Patrick and Mark Ahn will buy that for a dollar.
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Also discussed this episode: The People vs. George Lucas
Thank you for finally F-ing Robo! Everything you said was spot on!ReplyDelete
Personally, I kinda screwed up my Robocop watching experience by mostly watching the kid-friendly TV show when I was a kid (I remember they used to air the pilot of it, where I live (it's not in US), as Robocop IV). And because of it, when I finally revisited the original movie, it took me an embarasingly long time to figure out all the satirical elements. For instance, I was originally not aware that OCP and the Old Man were supposed to be evil. In the TV show, the Old Man was kinda like Lassard from Police Academy - a senile oblivious comical guy. Same thing with Bob from the movie. Unlike Patrick, I always saw him as a good guy - he f***n made Robocop! He's awesome! And that's why I love the movie so much now - I'm so trained to see the likes of it as a straightforward comic book superhero stuff, that now every time I see it, it chalenges me to dig deeper beneath all the comedy and badassery.
Thank YOU, Joey! I'm FASCINATED by the idea that Robocop was co-opted into children's entertainment. But, then, this was the '80s, and Rambo was turned into a kids' cartoon, too. I've never seen any of the TV show or the animated series, but now I'm curious to check them out just as a novelty. It must have been a trip to try and wrap your head around the original movie after being introduced to the character the way you were; glad you could sort it all out and fall in love with the movie. Thanks for listening!Delete
You sort of blew my mind with the comment about Starship Troopers (regarding the humans not necessarily being the good guys, they might be the aggressors). It makes me think of the movie in a totally different light (omg...how did I miss that?...the humans wore SS style uniforms for crying out loud). Anyways, Robocop is a great movie. I'd argue Robocop 2 is an ambitious failure. Bravo to the 80s for knowing how to market high concept (I think Robocop is a GREAT title and the poster is a very striking image). Well done sirs! BTW...Fievel Goes West is worth a watch. I re-bought it when I was 10 at Suncoast Video because I supported the movie so much I needed to prove it with 2 copies. I was a weird kid.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Adam! I think Robocop is a great title now, but possibly only because I know it's attached to a great movie. Just hearing the title doesn't totally inspire confidence in me, if that makes sense.Delete
I would agree with you that Robocop 2 is an ambitious failure, though the emphasis is a little more on the second part. I like the ambition of its ideas, but I think it loses points for trying to copy so much of what the first movie does. Too often, it's less ambitious than it is imitative. I'll be curious to watch it again; it's been several years. Thanks for listening!
We love weird kids here, Adam. We're thinking about F'ing Robocop 2, actually. Stay tuned.ReplyDelete
To add to your Starship Troopers comment, the satire in it reminds me of Ender's Game, with the slow realization that the aliens are not necessarily the bad ones, and the humans are the villains. Also, would anyone who else love an Ender's Game movie?
I'd love to see an Ender's Game movie. Looking forward to seeing the one that's currently in production! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1731141/Delete
Great work as always, guys! I really can't argue with anything you guys said, as I'm also a big BIG fan of Robo.ReplyDelete
I think what you said about the violence in the movie was interesting, because while a lot of it IS over the top, I wonder if in a weird way it somewhat cheapens what happens to Murphy. I think that scene benefits (if that's the right word) from the fact that it's really the first over the top violent scene and played completely straight. But then, when something really similar happens to the guy in the boardroom, it's played for laughs. I dunno. I'm probably reading too much into things.
Like you, I really get a kick out of Bob's sidekick/lackey. That little moment at the end of the movie when he gives Robo the thumbs-up after blowing away Dick Jones cracks me up every time. Because I was a bit too young to see Robo cop when it came out, I always saw Miguel Ferrer as the guy on the Excelsior in Star Trek III, so he plays pretty much the same type here. Ronny Cox and Kurtwood Smith: nothing I can add here. Both are excellent. Not sure I have a preference, but Smith gets all the good lines.
I'm lukewarm about Robocop 2 (I'd love to hear your guys' full take on it). I think it has some interesting things to say, but perhaps too many. They try to bring back the whole Murphy's former family angle and do it poorly (honestly, I wish the scene with Murphy's wife had been in the FIRST film). The idea of the corporation reprogramming Robo had promise, but it amounted to nothing more than padding an already long film (at least it seems long). I DO think that Tom Noonan is a rather effective bad guy -- the first part of the movie actually works for me (up through when Robo gets dismembered). Anything with that kid is horrible, and the last half with Robocop 2 is mediocre at best. And I'm totally with Patrick on the fake commercials not working, though I found the car anti-theft device one somewhat amusing. On the whole, not a great follow-up, and things just got worse from there.
Thanks, Carl! Interesting point about Murphy's fate. I agree that the potential for his death to be trivialized is there, but I don't think it ends up happening. Verhoeven is able to make one over-the-top death funny and one horrifying; I guess it's just a function of audience sympathy. Cool that he's able to get different results using the same stylistic choice -- just another example of the many cool tricks that Robocop is able to pull off.Delete
Seriously, I know a ton of people really like the movie, but I STILL don't feel like it gets enough credit for being as good as it is.
Completely with you on everything you have to say regarding Robocop 2. Lots of interesting ideas, none of which amount to much. The movie feels strangely episodic, too, because the ideas aren't really going on at the same time. The movie addresses (or doesn't) one at a time and then moves on to the next thing. I'm sure we'll have more to say on it when we do the podcast, which I hope will be sooner than later.
I forgot all about the car theft commercial. That's good, too.
Patrick is selling PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS short. I watched it recently and thought it was surprisingly evenhanded considering the stupid, inflammatory title. There are whiners, but there are also plenty of people who admit that superfans take it way too far.ReplyDelete
More than anything, it provides a good overview, not of the STAR WARS movies, but of SW fandom, and the evolving relationship between Lucas and his fans.
It's also the first time I've heard it suggested that Lucas's biggest misstep was letting the franchise lay dormant for so long. For 15 years, fans were left to create new experiences for themselves, establishing a subculture that balked when Lucas stepped back in tried to wrest control from the squatters. I recommend people give the movie a chance, especially since it's on Netflix. And this is coming from someone with no stakes in the SW squabble, or sympathy for the complainers.
As for ROBOCOP, Netflix definitely has the Unrated version. I just paused the podcast long enough to go back and rewatch it. Now, back to the show!
I will agree to disagree, which you never agreed to. WHAAA??Delete
I'm glad you found something to like in the movie and thought it was evenhanded. I felt like it was 90 minutes of the same whining we've been hearing since Phantom Menace. I wanted the movie to explore ideas about fandom outside of just "We don't like the prequels/changes," but it just felt so single-minded to me. I wouldn't even have minded that so much if the movie seemed designed to showcase the particular OCD of many Star Wars fans, but I felt like the people behind the movie were on the very same page.
On our Phantom Menace podcast, Mike and I suggested that one of the big problems was that there was such a long wait between the original trilogy and the prequels, but we were looking at it more from the Lucas side of things, not the fan side. Lucas lived with this stuff too long -- the phenomenon we referred to as the "Star Wars cage." It's kind of the same thing. But not?
I agree to agree to disagree. Unless you disagree?Delete
I can see why you would be turned off by any movie dedicated to a stupid internet controversy. I liked it more than I thought I would. Beyond that, it's subjective as hell, so make up your own minds Amercia. We Report, YOU Decide!
I'd heard the Lucas cage theory before, but never from the other side. Now I understand why longtime superfans feel ownership of the series. I will never understand the anger the worst of them feel, but the movie put that anger in historical context, which is more than I can say for pretty much anything else on the Internet.
All of this to say: Robocop is SOOOO great! The 20th anniversary DVD was one of my earliest reviews for Verdict, and also the first time I'd ever seen the flick. Thanks for giving me a reason to go back.
Since you asked, here are some of the film's rejected alternate titles: Policebot, Cyberpig, ComCop, Delta City Darlings, and Turner & Hooch
I'm with you Erich - while we all seem to agree to agree to agree that its a subject barely worth talking about in the first place, if you're willing to set that MINOR detail aside, The People vs. George Lucas is worth watching if you have any interest in Star Wars as a cultural phenomenon. And like Erich I found it pretty evenhanded, not in spite of, but because the whiners and obsessives are given more screen-time to give self-incriminating testimony that only helps to prove what obsessive whiners they are. In any event, I certainly didn't get the impression that the people behind the film were on one side or the other.Delete
It's worth digging up a copy of Richard Matheson's original novel of I Am Legend, or seeing the original adaptation as Last Man On Earth, to see another interesting take on the idea of the humans possibly being the villains in a situation.ReplyDelete
And now, you might want to look at Verhoeven's Black Book, about the Dutch resistance in World War II, because even there, where you have one of the few villains we can ALL agree on (Nazis bad!) you have an interesting amount of complexity in terms of the resistance not being this bunch of plucky folks, all sweetness and light and gritty determination. Some of them are downright evil as well (and my god, there's a scene after the liberation involving humiliation of quislings that's just insane).
I Am Legend! That story is so unbelievably powerful. I read it before I saw the movie...needless to say, I was very, very disappointed with the film.Delete
Great podcast gentlemen - I hadn't seen Robocop in probably 15 years (though it was one of those movies I loved and watched frequently as a young adolescent) so you inspired me to fire up Netflix and watch it again last night. I definitely enjoyed it just as much, if not more, and on a different level than I had as a youngster for all the reasons you discussed. Effects-wise I also found it held up pretty well. Even the stop-motion stuff didn't distract me - the first appearance of ED-209 is just as menacing as I remembered. Rewatching some of these movies from my youth really highlight how much a good sound system adds to the experience - e.g. the ominous hum in the air when ED-209 is activated gives it an almost comically powerful presence (much like the proton packs in Ghostbusters).ReplyDelete
Also realized that The Dark Knight's Joker is probably the only criminal since the ones in Robocop who LOVE being evil SO FUCKING MUCH. It really seems to make them genuinely happy. I read Carl's comment above about Murphy's killing being played so straight and I don't know that it really was - the villains are joking around and cackling like hyenas the whole time. If anything I suppose there's a sort of contrast between participants' vs. viewer's reactions in the two scenes he mentions: the people in the boardroom scene are taking things seriously while the viewer is laughing, and the people torturing Murphy are laughing while the viewer is taking it very seriously.
Anyway, great F'ing of a still great f'ing movie!
Hooray for Robocop! More on that in a minute.ReplyDelete
So, in comparing some of the over the top criticism in The People Vs George Lucas to super conservatives who only watch Fox News to support their already formed opinions (which they totally do, my grandmother is one of them), I think what Patrick is saying, when you get down to it, is that the Tea Party raped his childhood.
Full disclosure, I am a pretty big Star Wars guy, or at least I used to be, and I've read upwards of 100 of the novels, have shelves of the comics, etc. I loved the original trilogy growing up and was disappointed with the prequels once the shine and the newness of them wore off. They're not great movies. There's a lot that doesn't work about them. That being said, George Lucas is not Satan (that would obviously be Don Knotts) and no one has been held down as their wallets was ripped from their hands, and as far as I know, no one has gone into people's brains Eternal Sunshine style and removed happy childhood memories. Yet, it seems like there is this huge vocal contingency shouting from the rooftops about how Jorge Lucas is evil incarnate. I have NOT watched The People Vs George Lucas because almost every review that I have come across has come with a "George Lucas uses kittens for target practice" stance. For me, Star Wars is something I used to really dig, and sometimes still do, but which has gotten pretty tepid. I dunno, maybe I should watch it, but I have very little tolerance for people who take a series of movies so seriously that they made a documentary calling out the creator of it. Why hasn't anyone made a movie calling anyone else out? Why hasn't anyone made a movie called The People Vs. Larry Flynt?
Robocop! This was great. I haven't watched it in 7 or 8 years, but I think a lot of us hold affection in our hearts for that blue-tinged (not red?!) statement on Reagan America. You guys covered it like pros.
I actually read a really good book about the medieval, historical Robocop that existed in France during the second Crusades called Le Sherif En Metallique....ah, I'm just kidding. Book humor for Mark. That's a call back to the Braveheart podcast that probably only I will think is funny.
Great show, guys. I'm actually really excited about the prospect of a Robocop 2 episode, which would be, as you said, a very different conversation.
I'm going to watch The People Vs. George Lucas. I'll try to go in with an open mind, but I don't want to villainize a group of people without the facts. Still, those people are out there, and I don't get it. As William Shatner said on SNL, get a life!
P.P.S. Geez, I sound angry. Maybe it's going to be harder to see that documentary with an open mind than I thought.Delete
You can do it, Heath. Use the force. Like Sol, I didn't feel that the filmmakers advocate for either side. It's not a great title, if only because it has the potential to turn off some viewers, like you.Delete
I have to re-watch this movie now and see if maybe I misread the whole thing. OH GREAT.Delete
Well, Erich, I've done it. I think I went in open minded, and I think that in the end the film does show both sides, but I think they do lean more toward criticism. I mean, that's more of both sides than the title suggests, so that's good, but I definitely feel like there's an agenda. I don't think a single person interviewed actually had anything remotely kind to say about the prequels. And I'll say this: people be crazy. Some of the "fans" in the documentary gave me a serious case of the creeps. It reminded me, funnily enough, of the reaction I had to Marcia Gay Harden's character in The Mist. In this documentary, these people are real. The people playing a guitar and banjo on the street singing about George Lucas raping their childhood and the guy screaming at a video camera alone in a room are real. These people exist in a world without moderation, it seems, where they are led by emotion and anger. SCARY. I do think the movie allowed them to be hoisted on their own Picard (wrong franchise). But then there were voices of reason, like that of Neil Gaiman and a few of the more level headed fans. it does seem like the angry fans far outweighed the level headed ones, though. That could be my bias. Like the cave on Dagobah which contains only what you bring, I entered with my own darkness and found it waiting there for me. I suspect others see what they are looking for, too. I've certainly seen some internet reviews trumpeting its anti-Lucas stance. It's hard not too have a bias if you have an opinion on Star Wars, I suppose. I'm glad I watched it, though, for several reasons.Delete
My wife had the following to say, which came mid-movie: Don't these people who are complaining realize that they saw the movie as kids and that the kids who see the prequels feel the same way about them as we did about those original ones, and that if George Lucas had failed then no one would care about it? He must have done something right, because it's bigger than it has ever been. And then we had a discussion about how they're just movies, and if they make people happy then they should watch them and if they upset people then they should stop, instead of screaming about it. Then we painted flowers on the wall and sang a song for peace.*
*there were no flowers or songs of peace
Crap! How did I become an advocate for People vs. George Lucas? I watched it on Netflix. It was FINE. I was surprised that Patrick had such a vehement reaction. That's it.Delete
You're right, Heath. It gives way more time to the complainers, but I never felt the movie advocated for them. I could be wrong. Maybe it just seems evenhanded because the filmmakers aren't as insane as the people they interviewed.
I care way less about Star Wars than I did as a kid. I haven't seen any of the prequels since the theater, but not out of protest. I just don't care enough to track them down.
My nephew has been bugging his dad, wanting to watch the Star Wars movies, and asking endless important questions ranging from "How did Anakin turn bad?" to "When is Yoda's birthday?" The thing he wants to see most? The pod race. Kids love what they love, and Lucas has somehow tapped into that. The Star Wars movies haven't endured because they are great movies. Lucas's real accomplishment was creating a compelling universe that inspired people and (continues to) fuel imagination.
I think you're right. They're not great movies, but he threw so much of Joseph Campbell's myth stuff in there that he somehow made a new mythology that anyone can tap into (especially kids) and that some people take WAY TOO SERIOUSLY. It's like the bible, but with glow in the dark swords and podracing.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I don't think you came on too strong about the documentary, you just didn't bleed from the eyes like Patrick did. I, on the other hand, bled from the rectum. I'm still trying to figure out what that was about.
Hell of an episode on ROBOCOP. It's hand-down my favorite movie of all time, and i very much enjoyed the episode.👍👍ReplyDelete