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28 May 2005 @ 12:59 am
a review after midnight. Con Air.  
Define "over the top" in two words, as a synonym for "pure Hollywood": Con Air.

There is no way to detail the entire, staggering cliché-fest of beauty that is this movie. I'll just give you the last ten minutes, okay? Remember: the last *ten* minutes only. Okay.

All you need to know is that prisoners have taken over a prison transport plane and that Cameron Poe is our muscled, bloody, semi-lucid, ex-Ranger hero, a parolee caught up in the chaos as he was on his way home to his family. After almost two hours of mayhem, he is forcing a guy to crash-land the very large plane in Las Vegas. On the strip. In traffic. Which is what it does, casually mowing down cars and people and entire casinos in a glory of fire and terror. As it shudders in pain like a wounded elephant, its hull cracked open, everyone climbs out and wanders around, police and emergency services pulling up in swarms to reapprehend the prisoners etc etc. And then just as Poe (Nic Cage) is about to wind down his epic journey he sees his nemesis, Cyrus Grissom, getting away with his cronies Swamp Thing and Diamond Dog (I am not making that up) on a firetruck. So Poe jumps on a police motorcycle--at the exact same moment that John Cusack's U.S. Marshal Larkin jumps on another--to give chase. Side by side they gun their engines and race after the firetruck. They follow it into a tunnel and keep tight on its tail as it weaves through traffic. Shots are fired. And then Poe revs up to the back of the fire engine and jumps and *grabs* onto the ladder while his cycle explodes, taking out Diamond Dog. To help him out, Larkin pulls up alongside the truck and jumps on to the *running board* (please try to picture Geek!Action!Hero! John Cusack doing this in his battered linen suit and floppy hair). At the rear, Cyrus begins stabbing at Poe while he dangles, first by one hand, then the other (he has a gunshot wound in one arm, by the way), until Poe grabs the spear and breaks it into two and shoves it *entirely through Cyrus's ankle*, pinning him place long enough for him to pull himself onto the truck. Cyrus of course pulls the spear out and lunges up for the classic fistfight-on-firetruck scene, while Larkin takes an axe and hacks his way into the cab to tell Swamp Thing to pull over. There are fisticuffs and banter as we cut back and forth, and then Larkin turns on the firehose and shoots water into the cab (don't they need to get that from a hydrant? ohnevermind), and the whole rolling carnival begins to derail. Meanwhile Poe has tied Cyrus to the ladder, which he's raised, so that when they reenter the strip, the sneering bad guy--John Malkovich, by the way--is smashed like the rock in a slingshot across a skyway and out the other side, where he lands somewhere in debris. The firetruck ends its journey not by grinding to a meek halt but by smashing into an *armored car* filled with money, which blows open, as armored cars do. In Las Vegas. On the strip. Cue flying money, gushing water, fireworks from exploding neon signs. As Cyrus lies broken but alive he's smashed in the face by some kind of piledriver. The end. Of Cyrus. But we're not done yet. Oh, please. Let's cut to the bunny--the bunny? Yes! This is the stuffed bunny that Poe's been trying to bring home to his little daughter--the daughter he's never seen, ever, as he's been in jail for eight years for a manly and completely understandable mistake of manslaughter, sentenced unfairly because of an incompetent lawyer, of course--because, back to the bunny now, it's his wee daughter's birthday! And coincidentally his parole date. So we see the bunny swirling away in the gushing water, in the gutter, toward the drain, and it actually *plunges* *down* inside, except that, score! There is Poe's grimy hand! Yanking the bunny back from a watery grave! The bunny he has sworn and *killed* to protect! (Oh no. Noooo no no. I am not making that up. He has killed. For the bunny.) Then there is that moment we've all been waiting for, the manly moment of bonding between ex-con and lawman, Poe and Larkin, wherein Poe pledges his undying love trust, in his thick Southern-honey drawl (which has to be heard to be believed, and even then can't be believed) over a firm handshake. And then Poe stands there lost, looking around, only to spot...his wife! His blonde china-doll wife, who he calls "Hummingbird"! In her girlish dress and tidy white sweater, holding the hand of his beautiful blonde daughter, oh god, will someone please give me a Kleenex! *waiiiiiillllllll* He goes to them, a proud but humble ex-con, nervous as he greets his daughter for the first time, because he'd never allowed her to see him in prison, a terrible place for kids--though I should note that he does first give a hello to his unfucking*believably* patient wife (she and her Southern accent have waited eight years for him, chaste and true). Then he gives his daughter the bunny. And they all hug, one big reunionized family. And they cry. And I cry, just a little. (I wish I were making that up.) And then there's some banter back with the Cusack, and another round of "Sweet Home Alabama" to close out the movie, which ends with the audience celebrating the freedom of the most notorious but fictional serial killer ever to walk this land, Steve Buscemi--sorry, I mean, Garland Greene. A truly beautiful ending.

I laughed. I cried. I laughed so hard I almost snorted a peanut out my nose.

God bless America, Hollywood, and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Why am I still up?
all right, so you're nonchalantrunpunkrun on May 28th, 2005 08:20 am (UTC)
(please try to picture Geek!Action!Hero! John Cusack doing this in his battered linen suit and floppy hair)

Don't forget his leather yuppie sandals. I've succeeded in blocking most of this movie from my mind, but that image of Cusack endures.
Moral Whiplashbkwyrm on May 28th, 2005 08:39 am (UTC)
He wore sandals? I'm going to have to rent it and rewatch for footware chuckles.
PROBE UNIVERSE: superman: it makes me feel prettyliviapenn on May 28th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC)

I remember reading in some interview, Rolling Stone or something, that he was actually very proud of his daring choice to wear sandals-- action movie stars don't wear Birkenstocks! But John Cusack wanted to be, like, the INDIE action movie hero. Hence the sandals.
Anna S.: kitteneliade on May 28th, 2005 09:36 am (UTC)
Oh, don't even try to block it! How could you want to? It's a fabulous shiny train wreck--or, literally, plane wreck--of a movie. I love it so.
(Deleted comment)
Anna S.eliade on May 28th, 2005 09:33 am (UTC)
Oh god yes. *g*
Moral Whiplashbkwyrm on May 28th, 2005 08:38 am (UTC)
I love that movie - especially Steve Buscemi as the child molester. *shudder*
Since you're up, you could write more Jackporn! *puppy dog eyes*
Anna S.: jack-gazing-vaughneliade on May 28th, 2005 09:35 am (UTC)
Ha. Nice try! I'm sleeeeeepy now. Must go *dream* of Jack.
mollita on May 28th, 2005 08:41 am (UTC)
*dies laughing*

Put. The Bunny. Back. In the. Box.

I can't believe I now want to watch that movie again.
Anna S.: kandinskyeliade on May 28th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
You should--you totally should. *g*
quarter mile, bunch of horses & some gasolinecalijirl5150 on May 28th, 2005 08:51 am (UTC)
Nicholas Cage, stated in an interview that he was pumping iron (in a wife beater 70% of the time) in between every shot :0 Arm porn :):)
Anna S.eliade on May 28th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
Oh just fuel my lust, why don't you? ;)
your royal pie-ness: SG iconentrenous88 on May 28th, 2005 12:13 pm (UTC)
Some friends of mine dragged me along to see that movie when it was released; after the first sequence of Poe in prison writing his letters to his "hummingbird", one of them leaned over and said in a low whisper "I am so sorry!"

**smooches you for using the word "fisticuffs"** :D
Flurblewig: angeluswilliamflurblewig on May 28th, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC)
Con Air! I love this film with a huge, shiny passion. There have been many great 'don't fuck with me' lines in the history of film, but 'put the bunny back in the box' is surely the greatest :-)
Bone: Giddyup Summerthisisbone on May 28th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC)
This is one of those movies where, if I'm flipping channels and see it come up on TNT, TBS, or Spike (what, they're going to show it on Lifetime?), I feel compelled to watch it to the end. Every. Single. Time.

My personal favorite scene is where he's punching out all those big tough he-men cons on the plane, but when the girly-girl con comes after him, he slaps him/her, and he/she goes down in an offended heap, hand to cheek.

Nic Cage lost me with "I lost my bride! I lost my hand!" in Moonstruck, so I'm never surprised when he doesn't work for me (we watched National Treasure last night and I found myself watching everyone else in the scene except him, which is an interesting way to watch a movie, I have to say!), and the Southern accent was especially egregious, but... but... but... Con Air is a GREAT flick, not least for being named after a hair dryer!
Seperisseperis on May 28th, 2005 05:56 pm (UTC)
This is one of those movies where, if I'm flipping channels and see it come up on TNT, TBS, or Spike (what, they're going to show it on Lifetime?), I feel compelled to watch it to the end. Every. Single. Time.

Yes. And yes, a thousand times. No matter *where* it is in the movie, I must sit down and watch every. Damn. Second. It's--like, I don't know, this horrible black licorice candy I used to eat, because everyone ate it, and it tasted like licorice by way of an ash pit, but I'd still buy it and eat it by the bag, and it's *just like that*.

I think it's teh mass vehicle destruction. I love, love, love mass vehicle destruction.
sockkpuppett on May 28th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
I love this movie! It's so bad, it's good. Like "Jaws," if it's on the TV, I *have to drop everything and watch it.* John Cusack is marvelously miscast. John Malkovich chews scenery. Nicolas Cage is unintentionally hilarious (just like he was in The Rock). Things explode. It has a little bit of everything in it. My favorite scene is Steve Buscemi with the little kid. Shades of Frankenstein! hee hee hee hee
Seperisseperis on May 28th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
You *had* to remind me.

I love your summary. It's so freaking *accurate*.
Anna S.eliade on May 28th, 2005 06:35 pm (UTC)
What I love is how brazenly shameless it all is--of *course* his parole date is also his daughter's birthday, of *course* the battered bunny is right there on hand at the end of the movie for him to rescue, of *course* there's an armored car in the middle of the Las Vegas strip in the firetruck's path. Oh. Yeah. It is so big and shiny, this movie. I give it to you as a present.
Sandysp23 on May 28th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
I just love Nic Cage's arms - er, performance in this movie. The first time I watched it was on DVD and I immediately went on Amazon.com and bought it! It's a beautifully bad movie and I lurves it very, very much.
Neuroses on Paradesypher798 on May 28th, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC)
I love your stories, but seriously?
You should write movies reviews for living, because your review nailed it completely. I remember watching Con Air and liking but I can never remember why, until I see it again. A brainy movie it ain't but it's all heartwarming and things blow up, what more could a girl ask for?
Cloudiecatcloudiecat on June 4th, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC)
I loved Con Air too - just laughed and laughed, eyes wide in dis-belief at the outrageously OTT-ness of it. It was cutely tongue in cheek and just *fun* to watch. Bet the guys had a scream making it.