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I Shoot Your Face Again
June 18, 2013 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Last Action Hero was released twenty years ago today. Directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard -- previously), written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3 -- previously), and starring The Terminator Himself (um, previously), the movie was a send-up of action movie tropes and conceits.

Critical reception was chilly. Audiences didn't love it. It probably did not help that a record-breaking family-friendly action adventure came out the week before.

Esquire looks back at the film and concludes it was better than remembered.

One draft of the heavily doctored script.

According to Empire, production was a mess.

TV-Tropes calls it one of "the few movies whose genre is accurately described as 'Other'".
posted by gauche (152 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Charles Dance was wonderful.
posted by fullerine at 9:57 AM on June 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


I love this movie, and thanks to fullerine just now realized that Tywin Lannister and glass-eye Benedict are one and the same.
posted by mediated self at 10:01 AM on June 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


I saw this in theatres.

I liked it - I thought it was far better than the critics gave it credit for.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:03 AM on June 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've always enjoyed this movie. If it's next in line after They Live for critical re-evaluation, I'm definitely down with it.
posted by brundlefly at 10:04 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


They Live needs reevaluation? Has been very well regarded for years surely.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 10:06 AM on June 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am obviously living in some sort of geek version of the ivory tower because I always forget that They Live or The Last Action Hero need the world to re-evaluate them.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:07 AM on June 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Having recently watched both, it aged way better than Jurassic Park did. Like, a lot.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:07 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait a second. Jurassic Park is family-friendly? Years of my childhood were lost to the fear of velociraptors leaping over the neighbor's fence.

YEARS.
posted by m@f at 10:09 AM on June 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


I remember it being clever and somewhat enjoyable, but The Simpsons had already done it shorter, funnier, and better with McBain.
"MENDOOZZAAAAAAAAA!!!"
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:10 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obviously your family did not subscribe to the close-your-eyes-and-cover-your-ears-mom-and-dad-will-tell-you-when-its-over theory of movie watching.
posted by gauche at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


You killed Mozart!!
posted by ericbop at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2013


On first watch back then, I thought is was abysmal. Braunschweiger?? C'mon!

on a decade later rewatch, it suddenly Clicked.

"You know, tar actually sticks to some people."

Yeah, that's it.
posted by djrock3k at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


GallonOfAlan: "They Live needs reevaluation? Has been very well regarded for years surely."

"...and I'm all out of bubblegum."
posted by jquinby at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, I had an awesome cup that McDonald's sold to promote this movie. A slide-on sleeve could be turned around and around to animate the pictures on the outside.

I haven't actually seen the movie, but the TV Tropes page makes me want to go find it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:12 AM on June 18, 2013


It was a good film that was unappreciated in its time.

Learning that Charles Dance was in it will certainly make me watch it again.
posted by nubs at 10:12 AM on June 18, 2013


As the Empire article points out, Hot Fuzz is the Gold Standard of action-movie parodies.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:15 AM on June 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


Wow, John McTiernan and Shane Black? No wonder it was so fun! I enjoyed this movie when it came out, probably time for a re-watch.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:15 AM on June 18, 2013


GallonOfAlan: "They Live needs reevaluation? Has been very well regarded for years surely."

It certain circles, sure. But for whatever reason I've noticed a lot more love for it over the past few years. Maybe that's just in my head, though. Here's a MeFi post about the film.
posted by brundlefly at 10:22 AM on June 18, 2013


I thought it was a pretty good movie. The issue was Arnold himself; I don't think he fully embraced the idea that the movie was a parody. He needed to go over the top -- way over the top. Way over the top he was already going way over.

Should've gone with a different actor.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:23 AM on June 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The summer of 1993 was 20 years ago.

It's a fact, but that doesn't make me feel any better about realizing that the first summer that I remember having _real_ automony (as a bratty teenager) was 20 years ago.

My first BBS meetup was a showing of Jurassic Park. Damn it.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:24 AM on June 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Man, to this day I always find myself saying on the first warm afternoon of spring, "It is a beautiful day and we are out killing drug dealers."

An underrated classic for sure.
posted by Aznable at 10:27 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


They Live and Last Action Hero are one of the few times in any movies you see someone actually get tired in the course of an action scene.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:28 AM on June 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


I was a kid when it came out (about the same age as the kid in the movie), and I remember thinking the central conceit was highly implausible. (I guess my disbelief became unsuspendable sometime before Last Action Hero and after Big, which I loved.) And I hated that kid's haircut. Why was it that every child star back then had that same overgrown bowlcut when absolutely nobody else in the whole world did?

Really, though, I think the big problem with Last Action Hero at the time was that it was aimed pretty squarely at exactly the same audience who identified with Eddie Furlong in Terminator 2, which to us was the coolest thing ever. We just weren't ready for the ironic spoof yet.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:29 AM on June 18, 2013


I just now noticed that Sir Ian McKellan played Death from the Bergman film.
posted by gauche at 10:29 AM on June 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I remember the studio coming under all kinds of criticism and "relaunching" the marketing as a straight action flick. The print ads (remember those?) got whittled down to Arnold and the gun. I thought at the time it was a really bad idea because it was misrepresenting the material.
posted by dhartung at 10:31 AM on June 18, 2013


They Live needs reevaluation? Has been very well regarded for years surely.

I'm quite MARRY AND REPRODUCE sure that its poor THIS IS YOUR GOD reputation is well deserved. CONSUME
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:32 AM on June 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


Should've gone with a different actor.

I do have to say that if I was out to savage action films, I'd have a hard time casting anyone other than Schwarzenegger. He's just such a perfect example of Guy Cast Because He Is Insanely Built And Yet Somehow Keeps The Role Of A Put-Upon Everyman. The accent is just icing.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:34 AM on June 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes. My favorite parts of Arnold's movies are when he's just the ordinary suburban dad doing his thing like everybody else, and trying to, you know, emote anything other than smoldering & pissed-off.
posted by gauche at 10:39 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


At our house, it was known as Last Action Figure.

We were wrong.
posted by ogooglebar at 10:39 AM on June 18, 2013


This movie was truly ironic in the dramatic sense of the term, and pretty sophisticated for its time. If it came out today it would be the toast of Sundance.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 10:40 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The issue was Arnold himself; I don't think he fully embraced the idea that the movie was a parody. He needed to go over the top -- way over the top. Way over the top he was already going way over.

Should've gone with a different actor.


Now if we can only think of another Over the Top action hero?
posted by cottoncandybeard at 10:44 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


They Live needs reevaluation? Has been very well regarded for years surely.

Put on the glasses.
posted by Artw at 10:45 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


the movie was a parody. He needed to go over the top -- way over the top. Way over the top he was already going way over.

Nah, Hot Shots and The Naked Gun films were already around at that point. I think he should have played it a bit less campy, less easy going and smiling, more John McClane and Martin Riggs.

My favorite unintentional parody that includes all of the action hero tropes and cliches is Shooter with Wahlberg.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 10:47 AM on June 18, 2013


Hmm. I wasn't impressed with it when I saw it 20 years ago. Felt like it didn't really deliver as either a parody or an action film. I thought the parody was exactly strong enough to undermine the action without ever really drawing blood on its own. Perhaps it's worth a rewatch, but my "Need to watch (or rewatch) someday" list is pretty damn long at this point. Maybe I'll add it to my 2:00 AM On Demand insomnia queue.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:51 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I have killed people smarter and younger than you."

...and their last name was Targaryen.
posted by snottydick at 10:53 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The movie's got this scene in it. Therefore it is good.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:54 AM on June 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


Now if we can only think of another Over the Top action hero?

I guess I was meaning, get someone that is not already an over-the-top action hero and have him go over the top.

Can you imagine a young Robert Downey Jr. or Johnny Depp in this role?

Fun anecdote No. 1: As a sports journalist, I actually covered the world arm-wrestling championship and met Bruce Way, the guy that drank motor oil in the final match. Dude actually drank motor oil for the shot.

Fun anecdote No. 2: There is such a thing as arm-wrestling SHOES. In an arm-wrestling match, the height of the table is fixed by rule, but shorter wrestlers can adjust their height by wearing lifts.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:57 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The movie's got this scene in it. Therefore it's good.

SO MANY WILHELM SCREAMS
posted by shakespeherian at 10:57 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haven't seen it in a long time, but I remember it being pretty good. Lots of meta, all over the place. I think the Stallone as Terminator thing is my favorite.
posted by jiawen at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2013


"I have killed people smarter and younger than you."

...and their last name was Targaryen.


Also Stark. And Reynes.

His list grows long.
posted by nubs at 11:04 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Learning that Charles Dance was in it will certainly make me watch it again.

I honestly had no idea he was. Or F. Murray Abraham. Or Sir Ian.

While I am not attracted to the movie itself, I'm a big, big fan of great actors in terrible projects. Furthermore, I am all in favour of great actors getting their Big Cash Payout TM.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:06 AM on June 18, 2013


Some of them are bit parts playing themselves (it's a satire of hollywood, after all) but have a look at the cast.

I have trouble imagining that this was anybody's big cash payout, though.
posted by gauche at 11:09 AM on June 18, 2013


Here's the Ian McKellen part.
posted by jiawen at 11:20 AM on June 18, 2013


The issue was Arnold himself; I don't think he fully embraced the idea that the movie was a parody. He needed to go over the top -- way over the top. Way over the top he was already going way over.

That's a direction issue, not a problem with Arnie, right? Unless I am way off, the actor is supposed to give the Director the character they had in mind, not just pick a style and go for it.
posted by Brockles at 11:30 AM on June 18, 2013


That's a direction issue, not a problem with Arnie, right?

Yeah, but Schwarzenegger is/was such a big name, he wields his own kind of influence.

Much like the anecdote about Bruce Willis in negotiations for Live Free or Die Hard.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith was amazed when Bruce Willis threatened to quit the upcoming Die Hard sequel if a studio executive didn’t allow him to use his own dialogue. Clerks director Smith has a small role in Live Free Or Die Hard and re-wrote his lines for the part.

But when Willis, who returns as police officer John McClane for a fourth time in the movie, found out studio bosses weren’t happy with the changes, he gave them an ultimatum.

Smith says, “Bruce just sat there on the phone going, ‘Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh,’ and then, ‘Let me ask you a question – who’s your second choice to play John McClane?’ There was a long pause, and then he went, ‘That’s what I thought,’ and hung up.”

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:37 AM on June 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


I remember being underwhelmed by this when I saw it as a kid. I was 10 or 11. I'd seen enough action movies to get the tropes, but I think not enough to recognize a lot of the cleverness in what the movie's doing. I rewatched it recently because a movie commentary podcast I listen to did an episode on it, and that improved my estimation of the movie considerably. It's not perfect, and the messy train wreck of producing it shows through in places, but it's a lot of fun.
posted by sparkletone at 11:39 AM on June 18, 2013


I'm not afraid to lay blame where it belongs - on the child actor.

Or, more to the point, the child character entirely.

I have this vision of a cut of the movie featuring no Danny Madigan. It might be 6 minutes long, but my god, it would be glorious.
posted by Muddler at 11:41 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a pretty good movie. The issue was Arnold himself; I don't think he fully embraced the idea that the movie was a parody. He needed to go over the top -- way over the top. Way over the top he was already going way over.

Should've gone with a different actor.


Yeah, Arnold just didn't seem self-aware enough, and he's just so wooden in that way that only really worked for 80's/90's blockbuster meathead action flicks. His comedy roles, or things like Total Recall, just seemed like he was completely out of his comfort zone. My dream casting for a remake would be Michael Jai White.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:43 AM on June 18, 2013


My dream casting for a remake would be Michael Jai White.

The makers of Black Dynamite definitely agreed with you.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:51 AM on June 18, 2013


Black Dynamite: Great movie, or the greatest movie? Discuss.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:55 AM on June 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Black Dynamite's the reason I think he could nail the tone for Last Action Hero. He was a co-writer on Black Dynamite, so clearly the guy understands action parody in addition to being able to act it.

Or, another choice who has comedy and action chops and direct ties to the classic Arnold era of big dumbsplosion movies, Carl Weathers!
posted by jason_steakums at 11:55 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Black Dynamite was better when it was called Foxy Brown.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:56 AM on June 18, 2013


I saw this movie when it came out and really enjoyed it. I remember it having a lot more clever ideas and gags than I expected ("Say this word," "I don't want to say that word," "Aha! You can't!" "No, I just don't want to.") and remember being particularly impressed by the idea of seeing the contrast between "movie" action scenes and "real world" action scenes. I remember being disappointed that they didn't really stick with that--there was some implausible action in the rooftop scene in the "real" world, but I still liked the "it's just a flesh wound" ending.

I have this vision of a cut of the movie featuring no Danny Madigan.

I liked the scene where he realizes he's the comic relief character. It would have been fantastic if he'd been annoying in "real" life but charming and witty in the movie world. (Or, funnier yet, vice versa).
posted by straight at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2013


HAHAHAHAHA!

I just realized you guys weren't talking about Schwarzenegger's role in the movie True Lies, which was also wooden and ham-handed and approaching parody. *wipes eyes* Funny coincidence...
posted by wenestvedt at 11:59 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


In my heart, I know that Jingle All the Way was a sequel to Last Action Hero. No one can convince me otherwise.

It got mostly bad reviews as well. I make this confession: I consider myself a bit of a comedy snob. But Jingle All the Way makes me laugh every time.
posted by The Deej at 12:07 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


...while it was eventually profitable the film was widely regarded as a bomb.

It seems unfair that you can produce a movie, everyone gets paid, there's money left over, and it's still called a "bomb".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:14 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really liked LAH and thought Schwarzie was perfect because he was exactly his own character, deadpanning his way through the crazy. It very cleverly illuminated the disconnect between how we experience the vicarious reality of movies versus real reality, and had a lot of fun with that gap. Even the kid being excessive at times seemed appropriate, because it was ironically realistic considering the situation. I found the movie ticket Maguffin being treated as a sacred object a bit off, but that may have been a deliberate nod to the occasional out-of-genre moment many action movies commit.
posted by localroger at 12:16 PM on June 18, 2013


When I was a kid, I had an awesome cup that McDonald's sold to promote this movie. A slide-on sleeve could be turned around and around to animate the pictures on the outside.

Right cup design, wrong fast-food joint. It was Burger King, who used Dan "I Love This Place"" Cortese as a spokesman. Here's the ad for the movie and cup.

(The only reason why I remember Dan Cortese? A friend of mine has made references to his catchphrase for the last TWENTY years.)
posted by stannate at 12:20 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"on a decade later rewatch, it suddenly Clicked.

"You know, tar actually sticks to some people."

Yeah, that's it."


This movie tickles the same part of your brain that sits on TVTropes until dawn threatens (and then you resolve to not open any new tabs and just finish these last 2 dozen).
posted by Eideteker at 12:30 PM on June 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Isn't there an urban legend that that movie was a real-life The Producers, designed to make more than the cost of the production in product placement?
posted by roll truck roll at 12:36 PM on June 18, 2013


I think Michael Jai White is pretty great, but his acting in Perry's Why Did I Get Married films is... not so great. Or to put it another way, all the other actors outshine him in those films by showing their full acting range. Apparently since MJW's acting generally consists of sitting around looking angry and brooding, he didn't seem to be able to really do much else.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:36 PM on June 18, 2013


I just realized you guys weren't talking about Schwarzenegger's role in the movie True Lies, which was also wooden and ham-handed and approaching parody.

True Lies is a near perfect film. QED.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:39 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


True Lies doesn't so much approach parody as wallow in it gleefully.
posted by brennen at 12:40 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


So is the comedy stalking in True Lies actually supposed to be creepy as hell? Because that would change everything.
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies was a horrible movie. In every way a movie can be horrible.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:47 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I preferred Undercover Brother to Black Dynamite.
posted by stenseng at 12:49 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


True Lies is a movie other movies get jealous over.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:50 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


True Lies is a movie that kidnaps other movies and then leers as they are forced to debase themselves for its pleasure.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:58 PM on June 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


True Lies worked because of Jamie Lee Curtis. You can argue that Tom Arnold helped too I suppose. But the majority of the movie is watching Jamie Lee carry Arnold around like a babe in arms.
posted by bonehead at 1:02 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


What the hell? This movie sucked.

When I was in undergrad, there was a zora Neale Hurston revival, and academics were all 'yeah...she was ahead of her time'...but this ain't no 'their eyes...'

Shit. Let horrible movies lay.

I know that one day, there's gonna be a post on the blue about Shaq's 'Kazaam' and how it needs to be re-evaluated because...hipster hipster hipster...

Gross.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:02 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Contrast True Lies with A Fish Called Wanda to see what JLC could do playing opposite someone of her own calibre.
posted by bonehead at 1:03 PM on June 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


True Lies is such a substantial movie with little fault, the criticisms made about it fail due to lack of substance.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:04 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies beats lesser movies unconscious with a telephone.
posted by dubold at 1:05 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Btw, Curtis should have had Weaver's role in Cabin in the Woods.

Yes, I just said that.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:08 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


True Lies kidnaps other movies' daughters and holds them hostage in Miami.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:09 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies saves daughters, not kidnap them. Duhhh!
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:11 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies can't do subject/verb agreement.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:12 PM on June 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


True Lies is a movie that will surprise you after a bad day by hiring a babysitter for the kids and taking you out for a nice dinner.

True Lies is a movie that comes into your book club and articulates a take on Salinger that really makes you reevaluate the guy in a new context.

True Lies don't shiv.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:12 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


True Lies don't need proper grammar for yous to understand it. It has a Harrier jet.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:14 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies painted a picture of its grandma for her birthday, with a gentle sfumato technique and a pleasing palette that really set off her eyes.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:18 PM on June 18, 2013


What the fuck is it with Harrier jets anyway.
posted by brennen at 1:19 PM on June 18, 2013


Harrier jets are cool because there was one in True Lies.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:20 PM on June 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Harrier jets are way cooler than bald jets.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:21 PM on June 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


True Lies derails threads so skillfully that it actually makes them more enjoyable.
posted by Etrigan at 1:22 PM on June 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


That Empire article is great; I love those behind the scenes looks into the production.

McTiernan did a good job with the action, but that script...man. Virtually none of the comedy works at all. The kid was a terrible casting choice. Had they kept it as more of a drama, it might've worked.
posted by zardoz at 1:24 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies was based on a novel featuring a highly detailed description of "shrinkage."
posted by Sys Rq at 1:25 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies doesn't so much approach parody as wallow in it gleefully.

I haven't been able to pick it up at home, but I swear that there's a point where the Evil Arab Terrorists are running around shouting and one of them shouts "Shai-hulud!"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:26 PM on June 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Moral shrinkage?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:26 PM on June 18, 2013


You're fired!
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:35 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies is a movie that has a small penis. It's really pathetic.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:36 PM on June 18, 2013


Cool off.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:37 PM on June 18, 2013


Hm, wait. True Lies wasn't even based on a novel. So what the hell was it I read in grade six that left this indelible impression? They wouldn't add a "my balls are freezing" scene to the novelization of the movie, would they?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:37 PM on June 18, 2013


Don't forget the AWESOME Megadeth tune from the movie.
posted by Chuffy at 1:42 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies is a movie that has a small penis. It's really pathetic.

True Lies compensates for nothing.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:53 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies: Can't live with it, can't kill it. Because it is a movie.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:58 PM on June 18, 2013


On topic, I remember being thrilled by the idea of TLAH and disappointed by the execution - way too long with the cutesy, winking setup, way too little time deploying the legions of set-em-up/knockemdown punchlines that the action movie/reality dichotomy provide.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:01 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies shaves its jets
posted by Smedleyman at 2:19 PM on June 18, 2013


That's why it isn't worried about shrinkage. Looks bigger shaved.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 2:23 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Battery aziz!
posted by Brocktoon at 2:26 PM on June 18, 2013


Holy crap...I've mined the far reaches of the action flick genre...I've watched the best of them scores of times...I've watched some pretty bad ones more than once...but I've only seen a few scenes of TLAH here and there...it just never grabbed me.

I'm going to give it another try, perhaps tonight.

And I'm hoping beyond hope for a Streets of Fire revival...

Also, I think Mr. and Mrs. Smith is underrated...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 3:14 PM on June 18, 2013


What was that movie where there was this actor shadowing a real life cop, and one of them gets shot and the cop says a dramatic line, and then the final scene is of a movie where the actor is playing a real life cop shadowed by another actor, and he quotes what the real life cop said?
posted by pravit at 3:24 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


And I'm hoping beyond hope for a Streets of Fire revival...

BOSS BATTLE SLEDGEHAMMER
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:37 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It starred Michael J Foxx and James Woods, and I could not tell you the name of it.
posted by runcibleshaw at 3:40 PM on June 18, 2013


Stuart Little

/kidding
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:43 PM on June 18, 2013




I saw this film as a kid in the theaters. I hated it. I thought it was lame. SO LAME. I was nine but the memory of its lameness is still so palpable to me now.

I think I'll get my hands on it and rewatch it.

Wait a second. Jurassic Park is family-friendly? Years of my childhood were lost to the fear of velociraptors leaping over the neighbor's fence.

YEARS.


I am being completely serious when I say that dinosaur nightmares were a constant theme of my life from the ages of 9 to 25. I really miss being terrorized by velociraptors an the occasional trex in my sleep.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 3:53 PM on June 18, 2013


True Lies is called that because it thought it sounded scary.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:00 PM on June 18, 2013


Having recently watched both, it aged way better than Jurassic Park did.

I disagree: JP is *still* a great rollercoaster movie.

And I kinda like TLAH. It's hokey, but it revels in its hokeyness. (Also, yes, Charles Dance totally steals the sho.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:17 PM on June 18, 2013


I'm not sure what you guys are on about regarding Arnie's performance in Last Action Hero. I think he plays it perfectly, being constitutionally unable to appreciate quite how fucked up his life is. The character can't act any other way. (Neither can the actor, but that's beside the point)

And if it's terrible Schwarzenegger flicks you're after, you're looking for Eraser.
posted by wierdo at 4:33 PM on June 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Plus points: a cool gun.
posted by Artw at 4:35 PM on June 18, 2013


Yeah. I watched Jurassic Park during its recent re-release and it's held up really, really well. Enough so that I barely restrained myself from pumping my fists in the air at the "WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH" shot.

Disclaimer: I am dinosaur-obsessed, so YMMV.

wierdo: "And if it's terrible Schwarzenegger flicks you're after, you're looking for Eraser."

As near as I can tell, Eraser is the last big action film to feature cheesy electric guitar squeals in the score. I have to give it some credit, if only for that.



"You're luggage."
posted by brundlefly at 4:36 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


What the fuck is it with Harrier jets anyway.

Here's my theory:

In the real world, a Harrier (VTOL) is an aircraft that can hover without the use of a giant rotor blade.

That means you can build a fake one on a movie set attached to a crane arm and shoot close-ups of actors hanging off it, and it still makes a kind of visual sense.

And that's cheaper than CGI.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:42 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


True Lies round house kicked Chuck Norris and lived.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 4:58 PM on June 18, 2013


I think I worked on Last Action Hero, the part where he goes through the movie screen with a little purple flaming stuff, I was writing filters to match grainless CG to film grain.

It's not the only unpolishable turd I've been involved with. If somebody could write a child-actor-removal filter, and just chop out (or skip over) the Projectionist's Monologe, it would be a pretty decent waste-o'-time.

I thought rushing to get him back to movieland, where his gunshot wound would be 'a scratch', was charming. And I had completely forgotten that wonderful Hamlet trailer. The film, feeble overall, is nevertheless full of such 'moments'.
posted by hexatron at 5:22 PM on June 18, 2013


wierdo: "And if it's terrible Schwarzenegger flicks you're after, you're looking for Eraser."

Eraser has it's moments. I would instead suggest End of Days or Collateral Damage.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 5:28 PM on June 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Collateral Damage has the distinction of being the first Schwarzenegger movie that I have ever stopped watching, having started watching from the beginning. There are a number I've skipped altogether, then come across on TV part way through and then moved on. But Collateral Damage was the first that I set out to watch, got 15 minutes or so into, and just couldn't keep watching.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:32 PM on June 18, 2013


We actually don't need Arnold to play the parody, as if he's in on it: it works much better when he's fully committed 100%. We're laughing at him, at the whole industry, at the cliches and thoughtlessness of the genre.

If it had been made today, it definitely would've had a kind of post-modern emphasis with his role. The last thing I want is Arnold (visibly) in on the joke - you can just see with the Hamlet clip above how much better it is with his full commitment.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:37 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


We actually don't need Arnold to play the parody, as if he's in on it: it works much better when he's fully committed 100%.

AKA The Leslie Nielsen Method
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:38 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oddly, Collateral Damage manages to humanize the terrorists instead of them just blowing up stuff for REASONS. That is until you get to the end and they turn back into stock psychopathic terrorist characters who try to blow shit up by any means necessary.

Plus, it has some funky little clapping thematic music that sounds not unlike a song in Kill Bill.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 5:47 PM on June 18, 2013


I really have believed for a long time that -- how can I put this in thread context -- Schwarzenegger's greatest appeal is his self-awareness of his lack of self-awareness. True Lies is great in part because this aspect of his performance was at its peak. At heart, he knows he's a big cartoon figure, with his muscles and his accent, and he's at his best when he allows directors to use that aspect of him. Besides, the guy has undeniable charisma. He can't act, but despite this seemingly insurmountable limitation for someone in the movie business, he can still own scenes which is sort of incredible when you think about it.

T2, of course, is another example where he and Cameron understood what they were dealing with in terms of his audience appeal. Yes, he's the unstoppable monster from your nightmares, but (and this is non-sequitur) "Your clothes, give them to me." I mean, conceptually Terminator is much more interesting, but clearly T2 is the more effective film. Mostly because Cameron understood Schwarzenegger as an actor, as a mannequin, and as a pop culture icon.

I don't think TLAH lives up to that, but it has some of that same mindset.
posted by dhartung at 5:52 PM on June 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I really like this movie, since its basically the Discworld book Moving Pictures as as Hollywood blockbuster.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:01 PM on June 18, 2013


Damn, did this thread transcend itself.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:16 PM on June 18, 2013


There are few 20 year old films that hold up well, the early 90s were packed with crappy films. Look at some of the crap they cranked out in 1992: Aliens 3, Lethal Weapon 3, Home Alone 2, The Bodyguard, Encino Man, Honey I Blew Up The Kid, Hero, and the marquee of merde just goes on and on. I'm looking at the 1992 film list and it reminds me of why I left Hollywood in 1992, the money men took over and filmmakers lost most of their power.

But I think this film works perfectly now, because it is 20 years old, and it probably works better now than it did on release. I never saw the film until just now, but I think Schwarzenegger played the film perfectly.

And I will absolutely disagree with the hating on True Lies. The movie climax is conceptually brilliant. It takes the greatest spectacle in history, a nuclear explosion, uses it as a continual threat, and then it finally happens with a little anticlimactic poof on the horizon. I haven't seen such a brilliant ironic concept for a nuclear denouement since Robocop III, when the Japanese nuke Detroit.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:29 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every time Aliens 3 is on TV, I try and watch it, since I like Alien and Aliens and David Fincher. And it never gets any better.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:31 PM on June 18, 2013


I have always had a soft spot for Schwarzenegger's mainstream '80s comedy period. Kindergarten Cop and Twins are great. Not remotely the greatest comedies of all time or anything, but, like, they don't stink nearly as much as they so easily could have.

I think it's because they get to the heart of what a great Schwarzenegger character -- and Schwarzenegger himself -- fundamentally is: A muscle-bound fish-out-of-water who has a lot to learn about the strange new world he's been plunked into. Movies where he's not playing that type tend to be terrible.

And I guess Last Action Hero does fit that criterion, so maybe it is worth a rewatch.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:53 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the real world, a Harrier (VTOL) is an aircraft that can hover without the use of a giant rotor blade.

That means you can build a fake one on a movie set attached to a crane arm and shoot close-ups of actors hanging off it, and it still makes a kind of visual sense.

And that's cheaper than CGI.


I guess they fooled you. The Harrier scenes are quite intensive CGI. Digital Domain still has it at the beginning of their demo reel. The effects may be subtle, like the reflections of a cityscape on the canopy, but that's pure CGI and the film would look entirely fake without these details.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:54 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


it finally happens with a little anticlimactic poof orgasm on the horizon

The only sex scene in the whole movie.
posted by localroger at 7:19 PM on June 18, 2013


Also, I think Mr. and Mrs. Smith is underrated...

It's rare that a movie makes me angry, but Mr. and Mrs. Smith did just that--I remember walking out of the theater pissed off. A lazy and dishonest film, it creates the illusion of action scenes without any real action. Even with the nice chemistry between Brangelina, the script was equal parts ridiculous and pretentious; there's no there there.
posted by zardoz at 7:20 PM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This movie has the best one-liner.
posted by Anything at 8:52 PM on June 18, 2013



Also, I think Mr. and Mrs. Smith is underrated...


I agree. The supermarket and department store shootouts are utterly goregous... just endless shots of destruction.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:01 PM on June 18, 2013


Every time Aliens 3 is on TV, I try and watch it, since I like Alien and Aliens and David Fincher. And it never gets any better.

The workprint was slightly better, but not 10 disc box set of things you already had better.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:06 PM on June 18, 2013


Aliens 3 might be better once you understand it's an AIDS metaphor.
posted by jiawen at 10:13 PM on June 18, 2013


I just found out that the director of Foodfight was an executive producer of True Lies.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:42 PM on June 18, 2013


1992: the year I saw Eddie Murphy's 'The Distinguished Gentleman' at the cinema.
posted by biffa at 10:49 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Harrier scenes are quite intensive CGI.

The reflections and backgrounds are, sure. But for the close-ups, like I said, Arnold still needed to sit in a chair that rattled convincingly for several shots. This is not CGI.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:30 AM on June 19, 2013


the script was equal parts ridiculous and pretentious; there's no there there.

I dunno, I found it an accessibly sharp deconstruction of the consumerista suburban lifestyle, with the final shootout almost necessarily taking place in a store.
posted by dhartung at 3:21 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


A few weeks ago I was watching The Expendables 2, and I remember thinking that it was the best tribute to the action movie genre since The Last Action Hero. Except TLAH didn't have Chuck Norris in it, so I guess that makes Expendables 2 better.
posted by damonism at 4:17 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's rare that a movie makes me angry, but Mr. and Mrs. Smith did just that--I remember walking out of the theater pissed off. A lazy and dishonest film, it creates the illusion of action scenes without any real action. Even with the nice chemistry between Brangelina, the script was equal parts ridiculous and pretentious; there's no there there.

Yeah, it wouldn't surprise me to be wrong on this. I am really, really stupid and ignorant about movies. My reactions rarely rise above derp cool and derp blech... And I see that the consensus of expert opinion on RottenTomatoes gives it 59%...

But I think the action is good, and I think that Brad Pitt is almost always good, and Jolie holds her own pretty well I'd say... In all honesty, I'd like to hear more about why it is lazy and dishonest--I have only the vaguest notion what might make a movie those things.

It'll probably be pretty hard to convince me that there's no real action... I'm pretty good at detecting action...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:54 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The major problem of TLAH is that Arnold is the star, but the kid is the real protagonist, and the child actor just doesn't have the chops to really pull it off. There are individual bits that are great--Slater talking about how his life just keeps getting grimmer and grimmer, because that's what action movies do, to up the dramatic ante; Dance's character discovering that he can easily get away with murder in the real NYC--but it drags in between those bits.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:27 AM on June 19, 2013


I really liked Alien 3 as a teen, and I'm not sure what that says about me. I still have a soft spot for it, even thought it definitely sucks as an Alien film and is not good generally. But it looks good and the cast is a lot of fun. Also, rod puppetry! Neat!
posted by brundlefly at 8:16 AM on June 19, 2013


Mr. & Mrs. Smith is fun because it finds its subtext and then attempts to murder it.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:25 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really liked Alien 3 as a teen, and I'm not sure what that says about me.

You really like brown.
posted by Artw at 8:28 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing about Alien 3 is that it's almost good, which combined with the fact that Sigourney Weaver is basically amazing at all times is enough for a particular set of people to be determined to think that it's some kind of bleak, brutally honest masterpiece.

Unfortunately, it's also a pretty stupid movie.
posted by brennen at 10:55 AM on June 19, 2013


"I'm shocked to find out that people are not into birthing/suicide endings" said no one after watching that movie.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:07 AM on June 19, 2013


I'd like that ending more if I wasn't still frothing at the movie for forgetting that liquid lead would still weigh an awful lot.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on June 19, 2013


Alien Ressurection similarly has a good ending if you ignore what went on just moments before.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on June 19, 2013


I need to go back and watch Resurrection because now that I think about it, that ending must have been Jeunet adding in his quirky humor that is present in all of his other movies. Like maybe I shouldn't have been so annoyed about it and just laughed at the obvious insertion of comedy.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:19 AM on June 19, 2013


Jeunet's original ending is better because it has them landing on Earth and the Eiffel Tower is visible, bent over and flaccid because oh did you know Jeunet is ridiculously in love with feminist imagery?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:32 AM on June 19, 2013


Woah, you weren't joking about the different ending.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:33 PM on June 19, 2013


Last Action Hero: okay, okay, finally adding it to the Netflix queue.
True Lies: deliberately ridiculous, but they were going for that, so what the hell.
Mr and Mrs. Smith: a surprisingly boring movie for a flick that features two hot people perpetually trying to kill and/or fuck each other.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:43 PM on June 19, 2013



"I'm shocked to find out that people are not into birthing/suicide endings" said no one after watching that movie.


Hey, leave Butterfly Effect alone!


I dunno, I found it an accessibly sharp deconstruction of the consumerista suburban lifestyle, with the final shootout almost necessarily taking place in a store.


Those supermarket shootouts almost work as video art. So much gorgeous destruction!
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:50 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rustic Etruscan: "When I was a kid, I had an awesome cup that McDonald's sold to promote this movie. A slide-on sleeve could be turned around and around to animate the pictures on the outside.

I haven't actually seen the movie, but the TV Tropes page makes me want to go find it.
"

I came here to post this very comment. I used that cup for YEARS.

I also had a Jurassic Park cup from McDonald's (also never seen it), and an oddly fancy set of glasses from Long John Silver's commemorating Columbus.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:50 AM on July 1, 2013


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