Monday, August 21, 2006

Did you hear about the new pirate movie? It's rated Arrrrrr...

In the late '80s, the policy in my house was simple. If I wanted to see an R-rated movie - I was just a lil' button-nosed preteen - two things needed to happen:

1) My parents were interested in seeing it.
2) They would actually go, and then deem it OK for my visual consumption.

So if I wanted to peruse 976-EVIL - and I did, dammit - I was likely out of luck. It really wasn't mom and dad's cup o' blood and bile.

However, if my desire was to the tune of Young Guns, A Fish Called Wanda, or Midnight Run - and they were, dammit - I watched my parents head out, then waited the oh-so-long hours for them to render a verdict. And actually, they were fairly reasonable. The Untouchables, Rambo III and Rain Man all got a thumbs-up. Not so much for Tequila Sunrise, Cocktail and Coming to America.

See, my parents weren't concerned with violence or nudity. They realized I was intelligent enough to realize a guy being shot wasn't actually being shot. And my mother had a very European sensibility about the human body - everybody has one, so why shield it from prying eyes?

The limitations set in with the easily imitable acts of profanity and sex. Hearing Eddie Murphy asking "How the fuck can I steal a house?" in Beverly Hills Cop II was off-limits. Seeing a bullet go through Brigitte Nielsen's forehead in the same film was not.

That might seem like flawed logic to some of you, but it makes perfect sense to me.

It was much more likely I would eventually ask my 7th grade teacher, "How the fuck do you spell this?" than I would shoot him for giving me a C. And my parents, God bless 'em, actually thought I had a chance of replicating the sexual acts I would see in the forbidden D.O.A. and No Way Out. If only.

They had a bonus rule, incidentally: If I read a book, I could always see the movie. Hence, mine eyes got to see classics like Presumed Innocent, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and - oddly enough - Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (seriously, there was really a book).

Well, one humid night in July 1988, I waited over three hours for my parents to get back from their dinner-and-a-movie date. The anticipation was particularly breathless that evening, as I had completely fallen in love with a movie simply by seeing its trailer. I was already imitating it, tying a garden hose around my waist and jumping off my dad's truck. Yelling "Yippie-ki-yay!" the entire time, of course.

It was Die Hard.

Around 10 p.m., in walked the 'rents. Forgive me for not remembering this 18-year-conversation word-for-word, but it went something like this.

Dad: "Oh, Josh. You won't believe this movie. I don't say this often, but that might be the best movie I've ever seen. The action doesn't stop, the one-liners are hilarious, and - just, well, my God, that was a great movie! You would love it!"

Josh: "So I can see it?!?"

Dad: "Oh, no way. Far too much bad language."

It was crushing. Not being able to see my beloved Die Hard was one thing, but knowing the experience would change my life made it a lot harder. I looked for a novel to exploit that parental clause, but failed in finding one (and this especially hurt a few years later, when I discovered it had actually existed - but with a different title).

The wait was on.

It turned out it wasn't as long as I feared, however. Die Hard immediately became one of my favorite movies when I saw it - on video, as a 13th birthday present. Seriously, my parents rented me a movie as a birthday present, and even worse, I was freakin' thrilled. My parents scammed me into being happy with a $3 birthday present, and I swallowed it. The cheap bastards.

Well, since 1988, Die Hard has spawned two sequels: 1990's Die Hard 2 and 1995's Die Hard With a Vengeance. And I actually got to see both of those in theaters. They were alright, I guess, but neither held the proverbial candle to the Classic-with-a-capital-C original. That is perhaps why I'm not over-the-moon about the recent announcement of the fourth film in the series.

Live Free or Die Hard.

Seriously. That's the title.

In a season already filled with sequels - new installments of Pirates of the Caribbean, Ocean's 11, Shrek, The Bourne Identity, Spider-Man, 28 Days Later, Fantastic Four, Bruce Almighty, Harry Potter, and Rush Hour are all due in summer 2008 - it pains me to say a continuation to The Greatest Action Movie Of All Time might get lost in the shuffle.

From the article:

The film, titled Live Free or Die Hard, features his John McClane police officer attempting to stop a techno-terrorist from shutting down the nation's computer systems on the Fourth of July. The story takes place around Washington, D.C., and will be directed by Underworld: Evolution filmmaker Len Wiseman.

What is the most troublesome detail of that paragraph?

a) the dumb title
b) "techno-terrorist," which sounds like the nation's dance clubs are in danger
c) "will be directed by Underworld: Evolution filmmaker Len Wiseman"

Actually, I'm sorta thrilled that my expectations aren't through the roof. They were for the previous two Die Hard sequels, and those flicks were disappointments even though both were perfectly acceptable. Just not as a follow-up to TGAMOAT, I guess.

Lower expectations give hope. And if Rocky can return to glory - and he will, dammit - John McClane can be up to the task.

Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker.

1 comment:

DAve said...

Those techno-terrorists? I read about them in Time magazine.