Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Corvetteicide! In which "Con Air" blew up on a big screen again

Yeah. Con Air is still insane. This will not change. (This had better not change.) It got shown in Portland tonight, with another layer of insanity on it because it was shown in "Hecklevision." I know what you're thinking: people talk back at the screen? No, they text at it. People's words are projected on the lower left of the movie screen. It's a written commentary by smartasses, and you can read the comments or ignore them (they can go past fast) and just enjoy the film. Interactive viewing! It's been a thing here (via Austin, by the way) thanks to Erik Henriksen of the Portland Mercury since 2011, when it was first done here with 1984's Red Dawn. (Hecklevision got mentioned last year on NP freakin' R, when the film getting Heckled was Point Break.)

I got worn out by the film. By the time the Corvette was flying to its death (do you really have to ask? Just watch the film!) I was almost doubled over. Laughing and cheering and yelling and fist-pumping led to a sweaty, occasionally snort-laughing Chris. I regret nothing.

Packed screening room at the Hollywood Theatre for all that. Five of us (four men and one woman) wore wife beaters like what Nicolas Cage wore, and most of them (except one guy who didn't go up onstage) got applause and drink tickets for their efforts. I wasn't one of the five; I wore my AXE COP T-shirt, because violence. I don't text, so I was there just to read the comments and watch the film. (I'd brought my iPad, and had considered live-Tweeting the film if there was public wifi I could use, but no. That's fine, the iPad's power can be used other times.) And there's lots to watch: one hell of a cast, and huge, too (M.C. Gainey's in this? Awesome! Especially since I've now see him be sinister on Lost and f'ing terrifying on Justified); the avalanche of one-liners and jokes (how much of this film was ad-libbed, particularly by Dave Chappelle?); the cinematography, making even the dirt look golden and pretty; one of the shortest and to-the-point film titles ever (I'll quote Harry Knowles: "You say you wanna know what the plot of the film is? Here ya go: CON AIR"); the damn well-staged over-the-top action, violence, and explosions; and the sometimes gutteral music by Mark Mancina and Trevor Rabin, sometimes sounding hugely orchestral and sometimes sounding like Mars, the Bringer of War on crunchy, feedback'd guitars. Yep, Con Air goes too far -- deeply skeevy hints of possible child endangerment, an ending that just bludgeons the audience and can't seem to wrap itself up, and at least one ridiculous gay stereotype who's not really allowed to be a character -- but I accept the mess. I did back in 1997 and I still do, because the fate of, say, Johnny-23 is damn satisfying. For one example. And it's a blast seeing John Malkovich having a blast: he took this film purely to have fun earning a paycheck, and bless him for it. Anything to keep him from getting too lazy, trap Malkovich can fall into.

The Hecklevision texts, being texts, often went past very fast, and were often dick and masturbation jokes or quotes from Chappelle's Show (and some inappropriate comments, though Henriksen then logged on as "BAN_HAMMER" to say he'd happily blocked certain people because they were being awful), but some running gags bubbled up, like intentionally mixing up Ving "Diamond Dog" Rhames with Michael Clarke Duncan ("RIP Ving Rhames, you were great in THE GREEN MILE"), or showing that Con Air actually has sequels and those sequels are the National Treasure films (THEY ALL HAVE NICOLAS CAGE, MUST I SPELL IT OUT, PEOPLE?). And I'm not sure why it collapsed me the way it did, but during the climactic chase on the Vegas strip someone texted "The fire truck is on fire! CON IRONY!" (Or soon after: "I'm still in the beer line! Has it started?")

This was exactly the way I like to get worn out by a film. This was also my first-ever time at Hecklevision, and I'm so glad I went. My appreciation of Con Air continues unabated, and I kind of like that director Simon West, as I've hard from people I trust, later turned last year's The Expendables 2 into more or less Con Air 2. (West's next project: a Jason Statham film that William Goldman has written. I have no idea what the result there will be.)

After the film, I wound my way home via TriMet (rail and bus) and downtown, being amused by dressed-up drunk yell-y people and almost being run down by a careless driver (to whom I waved and called out "Hi!" You get inattentive behind the wheel, I'll be obnoxious in return).

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