Archive for February, 2011

A Classification of Heroic Names in 80’s Action Film

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 14, 2011 by brundleflyonthewall

What’s in a name? For 80’s action film buffs, everything you need to know about the plot of a film is in a name. I was enjoying a particularly cheesy 80’s action flick, as is my wont, and I noticed a trend with the characters names. I spent the next three years locked in a bunker poring over scripts, plots, and every action flick I could get my grubby little hands on. I developed a theorem regarding our action heroes’ names, but let’s not rush into that yet.

Action films resonate so deeply with men because they represent the archetypal journey of a hero. I’ve talked before about the difference between archetypal and cliche. It’s the crucial difference that makes Rocky a timeless hero and Paul Blart a gregarious, unwatchable doofus. Sylvester Stallone, in particular, has a keen grasp of archetypal heroic journeys, and his films reflect as much.

My theorem, basically, is that there are two types of heroes in the best 80’s (and early 90’s) action flicks, one hero is The Extraordinary Everyman and the other is The American Badass (all due copyright respect to Kid Rock).

The Extraordinary Everyman is the hero who comes from unspectacular places and rises to the occasion to achieve the spectacular. The Extraordinary Everyman is typified by Stallone’s role in Cliffhanger, a regular Joe mountain rescue climber who rises to meet the challenge a sudden terrorist threat presents. The American Badass is the hero who is of the strongest stock, who must use all of his training and innate badassery to meet seemingly impossible odds. This role is typified by Rambo, the greatest Green Beret in modern military history taking on hordes of Chinamen.

My theorem, though, goes beyond identifying these archetypes. The type of hero in the film can be identified by merely knowing the name of the character. I posit that the Extraordinary Everyman names and the American Badass names are different and reflective of the hero they represent. The Extraordinary Everyman cannot be named “John Rambo”, for that name is awesome, and synonymous with kicking ass. At his core, The Extraordinary Everyman is an everyman, and his name must remind us of ourselves and those around us (assuming of course that “us” to you means a middle class, American, heterosexual, white male who if he is of immigrant blood, is at least two generations removed from immigration). Similarly, the American Badass cannot be named Barney Heimerdinger, because that name is just not very cool.

Let’s go through some of those names and see if my point is not made clearer.

*Some rules before we begin. Only action films will be considered. Only action films from the heyday of the 80’s and 90’s. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll use only the films of Sylvester Stallone, but the theory can be applied to other action heroes.

Extraordinary Everyman
Victory (1981) Captain Robert Hatch. A team of American POW’s play the German national team in a soccer game during WWII (don’t look at me, I didn’t write it). Classic everyman story. Classic American name. Robert. Hatch. Simple, familiar, not fancy, not particularly awesome.

Lock Up (1989) Frank Leone. A classic tale of an honorable inmate nearing the end of his sentence who must face off with a corrupt, vengeful warden. Frank. Leone. Simple, unadorned, vaguely ethnic last name offset by Apple Pie first name.

Tango & Cash (1989) Lt. Raymond Tango. This name is very close to being awesome, Tango is a very cool last name, however, the character in the film is a regular working cop framed and force to rise to the occasion to clear his and his partner’s names. So, how do you have a guy named Lt. Tango seem like an everyday joe? Name him Raymond. Raymond is an anchor strapped to your chest when you’re trying to swim to cool guy island. Name one cool guy named Raymond… Didn’t think so.

Daylight (1996) Kit Latura. Lowly cab driver Kit Latura is called upon to save a tunnel full of stranded citizens in this classic disaster film. Solid everyman name here… Kit Latura. Has a nice ring to it, but not an overwhelmingly cool name.

Cop Land (1997) Freddy Heflin. This is perhaps the best example of the everyman hero character with a name that matches. The name Freddy Heflin could belong only to an overweight, small town Sheriff’s deputy in his 40’s.

American Badass

Let’s run through these a little quicker. These are the roles where Stallone is an immense badass, with training and street cred to back it up. And he has kick-ass name to fit the bill.

Rocky (and sequels) Rocky Balboa The first film, I realize, is very much the everyman story. But the name Rocky Balboa was destined for greatness. For the majority of the Rocky films, Rocky was a world champion and every third baby born in Philadelphia was named Rocky (estimated). A tremendous name befitting a tremendous man.

First Blood (and sequels) John Rambo A badass name that pairs well with an unstoppable Green Beret killing machine.

Cobra (1986) Lieutenant Marion “Cobra” Cobretti. Possibly my favorite Stallone role of all time. A hard ass, play by his own rules cop who takes on a anarchical cult.

Literally, the coolest a human being can be is captured in this photo.

Demolition Man (1993) John Spartan.

The Specialist (1994) Ray Quick. You can’t become the best in the demolition biz without a cool name.

Judge Dredd (1995) Judge Joseph Dredd. ‘Nuff said.

Assassins (1995) Robert Rath. An assassin named Wrath? Yes please.

Hopefully, the evidence is overwhelming at this point and you’ll see that you cannot have an awesome character without an awesome name. Similarly, you cannot have an underdog hero without an underdog name.


DVD Review- Hatchet II

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 14, 2011 by brundleflyonthewall

Adam Green’s original Hatchet was a very enjoyable homage to the great slasher genre of the 80’s. Paper thin plots, gratuitous violence and supple breasts. Hatchet II is more of the same, in a good way.

The sequel continues the tale of swamp stalker Victor Crowley as he murders his way through another group of hilarious actors pretending (poorly) to be rednecks. It’s difficult to expend too much energy reviewing a film that doesn’t take itself very seriously. If you enjoyed the first Hatchet (I did) then you’ll enjoy the second one too. It ups the body count, ups the gore and throws in an enjoyably disturbing sex scene for good measure.

However, if I had a gripe it’s that I would’ve liked to see a change of locale for the film to really differentiate itself and feel less like a rehash of the first film. And that is my main criticism of Hatchet 2. It did not do anything different or better than the first movie. Which isn’t a terrible thing, but what’s the point of bothering to make a sequel if you don’t have anything new to add?

It’s an enjoyable little movie but I have a hard time recommending anything more than a light rental.

Ohai, Danielle Harris, I didn't realize the Babezone had a new resident.

The Apocalypse Cometh…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 11, 2011 by brundleflyonthewall

Well, friends, we made a good run of it. We had some laughs, we had some cries, but now it’s over. While Egyptians celebrate the end of a dictatorship, I weep for the end of humanity.

Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never is tracking 65% approval on Rotten Tomatoes

This might make you feel a little bit better,

As you can imagine, Google searching “Beaver Fever” is full of landmines of unsolicited pornography, but if one searches long and hard enough, they can find the Beaver Fever that I’m sure they were really looking for,

Robocop: Upholding the Awesome

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 11, 2011 by brundleflyonthewall

Here’s the site where you can donate to the official Robocop statue fund. It’s thoroughly unlikely this would ever happen, but Philadelphia has a Rocky statue so I’m not giving up. Realistically though, what does Detroit have to lose here? They have friggin Eminem do national commercials for the Ford and their biggest celebrity calling Detroit home is … uh … I guess also Eminem. For Detroit, any press is good press at this point. Be bold, just do it, Mayor Bing.

Tuesday Cruiseday

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 7, 2011 by brundleflyonthewall

2011 Preview with Tractor Traylor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by brundleflyonthewall

There are a few movies I’m looking forward to getting a chance to see in 2011 and all of them are Transformers 3. Here’s a few:

The Wild Hunt
This is a Canadian flick that made the rounds and played really well at the Toronto International Film Festival and some others. I was going to jaunt up to Toronto for it but I had a huge month for pussy last September and just didn’t make it.

This one looks pretty good. No Channing Tatum, so points against there, but still could be good.

Joseph Gordon Levitt has almost made the total transition to awesome, respectable actor. This one could be the flick that puts him over the top.

This is not a trailer, just a scene from the flick but it gives you an idea what kind of badassery is in store. Hesher played to huge buzz and somewhat mixed reviews at Sundance 2010. Here’s an article from NYT about the movie. Which if you hate reading links, will be released in April of this year.

Drive Angry
If you thought there would be an entire year without six or more awesome Nic Cage movies, then clearly you have no idea how much he owes the IRS in back taxes.

Holy. Crap. I don’t think I can say anything to add to this film’s intensity and boner inducing badassery.

There’s plenty more flicks out there that we’ll be sure to keep you abreast of.

Site News- Continued Lack of Effort

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 7, 2011 by brundleflyonthewall

I’d like to apologize for the dearth of movie reviews on a movie site. But I’ve just discovered The Wire so my Netflix queue has been all about some Omar recently.

Anyway, so I’m wrapping up season 2 and will go on Wire hiatus afterward in order to bring you some movie reviews. Some upcoming dvd film reviews to look for: Hatchet II and I Spit On Your Grave. And then I’ll try and find some gems available on Netflix Instant.

Hatchet 2

I Spit On Your Grave

If you don’t like revenge-sploitation and buckets of gore then and aren’t anxiously awaiting these movies…