Friday, June 29, 2012

Worth Mentioning - If You Want to Live

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

Cody counts down to the apocalypse while a lady copies Schwarzenegger.


A massive asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, and the Deep Impact/Armageddon-esque attempts to destroy the space rock have failed. The planet is doomed. When the asteroid hits in three weeks, life as we know it will be over.

It's a big concept, but it's really a small story. We witness the last weeks on Earth entirely through the perspective of one man, a man named Dodge, who has been down on his luck his whole life. As soon as she hears the apocalyptic news, his wife runs out on him, leaving Dodge alone. He's always feared that he would die alone, and now it looks like his fears will come true.

While his friends and acquaintances let loose and spend their last days doing anything they want, things they wouldn't or couldn't do under normal circumstances - nonstop boozing, having as much as sex as possible with as many partners as possible, trying heroin, etc. - Dodge isn't interested in that, he wants to find a friend to spend his last days with. Not just anyone, the right person.

Penny has been Dodge's neighbor, living downstairs in his apartment building, for three years, but they've never really interacted before now. They befriend each other, which gives Penny the opportunity to give Dodge the mail of his that has been accidentally delivered to her and has accumulated over time. One piece of mail is a letter from his high school sweetheart, sent a few months earlier, telling him that he was the love of her life.

Now Dodge has a mission: travel back to his hometown and reunite with his old love to spend his last days with her, while hopefully also finding a way for Penny to get back to her family in the U.K. now that all commercial flights have been grounded.

Writer Lorene Scafaria's directorial debut is a very nice, existential romantic comedy with some good laughs and a lot of heart and emotion. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley are great in their roles as Dodge and Penny. Penny is one of those perfect movie girls; the kind, beautiful girl with a great personality and a cool sense of style (skirts/dresses with Converse, I approve) and an endearing love for good music on vinyl. I could do without her proclivity for smoking marijuana, but that's personal preference. Her interaction with Dodge is quite sweet, and in the end I have to say; spending the apocalypse with a Keira Knightley manic pixie dream girl wouldn't be bad at all.


The story begins with the legendary South Sea Queen searching the land for a man who can satisfy her enough sexually that their lovemaking won't end with the eel that lives inside her vagina killing him by biting off his penis. When she does find a man who can satisfy her, the eel exits her vagina and the man grabs it, turning it into a dagger that he threatens her with. She's his wife now, he says, and he demands that she stop killing people. Angered, the Queen curses the man's bloodline - in one hundred years, she will have revenge on his great-granddaughter - then vanishes, going to the bottom of the sea to join forces with the powers of evil.

One hundred years later, a girl named Tania, an anthropologist who's working on a thesis about the South Sea Queen, charters a boat to take her out to the spot where the Queen's castle was said to have sank into the water. When the boat's Captain, trying to convince her to stay away from that area, calls her "lady", she corrects him - "I'm not a lady, I'm an anthropologist!"

Anyone who goes to the spot where the Sea Queen's castle sank disappears, but Tania cannot be dissuaded. As she goes diving, the boat is wiped out by a large wave, and Tania suddenly finds that she's no longer in the water, she's tied down to a large bed, and an animated eel slithers into her vagina, right through her bikini bottoms.

Possessed by the South Sea Queen, a topless Tania rises from the ocean as electricity flashes around her, and so it has begun... For the remaining hour of the movie, Tania will live out an Indonesia-lensed cash-in on The Terminator that lifts whole scenes from its popular 1984 inspiration. Of course, there are some twists thrown in here and there. For example, the first people the Terminator came across were a group of punks that it takes out with brute strength. The first people Tania encounters are a couple punks, who she takes out by having sex with them so her vagina eel kills them with penis bites.

Tania's target is a singer named Erica, and most of the big Terminator moments are accounted for - nightclub attack, police cruiser car chase, eyeball self-surgery, police station assault, the Tanianator gradually losing all distinguishing features and most of her flesh from battle damage - as she pursues the girl and the local cop who comes to her aid and falls for her. There might even be a nod to Predator with the paraphrased line, "If it bleeds, it dies." As the end nears, things really get crazy.

Not exactly a great movie, it is quite entertaining to watch. It's fun to see how shameless a low budget rip-off can be, it's packed with action, there's a mullet-sporting stoner cop called Snake, the squibs are good and bloody, and Barbara Anne Constable as Tania is a lot nicer to look at than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Plus, it gets major bonus points for managing to work mythical vagina eels into the story.

But Tania would not like the title. "I'm not a lady, I'm a terminator!"


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