Friday, January 13, 2006

Better Late than Never

Although the class is over now, I thought I would comment on the two books and movies we were assigned before the class began. First of all, I completely agree with all of the comments regarding the books. King's book was extremely repeditive. There was a quote from lethal weapon that I think I read three times within the first 75 pages of the book. Both books were definitely hard to read. I tried to sit there and read them in one sit, but that was impossible. I had to do it in short sessions to keep my sanity. However, it was interesting that Guerrero was able to put a racial spin on every single movie. I would never had seen Gremlins as a social commentary on race, and I am pretty sure nobody else would either.

As far as the movies are concerned, I think that they were two great biracial cop films. The characters in the films were basically opposites. In Lethal Weapon, the black man (Murtaugh) was old and very professional and the white man was the rogue cop. In BHC, Axel was the young, energetic, not-so-by the book cop and Taggart and Billy were the professional, by the book cops. I do not believe that race really played into either of the movies though. Even though Axel goes on that rant at the hotel saying that they wont let niggers in, he is just doing that to scheme a room. Neither of the movies address the issue of race.

The Long Cliche Good Night

Watching The Long Kiss Good Night in class was a strange experience. It was strange because while watching the film, although I had never seen it, it felt as if I had seen it a million times before. The reason why was simple. The movie is crammed with every action/adventure cliché ever done before. This movie was definitely one of those over-the-top holiday time stuffed pointless action movies. The movie overall had several comical flaws. I have made a list of some of the mistakes and clichés parts of the movie.
The first subject I wanted to write about was the poor use of editing in the film. Editing is often the most overlooked issue in filmmaking. This movie had terrible editing. I was surprised to see that Brian Cox was in the movie. Cox is a great, elderly actor and has been in a lot of great roles. This role was not one of them. His part of Dr. Nathan Waldman was almost completely out of the plot structure of the movie. I was amazed by the limited use of his character in the film. First off, his character is placed in a terrible situation. Having thought his beloved hitwoman and mentee dead for eight years one day he gets a call out of the blue from her. Not knowing his phone is somehow tapped Dr. Waldman agrees to met Davis’ character at a train station. Then after he saves the two at the station Samuel L. bashes him in the head with a crowbar and they speed off leaving Cox for dead. This is the most amusing part of the film because somehow Cox walks all the way to a random farm and sneaks attacks Jackson. After a brief discussion about scribbled penises in Jackson’s notebook Cox realizes that Davis has fallen right into the trap of the evil henchmen. Then about fifty men with automatics come running around (from where?) and by the next scene you realize that Cox’s character is dead in a underground torture pit. The only real use of his character was to give the bad guys a way of tracing her. The greatest irony for him is that after training Charley to be such a great, fearless killer she does about everything wrong to get him killed.
Another subject I thought it would be fun to dive into was the use of villainy in the movie. The villains were so over-the-top that it was hilarious. Often their motives were unknown to the audience and about as off as their ability to aim while firing a weapon. The main villain issues with Davis remained unknown. What was it that drove the two apart those years before. Why would the villain have no interest in the possibility of having a daughter. The villains also were unbelievably hard to kill (unless you have a cherry pie). My favorite act of villainy was in the beginning of the movie when the man with one eye unexplicably arrives at Davis’ house somehow getting knowledge of her address and of course the routine escape from prison.
This movie did have one great thing working for it. The explosions were big and plentiful. Samuel L. Jackson was personally thrown through two two-story windows somehow surviving both. Also the little girl having matches to light a candle when she is kidnapped is a good lesson to toddlers out there. Carry fire on you and you can get yourself and mommy out of a locked freezer with a little demolition. The end of the movie was fitting as well. The only way the villain could have died would have been in a nuclear explosion. Also the fight on the ledge was a great unneeded part in the film.
The use of setting was the final good issue I wanted to discuss. Most of the time I had no idea of where the two were going or where they were currently at. In one part they are staying in a lavish hotel room. Pretty nice place for a hustler and a kindergarten teacher. My favorite use of misplaced setting was towards the end of the film. Samuel L. is bleeding all over the place laying in the snow possibly believed to be dead. Then suddenly he is inside a car in a big storage truck and is able to race out of the truck and magically knows exactly where to drive.
I realize I am being hard on this movie, but the clichés were amazing. Between the explosions, torture methods, undieable villains this movie was great. Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.


Geena Davis showed her acting abilities while playing the two roles of Charlie and Samantha in “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” However, her medical phenomenon was a bit unbelievable and borderline multiple personality. After a car accident, Samantha’s old personality of Charlie slowly came back to her in bits and talked to her through mirrors and dreams. I understand that it is ‘just a movie’ but come on. And it was a little unclear about the ending. I mean I understand everyone survived but is Geena Davis’s character Charlie with Samantha like qualities or vice versa? Another far fetched character is that of Mitch, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Mitch is a private investigator who sees a gun and wants to ditch Samantha. However, when the violence and crime starts picking up, he miraculously gets a personal attachment to Samantha and stays. I felt it was unbelievable that a non-cop would risk their life in such a way for another person of no personal connection.
It was interesting to see a woman not in the position of victim. Geena Davis succeeded in playing the heroine and savior. “The Long Kiss Goodnight” positively depicted both a black man and a white woman. I believe Guerrara would not have a problem with this movie because Mitch is shown as a compassionate and caring sidekick. Both characters are not at all stereotyped in a negative way. I enjoyed looking into the life of a government hired female assassin but did not think “The Long Kiss Goodnight” was at all realistic.

The Long Kiss Goodnight

I had never heard of or seen this movie before but I have to say I thought it was terrible. This could be because I don't like Gina Davis, and I am also a psychology major and the whole amnesia thing was very unrealistic. At the begining they said she had retrograde amnesia, which means she is able to form new memories, she just can't retreive old memories. In the event that old memories start to come back, it is always the most recent ones that come back last. When she is cutting carrots and thinks she used to be a chef isn't really accurate because that is one of the last memories that would have come back. The same is true with assembling the guns and other memories that come back. Obviously, the focus of the movie is not on the type of amnesia she had, or the details of it, but being a psych major I found it very hard to get past.
There were also some parts that I didn't understand. I dont understand the scene when she crashes the car into the deer and is thrown out the front windshield. What significance did that have, and how was she not killed? Then she was in the hospital, but I feel like it was never explained well what happened.
Obviously, the main problem I had with the movie was how unrealistic it was. The scene where the one eyed assasin escapes from jail and shoots up her home is a prime example. There is a whole in the wall and Gina Davis just picks up her daugher, throws her through this whole in the wall, and she just happens to land perfectly in the treehouse. I also feel like she should have died about twenty times, and shes basically dead at the end with her daughter, and she just gets up and walks away. Basically, this was not my favorite movie we have watched to say the least.