Friday, May 30, 2008

It Came From Forgotten Filmography Fridays 11

The Adventures of Robin Hood
(dir. Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, 1938)
Warner Bros
Synopsis: “Durr, don’t you worry, never fear, Robin Hood shall soon be here. He robs from the rich and he gives to the poor. Yo ho, we go skipping tra la through Sherwood Forest, helpin’ the needy and the oppressed.”

This is kind of a cop-out. I know Erroll “my wicked, wicked, ways” Flynn played Robin Hood. I know he’s one of the great swashbuckling actors of all time (along with guys like Basil Rathbone [who’s also in this movie] and Douglas Fairbanks.) I know this is going to be good. There’s even the clip of Bugs Bunny meeting him in the cartoons:

(near the end)

But I’ve never seen The Adventures Robin Hood. My familiarity with the Robin Hood story is rooted in:

The Disney Robin Hood cartoon

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Robin Hood Daffy

And, of course:

Robin Hood: Men in Tights

I have to ask you a few questions:
1) Do you like swordfights?
2) Do you like witty banter?
frankly, 3) Do you like good adventure movies?

To play devil’s advocate, you know the plot. This is all very CHC, and the Robin Hood myth is very much part of the common parlance. There’s a lot of intertitles, which comes out of being only a recent addition to the world of sound and color (1938,) the silent film techniques were still in very strong practice. But, still, a lot.

That being said, this film is beautiful lit, shot, and designed.

Also, Robin Hood is a stone. Cold. Badass. When defending a hunter who shot a king’s deer in the first scene, Robin lifts his bow at point blank range and threatens the Sheriff of Nottingham with an arrow to the face. Its hard to properly explain how cool I’ve decided Robin Hood is. Were I five years old, I would feel inclined to run around in green unitards. This movie is a lot of fun. I would try to characterize it as more than just a series of awesome swordfights. It’s actually just a great, fun, movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching.

If you want to see one of the best fight scenes in film history (or in my top 10,) this is the classic. Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, swordfighting, spiral staircase, watch it, now:


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Screenwriting 101: Good Idea, Bad Idea

Good ideas are never so clear-cut as bad ideas.

An idea might seem a lot better on the page or in your head or in an outline than it might actually be. Bad ideas do not immediately make for bad scripts, but they certainly do not help make a good script any easier to write. So why add another problem towards making a great script?

An idea isn’t like an orange or a Jedi, you can’t tell when it’s gone bad. (Hint: If a Jedi has gone bad, his eyes will look all yellow and glowy. The orange will look brown and decayed. Both, however, smell awful. Do you think Darth Vader can bathe with that thing on? Also, what is the deal with airline food?)

Here are some ideas about how to tell if you have a good idea:
1) Make a Movie You Would Want to Make

Really, this should be a no-brainer, but it bears mentioning. A good idea is one that you will be excited about writing yourself, and nothing makes you more excited than writing a movie you yourself would like to see. Pick a genre, your favorite genre, and write a movie in that style. Nothing is more painful to write or watch than something not even the writer is interested in. If you don’t want to write it, no matter if it’s a good idea for somebody else to write, you shouldn’t write it. Furthermore, this extends to your own personal interests. You like vintage cars, make a movie set in the 50s full of drag racing.

2) Make a Movie People Already Have Seen Before

At the risk of sounding positively reactionary, if worse comes to worse, safe sells. Although many of us claim to be discerning filmgoers, a great percentage of people, and I know this because I worked for video retail, rent Jean Claude Van Damme movies and want to hear Will Smith say “Oh hell no!” and movies you may think are god-awful ideas (cf. Over my Dead Body or The Hottie and the Nottie) are popular and oft-requested titles. A lot of bad movies get made because they’re based on a good idea that’s been done to death. But you don’t have to be so blatant. Take an idea that’s been done before and make it another genre, or add some other twist, something you’d be interested in writing about (see #1.)

3) Talk to People

This might seem scary. People, as anyone who went through junior high can tell you, can be very cruel. But, people will be watching your movie. So talk to some friends about an idea you have, people you trust (and people who won’t steal your idea.) If a vast majority of them think it’s a bad idea, odds are, it is actually a bad idea. That might mean your pitch needs some work, so in case that’s an issue, before you run it by people, just write up your logline and memorize it before you hang out with your friends. If they really don’t like the idea (Juno in Space with a Sassy Robot,) then maybe it’s time to retool the idea, or drop it entirely. This is the entire premise behind focus groups, which are what Hollywood uses to retool ideas for mass appeal. However, be warned: this kind of focus group approach is best if done sparingly, or else you end up making something that tries to please too many people, and thus fails in the process.

4) Write an Idea List

Don’t just start with one script idea and start fleshing it out. Come up with a list of 4 or 5 or 6 or more ideas for screenplays. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stuart said about obscenity, “I know it when I see it.” And the same holds true for good ideas. Against a backdrop of mediocre or poor ideas, a good idea shines out like a beacon. But, what if you like all your ideas and think all of them are good ideas? After you’re done patting yourself on the back, go and ask this question: which one is your favorite idea? You have one, you know it. Start work on that one.

If you really can’t decide, go and use strategy number three and ask 10 or so people which of those ideas is their favorite. If 5 or more pick the same idea, odds are that’s the one to go with.

5) Read. Read. Read./Watch. Watch. Watch.

Take in media. Read a few novels, watch a few movies, besides being fun, it’s educational. Pick out some ideas you like, or retool a bad idea you think could be better. Let’s say, for example, I thought the idea behind Anonymous Rex (a Forgotten Filmography Friday title, go back and read my review ) was really clever, but it was lacking in some kind of aspect. I could use the idea of a group of secretive individuals living parallel to humanity in a bizarre undercover society as a backdrop for my own idea (werewolves? Nazi robots? Whatever.) The more familiar you are with what people like (in additional to what you yourself like) the better you can craft an idea and a screenplay.

6) Steal. Steal. Steal.

But steal discerningly. Don’t lift whole patches of dialogue (unless you’re looking for guild arbitration or are writing a very insightful [and in-cite-ful] parody.) But, if you like parts of an idea, mash them together, throw a bunch of ideas against a wall and see which ones stick.

That’s it for this time. Next week, I’ll be starting a special series, “Diary of Spec Script,” which will chronicle my attempt to write a new script from scratch. Keep writing!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Honorary Forgotten Filmography Friday

When I was 16 I was home sick from school, and watched the most bizarre, and wonderful guilty pleasure film of all time. Now I hope to inspire you to rent it (I own it, and am extremely willing to loan it out to friends. You’ll see why soon enough.)

I’ve technically seen this movie, but after watching a series of obscure movies I disliked, I decided to talk about one I loved, and one of the reasons I keep diving through piles of unmitigated crap.

Well, I think to myself, Maybe this one will be another Six-String Samurai.

Six-String Samurai is to post-apocalyptic rockabilly samurai movies what Gone with the Wind is to the Civil War. All hyperbole aside, this is a movie worth discussing.

Since I’ve seen it before, I can’t in my vague and nebulous sense of ethics give this its own Forgotten Filmography segment. But, I have to discuss this obscure gem.

This is even better for having the “In a World” Voice Over guy attached to it.

Six-String Samurai is set in an alternate timeline where the Russians bombed the US in 1957, Elvis was King of the last bastion of hope, Lost Vegas, and after he died, every swordswinging post-apocalyptic Rock n’Roller is gunning for Elvis’ crown.


Six-String Samurai very closes follows what TV Tropes calls “The Rule of Cool” (found here insomuch as the cooler something is, the more the audience is willing to forgive its inherent ridiculousness. A samurai dressed like Buddy Holly fighting three bowlers, cavemen, or the entire Russian Army, for example. Or fighting Death (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Slash from Guns and Roses,) in a guitar duel.

It is hard for me to describe the pleasure Six String Samurai has in its audiacity and its ridiculousness. If you tried to justify, or even really explain this film other than just discussing its patent bizarreness comes off as “you really have to have been there.” But I’m going to try anyway.

This film is rather well-documented on Youtube, so I can show a handful of my favorite sequences. At it’s core, despite the story of The Kid, the orphan who follows Buddy around and eventually learns what it takes to be a real rock ‘n roll samurai, this narrative is primarily episodic, with our titular samurai at odds with some bizarre menace or another.

This is the tail-end second sequence in the film, where a gang of killer bowlers is after Buddy’s guitar on the orders of Death himself. Watch the whole clip, but pay particularly close attention at 1:17:

This sequence is oddly tone breaking, the cannibal Cleaver sequence. If this film were a question, it would be “what the hell am I watching?!” Followed immediately by, “Why do I like it so much?” And, most likely, “What’s wrong with me?”

This is a scene near the beginning of the Third Act, where Buddy Holly single handedly defeats the Soviet Army with his kung fu guitar rock ‘n roll magic. And of course Commies hate rock ‘n roll.

Finally, Buddy Holly vs. Slash/Death. SUCCUMB TO THE POWER OF HEAVY METAL! Also note the hilariously out-of-left-field Wizard of Oz allusion ending.

You have received the thrust of the movie, but some parts missed include:
* Samurai Buddy Holly dueling scimitar-swinging Ritchie Valens in the desert.
* Buddy’s “Spinach Monster” speech after the opening credits.
* the argument about whether a 54 Plymouth can outrun a 57 Chevy (in the first quarter mile, that is.)

So, why aren’t you renting this movie? Netflix and Blockbuster Online both carry it. Your local video store…well, I can’t vouch for your personal video store. But add it to your queue already. You will not regret it!


Follow the Yellow Brick Road, homie!

Friday, May 23, 2008

It Came From Forgotten Filmography Friday 10

Porco Rosso (Kureni no buta) (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 1992)
Studio Ghibli
Tagline (well, not really, but I like it): “I’d rather be a pig than a fascist”
Synopsis: 1930s aerial ace cursed to be a humanoid pig finds his humanity as he battles a swaggering American pilot hired to defeat him. Or, as the anonymous imbd synopis reads: “In Early 1930's era Italy, air pirates, bounty hunters and high flyers of all sorts rule the skies. The most cunning and skilled of these pilots is Porco Rosso, a man cursed with the head of a pig after watching the spirits of the pilots killed in the last air battle he fought in rise to the heavens. He now makes a living taking jobs, such as rescuing those kidnapped by air pirates. Donald Curtis, Porco's rival in the air and in catching the affections of women, provides a constant challenge to the hero, culminating in a hilarious, action packed finale.”

I guess this is my attempt to make up for Three Pigs and a Baby. I had heard of Porco Rosso prior to renting it, but I assumed it’s under almost everybody else’s radar, thus its forgotten title. Sort of a cop-out, yes. Wait till next week's.

For those who’ve never heard of him, Hayao Miyazaki was (since he retired, although he still keeps working,) probably the greatest force in animation since Walt Disney. His Studio Ghibli has produced films like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. If you’re not familiar with his work, do yourself a favor and rent everything he’s ever made, even if you hate animation, or just Japanese animation (or especially so in those cases.) Miyazaki’s work touches an emotional core few other filmmakers in general can, although in animation Disney did, and the folks at Pixar are doing an admirable job here stateside (John Lasseter also oversaw the Mouse’s American distribution of Ghibli’s films, so they must be fans.)


Porco Rosso is set in the 1930s Adriatic, where seaplanes and sky-pirates rule. Porco Rosso is the best amongst them, a bounty hunter cursed with a pig-like physique and wanted by the Italians for not flying for Il Dulce. He is bested by an American pilot, who also has an eye for the various women in Porco’s life. After getting his plane fixed, he finds himself in continued conflict with the various skypirates.

I couldn’t find any caps of the scene where Porco is cursed, watching the planes ascend into the white sky of heaven. But, it was one of the most beautiful and genuinely heartbreaking scenes in animation.

The Disney dub is pretty good, with some somewhat major names contributing their talents (Michael Keaton does the voice for Porco, and Cary Elwes his American rival.) I would recommend you go out and see this movie, it’s become one of my new favorites.

Porco Rosso approves. A.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Screenwriting 101: The A-Ha Moment!

This is a little more oblique than a lot of the stuff I’ve discussed before.

Inspiration is something that’s really important to any writer, because without it you’d have no idea what to write or where you’re going, and craftsmanship. Thomas Edison famously noted invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. What I’ve focused on here thusfar has been the “perspiration,” rolling up your sleeves and actually focusing your drive on the ambitions you’ve set before you, and the techniques to (the tools in the writer’s craftbench.) But, despite it’s small quantity in the process, inspiration is important.

I can’t say with any certainty where this inspiration comes from. It could just be the right two neurons connecting at the right time. It could be heaven sent, or the workings of the subconscious or the collective unconscious. It could be magic gnomes that live inside your head. In any event, it’s there and it happens, and the phenomenology thereof is really immaterial.

The more you write and the more you work, the easier it becomes, I feel, to get inspired. You will find that in certain situations you are more prone to be inspired than others. These are the “A-Ha!” moments, where everything falls into place and you know exactly what you have to do (or close enough to fake it.)

For example, most of my A-Ha moments happen late at night, around midnight or later, when I’m trying to sleep in bed. Suddenly, I’ll either know exactly what I want to write about, or I’ll have the perfect scene for my own script. I typically have to race to my computer to pound out a rough outline or a few pages or the scene in question, sometimes I’ll find myself rewriting a whole script this way (I did this just recently with one of my specs.)

For every person this is different. Ernest Hemingway usually started writing very early in the morning, although typically this is because he was so drunk by midday he couldn’t write any more. For me, I’m more of a night owl (and I also typically avoid the harder spirits, and drugs in general for that matter,) and I do my best writing sometime between eleven at night and the early morning hours. I’ve actually always been this way, before I could go to bed I’d have a million crazy ideas for stories or just things to imagine. It might be something intrinsic to myself and my own creative process, so yours might be entirely different. You might find the inspiration you seek in the bath, or upside down, or in the car, or at the office, or whatever. But, wherever you find your inspiration, you’ll find it becomes easier to get to it if you find yourself in a similar situation (maybe you’re brain knows this is a good situation to be creative and thus is more creative.)

What is key to being inspired is learning to tell a good idea from a bad idea. More on that next week. Good writing!

Friday, May 16, 2008

It Came From Forgotten Filmography Friday 9

Three Pigs and a Baby (2008)
Dirs. Howard E. Baker and Arysh Fyzee
The Weinstein Company/Jim Henson Films
Synopsis: “Topical” “adult-friendly” “humor” meets “wacky” “fairy tale” meets cut-rate CGI animation meets me trying not to gouge out my eyes with spoons for an hour and a half.


I rented two movies this week produced by the Jim Henson Company. The first, Mirrormask, was exceptional, and I’d recommend everyone go out and try to rent it. (By my own extremely arbitrary rules I can’t talk about it because I had heard of it.)

The second:

Unstable Fables: Three Pigs and a Baby is not.

We all know the success of the fairy tale send-up in Shrek. And, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, these fellas are very sincere flatterers.

If it isn’t clear from the poster, the animation is god awful. And not like bad, but just incredibly unpleasing. Every character looks weird. Especially the wolves.


Especially the wolves.

The film chronicles the three little pigs who, after routing the big bad wolf, being infiltrated by wolves who place a baby into their custody believing the baby will turn on its parents to feed them (they end up having to trick the adopted wolf-who-doesn’t-believe-he’s-a-wolf-and-thinks-he’s-a-pig-wolf to do it anyway.)

Three topic jokes I could do without:
1) all the FEMA jokes
2) “It’s a little too soon for Mission: Accomplished, cadet”
3) And the interracial adoption plot as a whole.

Three pop culture references I could have done without:
1) Dr. Wolfowitz, the Dr. Strangelove-esque mad-scientist, complete with the “out of control appendage” (in this case a tail.)
2) The nod to “The Great Muppet Caper” (which only served to remind me what a great genius Jim Henson was, and what.)
3) The line-by-line reenactment of the “you’re tearing me apart” monologue from Rebel Without a Caue.

And, finally, all the gay pig jokes.

John Cryer plays one of the three pigs, Richard, who is, well, the gay pig. In his house of sticks (which is meticulously decorated) he has a prized statue of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Thus he’s a “friend of Dorothy.” He’s overly fussy about his clothes, decorations, and so on. He also goes “Hello, teenagers!” at one point, which, if you can read the inflection, was, well effeminate to say the least. At the end, when grabbing onto a motorcycle, he’s happy it has “a sissy bar.” I don’t want kids watching movies that perpetuates homophobia. Cryer’s performance, in and of itself, is not exceptionally offensive and barely comes off as swishy, but the things they have him say makes me squirm.

Not that there’s a lack of things that made me squirm.

If you have kids under the age of 5, try to find something better for them to watch. If you’re over 5, ignore this movie like the plague.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Screenwriting 101: Redrafting

Writing is fun. Rewriting though…is not fun. I have yet to meet somebody who legitimately enjoys redrafting their scripts, but it’s a necessary evil. Like flossing. And although some people might get away with not flossing and still have an awesome set of pearly whites. If you want your script to be the best and brightest out there (and who doesn’t?) you need to do not just one rewrite, but multiple ones.

But, you may think, why multiple rewrites? Isn’t one enough?

In a word, no.

You have multiple things to fix when you’re rewriting, and each thing is difficult enough to find as it is. The easiest way to do this is to do multiple “passes” of a script, looking for certain things, like characterization (dialogue continuity generally, but also actions, for each character,) story continuity, rephrasing (I go through the whole script and generally ask myself “can I explain this in less space while explaining it more thoroughly,”) look for extraneous scenes, look for missing scenes, and general spelling/grammar errors (or, the bane of any writer in the era of spellcheck, writing a totally different word than you mien. See what I did there? That’s what we call ‘comedy.’ Or what I do anyway.) It’s best to do this after some time has past so you can look fresh upon the material.

This may be arduous to do once on a 100+ page script, let alone over and over and over and over again as you look for each individual thing.

But why make the script the best it can be? Odds are, you’re going to be asked by whoever buys it to do a rewrite anyway? Well, the thing is, if you don’t do a good job with that rewrite, then you’re in real trouble, because the studio or the producer will bring in another writer to do your work for you, and before you know it you’re splitting your paycheck 15 ways to Tuesday. And nobody wants that, except for us other writers trying to get paid for a lot of work you already started. So polish your script as brightly as you can before you try and sell it, that way you’ll have to do less editing when that moment arises.

Next week’s topic is going to be the “a-ha!” moment. Good writing!

Friday, May 9, 2008

It Came From Forgotten Filmography Friday 8

Anonymous Rex
(dir. Julian Jarrold, 2004)
Illumination Films
“For 65 Million Years, They’ve Watched, and Waited…”
Synopsis: “The dinosaurs didn't go completely extinct when the asteroids hit 65 million years ago. Today, every ten thousandth person in the country is a dinosaur, evolved to be human-sized, wearing sophisticated solid-light holographic disguises to maintain the facade, getting stoned off regular cooking herbs like basil, rosemary and tarragon, and living by their own shadow government's laws; any human who stumbles upon them is to be immediately executed. Two dino private investigators, velociraptor Vincent Rubio (Sam Trammell) and triceratops Ernie Watson (Daniel Baldwin), are hired by one of Ernie's old girlfriends to find out why her younger brother committed suicide, and discover a dino cult called Voice Of Progress that wants dinokind to come out of the closet and reclaim the planet.”

This is a made-for-TV adaptation of a book by Eric Garcia. I imagine the conversation with Garcia to go like this:

“Hey, Eric, this is your agent.“
“How’s the casting going on Anonymous Rex?”
“Great, we managed to rope a Baldwin.”
“Really?! Which one?!”
“Alec, right?”
“Billy? Stephen?”
[Throws the phone to the ground in rage]

The cast here includes some other names besides overweight (recovering) cocaine addict Baldwin, like Isaac Hayes and Faye Dunaway.

For all my desire for this to suck, it actually doesn’t. The story’s pretty clever (likely because it’s an adaptation of a novel series, author Garcia is a co-executive producer.)

The premise is great: what if the dinosaurs didn’t die out, but instead evolved into a human-sized mirror society, living amongst humans through the use of solid-light holographs. This culture has its own laws, primary amongst which is don’t show your reptilian form to humans.

This script is pretty solid. The camera relies on a lot of sped-up movement to rely the passage of time.

The plot concerns velociraptor detective Vincent searching for answers regarding a pro-dino cult. Eddie (Baldwin) is his partner, and, thankfully, most of his subplot and work is brief and quick to forget for the main plot.

This is exactly the kind of thing I’m on the lookout for. Something I have never heard of, something frankly I am unsure I would like.

The dinosaurs use herbs the way humans use drugs, getting a fingertip of sage or whatever. Tarragon has an effect like PCP. But it’s hard not to giggle about that. Tarragon.


Tee hee. Tarragon.

Anyway, my favorite scene is Daniel Baldwin’s character angrily storming out of the house going to “the club,” for a raid, and his daughter saying, distraught, “It’s 3 AM!”


Which I imagine to be something out of his real life.

Barring the strange casting and the script which is a little out there, this is a fun sci-fi movie. I’d recommend it. B.

I couldn’t find any relevant clips, so this is Daniel Baldwin.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Screenwriting 101: Keeping the Pace




It really is.

You can tell any story in any amount of time, in either 5 seconds, or 30 seconds, or over hours and hours. But a screenplay is a limited format. You can’t make 6 hour epics or 30 second mini-films (but you can do that online.) Well, you can, but most people aren’t going to sit through the whole thing. Most movies are between 90-120 movies (1.5-2 hours,) with some larger films rarely pushing to 3 hours. This gives you a limited space to tell the story you want to tell.

On the other hand, you have more than adequate time to tell a story, and you need to put all the information in such a way that it’s not just one massive infodump (“…and then, and then, and then…”)

The audience will not want to receive the whole of the story immediately (or else, why watch it?) but they also expect some kind of narrative to tie itself together eventually.

Thus, pacing is important. This fits in with the act structure I discussed earlier, but, in simpler terms, you can’t feed the audience all the information immediately. You need to dose it out in small amounts over the course of 90 or more pages.

This is the core of pacing your story. You need to make sure that every scene provides some piece of information that is crucial to the story, even if the audience is not immediately aware of the importance. At the same time, you cannot provide too much information in one scene, or else the audience will be overwhelmed, and also will feel more like they’re being bombarded.

To properly pace out a story starts when you’re outlining. Keep in mind what the audience needs to know and when they need to know it for the most dramatic efect.

This is crucial to the “surprise twist” of suspense films. By withholding and pacing out when you deal information, you can have your surprise twist 75 minutes in (or whenever.)

On the same note, you must be careful to the volume of information you need to tell. If you need to present too much information, a film might become less a narrative and more a series of facts.

A handy trick I use in these instances is, if I know I’m transmitting some piece of information, I make a note of it, either immediately above the scene itself (later deleted) or in a separate document I’m looking at. That way I know I need to provide this piece of information.

Next week, we’ll be discussing the redrafting process. Good writing!

Friday, May 2, 2008

It Came From Forgotten Filmography Friday 7

Space Truckers (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1996)
Goldcrest Films International
Synopsis: “The year is 2196 – John Canyon (Dennis Hopper) is a down-on-his-luck independent trucker trying to keep an honest living transporting loadd across the solar system in his rocket powered rig. In a last ditch effort to stay in business rather than being forced into teaming up with the ‘Corporation,’ Canyon joins forces with Mike Pucci (Stephen Dorff) to pull off a dangerous transport – contents unknown. At over five times the going rate, it’s an offer they can’t refuse. With the help from stowaway Cindy (Debbi Mazar), the trio sets out on an adventure they will never forget. To make the scheduled deadline, Canyon abandons the usual shipping lanes and heads for the scum cluster – a warzone of bandits, black rocks and rogue asteroids – where they eventually are hi-jacked by the Regalia, a private warship headed by Captain Macanudo (Charles Dance.) It is here the secret of the mystery is revealed and the battle for the universe begins!”

This here is Rubber Duck, we got ourselves a convoy.

I did a couple of bad direct-to-DVD horror movies and action films involving giant insects lately, so I thought it would be in better taste to move towards something else. This is a movie about truckers. Truckers in space. I was drawn to the cast of B- lists, and Dennis “King Koopa” Hopper. This was in a special period of Hopper’s career right around Super Mario Bros and Water World where he was playing insane villains. This is also the time Stephen Dorff was making Blade, and Debbi Mazar was being friends with Madonna and playing the bad henchgirl to Drew Barrymore’s good one in Batman Forever.

Space Truckers is, regardless of it being what the film is about, an awful title.


The production design immediately seems like it was the stuff the Starship Troopers people thought was too weird looking. Shiny labcoats and the costumes look halfway between Troopers and Space Balls with a dash of The Fifth Element thrown in, and comparing this movie to two of my favorite sci-fi movies is not a compliment here (one of them isn’t Starship Troopers.)

Opening with a can of beer floating in the style of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is not making many friends with film elitists. This movie is immediately ridiculous. Is it a comedy? George Wendt is in it as a bad-tempered Corporate shill straw man.

Hopper’s character here is not so much insane and evil as he is just kind of off. He’s supposed to be a badass, but I don’t see it.

I keep feeling moments I should laugh (the square hogs, for example,) but am unsure if it’s intentional. Or a tooth floating in zero gravity.

John Canyon spends his free time beating up the same three or four guys and showing how anti-corporate he is. And George Went gets suctioned out into space.

They are, of course, too rebellious and anti-corporate to work for The Man, so they go to carry a mysterious cargo. This, of course, takes them to the (Hive of) Scum (and Villany) Cluster and navigating an asteroid field of vaguely mirror-like asteroids (NEVER tell him the odds.)

This movie tries to force the awkward romantic tension between Stephen Dorf and Debbi Mazar’s characters. Just another bit of extremely awkward forced tension in the Dorf-Mazar-Hopper triangle of awkwardness. They’re supposed to be married, Hopper and Mazar. I think? Hopper seems to take it way more serious than Mazar.

Corporations, bad. Independent unions, good.

The bad guy is like a cyborg nazi leather man. Which is worse than a corporate shill, slightly, I guess. This led to the incredibly bizarre “dick chopping” discussion.

“If you’re gonna hack off my dick, do it! I’ll change my name to Terry or Lee or something neutral. That ain’t gonna change what I know.”

This movie is so bizarre and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to laugh. Sometimes I am, and sometimes…

The ending is more than kinda stupid, and I’m still not sure if this is a comedy or not. I’d probably skip this one were I in your position. C-/D+.