Day 43. 42 pages, 20,308 words.
Saturday was entertainingly spent in the company of dreameling, Mr. Fahrenheit, The Pas, Wendy and Annika, and we got through five movies of dubious quality. Let’s look at them now.
Note: I will not be adding spoilertext here, because in most cases these movies are ancient and you should have seen them by now. Or, in at least one case, it’s a reasonably new movie and I don’t give a short sharp shit whether it’s spoiled for you or not. Also, I was outraged – outraged! – to learn how few of my so-called peers had seen Blazing Saddles. That shit needs to be rectified toot sweet.
Hobo With A Shotgun
Apparently part of the Machete set of fake trailers that became full-length movies on the weight of how goddamn brilliant the idea was, this ultra-violent think-piece combined Mad Max and Gran Torino in a visually stunning tapestry of the struggle between civic duty and familial loyalty set against the backdrop of a world gone mad.
 There’s a whole sideline I could go into here about sequels, reboots and other unoriginal crap that Hollywood comes up with, when stunningly original ideas like this can just be randomly assembled out of a collection of words and concepts. There is an infinity of new stories out there, or there are none. It depends on your philosophical viewpoint. Anyway, I won’t go into the sideline. Let’s just take it as read.
There’s also a healthy dose of Blade Runner in there thanks to Rutger Hauer’s presence, but I’m aware that I’ve already started talking about this movie as a combination of existing movies while at the same time praising its originality in a world of reboots, so let’s leave it at that. A mass of contradictions and also a lawnmower for some reason. That’s what it was.
This was a classic, and hilarious even though I was only at the 1.5 drink mark by this stage. The gore was overblown and silly, the bad guys were basically the Trump family without the ameliorating effect of Ivanka, and about 2/3 of the way through we find out that the arcade game “The Plague” is actually based on a real thing and it appears to be a pair of quasi-immortal demonic entities who have a tentacle monster in their dungeon and I don’t even know what else, but that seemed like the movie they really should have been making here. Like From Dusk Till Dawn, except they didn’t veer off from the criminals fleeing to Mexico storyline and just stuck with it to the bitter end.
Not much can be said about this old classic, although watching it on a big screen at 4K Ultra High Definition added a whole new layer of entertainment. And I’m not just talking about the background sweaters, although there were lots of them.
Little things like product placement (there was a lot of Coke and Diet Coke, but also things like Tab and Stay-Puft marshmallows, the latter of which might not necessarily count as product placement but was certainly a foreshadowing or at the very least a clever insertion of precedent), and weird and hilarious extras doing things in the background that I’d never noticed before.
The movie was fun, overall, as ever. In terms of strong female protagonists it was still a step down from Hobo With A Shotgun, since Dana Barret was a pretty pathetic character considering she’s Ellen Ripley’s great-great grandmother (work in progress).
The themes of “let’s clean up this town” and the creepy use of “burn baby burn (disco inferno)”, I seem to recall, followed through this movie from the last. Also there was a solid link-up between Ghostbusters and Die Hard, where not only do we have Dickless (who presumably lost his job at the EPA, changed his name from Peck to Thornburg and became a reporter, but remained Dickless), but also Al (who worked in the city jail and helped process the Ghostbusters just before the Battle of Stay-Puft, then moved to Los Angeles and became a beat cop and saw some shit at Nakatomi Plaza but remained unfazed because he was a New Yorker at heart and “saw some shit” doesn’t begin to cover it).
What can I say about this one, that can’t be summed up by a series of quotes from the script itself? This movie has not aged well, and I’m surprised at the forgiving nature of the Rotten Tomatoes reviews. I guess campiness can excuse a lot of sins. And yes, it was funny … but also cringey.
And The Pas was actually waiting for Flash Gordon to turn into The Flash, and got really cross when I finally told him it wasn’t going to happen. He wasn’t a metahuman, he was a quarterback. In the immortal words of the song, he’s just a man, with a man’s courage … nothing but a man, who can never fail. Nothing more, and nothing less.
Zogi (High Priest): Do you, Ming the Merciless, Ruler of the Universe, take this Earthling Dale Arden, to be your Empress of the Hour?
Ming: Of the hour, yes.
Zogi: Do you promise to use her as you will?
Zogi: Not to blast her into space?
Zogi: Uh, until such time as you grow weary of her.
Ming: I do.
As dreameling, Mr. Fahrenheit and I are already married, we’ve decided that The Pas will have to tie the knot and use these vows when he does.
Zarkov: We are only interested in friendship. Why do you attack us?
Ming: Why not? Pathetic Earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would’ve hidden from it in terror.
“Be quiet or they’ll hear you.”
Yes, I may or may not have been influenced by this as a youngster.
Ming: Remove the Earth woman. Prepare her for our pleasure.
Flash: Forget it, Ming. Dale’s with me.
It’s a little thing called chivalry, ladies. Look it up sometime. Or, you know, get your husband to look it up for you and explain it. Wouldn’t want you straining those pretty eyes.
Ming: Klytus! What is he doing?
*Flash is soundly confusing and beating the entire throne room security team by football-passing an alien egg-jewel-thing around like a football, and tackling people*
Klytus: I don’t know, sir! It looks like some kind of barbaric sport! You fools! *makes the guards gather around him like a coach at half-time* Match him, like this.
Flash: Forty one! Forty two!
All: Go, Flash, go!
Yes, this actually happened. And by “this actually happened”, I should add in the important context “this actually happened in the presence of body-freezing technology that allowed Ming to take a sword away from an enemy when the swing was just inches from his throat, and casually stab him the fuck to death with it.” Also, he was the only football player there and I’m pretty sure those numbers he was yelling out were some sort of code for other football players on his team, isn’t that how American football works? So what the Hell, Flash.
Klytus (I think it was): Bring in the Emperor’s concubine.
*Dale is brought into the dungeon to see Flash hanging up by the hands, with a spiky box on his head*
Dale: Oh my God!
Flash: I said I want to see her!
*box tech-magically vanishes – just to reiterate, this is a civilisation in which this can happen*
Klytus: You have until the sands run out.
*Klytus puts an hourglass on the table, with sand that runs backwards from the bottom bulb into the top, as if to remind us yet again that this is a civilisation that can be beaten by a quarterback*
Flash: You look great. No kidding, you look great.
Dale: It’s the eye make-up. I hope I remember the trick when I wake up.
Because this is the conversation you have when you’ve been taken prisoner by aliens and dressed up to become a concubine against your will. Partial credit to Dale because she thinks this is a dream, but Flash is pretty sure it’s really happening and this is the line he chose to lead with.
EARTHLING EXECUTED BY MING
When I die, I want some version of this on my tombstone.
Dale: Where are you?
Flash: In a rocket to Arboria, to get help. Are you okay?
Dale: I’m locked in Ming’s bedroom.
Flash: Fake him out. Girls know how.
Just wow. By this stage I had finished my cider cans and was into my second half-litre stein of Midori illusion (Midori, Cointreau, Bols Blue, Rum, Vodka, and a hint of pineapple juice and sprite, it’s actually meant to be drunk as a shot but I was drinking steins because I didn’t have a shot glass and I know, that is a hideous excuse and I deserve everything I got and more), and beginning to severely regret my decision. Even so, this dungeon exchange seemed on the nose to me.
Mr. Fahrenheit left us at this stage, pleading a family engagement. Weak.
Fifty Shades of Grey
“That movie gave me more cancer.”
– Me, when the credits finally mercifully rolled on that shit.
In case anyone was under the impression that Flash Gordon was the deepest part of the trough we plunged into on Saturday, I give you Fifty Shades of Grey.
This was easily the most appalling and dreary little movie I have seen in a long time, and instantly hits my bottom five with a bullet. In fact I don’t even know if I had a bottom five until now, but now it’s Eragon, Slipstream and this piece of reeking cinematic garbage.
The best thing about it was the heckling we did basically throughout the entire thing, but seriously, what the fuck was this?
The dialogue was a joke, the acting was God-awful, the characters had no chemistry and the plot was nonexistent. I was solidly, nay rascally drunk by this stage and I do at one point remember yelling out I’m trying to be an author, get the fuck out of my artform at the screen and the so-called book that this travesty was based on, but mostly there was just nothing. Just an awful bleakness that comes from the knowledge that this movie made hundreds of millions of dollars, the author was encouraged to write two more sequels and they’re getting movies, and basically why am I even trying to create quality stories for a species that straight-up does not deserve my efforts.
Calling Emperor Ming, please send down a large serving of hot hail at your earliest convenience, thank you.
It’s better than we deserve.
Jesus fucking Christ. Every time the woman went “oh my fucking God what a giant toolbag this guy is, I’m out of here,” I pleadingly asked if we could roll credits and end the movie. But it never ended.
dreameling and I did our best to push the “origin story / prequel to The Fall” angle that winds up with Grey’s character being a straight-up vile serial killer as he so obviously is working on becoming in this movie, but it was a feeble and unhappy effort.
At around this point, The Pas got tired of life and decided to climb up onto the roof of the building and drink beer. We took a break after the movie to say goodbye to the ladies, and for dreameling to join The Pas on the roof for … fun, I guess? I was unable to haul myself up there, so suffered a brief school-physical-education-class bout of embarrassment, lessened by the fact that a) I had a litre and a half of Midori illusion in me by this stage and b) neither The Pas nor dreameling shit into a bag taped to their stomachs, so fuck them and their ability to lift themselves up a wall. Then we went back inside for the last movie of the night.
I thought I’d reviewed this before, but apparently not. Ah well, this is a classic and – as I concluded the first time I watched it – really holds up rather well although obviously the effects and general acting doesn’t meet modern standards.
I also kept expecting Leslie Nielsen to do something funny, and he never did. Oh well.
As a movie-length episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, this movie was brilliant and laid a lot of the groundwork for feature-film science fiction. Its lessons, about humanity and advanced aliens and our general inability to handle powerful tools and have nice things, are as true today as they were in the 1950s. If anything, we were more humble in the ’50s than we were once the great sci-fi era kicked off. As dreameling astutely suggested, the space race probably had a lot to do with that.
Still, a fun movie and a handy reminder that even ancient highly-advanced alien civilisations sometimes forgot to build an id-filter into their machinery. Certainly something that the scientists of Horatio Bunzo’s Funtime Happy World should have remembered.
After Forbidden Planet we headed into town, The Pas and I bade dreameling farewell, and went to a pub. By this stage I had almost finished my Midori illusions and was full of potato chips and candy and Midori illusions and was severely regretting my life choices, particularly the Midori illusions, so I let The Pas buy me a coke and we sat for a while and chatted with The Pas’s friends.
I was sort of semi-coherently trying to catch up with Vuta, who had just gotten a promotion at work and was celebrating in Helsinki. Mr. BRKN found out about it and said he would join us, so he arrived at the bar and had a pint and also chatted with The Pas’s friends. Actually only one of them was The Pas’s friend as far as I am aware, the rest were friends of that guy. But anyway, they were fine. By then I was just concentrating on keeping my day inside my stomach.
Oh, and Vuta failed to reply to his messages or answer his phone, so we never caught up with him and he ended up getting a taxi home. Which was expensive because he took the taxi through the MacDonald’s drive-thru. Then fell asleep at his kitchen table before eating more than one of the presumably multiple double quarter pounders with cheese he bought. But this isn’t about Vuta.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. BRKN for the lift home, as we took a bus into Oulunkylä at about 01:30am and then he drove me back to Sotunki at considerable risk to the upholstery in his new car. Thank you, sir. I’m sure we could also have gone through the MacDonald’s drive-thru on the way, if I’d had even a cubic millimetre of space left in my stomach. I only mention it because Vuta took a taxi and that was almost as retarded as Fifty Shades of Grey.
Okay, I exaggerate. And apologise.
I got home, fell into bed, and tragically failed to lose my memory of Fifty Shades of Grey.