Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Paris, Texas, The Movie. Sorta (2011)
[Editor's Note: We live in the butt end of nowhere, so we have to buy everything "mail order" as they used to call it. We have an Amazon Prime account. Prime gives you free two-day shipping, and allows you to watch a crummy selection of movies and TV for nada. We almost never use the TV function. Out of curiosity, I turned it on yesterday after a long interregnum, and under "Most Watched Movies," there was Flyboys. I guess I can safely ignore Amazon Prime movies for another three years.]
My son and I watched a movie last night. I hardly ever watch movies, so I thought I'd multi-task and review this one: Flyboys.
It features a guy that looks vaguely like that other guy that was The Joker in the Batman movie --no, not that Batman movie, the other one. No, not that the other one. The other, other one. Anyway, he died --no, not this guy, he didn't die, the other, other Joker guy died. At any rate, our hero was a jolly rancher for a while in Texas, but for some reason the Depression showed up early, like twenty years early, and he lost the farm and took to hanging around in a movie theater like Lee Harvey Oswald, until the sheriff comes in and tells him he better join the French air force or go to jail for punching Mr. Potter at the bank for foreclosing on his ranch.
So he goes to France to smoke Newports and fly Nieuports, and I suppose World War One isn't interesting enough, so the scriptwriter gives him a new best pilot friend, who he doesn't like much but is still his best friend, and the guy has a pet lion instead of a dog, and they are, like, pilots and guys and depressed together about stuff, because eighth-grade girls and movie producers think being self-absorbed makes you interesting.
Then someone decided the movie needed Jack Johnson, the boxer, in it, only his name is different, I think -- I don't know; I was too busy wondering if guys like the guy that looks vaguely like the actor that played the Joker would have highlights dyed into his hair in 1917 in the Lafayette Escadrille, so I didn't have time to get up to speed and wonder why this movie needed a poor man's Jack Johnson in the Lafayette Escadrille. I guess French people and guys that keep lions aren't exotic enough.
Anyway, the Jack Johnson-ish dude shoots a German dude right straight down in the top of his head using only an airplane and CGI, and that's hard, and thereby saves a rich, overweight dude with Daddy Warbucks issues who previously didn't care for the black dude because he's black and all, but now he does you betcha. So the fat guy buys the black guy a drink, only he doesn't buy it, he offers him some ritzy booze he stole from his father like Ferris Bueller would, and the fat guy says to Jack Johnson, my rich father is rich, how about yours? And even though the black guy is noble enough for five movies already if you ask me, the movie doubles down and makes his father a slave, even though it's 1917 and slavery was outlawed in 1865, and that seems like a long time between jobs if you ask me, but who's counting in this movie.
Then the Hindenburg was bombing the Eiffel Tower for some reason, and the guy with the lion gets all shot up and whatnot while defending the spire, and decides he's turning Japanese (I really think so) and becomes a kamikaze pilot and crashes into and blows up the Hindenburg. So instead of dropping bombs on Paris, the flaming Hindenburg falls on top of Paris full of flaming bombs, which doesn't really sound like an improvement if you're a Parisian, but that happens out of the frame so he's still a hero if you ask me.
Then yet another guy who is a brave guy acts like a coward a lot, because we all know brave guys are all cowardly in real life, and that guy hangs out a bit with still another guy, a guy that reads the Bible all the time, so you know he's a weirdo and not a regular person in 1917 in America. We all know everyone normal was reading Chomsky not the Bible back then no matter what Ted Nugent says.
Still another guy, who is wanted in Wisconsin for armed robbery with a toy pistol (to pay the bookie in The Sting, I think) lands his plane in the No-Mans Land between the trenches, which is hard to do indeed, but his hand is caught and he can't run away, which normally would seem easier than landing a plane in No-Man's Land. Just his hand is caught, mind you, nothing else, and he looks like OJ trying on a glove when he's trying to pull his hand out, not like a normal person would look under shelling and machine gun fire. So the brave guy -- not the guy with the lion, he's dead; and not the brave guy that's a coward all over the place -- so the brave guy with the highlights and the ranch near Dealey Plaza who doesn't have it anymore, manages to land his plane in No-Man's Land like it was a Home Depot parking lot and not No Man's Land, and he parks it next to the guy trying on OJ's glove, and immediately chops the guy's hand off with a shovel he borrows from a dead French dude who was lying around handy equipped with a shovel, even though the airplane wing is just made of canvas and a little pine. I guess it's just easier to chop the guy's hand off, don't ask me. So now this guy can only be a one-armed armed robber, not a regular armed robber, and he gets a hook instead of a hand, like in Peter Pan, and the hook improves his flying I guess, because he sucked before but thereafter he's swell at it.
Later the guy with the hook and the cowardly brave guy get together and save the regular brave guy, for a while, anyway -- at least until the regular brave guy can meet up with the villain, who is contractually required to be a German guy who sneers a lot and waves like a crossing guard while he kills all sorts of guys and leaves orphan lions all over the landscape willy-nilly like a really bad guy would. The brave guy would no doubt have triumphed over Snidely von Richtofen, but at the moment of truth his machine guns don't work because a bullet hits them and they bust open like a pinata and spill the wrong kind of bullets for that kind of gun all over the place like Jolly Ranchers, and then the brave guy...
No, not the brave guy with the lion; he's dead, I told you! I was referring to the guy with the highlights in his hair, who's now stepdad to a fatherless lion. Anyhoo, he's been stealing planes to go see a French woman from time to time, even though at first he thinks the French woman is a prostitute -- which I gather is normal for any American sizing up French women for the first time -- but she's just the cleaning lady at the cathouse (which strikes me as a much less desirable job than being a prostitute, but maybe that's just me) where the first guy that originally owned the lion liked to hang around and act like Vince Vaughn would at a French cathouse, but Vince isn't even in this movie, which is a shame because he couldn't have done any worse, really.
Anyway, the brave guy that steals airplanes goes to save this one French girl that isn't a prostitute, because she's hiding from the Germans in her attic quietly like Helen Keller...
... now they've got me doing it. Like Anne Frank, not Helen Keller. Anyway, at first he flies the stolen plane at night for a while, then he flies it at night with the motor turned off for another good long while, and then he lands it like a ninja next door to Anne Frank's house. The Germans don't notice, even though they're in her living room drinkin' wine spo-dee-o-dee; but after a while they decide to notice, and the dastards shoot Anne Frank in the shoulder. But just so you know, I'm swapping back to calling her Helen Keller right now because she gets a Mauser bullet through the chest and doesn't utter a peep, I shit you not.
Anyway, our hero with the frosted hair saves her and gets a medal for stealing the plane, which seems a bit odd, and later he steals a motorcycle instead of the plane for a change of pace, and he goes to another place all bombed out and full of Germans, which is a habitual thing with him at this point, and he finds her again and they decide to meet in Paris, but later -- or at least the part of Paris that survived having a flaming Hindenburg dropped on it -- because she's going to England with some kids that aren't his, or even hers, now that I think about it, and he can't go right away because he's got a lion to take care of.
Where was I? Oh, yes. The brave guy with the highlights and the second-hand lion is saved for a while by the cowardly lion and Captain Hook...
(Dammit, I mean the cowardly brave guy, not the cowardly lion; the lion seems legit, if strung out on barbiturates a little bit; and I don't think Captain Hook is a captain, really, prolly just a corporal or a lieutenant or something, or whatever the French word for lieutenant is, I don't know)
.. but the brave guy gets all shot up by the Red Baron, who inexplicably seems to be the only German not flying a red Fokker triplane in this movie, but that's got to be him, as he's so evil. But anywho, this German guy shoots more bullets into our hero than a carnival attraction with ducks for some reason, and then stops shooting him for some other reason, shits and giggles I expect, and then Rolf or Heinz or Manfred or whatever his name is just pulls up next to our beauty parlor hero like a guy at a red light in American Graffiti, just to wave and smirk. Then the shot-up brave guy -- the guy with the used lion and the only French girl that's more interested in housecleaning than prostitution -- why, he pulls out a revolver of all things and shoots that German Snidely Whiplash right through the eye, which is pretty good shooting indeed, considering he's all shot to pieces and flying a biplane that's all shot to pieces that was made by French people in the first place.
Then the producers evidently ran out of money or unexposed film or something, and they hastily explained over the closing credits that the Jack Johnson guy gets a job at the Post Office, and the rancher with the highlights never meets the girl in Paris, but he gets his ranch in Texas back, only it's another ranch, not the one I told you about already, but the new one is way better so never fear.
I guess it's not his fault the stupid French chick, the one that's not a prostitute, didn't know he meant Paris, Texas.