who knew that the queue de grâce name for this experiment would have been so apt? it took some doing but i think i have sufficiently recovered from yesterday to move on, though the black mark on my soul in the shape of reese witherspoon may never be completely erased. it's strange. i am stained but that stain is just as cute as a button!
we begin today by revisiting james cameron's terminator 2: judgment day (1991).
again, this is one of those films that i haven't seen in its entirety since around the theatrical release. unfortunately, time wasn't as kind to this as it was to valley girl (1983). the much ballyhooed advances in special effects from the T-101 to the T-1000 still have a certain charm but everything else, with one exception, is a generally a drag. there is a good reason that james cameron is constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to filmmaking technology - he is terrible with actors. ideally for him, his films will eventually not contain one single organic element and his ego will become the most formidable, unstoppable juggernaut he has ever created. no cyberdyne systems model will be able to defeat him.
stilted dialogue, one of the most unappealing juvenile leads in the history of film and a couple of process shots that are distractingly bad for a movie that was supposed to be so cutting edge are just a few of the problems here. time travel stories are fraught with peril for even the best writers, none of whom came within miles of this thing. the inconsistencies with other science fiction elements are irritating as well. i understand that some terminators have to be able to double as humans, but if the neural network was so damn smart why didn't it make combat terminators in some form other than human? give them four arms, eight arms, make them smaller, faster, more heavily armed. and that whole explanation about the limits of the T-1000? bunk! we're told it can imitate anything it touches of an equal size but it can't form complex machines that include chemicals and multiple moving parts. it then proceeds to spend the rest of the film imitating other humans almost exclusively. last time i looked, the human body was nothing but chemicals and complicated moving parts. in all fairness, there were a couple of spectacular stunts, particularly in the final third of the film. the motorcycle jump into the helicopter and the sequence with the liquid nitrogen truck are particularly noteworthy. only one special effects scene actually made a lasting impact on me, though. the central dream sequence after she escapes the institution in which linda hamilton clutches the chain link fence while everything, including her, is reduced to skeletons and ash still maintains its power after all this time. the only consistently good thing about the movie?
joe morton. solid dude. i love this guy.
next up - la bamba (1987).
this movie is delivered in such cinematic shorthand that it could have been over in half an hour, the weekly reader version of ritchie valens' life. i'm not sure if it's just because i am so familiar with the mythology of the day the music died, but this seemed almost embarrassingly remedial. the only thing that really redeems it is the good-natured ebullience of lou diamond
forehead phillips. and few things drive me crazier than poorly faked playing in music biographies. really just isn't a whole lot to say about this one. it's competently assembled but i don't feel like i know ritchie valens any better. buy the records, skip the movie.
still, not a bad program for a day of healing. nothing too taxing, a few good songs, joe morton's calming influence. i think i see a light at the end of the tunnel.
or maybe it's a train.