Dir: Stuart Gillard Star: Phoebe Cates, Willie Aames
This takes almost all the best elements from The Blue Lagoon and Walkabout…and chucks them out of the window. Fortunately, the one that remains is Cates, following the footsteps of Brooke and Jenny into the “guilty pleasure” hall of fame. She teams up with Willie Aames, the straitlaced son of a preacher, as they wander across a desert conveniently supplied with a surprising number of oases, pursued by a feelthy Arab called The Jackal in lacklustre fashion (he seems to forget about them for months on end) who carries a British flag around with him for no readily apparent reason. It’s supposedly set in the 1820’s, but possesses absolutely no period atmosphere at all: going by the frequency with which Cates de-kits, it’s more like the late 1960’s.
Due to this, we’ll cut her some slack, and say she copes well with a role which would tax no-one’s acting ability. Aames, on the other hand is expected to be heroic, fighting off the Jackal, rescuing his pubescent squeeze and taking care of business. He is utterly unconvincing at any of this, admittedly hampered by direction so limp, you feel nothing at all when his parents are slaughtered (“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord”, shouts his father – immediately before being kebabed. Oops). Since he also wrote the script, Gillard must also take blame for utterly laughable anachronisms. For example, there’s the totally fabulous house the pair knock up, complete with a verandah and all other mod cons. And if it really is “paradise”, why is no-one else living there – the Jackal and his gang know about it, since they visit repeatedly. There are also the long periods when nothing happens, save for the supposedly comedic antics of a pair of monkeys.
These are particularly irritating, since they’re a waste of perfectly good naked Phoebe time. The lack of head shots and some other strange quirks suggest that a body double was used for some of these. But that’s odd as it’s only some – other sequences are very obviously 100% for real, most notably a shower scene under a conveniently-warm waterfall that is both far too long, and not long enough, if you see what I mean. The scene appears on the sleeve of one British edition, with a little bra and panties painted onto her, which is kinda sweet. [I also don’t recall there being quite so much skin in that version…oh, dear, looks like I’ve just found an excuse to watch the film once more.] Moments like this are what provide the film with a reason for existing, crucial since we are left with no reason to care about the characters in the slightest.
So, where are the perpetrators of this waste of celluloid to be found now? Phoebe, as you should know, had a fine career, and made some 20-odd movies before retiring to becomes Mrs. Kevin Kline. Sadly, she was never again quite as revealing as here, save for one glorious moment in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The director went on to do Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III – presumably, the one in which the turtles throw off their shells and frolic in the surf – while Willie Aames…
Ah, yes, Willie Aames. I was going to say that he vanished into obscurity, reaching the dizzy heights of voicing one of the characters in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon show. But the story doesn’t end there. After a John Belushi-style binge, he found God, and he can now be seen playing Christian superhero Bibleman in a range of videos (click on the picture on the right for a beautifully straight-faced news story about him), as well as touring the States in a bizarre-sounding live shows designed to brainwash kids into accepting Christ as their Lord and Saviour. There’s something oddly satisfying about the way he has gone from playing the son of a preacher in a weird movie, to being a weird preacher himself.
* It’s dead simple: name the following films. * No prizes, just glory, and immortality on the TC Site. * Entries by 2359 GMT, December 31st, 1999. * Answers to… Well, it doesn’t matter any more, does it? * Anyone suspected of using reference aids will be excommunicated. * The clue is partly in the question, partly in my film tastes i.e. no drippy chick flicks. Well, only a token one. 😉
1. We just cut up our girlfriend with a chainsaw. Does that sound “fine”? 2. My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are… 3. Greetings, my friends. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember, my friends, future events such as these will affect you in the future. 4. Kill him! A lot! 5. Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about your mother. 6. Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value. 7. Boys, you got to learn not to talk to nuns that way. 8. Nuns. No sense of humour. 9. Ehm, look. Sorry, sorry. I just, ehm, well, this is a very stupid question and…, particularly in view of our recent shopping excursion, but I just wondered, by any chance, ehm, eh, I mean obviously not because I guess I’ve only slept with 9 people, but-but I-I just wondered… ehh. I really feel, ehh, in short, to recap it slightly in a clearer version, eh, the words of David Cassidy in fact, eh, while he was still with the Partridge family, eh, “I think I love you,” and eh, I-I just wondered by any chance you wouldn’t like to… Eh… Eh… No, no, no of course not… I’m an idiot, he’s not… Excellent, excellent, fantastic, eh, I was gonna say lovely to see you, sorry to disturb… Better get on… 10. Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes? 11. I’m too old for this shit! 12. How sexy am I now, huh? Flirty boy! How sexy am I now? 13. Never take your eyes off your opponent — even when you bow. 14. Come quietly or there will be… trouble.
And finally, half a dozen imaginative uses of a certain word…
15. “Foul-mouthed”? Fuck you! 16. In two hundred years we’ve gone from “I regret but I have one life to give for my country” to “Fuck you!”? 17. Fuck like minks, raise rugrats, live happily ever after. 18. Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon! 19. To know death, Otto, you must first fuck life in the gall bladder! 20. Fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Theresa to you?
Answers can now be found on the far side of this picture, which happens to be from one of the movies…
Christmas is dead, the New Year has arrived, and all that’s left of the festive season are a couple of freezer packs marked “T/key”, and a few stragglers still rying to get home from the millennium celebrations. Which means it must be time for the answers to the Xmas Xuote Xuiz…
1. We just cut up our girlfriend with a chainsaw. Does that sound “fine”? Evil Dead 2. Though disturbing how many people put South Park…
2. My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there ARE… Perhaps the best action pic of all time, Aliens.
3. Greetings, my friends. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember, my friends, future events such as these will affect you in the future. Plan 9 from Outer Space, the movie which also gave us classic lines like “He’s dead. Murdered. And someone’s responsible!”, as well as Bela Lugosi being body-doubled by the director’s chiropractor.
4. Kill him! A lot! Back before it was a very popular TV show, there was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, with Kirsty Swanson (who she?) as the chosen one. The above line was delivered by Pee Wee Hermann. The film bombed.
5. Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about your mother. As everyone got, this was Blade Runner, though I’m tempted to dock half a point from the smarty-pants who put ‘Harrison Ford’, because it wasn’t.
6. Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value. One of the many great lines from Clueless (I was going to put the one which described the menstrual cycle as “surfing the crimson wave”…). The movie is based on Jane Austen’s Emma, not that you’d know it…
7. Boys, you got to learn not to talk to nuns that way. Another one hundred percenter here, The Blues Brothers. Obviously, an icon of popular culture…
8. Nuns. No sense of humour. I’m pleasantly surprised no-one suggested The Sound of Music. It was the best film ever, starring a Frenchman pretending to be Scottish and a Scot pretending to be Spanish/Egyptian: Highlander.
9. Ehm, look. Sorry, sorry. I just, ehm, well, this is a very stupid question and…, particularly in view of our recent shopping excursion, but I just wondered, by any chance, ehm, eh, I mean obviously not because I guess I’ve only slept with 9 people, but-but I-I just wondered… ehh. I really feel, ehh, in short, to recap it slightly in a clearer version, eh, the words of David Cassidy in fact, eh, while he was still with the Partridge family, eh, “I think I love you,” and eh, I-I just wondered by any chance you wouldn’t like to… Eh… Eh… No, no, no of course not… I’m an idiot, he’s not… Excellent, excellent, fantastic, eh, I was gonna say lovely to see you, sorry to disturb… Better get on… As one entrant would have it, Four Drippy Weddings and a Drippy Funeral. Pardon me while I ring the dampness out of my keyboard.
10. Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes? Der-de-duh-deh! It can only be, Raiders of the Lost Ark. And it is.
11. I’m too old for this shit! Interesting one: nominally, and frequently, in Lethal Weapon, but extra credit for those who came up with alternatives like The Rock.
12. How sexy am I now, huh? Flirty boy! How sexy am I now? Mallory’s approach to suitors (non-verbal violence also included), from the infamous (and still unavailable on video in the UK), Natural Born Killers.
13. Never take your eyes off your opponent — even when you bow. Ah, another pop culture icon (no, not The Karate Kid), with a funky 70’s score — Enter the Dragon.
14. Come quietly or there will be… trouble. Though Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Basic Instinct were both imaginative and interesting choices, they were also wildly inaccurate. Try RoboCop.
15. “Foul-mouthed”? Fuck you! Beverly Hills Cop. Whatever happened to Eddie Murphy?
16. In two hundred years we’ve gone from “I regret but I have one life to give for my country” to “Fuck you!”? The first of two from Dennis Hopper, the thinking man’s Scary Spice: Speed.
17. Fuck like minks, raise rugrats, live happily ever after. …not with Sharon Stone, you won’t. Michael Douglas gets overly optimistic in Basic Instinct.
18. Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon! It’s Dennis the Menace once more: Blue Velvet.
19. To know death, Otto, you must first fuck life in the gall bladder! Perhaps the most obscure of the films in the list, but far too good a line to waste: Flesh for Frankenstein. The original line had “death” and “life” the other way round — Udo Kier said it wrong, but the director preferred the fluffed version.
20. Fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Theresa to you? The berserk and totally wonderful world of Heathers.
And now, the winners… Leading the pack was Chris Fata — though being my girlfriend might lead some to suggest favouritism is at work, she simply has a better knowledge of my video tastes than most! Plus, I’ve probably quoted most of the above lines to her at some point… Second was Nic Barbano, who got the first one wrong (but only just — his answer was The Evil Dead) then stormed back to an almost-perfect score. Mind you, as a journalist and author of the highly-acclaimed Danish book, The World’s 25 Hottest Porn Stars, he is a professional in this field. The rest were, understandably, a little way back, but here are the top five:
Chris Fata 20 Nicolas Barbano 19 Glenn Pringle 8 Keith Tweed 7.5 Phil Brown 7
Well done to all of them, better luck next time to everyone else…
That British culture is not really compatible with the great outdoors, is the inevitable result of a number of factors. For example, to get pavement cafes to work, you need…well, pavements. Unfortunately, most British pavements are somewhat unsuitable for sitting on, being about 18 inches wide, and thus not ideal locations for leisurely taking in the scenery. As Soho demonstrates, you inevitably spend the time being cursed by passing pedestrians who have to walk into the road to get round you, while you sip an exhaust-fume contaminated cappuccino.
So it is with the drive-in cinema, which singularly has never been a crucial element of growing-up in Britain, in the same way it was in America. The reason here is quite simple: weather. We have it, while the parts of America in which the drive-in flourished has climate. “We have two seasons”, says American ambassador Chris, “summer and waiting-for-summer” and there’s no denying that given this, open-air cinema has more inherent appeal than trying to peer through a steady drizzle towards a fog-bound screen.
However, Friday night demonstrated that, given the opportunity, there is no specific reason why it shouldn’t work, in the right circumstances, as a crowd estimated at 10,000 people thronged Battersea Park for The Fifth Element, part of the 1998 Stella Screen Tour. Two reasons for this popular appeal should be mentioned: a) it was a lovely evening for it, and b) it was free. The former have been notably in short supply this summer, and offering the latter was thus always likely to be a success.
I got there just after nine; housemates had arrived earlier, and established a bridge-head at the, er, walk-in cinema, spreading out a rug and marking territory. For the next hour, we were subjected to an annoying asshole DJ from Kiss FM, playing crap music and trying to whip up the crowd into an entirely unlikely state of frenzy. Sensibly 99% of the audience weren’t having anything to do with it, and the main result of his actions was to make the DJ character in The Fifth Element eventually appear to be a sympathetic and restrained individual. He was, admittedly, not the only asshole there. In no specific order:
assholes with laser pointers
assholes who decided to bring their bikes with them. Through the crowd.
assholes with inflatable sofas
The DJs other purpose appeared to be to remind us that the event had been brought to us by STELLA ARTOIS, and that STELLA ARTOIS were also selling us cans of STELLA ARTOIS for the very reasonable price of £1.50 per can of STELLA ARTOIS — available at the back, near the giant inflatable STELLA ARTOIS can. Now, I actually *like* Stel…the beer, but even I found this wearing, and neither am I stupid enough to pay 50% more than the price in my local off-licence. Fortunately, I’d been down the pub beforehand, and so was quite well enough lubricated, thank you.
Before the film we were even treated to the new St*ll* *rt**s TV advert. Er, except someone had forgotten to rewind it after the previous night’s screening, so we got the reverse version, before someone realised what was going on and pulled the plug, to much laughter from the viewing public. [They played it again after the film, but said public were too busy trying to make their way home to pay attention]
The movie started. Great picture, shit sound — it all appeared to be coming out of one speaker. However, it’s surprising what you can get used to, and after twenty or so minutes, you didn’t notice any more, and just kicked back in the ambience. Which was, it has to be said, remarkable to be part of possibly the biggest cinema audience ever in Britain, under a sky shading from pink to deep, dark blue. Concorde flew overhead, its bass roar adding to the low rumbling of the PA system. The odd star twinkled through the fluffy cloud cover overhead, lending the film a depth and sense of scale which was largely missing when seen indoors.
Bruce Willis was cool, Milla Jovovich was WAY cool, even Gary Oldman (in perhaps the silliest haircut of a career which has seen some stonkers) was cool. Just as food always tastes twice as good when eaten al fresco, I think films perhaps seem better when seen in the open air. This is especially true when they are grand cinematic follies like The Fifth Element, where the self-indulgences have room to breathe. As I write this, they are showing Jurassic Park, which would, I think, probably be similarly impressive.
The two hours flew by — or perhaps I was just distracted by trying to find a comfy position on the very hard turf. Ten thousand people stood up, stretched their legs as one, and tried to find taxis home. It was a grand experience, though it’s maybe not something I’d want to do all the time, because of the unreliable British weather. Still, maybe they could just work the program round it — but then, who’d really care to see Waterworld every Friday night?