John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

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John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:46 pm

Rollerball is the bomb!
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby mavrach » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:29 pm

Good: I'm tempted to choose Predator, but I have to give this to Die Hard. Simply a classic action film, whose basic formula was unsuccessfully copied by many action flicks after that point. How many "Die Hard on a _____" movies came out in the next several years? It made a star out of Bruce Willis, then a comedy actor, and John McClane was an everyman hero when the standard was musclebound Arnold & Sly types. Also featuring one of the great film villains, Hans Gruber, in a performance that continues to frustrate Alan Rickman because he doesn't want to be typecast as a villain. A perfect cast, script, pacing, on a movie that I've seen dozens of times over the years.

Bad: The Thirteenth Warrior - It's a movie that watching it I feel like I should be engaged, but it doesn't click with me. There's a lot of cool stuff happening, but I miss the finesse that McTiernan's shown in his best movies.

Ugly: Hmm, I saw Medicine Man, The Thomas Crown Affair and the hated Rollerball each only once when they first came out and can't remember much about any. I suppose I'll pick Last Action Hero. It's always on the "worst movies of all time" lists, which I usually shrug off. As far as the film itself goes, it's a failure as both an action movie and also as a satire on moviemaking. I can't put the blame entirely on McTiernan, as the Arnold movie machine was in full force at that point.

But for me this was the end of an era of my childhood, where each year you could count on a new Schwarzeneggar flick to add to my action collection that I'd rewatch to death. After this he'd make True Lies and that would be it for him . A lot of his movies started aiming more at a family audience, but the young kids like myself liked him because we saw his R-rated films. I was 10 when Total Recall came out, the politicians might not like it, but I watched Richter's arms get chopped off and I wanted more! But at this point Arnold was getting paired up with another young kid and he was trying to be tongue-in-cheek instead of accidentally doing so with his one-liners.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby cdouglas » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:49 am

Good: Die Hard, but Predator and The Hunt for Red October are both fine alternate choices.

Bad: Die Hard: With a Vengeance - I'm not sure if it's my least favorite Die Hard flick, but it certainly has some of the most cringe-inducing scenes. In particular, the racially-charged banter between Willis and Jackson just feels like a forced, clunky attempt to bring some 48 Hours/Lethal Weapon flavor into the mix.

Ugly: Rollerball - I tried watching this one on HBO a while back and couldn't even finish it. Perhaps things turn spectacular in the second half, but I'm just gonna go out on a limb and guess that it's McTiernan's worst.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Mitchell Hattaway » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:59 am

Good: Die Hard-Duh.

Bad: Die Hard With a Vengeance-Streamline it, remove the half-assed connection to the first movie (which was dumb, unnecessary, and obvious), and give it an ending that wasn't obviously shot at the last minute.

Ugly: Rollerball-Duh.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:30 am

cdouglas wrote: Ugly: Rollerball - I tried watching this one on HBO a while back and couldn't even finish it. Perhaps things turn spectacular in the second half, but I'm just gonna go out on a limb and guess that it's McTiernan's worst.


The second half is even worse. In the podcast we postulated that McTiernan didn'T have a lot to do with the finished product. Say what you want about Basic but at least it feels like a McTiernan film.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby mavrach » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:45 am

I almost want to change my bad to Die Hard With a Vengeance. It's flawed but it's pros make up for its cons.

I've said before that the Die Hard series has no solid formula that identifies it. The second movie was already getting silly with the "how can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?" You can't exactly have John McClane happening into terrorist situations every Christmas. So instead we get generic action scripts, take the hero & villain and rename them McClane and Gruber, and poof you've got a franchise entry!

It also sorta ruins the happy ending of John & Holly's rescues & reuniting after the previous entries. They're dilluted if you know that it's not going to work out in the end, but honestly it does fit the characters realistically. It's again forced by the lack of a formula that the series has, and Holly has no place in the sequels when she's not a hostage. If anything they could've mentioned that she's home or something.

I can agree with Clark that the racism aspect is awkward, but it's just an excuse to give McClane somebody to argue with, as opposed to having him talk to himself the whole time. So Simon's plan was to have McClane's forced failure of his ridiculous tests be a distraction so he could rob the bank, right? What if McClane got killed in Harlem, wouldn't that ruin the plan? And why would he want Zeus to join McClane? But it's forgiven because Willis & Jackson have a geniune chemistry and it's a pleasure to watch them bicker throughout the movie.

But the movie is tense, quotable dialogue, likeable characters, "play along at home" puzzles. And it plays like a tour of Manhattan, filmed so you know where the characters are at any given time.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Dan Mancini » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:34 pm

Good: Die Hard

Bad: Medicine Man

Ugly: Rollerball
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:27 pm

Dan Mancini wrote:Good: Die Hard

Bad: Medicine Man

Ugly: Rollerball


My exact picks!
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby mkiker2089 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:14 pm

Thomas Crown Affair isn't bad. It just needs to be trimmed a little. Not to speed it up but to remove some cheese factor. It has a decent, perhaps clever, story and good characters. Cut back on some of the cliched arguments, remove some of the romance which just felt like another cliche, cut the monkey sex scene which was out of place, and viola you have a movie. As it stands I'd say it's just good, not great.

Good, I like most of his work but I think The Hunt for Red October stands as the most impressive. Die Hard and Die Hard 3 are good however and the first may be more enjoyable.

Bad, a reluctant Medicine Man. Again it's not that bad, it's just not good either.

Ugly, Rollerball is the only ugly on his list, but I haven't seen them all. I seem to recall something going wrong with that movie but I can't remember what. When the actors involved tell you the movie is crap then something bad must of happened.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Andrew Forbes » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:27 pm

mavrach wrote:Ugly: [...] I suppose I'll pick Last Action Hero.

As I mention in the cast, LAH isn't exactly defensible but, in a world where Basic and Rollerball exist, choosing it as McTiernan's worst is unacceptable.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby mavrach » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:57 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:
mavrach wrote:Ugly: [...] I suppose I'll pick Last Action Hero.

As I mention in the cast, LAH isn't exactly defensible but, in a world where Basic and Rollerball exist, choosing it as McTiernan's worst is unacceptable.


Understood but I've never seen Basic, and I saw Rollerball once when it first came out and can't remember anything about it. I could rewatch it to refresh my memory but why would I want to do that to myself?
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby mavrach » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:01 pm

I found a new Ugly: just saw Nomads on Netflix Instant. Despite trying very hard to be stylish, this falls flat on every level. It's a weak supernatural thriller, horror flick, action flick, whatever. And when Pierce Brosnan opened his mouth, I did not expect a French accent to come out. Was that really necessary, especially once they cast a British actor in that role? I can't believe that McTiernan made this and then proceeded to make the awesome Predator next. Is this a more acceptable choice?
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby mkiker2089 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:06 pm

I think you'll just have to give in and list Rollerball. The fact that you blotted it out of your memory tells me enough.

Does anyone know what happened to that one? I'm pretty sure McTiernan disowned it and I fully remember LL Cool J going on a few shows to tell people that it was crap. The director and a principle actor both hate it, so how did it get in the can?
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Mitchell Hattaway » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:30 am

mkiker2089 wrote:I think you'll just have to give in and list Rollerball. The fact that you blotted it out of your memory tells me enough.

Does anyone know what happened to that one? I'm pretty sure McTiernan disowned it and I fully remember LL Cool J going on a few shows to tell people that it was crap. The director and a principle actor both hate it, so how did it get in the can?

Test screenings were disastrous. The studio required so many changes that the final cut no longer resembled McTiernan's original version.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Andrew Forbes » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:47 am

Mitchell Hattaway wrote:
mkiker2089 wrote:I think you'll just have to give in and list Rollerball. The fact that you blotted it out of your memory tells me enough.

Does anyone know what happened to that one? I'm pretty sure McTiernan disowned it and I fully remember LL Cool J going on a few shows to tell people that it was crap. The director and a principle actor both hate it, so how did it get in the can?

Test screenings were disastrous. The studio required so many changes that the final cut no longer resembled McTiernan's original version.

If only that could explain everything that was wrong with it. There's nothing to salvage, regardless of what McTiernan's original looked like.
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby mkiker2089 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:48 pm

One has to ask why the original screenings were so bad also. I realize crap gets made but sometimes it's just amazing what slips through. Then again Indy 4 takes the cake in my book. It had enough people involved that should have known better that I would have never guessed it would turn out so bad
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Re: John mcTiernan's Good, Bad and Ugly

Postby Mitchell Hattaway » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:04 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:
Mitchell Hattaway wrote:
mkiker2089 wrote:I think you'll just have to give in and list Rollerball. The fact that you blotted it out of your memory tells me enough.

Does anyone know what happened to that one? I'm pretty sure McTiernan disowned it and I fully remember LL Cool J going on a few shows to tell people that it was crap. The director and a principle actor both hate it, so how did it get in the can?

Test screenings were disastrous. The studio required so many changes that the final cut no longer resembled McTiernan's original version.

If only that could explain everything that was wrong with it. There's nothing to salvage, regardless of what McTiernan's original looked like.

I'm guessing the editing process turned coherent semi-crap into incoherent crap.
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