Join 3,429 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The WH Auden of ultraviolence
November 6, 2011 8:43 AM   Subscribe

So it was with uncontainable excitement one Saturday afternoon that I went round to Alan Walters's house to watch something with the promising title of Predator. I knew only three things about it: it was certified 18, it starred the great Arnold Schwarzenegger – the WH Auden of ultraviolence – and it reputedly featured a scene in which someone's eviscerated chest cavity was on full display. My favourite film: Predator The rest of the series.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (43 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Predator is of course in some ways the best film of all time*.

*Sometimes it's Kellys Heroes, sometimes it's Repo Man.
posted by Artw at 8:49 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, a special shout-out should go to the hand held M134 Minigun.
posted by Artw at 8:55 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Predator never did anything for me, but thanks for posting the link to rest of the series. Really enjoyed the piece on Beautiful Girls, a film I love that (as pointed out in the article) should fall into cliched schlock territory but is charming enough to pull it off.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:56 AM on November 6, 2011


Predator is somewhat of a disappointment only because thus far Carl Weathers has not become a Governor like the rest of his costars. Everything else about it fills my heart with song. And screaming.
posted by elizardbits at 8:56 AM on November 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Had to listen to the Predator Rap again.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:57 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Previously
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on November 6, 2011


Calling Jesse Ventura a republican govenor really misses the mark. From just two days ago:

Ventura spoke of his fury about how an American citizen was not even allowed to go to court to defend the Bill of Rights, adding that from now on he would refer to the U.S. as the “Fascist States of America” and would refuse to stand for the national anthem.
“The suit was thrown out because Congress set up the law so that all such challenges must be brought directly in Circuit Courts of Appeals, wrote U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson.”

“They said they don’t have jurisdiction,” Ventura told reporters. “Well my question is if the federal courts don’t have jurisdiction over a constitutional question then who the hell does?”
posted by 445supermag at 9:07 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found Andrew Pulver's appreciation of Broadway Danny Rose a lovely piece of writing, as well. Two '80s movies could hardly be more different, and it's nice to see them appreciated in such similar ways.
posted by RogerB at 9:19 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


"This stuff will make you a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me!"

- Jesse Ventura, future governor of Minnesota
posted by edguardo at 9:19 AM on November 6, 2011


Marty. Just Marty. A girl called Marty.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:29 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the bits I liked about Predators was how you could tell from the music the exact bit of Predator it was copying.
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's because it's old enough that the buzz has faded but not old enough to be cemented in cultural memory, but Swingers seems like a really odd choice for favourite film, treasured memory or not. On the other hand hats off to the guy who picked Ghostbusters though.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on November 6, 2011


Films I've seen more than once, deliberately (rather than its what's playing in the background) - The Matrix, the Mask (Jim Carey) and Jaane bhi do yaaro
posted by infini at 10:10 AM on November 6, 2011


Predator is somewhat of a disappointment only because thus far Carl Weathers has not become a Governor like the rest of his costars.

But he's the only one who guest-starred on Arrested Development. Who's the real winner here?

Carl Weathers, obviously.
posted by The Michael The at 10:35 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was talking with a friend who was watching the new Conan movie and we got to talking about the old Conan movie. He said he did not know if he would still like Conan the Barbarian because some movies he liked as a kid dind't hold up, like Predator...
"WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?" was of course my reply.
"Oh, the dialogue is really bad."
"Arnold impales a guy by throwing his knife through him into a beam and tells him to 'Stick alound!', it's not supposed to be Shakespeare!"


It was a highly upsetting conversation with someone who obviously doesn't know anything about great cinema.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:58 AM on November 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


There are no apologies necessary for loving Predator. McTiernan's action directing is arguably even better there than it was in Die Hard. And there are a few shots that are simply art - full stop.

Consider the one that shows Arnold (or rather his stunt double, Billy Lucas) plummeting into the lagoon. In addition to slow motion, there is a switch to grainier film stock. There's something dreamlike about it that perfectly sets up the grittiness of the combat in the film's third act.
posted by Trurl at 11:04 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I keep meaning to watch Beautiful Girls, since Demme usually makes a good film, and I understand that part of it was filmed in a bar that I spent a lot of time at, but that description of the film makes it sound... well, fairly creepy, honestly.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:13 AM on November 6, 2011


If nothing else Predator gave us one of the best lines ever: "I ain't got time to bleed."
posted by MikeMc at 11:14 AM on November 6, 2011


P.o.B - wha? Conan has great dialogue - you can quote every line of it. Perhaps Oliver Stone's finest work.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was profoundly disappointed that "The Rest of the Series" was not made up of appreciations of the rest of the Predator films. "Predator 2" is particularly good for fans of Bill Paxton, and of Gary Busey in reflective material. i.e all sane people.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:47 AM on November 6, 2011


wha? Conan has great dialogue - you can quote every line of it. Perhaps Oliver Stone's finest work.

Well, he didn't say he did not like Conan, he hadn't seen it in awhile and he was trying to give me an example of a film "that didn't hold up over the years.". But i think you can clearly see my friend is crazy and everyone should disregard his ideas concerning movies. I'm thinking of putting up fliers with his picture just to get the word out. You know, for the kids!
posted by P.o.B. at 11:53 AM on November 6, 2011


Somebody would get slapped if they told me Predator 2 had bad dialogue.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:56 AM on November 6, 2011


Predator 2, the third best Predator movie.
posted by Artw at 11:57 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I keep meaning to watch Beautiful Girls, since Demme usually makes a good film, and I understand that part of it was filmed in a bar that I spent a lot of time at, but that description of the film makes it sound... well, fairly creepy, honestly.
I think the fact it's not creepy is part of the reason it's such a great film. The characters are aware (and discuss) how thin that ice is.

Sometimes Predator is my favourite film, the swell of the Cape Fear score gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. You can analyse and examine the gay/Vietnam/class/male subtexts but fundamentally (like Beautiful Girls thinking about it) it's a film about men which doesn't make me hate my gender, which is rare.
posted by fullerine at 12:06 PM on November 6, 2011


Predators left a warm glow inside me for days after watching it. I even immediately forgave it for the pandering towards the first one in the fight scene because it's so good. Not perfect, but it put those AvP movies to shame.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:08 PM on November 6, 2011


The AvP films are clearly the least good Aliens films AND least good Predator films, but I have difficulty ranking them against each other.
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on November 6, 2011


Aliens versus Predator is not a great film, certainly, but it's recognisably a film - with some forms of sets, actors, scripted dialog and so on. It's a Paul WS Anderson film, basically. You know what you're getting. Attractive women. Bullet time. Eastern European extras. Colin Salmon being cut into pieces.

I have a degree of sympathy for the Brothers Strause - when a studio hires a music video director (or directing team) to do a sequel, you know they aren't going to be given a huge amount to work with - but AvPR is a bit of a trial. Not least because the lighting budget was too small to create a visible print on the 35mm film stock. Not for nothing were they known as "The Princes of Darkness" in Hollywood thereafter, which may explain why their production debut, Skyline was shot with Mysterium X sensor-toting RED cameras.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:01 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


AvP is part of the Predator canon, not the Alien canon. It never happened in the alien world.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:01 PM on November 6, 2011


The Predator movies, of course, take place in the dream of Daniel Westphall's autistic son Tommy.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2011


They sullied both canons equally with those films. I mean if the point was to say "hey, watch me take a fat dump on your beloved franchise" then mission accomplished. I would like to say they did that in a totally metaphorical way, but I think someone sat around trying to think up ways they could do that literally without explicitly showing that. I say mission accomplished.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:19 PM on November 6, 2011


I'm struck by the juxtaposition of this thread with this thread.
posted by zomg at 1:21 PM on November 6, 2011


Oh, let me help you out. We're talking about films and fictional stuff in here.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:45 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Indeed, as I have said before on the blue, the Alien movies are unique among franchises because they consistently handed the reins to a series of very different auteurs with each new installment. Alien Vs. Predator is by no means a great movie but Anderson is still an auteur of schlock, so it works. The Bros. Stros. showed an almost complete lack of understanding of what the movie was about, opting for "everything louder than everything else" approach. A chestburster scene is horrifying? Let's put about four in, then, and it will be four times as good! No, you will just show a depressing lack of imagination.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:05 PM on November 6, 2011


AvP - I always like it in my 'versus' films when they start using actual wrestling moves (see also Freddie vs Jason)

Not for nothing were they known as "The Princes of Darkness" in Hollywood
I spent forever fiddling with my monitor trying to get that watchable... I gave up in the end, probably just as well.

AvPR also very obviously suffered from 'lumbering stunt-men in cheap costumes = not very convincing xenomorphs' problems that had started creeping into the series from way back (including, whisper it quiet, a couple of shots in Aliens)

But honestly people we all know that anything post the end of Aliens is just Ripley's continuing nightmare... she and Newt will wake up soon and live happily ever after (or at least have a kick-ass/ non-lame adventure) (or it's the Dark Horse comic series... at least the first couple of volumes)

Oh and Ripley, don't fuck up Prometheus, please.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:04 PM on November 6, 2011


Ain't got time to bleed, sweet darlin
Please don't leave me girl, don't you go
posted by Naberius at 3:08 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh and I always though Predator had an amazing score... much better than what was normal for that kind of film.

Shame it missed out on the sfx Oscar to Innerspace... who even remembers that film now.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:18 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


A couple of my friends and I still do the Manly Hand Clasp and quote "Son of a bitch!" in our best Arnie voices when we meet up.
posted by KGMoney at 4:10 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


And a couple of my friends and I still miniaturise ourselves and get injected into each others' buttocks in miniature submarines.

Innerspace 4 LIFE!
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:00 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not mousse! Hair spray!
posted by stebulus at 5:51 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't fuck up Prometheus, please.

I hate to say it, but the whole thing just sounds like a bad idea from the start.
posted by Artw at 6:00 PM on November 6, 2011


Predator is special to me.

When I was about 10 years old, back in 1987, I was spending a wknd with some relatives, and my older cousins went to rent a movie for us to watch. They were excited about the one they chose - Running Man. They kept going on about Arnold, but I had no idea who the man was, and the title sounded boring. Anyway, I watched it, and immediately became obsessed with Schwarzenegger.

So the next time my mom took me to the video store, I asked for a Schwarzenegger movie and the clerk recommended commando (this was in Abu Dhabi, where copyright laws didn't exist, and no age restrictions applied for rentals). This movie had an incredibly seminal effect on me. The plot archetype formed the basis for all my future fantasizing up until my late teens (typical scenario: sitting in class, and foreign terrorist group attacks school and kidnaps everyone, but I manage to hide and end up going on a long exciting journey to rescue her and everyone else - of course I fell asleep before consummating any such rescue; as I grew older, the fantasy changed to me and the girl hiding and together as a team going and rescuing everyone).

Back to Arnie: At this point, I'd seen running man and commando, and needed more, desperately. I ask the clerk for another, and he gives me one called Predator. That night, my parents are out late, and I'm the only one awake at home. It's 11 pm, I turn off all the lights in the house, and stick the VHS in...

The first scene is one from space, and my heart drops. That IDIOT CLERK! I asked for a SCHWARZENEGGER movie not some star wars rubbish! (Arnie's name appears even before the spaceship, but I think the VHS copy was missing the first few seconds). I almost took the video out...

Then, when I finally saw him in the helicopter smoking the cigar, I was glued...

and stayed glued until the end.

It's hard to describe how I felt - there was definitely fear and horror, but something else was there - some feeling that I had grown as a man, that I had undergone some ordeal and come out alive, but changed. Imagine, a ten/eleven year old boy, alone in the dark at night, vicariously going through what Dutch went through.

To this day, Alan Silvestri's score resonates deeply...

And it's one of the few movies that upon watching as an adult, I still find excellent.

p.s. predators, imo, was the only decent "sequel".
posted by spacediver at 7:38 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't believe I'm the first to post this on this thread.
posted by falameufilho at 11:48 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it bleeds we can kill it.
posted by rodgerd at 1:11 AM on November 7, 2011


« Older You asked, The White House answered: "The U.S. gov...  |  Louis C. K. Plans Online Broad... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments