Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

June 14, 1991

Summer of ’89 had the movie about Batman, summer of ’90 had the one about Dick Tracy, and summer of ’91 had a very good period-set super hero movie that I reviewed a few years ago in the Summer Flings series. But THE ROCKETEER, for whatever reason, was unable to capture the zeitgeist, and I would argue that the movie to fill that BATMAN/DICK TRACY slot in the summer of ’91 was actually ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES. It wasn’t based on a comic strip and didn’t have minimalist, symbol-based advertising art (not counting the silhouette logo on the merchandise), but it did fill that role of the well known old timey adventure hero repackaged as a thrilling modern popcorn movie.

And like those other two movies, its hero was played by a major movie star who was far from the obvious choice: Kevin Costner (MADONNA: TRUTH OR DARE), who was universally mocked for only barely trying a vague English accent. (Costner wanted to do one, director Kevin Reynolds didn’t want him to, and Reynolds mostly won.) But he was near the peak of his stardom, having done THE UNTOUCHABLES, BULL DURHAM and FIELD OF DREAMS in the last four years and coming immediately off of best picture winner DANCES WITH WOLVES. His antagonist, the Sheriff of Nottingham, was played by Alan Rickman, only a few years removed from the glory of Hans Grueber. And for the appreciators of locker pinups they threw in young Will Scarlett played by Christian Slater fresh off of YOUNG GUNS II and PUMP UP THE VOLUME.

Another factor that can’t be overlooked is the effectiveness of the teaser trailer, which included a cool arrow POV shot as Robin Hood shot a bullseye that split another arrow into three – a trick shot of a trick shot. At the time it reminded me of something Sam Raimi would do, and though it was shot specifically for the trailer it was so popular that they added it into the movie.

Maybe it’s because the summer of ’91 was just starting to kick in – “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince even made its debut on the Billboard charts that week – and ROBIN HOOD was its first real event movie, but I remember this being a pretty big deal. I’m not sure it was anyone’s favorite movie, but I and most of the young people I knew thought it was pretty good at the time. I watched it maybe one time when it was new on VHS and not since, so I was excited to see how it held up.

The movie’s idea of a Robin Hood for the ‘90s was to make him a spoiled rich boy who went away to fight the Crusades and Became a Man. We first meet him chained in a dungeon looking like Rip Van Winkle, and he mounts a clever escape. One of the other prisoners says, “It’s been five years of Hell!” and that may seem redundant with the visual clue of the ridiculously long hair and beard, but I had literally just said out loud, “Based on my experience during the pandemic he must’ve been locked up for at least six or seven years,” so it was actually helpful to be corrected that it was only five. Plus, somebody might think these are just hippies who got locked up yesterday.

As he escapes, he reluctantly agrees to free a Moore named Azeem (Morgan Freeman, JOHNNY HANDSOME). Though Robin doesn’t like the idea, Azeem insists he is now bound to him until he repays a life debt, and it becomes sort of a buddy movie where two guys of different religions and opposite sides of a war can joke about each others’ ways but be good partners who have each others’ back. Azeem is also used as commentary about advances that were made in the Muslim world before the west, for example he creates a makeshift telescope and when Robin sees horsemen approaching horsemen through it he freaks out thinking they’re right in front of him.

Robin returns home from years of war and imprisonment and one of the first things he sees is the fucking Sheriff of Nottingham’s top deputy, Guy of Gisborne (Michael Wincott, CURTAINS, brother of Jeff Wincott [MARTIAL LAW II]) and a bunch of other cops threatening a little kid (Daniel Newman) hiding in a tree. He saves the kid and begins a feud with the pigs and I thought he’d now have a little sidekick like Charlie Korsmo in DICK TRACY, but instead the kid takes off and when he sees him later is a dick to him. Oh well.

The next thing Robin finds is his dad dead, hanging in the castle. The fucking Sheriff (wearing a cool mask) raided the castle and killed old Lord Locksley (Brian Blessed, FLASH GORDON). Since back then they couldn’t plant drugs or guns on him, they claimed they caught him worshipping Satan. Same old story. ACAB.

At first Robin is pissed at his old man’s assistant Duncan (Walter Sparrow, I HIRED A CONTRACT KILLER) for leaving the body there, until he realizes he wasn’t able to because they stabbed his fuckin eyes out. Fucked up.

Robin goes to see Marian (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, THE ABYSS) because he was war buddies with her brother (Liam Halligan, PIGS) and promised to look after her when he died. Since this is Not Your Father’s Robin Hood Movie she plays a trick on him where she sneaks up on him wearing ninja-like armor and attacks his nuts. Unfortunately her hair isn’t long enough to do the thing where she takes off the helmet and flips it down as you spit out your coffee because oh my god it was a woman. But it definitely has that same vibe. Anyway, it would be funny if he stabbed her in self defense.

To illustrate the rich-kid-learns-lessons take on Robin Hood, Marian hates him at first, saying he was “a spoiled bully who used to burn my hair as a child.” Jesus, Robin! But he says, “Please allow that years of war and prison may change a man.” I’ve heard that before, but usually not to say a guy turned nice.

Robin Wright was originally cast as Marian, but had to drop out because she got pregnant. I wonder if it was kind of a relief that she didn’t have to do a movie where people keep saying “Robin” and she has to remember they’re not talking to her?

A weird aspect of the movie I had no memory of is that the Sheriff has a witch named Mortianna (Geraldine McEwan, Mapp and Lucia) living in a secret chamber in his crib. Yep, all that satanic panic is projecting – he’s the one going back there doing occult shit and basing his law enforcement policies/crimes on backwards superstitious shit told to him by a conspiratorial quack/rip off artist. And then he goes to church and the Bishop (Harold Innocent, BRAZIL) prays for God to give him “the judgment to punish them.” All this stuff seems more true to life now than it did then.

Also very relevant: racist paranoia. The one thing that seems to genuinely terrify Mortianna is, of course, a Black man. She calls Azeem “The Painted Man” and insists the Sheriff has to kill him because “he haunts my dreams!”

It sounds like Robin’s old man was more enlightened. “He called the crusades a foolish quest, he said it was vanity to force other men to our religion.” Robin seems to have come to that conclusion himself, what with Azeem at his side, though who knows how many people he had to kill overseas before he figured it out.

Marian helps Robin get away from the cops by giving him horses and pretending they were stolen. Robin slaps her butt on the way out, a good example of why we needed THELMA & LOUISE so badly at that time. Another example from the same scene: Guy of Gisbourne tells her “Lucky he didn’t steal your virtue as well!” Like if you report getting carjacked and a cop tells you at least you didn’t get raped. Yeah thanks, good point officer.

Robin and Azeem run off into Sherwood Forest, which is rumored to be haunted, but it turns out to just have a bunch of the unhoused there, including that kid from the tree. The locals try to make him pay money to cross the river, and then he has to challenge Little John (Nick Brimble, LUST FOR A VAMPIRE) to a fight. That involves getting beat pretty bad, despite hitting him in the nuts, but using a trick to defeat him and win his respect. I like that when Robin appears to have drowned Little John gets a little wistful about it. Just a little.

I knew I recognized Brimble, and though I’ve seen him in FORTRESS 2 and SUBMERGED I realized it was FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND I was thinking of. He plays the monster so he’s under a bunch of makeup, but the eyes are unmistakable.

Robin of course joins the “Merry Men” in Sherwood Forest and transforms them into his guerrilla army. Although we can all get behind the “rob from the rich and give to the poor” ideology, there’s some pretty comical condescension in the way he shows up to where these people have built their own community and immediately starts making speeches about what “we” should do. And also leading them in building an Ewok village to live in. I like that Azeem helps with a water system and other technology that they wouldn’t have had, but it really makes it seem like they’ve just been sleeping on the forest floor and never would’ve thought to build shelters if fancy pants Robin of Locksley hadn’t come along and provided leadership during a montage.

Of course he’s got to somehow fall in love with Marian. The way it happens involves her seeing his naked ass while he’s bathing in the water. I’m telling you, it’s so far away and through a waterfall, she can’t be seeing much, but they have a closeup of her staring at it lovingly. I forgot that Costner was one of those Van Damme wannabes who was thought to be vain about showing his bare ass all the time. According to a listicle I found he also did it in DANCES WITH WOLVES, NO WAY OUT, BULL DURHAM, WATERWORLD, THE BODYGUARD and THE POSTMAN. But another listicle said that although he “went full butt in DANCES WITH WOLVES the previous year” he used “a stunt butt” for ROBIN HOOD.

There’s also a Friar Tuck, of course, played by Michael McShane (whose only previous movie was TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM). In this version his main thing is that he makes some kind of wine or booze that he enjoys and carries around in barrels. I hope they made official ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES wine as swag.

After dealing with the whole rob/give rich/poor deal quickly via montage, the Merry Men follow in the footsteps of their mentors the Ewoks and have a low tech battle against heavily armed authoritarian invaders. There’s some pretty cool stuntwork involving alot of swinging around on ropes and stuff. The second unit action director was Max Kleven, whose other second unit work had included COTTON COMES TO HARLEM, RUNAWAY TRAIN, and the BACK TO THE FUTURE sequels.

This is definitely not one of Costner’s better performances. His dialogue just does not fit the laid back vibe that makes him appealing. And Mastrantonio is fine, but dealing with a pretty thin character. They do little things to make her not just a damsel in distress, and there’s another swing at proto-girl-power when Little John doesn’t want his wife (Soo Drouet, THE KRAYS) to join on a mission but Robin accepts her argument that if she gave birth to eight babies she can handle it. But, having remembered the sappy Bryan Adams song on the end credits more than the movie – based on an idea introduced by Azeem that if you love someone you’re willing to die for them – I was surprised how little chemistry there is between Robin and Marian and how little development their love story has.

Freeman had been around and become a household name through LEAN ON ME, DRIVING MISS DAISY and GLORY, but this was a movie where he got to be cool. So it kinda seemed like his breakthrough to me. He and Rickman are the ones doing the work to really make the movie watchable. I remember people (maybe even me) saying that Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham is just Hans Grueber, but that’s absolutely wrong. Grueber is calm and in control, while the Sheriff is a sweaty mess prone to panic and freak outs. He has some Schwarzeneggerian lines like saying “Sorry to keep you hangin about” to people chained up in a dungeon. I love that when he’s talking to one of the prisoners he turns his head sideways so there’s a shot of just his crazy mug filling the entire wide frame. Also his puffy hair alone can sometimes get a little chuckle. But I guess that’s also true of Costner.

Wincott is always fun too, of course, and this has an unexpected moment where he starts to cry about his failure, and the Sheriff hugs him and tells him it’s okay. (I’d actually like that better if it wasn’t prelude to stabbing him.)

When he’s angry about all the robbing and lack of tax collection, the Sheriff says, “Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans.” Look at this sick society that pretends it can’t afford to help the needy and instead pours massive resources into arming and armoring an army of violent brutes to chase a kid up a tree, attack a homeless encampment, murder a guy and then smear him with lies as cover, lock people up without cause, brutalize prisoners. What I’m trying to say here is that when the Merry Men rob from the rich to give to the poor what they’re really doing is defunding the police!

For the climax, Robin and friends have a secret plan to rescue Marian before she’s forced to marry the Sheriff against her will. There are disguises, hidden bows, explosions with “black powder” provided by Azeem, shooting nooses with arrows to save the condemned, and a cool park where Friar Tuck just rams the gallows and tips them over. (I also like the weird joke that they’re gonna hang a little kid and the guy being hung right next to him, feeling bad about it, asks him, “You all right?”)

Whatever the witch lady’s plan is requires the Sheriff marrying and impregnating Marian, so she’s trying to rush it along and he yells, “For once in my life I will have something pure, will you stop interfering!?” But then he changes his mind and – this is something I definitely don’t think would fly today – keeps trying to spread Marian’s legs out to rape her.

That’s definitely in poor taste, but I do appreciate the way this movie paints the powerful people as a grotesque caricature to contrast with the good guys, who live humbly and joyfully and care about each other. There are some good values in here, but also some hypocrisy. For example, when Friar Tuck catches the Bishop stealing treasure he asks “How could you?,” outraged that a religious leader would be so greedy. Then he pushes him out a window to his death! In my opinion that’s a pretty big sin too.

The thing I find most unintentionally amusing has to do with Robin sneaking past some guards by pretending to be a smelly peasant, which he accomplishes by picking up a big blob of horse shit with his bare hands and rubbing it on himself. A guard who hassles him is overwhelmed by the stench and tells him to get away. I couldn’t stop thinking about that when a little bit later Robin was holding Marian’s face in his hands and kissing her.

I should mention that my main memory of seeing this in the theater was people absolutely losing their shit when Sean Connery had a surprise cameo as the king at the end. People perked up when you heard his voice and then gasped and cheered when they saw him. It made an impression on me because 1) I didn’t really care about Connery and that was how I learned how much people loved him and 2) that might’ve been the first time I experienced such vocal surprise and delight by an audience.

ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES was only the 12th film from the four-year-old production company Morgan Creek, who had started with YOUNG GUNS and also done RENEGADES, NIGHTBREED and THE EXORCIST III. This was by far their biggest budget so far at $48 million, besting their previous record of $18 million for PACIFIC HEIGHTS. They were excited about the script by Pen Densham & John Watson (their followup to A GNOME NAMED GNORM) and worried about competing Robin Hood movies by Fox and Tri-Star, so they started scouting locations even before hiring the director or star. (The Tri-Star one didn’t happen, the Fox one – which starred Patrick Bergen, Uma Thurman and Jeroen Krabbe – beat them to release by going straight to cable in the U.S.)

Costner and director Reynolds (original writer of RED DAWN) had sort of broken through together with Reynolds’ 1985 debut FANDANGO, and then Reynolds spent 3 weeks directing some of the buffalo hunt for DANCES WITH WOLVES. In ’91 he told Entertainment Weekly that he “was never a giant Robin Hood fan” but was intrigued by the time period and the budget they were willing to give him. He was very aware that they hired him to lure Costner (who had previously turned them down), and it worked.

But being buddies didn’t make the work go smoothly. I noticed DIE HARD editor Stuart Baird was credited as “project consultant,” which I figured meant he re-edited it. Sure enough, the Entertainment Weekly article explains that producers were for some reason terrified by test screening surveys showing that the sheriff was the most popular character, so they locked out editor Peter Boyle and “sent in their own team” to make it more Costner and less Rickman. Reynolds thought the new cut was “pretty awkward and embarassing” and ended up quitting and skipping the premiere. Based on what I’ve read I believe the 155 minute extended cut I watched on blu-ray is what Reynolds made before they took over. The main difference is a bunch of weird occult conspiracy shit I didn’t quite follow. The sheriff finds out the Mortianna is his mother, and I think he’s a cannibal? Not sure. Maybe he’s just eating some other type of meat at a satanic altar. I’m not a meat expert.

Another reason to consider ROBIN HOOD to be in the summer’s BATMAN slot is that it’s the first one of the summer to try to hock a bunch of related products. British sci-fi and fantasy author Simon R. Green (Deathstalker, Hawk & Fisher, Ishmael Jones) was commissioned to write the novelization (his only movie tie-in) which, according to Wikipedia, has sold more than 370,000. (Since they put that “has” on there I assume it is still in print and flying off the shelves to this day.)

There was also a video game released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy. It made the cover of the July issue of Nintendo Power magazine, so obviously it was a big deal. Especially since it wasn’t released until six months later.

According to Wikipedia, “The video game features various subplots that are not in the movie. These include Robin hunting down a giant boar that is ravaging the villages, seeking a weapons master to train his men, and searching for mystical healing waters to cure his sick men.” It also says that “the sheriff’s witch Mortiana has a skeleton bodyguard who can only be killed with one weapon; the Druid’s Dagger.” That all sounds pretty cool – I would like to see footage of these parts of the game cut into the extended cut to make the Ultimate Cut.


There were also action figures and playsets from Kenner. In the tradition of the DICK TRACY action figures that were obviously just remolded Ninja Turtles (but not quite as hideous), these were mostly modified from the DC Comics-based Super Powers figures. Friar Tuck, however, when you remove his cloth robe, has the body of a Gamorrean Guard from RETURN OF THE JEDI.

And that’s not all! Remember how I said the village in Sherwood Forest was like the Ewok Village? Well, Kenner apparently agreed, because they repackaged their own Ewok Village playset as the Sherwood Forest Playset, “The headquarters of ROBIN HOOD.” THE ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES toy line included a “Battle Wagon” and a “Net Launcher” that were also appropriated from Ewok culture.


This page nicely illustrates where each part of each figure came from. For example, the Sheriff of Nottingham is Lex Luthor’s armored body plus Green Arrow’s arms plus the snarling face of “Chainsaw,” a villain from a ROBOCOP toy line.

I don’t know if any of those things captured the hearts of many children, but the movie was a big hit. Making $390 million, it was the second highest grossing movie of 1991 and also had the record for the second biggest opening for a non-sequel up to that point. (#1 was BATMAN.) I don’t think it was influential in the long run, unless maybe it established part of the template for the way better MASK OF ZORRO later in the decade.

Actually, the movie’s biggest legacy by far is how much the score by Michael Kamen (HUDSON HAWK) has been recycled. A piece of it was added to the Morgan Creek production logo, and somehow even though this was a Warner Brothers release it also became the fanfare for Walt Disney Studios!

Morgan Creek went on to produce THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, TRUE ROMANCE, BAD MOON, and BATTLEFIELD EARTH, among others. They didn’t top ROBIN HOOD’s budget until 1998, when they spent $60 million on Paul Wild Strawberries Anderson’s SOLDIER. (I for one appreciate it.) A few years later they were going higher than that on movies that I would’ve assumed were cheaper, like THE ART OF WAR and GET CARTER.

Though the aforementioned Entertainment Weekly article suggested that the Costner/Reynolds friendship might not recover from ROBIN HOOD, they quickly patched things up and started to develop WATERWORLD (plus RAPA-NUI, with Costner as producer). And then they fought over editing again and Reynolds quit again. (They eventually got along well enough to do a commentary together for the ROBIN HOOD dvd.) I think WATERWORLD, considered an infamous fiasco at the time, is unquestionably better and more entertaining than this smash hit from the same star and director. But then I’d say the same of Costner’s THE POSTMAN. Oh well, that’s life.

Brian Blessed (Lord Locksley) of course went on to play Boss Nass in THE PHANTOM MENACE, while Mike McShane (Friar Tuck) played Professor Keenbean in RI₵HIE RI₵H. And the rest is history.

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193 Responses to “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”

  1. https://youtu.be/UOqQ-CWA14Y

    The top comment describes Brian Blessed as “the glorious combination of a British gentleman, Santa and a bear”.

  2. Yup, that movie was truly HUGE back then. And also quite controversial over its violence, despite its low rating. (Especially in the UK, where the head of the ratings board later called it “his biggest regret”).

    It wasn’t really a movie that stuck with me, but I do remember watching it during its TV premiere as a kid and had my mind blown how “realistic” it was, compared to the “green tights” depictions of Robin Hood that we knew back then. I never really thought of rewatching it, however a while ago I came across it while flipping through the channels and felt really bad for laughing so much at Alan Rickman’s shenanigans during his attempted rape scene. His mega acting alone might be reason for me to check it out again any other time.

  3. man I remember having those toys (very much a Robin Hoodlum back in those days) but looking at them now, my memory sees to be different from reality? I remember them being very cool, and these look very bad. Must be some kind of mistake?

  4. Not sure it’s a good idea to look for political resonance in a movie where, after the rightful ruler is usurped from power, the heroes storm the capital to see to it he’s returned to the throne.

  5. The Muslim character was ripped off from the far superior Robin Hood TV show Robin Of Sherwood, which had paganism, myth, horror and a far less romantic view of things (including having king Richard being a sociopath and killing Robin off halfway through the series). They got a new Robin but I remember as a child it being very dark. (Its Will Scarlet was Ray Winstone not long after Scum.) That’s the version to watch. I heard Reynolds made Robin Hood after The Beast bombed, which is a far better film.

  6. I loved this one as a kid. Had it on VHS. Had four or five of the action figures plus the Bola Bomber and Net Launcher. Pretty sure I had the Sheriff figure *and* Chainsaw from the RoboCop line, but never noticed they had the same head. I also remember the likenesses being much more accurate. (My dog ate Morgan Freeman, but I don’t think the dog was racist because he also ate Chris O’Donnell and Ghost Rider.)

    Recently rewatched it on the extended cut DVD and I still dug it. Alan Rickman is clearly in a different movie from everyone else, but his performance elevates the whole experience for me. The man left no bit of scenery unmasticated. I would say it holds up better than Disney’s Robin Hood (with the fox), which was also on heavy rotation for me as a kid.

    If you’re looking for another movie featuring Alan Rickman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio with a weird mix of tones, you can also check out THE JANUARY MAN.

  7. Prisoners in a Muslim country having their hands chopped off, Robin’s father brutally murdered, his servant blinded and subsequently killed, Costner’s Robin is a dick, Mastrantonio’s Marian is a shrill shrew and suffers 2 attempted rapes, one of which is played for laughs and Christian Slater in a Medieval Epic makes about as much sense as the Pope in a Viagra commercial…..But Fuck me, I loved this movie. Wait, why am I past-tensing it? I LOVE this movie. I recall watching this at least three 3 times in the cinema, and wearing out the VHS. I recall loving Kamen’s Overture so much I’d rewind the opening credits just to hear it. Yes, I even loved THAT bloody Bryan Adams’ song!

    ROBIN HOOD PRINCE OF THIEVES for me is just a product of perfect alchemy. A touch more of Rickman’s scenery chewing Snidely Whiplash-style hamminess or a touch less of Freeman’s “Noble Savage” dignity, and it would have all fallen apart.

    And the audience here lost their shit too when Connery showed up at the end. We love Sir Sean here. He’s what we feel all real men should aspire to. We also believe a close scrutiny of ancient cave drawings would reveal early Neanderthal Man worshipped Sir Sean and patterned their behavior not to mention mating rituals after him. We secretly believed that while Robin may have been her husband, Marian wouldn’t object too strongly to King Richard exercising some Prima Nocta. Sir Sean is The Shit!

  8. I am incapable of not having a Pavlovian affection for Sean Connery’s finer performances, such as UNTOUCHABLES and HIGHLANDER, but I have come to view him as exactly the type of man this world can’t afford anymore. An arrogant, stubborn, woman-slapping braggart, unable or more likely unwilling to understand new concepts, granted legendary status not for any particular skill or wisdom but because his persona fits some outdated ideal of masculine strength that sure reads to me like a desperate ego dripping flop sweat to prove how much bigger and better it is than yours, I have come to view his persona as an encapsulation of every toxic quality men will need to leave behind if we ever want to forge a better world. This position used to be held by John Wayne, whose status in the popular consciousness I have been thrilled to see diminished nearly to nothing over the course of this young century. For at least two and half generations of humans, he is simply a non-entity. I suspect that Connery will suffer a similar fate, as the sort of smug, brawny charm goes ever more out of favor and into the realm of parody. It’s funny that the last few years of his career showed him utterly confused and hostile to the kind of nerd shit that has taken over pop culture, because it is likely that HIGHLANDER, the nerdiest of nerd shit, will be just about the only part of his filmography that endures once the last Boomer dies.

    Anyway, PRINCE OF THIVES started out as grand spectacle and slowly but surely morphed into high camp. It’s still a hoot if you’re in the right mood.

  9. besides “Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas” Rickman had so much hammy fun. i can’t imagine anyone else could have done it better, except Nicolas Cage, it would have been perfect mega-acting for him

    “You. My room. 10:30 tonight.” (to another) “You. 10:45… And bring a friend.”

    “Locksley. I’ll cut your heart out with a spoon.” Gisborn: “Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe?” …”Because it’s DULL, you twit. It’ll hurt more.” (later, after killing Gisborn) “At least I didn’t use a spoon.”

    “What a beautiful child. So young, so alive, so unaware of how precarious life can be. I had a very sad childhood, I’ll tell you about it sometime. I never knew my parents; it’s amazing I’m sane.”

    “If you fail, I will personally remove your lying tongue.” Scarlett: “And if I succeed, I get my freedom and the bounty on his head.” …”The lash, I think! Sorry about that. It’ll make it more convincing.”

    many other spots

  10. I mentioned way back at the start of this mission that the Summer of 1991 seems to me like a wedding where there were a lot of guests, a couple of whom make memorable speeches, but all the attention is on one happy couple; the PRINCE OF THIEVES and the um, Robo Titan of Leather.

    That might be more of a UK perspective though, because this was truly huge here, despite the aforementioned controversy around violence and grumbles around Americanization and bizarre misreadings of our maps, and was indeed and probably still is quite a few people’s favourite movie. It was one of the first things everyone mentioned when Rickman passed, probably ahead of DIE HARD. The Bryan Adams song still has the record for most consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the UK singles chart (16 weeks; only bested by 18 non-consecutive weeks by Frankie Lane’s I Believe from 1953, a year after the chart was created. No single had made it to double figure weeks since 1955).

    Am I one of those fans though? No. It was too icky for me when I was 6 (James Ferman may have had a point for once), and too not-better-than-I’d-always-assumed-it-was when I watched it properly in full about five years ago. But there’s such a fondness for this film that I see out there that I can’t help but feel a certain warmth towards it as I get sappier in my old age.

  11. Pacman, if I remember right, rarely a song held its position in the UK charts for a long time in general. Not sure how it is now, but back in the 90s they were called “the fastest charts in the world”.

  12. The most interesting thing to me about RH:PoT is that at the time, the movie was roundly criticized as being too dark and serious. Ebert called it “murky, unfocused, violent and depressing,” and goes on to describe it as “gloomy” and Costner as “tortured.” (It is unfocused, but it is absolutely not a tiny bit any of those other things). Vincent Canby called it “joyless” and slammed it for, um, “coming out firmly for civil rights, feminism, religious freedom, and economic opportunity for all.” (Man, people been hatin’ SJWs since 1991?)

    It says something about where the culture was in the early 90’s that both this and BATMAN RETURNS struck people as so “dark” when today they mainly read as ridiculous, effusive popcorn spectacle. I mean, this is, in some ways, kinda the origin of the idea of gritty, serious, realistic reboots — I can’t think of anything earlier that fits the bill– and yet when you come down to it, it’s hardly any of those things at all! There’s, like, three nut-shots in the first half-hour. Costner and Freeman banter like Riggs and Murtaugh! Friar Tuck breaks the fourth wall! There’s an out-of-the-blue cameo in the last 30 seconds! There’s a huge fiery explosion that Coster has to strut away from without looking back, for Christ’s sake!* It’s hard to fathom that there was once a time where a movie with this much rope-swinging swashbuckling would strike someone as “gloomy” and “gritty,” but the evidence is undeniable.

    *And I mean, it’s cool enough when guys do that in modern movies where shit is exploding all the time; when the fuck is this dude in the 12th century ever gonna see anything that cool again? I’d definitely look. So double badass, there.

  13. CJ- I think it got really ridiculous in the second half of the 90s; in 1992 we had 10 weeks of Whitney Houston (via THE BODYGUARD, the Costner effect again!) and in 1994 an Adams-challenging 15 weeks of Wet Wet Wet (thanks to FOUR WEDDINGS & A FUNERAL). But one week wonders became more common in the mid-90s, and by 1998 I think it was more common than not for a single to enter at #1 (climbing the charts became very rare) and fall down the charts rapidly the week after. Bands with a decent sized fanbase getting a song to #2 without it being heard by a large portion of the public was also common.

    In the last few years before Digital Sales were counted but CD Single sales had effectively died, things got even more ridiculous. The fans of John Otaway, a kind of novelty punk singer who had last tasted success with a singular #27 hit in the late 70s, were able to give him a Top 10 hit for his 50th birthday based on their limited buying power. Niche (by then) neo-prog band Marillion managed to replicate the same trick the next year. By 2005 sales were so low that the first 8 or so of a series of commemorative Elvis releases all hit No. 1. They finally allowed digital sales to count in 2007, and it’s been a bit more like old times.

    I assumed no one had given Bryan a run for his money in recent years, but it seems Despisito and some other songs I don’t recognise by name have had more than 10 weeks at No. 1. Some Drake song I don’t recognise equalled Wet Wet Wet with 15 weeks in 2016. Back in 2004 I probably knew every song in the Top 40 despite liking almost none of it, not sure if being so out of touch with the charts is positive or negative progress for me. Probably just the way of the world.

  14. Yeah, music charts these days are weird. Recently a random autotune mumblerapper broke the record for most #1 hits in Germany, previously held by The Beatles! And when I checked, he had something like 6 songs in the top 40 at the same time.

    Mr Subtlety, to a degree I can understand the criticism of this movie being dark, joyless and serious. By that time, ROBIN HOOD was synonymous with lighthearted swashbuckling fun. Think Errol Flynn’s green technicolour tights or the Disney fox. I vaguely remember the British series that Peter mentioned (Wasn’t Connery’s son one of the two Robins in that one?), but all in all, the general public had a certain perception of what a ROBIN HOOD movie was supposed to be.

    This one here started with borderline R-rated scenes in a dungeon, the protagonists were covered in dirt, the colours were muted, a disgusting old witch read the future in a mix of blood and spit, etc. Sure, it also had everything you mentioned and compared to everything we got in the “dark & gritty” post 9/11 years, this seems to be delightful old fashioned, but I can imagine how it was a certain kick in the nuts to some people and in retrospect it seems interesting that audiences made it the #2 smash hit of the year.

  15. I remember when the Scott\Crowe ROBIN HOOD came out it amused me that they were pushing it as a darker, more serious, more respectable take on the material, with I felt more than a little subtext of “don’t worry lads, it won’t be like that silly Costner film your ex-girlfriend kept watching on VHS!” , when PRINCE OF THIEVES was pitched at and received much the same way in relation to the Flynn film, which was 50 years old at the time. I wonder if kids today are excited by the idea of JOKER and THE BATMAN undoing the campy excesses of the Nolan films? “Those films had like 5 jokes per film, do they think we are children?”

    I remember thinking the Scott film was a little bit unfairly maligned, or at least not quite the dreary “like it really happened” take on the material I was lead to expect (including by Scott). However, I saw it in the extended cut on DVD, and when I looked up which scenes were added I felt like they were some of my favourite scenes that helped even out the tone a bit.

    I guess the most direct influence PRINCE OF THIEVES had was MEN IN TIGHTS, the rare film people are as likely to tell you is among their favourites or least favourites in my experience. LES VISITEURS, a comedy starring a pre-Hollywood Jean Reno which outgrossed JURASSIC PARK in France in 1995, parodied the POV arrow shot in its trailer and early scenes, and IIRC either uses or parodies the iconic Kamen music cue. Can’t remember if these elements were retained for the American remake with our BABYSITTER’S DEAD buddy Christina Applegate, JUST VISITING (as it came out 2001, I’d suspect not).

  16. “I saw it in the extended cut on DVD, and when I looked up which scenes were added I felt like they were some of my favourite scenes that helped even out the tone a bit.“

    One of these days Ridley Scott is gotta learn how to fit the good parts in the movie the first time. Guy’s got more director’s cuts than most directors have movies.

  17. My brother had a handful of movies he liked putting on after school and this was in heavy rotation. I haven’t seen this in at least 20 years and now I want to see it again.

  18. To backtrack on a Mr Subtlty comment from earlier, I’ve long thought GREYSTOKE was the first gritty\”realistic” reboot (and has, I feel aged better than this one). I bet there’s an earlier one though.

  19. Do THE THING and THE FLY count? And if so, wouldn’t INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS be the O.G.?

  20. It’s pretty crazy that there are so few good Robin Hood movies. Prince of Thieves is a mess, Ridley Scott’s is a bore, and the CW Robin Hood is kind of bland (although arguably the best of the three). The premise of the Robing Hood legend is that poor people are kicking the crap out of the rich. That’s an inherently great premise. You already have the audience ready to see retribution rain down on these wealthy fuckers, but the filmmakers keep on missing the target.

    My theory is that these movies are actually somewhat afraid of the central premise. The Robin Hood story changed drastically over the years, and the idea that he was some aristocrat slumming with the merry men in the woods was added much, much later. It’s not an integral part of the story, and it’s unnecessary. Why make him some aristocrat with a sense of noblesse oblige? Just make him some dude who’s really great at shooting arrows and wants to get one over on these 1% assholes. It’s like Hollywood is genuinely afraid of the revolutionary possibilities of Robin Hood. They don’t want to lean into the class warfare aspect of the story, and they end up with something milquetoast and boring nearly every time.

  21. I had a friend that could not stop laughing at Will Scarlet’s “Daddy always liked you better” reveal. I’m not sure anyone else in the theater found it funny, but he definitely did.

    My favorite memory of this movie is the proto-Karen who wrote a letter to Premiere because she was devastated that they had spoiled the Sean Connery cameo. IIRC, they were very apologetic, but later letters defended their right to post SPOILERS. Damn, flame-wars were great fun back in the day. They moved at a glacial pace, but that really gave the responders time to consider the wording of their condemnations.

    Premiere had also let slip that Costner was a bit uncomfortable with the role, and when someone (Reynolds?) jokingly left an Errol Flynn-esque green tights outfit out as his costume, he threatened to walk. I mean, damn, Costner, those tights would really have shown off your ass!

    Despite remembering all of the above, however, throughout most of Vern’s brilliant review I kept visualizing Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights rather than Prince of Thieves.

    “Oh, Robin, I’m soooo happy!” That cracks me up every time.

  22. Perhaps the most lasting legacy of this movie is that Affleck had to change the name of his Chuck Hogan adaptation to The Town.

  23. This movie really felt like the one that defined its summer. I remember it getting a lot of attention when it came out because Costner was at his peak, and that Bryan Adams song and it’s video (with tons of footage from the movie) were in constant rotation. This seemed like the one that everybody saw, from my friends and I, to the little kids I babysat, to my grandmother.

    I thought then (and now) that the movie is okay, but I always wished that Mel Gibson had been Robin Hood. His mischievious Riggs-ian persona seemed like it would be a perfect fit for the character, and his mild Australian accent is just close enough to British that he wouldn’t have had to fake it (nor do I think he would have bothered to). His later portrayals in Braveheart and The Patriot also always reminded me of Robin Hood, what with him running around in the wilderness and wreaking havoc with merry men.

  24. I wonder what the last year was where a film like this could be so successful and not get a sequel?

  25. Looking into it seems the Patrick Bergin version was released in UK Cinemas a couple of months before POT and at least hung around the Box Office charts for a while but didn’t make that much money and was gone by the time Costner showed up, so at least here Bergin was kind of the Kellan Lutz to Costner’s Rock.

  26. An arrogant, stubborn, woman-slapping braggart, unable or more likely unwilling to understand new concepts, granted legendary status not for any particular skill or wisdom but because his persona fits some outdated ideal of masculine strength that sure reads to me like a desperate ego dripping flop sweat to prove how much bigger and better it is than yours, I have come to view his persona as an encapsulation of every toxic quality men will need to leave behind if we ever want to forge a better world.

    I’m not going to disagree with what you’re saying, although I feel your exposure to Connery may be a little… limited? Have you seen any of the movies he made with Lumet? In particular, “The Offence” uses exactly the persona you describe against itself.

  27. It’s not Connery skills as a performer that I take issue with. It’s this “that’s what a real man is like” crap that sprung up around him. A few roles that subvert that persona don’t really change that.

  28. grimgrinningchris

    June 15th, 2021 at 5:50 am

    My dad wasn’t very cultured. While he had a handful of classic favorites from when he was younger, he rarely watched any newer (80s+) movies more than once, even if he enjoyed them… unless they had boobs.

    But this was my dad’s all time favorite movie. Mainly due to Rickman, but also Wincott and the witch… he just thought they made such a great trio of villains. And he’s not wrong.
    They definitely dont fully save the movie of its faults, but they are what cause me to throw this one on every couple of years.

  29. I agree with Majestyk about Connery. And sadly that persona came out in almost everything he did. At the same time I think OUTLAND is so good that it has to be watched quite often. If not for anything else than that it shows off what could have been if Connery had just done what the director told him to.

    Pac, Gordon Scott’s Tarzan in the late 50s and early 60’s was the first time the franchise got rebooted to a grittier type of adventure.

  30. “I wonder what the last year was where a film like this could be so successful and not get a sequel?”

    Given that it was a critical AND commercial hit with a rather open ended conclusion, I’m equally amazed DANCES WITH WOLVES never got a sequel, in spite of Michael Blake actually writing a second Dunbar book called THE HOLY ROAD. A look at Costner’s filmography also shows a remarkable absence of sequels until he reprised Pa Kent in a cameo for BvS.

  31. I really liked this one when it came out. I know I saw it more than once but I haven’t seen it in years and I’m kind of okay with that. I have a soft spot for movies where they have a character SCREAM out another character’s name like Marian does when she sees Robin coming to the rescue. But that definitely does not excuse the lack of chemistry they have in every other moment of the movie.

    Majestyk – if we ever meet in real life I’m going to kiss you right on the mouth. So, just prepare yourself. I mean, with your consent, of course. Probably weird to say that about your response to someone who personifies forcing physical intimacies on women. Okay, then expect a really heartfelt handshake. If we’re still doing those after the pandemic.

  32. So after my first rewatch in something like 25 years (They even had the Director’s Cut!), I have to say that I like it a bit more. And yeah, as expected, the criticism of it being too dark and violent doesn’t really hold up at all anymore (although there are still a few “Oh wow, this is PG-13?” moments, but mostly small things, like the dungeon escape in the beginning or how Morgan Freeman carries a saber with him, that is covered in a FRIDAY THE 13TH amount of blood), but I still wouldn’t call it “harmless fun for the whole family”.

    “Joyless” is also true to a degree though, but “dull” would be more fitting. Until the sheriff’s attack on the village, there is nothing exciting happening. When then the big rescue mission starts, all those supporting characters, including Will Scarlett, but especially Little John and his wife, get something to do, share a great chemistry on screen and actually make this slog of a movie entertaining.

    The cinematography in this one is pretty interesting, by the way. There are handheld camera movements and certain angles, that make it look like Reynolds is a huge Terry Gilliam fan.

  33. Maggie: I’ll take that kiss.

  34. FIRST KNIGHT was kind of like an emulation of this movie, written by someone who hasn’t seen the film but saw the Bryan Adams video and heard how well the Connery cameo had been received, but at least Gere and Ormond had a little chemistry.

    Turns out I have a lot of thoughts around this movie!

  35. It’s not Connery skills as a performer that I take issue with. It’s this “that’s what a real man is like” crap that sprung up around him

    I guess I don’t understand why Connery is personally responsible for this. The roles he played? Well, I’m saying he played all kinds of roles. Even ones that went directly against the persona you describe. One stupid quote of his from the ’70s that he later walked back? I mean, if you want to shit on someone’s entire career due to one stupid quote, I guess that’s your prerogative… Personally, I only really judge actors on their work, and I don’t see anything in Connery’s work that encouraged me (or anyone) to be a woman beating caveman.

  36. I have to agree with Maggie that there’s something immediately gratifying about how Maria Mastriano yells “Robin!” In fact, that whole sequence surrounding the hangings is well done. When last I watched this movie, there’s just something about it that dug into my lizard brain. From the slow buildup to the ‘sploision that breaks that tension to the damsel in distress, it just works. Also, Christian Slater’s surprise that the catapult actually worked is also pretty good. It’s the only good scene he has in the movie.

    Of course, that’s all sort of undermined by the slapsticky attempted rape. But that’s the movie in a nutshell. Anything that’s well done has to be undone by something totally inexplicable.

  37. Good for you. I have a different reaction to his film persona, which is what I’m talking about here. I find the exaltation of that kind of performative manliness to be outmoded and destructive. I’m not really talking about him as an actor, because he’s good at what he does. I’m also not really talking about him as man, due to the fact that I don’t actually know what he’s like. All I know about him personally is that he likes to throw his weight around and abuse directors and he slaps women who disagree with him. So those are definitely two strikes against him but I’m mostly ruminating on this idea brought up by KayKay earlier that Connery’s screen presence is some kind of platonic ideal of manliness. More often than not, he comes off to me as yet another boring, vain narcisist who needs you to know how much better he is than you. (I get the same vibe from Steve McQueen, if you want seconds on these sacred cow hamburgers I’m serving up.) I do not find many admirable qualities in most of the characters he plays, as entertaining as they can be.

  38. And all this time I thought the actors just did what the writers and directors told them to do…

    if you want seconds on these sacred cow hamburgers I’m serving u

    No more bra! Way 2 edgy 4 me!

  39. re: “dark and gritty” reboots, I think GREYSTOKE definitely counts, but THE THING and THE FLY don’t. There has to be a level of intentionally undermining expectations about a universally known icon which has grown so familiar as to feel “safe.” The entire raison d’etre has to be to say “hey kids, this ain’t yo’ pappy’s Robin Hood! This is the real Robin Hood, brash, uncompromised, uncowed, the one your square history teachers don’t want you to know about! He shares your dangerous, rebellious disaffection, scares your parents, and just might be too hot for polite society to handle!”

    Of course, if you were born after 1991, this is your pappy’s Robin Hood, so that come-on loses some zest over time — which is why I bet you dollars to donuts young today people watch MEN IN TIGHTS ten times more than PRINCE OF THEIVES. Another rarity — the parody ultimately became the definitive version.

  40. And all this time I thought the actors just did what the writers and directors told them to do…

    Tell that to Stephen Norrington.

  41. Hey, Norrington definitely wasn’t innocent in that case. Not saying that he is the only one to blame, but let’s not pretend like he was the poor, good hearted artist who was bullied by the evil egomaniac for no apparent reason. (Also one could play devil’s advocate and say that filming a tentpole movie in the middle of one of the worst floods ever, took a toll on everybody’s mental health.)

  42. Pac-Man, good question. Perhaps Gladiator in 2000, tho not for lack of trying. I even remember hearing they were trying to make Titanic 2 work where Jack washed ashore and lived through history. Of course they tried Forrest Gump 2 but then 9/11 happened.

  43. Just to clarify: I don’t hate Sean Connery. THE UNNTOUCHABLES is one of my all-time favorites. Furthermore, I’m not trying to get anyone else to hate Sean Connery. That’s your business. All I’m saying is that, for me personally, Sean Connery has come to represent a kind of man (or perhaps more accurately a kind of manliness) that I cannot abide, and nothing in his screen persona or his biography has dissuaded me of that notion.

  44. I remember liking the Extended Cut thing. The witch is making up all the witchcraft stuff in order to control England by using her son The Sheriff as a puppet. I thought that could have made the movie a little more interesting.

    Also, “Fuck me, he cleared it!” is still funny, even though it doesn’t really belong in there?

  45. I thought of GLADIATOR as the most obvious slightly more recent comparison, but that they tried to make a sequel, and apparently are still trying, despite the eponymous character’s death says a lot. PLANET OF THE APES 01 is a famous example of a film that did enough business to merit a sequel, but Fox read the room and sensed that the interest wouldn’t be there; you could now just see that as a franchise being recalibrated and taking a break though.

    It’s interesting that there don’t even seem to have been discussions of a RH:POT sequel, at least none that have leaked; I’m guessing they just knew Costner wouldn’t be interested. They could have even brought Rickman back via sorcery if they’d wanted.

  46. Nowadays, they wouldn’t even greenlight PRINCE OF THIEVES unless they had Costner locked in for at least two sequels. Nobody would even attempt to make a Robin Hood movie unless they thought it had franchise potential.

  47. I need to own this:

    I fucking loved Costner by the time this movie came out. He was like a platonic ideal or something for my teenage self.

    For all the shit I’ve learned about him being a tough bastard behind the scenes, that guy just exuded effortless …. not cool, I never really thought of him as cool, exactly (cue Madonna) …. but EASE. That was one easygoing motherfucking cat when he was chilling on screen, and I ate it up. I still do.

    Maybe not the greatest actor (though maybe underrated?), but so effortlessly chill and easy. Silverado, Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams. Even No Way Out or Revenge. Damn.

  48. Shit I forgot my epic conclusion….

    Until Robin Hood, when I still thought he was pretty good but that maybe the effort had begun to show a little, and he was maybe a little less …. easy.

    I still mostly liked that movie, but, like seemingly everything else in this summer review, I haven’t seen it in thirty years, so really, who knows now?

  49. Tell that to Stephen Norrington

    I’m not real sure what that’s a reference to, but if it pertains to this:

    All I know about him personally is that he likes to throw his weight around and abuse directors

    It’s funny, because I read Sidney Lumet’s book a few months ago (who directed Connery five (5) times), and while it’s very much a book about the process of making a movie and not a memoir or anything, he did single out Connery as the kind of actor you try to cast due to his strong work ethic, professionalism, and graciousness.

    Obviously, Lumet was a member of the Connery He-Man Woman Hating Cult™

    Anyway, I chose to ignore your comment before because I wasn’t sure what it was referring to. I guess a tale about Connery abusing Stephen Norrington? I’m also guessing this was on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

    To that… Well, if the end result is any indication, it seems Connery didn’t abuse him enough…

  50. I was ten when this came out, a perfect age to enjoy it and miss its limitations. Most of my friends would count this as one of their favourites movies of all time. It really was big deal at the time, the hype around the Bryan Adam’s song, the music video etc really worked in the UK.

  51. The last blockbuster they never even TRIED to make a sequel to? Maybe Armageddon?

    Wild Wild West also falls under the Planet of the Apes example. It may have broken even but nobody liked it so they knew better. Look what happened to Tomb Raider.

  52. Alright, man. You win. Sean Connery is a swell dude. Is it okay if I’m still not a huge fan of the “slapping women when they disagree with you” thing or…? What’s Sidney Lumet got to say about that? Pro or con?

  53. Fuck. I keep trying not to be a dick and failing. I’ll just say this again: I am just sharing my very personal feeling about Sean Connery and what he represents to me. I should not have been suckered into trying to argue biographical facts about the man because they are in no way pertinent to my utterly subjective and biased opinion, which is that he tends to come off as the kind of dude I just don’t like. And that is all I’m trying to say.

  54. I don’t want to prolong the Sean Connery thing, but I have to agree with Majestyk. It’s not that I don’t like him in certain roles, but he represents a certain version of mid-twentieth century masculinity that seems odd and outdated to me. It’s not even about him as a person or whether or not he’s a good actor. It’s what he signifies within the culture as well as how he projects certain aspects of masculinity on screen. Sometimes I have a distanced fascination with Connery, like observing some rare, dying breed of animal, but he doesn’t appeal to me personally.

    I’m cool with Steve McQueen, though.

  55. “Is it okay if I’m still not a huge fan of the “slapping women when they disagree with you” thing or…?”

    While this was directed at jojo, allow me to answer given it was my half tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek remark that launched this Majestyk rant.

    NO,NO,NO AND GODDAMN NO to ever slapping or hurting a woman if she disagrees with you in any time or place or condoning such opinions. And I’m willing to bet my left nut that 100% of male commenters here would answer the same.

    But I’m with jojo in separating the Man from the Actor. It is my considered opinion that many cherished works of art are created by people you’d actively cross a busy street to avoid.

    But with regard to Sir Sean the ACTOR, my own very subjective opinion is the man was a Class Act on screen. He pissed intelligence, shat authority and oozed charisma from every sweat pore. He had eyes that brooked no dissent and a voice that could sell ice-cubes to Eskimos. His presence made already good material (THE UNTOUCHABLES, HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, INDY 3) better, campy and over the top fare (HIGHLANDER, THE ROCK) good and flawed pieces (RISING SUN, THE NAME OF THE ROSE) interesting.

    And as for the argument that Connery personified a by-now outmoded ideal of masculinity, I don’t dispute it but am merely curious why he’s the only one singled out. He was a man of his generation and many of his peers like Burt Lancaster, Errol Flynn, Kirk Douglas, Richard Burton, Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson all the way back to James Cagney* all purveyed this rugged ideal of machismo on screen and I suspect more than a few of them shared Connery’s regrettably archaic and offensive views on women although they all exercised far better judgement with regards to voicing them publicly.

    * Have intentionally excluded my man Clint since Eastwood actually made an effort to soften his tough guy image over the years.

  56. Johnny Utah, methinks Costner’s Robin came off as a dick precisely because he abandoned his trademark laid-back affability for this movie. The Costner of UNTOUCHABLES,BULL DURHAM or FIELD OF DREAMS would have to be coerced to lead the Merry Men. Here, he marches into Sherwood Forrest, gets up on a pulpit and declares he’s going to lead them. This type of roguish arrogance ill-suits Costner but is something Russell Crowe could ace in his sleep. Crowe would come off intense playing a coma patient.

  57. Like Rbatty I don’t want to prolong the Connery debate, but if you cruise around on the net for a while you’ll find a LOT of anecdotes from people like Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins and Roger Moore that includes Sir Sean fighting with someone or knocking a guy out. So there’ definitely something there.

  58. When PRINCE OF THIEVES came along my top Costner movie was FANDANGO. And the personality he displayed there, which was also used to some degree in SILVERADO, was much more appealing to me than the grump from the late 80s. So in that regard Mr Hood wasn’t completely wasted on me.

    I think both Patrick Bergin’s gloomy ROBIN HOOD and Mel Brooks’ MEN IN TIGHTS show that it can be hard to get the tone exactly right.

    On a related note, my favourite Robin Hood movie – ROBIN AND MARIAN – stars as we all know, Connery.

  59. Reynolds and Costner also reunited on a western mini-series Hatfield & McCoys in the early 2010’s. A heartwarming bromance spanning decades!

  60. *sigh*

    Since this has some energizer bunny levels of longevity…

    NO,NO,NO AND GODDAMN NO to ever slapping or hurting a woman if she disagrees with you in any time or place or condoning such opinions.

    Boy, sounds a lot like like something Connery said himself outside the realm of a stupid Playboy interview (a part people seem to love to leave out when offering their ‘hot take’)

    As I stated when this started, I’m not dumb enough to try to argue with an opinion. I merely asked why he seemed to hold Connery personally responsible for this perceived image of a caveman or whatever. I got no answer outside of that stupid quote. (And really, if you’re going to start burning the works of people who said something dumb in a Playboy interview, you better get yourself a very big can of gasoline. Because goading people to say dumb things was the entire point of those interviews at that time. First up, David Bowie…). He then doubled down and attacked him professionally as well. But still, no answer.

    So, I’m going just chalk it up as one of those things. Like a cousin I had that would get violently angry at the sight of Lawrence Welk. He just… bothered him.

  61. td;dr
    I was curious if his perception of Connery was based on his work or something else. I mean, I understand he’s James Bond. But he also made “The Hill” one of the gayest studio movies of the ’60s, then followed it up with “The Offence” which is gayer.

    And sure
    A few roles that subvert that persona don’t really change that

    But it’s not like Steve McQueen (to use your example) ever made a movie about a cop coming to terms with being good at his job because rough trade makes his dick hard…

  62. Yeah, there was the interview with Playboy in the 60s. Then there was the interview with Barbara Walters in the 80s when he repeated himself, “I haven’t changed my opinion. Not at all . . . I don’t think it’s that bad. It depends entirely on the circumstances and if it merits it.” Of course, when he’s talking about the circumstances, he means when “women can’t leave it alone”. Which he talks about again (how women always have to push things and can’t leave it alone) in the 90s in a Vanity Fair article. But that’s all just straight from the horse’s mouth, which he denied saying on several occasions many years after repeatedly getting shit for it. You’ve also got the allegations from his ex-wife who says he psychologically and physically abused her. But it’s not like she pressed charges or he was convicted in court or anything, so it’s probably just a woman not knowing when to leave things alone.

    Then there’s the most famous role he’s known for, who people say either he’s the personification of Bond, or vice versa, who in the very first book talked about how awesome it was to sleep with Vesper because it was kinda rapey. Actually used the phrase “the sweet tang of rape”. Bond was the manly ideal for decades. Whether that’s fair to judge Connery on his portrayal of a character or not, that’s the truth of how the public sees him. Which is a persona he used to his advantage. Who knows if he really liked it or not – I’ve heard that he didn’t particularly like Bond, but he used it.

    This brand of machismo is what he’s known for. It just is. Fair or not, realistic to the man or not, that’s what he represents to the majority of people, so it’s totally fair for Mr. M. to have feelings about that toxicity and want to reject it.

  63. Dead guy isn’t perfect, film at 11…

    I still fail to see how he’s the leader of some caveman cult and not just some lunkhead model/actor. Every quote that’s being throw up here is “This is my opinion” I’ve yet to see “This is my opinion, and if you don’t feel the same, you can’t be in my manly man club (one million members strong)”

    that’s what he represents to the majority of people

    Again, who? Outside of that trainspotting movie I’ve never heard this in my life. Yet there’s a huge cult he’s evidently the leader of… Maybe it’s in Scotland?

    I mean Errol Flynn had the image of a libertine that fucks underage girls, do you honestly believe this was of Flynn’s own doing? That he purposely picked roles and leaked a few choice items to the press so that guys would not only think he’s a libertine that fucks underage girls, but that it was awesome and follow in his footsteps?

    Sorry if the whole concept seems insane to me. But the whole “Of course it’s Connery’s fault if people watch his movies and decide to be douchebags because of them” seems, well, insane to me…

    While we’re at it, let’s lock up Brad Dourif because that Dahmer guys decided to kill and eat people after watching Exorcist III “OF course it’s Dourif’s fault. What did he think was going to happen acting in a movie like that?”

  64. tl;dr

    I don’t care if you find a quote from Connery where he says he loves eating children, if you’re getting advice on life and how to live it from an actor, the problem is with you

  65. Nobody is alleging any of the things you just claimed we are.

    Here’s what you’re saying:

    SOMEBODY: To me, the American flag is a symbol of imperialist might.

    YOU: That’s crazy. Nobody has ever colonized another country using a flag as a weapon. Who takes military advice from a flag?

    SOMEBODY: That’s not how symbols work.

    YOU: Whatever. Sorry I’m not part of your flag cult.

  66. Majestyk dislikes the specific type of manliness that Connery’s persona represents to many people. It’s a pretty simple point that he has explained much more than necessary. He has also said multiple times that it’s just his personal feeling and he’s not trying to convince anybody. He’s gone out of his way to not even hover his finger above anybody’s buttons, let alone push them. As an offering to change the argument I am forced to state my sincere opinion that Connery is painfully unfunny in THE LAST CRUSADE and one of the prime reasons why I enjoy CRYSTAL SKULL more.

    Let’s go everybody we can do this

  67. Thanks, Vern. That’s exactly it. What Sean Connery means to you is between you and your Scottish god and I would never try to come between that. Just trying to share this facet of my own complicated relationship with masculinity. I’m more than ready to move on now.

  68. Wow, shit! Let’s move on indeed!

    Vern is insane, y’all!

    “….I am forced to state my sincere opinion that Connery is painfully unfunny in THE LAST CRUSADE and one of the prime reasons why I enjoy CRYSTAL SKULL more.”

  69. I can’t say I enjoy Crystal Skull more, but pretty much everything in Last Crusade is painfully unfunny, Connery is sort of the least of it’s problems… My big problem with Last Crusade has always been it’s way too jokey, period.

    Anyway, the concept of Sean Connery being the symbol of anything is insane to me. Let alone some weirdly specific chauvinistic ideology. I would ask again where exactly this is coming from, but I didn’t really get an answer the first three times.

    I’m going just chalk it up as one of those things. Like a cousin I had that would get violently angry at the sight of Lawrence Welk. He just… bothered him.

  70. I’m sorry for being dickish, jojo. I shouldn’t do that. Majestyk was responding to KayKay, who said, “We love Sir Sean here. He’s what we feel all real men should aspire to,” which is a common idea across the world for people of a certain age. To get a sampling I typed in “sean connery masculinity” to Google. The top three links are all obituaries, and here are their headlines and subheads:

    Sean Connery: a dangerously seductive icon of masculinity

    Peter Bradshaw celebrates the career of the former milkman who brought a working-class edge to the role of James Bond before further unleashing a sense of menace in roles for Hitchcock and Lumet

    (The Guardian)

    Sean Connery: A legacy that defined masculinity in a bygone era

    Scottish actor Sean Connery, the original James Bond, was an icon of an era – a dashing, womanizing, macho man – one increasingly distant from today. He died Saturday.

    (Christian Science Monitor)

    Sean Connery’s Masculinity Was In A League All Its Own

    When John Wayne died in 1979, an obit writer said he thought Wayne was too tough to die. The same could be said of Connery, an undeniably cool and indestructible man.

    (The Federalist)

    Then the next three links are a Youtube video of a Barbara Walters interview, an Irish Times article calling Connery “an avatar of old-fashioned masculinity” on his 90th birthday, and an RT story (Russian propaganda) complaining about “woke critics” connecting him to toxic masculinity.

    So yes, many people think of Connery as a symbol/icon/avatar/definition of a certain type of old fashioned masculinity, and that’s what Majestyk and others were reacting to. Unfortunately none of the articles get into our complaints about LAST CRUSADE’s jokiness.

  71. “As an offering to change the argument I am forced to state my sincere opinion that Connery is painfully unfunny in THE LAST CRUSADE and one of the prime reasons why I enjoy CRYSTAL SKULL more.”

    I’m happy to move on, and challenge accepted!

    I wasn’t aware Jones Sr was supposed to be a comedic foil for Indy. He’s neither Sallah nor Short Round.

    An obsessed Academic like his son, Henry, unlike Indy, isn’t driven by quests to recover ancient artifacts because “they belong in a museum”. His quest is one of faith. Hence Junior gets a smack and a dressing down:

    “That’s for blasphemy! The quest for the Grail is not archaeology; it’s a race against evil! If it is captured by the Nazis, the armies of darkness will march all over the face of the Earth! Do you understand me?”

    This race also brings an estranged father and son together. That look on Indy’s face when Henry crashes a plane with an umbrella and a flock of seagulls, and right at the end when Henry says “Indy. Indiana. Let it go, son” to stop him reaching for the cup so he can pull him up. Heartfelt and poignant. Jokey? What movie were you watching? And LAST CRUSADE certainly isn’t my favorite of the bunch.

    As far as CRYSTAL SKULL is concerned, I certainly don’t have the virulent hatred for it like apparently the rest of the world. But Shia LeBeouf triggers a wellspring of bile in me the way Connery does for Majestyk. Situated at the other end of the masculinity spectrum, he embodies and personifies the petulant and ultra-emo Man Child the next few generations of the male species, if left unchecked, will morph into.

  72. I know that the die hard Indiana fans see the first three as the best that’s ever happened on film, and CRYSTAL SKULL as some sort of celluloid black plague. But having just seen all four over a short period, I must say that the third one is the weakest link. I guess if you, like Spielberg and Lucas, think Connery is some kind of movie god the pairing with Ford is cinematic gold. But I’m convinced they should have gone with Connery’s suggestion: Gregory Peck. He would have matched Ford better and gotten the humor just right.

  73. I’m sorry for being dickish, jojo. I shouldn’t do that

    To the contrary, I was more than happy to have the subject changed (I truly never thought I would spend so many keystrokes about Sean Connery in my life, I just found the whole thing so genuinely confounding).

    But your reverse engineering was helpful. I still can’t say it’s exactly–um–correct, to hold Sean Connery personally responsible for corrupting the social mores of this great nation, but at least I know where it’s coming from.

  74. Come on, Sean Connery wasn’t Steven Seagal.

  75. grimgrinningchris

    June 17th, 2021 at 5:25 am


    I love Connery (on screen) but Peck? It would have been a whole different and maybe better movie.

    And that dude deserved to go out on a fun blockbuster… as much as Connery DIDNT deserve to go out on League…

    Also, even though I love Last Crusade, it’s a clunky, ugly movie. It looks like a TV movie remake of Raiders, shares 80% of the plot beats, turns Brody into a complete buffoon… but slides by on familiarity, a few well staged action sequences (despite a WHOLE LOTTA super dodgy green screen shit) and the charisma of Ford, Connery and a 21 year old girl named Doody.

    It’s also one of two massive summer of 89 movies to use “the pen is mightier than the sword” jokes.

  76. Unless he changes his mind within however long he’s got left Gene Hackman’s last film will go down as WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT, which I think is the worst distinguished actor final role I’m aware of, because it’s not some fiasco or ambitious failure, it’s a film that aspires to be a 5/10 piece of fluff you’d be most receptive to as inflight viewing.

  77. All this just confirms my belief that no good can ever come from discussing Indiana Jones or James Bond, which makes Sean Connery doubly radioactive.

  78. grimgrinningchris

    June 17th, 2021 at 7:23 am

    Hackman even woulda been fine going out on Runaway Jury, a forgettable but serviceable movie with a fine performance from him (and a minor character named Lydia Deetz after Winona’s character in Beetlejuice)

    Mr M- not discussing Jones or Bond would keep us from discussing action/adventure movies as a whole pretty much… though I’d prefer a discussion about how George Lazenby was the best Bond in the best 60s Bond movies and a real life badass…

  79. grimgrinningchris

    June 17th, 2021 at 7:28 am

    *movie. Not movies. Lazenby gets unfairly maligned as the one one-timer. But the only reason for that is cuz Connery agreed to come back for Diamonds Are Forever. Lazenby was fairly popular in the role with the critics and OHMSS made good money.

  80. “ not discussing Jones or Bond would keep us from discussing action/adventure movies as a whole pretty much…”

    That’s a price I’m willing to pay.

  81. Lazenby left and was not pushed; he thought Bond was getting old hat and wanted to do cool, rebellious, unwatchable movies like EASY RIDER. They were considering bringing Adam West in.

    But I agree not much good seems to come from discussing Bond. I think Indiana Jones discussions can be OK so long as you ban certain words like “fridge” and “Lucas”.

  82. Is that reputation we were talking about the reason Guy Hamilton wanted Burt Reynolds as Bond in ’73, do you think? After all, he had the same amount of body hair and a similar attitude towards women.

  83. I’ll defend Connery’s jokes in Last Crusade, and maybe even the corny jokes as a whole. First, as KayKay mentioned, Connery doesn’t have too many jokes himself. It’s mostly about the interaction between him and Indy, and they’re mostly pretty good. I genuinely love the scene where Indy throws a stick in the wheel of a motorcycle and ices a Nazi, and he’s got a big ol’ grin on his face, and Jones Sr. returns a disapproving look. It’s a good joke because it’s delivered without some of the corny dialogue (“the pen is mightier than the sword”) and tells us something about these characters and their relationship. Also, I’ve always loved the line about “remembering my Charlemagne.”

    But I’m convinced, although I’ve never seen this explicitely stated anywhere, that Last Crusade was influenced by the Bing Crosby and Bob Hope Road to… movies, and it has that same sort of humor, if less broad. So while Last Crusade’s jokes can be a bit corny, I think the humor is entirely appropriate for a film borrowing from movies of the 30s and 40s.

  84. Now that we’ve got the whole Connery situation sorted out, I’d like to say that after thinking about it for a few days, I’m convinced that ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES is a movie which, though largely forgotten in itself, has had significant and long-lasting repercussions on pop cinema. And even if you want to argue that it was not in itself influential, it certainly represents a very early case study of some of the significant trends which would shape the IP-driven cinematic landscape in decades after everyone forgot about it.

    In fact, I wrote 3,000 words about it. Basically, I think we can untangle a lot of the meaning of the “dark and gritty reboot,” and also Hollywood’s crippling obsession with origin stories, through the prism of this movie. And the name “Sean Connery” does not come up a single time, I promise. (Although I would point out that he is hilariously terrible in FIRST KNIGHT, a movie which is obviously informed and maybe even inspired by the success of PRINCE OF THEIVES).

    Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves

      Robin Hood: Prince In Tights Of Thieves Dir. Kevin Reynolds Written by Pen Densham, John Watson Starring Kevin Coster, Morgan Fr...

  85. grimgrinningchris

    June 17th, 2021 at 10:30 am

    I like First Knight.
    Gere is miscast but serviceable and likable in his role. Julia Ormond is beautiful and lovable.
    And even though it SHOULD have been in a lead and a better movie, Connery was destined to play actual Arthur at some point.
    Also, I think Ben Cross is excellent in it and it has at least 3 fantastic action set pieces.

    It’s not super great shakes or anything. But it’s been a lovely afternoon time waster for me over the years.

  86. Good piece, Subtlety. And now I feel like a failure that I missed the tie-in breakfast cereal. Also thanks for mentioning the recent ROBIN HOOD, which has gone almost unmentioned in our discussion here.

  87. I’d just like to say right now that Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski are the hipster Sean Connery. DRAGONHEART and LESSONS OF DARKNESS weren’t worth it.

  88. Oh, by that I particularly mean that a funny voice and people enjoying grumpiness and adventure can sure get people to turn some weird, negative and ruinous dipsticks into icons of Havin’ Some Good Times At The Movies and Doin’ Impressions With Your Pals.

  89. Since his name has been brought up already, I think a lot more was lost by Gene Hackman retiring than Connery (I’m glad someone brought up his work with Lumet, he was fantastic in THE ANDERSON TAPES and FAMILY BUSINESS). Between HOOSIERS and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (inarguably his last great performance), he was solid in everything from Oscar-caliber work like UNFORGIVEN and broad comedies like THE BIRDCAGE. I heard that before he died, Tony Scott was working on a project that he hoped he could get Hackman out of retirement to do, and that Martin Scorsese lined up a cameo part for him in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, neither coming to pass unfortunately.

    There’s kind of a bitter irony that Ray Romano is now on a TV show called GET SHORTY, essentially playing the equivalent of Hackman’s character. I wasn’t crazy about what I saw of the show itself, but Romano is good and despite the universal and understood hatred of WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT I’m glad he’s managed to survive going beyond the sitcom life and becoming a respected actor himself.

    Johnny Utah: I get what you say about Costner’s ease, but when the opportunity arises he is great at showing his temper. The scene in A PERFECT WORLD towards the end where he confronts the abusive father towards his kid is heartbreaking still, thinking back on it now despite not having seen it in a very long time. I haven’t seen any of YELLOWSTONE yet but I’m curious how he pulls off being a cowboy version of Tony Soprano/Walter White/any other recent cable TV anti-hero.

  90. Thanks Vern! I didn’t cover many of the Robin Hood adaptations before 1991, but I’m starting to think it would be interesting to do a whole survey of American cinema just looking at Robin Hood adaptations. Looking at the wikipedia list of adaptations (below), it looks like you’ve got one for basically every era:

    1908: Robin Hood and His Merry Men, a silent film directed by Percy Stow, and the first appearance of Robin Hood on the screen.
    1912: Robin Hood, a silent film starring Robert Frazer as Robin Hood.
    1912: Robin Hood Outlawed, a British silent film starring A. Brian Plant as Robin Hood.
    1913: Robin Hood, a silent film starring William Russell as Robin Hood.
    1913: In the Days of Robin Hood, a British short film starring Harry Agar Lyons as Robin Hood.
    1922: Robin Hood, a silent film starring Douglas Fairbanks.
    1938: The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn in his most acclaimed role. Considered by many to be the best Robin Hood movie.[3]
    1946: The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, a film starring Cornel Wilde as Robert of Nottingham, Robin Hood’s son; Robin Hood was Russell Hicks.
    1948: The Prince of Thieves, a film starring Jon Hall as Robin Hood.
    1950: Rogues of Sherwood Forest, a film starring John Derek as Robin Hood’s son, Robin of Huntington.
    1951: Tales of Robin Hood, a Robert Lippert film with Robert Clarke as Robin Hood
    1952: The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, a feature from the Disney Studios, starring Richard Todd, Joan Rice and Peter Finch.
    1954: The Men of Sherwood Forest, a Hammer Films feature starring Don Taylor as Robin.
    1958: The Son of Robin Hood, where the ‘son’ of Robin Hood, is actually his daughter, played by June Laverick.
    1960 Sword of Sherwood Forest, a Hammer version, Richard Greene reprising his television role.
    1967: A Challenge for Robin Hood, a Hammer version, with Barrie Ingham as Robin Hood.
    1969: Wolfshead: The Legend of Robin Hood a Hammer version.
    1976: Robin and Marian starring Sean Connery as Robin, Audrey Hepburn as Maid Marian, Nichol Williamson as Little John and Ronnie Barker as Friar Tuck.
    1991: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Alan Rickman, with Sean Connery appearing as King Richard in the finale.
    1991: Robin Hood, starring Patrick Bergin and Uma Thurman, is a reinvention of the story pitting Robin Hood against different antagonists. The film was released theatrical in Europe, Australia, and Japan, and on television on the Fox network in the United States and in South America.
    1993: Robin Hood: Men in Tights, a film by Mel Brooks that spoofs both the 1938 and the 1991 films and recycles bits from his short-lived late-1975 Robin Hood TV sitcom When Things Were Rotten. Cary Elwes plays Robin in the movie, and Patrick Stewart appears in the ending, spoofing Sean Connery’s take on King Richard.
    2010: Robin Hood, a film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.
    2018: Robin Hood a film directed by Otto Bathurst (previously titled Robin Hood: Origins), starring Jamie Foxx as Little John and Taron Egerton as Robin

    Interesting that by 2018, the “dark and gritty” thing had somewhat played out, but the “origins” part was still going strong enough that they originally wanted it in the title.

  91. Also interesting that there’s such a significant gap between the 1976 ROBIN AND MARIAN and 1991’s PRINCE OF THIEVES. The longest gap by far between adaptations in a full century. One has to speculate that between the legitimately gritty 70’s and the moony 80’s, producers were struggling to find a new angle on the material that would fit the contemporary audience.

  92. There were several TV series between ‘76 and ‘91. Some of them gritty and some as light as they come. And no lists mentions the Italian ARCHER OF FIRE from ‘71. It’s funnier than MEN IN TIGHTS.

  93. The Robin of Sherwood series mentioned by Peter above looks like it ran ’84-86, and looks to have been quite influential on PRINCE OF THIEVES in both tone and content. That fits the gap rather nicely, although I don’t know how popular it was in the US. I’d never heard of it, but then again, I’m not really a TV guy. Does anyone else know if that was a big enough deal in America that it would sort of fill the niche of a film version and prevent one from getting off the ground for that decade?

  94. I love 1984 - Robin of Sherwood

    Richard Carpenter, Mark Ryan in "I love 1984" (2001)

    They talk about it having an American following in this little retrospective from a schedule filling Nostalgia programme from some years back, but it was probably “PBS big” like RED DWARF or pre-sexy DOCTOR WHO, ie something the majority of the US public never heard of (although it apparently was on Showtime rather than PBS).

  95. It was quite big over here. But not as big as IVANHOE (82) which has Robin and Lionheart fighting together against the Normans.

  96. Subtlety, you forgot ROBIN AND THE SEVEN HOODS the 60s Rat Pack adaptation.

  97. Funny thing about Last Crusade, is the motorcycle chase mentioned above got all of its gags from Project A, but there instead of cool effects you see an actual stunt guy get a pole stuck in the wheel and he flies over the bike. Someone was a Jackie Chan fan!

  98. MOOSEPORT is such a frustrating miss. Three amazingly subtle actors – Hackman, Raymond and the great Maura Tierney – wasted in one of the most broadly unfunny movies this side of TOWN AND COUNTRY. The idea of me desperately wishing WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT was something it is not is admittedly kind of funny, but not as funny as an actual funny movie starring three of the funniest people ever would have been.

    The best Raymond episode is called “Jazz Records” and features a lot of hilarious scenes where Peter Boyle is listening to jazz contentedly and also a lot of awkward sitcom dialogue about record stores (one of my favorite things EVER), A+ Raymond ep.

  99. Also, the best Robin Hood movie is the Ramones song “Howlin’ at the Moon (Sha La La)”, a Dee Dee Ramone song about how if you smoke weed you are like Robin Hood. (!?!?!?!?). They should make a weird action-adventure movie adaptation of that, kinda like SEASONS IN THE SUN THE MOVIE, instead of whatever that Pete Davisson Joey Ramone movie is going to be.

  100. The GET SHORTY show is over now, but the three seasons were absolutely fantastic. When it was going it was my favourite thing on TV. It’s an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard book the same way FARGO the show is an adaptation of the movie, but it’s still one of the top tier Leonard-inspired things out there. Romano was indeed very good.

  101. Thanks to Subtlety, the abominable version starring that KINGSMAN kid and Jamie Foxx manages to sneak it’s way into the comments thread.

    Christ, that was a turd anyway you look at it!

    And about the only thing I remember about the 80s ROBIN HOOD TV show is the lead actor managed to score a season or 2 on the fabled American Soap DYNASTY.

  102. They discuss that in the clip I posted. If the ROBIN OF SHERWOOD writer guy is to be believed, he did not enjoy it.

    A.L.F.- I remember that episode. It ended with Peter Boyle upset with Romano because he bought him a CD player “because your albums have crackling noises on them!” and Boyle said ” THAT’S HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO SOUND!!!”, and Boyle puts on one of his old jazz records where the crackle is like twice as loud as the music, lays back in his chair and says with an orgasmic warble in his voice “AH, NOW THIS IS HEAVEN!” My family all enjoyed ELR when it was shown here weekday mornings , until we suddenly started hating it. I will say they pulled off the rarest of things, a good last episode.

  103. Did anyone here watch THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD? I used to watch it Saturday mornings with my eldest kid in the late 90s. Very lightweight, but kinda fun. Christopher Lee, David Soul and Richard Norton turned up as various villains.

  104. I remember that, although only a little. One of those shows that came out in the aftermath of HERCULES and XENA. Lee’s appereance in it was heavily advertised. It was also one of the last of his roles, for which provided the German dub himself.

  105. I’m pretty sure I ate the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves breakfast cereal. That’s like the ghost of a memory.

    As far as adaptations go, let us not forget Rocket Robin Hood.

    Around the time of the Doctor Who relaunch, the BBC did a new Robin Hood series which, like the previous British series, also kills off Robin Hood, though mercifully the show was cancelled before it could continue on without him.

    I’d be interested in a new retelling set in modern times that really leans into the ACAB themes. A black Robin Hood leading a revolt against a militarized police regime.

  106. I love, like, ten stupid 90s-00s CBS sitcoms, great channel. Letterman’s weird interest in quietude really did a lot of good for old people back then, I mean I hate corporations don’t get it twisted but as far as sitcoms go, I love the anti-NBC.

    The thing about Raymond is when you’re sick of Raymond you can get edgy with The King of Queens and co., his awesome co. including weirdos like The Hulk and “Gary Valentine” and shit. (Also why the fuck did Kevin James’ weird brother name himself after the guy from Blondie? He was already a guy! That is so weird. Man, I bet nerd-ass indie-rockin’ Patton Oswalt has thought about that one so many times, like while looking at him on set.)

    You know who kick major ass all over the place, Bob Newhart and Judd Hirsch as George and Leo. Also, I think my grandmother really, really hated Becker, which is hilarious.

    If anybody wants to read a Wikipedia written in hilariously plain language I very much recommend the sensible and clearly explained inconsistences on the Wikipedia for KOQ’s Arthur Spooner. I really wish there had been a movie about (and called) ARTHUR SPOONER, that would have been good, like a good fifth of it is Jerry Stiller narrates footage of some young guy (not Ben Stiller) doing Arthur Spooner shit.

    One of my favorite quiet Ray moments ever was on the Norm Macdonald podcast, when Norm mentioned that Brad Garrett played Jackie Gleason in a TV movie, and kind of musingly, said something to the effect of “He was a very tall Gleason”, kind of a gently lobbed comedic “pitch”. Ray sort of turned his head and quietly (and unbombastically, un-Brad-Garrett-like) said “Yeah, Jackie Gleason: The Tall Years.” That’s one of the funniest jokes I’ve ever heard, the idea of someone having The Tall Years.

    I just rewatched “Jazz Records” and it is still hilarious, there is a dumb and subtle allusion to Peter Boyle’s close friendship with John Lennon that really made me happy, you see Peter Boyle smile a little bit, kind of heartwarming. Also the HD revealed the CDs were a bunch of those shitty “20th Century Masters” greatest hits series wbere they really skimp on the songs and the booklet is just like, one piece of paper with a shitty picture of whoever it is. Those things suck, nobody likes those. No wonder he was so pissed!

    Also there is a part where they call a CD player “Raymond’s horrible machine”. I am exclusively going to refer to CD players as that from now on.

    Raymond is legit a good, quiet and weird actor though, I knew that since watching him on Dr. Katz as a little kid. It rules that the world caught up to that. Right now they are filming UNTITLED RAY ROMANO PROJECT on Long Island, he’s directing it. My darkhorizions.com news that I heard from the NYC extras casting scene is that there is a part that takes place in art class, AND it costars the talented, subtle and weird Laurie Metcalf, from The Norm Show. Should be good!

    P.S. Robin Hood. Also there was an episode of the 90s Nickeloden show “My Brother and Me” where the kids try out for a Robin Hood play.

  107. Oh yeah also sorry to post a lot but this is about something good, don’t worry. CJ mentioned those syndicated Herculean action programs – did anybody else here watch Relic Hunter at the time, or have they since? I was pretty into it during my teens, hilariously my late teens too.

    Also, I’ve always thought there should be a metal band called Relic Hunter, which is a joke inspired by one somebody told me once about how there should be a hardcore band called U.S. Acres.

  108. I only watched one episode of RELIC HUNTER (where they were looking for a treasure from Elvis Presley that was hidden in Germany or something like that. Don’t know, it’s been 20ish years.), but it’s still on TV all the time and apparently will get in the next weeks a Blu-Ray release with official HD remasters.

    I said it before, but KING OF QUEENS is underrated. It’s not some kind of groundbreaking sitcom modernisation, but it’s often far more funnier, cleverer and from time to time even darker than it seemed. (Although as much as I appreciate its “The wife is the smart voice of reason” subversion, by making Carrie not a good person at all, there were in the later seasons moments or episodes, that sadly go into “Haha, it’s so funny when a man is the victim in an abusive relationship” territory, but well, those were different times.)

    BECKER still holds up damn great for most of the time (But I still haven’t seen most of the episodes without Terry Farrell), although the one episode that always rubbed me the wrong way, was the one with the reporter who caught an out of context conversation between Becker and his friends and accused him of being a bigoted asshole. The whole anti-PC message of that episode was already tone deaf in the late 90s, but today it plays like some MAGA dumbasses wet dream. (“Oh look, the supposedly woke people are the real bad guys here!”)

  109. You guys are really going to make me be the one to point out that the Prince of Thieves Breakfast Cereal is literally a bowl of dicks?

  110. It’s good to see that Mr. Breakfast was able to transcend having Mr. T Cereal poured all over him and launch a successful website.

  111. I was scared of the Tiny Toons cereal box as a child for some reason, but felt very reassured by the Batman cereal box. Also you know what cereal sure loves to promote properties as having at some point during their stories, nets.

    You know what would be good, if people kept masking custom playsets of the Ewok/PRINCE OF THIEVES village, but really shitty ones. Like, Kenner Presents this is the park from THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK, ToyFare Exclusive THE REVANANT Oscar Winnin playset, Kenner presents THE TREE OF LIFE headquarters, or the centerpiece of the Parks and Recreation line.

    Also you how people make the funny t-shirts and custom action figures and mysterious THELMA AND LOUISE books of some sort other such bootlegs – has anyone ever made bootleg cereal? I am really good at drawing and sometimes funny, let me know if anybody ever needs any QUINTET, WILD ROSE or JUST IMAGINE themed cereal. Also I can make shitty bags of cereal for shitty movies, like a bag of GO themed cereal or whatever.

  112. I’m gonna make a batch of A.L.F.’s Healthy Relic Hunter Cereal, which is a bunch of circles (“gold pieces”) and nets mixed into a big bag of wheat germ, like the wheat germ is the dust that you find the treasures amidst.

  113. Have I ever told you Americans how jealous I am of your cereals? Not that ours are bad, but you seem to have millions more, not to mention those movie tie-in special editions. We just have a bunch of Kellogs brands and cheap rip offs of those. In general your sugary shit seems to be more varied than ours.

  114. More varied perhaps but of much lower quality. Our food regulations are extremely weak so it’s all just corn syrup. Our chocolate, in particular, is considered to be trash compared to what you guys gets in Europe.

  115. Yeah, that’s true. Your Oreos are still better than the German ones though.

  116. grimgrinningchris

    June 19th, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    CJ- not to break your brain or anything, but we actually had Oreos cereal here for a time…

  117. grimgrinningchris

    June 19th, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    I think the only IP related cereals I ever had were ET, Mr T and ROTJ.

    If you don’t count Fruity Pebbles (aka the best sugary kids cereal ever) since they’ve been around so long they kinda transcend the IP, much like Flintstones Vitamins too.

  118. A.L.F. Rockflint

    June 19th, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    You apologize to Mr. Slate and Bam Bam Rubble and Flinstones Kids Pebbles Flinstone and that stupid ass realistic DC Comics Flintstones book they have and my BC-52’s cd single that I used to have and weird Boomerang watching little kids and their annoying Great Gazoo impressions all over the world right now, grimgrinningchris. The eventual LIVE ACTION FLINSTONES 3 is going to rock, pun very much intended.

  119. We have some knock-off Oreo cereals, that are actually really good, so there is this.

  120. grimgrinningchris

    June 20th, 2021 at 1:59 am

    I actually unironically kinda love Viva Rock Vegas. It’s not nearly as high profile from cast to budget as the first live action movie… no disrespect to John Goodman or Rick Moranis (both of whom I love) but Mark Addy and Stephen Baldwin (oddly enough) are far better Freds and Barneys and Jane Krakowzki is much much better than Rosie ODonell (who was really only cast in the first one cuz she used to to the Betty laugh in her stand up) and cmon… Alan Cummings Great Gazoo!
    The first movie is about as funny as an episode of the show (which is to say… not) where I think VRV is very funny.

  121. I’ve always wondered why The Great Gazoo was in VIVA ROCK VEGAS, given that I think the reaction to him even in the 60s would best be described as sub-Scrappyian (I was going to say “more akin to Jar Jar than even Scrappy, but I think Jar Jar was at least legitimately popular with kids at first, and I *don’t think* Gazoo ever got his own ROLLING STONE cover). Was it a compromise with the studio to put something theoretically fun for kids in a movie about dating, class struggles and gambling? Hopefully Brian Levant will discuss this in the eventual Criterion Collection release.

    Even as a kid I always preferred the WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLFASAURUS-style pre-Pebbles, and *definitely* pre-Bam Bam episodes. Once the kids came along it there was so much “oh look at this adorable thing these kids are doing!” and I was like ” I don’t want to! I want to see Dino yapping, or a dinosaur pretending to be a lawnmower or a marital argument like any normal 10 year old!” Holly was OK though.

    For the record Orbitty from THE JETSONS is awesome and not like any of these characters and I will thank you not to imply that they are.

    I think this is one of our best comment sections ever guys. Well done everyone.

  122. Any fans of 3000 MILES TO GRACELAND here?

  123. Yes, although I haven’t seen it in over a decade.

  124. grimgrinningchris

    June 20th, 2021 at 8:58 am

    I loved the Great Gazoo episodes as a kid… and HATED Scrappy Doo.


    And even if you hated the character, that live action casting was perfect. As was Cummings double casting as “Mick Jagged”.

  125. Rosie O’Donnell was also a fan of The Great Gazoo, said it was her favourite part of the show growing up and hoped he would be in the sequel. Maybe she wished for it on a monkey paw?

    I didn’t mind Gazoo as a kid, but I know my mum hated him, and Ozmodiar on THE SIMPSONS taught me her view of history had been declared the winning one.

  126. Since we’ve veered all over hell and back in this thread, I’m going to take another turn. I was just thinking today about a twitter thread I saw where the people (non movie aficionados) were saying they watch movies with the subtitles on exclusively because they have to turn up the volume super high to hear anyone talk and then the music or action scenes blow them away, so they just leave it on quiet and turn on subtitles. I know people in real life who do this, too. I try to find a happy medium for the most part, but I adjust the volume down or up quit a bit when watching a movie. I don’t like having the subtitles on if they’re speaking English because I find them distracting and also want to watch what’s going on, which sometimes you miss things when reading the subtitles. Anyway, the point I’m trying to get to is, why aren’t actors and directors raising the banner on balancing the audio better? If I was an actor, I’d want the people to hear my voice. And if I was a director, I’d want the people watching the movie, rather than reading subtitles. Or is this something they are trying to change and I just haven’t noticed?

  127. Maggie, you are definitely right about this problem and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s only getting worse. Pretty much every movie goes from whisper whisper hush shhhhhhh in the dialogue scenes to CRASH BAM SPLADOW BOOOOM THWOMP the second anything happens. It is beyond obnoxious.

  128. Maggie, I find this problem has gotten worse with streaming. So am not sure if the compression they’re inflicting onto the existing audio mix is one of the culprits. I can swear with some titles I’m seeing on Netflix where I also happen to own the blu ray, the voices definitely sound more muted on the streamer.

  129. That may be due to your audio settings on Netflix.

  130. I have the same issue. I wouldn’t mind if I had a house, but in an apartment I have to try to limit the amount of sudden orchestral bombast and explosions I expose my neighbors to. (I don’t hear too much from them, except the guy above me has been into Harry Potter movies lately.)

  131. When I was living in the top room in shared accommodation in 2014 I could hear my housemate playing episodes of SCRUBS clearly while I was trying to sleep. Hearing those smug base riffs after all those mediocre punch lines really put off that show, although it seems the rest of the world must have had the same experience at some point.

  132. It seems the rest of the world must have had the same experience of being put off SCRUBS?

  133. Smug bass riffs after mediocre punch lines? Sure you don’t mean SEINFELD?

  134. I was thinking maybe they’re not technically base riffs, but they were some kind of riffs definitely.

  135. Humor is way too subjective to get into. But, with the risk of sounding like a pensioner, I must say that I have the same problem with the sound these days. I live in a house that lies far enough away from the nearest neighbour to play music really loud without complaints. But if try to watch an action movie while someone in the house is sleeping I have a serious problem. Earphones help, but I’ve been told that my laugh can be heard for miles, so…

  136. I watched WILDE on Prime yesterday which is from 1997 and features precisely no action scenes or explosions, and the sound there noticeably varied from scene to scene, so I do think there might be something to this streaming/compression issue.

  137. I think it is worse with streaming. I’ve seen actors and directors complain about smoothing and tell people to make sure you’ve got the right settings but I don’t know why they aren’t as vocal about these audio issues.

  138. Oh and I’m right with you Vern about apartment living. This weekend I was watching the TV series The Fall and there’s a part where the police find a recording the killer made where a woman was begging him to spare her and they kept watching it and I kept thinking, shit I hope no one calls the police to report a woman being held captive in my apartment. That fact that no one did was both a relief and kind of worrisome.

  139. My mother sadly has the habit of turning up her TV really loud. I’m not even sure if her hearing is bad, since she seems to understand everything when people talk quietly in the next room. Granted, often it can be excused with “A second ago, everybody was so quiet and then it got loud”, but I think most of the time she doesn’t give a shit.

    To make things worse, her TV is in a position, that blares everything outside when the balcony door is open, which unfortunately is every day and night during summer. And she falls asleep in front of the TV, so sometimes you would wake up at 2am and have someone, who sounds like he is standing right outside your window, tell you that “the victim was held in a windowless basement and tortured for days”, because she loves those true crime docs.

    One day TO BE OR NOT TO BE was on TV and you could hear across the street dozens of “Heil Hitler!” coming from her room.

    Honestly, it’ a miracle that she never got any complaints from the other neighbours, but then, they do worse things, so I guess it’s okay.

  140. Pacman, SCRUBS was a hugely popular show that went nine seasons. The two leads actors currently have a hugely popular podcast where they re-watch it (it’s one the most downloaded podcasts on one of the biggest podcast networks). The rest of the world did not have your experience.

  141. Hmm, I did see a youth near our local university wearing a SCRUBS T-Shirt the other day and thought “huh, I guess some kids are into that?”. I’d pretty much only read snark about it on forums and such in recent years, so I assumed my experience was common, but it seems there are a lot of fans still out there.

    That said, I watched some clips earlier and it reinforced my belief that, Ken Jenkins aside, it is best left in 2006.

  142. The 5.1ization of sound was one of the worst things to ever happen to the movies, and was long an issue before they started “upscaling” old footage to the point where every Blu Ray DVD is kind of now kind of Final Fantasy The Movie cartoons. Far too many audio mixes are made during the production process for “mainstream” movies, and too many home entertainment setups try to guesstimate their ways around the insane amount of sound variables there are in every kind of movie, Criterion Carole Lombard movies included.

    Stereo is a concept that human beings have agreed upon with everything besides their standards for movie audio, it’s bizarre. Two fixed, central sound sources were agreed on as the preferable, sensible format for all industrialized audio things people like, such as a little obscure frivolous underdiscussed human pastime called MUSIC.

    If Finding Nemo is wooshing from the left side of the room to the right side of the room I do not need to be endlessly reminded of where my seat is spatially, it’s like they don’t give you the choice for 3-D or not. In the music world that sort of novelty crap is only popular amongst weird nerds who like to smoke weed and listen to their 5.1 SACD remixes of Porcupine Tree albums, folks with OCD-ingly designed home theaters with the separate turntable needle for mono records or whatever.

    Current audio mixes are like 60s stereo, where John Lennon’s voice is yelling at you through one of your headphones only and then in the left there’s like a snare drum – totally stupid sounding, woefully of an era.

    Laserdiscs look kinda weird like you’re watching British TV through a Lite-Brite or whatever, but they all sound amazing. There is usually have room tone, a proper soundstage, unsouped-up dynamics and it seems like what you’re hearing is a flat, early-generation transfer that accurately represents the original audio elements.

    I’m not an audio person, so I have no idea how this all actually works, but I think “the loudness wars” may also be involved with this somewhat. Are there any “Steve Hoffman” or “Tape Op Magazine” types out there?

  143. I never got the hype over this movie. Yeah mulleted Hans Gruber is memorable but have you seen the rest of it? I was shocked by how wack it was when I finally rented it. Choosing T2 and THE ROCKETEER over it at the cinema were pretty smart decisions. I will say though that the Bryan Adams song is still a banger of a ballad. The one thing about this project that stood the test of time.

  144. Also that shit where all young kids wear t-shirts of popular TV shows from before they were born cracks me up, like you see a hundred kids walking down the street with the F • R • I • E • N • D • S shirt, particularly in New York when they are tourists who are excited to be in the city from the show Friends.

    It is kind of moving for seemingly being weirdly earnest childhood emotion about enjoying entertainment, but it’s a trend amongst teenagers so I’m sure there’s some evil social significance to it that I don’t understand or something.

    The main reason this cracks me up is because when I was in high school (a “cusper” of the 90s and 00s) you were a TOTAL LOSER if you wore the badly-designed t-shirts of TV shows they sold at K-Mart and stores like this place “That’s Entertainment” that was at the outlets. This is being said from direct memories of being an adolescent style icon widely known for wearing TWO very badly-designed King of the Hill t-shirts to school in the seventh grade.

    You saw some South Park and Buffy shirts here and there, but nothing like these weird gaggles of seemingly popular kids who are announcing to the world that they are really into The Friends and The Scrubs.

    What the hell is wrong with people, today’s generation are insane, people just want to posture and wear t-shirts but don’t actually care about the text of media, what senseless garbage we are made to feel is important, etc. Also anybody want to buy me one of the bootleg Laverne’s L t-shirts or replica Lenny “ONE WOLF” jackets off redbubble.com, or also if there is any ROMY & MICHELE’s or The Comeback merch I would like to wear that too, thank you.

  145. Out here in NYC there is actually a Friends tv show “experience” tour. I try to not let anybody who I know went to that willingly into my life in any capacity.

  146. I get the impression TV show T-Shirts have filled or are starting to fill the role band T-Shirts had in our culture.

    My favourite thing about the deluge of FRIENDS merchandise that has appeared in the last few years is, at least here in the UK, the distinctive FRIENDS logo is always accompanied by a sub-logo which says “The TV Series”; just in case you were worried someone might think you were wearing a T-Shirt dedicated to the general concept of friendship for a second. Although thinking about it I guess that might actually be some strange legal thing? Funny either way.

  147. “I get the impression TV show T-Shirts have filled or are starting to fill the role band T-Shirts had in our culture.”

    Might be possible. Back in the days, the cool kids had a big record collection and only nerds stayed home and watched TV. Now kids don’t buy music anymore, but rewatch FRIENDS (The TV series) or THE OFFICE for the millionsth time.

  148. grimgrinningchris

    June 21st, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    I have a zillion band shirts and a half zillion movie shirts (even though I tend to a do a purge of non essentials every 5 years or so) but I think I only currently have 2 tv shirts. A Barth’s Burgers shirt and a Mouse Rat shirt from Parks & Rec.

    Though in high school IN the 90s, I did have a “The Kramer” pairing T-shirt. Not sure where he went.

  149. It would be awesome if, like, somewhere this fall on opening day of some town’s high there’s a huge swarm of kids wearing the Friends shirt like it was the basic Nirvana shirt circa 1992, but then at lunch on some weird table on the third floor or in some nerdy drama class somewhere there’s a smattering of freaks wearing bootleg Caroline in the City, Fired Up and The Naked Truth gear, like it was Dinosaur Jr, The Cure and Faith No More or some shit.

  150. Then the one black kid in class is stuck with a HANGIN’ WITH MR. COOPER tee.

  151. Speaking of T-shirts, anybody know a cheap way to make custom ones? I always think of ones I want to make but then the total comes out to like $35 and that’s just too much for a T-shirt.

    Right now my dream is to make one out of this image. No text. No explanation. Either you know or you can blow.

  152. One of these days I’ll figure out how to do two consecutive successful links in a row. Until then, it’s the first black and white one on this page.

    Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: The Nurses Collection

    Whether or not these films will be good for what ails you depends entirely on how you approach them. Don’t go expecting innovation. These films are ruthlessly formulaic, down to the hair and skin color of the trio of nurses in each, full of unintentional—and, in the better examples, some...

  153. I don’t know about Scrubs, but a couple summers ago I was on a ferry and saw 3 young people wearing shirts of the Friends logo within like 5 minutes, and my wife explained to me that it wasn’t an ironic thing, people who were not the age of that show when the show came out seriously like that show. All I could compare it to was watching Cheers when I was a kid, but I never knew anybody with a Cheers t-shirt.

    Speaking of the Cheers Televisual Universe, I have also started to realize that many millennials non-ironically love Frasier? I guess most laugh track shows past the ’80s are a pop culture blind spot for me. I’m not saying I was right, but those are shows that I thought were deeply uncool and never would’ve watched when they were popular with people my age, so I’m not equipped to understand another generation also liking them.

  154. I wrote that before I saw everybody else noting the popularity of Friends t-shirts. So it’s not just here.

    Did I ever tell you guys that in the mid-90s I bought a BABE t-shirt on clearance at Suncoast Motion Picture company and I didn’t think there was anything weird about it because the whole world loved the movie BABE but then one time I was wearing it walking past a Taco Bell and I looked into the window and a table full of teenagers were laughing at me like I was the funniest thing they’d ever seen? I guess maybe just because it’s a good movie doesn’t mean you expect to see a guy wearing it on a t-shirt.

  155. I did watch CHEERS a lot when I was in my mid-teens, roughly contemporaneous with the final season of FRIENDS airing, but didn’t know anyone else who shared my level of enthusiasm.

    There was a CHEERS bar in London for years that by all accounts was a much more accurate recreation of the fictional bar than the one actually in Boston. Unfortunately when I got there I discovered it had closed 6 months earlier. I bet I would have a sweet CHEERS Tee if I’d gone there.

    I don’t know if it would be possible to ironically like FRASIER, it doesn’t really have the kind of kitschy or corny excess that people get into sometimes. When you think about it comedy can only be so cool; no one looks that cool when they laugh.

  156. I’ve always been big on t shirts that sends a message: my favourite movie, author, pub, beer, TV show etc. But I have also been known to wear tees ironically. I had one with the logo of a popular Norwegian kids TV show, and got a few laughs out of that. Are we sure that these pesky kids aren’t using FRIENDS or SCRUBS tees as a laugh? Or that they haven’t raided their parents closet?

  157. The FRIENDS merch here in the UK is in Primark and Jellycat, two chains popular with the youths. Is it ironic? Impossible to say, but people who weren’t or barely alive when FRIENDS was on being into it via Netflix etc is a definite thing, that is something born out both in statistics and for me anecdotally via young colleagues at my last job.

  158. A friend of mine had a T-shirt for one of Shishido Jo’s cop shows, and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. It probably helped that it was more of a Shishido Jo shirt than a TV series shirt — the emphasis was entirely on his gun and his chipmunk-cheeked glower. I might have bought one for myself if it hadn’t turned out to cost around 60 bucks.

    A.L.F.: Steve Hoffman type here. I’ve mostly given up hope with DVD/Blu-ray audio tracks. They’re often completely remixed from the original mono or stereo, sometimes with re-recorded effects, and noise-reduced till they’re losing ambient sound. But I don’t think the “loudness wars” stuff is really a factor the way it is with music releases; if they were using heavy dynamic compression on everything, then you wouldn’t hear as many complaints about quiet dialogue, because it would be closer in volume to the music and sound effects.

  159. I’m more of a videophile than an audiophile, but I just want the dialogue to sound like it wasn’t recorded inside a duffel bag.

    As for sitcoms, I’m happy to set the record straight: Cheers, Frasier, and Scrubs are great; Friends is bad. How I Met Your Mother aged so poorly so quickly it’s like the guy who turns into a skeleton in Last Crusade.

  160. I never liked HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER even though it was big in my social circle at the time. I recall waiting for a taxi with a fellow non-believer and explaining while I didn’t like THE BIG BANG THEORY it had made me laugh on occasion, whereas MOTHER had never made me laugh. Typically, it then made me laugh for the one and only time.

    A non-filmed-in-front-of-people-making-the-noises sitcom of the same era I quite enjoyed (although not to the extent others did), and still enjoy when I catch it, but think aged very poorly very quickly is PARKS & RECREATION, set in a cosy Obama-era world where the centre left consensus will live forever, with its “good sport” Republican cameos, “jolly” office bullying, cuddly hardline anti-government zealot, MeToo’d supporting actor, MeToo’d regular guest star, and another guy who hasn’t necessarily done anything but people decided they suddenly hated last year for some reason.

  161. RE: Dialogue being inaudible, while sound effects/music cues are blaringly loud.

    A.L.F. (halfway) hit the nail on the head with:

    [i]The 5.1ization of sound was one of the worst things to ever happen to the movies[/i]

    In that, sometimes it’s an unintended after effect of squishing a 5.1 mix to 2.1

    However, sometimes it’s done on purpose, in order to force the projectionist (in the theater) or you (at home) to crank it WAY up so those sound effects/music cues have maximum [b]IMPACT[/b] (imagine “IMPACT” in 64pt type because that’s what they’re going for). It’s obnoxious (and really, it’s only the home viewer that suffers as the projectionist just cranks the compression unit to compensate. Which is why I bought a cheap compressor for my television).

    Related, I’m really happy that Criterion started giving the option to use the original mono mix. There was that period where they only included their really, really terrible 5.1 mixes that were as bad as Ted Turner’s colorization as far as I was concerned.

  162. I really need to pu a post-it on my monitor that says: VERN’S SITE USES REGULAR-ASS HTML! Because obviously, that’s the only way I’m going to remember.

  163. grimgrinningchris

    June 22nd, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Who else wants to see Michael Wincott and Thomas Ian Griffith fight on screen. Pony tails are optional. Long long hair is not.

    Also, who else thinks that Ben Mendelson is the new Alan Rickman (not least of which from them both playing the Sheriff of Nottingham- and to whoever it was, I think it was Maggie, I will defend the Peaky Blinders guy’s Robin Hood with Egerton and Mendelson same as I’ll defend Paul Water Sports Anderson’s Three Musketeers as fun, fast paced afternoon time wasting adventure silliness- they’re both better than 80% of 80s mid budget fantasy/adventure that all us oldsters still seem to watch through rose tinted nostalgia specs anymore- but seem to be trying for many of the same vibes .
    Not saying Mendleson’s AS good, but he’s still always pretty great and seems to be the new go-to scenery chewing baddie on the block.
    Maybe if we could combine actors and had a Madds Mendelson, we’d really have a new Rickman.

  164. I watched the Egerton/Mendelsohn Robin Hood and the Paul WS Anderson Three Musketeers both pretty recently, and only a weekend a two apart, and don’t think they’re in the same league. Robin Hood was basically a drab feature-length CW pilot (it actually had an uncomfortable amount in common with the show ‘Arrow,’ which was itself already pretty derivative). Three Musketeers didn’t totally work, but it was unique and fun, with its bold costuming, star-studded cast, steampunk sky gadgets, airship battles, etc.

    (Also, unrelatedly, thank you, Bill Reed, for your extremely correct record-straightening).

  165. grimgrinningchris

    June 22nd, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Drab is the Scott/Crowe/Gladiator Robin Hood… even this one. No color, lots of moping and overly dark, confusing cinematography. So I disagree on the latest which has flashes of color, charisma and real adventure derring do. It may have been better if it had gone more over the top and ridiculous, but o think the balance was pretty solid.
    Shrug. I don’t like it enough to fight about it, or buy a t shirt. But I’ll prolly still watch it more often than any version since Flynn (or Disney).

  166. I used to draw caricatures next door to the most accurate of the many Cheers-branded bar/restaurants and never event went inside once, which makes no sense because I like Cheers and that job had a lot of “don’t go too far though” downtime, and no “exclusive” bathroom. I used to pee at the food court or Peet’s Coffee instead of Cheers. One of my many, many regrets. Youth is wasted on the young, and whatnot.

    Frasier is kind of lame and everything but Peri Gilpin and John Mahoney are seriously great, there are usually some good other character actors in there. I would also like to particularly give internet comment section kudos to Gilpin for her fine, weird and subtle work on King of the Hill. I king of consider her to be to that show what Phil Hartman was to The Simpsons.

    That’s what I was kind of trying to say above with my ROMY & MICHELE’S and The Comeback references – I am a huge Lisa Kudrow fan, and not a fan of the show Friends at all, so I am of two minds about that program.

    Jon Lovitz sort of helped Lisa Kudrow to get her start, which is such a beautiful and nice thought, and “makes sense when you think about it” kind of thing, two of the most naturalistically-stylized people working in any medium of art, anywhere. She probably would have been a lot better on NewsRadio, but if we have to be in a world where anyone gets senselessly rich I am glad one of those people is Valarie Cherish.

    Third Rock > Fraiser, though. Also, as far as silver-tounged theater guys getting paid too much to be on sitcoms goes, Lithgow > Grammar, morally and otherwise. He should have been an Expendable, not “Fras”. He already had CLIFFHANGER credibility!

    It’s not my thing, but I think Frasier is weirdly one of those shows that is “about” tender and loving character dynamics, like with “Niles and Daphne”, I think that is why it has has lasted in the folk tradition of kids’ sincere hearts when Wings and shit has not. Personally, give me Roy Biggins, Minh Souphanousinphone and Squiggy any day, but I get why people like it, I liked watching Fraiser with my grandmother because she really liked it. Maybe these millennial kids are watching it with their boomer/un-alternative Gen X’er parents or something. Personally, I’d rather have my heart warmed in the company of Bernie, Wanda, Nessa, Jordan, Babygirl, Big Fella and Chuy, more my kinda vibe. Sorry, Chandler.

    (There’s this really funny story Norm Macdonald tells about when Matthew Perry hosted Saturday Night Live, and his managers kept trying to encourage the writers to work in some “Matt-speak”. Baffled, Norm asked “You mean sarcasm?!?!”.)

    There were these beautiful and moving photos of Spike Lee with a group of kids near Barlacy’s on the day of the George Floyd verdict. One of the kids – who could not have been older than ten – was wearing a shitty Friends shirt, maybe one bought at the Target across the street. I hope that made Spike laugh, to be faced with thinking about something as dumb as the show Friends at that moment.

    And I hope that kid grows up to wear a DO THE RIGHT THING t-shirt.

  167. I didn’t say anything about the Egerton/Mendelsohn version. In fact, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out if I’ve even seen it. I’d swear I have but I can’t remember a single thing about it

  168. Very tempted to make me/SCRUBS the new Hallsy/HARD TARGET, hopefully one day leading to a Sinister Six cadre of evil Vernskateers, striking down innocent readers with our dastardly brand of disregard for (apparently?) beloved works.

    Oh, and I should have mentioned this like ten posts ago but I CASPER’ed PRINCE OF THIEVES and now think it kind of rules. I had fuller thoughts at the time, but I guess I decided to post about The Great Gazoo or something at the time.

  169. grimgrinningchris

    June 22nd, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Sorry, Maggie. I spent 20 minutes scrolling back and it was KayKay. That’s why I specified “I think…” but apologies nonetheless…

    ALF… I loveLisa Kudrow, but who could she possibly have played better on NewsRadio than who was ultimately cast?

    One of the most perfectly cast sitcoms ever (and figured out how to do the only possible thing with Andy Dick and Joe Rogan and make it work).
    She could not have been better as Lisa than Maura Tierney and definitely could not have been a better Beth than Vicki Lewis.

    There are few things I think wouldn’t be improved by Lisa Kudrow but that’s not one…

  170. No worries, Chris. I just didn’t want to take credit for someone else’s comment.

  171. Jojo, I am intrigued to learn that audio compression units are available for TVs. Could you please tell us more about them?
    I think a lot of us here would be interested in hearing more about a way to fix the quiet dialogue/loud explosions problem. Thanks!

  172. Talking about sitcoms that haven’t aged well, did anybody bother to check out KEVIN CAN FUCK HIMSELF? I wish I would like it more, but the the show is alreadly built on a bad premise (You can hear in every scene the creators congratulate themself for pointing out that certain sitcom clichees are problematic, especially if applied to real world logic, which is pretty much something that the rest of the world had figured out 20 years ago.) and sadly in the drama parts as stereotypical as the sitcom parts, only that this half isn’t supposed to be a tacky parody.

  173. There are still lines from Cheers and Frasier that I quote to this day. But they’re from my time. I think Cheers’ final season was my senior year in high school.

    I understand that there are parts of Friends now that didn’t age well or are problematic, but honestly the most offensive part to me was how broad they played it.

  174. I feel bad writing lots more sitcom blather when there are real wonderful, respectful and interesting outlawvernonian debates going on in today’s thread, but I was thinking about this and then there were some good comments so here’s some more blather, please DR this TL nonsense or whatever:

    Maggie: I think I am downplaying how into Cheers I am, it rules. Also, I do legitimately love the characters of Roz and Frasier’s dad and not just who played them, I just wish they just had their own show instead. When Frasier and Niles are talking I am usually like BOOOORRRRRIIINNNG, this is like being in school, I hate school. They should have spun that shit off a third time, maybe that sports disc jockey could be in there too. Niles and Daphne can visit SOMETIMES.

    There are lots of weird connections to Frasier in my life, including the aforementioned hilarious CBS-mostly grandmother, a late and close friend of mine who was close to people that appeared on it and an ex-girlfriend who had some weird comedic millennial Frasier internet content at one point. It looks large over my proverbial Melmac, if I may mix sitcom refs. It’s weird, I like Frasier on Cheers.

    Kelsey Grammar sure bugs me but the warm feelings I have for Frasier are something I actually have to separate from the guy. Give me short-story obsessed Lithgow over MAGA-ass Grammar any day, he really does seem like a wonderful person.

    Sorry for all the blather, it is more because you are one of the best commenters here and I don’t wanna denigrate your show and wanted to explain how I was talking through a veil of weird, stilted humor about something weirdly important to me that isn’t quite my thing but something I value, or something.

    Also Peri Gilpin is so good on Superman: The Animated Series as Volcana. You know who else rules is Lori Petti as Livewire. Forget Harley Quinn yo, she is annoying, less movies of her please, Volcana and Livewire all day. I would straight up watch a DC equivalent to LOGAN starring Lori Petti and Peri Gilpin in live action, please make that movie Bugs Bunny and friends. Actually they could get Wings-ass Tim Daly too, Clancy Brown, the whole kit and kaboodle.

    I knew some guy who used to think Woody sang the Cheers theme song when he was a kid, which is really, really funny.

    Chris: That was just my way of saying I would have loved to see her in that kind of context, maybe during the Lovitz season. The Comeback – the funniest show – is very much what I was saying she should have been instead of friends, the context she deserves. Friends is worth it for allowing The Comeback to happen, and I legit am happy Lisa Kudrow is rich. Sometimes (most of the time) I think ROMY & MICHELE’S is my third favorite movie ever, and it is without a doubt the funniest movie ever made.

    NewsRadio is perfection.

  175. 7.1 is minimal audio nowadays. I’ve had 5.1 setups minimum since 1998, and my primary room is a Dolby Atmos/DTS Neo 5.1.2 with UHD disc playback and my 70TB Movie/TV NAS using uncompressed audio as much as possible. I’ll rip mono, stereo, 4.0 and other oddball tracks for preservation but always go multichannel. They have techs working to make my immersive audio experience, and only the bad ones don’t prioritize vocals in the center channel and position effects based on camera. If I’m somewhere without multichannel it’s quite irritating knowing how I’ve experienced audio for nearly a quarter century at home.

    Also Friends, Scrubs, Cheers, Fraiser, 3rd Rock from the Sun, 30 Rock and NewsRadio were and still are awesome. HIMYM is garbage.

  176. Oh and MattyB, thank you for that info, that totally makes sense. Extra sound effects! That’s ludircrous! Steve Hoffman is hilarious, weirdest place on the internet. TOM PETTY TALKED SHIT ON HUEY LEWIS IN 1982, HERE’S FIFTY PAGES OF HIDEOUS ARGUMENTS ABOUT IT. Also, I have never seen so many obviously rich guys from Jersey who resent the fact that Springsteen is a classic Democrat for some strange reason.

    Here is the reason I am commenting again, I have a good idea for my Livewire and Volcana movie idea, a good title: OLD-ASS SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES: THE MOVIE. Or, if my lack of modern sensibilities require pruning, THE OLD-ASS SUPERMAN.

  177. A.L.F. I wish Lilith had gotten her own spinoff. I think the same of Margaret Houlihan from MASH. Maybe they’ll do a rebootequal of them someday.

  178. Lilith rules. My favorite character is obviously the “SINATRA!” guy.

    (Clubside or Vern my dudes, please delete my having left this comment in the wrong tab, thank you for puttin up with me fellas, though it would be hilarious if the Sinatra guy and Lillith from Cheers were in PSYCHO GOREMAN, like the time the louts of Cheers visited the crew of Wings but then they just stayed at the bar and talked mad shit, great crossover. I AM TIRED OF ALL THIS FAN SERVICE IN MOVIES, THERE ARE TOO MANY WINGS CROSSOVERS!)

  179. One of the funniest memories I have with Cheers is when they used to rerun it at 11 at night one of my friends neighbors used to blast the opening credits every single night. He’d lower the volume after that. Great show but it’s spinoff was way too smart for me so I could never get into it. I was always more of a Seinfeld guy truth be told. Scrubs was actually the last sitcom I got into and I’m glad it never overstayed it’s welcome.

  180. grimgrinningchris

    June 22nd, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    ALF. I LOVE Roxy & Michelle and love Kudrow (and on the DL love Friends… mostly for her and The White)

    But the funniest thing EVER on NewsRadio was Hartman’s cane monologue with Foley and that was looooong before any cast shakeups or horrible murder suicides.

    Maybe only in league with Joe’s VR reaction when he’d put a hidden camera in a Boba Fett figure that got thrown out a window during a poker game. Or Dick (Matthew’s) reaction to realizing Jimmy had actually gifted him the copyright on the entirety of the Fibber McGee & Molly radio show.

    Or when Lisa discovered CSPAN.

  181. grimgrinningchris

    June 22nd, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Of course I meant ROMY.

    Though I did have a cutout of the movie poster of Winona Ryder in Roxy Charmichael over my bed for like a decade.

  182. grimgrinningchris, no word of a lie, I am an old-time radio researcher. It is about as glamorous as it sounds. You’d better believe I am all about Fibber McGee and Pepsi.

    NewsRadio is too vast of a topic, but suffice it to say it is one of my main interests and something of deep personal signifigance as evidenced by my recent MOOSEPORT talk. For now, I’d like to offer one outlawvern-relevant NewsRadio fact that it makes me very happy to consider.

    So those of you familiar with the show are surely fans of the episode “Rap”, I’d take it? The one where Bill McNeal adjusts the treble on his car’s stereo, learns rap has lyrics, seeks to ban it but then turns on a dime in pathetic supplication to the presence (and celebrity) of point-counterpoint guest Chuck D? Where Bill is saying outrageous, made up, Sub-Pop-New-York-Times-Article-level stupid “rap slang”? (“Gazziza my dilznoofus!”, etc?)

    Putting aside any “you wouldn’t see that sorta joke so much today” talk for a moment, that joke is funny for a reason besides that a white guy is trying to cluelessly act “rap” before a legendary and influential MC. It is funny because Chuck D was greatly influenced by radio announcers and sportscasters, routinely citing Marv Albert as someone from outside of hip-hop who he borrowed something from. I’m sure he totally appreciated the broadcaster sleaze and on-point diction of a total pro like Phil Hartman. He said “Welcome to the Terrordome” beautifully.

  183. grimgrinningchris: Yup it was me, and I stand by my opinion that ROBIN HOOD KINGSMAN EDITION is Hot Garbage! All the vibrant colors in the world can’t disguise a trite script, woefully miscast Edgerton and a Jamie Foxx valiantly trying but failing to come out from under Freeman’s massive shadow. In fact if I were asked to choose between the 2 (and I hope I don’t have to unless someone hooked up a pair of electrodes to my testicles), I’d actually go for the Paul Wet Spot Anderson version of the The Three Musketeers as the marginally more entertaining brain-dead fare. I’d at least take an ass-kicking Ninja Warrior Milady version as opposed to an appalling treatment of Marian that sees her swear undying love for Robin, marry Will Scarlett upon learning Robin’s dead, then promptly dumps her husband at the first sight of her resurrected lover. That’s a level of female flightiness unseen of since Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor.

    As for Ben Mendelsohn, I’ll lump him alongside Danny Huston as actors so overused as heavies they’re practically walking spoilers for Villainy. There’s no better way of killing any suspense as to who your Big Bad is then by casting either of these 2. If you spotted either one among a group of stragglers wandering a dystopian wasteland, you’d point and go “That’s the asshole who launched the nukes!”

  184. To those of us of a certain age, and who remember Mendelsohn from the 80s, it’s funny and weird to see him being cast as a villain all the time. Noah Taylor wears a suit and Ben Mendelsohn’s a bad guy!

  185. Jojo, I am intrigued to learn that audio compression units are available for TVs. Could you please tell us more about them?

    I just use a normal stereo rack compressor Sort of like this one

  186. pegs, I’d also say, live long enough and you’ll eventually see Danny Trejo headlining a movie with Steven Seagal as the baddie

  187. I just learned by randomly walking into my mother’s living room, that the actress who played the witch was also Miss Marple in a TV series 15-ish years ago. Don’t know if the series was good, but that episode had a pretty impressive list of guest stars (Jason Flemyng, Herbert Lom, Derek Jacobi, Mark Gatiss, Miriam Margolyes.)

  188. Oh hey! I loved that Marple series! I’ve seen it several times. It’s split between 2 actresses playing Miss Marple and she was my favorite. A lot of British actors were in it before they made it big (maybe? Maybe they were already big in the UK and I just didn’t know them). Invariably I’ll look up someone who’s familiar on IMDb and it’ll be from this series.

  189. Kevin can F Himself: So formally interesting I couldn’t help but like it. I bailed on Schitt’s Creek after 1 or 2 episodes, so this is really the first time I’ve paid attention to Annie Murphy, and her performance is selling the show. Great facial expressions.

    Frasier: It’s just well-written farce, so if you’re into that, you like it. Kelsey Grammer has not returned my calls about my pitch for the Frasier reboot where he starts a podcast with his son Freddy.

    The Office: Couldn’t ever get into either version. Too mean and boring for me.

    The Big Bang Theory: Can’t stand it.

    Community: An all-time favorite for me.

    M*A*S*H: Arguably the best television show ever made.

    Parks and Rec: Took me a few tries to get into it. It kicked in when Adam Scott showed up and I ended up loving the characters.

    How I Met Your Mother: The only watchable thing on the break room TV at work, so I got into it via syndication. I like my sitcoms more for characters and sentimentality than jokes, so this was up my alley. I liked how it built its own convoluted continuity like a superhero comic, with time jumps, running jokes, the gang having their own slang. But the finale really put me off and for many reasons (NPH’s character) it’s aged very badly.

    3rd Rock has popped up on some syndication channel recently and I could barely make it through a scene. 30 Rock, on the other hand, is good, and I also enjoyed Great News and more recently Mr. Mayor from the same team. The joke-per-minute ratio is so high, you might laugh and miss two more gags. And if you don’t like one joke, don’t worry, there are six more coming in the next 30 seconds.

    NewsRadio: Maybe the most bizarre cast of any sitcom. Look at what they all went on to do. Triumph and tragedy.

    I’d be interested in revisiting the Drew Carey Show, which I think is even weirder than I remember.

    Lastly, the best multi-cam sitcom of the last few years was The Carmichael Show, which was a modern throwback to Norman Lear stuff. Other recent stuff I like is A.P. Bio, which took off once the mean teacher and the students joined forces instead of being at odds. Also– I’ll catch flak for this– I mostly enjoy basic multi-cam stuff like Bob Hearts Abishola and The United States of Al, which go a long way in teaching empathy for other cultures to CBS’ core audience of old white people.

    I watch a lot of TV. Anyway, Prince of Thieves. It’s good, I like it.

  190. I’m currently watching SCHITT’S CREEK and like it, but I admit that it’s a lot less laugh out funny than expected from all the acclaim. Personally I see it more as a light hearted soap opera with zero drama. After a few episodes you really get invested in the characters and their journey. It was definitely a smart move to establish the Rose family from the beginning as spoiled, but not irredeemably rotten. I would never buy that the Bluths from ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT would go through such believable positive changes.

    But I do have to say that without the shittiness of the Trump years and the general audience’s craving for wholesomness, the show would’ve never blown up like that. It’s really well made and acted and definitely wins in the character development department, but without the darkness of the last few years, it probably would’ve stayed a show that outside of Canada only very few people know about. It’s just too nice and slow for a mass audience under normal circumstances. More than once an episode suddenly ends and I realized that I have no idea what the plot was and I didn’t laugh once. Yet it entertained me throughout. It’s a comfort blanket.

  191. A.L.F.: I’m enough of a surround-sound nerd to tell you that Porcupine Tree (one of my favorite bands no less) never put out anything on the SACD format, all either DVD or Blu-ray, same with anything Steven Wilson mixed for other artists be it older prog like King Crimson or Yes and some of the more mainstream stuff like Tears For Fears and Roxy Music.

    Way more into surround music then I am for movies which is cool but I’m not as convinced by some that I need to get an Atmos-ized system especially since I’ll be just living in an apartment on my own and not my own house in this wonderful economy.

  192. My apologies if my generic multichannel joke talk was taken as a Porcupine Tree dis, I was more talking about the cliché of audiophile types and not Steven Wilson or his fans themselves. Obviously he is the main dude for interesting and nontraditional music mixes (admittedly way outside of my own “let’s start with the home before I get the home theater” kinda lifestyle), and someone regarded for taking great care with his products. I was just doing my weird, stilted riffing talk as a way of saying I get prog (and music obsessed) people loving 5.1 and this known audio wizard giving you a different perspective (and doing an archival service), but not why every movie I hear nowadays sounds weird to me. Being given a pro-multichannel outlook from some of this page’s best commenters was nice, funny, and interesting. I just feel like stereo is somehow again as hurriedly-considered of an audio format as it was in 1964, but in the movies now. I dunno, I even like hearing tape splices and things like that.

    If I’m going to say any prog band as a joke, it is usually Marillion, not because of any opinion about them (I’ve not heard note one) but because Marillion people are awesome, and the maybe ultimate prog people that I have encountered in the world.

    Upscaling is cartoons though. Peter Jackson presents GET BACK, the second animated Beatles movie. (I think it looks cool though, I’m in favor of cartoons.)

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