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The Gunman

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Did you ever want to see a roided-up Sean Penn star in a male wish-fulfillment fantasy where he makes Javier Bardem look like a  dumb Spanish pansy? Well then “The Gunman” is for you.

“Gunman” is about a former Special Ops (because of of course) guy who has a past providing security for humanitarian compounds in The Congo, and–oh yeah–assassinating the country’s Minister of Mining. He tries to atone for his past misdeeds by returning to his old haunts and digging wells for the locals. He also has time to surf and lift weights for about four hours a day, apparently. His super-manly existence is upended when he’s attacked by men looking to get a Proof of Kill. The rest of “The Gunman” is about his surprisingly uninteresting attempts to find out exactly who’s targeting him.

The gunman is a badass. Buff and self-assured and able to get himself out of a jam in almost supero-esque ways. He also has a European Girlfriend TM. (European Girlfriend TM* has a French accent but speaks and understands English perfectly. European Girlfriend is effortlessly lovely, with soulful brown eyes, charmingly-crooked teeth, beautiful skin and perfectly-tousled chin-length brown hair. European Girlfriend maintains her artifice-free loveliness merely by walking to patisseries and bathing in artisanal olive oil.)  And she’s anxious to hop on his junk despite being married to Javier Bardem and being repeatedly ditched by the gunman (for her safety, of course).

Speaking of Javier Bardem, I went to the film thinking he’d be in it a lot more. He made the movie for me– I love watching the man act. His reactions to losing European Girlfriend to Gunman over and over are the best, most emotionally-wrought parts of the film. Otherwise, I’d say “The Gunman” is merely a passable way to spend two hours.

 

*Sometimes European Girlfriend has slightly longer hair…and a Spanish accent.

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  • Warren Terra

    I’d never heard of the film, so just looked it up; some highlights:
    Rottentomatoes gives it 13% approval from critics, which is terrible, and only 36% from moviegoers, who often rate a film, especially an action film, much more highly.

    I see that the film features, in a part credited fifth, Idris Elba. I love Elba, but he’s seriously got to stop taking these throwaway down-the-list parts in bad action and genre films. The propensity of film-makers to get him in such parts (and his to accept them) is becoming a running joke.

    Apparently the film features bullfighting in Barcelona, which is not a thing that exists.

    • rea

      bullfighting in Barcelona, which is not a thing that exists.

      Only since ’11:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/world/europe/adeu-to-catalonias-matadors.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      • The film takes place in the year 2008. But I found that scene a clumsy attempt at symbolism. Ugh.

        • Warren Terra

          The epic review linked by Unemployed_Northeastern below says the film’s initial scenes are in 2006, and the rest eight years later, in 2014.

    • Halloween Jack

      I fully support Elba being in things like Thor and Pacific Rim, the former because of the Fanboy Rage ensuing at Elba’s casting as Heimdall, a character who’s white in the comics (and never minding that the Marvel comics that the film is based on are hardly accurate to the original sagas, there are numerous other changes to the comic canon’s transition to the movie, etc.), and therefore showing that that very vocal and butthurt segment of fandom is racist as well as sexist, and the latter because he takes that stereotypical role of crusty-but-goodhearted military mentor and has some subtle, sly fun with it. But, yeah, I’d really like to see him in something that’s meatier and in wide release.

      • burritoboy

        Elba is the only good thing in Pacific Rim (well, besides Ron Perlman) and does a reasonable job in a mediocre film. But, at the end of the day, Elba is a great actor of immense talent and doing this stuff isn’t what he should be spending too much time on.

      • rea

        Then Heimdall spake, whitest of the gods,
        Like the Wanes he knew the future well:
        “Bind we on Thor the bridal veil,
        Let him bear the mighty Brisings’ necklace;
        “Keys around him let there rattle,
        And down to his knees hang woman’s dress;
        With gems full broad upon his breast,
        And a pretty cap to crown his head.”–from the Poetic Edda

        • liberalrob

          I’m not up on my Poetic Eddas…is that for real? Heimdall suggesting Thor cross-dress is a new one on me. Kinky Vikings :)

          Did the Poetic Eddas ever have Thor turned into a frog? That happened in the Marvel Universe too…

          • Hogan

            Thor had lost his hammer (get it?), and he got it back by dressing up as Freya and pretending to marry the king of the giants.

          • Lee Rudolph

            I’m not up on my Poetic Eddas…is that for real? Heimdall suggesting Thor cross-dress is a new one on me.

            It’s been a long time since I read them (in translation, I assure you) and I can’t say I remember those lines (or even, somewhat scandalously, who Heimdall is when he’s at home, and why he’s the “whitest” of the Gods), but I definitely remember the broad outlines of the wedding story.

        • Halloween Jack

          Hairsplitting: “whitest of the gods” doesn’t necessarily mean “white”, especially as we understand it now.

          • Hogan

            Mighty white of you to say so.

            • Lee Rudolph

              Apparently being “white” is Aesir said than done.

    • Murc

      I love Elba, but he’s seriously got to stop taking these throwaway down-the-list parts in bad action and genre films. The propensity of film-makers to get him in such parts (and his to accept them) is becoming a running joke.

      The same can be said of Michael Caine, and his career hasn’t seemed to suffer much.

      • There’s a quote from Michael Caine where he says:

        I never saw Jaws III. I saw the house that it bought me, and it’s a very nice house.

      • Weed Atman

        He seemed to avoid your classic acting career rut by starring in just the bare minimum number of respectable movies every few years to be considered worthy of a part in another respectable movie a couple years later.

        • joe from Lowell

          Sort of a thespian Scott Rasmussen, then.

      • GFW

        Any thread discussing good actors who have appeared in a lot of bad films should at least mention Gene Hackman :-)

        • Weed Atman

          You’d better not be talking about The Birdcage

          • GFW

            Nah, that’s one of his good ones. But there’s so many bad ones. “The Quick and the Dead” for example.

            • Ahuitzotl

              I’m pleased to say that despite having been dragged to see that in theatrical release, I cant remember Hackman in it … or indeed any of it except Sharon Stone looking exceptionally silly in cowboy drag

            • Dennis

              He was great in Hoosiers.

    • efgoldman

      I love Elba, but he’s seriously got to stop taking these throwaway down-the-list parts in bad action and genre films. The propensity of film-makers to get him in such parts (and his to accept them) is becoming a running joke.

      “I love Elba, but he’s seriously got to stop taking parts just for money.”
      Hell, Warren, are you going to support the amateur college purity trolls in the next NCAA thread? Let the guy pad his retirement fund the best way he can. Every part can’t be Othello or The Wire.

      • Warren Terra

        I’m operating under the assumption that he has made money, given his recent career and that he seems to be getting plenty of work, an that he could also make money doing better roles.

        • liberalrob

          Maybe he just needed to get a long-suppressed urge to be Sylvester Stallone out of his system.

          • Murc

            “We’ve seen Sylvester Stallone rise and fall, rise and fall, fall a little bit further, and yet somehow rise again! How could anybody have survived Rhinestone? He’s not human, I tells ya!”

            • ThrottleJockey

              Really, reeeally loved the last Rocky flick.

        • Ahuitzotl

          I cant actually see anything in his career that says to me, huge moneyspinner or even close to it

  • wca

    Is this another AARP action film? Because this looks like another AARP action film.

    • Warren Terra

      Well, sure, the titular action hero was nearly 55 when filming, but his love interest the European Girlfriend was nearly 35 – practically ancient by these standards. Didn’t Harrison Ford or somebody do an action film with an actress 30 or 40 years his junior? I’m not counting RED, because in that film it was part of the joke, at least until the sequel that I haven’t seen.

      Also: the European Girlfriend actress is European – though Italian rather than Spanish.

      • liberalrob

        Sean Connery (69) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (30) were pretty far apart in Entrapment

        • ThrottleJockey

          Catherine Zeta-Jones and her actual real life husband Michael Douglas are pretty far apart!

      • Hogan

        Do you mean that fourth Indiana Jones movie that was never made and definitely does not exist?

    • BigHank53

      I heard the term “geronto-thriller” applied to the Taken series, which seemed appropriate.

      • Andrew

        Definitely; the strange thing is not just that Penn and Neeson are not especially convincing at their ages at action heroes, but also the fact that neither of them really did the action hero role when they were younger.

        • The Dark Avenger

          Neeson did Darkman about 20 years ago, but I can’t recall Penn doing anything similar, even at the beginning of his career.

          • FlipYrWhig

            Penn is the heavy in _Casualties of War_.

          • heckblazer

            He also starred in Rob Roy, which has one of the all-time best movie swordfights.

        • wjts

          What are you talking about? Ethan Frome was the original action hero.

          • Bartleby was the original inaction hero.

            • joe from Lowell

              inaction hero

              You know, I’m a rather accomplished indoorsman.

        • MPAVictoria

          Well I don’t know about Penn but Neeson is a very convincing action hero for his age. He moves quickly and his height allows him to loom menacingly over his foes. Taken is not high cinema and it DEFINITELY has problematic elements but it is a pretty good action movie as these things go.

          • BigHank53

            The Taken films seem to work, as demonstrated by the box office and the fact that they’ve made a third one. But similar films starring Harrison Ford and Kevin Costner have sunk like stones, and this Penn vehicle looks to follow the same path. It’s not like an action movie is rocket science. Why are the Taken imitations tanking so hard?

            • The Dark Avenger

              THe European locales help gain audience share, IMHO. Americans love to see Americans being chased by bad guys down cobblestone streets.

              • ThrottleJockey

                Cold war thrillers chase us still.

        • Weed Atman

          I completely disagree, Neeson continues to play it well, the same can’t be said for Penn.

      • elm

        The Expendables series (despite being flawed in many many ways) at least has fun with the fact that its main stars are ancient and doing ridiculous things.

        • liberalrob

          See also Space Cowboys. Nothing is new in Hollywood.

      • tribble

        Geriaction.

        • wca

          +55

    • rm

      I read somewhere they make these largely for overseas markets. The Hollywood wisdom is that comedy and romance don’t translate culturally very well, but action looks the same everywhere. And like Hong Kong-made martial arts films of the past, they don’t have much dialogue so don’t need much dubbing. And apparently foreign viewers like to see the movie stars of yesterday.

  • I am disappoint that Penelope Cruz wasn’t cast as the European Girlfriend. Because lulz.

    • omg, that would have been funny.

    • wjts

      I thought Eva Green got all the European Girlfriend parts these days. (I’m so old I remember when it was Julie Delpy or Juliette Binoche.)

      • Eva Green is not married to Javier Bardem.

      • sparks

        I’m so old I remember it being Romy Schneider or Capucine.

      • UncleEbeneezer

        Or Marion Cotillard. She’s also a pretty good actress though I confess I could probably watch her (or Eva Green) pretend to watch paint dry so I may not be the best judge.

      • patrick II

        I’m so old I remember Astrid Hereen from “Castle Keep” and the original “Thomas Crown Affair”. She made quite an impression (obviously) on my 19 year old self.

    • liberalrob

      I liked her in Sahara.

  • SgtGymBunny

    Man Fantasies, I call ’em. Kinda like ‘chick flicks’ but for dudes.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      i’ll watch ‘major league’ or maybe ‘the blues brothers’- or, for something more traditional, ‘silverado’ again instead, thanks

      • Major League is a litmus test for me. If you have even a small interest in baseball and you don’t love that film, we’re probably not going to be friends.

        • Rob in CT

          Hats for bats. Keep bats warm. Gracias.

          What league did you play in?
          California Penal.

          Most of these guys are past their prime!
          Most of these guys never had a prime!
          This guy’s DEAD!
          Well, cross him off, then.

          • Sly

            You tryin’ to say Jesus Christ can’t hit a curve ball?

            • liberalrob

              Is very bad, stealing Jabu’s rum. Very bad.

        • Kathleen

          Absolutely love Major League. I’m pretty much a sucker for any baseball movie, but that one is special. Charlie Sheen is great.

          • wjts

            Easily his best non-Hot Shots! role.

      • Mike Lommler

        I enjoy all of these. I applaud your taste.

    • funkula

      Mantasies.

      Incidentally, autocorrect wanted the above to be “manta sues” which is a character archetype found in Aquaman fanfiction.

  • Ahuitzotl

    Is anyone keeping count? Have we reached the point where there’s more movies featuring ex-Special Forces than there are, actual ex-Special Forces?

    • Halloween Jack

      Well, part of that is how widely you’re defining Special Forces–does that include all Rangers, all Green Berets, and/or just Delta Force, and that’s just the U.S. Army. (And Delta Force is notoriously secretive; everyone in it on active duty has a cover unit and MOS that they supposedly belong to, even on post at Fort Bragg.) I’m sure that there are way more people claiming to be or to have been Special Forces than actually are/were.

      • medrawt

        While you’re surely right about people claiming SOF backgrounds vs. actually having them (and also, based on the volume of memoirs, I feel like SEALs have joined Crossfitters in the joke “How do you know someone [does Crossfit/was a SEAL]? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you”), I think the last 15 years have seen an actual increase in SOF numbers. I also think there’s been some redefining of who counts; gray-area cases like Rangers and Force Recon – more elite and specially trained than the average US combatants, but not necessarily doing the mission profiles traditionally associated with SOF – seem to have been nudged into this category of “special operations capable”. (I wonder how much of this is because of actual mission profiles, how much is for budgetary reasons, and how much is for the sake of institutional pride. I remember reading something about how all of a sudden everyone started saying “Tier One operator” and the like to sound knowledgeable, when [in my third-hand understanding] Tier One was more about a funding category than a capabilities description, and got popularized via videogame.)

        Nonetheless, these days in TV and movies I take it as a refreshing deflation of hyperbole when a character is introduced as a former Ranger, since at least he’s not ex-Delta or SEAL.

        • Weed Atman

          Recon counts as special forces now? I wonder how the rest of the corps feels about that.

          • heckblazer

            The Marines finally got tired of being cut out of SOCOM and its operations, so they got promoted. I don’t know the rank and file reaction though.

            • Captain Haddock

              No and no. SOCOM wanted the Marines to play with them because they wanted access to the USMC talent pool. And a lot of the rank and file do not consider it a promotion. Not a lot of Marines look at foreign internal defense missions as a great use of our time.

              • ThrottleJockey

                If Marines are our premier expeditionary force (assumption on my part) why not?

          • medrawt

            Per Wikipedia, in the last decade the USMC created specific special operations teams, I guess splitting off from Force Recon. Recon itself remain designated as “special operations capable” which is apparently not the same thing as being “special operations forces”. I may have been wrong to apply the same designator to the Rangers, as it appears to be a specific term for the Marines, and the Rangers are actually part of USSOCOM, which I don’t think Recon is …

            The point being, there’s expansion of who counts as “SOF” for a variety of reasons, and it’s all a bit of rhetoric – SEALs do what they do, Green Berets (who are the actual “US Special Forces”) do what they do, Delta does what they do, Recon does what they do, Rangers do what they do, those Air Force guys who paint targets from the ground do what they do, etc. “Special [Ops]” doesn’t *really* mean anything intrinsic.

            • Captain Haddock

              “Special Operations Capable” just means the unit can do SOF-type missions, but it is also capable of conventional operations. It’s also a certification that Marine Expeditionary Units obtain prior to deploying on a float.

        • FDChief

          Which actually got me thinking about “What DOES count as a “special operations mission”?

          I can think of two right off the top of my head; the original Army Special Forces (which was intended to be a sort of WW2-SOE-OSS-style guerrilla-warfare outfit training friendly resistance groups) and the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams, who were tasked with amphibious reconnaissance and landing-beach-obstacle removal.

          The Army Ranger and Marine Raider battalions of WW2 were (and the modern Ranger and Recon units are) just high-speed infantry outfits; they execute(d) infantry missions like reconnaissance and combat patrols, hasty attacks and hasty defenses. Air Force pararescuemen seem to have a basic mission similar to a raid; movement to an objective, secure the objective, withdraw from the objective. Admittedly in pretty hairy-assed circumstances, but the basic skillset the Ranger, PJ, and Raider guys need(ed) were the 11-series skillset.

          Since the beginning of the Global War on (Some Kinds of People Who Use Some Kinds of) Terror ISTM that the Army SF and Navy SEAL teams have moved closer to conventional infantry at least in execution. SFOD Delta and SEAL Team 6 may perform “sepcial operations missions” in the sense that they don’t always operate on a conventional battlefield…but the principles of a hostage rescue seem very analogous to a “raid”…and many of the sorts of missions that the regular SF and SEAL teams were performing in SW Asia seem very much like conventional infantry patrols…

          So the bottom line (at least so far as I can see) is that for all that the conventional wisdom is that a “special operations” troop is some sort of super-soldier the probability that your standard-issue SF or SEAL NCO is basically a well-trained infantryman with some extra skills, and a veteran Ranger or Recon sergeant may not even have the extra tricks. Good soldiers, better than 80% of your regular line doggies. But not Johnny Rambo.

      • I’ve seen saying that for years.

        If half the people who claim to have been Special Forces actually were, we’d have entire armies of Special Forces.

        • Ahuitzotl

          Give it a couple of decades, and you actually will – shades of the late roman Auxilia Palatina

          • deptfordx

            Doesn’t North Korea claim to have a ludicrous amount of Special Forces?

            I assume ‘special’ in this case probably means, gets regular meals and the guys with nutritional brain/body damage from the repeated famines weeded out.

  • If there’s anyone who needs to take steroids, therefore increasing the likelihood of going in to a rage, it’s definitely Sean Penn.

  • djw

    Speaking of Javier Bardem, I went to the film thinking he’d be in it a lot more. He made the movie for me– I love watching the man act.

    Me too, although I’m giving this one a wide berth. Did you see Biutiful? A lot of people didn’t like it for a variety of reasons, and I’ll admit to digging Innaritu as a filmmaker in ways that make me inclined to overlook his flaws, but I loved it. The film really hinges on Bardem’s performance–the story places ridiculous demands on its central character such that few actors could credibly pull off the role–but Bardem does as I well as I imagine anyone could.

  • Aaron Baker

    Well, Penn is dreamy-looking, and that’s what matters most.

  • Morse Code for J

    It could be an awesome comedy if you imagined that this is what Jeff Spicoli did after graduating from Ridgemont High.

    • I like that. It’s the same way I imagine that The Walking Dead takes place in the same zompocalypse as Zombieland.

    • Halloween Jack

      If you want someone who can surf and is also ex-Special Forces, I highly recommend John Carpenter’s Escape From LA, which is less a sequel to Escape From New York than a pisstake on the previous movie.

  • Aaron Baker

    Most action movies strike me as excuses to string together explosions and sex scenes (both of which, of course, are fine in moderation and in a coherent narrative).

    I hadn’t encountered “AARP action star” before. I have to say, the term does add to the (I guess inadvertently) comic effect of Liam Neeson beating the shit out of people thirty years younger than he is.

    Not just aging action stars are fascinating; there’s also the occasional use of a star you would never have expected in an action movie: e.g. Adrian Brody in Predators. He’s bulked up impressively, and to my mind plays a convincingly ruthless mercenary.

    • patrick II

      I can actually imagine a skilled, big, strong ruthless older guy doing alright in a fight with younger guy as long as the fight doesn’t last too long. George Forman is 66 now, and I still wouldn’t advise most people to throw a punch at him.
      What amused me more was Neeson’s running. They showed him chugging along and somehow staying ahead of a thirty year old cop chasing him. His age really showed at the end of the chase he kind of hobbled/ran off into the l.a. concrete river system that movies love to show.

      • AlanInSF

        I was glad to hear that Neeson is retiring from action movies after two more years, although I imagine having his grandchildren kidnapped will persuade him to come out of retirement one last time.

      • Aaron Baker

        And Neeson was, I gather, a decent boxer. Still, the evil adversaries the action star is up against are typically supposed to be alpha males with preternatural fighting skills, aren’t they?

    • nixnutz

      Sean Penn’s only a couple years older than Charles Bronson was when he started the Death Wish franchise. It’s different now with the guys from the 80s still taking their shirts off but old dudes in vigilante revenge fantasies are well-established.

      • Hogan

        But Charles Bronson had been in The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen and a shit ton of TV westerns. That wasn’t casting against type.

        • nixnutz

          I guess I’m not quite old enough to remember Bronson from before Death Wish, it’s just that that series seems to be the root of a whole action subgenre and it started with an older actor.

          And Sean Penn started with Taps and Bad Boys, there was also Falcon & The Snowman, At Close Range, Colors, Casualties of War, State of Grace, The Game, he’s done tons of thrillers, if not any Cobra or Commando style action movies. This doesn’t seem surprising, other than it seems kind of lowbrow.

  • Unemployed_Northeastern

    Christopher Orr wrote an amazing review of this movie over at The Atlantic.http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/03/the-gunman/388218/ Must read.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      apparently all involved took the line about “avoid anything strenuous to your head” quite seriously

    • Halloween Jack

      I think I’m going to work my way through Orr’s backlist, at least until I run into a review putting down a movie that I really like. Here’s a bit from his review of Lucy:

      [Morgan Freeman’s character] notes with self-satisfaction that the human race needs to advance from “evolution to revolution,” which his upscale audience applauds enthusiastically, suggesting that they can’t tell the difference between a genuine insight and a sneaker ad. He also laments that “We don’t know anything more than a dog that watches the moon.” I fear that on the basis of this film it might be plausibly presumed that we actually know less.

      Sounds pretty much like the average TED talk, actually.

      • That speech was the part of Lucy that made the most sense.

      • And, there’s also this, said by the Johansson character, to her mother:

        “I remember the taste of your milk in my mouth.”

        Yikes.

        • Aimai

          I must be the only person in the world to love the movie Lucy but I do. I love it. And I even loved that line. Maybe because I’m a mother and a daughter or because I’m interested in memory and experience but I loved it. Everyone else I know hates it but I’m not sure why. It wasn’t any worse than lots of other movies with male stars and even the notion that genetics/drugs can produce someone who can DO THINGS WITH THEIR MIND isn’t unique to Lucy–its the entire logic of the British series Jekyll and no one complains that its illogical. (I love Jekyll, too, of course).

    • SgtGymBunny

      I just gave up reading the review here. Everything after this point is bound to be nonsensical ridiculousness, so why bother??:

      17a. Just in case you missed it—or, more likely, refused to believe it—let me relate that sequence one more time. Felix tells Jim he thinks he’s trying to steal Annie. Then, at dinner, he berates Annie for ostentatiously ogling Jim. And then, he sends Annie to Jim’s hotel room, where the two of them do in fact have sex. At what point in the writers’ minds did any of this make sense?

      Please tell me everybody dies at the end. A sweaty hot mess of a plot, but perfection as an example of a cinematic manBOY fantasy. If there’s gonna be competitive dickswinging, there’s gotta be a woman in between, right?

      • sparks

        No, but from what the reviewer said, the capper line at the end (by Penn) should’ve been “Truth and reconciliation, baby”, which would’ve at least solved Orr’s problem with the ending.

      • Origami Isopod

        Hopefully there’ll be explicit Jim/Felix slashfic out of this movie.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Actually it exemplifies the irrationality of Bardim’s character, and sending his wife to fetch Sean Penn was the only way to lure Sean Penn out to the country house where he could be killed. After the earlier incident at the restaurant Penn would’ve been extremely unlikely to meet Bardim at a country house…This, at least, is how I made sense of the sequence.

    • Aimai

      I loved this part:

      Jesus, Penn is ripped. His biceps look like a medical condition.
      10. Jim goes to a pub with Stanley. He’s wearing a T-shirt. (Jesus, Penn is ripped. His biceps look like a medical condition, with Jackmanesque veins that seem ready to slither off his body altogether.) Jim gets into a pointless fight with soccer fans and then has another terrible headache, with double vision and vomiting. Stanley takes him to the doctor.

      11. After conducting a brain scan, the doctor says Jim might have early onset Alzheimer’s. But then everyone remembers that was the illness in Julianne Moore’s movie last year. So they conclude instead that he has “post-concussion syndrome” from all his years of fighting wars. Smart, right? A topical ailment—with ties to the NFL controversy—that no one has yet played in a major motion picture. It’s perfect. We’re now officially an issue movie. This will be your I Am Sam, Penn! (Oh wait. I Am Sam was your I Am Sam. Forget I brought it up.)

  • Todd

    Like “Taken”, this is a film with a French director and writer, and has a lot of European cast and locations. I assume a lot of the production money is European as well. Much of this is probably for moderating the budgets. They can produce these films for $25-40 Mill., whereas a similar story in the US with a largely American cast (Harrison Ford, Schwarzenegger, etc…) would be much higher. Like the spaghetti (and German and Spanish) westerns, all you really need is one big star, and you can skimp on the rest of the production costs – if you can keep it entertaining.

  • Bugboy

    Sean Penn is so buffed out and getting that middle-aged leather face look, I keep thinking I’m seeing Sylvester Stallone in the adverts for the movie. More proof that Hollywood doesn’t have the nerve to do anything original, maybe they never did?

    • Just_Dropping_By

      I’d say Penn has had “middle-aged leather face look” for about the last 15 years, but I otherwise agree with your post.

  • Gregor Sansa

    Are there any side effects I should worry about when considering European Girlfriend™?

    • Yes, too much whimsy. No, wait, that’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

    • joe from Lowell

      She might forget to pack your father’s watch. YOU TOLD HER!

    • BigHank53

      The extremely high maintenance costs. Not for her, of course, but you’ll need to budget for the cars that will get crashed and the houses shot up by the Menacing Thugs™ that will be constantly trying to kidnap her.

      Of course, after your fifth or sixth concussion you probably won’t notice.

    • Malaclypse

      You will be constantly hearing Cracker’s Eurotrash Girl as your own personal soundtrack. As this slowly bleeds through to reality, you will find yourself constantly surrounded by drunken frat boys moshing in your vicinity. If this condition lasts longer than four hours, one of them will throw up on you.

  • Turkle

    I will admit that my favorite of the “European Girlfriend” actresses has always been the lovely Nastassja Kinski, whose stunning looks and exoticism never tire the eyes. She also ended up being a damned fine actress as well, with great performances in Tess, One From The Heart, and Paris, Texas. She even made the almost unwatchable “Cat People” more than tolerable, and that took real work.

    But seriously, she must be the standard-bearer for this sort of thing.

    • elm

      She even made the almost unwatchable “Cat People” more than tolerable, and that took real work.

      She made a valiant attempt, I’ll grant you, but, no, she did not succeed in making Cat People tolerable. Holy Hell, but that is a bad and unbearable movie.

      • NonyNony

        I refuse to believe anyone was ever stupid enough to try to remake Cat People.

        I mean I know that there were ads for it back in the day, and that my local video store had a copy on its shelf, and that there appear to be Wikipedia and IMDB pages corroborating its actual existence. And I vaguely recall a friend an I renting said movie from the video store and attempting to watch it, but I seem to recall that the tape was blank because I refuse to remember can’t remember anything about the movie.

        It’s just got to be an elaborate hoax.

        • Ahuitzotl

          Actually we’ve just been gaslighting you, there ISNT actually a remake.

          Of course, there was never an actual movie called Gaslighting, either…

    • Halloween Jack

      For my money, the thing that made Cat People tolerable–aside from the awesome Giorgio Moroder soundtrack, including, of course, Bowie crooning the title song (later recycled by Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds)–was Malcolm McDowell. There’s a scene in which he’s just transformed from panther back to human, which of course involves killing someone, and as he casually surveys the carnage he picks a bit of panther skin (a remnant of the transformation) off his own skin and chews on it. It’s just the sort of weird little riff you’d expect from the star of A Clockwork Orange.

    • Hogan

      the lovely Nastassja Kinski, whose stunning looks and exoticism never tire the eyes.

      And considering who her father is, that’s a freakin miracle.

      • BigHank53

        Rebecca de Mornay’s father is Wally George. Angelina Jolie’s is John Voight.

        • rea

          Were either of them child molesters?

    • Origami Isopod

      exoticism

      Ick.

      • Turkle

        Really? Is that gross? Actually asking, I certainly didn’t mean to offend.

        • Hogan

          “Exotic” carries a kind of Orientalist/Asian-fetish connotation, and the rhyme with “erotic” doesn’t help.

          • Turkle

            Huh. I did not know that.

  • Well since this is LGM cue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvTv-I2Y390

  • Weed Atman

    I usually try to defend Sean Penn, as he’s a distant relative of mine (my father and I have the same smirk!) but…man, I dunno. From Oscar to this. I guess he saw Liam Neeson and said “I wanna do that kind of shit!”

  • KmCO

    Wait, you mean this is a real movie?

    • Define “real.”

      • rea

        They don’t put them on reels any more.

    • Hogan

      “This is not a movie! This is real!”

      “Which reel?”

      “The last reel of that vintage motion picture, High School Madness.”

  • The Temporary Name

    Much better is Wild Tales, with a terrific wedding finale.

  • Mike in DC

    Fast Times at Ridgemont High II: Spicoli Kills Everybody

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