|This man gives himself a woodie.|
And then there was the other night when I had the dubious honor of watching the remake of "Conan The Barbarian", an experience from which there is no recollection of the names of actors , directors or the gaggle of scribes who cobbled together the flimsy, inferior script. If there is such a thing, the film is a species of inept mediocrity, as there are examples of unstellar film making that at least have a level of technical acumen on display; "American Gangster" , directed by Ridely Scott and starring the quizzically droning Denzel Washington in a portrayal of an African American mobster, had at least a good look and was paced to the degree that one stayed in their seat, kept their eyes on the screen, curious to see how the other wise melodramatic tangle of film cliches turned out.
Plus, New York City was used well in this movie. Lovers of architecture got an eyeful of vintage skyscrapers; "American Gangster" was mediocre drama, but it was a first rate postcard, displaying the city in all its congested, grimy, soot-tinted glory. "Conan", on the other hand, achieves only the least likely outcome, making you sing the praises of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred in the original film. Arnie's Conan was a lumbering force of a nature, a hulking mass of perpetually raging masculinity that slayed, raped and pillaged with the singular emphasis for hurt and destruction that the new Conan, by an actor who's name I cannot (or refuse to)remember, does not.
The new Conan looks like a beef fed River Phoenix, with a face that is inward looking mass of narcissism; his two expressions are a smug leer and a grunting face that resembles nothing so much than a five year old boy's impersonation of The Hulk roaring "SMASH PUNY HUMANS".The look on this palooka's face is suitable for a porn actor staring at the woman he is having contract sex with, the arrogant , grinning grimace of small kid staring at his army of toy soldiers and building block cities scarce seconds before he smashes the entire diorama; it is a stare that reflects the illness of ownership, a warped view that says that what I see I created and own as a result. My senses brought the world into being and the power of my bulging muscles can return to the nothingness it once was. The violence, if one were to advance a theory as to how on screen dust ups, slashings and unrestricted carnage are a needed purgative for an audience's pent up aggressions, is piecemeal , weak, knock-kneed and , really, stupid. I felt stupid for watching it. I still feel stupid. That admission, of course, only confirms what some of you think of me and the long sentences I fill these posts with, but so be it. Alas, this time I am the fool for thinking that once, just once, I could appreciate this kind of movie as though I were still ten years old watching the after school action movie on Channel 7, wedged between dialing for dollars and the 5 o' clock local newscast. It's way past 5 o'clock.