27 December 2010

26 Dec - "You call that a knife?"

Crocodile Dundee (1986)
dir. Peter Faiman

Paul Hogan (Flipper, 1996)
Linda Kozlowski (Village of the Damned, 1995)
Mark Blum (Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985)

Crocodile Dundee II (1988)

dir. John Cornell

Paul Hogan
Linda Kozlowski
Luis Guzmán (Punch Drunk Love, 2002)
Juan Fernández (Arachnophobia, 1990)
Stephen Root (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992)

Oh gosh, you guys, sorry about the extended hiatus, but I just couldn't bring myself to blog about the myriad Christmas movies I've been watching (topping the charts: A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), starring the inimitable Michael Cain). Last night, however, I watched a pair of films of such cinematic excellence that they could not be denied comment.

I may have mentioned before that this is my favorite era of film. Because it still hasn't lost that theatrical aspect of older movies and yet everyone seems so excited about being modern. Of course Bret Easton Ellis's (omigosh I did it again) take on the same era is completely different. He saw the opulence, the modernity, and the high-society lifestyle as something very sinister and corrupting, while the movies I prefer are full of adventure and optimism. And yet you still get echoes of that darkness in Crocodile, I could see Richard, Sue's yuppie boyfriend that she ultimately dumps for Mick Dundee, having an alternate life not unlike Patrick Bateman. Similarly, Sue takes Mick to a high-class cocktail party where everyone is phony and superficial, and a man in the back room is snorting cocaine and Mick naively thinks he has the flu. By the time we get to the sequel, Mick has acclimated to city life, but many of the social mores and regulations remain illusory (The second movie opens with Mick fishing with dynamite on the East River, and the police laugh it off and let him get about his business. Mick copes with the culture shock by transforming New York into the Australian Outback, and playing by the rules that were applicable there, when he interacts with others, who at first don't understand him, he allows them to enter into HIS reality, and they are soon behaving in ways that would have been unusual).

The plots of both stories are a bit contrived, the second (in which the couple is being pursued by Columbian drug lords across the outback) more so than the first (in which a newspaper pays a reporter to interview some random dude in Australia and also pays for his visit to New York City). My favorite scene is at the end of the first movie where Mick and Sue are playing telephone with some colorful characters on a crowded subway platform. This is where Sue confesses that she loves Mick. I love it even more because as soon as this happens the movie ends on a sudden freeze frame with no denouement whatsoever.

One website pointed out that this movie is the only reason for the success of the Outback Steakhouse franchise. I guess that makes sense, they've sort of been riding the Australian fetish for a long time, I don't even think Olive Garden rubs it's ethnicity in your face that much. Of course, the "wild man" aesthetic will NEVER lose its appeal. Even in these movies, where you think it would be obvious enough, FREQUENT references are made to Tarzan, just in case you forgot why lean, wiry Paul Hogan with his leathery face and clear blue eyes was totally irresistible to New York urbanite professional Sue Somethingoranother. It's because he's REAL, he's ADVENTUROUS, and all those parties where the men look like women and the women are ambiguous (unless you're wearing a cocktail dress that leaves nothing to the imagination) and nobody ever says what they really mean and no matter how polite you are you still might be a sick fucker who murders a prostitute or your best friend at the end of the night, well, that stuff just sucks and I think if given a choice between staying in that cesspool or moving to the Outback with a dude who owns a goldmine, there wouldn't even be a contest.

I've probably overanalyzed this. But you know, I like movies about the 1980s.

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