Monday, April 5, 2010

Sean Connery Movie Sunday: Outland

This has been an interesting weekend for movie-watching. First, there was the delightful awesome that is Sherlock Holmes, and then the horribly deranged wtf that is Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and tonight I finally watched District 9 and am still kind of on the fence as to how I feel about it.

First, Bad Lieutenant, directed by Werner Herzog of all people. I say of all people because cinematically, the man is a genius, so I can only assume he was actually taking all the drugs Nicholas Cage's character takes in the movie, because that is the closest I can get to figuring out what the balls is going on. It centers on (presumably) a cop played by Nic Cage with chronic back pain from rescuing a dude after Hurricane Katrina. He takes vicodin for the pain and quickly escalates to snorting whatever will go up his nose. Xzibit is in the movie too, playing a gangster who unfortunately does not try to put an Xbox in anything, and also Val Kilmer, taking a break from making one of the fifty-odd direct to DVD films he puts out a year (except he's only in the beginning and end of the movie, he vanished for no real reason for all of the middle, possibly to make a direct-to-DVD movie in the meantime). So, basically the first hour and change is Cage wandering around in a drug induced haze while nothing happens, and nothing happens, and nothing happens, and then they shake things up and...nothing freaking happens!!

And then this crazy shit occurs (the only context: he is as high as a kite):




I can't even score this movie, I don't have the amount of mind-altering drugs necessary to do so.

District 9 was much more straightforward, like Avatar almost, except not as silly and with an Apartheid metaphor tossed in for good measure. CG-wise it's very well done, the aliens look real and expressive and actually emote, which is cool but honestly kind of creepy. What I really liked was the documentary style that the movie starts out with, chronicling how the aliens showed up in 1982, the home-video-esque footage and interviews and all that. It's very cool but they abandon it pretty quickly, I suppose for practicality's sake because the plot requires doing stuff where there really couldn't be a camera crew following our hero around. Anyway, half way through it becomes all action sequences and dudes getting vaporized and it's all very gritty and at times a bit hard to watch but really pretty good. And then it ends. It just ends. There's really no resolution and maybe that was the point but it still bugged me. Still, much less ridiculous than Avatar by a long shot and on the whole an excellent movie. Three and a half catapults out of five.

Ok, now it's Connery time! (It's like morphin time...only not)

Fun Fact: My brother and I were browsing through Blockbuster some time ago when we found this movie and made the decision to rent it based solely on the tagline

Outland tells the story of O'Neil, the last good pseudo-future-cop-thing on the corrupt mining colony on Io. Basically, it's High Noon in space. A year or so ago I would have been like you and just gone "huh?" (unless you're a Western fan, in which case, shut up), but we had to watch High Noon for my literature and film class, because it's based off a much better short story called "Tin Star." Basically, High Noon is about how the sheriff of this town is the only man willing to stand up to these lawless baddies and the whole town shuns him like weenies because they're afraid and...nothingnothingnothingnothingSHOOTOUT! The end.

Differences between Outland and High Noon:

Outland is set in space!

Sean Connery is more fun to watch brood for an hour (in space!)

Miners get "moon madness" and kill themselves in hilarious, The Happening-esque ways (in space!)

There's an embittered and ornery old doctor lady named Lazarus played by Frances Sternhagen who says things like "I'm unpleasant, I'm not stupid! Of course I'm sure- I can count!" (in space!)

Peter Boyle is the bad guy, yeah, Ray's dad from Everybody Loves Raymond (in space! ...Wait, that doesn't work)

The crux of the movie is that miners are taking this drug that's supposed to make them more productive but it comes with side-effects such as the urge to do incredibly stupid things such as taking your helmet off in space or trying to fight Sean Connery. O'Neil attempts to get to the bottom of things only to realize that the problem's at the top. Peter Boyle's character, Sheppard, has set himself up as lord of the moon and controls all the corruption. Everyone is too scared to stand up to him so it's up to O'Neil to do it himself and go (space)medieval on Sheppard and his men:

Also, I'm pretty sure High Noon didn't have one of these

It's a silly movie, straight up, but it's lots of fun to watch and hilariously "1980's version of what the future is so totally going to look like." It's just about right before Connery became firmly settled into the "grizzled old bastard" stage of his career and it wasn't yet a logical stretch to see him kick the shit out of bad guys. It's completely ridiculous, rife with all sorts of logical inaccuracies but the acting is pretty good, in a hammy sort of way, and (though I can practically feel legitimate film buffs bristling as I type this) I'd rather watch Outland than High Noon. Three catapults out of five for "moon madness" (in space! ...well duh).

See you tomorrow for Music Monday, and also I'll find out if I made the top ten video list in the Progressive commercial contest (unlikely, but I can dream). Night!

(At a tense moment) Marshal William T. O'Neil: Oh, fuck it!
[clobbers Sheppard in the face]

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