Home > Uncategorized > A REAL American Hero

A REAL American Hero

I just watched GI Joe yesterday, in the theaters, at the cost of euros 7.5. I’m not quite sure why I thought this was a good idea, other than that the movie was in Spanish, and I thought it would be a good way to get an earfull in a simple context where I knew what the jokes were going to be and what the plot was and all that.

Also, I was just tickled pink in Paris to see ads for this movie ALL OVER THE CITY. They look like this, except in French, so GI JOE: Un bon homme de les Etats Unis!

Hot Action Figure on Action Figure Action

Hot Action Figure on Action Figure Action

Is it just meet, or does it look like Evil has a much nicer ass than Good? I’m guessin Cobra throws much better company holiday parties than the Joes. The Joes are probably all busy doing chinups and eating plenty of fiber and reading the bible or monitoring global conflict hot points or something. Cobra’s probably snorting lines of blow of each other’s breasts while photocopying their asses and Destro’s calling the escort service on while Shadow Cat is prank-calling Bill Gates. I’m not saying I’m pro-Evil, I’m just saying that while GI Joe is who you want to call whenever there’s trouble. Cobra’s probably the one to call when you need…you know…a CONNECTION.

Also, this movie reinforces a longstanding rule I have: Dennis Quaid doesn’t make good movies. At least, not since Innerspace. Sometime around 1990 the switch flipped in his head and he stopped doing stuff like Great Balls of Fire and The Right Stuff and opted for movies like Undercover Blues and Dragonheart.

Sidenote: despite being a terrible movie (and having Dennis Quaid), Dragonheart also has the voice of Sean Connery as a FUCKING CGI Dragon! Which is pretty awesome. Awesome in a bad way, of course, but awesome nonetheless. That’s another movie I saw in the theater for some reason. Also, the bad guy in that movie is pretty much the same character as the effete son from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, the one who doesn’t want huge tracts of land and only wants to sing, which doesn’t make for a great counterweight to a Sean Connery-voiced dragon. Also…why are we still talking about this?

Sidenote to the Sidenote: A similar switch seemed to get thrown in Connery’s head around 1990, when he stopped making movies like Indiana Jones and Hunt for Red October, and decided to go with Medicine Man, Entrapment and Playing by Heart. Maybe him and Quaid switched to the same agent? Or perhaps there was an international conspiracy that year to take control of the minds of the world’s actors and force them to make crap. Hey, it’s more likely than the plot of GI Joe.

End sidenote.

End second interior sidenote.

So…where was I? GI Joe. Don’t go see it. It’s not even the best movie based on a toy. That would have to go to Clue. And I can’t even say its the best movie based on a television show that was a glorified commercial for action figures, that goes to He-Man, with Courtney Cox and Dolph Lundren. It may be the best example of Sienna Miller in tight pants for an extended period of time, if you like that sort of thing (sidenote, I do) and does an excellent job of putting her in glasses, if you like that sort of thing (sidenote, oh yes).

In fact, they could have saved millions of dollars on Dennis Quaid and special effects if they’d just made a movie called “Here’s Sienna Miller wearing glasses and walking around in a tight leather outfit, and occasionally two ninjas will fight each other” because, really, who doesn’t love Snake Eyes and Shadow Cat fighting each other?

They’ll undoubtedly make a sequel. My only hope is that they’ll just do a live action version of the 80s cartoon miniseries The Revenge of Cobra, the one where Destro invented that weather control machine that got blasted into pieces, and then at some point GI Joe and Cobra ended up playing an ice hockey game to see who would recover the last piece. Yeah, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either. I was six at the time, I thought it was the height of dramatic writing.

Don’t see GI Joe, even for the sake of a Spanish lesson. Or, wait until someone posts just the Sienna Miller scenes on Youtube.

  1. August 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Hmmm… I wonder what that would look like? (all of the Sienna Miller scenes cut together) She was definitely the highlight of the movie for me. Although Scarlett wasn’t too shabby either.

    I’d disagree with the “Don’t see GI Joe” part. I held my expectations in check before I got in there, and I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t walk out of there wishing that I could get the last 2 hours of my life back… ala Transformers 2

    • nycwastrel
      August 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm

      Fair enough, Stephen. Didn’t see T2 myself, although I’d hoped to catch it in Greek, since like Sienna Miller I think Meghan Fox translates in any language. Scarlet left me a little flat though, I have to say. Granted, I was watching a performance voiced by Spanish voice-over actors, so I’m probably not giving the fairest criticism. Wasn’t happy with Duke either, who seemed to look dumb and forlorn the whole movie. I was actually pleased with the performance of a Wayans brother though, which is…unsettling. Also, I missed Gordon Levitt’s vocal stylings as Cobra Commander. I’m curious to what extent he tried to copy the original performance of the guy from the series.

      Still, stuff blowing up and tight pants. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

  2. Jason
    August 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I think it’s worth mentioning that Dennis Quaid plays an aging starting quarterback veteran in the Oliver Stone film “Any Given Sunday”

  3. nycwastrel
    August 11, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I know, and as much as it pains me to admit, I haven’t seen it, so I didn’t want to weigh in on it. There’s always going to be an exception to this rule.

  4. J
    August 13, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Hmm. I don’t know if I’ll see “Joe” or not, but probably not. Is it just me, or do they not even know how to do crappy action movies these days? Blame it on CGI, blame it on ever more explosions, or blame it on recency and selection bias and the fact that I’ve simply blocked out and don’t remember the equivalently crappy action movies of yesteryear… Actually, thinking back on it, I think I have… I have vague memories of watching movies in the late 80s/early 90s on vacation or extended school trips, on HBO in hotels… I think I would’ve noticed they were horrible movies if we weren’t all studiously looking for BOOBS in the horrible movies. Though the tradition of having the biggest of big budget action movies also be almost synonymous with godawfulness seems to be a recent innovation… Hudson Hawk and Waterworld stood out at the time because the association hadn’t yet ossified, it was more of a casual relationship where bad movies hadn’t gotten as choosy about their genre.

    I’m wandering (and wondering aloud) here, but it just seems to me that action movies have lost the idea that they should be fun and should contain some kind of relatable character involved in something like a plot. The stock plots of “They took his family away from him; it’s time for them to pay” look preferable to arcane labrynthine unintelligible BS like the Avengers, Batman and Robin, etcs. of the world. (And at least James Bond did — and more recently, does again somewhat — make unintelligible plots look stylish and fun, freeing up Stallone, Willis, and Governator to kill people with more straightfoward plans… Total Recall excepted, I suppose.)

    Ok, I’m basically waving my cane at the kids on my grass right now, but I am *sure* of one thing: both crappy comedies and crappy action movies of recent years have gotten away from the core of crappy movies of my childhood: gratuitous exposure of boobs during at least 2 points of the movie. Not that this is a “good thing” in the grand scheme of life and feminism and all that, but at least you knew what kind of movie you were dealing with, and it had some kind of redeeming value that extended beyond movie cheesecake blueballs.


  5. nycwastrel
    August 14, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Damnit, we absolutely need more boobs in action movies. Having now seen a good portion of the surviving art from the Middle East to Europe from the last 10,000 years, I can unequivocally say this: naked women were the first artistic subject humanity had. As soon as we figured out how to shape limestone, we were shaping it to look like boobs. Sure, maybe the Venus of Willendorf (seen her) is a fertility goddess of some kind and maybe the Minoan Snake Figure (seen her too) has her breasts exposed as some sort of priestess ritual or maybe, just maybe, our juvenile fascination with titties was as powerful in the neolithic as it is now. We should own up to that, accept that we’re never going to change, and all hail, hail to breasts.

    As for action movies. I think at least part of it is bad writing and bad direction. Bad writing: a focus on the new technological gadget that’s going to asist the hero than in the hero themself. GI Joe had a whole setpiece built around some super-duper action suit that would allow Duke and Ripcord to chase a car on foot. Woo hoo. Don’t care about technojargon and how your reaction time is jacked up or your musculo-skeletal response is-*snore*.

    Don’t care about your new gun that can let you deliver 200 rounds in half a second from half a mile away. Exposition like this needs one line of dialogue at most, but we’ve gotten almost pornographic in our fascination with new doo-dads (coming soon…iPhone! The Movie! Two hours of all new apps!)

    And bad directionl. Much as I like the first Batman, Chris Nolan’s solution to shooting a tricking action sequence was to shake the camera. Oooh, shaky camera. I guess exciting things must be happening. I can’t tell you what they are, because the camera is shaking. But I’m sure if I could see what was going on, it would be exciting. Do you have any idea what happened to anyone in the last act of Transformers? Neither to I. This is probably one of the most difficult aspects of moviemaking: telling a story visually in which a lot of stuff is happening quickly and letting the audience know exactly where characters are in relationship to each other. You have to do it quickly and entertainingly. John McTiernan, Spielburg, these guys were great at that stuff.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of AWESOME action movies still being made. I thought the action in Star Trek was great, as was Iron Man. Although that and Dark Knight are the only two I can think of from the past two years. Anyone else? Best action sequences from the last few years?

  6. J
    August 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    It’s some years back now, but (most of) the light-saber duel between Anakin and Kenobi was pretty much the redeeming value of that movie. And knowing the geography/terrain was explicitly a part of the strategy of the battle (though it did get a big silly when they *jumped down to within a few feet of the lava*).

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