE & DIE it’s that special brand of 80s shit that pisses me the fuck off.

  39. RRA: I watched FRENCH CONNECTION with my nephew a few months ago; the subtlety that you describe, and which Friedkin was so good at, was completely lost on him. Then he told me EAGLE EYE was better. Fuckin’ kids

    I know a lot of the Tangerine Dream and Goblin soundtrack stuff is held in high regard among serious genre fans. Vangelis too, I guess. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. I guess no one ever taught me how to properly Wang Chung tonight.

    Lawrence: My biggest problem with Shane Black is that his scripts tend to make bloated films; there’s a kind of preposterousness that he seems happy to court but that wears on my patience. If I’m not mistaken, LONG KISS GOODNIGHT was pretty much the peak of this tendency. Thankfully, KISS KISS BANG BANG found a way to have fun with it, deflating some of his more ponderous tendencies.

    AsimovLives: Are you including Producer credits on your hate-list of all things Harlin? Because he produced RAMBLING ROSE. And that film is very *ahem* integral to my *uh* transition from adolescence into adulthood.

  40. Another example , in the 80s soundtrack that-I-hate category ? Ghostbusters II. I fucking love Run–D.M.C. , but that shit was Insulting.

  41. Asimov, all due respect, but life is too short to get enraged about the reasons why some people like things that you don’t. Is it possible that rather than “giving it a pass,” we just actually enjoy it, warts and all?

  42. To be fair to Asimov, I think Harlin is a fucking hack too. His only watchable movies seem to be DIE HARD 2 or similar DH-knock offs like 12 ROUNDS or CLIFFHANGER.

    Asimov was trashing harlin the director. You can seperate the producer from the director. Shit ROB COHEN, yes that mother fucker, was a producer on RUNNING MAN and MONSTER SQUAD.

    Jareth – To be fair, I had the same reaction to FRENCH CONNECTION at that age. Its been so ripped off, emulated, and just xeroxed over the decades, that original impact has been diluted. I would to a point argue the same for DIRTY HARRY. Plus when you get that age and cinema knowledge to accept FC was part of a different Hollywood action epoch where expectations were more about personality and badassry (with an occassional action scene), now this continued RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK-inspired age with constant action every 15 minutes.

    I mean hell, wasn’t it you who pointed out Greengrass ripping off the suspects-getting-away-on-subway-train scene from FC for BOURNE ULTIMATUM? I never noticed that shit until you pointed it out.

  43. It wasn’t so much his hatred of Harlin I was disputing. That’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. It was the way he insulted those of us who don’t agree that rubbed me the wrong way. If you think something sucks, give me reasons why. Don’t just tear down the people on the other side of the argument. That’s not making your point.

    I refer to Vern’s response to some talkbacker on his Death Proof DVD review who claimed that everybody who claims to like Tarantino’s movies are just lying to themselves:

    “But I guess you’re right, I actually only liked DEATH PROOF because it had the name Tarantino on the credits, and not for the many reasons I have explained in this review, my original GRINDHOUSE review and various talkbacks. Those are all just a cover story I made up for some weird reason and every time I watch DEATH PROOF and ‘enjoy’ it it is actually some sort of weird chemical imbalance or something that exactly resembles enjoyment but is in fact not liking the movie, I guess. thanks for helping me to see the light on that one.”

  44. “Asimov, all due respect, but life is too short to get enraged about the reasons why some people like things that you don’t. Is it possible that rather than “giving it a pass,” we just actually enjoy it, warts and all?”

    Majestyk, in general I agree, except in one specific case, and that is where MY opinion is in question. Because obviously that’s universally correct and any contrasting opinions are therefore wildly wrong. :)

    Now just TRY and defend “Bad Boys 2” to me. I DARE YOU. I DOUBLE-DARE YOU…

  45. Paul, I accept your dare.

    BAD BOYS 2 is, of course, a nihilist work of anti-art. It is defensible if you view it as a scathing satire on American overkill disguised as a harmless buddy comedy. The presence of America’s sweetheart Will Smith as a fascist, misogynist, racist, materialist, homophobic stormtrooper only sweetens the deal. These two cops destroy thousands of lives and millions of dollars in property and cause an international incident with an enemy state just to kill one (1) Ecstasy dealer, whose only real crime is that one (1) bad batch of his product accidentally made one (1) stupid white kid overdose. Clearly, nothing these characters accomplish is worth the havoc they’ve caused, which could very well be a statement on American foreign policy. Is there a better and bolder analogy of the war in Iraq than the sight of a Hummer flattening an impoverished shantytown with only a half-garbled line of dialogue explaining that “this is where they make their drugs” as justification? BAD BOYS 2 is to the post-911 era what FREEBIE AND THE BEAN was to the post-Watergate era. The difference is that FREEBIE AND THE BEAN did it on purpose.

  46. The music in To Live & Die In L.A is awesome! Especially that pumping instrumental track that makes watching Willem Dafoe methodically printing banknotes on a printer almost exciting.

    Also, the line: “Uncle Sam doesn’t give a shit about you. You want bread, fuck a baker.”

  47. I’m surprised by the hatred of that Wang Chung soundtrack. I generally hate ’80s pop music and that had kept me away from the movie for a while, but it turns out to work really well with the movie. Most of it is moody keyboard shit like Tangerine Dream or something, and the songs with vocals are perfect for capturing the counterfeit humanity of ’80s L.A. that the movie portrays. I’m not sure it would work with something more timeless.

    As for Harlin, I think at this stage in his career he might’ve been a hack, but one of the better ones. At least in those days a hack was expected to know how to put a sequence together. I agree that he’s best at the DIE HARD ripoffs, but he also has a quirkiness between this and FORD FAIRLANE and his later mush brained DEEP BLUE SEA era. He’s a weird dude. The guy is definitely not a visionary or a supreme talent, seems kind of crazy and not very smart, but has entertained me with way too many movies for me to hate him.

    How can you hate a guy that made DEEP BLUE SEA? You don’t have to respect him, but hating him just seems cruel and inhuman. Also, remember when that dog pissed fire in Elm Street part 4.

  48. Jeez, Majestyk, if I wasn’t so concerned about keeping my abstinence streak* alive, I’d want to watch BAD BOYS 2 based on your description.

    *Bay-free since ARMAGEDDON.

    By the way, has anyone told Bay yet that there aren’t any shanty towns in Cuba? He seems to have it confused with Haiti. Cuba is actually in better shape than many parts of Louisiana and West Virginia.

    RRA: What are some of the films that borrow from FRENCH CONNECTION? I’m drawing a blank on that. The best I got is THE BLUES BROTHERS. Speaking of which, is that car chase in BLUES BROTHERS the best thing or what? I love that movie.

    AsimovLIves: You aren’t that guy from AICN who always refers to TERMINATOR 2 as “we wuv you wobodaddy,” are you? Please don’t be that guy.

  49. Vern: In an attempt at reconciliation, I went and listened to the Wang Chung soundtrack in question. I know that Friedkin picked the group because of their song “Dance Hall Days” – which has some of the ennui you describe – but I don’t know; I don’t think the Chungs were bringing their A-game to the project. The vocal songs on the LIVE & DIE IN L.A. soundtrack just seem like slightly more androgynous versions of that “Neutron Dance” or Glen Frey stuff from MIAMI VICE and BEVERLY HILLS COP, without being as rousing. It’s not as synthy as I remember and more like the mainstream rock that guys like Rick Springfield were putting out at the time.

    I think it’s safe to say that the group Suicide would have been a better fit.

    But, in fairness, the instrumental stuff fares a bit better. One piece in particular is nice and moody. And Friedkin does better at integrating the music into the film than many of his peers would have, like, say TOP GUN, which basically holds small intermissions in order for a rock video to play.

    I still think Friedkin should have used “Rockit” era Herie Hancock instead.

  50. “Hello, my name is Jareth.”

    (hi, Jareth!)

    “It’s been 4259 days since my last Michael Bay movie.”

    (applause, words of encouragement)

  51. I still think that Harlin peaked with the completely insane MINDHUNTERS.

  52. Or is it “peeked”? Which one is the mountain top thing? It’s too deep in the night to speak a different language.

  53. Jareth the “we wuv you robodaddy” guy was laser something. Laser brain, laserpants, etc. He was actually pretty cool I thought. Either way Asimov is not him. He’s the guy who hates Star Trek and is from Portrugal.

  54. Oh man, I would love for Bay to come out and admit that his films are basically Verhoeven-inspired works of satire that the American public was just too stupid to understand. He could hold a press conference, shouting through tears of anger that he tried to make each film louder, dumber and more morally bankrupt than the last, but nobody seemed to notice the layered subtext, the scathing criticism of American consumerism and foreign policy. That would be awesome.

  55. Jerry Stahl, the author of Permanent Midnight and guy who wrote ALF episodes while high out of his mind, is one of the 254 writers credited for BAD BOYS 2. I always wondered if he snuck in some of that crazy shit. I had the same feeling about the Hummers driving over the shanty town. I mean, at some point during the writing, rewriting, location scouting, set building, lighting, filming, editing, etc. it must’ve occurred to somebody that this is some fucked up shit they are spending all their time and money on. I mean I completely believe that it never and will never occur to Michael Bay, but there must be some reasonable human beings with regular person common sense who work on the movies in some lowly capacity.

  56. To be fair that shanty-town-car-chase was an homage/rip-off of a near identical scene in POLICE STORY, and I can’t say I ever criticised the subtext of that film or gave the scene much thought beyond “Wow, that’s pretty awesome”.

  57. yeah renny harlin is pretty hard to figure out. i would submit that this movie, the thoroughly enjoyable CLIFFHANGER, DEEP BLUE SEA (which i am on record here as absolutely loving, thanks largely but not solely to the Best Moment Ever (TM)), and, yes, even DIE HARD 2 are not the products of a hack. but then he also has a slew of total turds or total turd-looking-but-i-have-never-seen-them flicks on his filmography (CUTTHROAT ISLAND – anyone wanna try to convince me that this movie’s worth watching? – , DRIVEN, MINDHUNTERS – sorry, i didn’t like it, despite it’s bizarre touches).

    on a completely unrelated subject, just because someone mentioned verhoeven in passing above, vern did you ever review STARSHIP TROOPERS? i know you have mentioned it many times, but i couldn’t find it in the regular reviews list. it’s possibly in my top 3 favorite movies of all time, definitely top 5. it’s got everything, amazing action, fantastic effects, over the top gore, scathing social satire, and boobies. it’s the best have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too movie ever, and it seems to best distill all of verhoeven’s obsessions into one movie. maybe you feel like you covered it enough in your reviews of the sequels, but a full review would be something i would love to read (and would also love to have a place todiscuss that film specifically in detail)!

  58. The tragedy of STARSHIP TROOPERS is that it just came out a decade too eary.

    In 1997 in Clinton America, it was just out there too wacky for peacetime. Just fucking sad how it really was before the fact, a fitting satire and shitdown of NeoCon America.

  59. Yeah, Harlin’s a weird one. His good movies are too good to be the work of a hack, and his bad movies are way too bad to be the work of a competent filmmaker. Just don’t know where to put the guy. Long Kiss is my favorite movie of his. The action scenes are so over-the-top and well-shot that it may be the closest thing to an American Hard-boiled. It’s ten years later and this movie is still mind-bogglingly violent. Also some of the funniest banter Shane Black has ever written.

  60. RRA – Good fucking call.

  61. RRA: Let’s not forget that Clinton dropped a lot of bombs on Iraq during “peacetime,” when he wasn’t bombing the Balkans or factories in Africa. I like to think that Verhoeven was tuned into that. Some day someone with more ambition than me will have a hoot comparing and contrasting BLACKHAWK DOWN to STARSHIP TROOPERS.

    And although not a satire, anti-government/anti-military paranoia and was well represented in the Clinton era by THE X-FILES. If I remember correctly, the shadow government on that show was comprised of Nazis.

    But yeah, Verhoeven never sits comfortably alongside anyone’s idea of the mood of the times, bless his twisted heart.

  62. yeah it seems clear to me that one of the main inspirations for the tone and content of TROOPERS was the CNN coverage of the first gulf war and what became of the news thereafter. that’s when the news was really starting to fly off into the stratosphere of ridiculousness. now, the kind of news that is satirized in the movie is so commonplace that we don’t even notice it anymore. seriously, that ridiculous graphic of the the word WAR in flames that appears after rio gets hit – i swear we would not even blink if that exact graphic appeared on the cable news these days. so, i think the movie was a perfect response to and reflection of the times in which it was made, while also being frighteninly prescient (of course while being a hilarious comedy as well), but somehow people back then didn’t know how to read it. also, i think because it was such an expensive movie, it was marketed as a big dumb action tentpole, and a lot of people were baffled/annoyed by its subversive content. a weirdly large percentage of people seemed to have taken it as a sincere work, some reputable film critics included. fools!

  63. Jareth – Certainly those Clinton “peacekeeping” years helped to contribute to TROOPERS and the video game attitude we Americans, especially NeoCons, persisted in having regarding to War. That like a game, it can be easy, sterile, and without consequence. Shit that probably a good reason why the Pentagon/White House didn’t bother a fart in preparing the Iraq occupation. I mean its like after a HALO 2 party, who wants to bother cleaning up the spilled chips and drink?

    God that attitude espoused by officer Neil Patrick Harris, totally dismissing Van Diem’s legitimate anger at the government fucking up and getting his men killed….I felt that attitude with the Dubya White House after the White House finally admitted there was no WMDs.

    You know my favorite scene in TROOPERS is when at that fascist ball, you have “rock n roll” played…a former outlet for rebellion and individuality suppressed and co-opted by the fascists into a banal bland (white) noise. Kinda like what happened to rock after rap became what rock is supposed to do in the late 80s, and rock never really recovered.

    I mean when whiney irrelevant (white) nonsense like AMERICAN IDIOT is proclaimed a classic by a generation, and coming soon to Broadway….yeah remember that T-shirt in PEOPLE VS LARRY FLINT? “I Wish I Was Black.” I mean seriously that IDIOT bullshit is the sort of thing that would be quite popular in Vernhoeven’s TROOPERS.

    Virgin Gary – I’m happy that TROOPERS has recovered critically with many people. In 1997 it was called by some one of the worst movies ever produced. Since then it’s spawned two DTV sequels (both scripted by the TROOPERS writer, unless I’m mistaken) and a cult CGI TV show.

    I bet Vernhoeven feels vindicated. That crazy Dutch mother fucker.

  64. I love how Starship Troopers works on so many levels. Seriously, depending won who you ask, they will all tell you a different reason why they like it and they are right. Some like it for the satire, some like it for the action, some like it for the from-normal-schoolkid-to-hero-story and so on.
    I just wish the German censors would finally light up and take the movie from the index* again. Okay, the movie is uncut available over here, but if you read the explaination why they put it on the index, is VERY clear that they just didn’t get the movie. (They were accusing it of glorifying the war and being fascist.)

    *The index of media that is liable to corrupt the youth. Don’t laugh, it really exists!

  65. CJ – is the original Heinlein book on the index?

    This is all just too funny. I bet the stern anti-fascist Vernhoeven was horrified. Nah he probably just laughed har har at that sort of street cred.

    No offense Germany, but I don’t ever consider “Casper Van Diem” and “corrupting the youth” in the same sentence together. I guess you all were pissed when you accidentally rented SHARK ATTACK and wanted to get back at him. I hope SLEEPY HOLLOW aint on the list.

  66. I got no idea about the book, but I remember seeing it in stores when the movie originally came out, so I got no idea if anything happened since then with it. Interesting enough I juts read that Buena Vista tried last year to get Starship Troopers from the index, but their request has been denied because “The realistic violence of the movie is stll able to brutalize viewers”.
    But to make on thing clear, when something is on the index, it doesn’t mean it’s banned. You just can’t buy (or rent) it everywhere (only in places that aren’t available for infants, like the adult corners of video stores), the distributor is not allowed to advertise it in public and it’s not allowed to run on TV uncut.
    The German youth protection is pretty weird anyway. Last month the first Friday The 13th has been put on the index list again, while last year several other parts of the series (I think 2, 5 & 8) have been put down from it AND re-rated, with a “16” rating. Same with Carpenters The Thing, but while everybody was happy about it’s release from the index list, even some of the most immature gorehounds don’t think it’s right to rate this movie that low. But on the other hand the first Evil Dead is still banned (!) here and recently Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead has been put on the index, because apparently someone thought it was the Tom Savini-version. (I’m not kidding. That’s the official statement!) :P

  67. CJ – I love you, I like your country, but….WHAT THE HELL? I don’t get you guys, and guys I mean Europe. That whole continent’s over-concern about violence at times comes off as comedy. Wasn’t PSYCHO banned in Sweden until the 80s?

    Seriously what is up with this silly European nonsense about movie censorship? I’m reminded of when STRAW DOGS offended the UK censors, who recut it. And inadvertedly made that rape scene confusing, like the guy was cornholing her instead. Which if you ask me is a tad more disturbing than just straight-up pussy stealing.

    I want AsimovLives to come by here and tell us in his epic-unrestrained-rant form how he feels about the TROOPERS book. Which is a fucking good read, btw. He would go on about how it was Heinlein masturbating to a military fascist culture, and be all disgusted.

    Then I would remind how same Heinlein also wrote the short story REVOLT IN 2100, about an armed revolt in America against a Tehran-type Christian Theocracy in power. My favorite ridiculous touch by Heinlein was the American Ayatollah living (with his big-ass harem) in a giant fucking Pyramid(!) in the middle of New Jerusalem, built over the ruins of evil decadent secular Washingotn D.C. Which gets nuked.

    I would pay to see that movie.

  68. Yeah, I know, it’s crazy. (And I’m not talking about the millions of typos in my last few posts) Just a few years ago it looked like the German “censors” (note that officialy censorship doesn’t happen in Germany…) seemed to lighten up, when even stuff like Aja’s “Hills Have Eyes” remake came out completely uncut and in the unrated version, with a normal “18” rating*, but recently they became stricter again, but also less predictable. (“L’interieur” was heavily cut, got a “Spio/JK” anyway AND was recently banned, while “Law Abiding Citizen” passed uncut with “16”!)
    On the other hand at least sex and language is no big deal here. “The Big Lebowski” has a “12” rating. But recently there was a huge debate about the RomCom “Keinohrhasen” (Starring, written and directed by Til Schweiger, btw), which was despite its explicit dialogue and gracious nudity rated “6” and had after lots of complaints to be re-rated to a “12”, which is still a lower rating than the film had recieved in most other countries. I also remember that “American Pie” was originally rated “16”, but after a few weeks was downgraded to “12”, because “it can help teenagers to find their identity” or some shit like that, and “American beauty” got suddenly upgraded from “12” to “16”, because “it can disturb too young viewers”. And did I mention that the the second Harry Potter movie is cut, because the distributor wanted a “6” rating? (After that they established a PG-ish rule, which lets 6 year olds watch “12” rated movies with their parents. Since then every Potter was uncut here.)
    Seriously, I could talk hours about the German rating system and “censorship” (which of course doesn’t happen here) and I would still come up with stories that would amaze and shock you. (Check out the imdb trivia and alternative versions section for Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk!) Germany really needs its own version of that one MPAA documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated”.

    *We also got one higher rating, which is “Spio/JK”, which means that it isn’t on the index, but has to be handled like it (No advertising, no public selling)

  69. CJ – I’m reminded of in the old American days before the MPAA when every local city had their own (stupid) censorship code and would hack every movie print to their specifications. Like in some Texan theatres the legendary bloody gory “birth”in ALIEN was simply cut out. Yet another reason to hate that fucking state.

    Though KING OF THE HILL is pretty good, so OK Texas I can’t hate you there.

    Anyway CJ that shit about HARRY POTTER is hilarious. Not as much as my local wacky Christianites who called it Satanic. You know SIMPSONS with Reverend Lovejoy and his bitchy knee-jerk wife offended by everything? “Think of the children!!!” That’s a real legit stereotype.

    Well fuck you lady, wands and magic are way cooler than lame sunday school with boring parables and weak kool-aid punch.

  70. RRA: Your remark about “banal bland (white) noise” thoughtfully unearths the kind of subtlety Vernhoeven is never given enough credit for. I remember putting off seeing STARSHIP TROOPERS in the theaters for weeks because of all the frat boys quoting “I’ll buy that for a dollar” as if it served the same function in the film as one of the WAYNE”S WORLD catch phrases.

    If I prefer ROBOCOP to STARSHIP TROOPERS it’s largely because Peter Weller brings a note of tragedy to the film that has no counterpart in STARSHIP TROOPERS.

    Vernhoeven has to work with Nic Cage at some point. Mega director meets Mega actor.

    CJ Holden: There’s a quote I want to see in an advertising campaign: “AMERICAN PIE: It can help teenagers find their identity.”

  71. Jareth – Well you might get a chance to pimp that tagline, for apparently a new AMERICAN PIE (no not another cheapie DTV release) is on the way to theatres.

    But one condition: No Stiffler, no me pay $7.

    This is non-negotiable, Universal.

  72. Hey RRA, did you see my post about where to find a DVD of THE CHALLENGE?

  73. jareth – agreed about weller’s performance. it’s a testament to verhoeven’s unswerving misanthropy that by far the most sympathetically human character in his entire hollywood filmography is a fuckin robot! i love rOBOCOP too, of course, but in the end i guess TROOPERS trumps it for me for just how far it pushes the satire and social commentary and how funny it is. and of course the biggest joke is that we are meant to be rooting for these asshole jingoist frat-boy nazis. the movie wouldn’t work nearly as well (or at all?) if the characters were more sympathetic/tragic. the dvd commentaries for both ROBOCOP and TROOPERS are fantastic, btw. verhoeven seems baffled that anybody could have missed the satirical side of TROOPERS considering how far out of his way he believes he went to make it obvious to everyone. the sole thing he didn’t comment on that i was waiting for in the commentary was the brain bug’s unmistakable resemblance to a certain female body part that rhymes with the capital of saskatchewan. otherwise he pretty much hit all the points i wanted to hear.

  74. Man, I always kind of liked Wang Chung’s “To Live and Die in LA” song. I even called into a radio station once to request it they play it (they didn’t).

    “Manhunter” is ridiculously dated – not only dated, but dated to a synthesized, completely un-real look. It just takes the absurd fashion conceits of the Miami Vice TV show to an even higher level — FEDERAL AGENTS wearing that garb??? The skinny ties and pastel shirts and blousy slacks and whatnot? Are you serious???

    I still like the movie in a lot of ways, but yeah, if Mann had just had them wear dark suits and ties with white shirts, the movie would’ve been 50% better and Brett Ratner’s lame “Red Dragon” would have only been more pointless. Speaking of hacks…

  75. For me are dated fashion and music not really a problem. I’m able to look over them and just enjoy the movie. I can see how it is for some people difficult to ignore stuff like that, but I don’t care if the rest of the movie is good.

  76. I have no problem with a movie looking and sounding like the era it was made in. It’s a window into history and we shouldn’t be embarrassed about seeing the past the way it was, warts and all. I do have a problem with music and fashion and such being called dated because it somehow implies that people were doing everything wrong for the entirety of human history and we only recently started getting it right, when in reality, today’s trends are going to look just as ridiculous in ten years.

    Of course, you can get around this by only dressing your characters in suits and only scoring your movie with an orchestra, but the hair will always give you away.

  77. Virgin Gary: I think STARSHIP TROOPERS could have worked just as well if it had taken the approach used so well on SOUTH PARK: scathing satire with a dash of genuine sweetness. I don’t hold the misanthropy against STARSHIP TROOPERS, and I think the film works as it is, but I prefer the SOUTH PARK style:

    “The cute little bear, it’s eyes are starting to glow red now … arrrgh!”

    “Kurt Russell, what’s going on?”

    “They’re raping me!”

  78. Mr. Majestyk: I accept that movies will always show traces of the time in which they were made, but it has to be said: sometimes the movie is influenced by factors that are questionable at best, like product placement or silly trends. I can handle a 1980s synth-pop score when it is in service of the film, but a lot of those 1980s films marked the beginning of heavy cross-promotion, where agents and labels lobbied to use feature films as showcases for whatever crappy band they were pimping, regardless of the stylistic agenda of the film. I find that uneasy compromise between film and commerce a bit harder to digest.

  79. Starship Troopers is a weird animal. I know that its all satire and wink-wink and ridiculous on purpose, but I still find it almost impossible to sit through the first hour.
    Just all the soap opera high school romance bullshit is really cringe worthy and hard to watch. When it finally gets going its pretty good to awesome in places, but I also still have issues with
    the effects. They hold up better than most early CG, but some of the bugs still look a bit ropey. The biggest problem is that the bug’s toughness is completely inconsistent. In the first battle it takes like 20 guys firing non-stop to take one bug down, in the last battle, Rico is killing like tens of bugs all by himself. In the end I think its a solid entry by Verhoeven, but its still kind of middle of the road to me, probably on par with Hollow Man.

  80. bullet3 I agree with you for what it’s worth. A lot of people seem to assume that the only people who don’t like ST don’t “get it”, i.e. somehow miss that it’s a satire. Well knowing the film is a satire doesn’t suddenly make sub-90210 bullshit funny or interesting, and it doesn’t magically make a Denise Richards performance good. The film definitely has some good stuff in it, and bits of it are clever but as a whole I don’t think it really works. On the other hand I actually quite liked Starship Troopers 3 in a better-than-you’d-expect-DTV-for-one-time-only kind of way, so what do I know?

  81. Jareth, I see what you’re saying, but wouldn’t that still bug you if the product placement was for a current band/trend/etc? Is the datedness the problem, or is it just that movies that sell their soul to improve their commercial prospects are usually the ones that end up looking dated?

    But I wouldn’t say that started in the eighties. How many movies in the fifties and sixties had random rock groups show up for no reason?

  82. I’m with Jareth on STARSHIP TROOPERS. As much as I enjoy it for what it is (which is a lot — after completely missing the point when I first saw it as a youngster) the fact that its parody of a fascist propaganda is completely deadpan means that its characters are all parodies too, and as such the movie feels a bit cold. It’s a funny joke, but you’ve got to be willing to enjoy it mostly on an intellectual level (with the exception of the very well-handled action, although, of course, that’s part of the joke). ROBOCOP, and even to some extent TOTAL RECALL, while both having some of the same themes and objectives, are centered around some small amount of legit humanity which to my mind makes them more whole. TROOPERS is in some ways such a bitter film. ROBO and RECALL are more willing to offer a little hope.

  83. Mr. Majestyk: It’s easy to pick on the 1980s because the trends were often silly and the product placement techniques were so clumsy. I single out that decade as well because it aggressively pursued a trend that we’re now very deep into: mainstream films as soulless excuses to generate money. The 80s is a bit more tragic to me because some real quality stuff often sits uneasily alongside some inexcusable crap. I guess I see the 1980s as the battleground where the 1970s film techniques and values confronted the crass commercialism that has dominated ever since.

    Also, time hasn’t sorted through the 1980s yet like it has with the earlier decades. I wholeheartedly agree with you that the previous decades were not immune to this sort of nonsense too.

    And I’m not down on big dumb spectacle movies. Honest. I just fail to understand why one type of movie has to dominate all the others.

    Mr. Subtlety: My points sound so much better when you articulate them. I gotta find a way to get you on the payrole.

  84. Er, payroll. Not payrole. Though if I was paying you, it would be a role. Nevermind.

  85. Mr. Majestyk – No, where can I find that DVD?

  86. ioffer dot com. $8.50. Bob’s your uncle.

  87. If I’m not mistaken (it’s been awhile since I’ve watched these movies) another similarity between “Kill Bill” and “The Long Kiss Goodnight” is that they use different versions of the song “She’s Not There”.

  88. I liked the idea behind STARSHIP TROOPERS much more than the movie itself. I’m glad it exists, but I doubt I’ll ever watch it again.

  89. I don’t really know how to critique music or anything but American Idiot is a great album.

  90. Lawrence – AMERICAN IDIOT is the SPORTS of this decade.*

    In other words, ok (white) music. Except I enjoyed SPORTS more. Also Huey Lewis never had his bullshit adapted to Broadway. I wonder if Green Day learned in 1994 that an album of theirs would become a Broadway musical, if they

    Fuck that. Besides for example both Eminem’s SLIM SHADY LP and MARSHALL MATHERS LP were more on target with the times. In a way I think ole Eminem on both albums served a function that Johnny Cash and alot of his contemporaries in country music (back when that genre had balls) and even rock n roll used to do: A relatable outlet of anger and hostility, even if said anger is logically unjustified and even destructive.

    *=OK that might be a tad harsh. Green Day is The Clash of our time. Without the talent, without the charisma, without the sheer joy of exploring music, without the guts to risk their precious record sales for something more meaningful, etc.

    Or a better example, compare their versions of “I Fought the Law.” The Clash carried that country-western/early rock standard back (or revived?) the rock rebel tradition. If alot of punk rock at the time thought the genre was totally useless, Strummer/Jones say no some rock (even in age of The Eagles) is absolutely worth celebrating.

    Green Day did it because hey The Clash did it. It’s the punk thing to do, right? RIGHT?

  91. Shane Black + Doc Savage = Me Happy.

  92. Jareth Cutestory

    March 1st, 2010 at 7:21 am

    RRA: I’m just going to take it as a given from now on that you are a guy who refuses to believe that it is ever “Hip to be Square.” And for that I applaud you.

  93. RRA, why do you seem to have contempt for white culture? I might be missing something in your posts about music and how it related to Starship Troopers.

  94. Lawrence – what does STARSHIP TROOPERS have to do with LONG KISS GOODNIGHT?

  95. This RRA character has exposed himself again and again as a guy with a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.

    I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people. He has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.

  96. Glenn – I’m honored.

  97. Oh so I didn’t miss something in his posts then.

    RRA, you brought up how American Idiot is the perfect music for the people in Starship Troopers. That’s why I brought up Starship Troopers and not Long Kiss Goodnight.

  98. I think RRA was pointing out that “Idiot” (and to and even greater degree, “21st century”) are the quinessence of bland, generic conglomerate rock while at the same time still prominently featuring all the ingredients that at one point made rock a genuinely countercultural, freethinking genre. In other words, it co-opted the form but insidiously took that form and removed any actual meaning from it, making it easily digestable, comfortably nonspecific, and completely meaningless. We don’t even need to wait for a fascist dystopian future for the tools of protest to be turned into white noise. And mainstream rap is usually even WORSE (although at least it doesn’t even pretend anymore. The STARSHIP TROOPERS generic soldier-rock probably has lyrics about not letting the man keep you down. At least mainstream rap is completely opened about wanting to become the man.).

  99. Jareth Cutestory

    March 1st, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I interpreted RRA’s “white” comments as pointing to the long history of the appropriation of black culture by white corporations, a process that tends to divest the social meaning of the original culture. You know, like when American radio decided that Chuck Berry was too scary for kids so they brought in Pat Boone to record antiseptic versions of Berry’s work.

    Which isn’t to suggest that meaningful cultural exchanges cannot happen between black and white artists. Jazz history is full of positive interaction.

    And can we please drop the ridiculous idea that you can be racist against white people in America. You can’t. You can hold negative stereotypes about white people, but you can’t be racist. Racism is a systemic exertion of power by a dominant culture against a visible minority.

  100. Well, I don’t know anything about Green Day, but the society of STARSHIP TROOPERS probly wouldn’t tolerate that sad video where Jamie Bell was a soldier who had to leave for Iraq and whatsername from PRETTY PERSUASION was his girlfriend waiting to see if he’d come back alive. That was a pretty good video.

    Charlie Baltimore would like it too. (?)

  101. Jareth Cutestory

    March 1st, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Mr. Subtlety: Where on the scale of bland, generic conglomerate rock would
    you put U2?

    Not that I’m defending Green Day. A co-worker made a slide show of his daughter’s soccer team and used that “Wake Me Up In November” song, which I believe was written about the upcoming election, but was so tepid in its message that it easily conformed to the soccer season as well. Apparently soccer season starts in November.

  102. Mr. Subtlety – Yes Exactly!

    Jareth – Man as much as I react badly to Green Day and Creed and goddamn Nickelback, they aint Pat Boone. But yeah to a degree that was the point I was trying to make. Those fuckers just make lame music, like The Orphans (from THE WARRIORS) of rock. Only (mostly white) people who insist rock hasn’t lost its balls to rap insist that any of those people are great.

    To put it another way, you know what was one of the best kickass rock songs of the 1990s? “Sabotage,” composed by who? The goddamn Beastie Boys. Yeah rock hasn’t been “rock” for a reason. The best new rockers* are in rap.

    Pat Boone just stole black people’s music, and SUCKED. He’s the Godfather of White Music. At least Elvis, early Rolling Stones and Beatles of that same time, those guys at least I think can get away with their covers because you know…they did a good job, getting into the flow and spirit of “black music.” They kept the swagger, the sexuality, and the balls especially. No pussies allowed.

    *=Though I must admit I have a strong fondness for Franz Ferdinand, but even then they produce what a buddy of mine called “White Crunk.”

  103. Guys, I think you’re being a little hard on Green Day. I will never, ever claim that American Idiot or its successor were great albums, but they’re still ambitious and personal efforts that are trying to say something about the times we live in. I have no idea what the fuck that might be (There’s a guy who went to war and it sucked? Maybe? I didn’t read the lyrics) but how many other mainstream rock acts were trying to deal with subject matter of any import during a time when we needed them to? How many indie acts, for that matter? Green Day at least gets points for effort.

    And the whole “Rock has no balls these days” argument is 40 years old by this point. It’s not the music that makes the suits nervous; it’s the people who listen to it. Contemporary rock can be as angry and rebellious as it wants, but as long as the people in the audience are lethargic and complacent, it’s just musical theater.

    Personally, I just like music that makes an enjoyable noise. I don’t give a shit who made it or what it represents. It’s just me and the sound that comes through the speakers. You guys can start the revolution without me. I’ll be over here rocking out.

  104. “I think you’re all being a little hard on Green Day. ”

    Mr. Majestyk – Remember when I was an asshole about you being a little soft on TRANSFORMERS 2?

    Let sleeping dogs lie, my friend.

  105. I wasn’t being a little soft on Transformers 2. That would imply I was apologizing for it. Transformers 2 needs no apologies. It is exactly the movie I want it to be.

    But yeah, now that you mention it, I’m not prepared to go to bat for Green Day at this time. My argument basically breaks down to “It could be worse,” which is not an argument worth making. Basically we should all be listening to .357 Lover because they have a song called “Timecop.”

  106. I hope black people hurry up and invent a new type of music, I mean the kids these days listen to crap that makes Green Day sound like CCR.

  107. Jareth Cutestory

    March 1st, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    RRA – I used to think the Stones were okay too, then I heard Irma Thomas’ original version of “Time Is On My Side.” Jagger’s attempt to mimic Thomas’ phrasing is about as subtle as Al Jolson’s make-up, and Keith Richards is copying the guitar playing like a parrot. Now I can only hear that particular song as if it’s a Weird Al record.

    Fortunately, the Stones got better at their act. Before sinking completely into self-parody.

    But yeah, it was a vast improvement over the whitewash of the 1950s. I don’t doubt the sincerity of those 1960s groups.

  108. Vern — interesting point, I had to take a day to mull it over. I think ultimately you can’t really make a comparison because the Space Marine Fascists have a different paradigm from ours (for better or for worse, we’re capitalists, not fascists). Space marine rock would have risen out of protest and rebellion too, and would have been co-opted by the mainstream just like in our world, but it would have been a different mainstream which was filtering it a different way. Their version would have some guy being oppressed by all the peaceniks who don’t want him to achieve glorious victory or whatever. Same co-opting of rebellion in the name of conformity, different conformity to fit. Let’s face it, by the timeGD put out that video to that ghastly song, it wasn’t exactly courting controversy to say gee, support our troops because war is no fun. If anything, pretending to stand for something vague that everyone already agreed with tremendously helped their career, while still pretending to have something unique to say. As I say, it ends up being about trappings without any content.

    Which brings me to the second possibility: by the time the fascist dystopia comes down, rock will have devolved into such meaningless cliche that the troopers would happily play that song because it has no meaning at all. We’re already pretty damn close, at least with mainstream rock (and rap, too, which mostly hasn’t had much new to say in a damn long time). So that’s a possibility too.

    Jareth — feel the same about U2. If anything, they’re bigger blowhards with less to say in their music. Although ironically, before they started claiming to be message bands, both U2 and Green Day had a few fantastic albums. It’s just when they decided it had to MEAN something (nothing particular, just something important that everyone agreed with) that they started producing bloated, cliched, derivative nonsense. Say what you wish about the pop punk genre it spawned (if anything, I’ll hate on it even more than you) but “Dookie” is a fantastic album, full of life and awkward, idiotic charm. There’s not even a hint of the same liveliness and soul in their latest stuff.

    In my opinion. Ahem.

  109. Jareth – Reminds me that anecdote of the Beatles cringing whenever they performed their cover of “Twist & Shout” at a concert shared with black music acts, since their version is basically a beat-by-beat stylistic repeat of the Isley Brothers version.

    Except you know I’ll get shit on for this, but I kinda slightly prefer the Beatles version. Only because somehow John Lennon’s hoarse abused voice recording it somehow gives it a more shriekful urgency.

  110. Mr Subtlety – Well, in STARSHIP TROOPERS 3, pop music had already been co-opted by the fascist military government as a viable channel for propaganda; the current Sky Marshall Omar Anoke had a #1 hit with his pop-ballad “It’s a Good Day to Die!”

  111. Jareth Cutestory

    March 2nd, 2010 at 8:35 am

    RRA: Marianne Faithfull tells a funny story in her autobiography:

    Apparently Mick Jagger adored Tina Turner, an adoration that Faithfull considered could only be born in the imagination of a pampered rich boy, and when Jagger first met Turner at some Top of the Pops type show in the mid-1960s, he excitedly asked her if she thought it would be possible for him to reborn in his next life as a black man. Turner responded: “Are you sure you’d want to be?”

  112. Jareth – That’s hilarious.

    My favorite Jagger anecdote (besides the infamous “Mars bar party” urban legend) is that in the British equivalent of high school, he was almost quite like the stereotypical gay friend of the girls. Helping them out with their make-up and other girlie stuff you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the Big Lips.

  113. It all makes sense if you listen to the lyrics of “Under My Thumb.”

  114. Jareth Cutestory

    March 2nd, 2010 at 10:21 am

    RRA: Marianne Faithfull has always said that the whole Mars Bar thing is “a cop’s idea of what people do on acid.”

    Then again, if my reputation rested on such a story, I’d want to come up with a good bit of plausible denial too.

  115. Let’s just pretend we all don’t know what “the Mars Bar party” is. Is it anything like “The Mudshark Incident?”

  116. Mr. Majestyk – I think Jareth can collaborate it for me, but basically the story was that during a drug bust in late 60s London, the cops raided Richards’ house and found Mick Jagger eating a Mars candy bar out of Faithfull’s….Holiest of Holies, Precious Lady, Glove Compartment, however you want to call it.

    But that’s an urban legend, an exaggeration of what really happened was that she was found only wearing a fur rug.

  117. So it is kind of like The Mudshark Incident.

  118. Man, I can’t believe they didn’t put that in PERFORMANCE. James Fox wouldn’t have lasted three minutes if he walked in on that.

  119. Wow. I go away for a weekend, and when I get back we’re somehow talking about Green Day and the Mars Bar Incident… {stare}

    Um… huh… trying to come up with any kind of relevant comment…

    1.) Incidentally, Drew McWeeney (aka Moriarty from AICN) recently reviewed the new Blu release of TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA here:


    1.1.) I rather like the Wang Chung soundtrack to that movie, for some reason I cannot quite explain. (It’s possible that I’m soulless.)

    2.) I happen to own the full series of the Starship Troopers animated series, where the whole season (in a homage to the special-edition GI Joe miniseries???) functions like a set of feature length movies split into five parts each (so each broadcast week equals one movie.) It’s a more straightforward retelling of the story; and in theory I ought to like it, but in practice I’ve never managed to watch more than two or maybe three weeks worth of it (about half). I wish I could say it’s because I learned that they never finished up with the planned three-ep finale, and I hate unfinished series; but I think it’s because I’m bored by it. Has anyone else ever watched it and had that reaction? (Too much action, which being early-CGI seems weightless and inconsequential, not enough characterizations for me to care about the action? Groaningly bad ideas like a “Wages of Fear” ripoff sequence in the first week, which makes no sense in context of the story?)

  120. Jareth Cutestory

    March 2nd, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Mr. Majestyk: The only thing I’d add to RRA’s description is that, according to the legend, it was both Jagger and Richards involved in the consumption of the candy bar. And apparently “Mars Bar parties,” which recreate the legend, grew out of this story, though the parties themselves may also be fiction.

    And then there’s this gem from Wikipedia:

    “There was some controversy in the United Kingdom in 1993 when a school nurse, Sue Brady, accurately answered a ten-year-old pupil’s question about Mars bar parties during a sex education lesson at Highfield Primary School in Leeds. The then Shadow Health Secretary, David Blunkett, described her behaviour as “crass and inappropriate”. However, she was cleared by the subsequent inquiry and the school asked her to return.”

  121. Jareth — interesting anecdote. But what could the student’s question possibly be? If you know the phrase, it seems like you already know the whole story. Unless he just asked, “would a snickers bar work equally well” and she said “of course not.”

  122. Jareth Cutestory

    March 2nd, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Mr. Subtlety: I like to imagine the whole thing played out like that episode of SOUTH PARK:

    Cartman: Suck my balls!

    Ms. Choksondik: Present them.

  123. a classic from Niel hamburger.
    Why did Sir Mick Jagger shove a carrot up his daughter’s ass?
    He mistook her for a fan.

  124. Just watched this one. Yeah, I’m recently catching up with some 90’s action movies. Yesterday it was CLIFFHANGER (which I liked and I think it should have been nominated for a cinematography Oscar), today this one. And contrary to several commenters here, I preferred the 2nd half over the first. Which is weird, because usually movies like that fall apart as soon as “the mystery” becomes clearer and clearer. (Kinda like OLDBOY, whichs 1st half I loved, but then became bored with it, as soon as we found out who is behind it and even more when we found out why.) But in this case it kept me interested when Sam became Charlie.

  125. Jareth: “RRA: What are some of the films that borrow from FRENCH CONNECTION? I’m drawing a blank on that. The best I got is THE BLUES BROTHERS.”

    SPEED emulated the part of the chase where Popeye nearly runs over a woman walking her child in a stroller, but this time the stroller was full of cans.

  126. Hello there, You have performed a great job. I will definitely digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this website.

  127. Just rewatched tonight and you’re right, it doesn’t have quiet enough action that the awesome premise is so clearly wanting. Ice skating scene is a case in point. Great idea, ice skating in a car chase/gun fight but they don’t do anything with it. She just catches up and shoots them. I’m not expecting a Jackie Chan set piece here, but you know they found a lot to do in one building in DIE HARD. I think they could have come up with a few ice gags.

    I thought Davis was a delight in both sides of the role though. And Jackson gets some good screaming in this.

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