Wednesday, November 28, 2007

At the movies

If you've read Posy's latest blog, you know that we like Netflix. You also know that I ordered Short Circuit. In fact I just finished watching it for the first time since I was 15 years old, the approximate maturity level of every actor in the film. Except the robot.

Even if you haven't seen this movie, if you spent any time in the 80s you can guess where it's going:

1. To be a vehicle for Steve Guttenberg and/or Ally Sheedy
2. To introduce audiences to the concept of a misunderstood robot that could love
3. To turn you, the viewer, into an empathy-retching machine

Here's what I think.

The robot was actually the least-annoying one in the whole movie. First it gets hit by a stray bolt of lightning from a storm passing through some distant mountains and gets a robot soul. From there it wastes no time out-classing all of the people actors by escaping the compound and not swearing every third line of dialog. It also displays an emotional understanding of its situation. It also deflects bullets with a hubcap, and pushes one of its evil twin robots into an outhouse, which then explodes poop everywhere.

Am I asking too much? Is there a story in this? Sure there is. All you do is take away Steve Guttenberg, because he really can't act. Not even poorly. Then you take out his greasy, sweaty-palmed East-Indian colleague who exaggerates his own accent and uses the English language for target practice by saying things like "Well the cat sure dragged in a sight for sore eyes." Then remove Ally Sheedy, who instantly becomes so attracted to the unfamiliar robot that when they cut to the next scene it's morning, and he's making pancakes, and I'm officially worried. (Maybe she's just so repelled by Steve Guttenberg's plappiness, if I might coin a phrase.)

Finally, get rid of the gravy-thick Army guy who wants to blow it up, even though it cost 11 million dollars, along with his scientist boss who nags at him not to. You have now eliminated all of the formulaic characters, and the robot is free to discover life, and I am free to not go looking for a hammer.

I give it two stars -- one for the robot's tolerance of idiots, and one for its laser gun that can blow up tanks. **


jana said...

The robot is not the only '80s star to come alive after being struck by lightning. There was also a Barbie doll.

John's Brain said...

Whoa, I missed that one. Was it live-action?

Not that I'm writing this down.

Jenikalicious said...

Did this movie come out right around the same time as Howard the Duck? Was Ally Sheedy in that one too? Or was that the chick from Back to the Future. I totally remember Short Circut, it was watched several times...we didn't have many to choose from at the library. That and The Sound of Music. Gosh, good times. By the way, I really MISSED reading your blog! It's been so long since youve written anything!!! Glad you're back . :)

John's Brain said...

Thanks Jen, I've missed writing. It's been tough to find time. I was up til 1 am last night writing.

Remember when we rented those clunky VCRs too? We didn't even have one. Mark and I thought we were so cool because we could plug a couple of cords into the tv and presto, we can watch a crappy 80s movie!

dave said...

Johnny 5... still alive, and pumping out robot-human chimeras with Ally Sheedy? Do you think thats where transformers came from? I mean the idea of a DNA based robot was a little absured, but now its all coming together!

John's Brain said...

I would hate to think that Ally Sheedy had any connection with Transformers, but now that you mention it, it scares me.

Anonymous said...

I prayed nightly that I wouldn't run into the fearsome Los Lobos Gang, who would possibly kick my balls into outer space.

dave said...

ooh thats good tune!

Moxy Jane said...

"Who's Johnny, she says, and smiles in that special way."

Mr. Guttenturd was even too big a star to be in the equally horrid video of the "hit" song...they used a cardboard cut-out...and yeah, the joke here is obvious.

I LOVED being able to check out those huge VCR suitcases from the library! We actually had people steal a few, they were just that freakin' cool (the vcrs, not the people).