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Old 09-15-2012, 03:55 PM   #1
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The Lawnmower Man (or: F*** YOU, Brett Leonard)

(Foreword Note: I know this word bothers a lot of people, but I am going to use "retard" as a shorthand to describe people who are slow, mentally handicapped, or differently abled. It's only to save time. I personally view people who are naturally / physically different from me with the utmost respect. No offense is intended.)

You would think after my experience with Hideaway - the worst film I have seen IN YEARS - I'd have learned to stay away from anything Brett Leonard touches. But, I put The Lawnmower Man in my Netflix: Watch Instant Queue a month ago or so and then I saw it was about to be taken down (they give you warning for SOME movies and shows when they jump ship- but not always). So, I figured, I'd better see it. I did the same with Phantasm II and I've been downing a few horror flicks I've never seen before. Unfortunately, in 9 watches over the past 3 weeks, I've only found 1 half-winner (Mom, 1991). Also, tragically, I didn't know at the time I clicked Play that Brett Leonard directed this pile (however, the second Jeff Fahey said "I saw God," I had the notion to Pause and go check IMDb- angry shrieks followed).

Some critics have called it intelligent, ambitious, intriguing, good, and underrated. The film is none of these things. I thought, based on the first 10 minutes, that it would be funny. It was going for a real batshit insane kind of thing with the monkey serial killer, the biggest-bitch-in-the-world wife / girlfriend of Pierce Brosnan's character, Jeff Fahey's horrible performance (it's all bug eyes and tongue wagging for awhile), and the silly domestic abuse sub-subplot. Not even 1 character being beaten by an abusive father figure in their home was enough for this movie. They needed 2. I'm serious. There are 2 different victims, in 2 different houses, by 2 different abusers. And there's a bully too. So... Body Count Bullseyes are firmly in-place.

So, what's the movie about? It's about... Jeff Fahey is Forrest Gump playing video games to get smarter. But, what does he get instead? Christ Complex. Only, this movie thinks Christ was a condescending, power-hungry dictator who wants to take over the world and torment and kill anyone who has wronged him. There are 2 "wins" in this movie. 2 things I can give it credit for. The actual lawnmower-wreaks-havoc-and-kills scene. No blood or gore, unfortunately. But- amazing camera angles, pacing, editing, energy. And watching the lawnmower fly is awesome. That's maybe 1 minute of screentime. The other is Pierce Brosnan in the VR space suit. Forget the James Bond tux and tie, ladies, this is what works for him. Other than that, this movie is one of the biggest disasters I have ever seen. It's the worst film I've seen since Hideaway but I can't say it's one of the worst films I've ever seen.

What it is is a disaster of GLOBAL PROPORTIONS. The casting is wrong, top to bottom- save for Jenny Wright as the slutty neighbor and (shockingly enough) the guy playing the gas station bully. Jeff Fahey is creepy as the retard and entirely NOT creepy as the murdering SuperTechnologyMan. Pierce Brosnan is off, to be kind. He works for this huge corporation whom we know from Minute 1 are Bad Guys. Run by... the guy from Heathers who played the skinhead cop (about as theatening as one of those new My Little Pony ponies) and... well, this actor nobody knows. But he is the hammiest, least talented actor I've come across in a LONG TIME. He's trying to be Ronny Cox AND Michael Ironside from Total Recall at the same time. And, every word that comes out of his mouth you just want to laugh at. He couldn't convince you he has brown hair (which he does) if he tried to argue that. He's also a dead ringer for Phantasm's Reggie Bannister. So, now, you have Pierce Brosnan doing that whole "YOU CAN'T USE THIS FOR EVIL, FOR WAR, FOR PROFIT!" speech to these guys who (despite their 30-something ages) look like kids dressed up and trying to be intimidating. Or, more appropriately, they look like they belong at a frat party. And, these aren't the jocks either. These are the guys arguing which Star Trek episode is the best. Basically, imagine Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher with less hair as corporate warlords and you get the picture.

And the religious stuff... holy HELL is it a joke. Being gay (aka: being lectured, preached to, talked down to, lied to, used as a political weapon, targeted with violence, and treated as a fraction of a human being every single day of my life), I'm no fan of religion. But, as someone who can see how many good people recognize religion's bad side and try to do right by the people it abuses, I do think its' principles deserve a little respect. Every Brett Leonard film I've seen has tried to be adult on this subject and doesn't get the concept of religion beyond supernatural fanficing of "holy" battles between good and evil, and simple iconography. Meaning: he thinks he's being profound but he's just being pretentious. The first thing that crossed my mind upon Fahey's Techno-Hero-Warrior-Man going out on nightly killing excursions was: ...WHY?! The movie stopped paying attention to every single one of the abusive bullies of its' story nearly an hour before this in favor of trying to completely elaborate on Fahey's Cyber-Religious Transformation. Why the hell would he care anymore? His plan is to "Save" everyone in the world through [basically, an internet connection]. This would include the abusive people but, for some reason, he decides he wants in-person revenge on these guys. Even though his intelligence level is higher than anyone's could ever be. He should find this idea trivial. He does not.

Then... there's a priest in the movie. Take a minute, will you, and just imagine where the movie will go with this. I'll wait. Here's a clue: cliches.

If you guessed: he's a homosexual child molester who beats the retard in states of undress while simultaneously blaming the object of his desire for tempting him = YOU WIN!

The less said about Preacher Man, the better. The movie throws around "I saw God" and "I am God" with no dramatic or cinematic weight whatsoever. It's bad enough watching a video game scene where, suddenly, one who displeases Fahey-Christ-Man is mounted on a simulated CROSS (that's right- all of this is computerized, and did I mention this is early 90's computer graphics? Prepare for Ultra-Cheese) while not being religious. If I were religious, I would probably be enraged. I also can't believe I'm saying this but... Stephen King's original (short?) story idea was far more interesting. To make it about mythology. Nude Lawnmower Sacrifice? Say no more: GREEN LIGHT!

Now, I'd love to take a moment to reflect on the entire idea of the movie. Wasn't Brosnan right that this whole thing was bad from the beginning, born to be commandeered and corrupted by corporations who want war? Then, I have to wonder why the fuck his game mainframe is a honey-comb system of button-doors all but ONE of which is programmed with security scan passes... Basically: there are like 999 Front Doors with Locks and 1 Back Door with NO LOCK...!!!?!!!?!!! Look at it this way: Halloween III. Imagine the TV Commercial with Murderous Signal was created by Dr. Dan Chalice and Conal Cochran is a colleague of his who has gained access to it and has set up the whole plot to kill people with it... Now, Dr. Chalice is smart enough to program it so he can shut it down from the outside. But he designed it to be complex enough that there are entrances and exits within it. All BUT ONE of which can be locked to safeguard the virus inside. He realized it could be dangerous, designed it so it could be infiltrated from the inside, and left an Easy Out so the intruder can nab the honey and leave with it. The honey in this case being a sophisticated super-weapon.

So, as I said before- while this movie sat on my head and laid an egg as it pretended to be an extraodinary helmet of knowledge, I was not enraged watching it. I will grant it that it has some redeeming value. In that every now and then, you get a tiny reward for not turning it off. And I do mean tiny. Like Brosnan fending off a gun-toting Secret Agent with a bottle of champagne. Or the scene with the cops picking up the pieces from the lawnmower murder. One word says it all: "birdbath." And Jenny Wright. I once did a review of Near Dark where I insinuated she was like the cheerleader of the vampire gang, no real inner-involvement in their doings. Which was fair but I played her off a little as the movie's token blonde chick, which wasn't. Even in a minor role as a slut, she is the slut all others aspire to be. Not written with any character (seriously, fuck you- movie) but she makes "the character" so much more than she would have been without Wright. I seriously recommend everyone stay as far away from this movie as humanly possible unless Jenny Wright is your favorite horror actress (which wouldn't surprise me- I've seen her in 3 horror roles and she is nothing short of amazing).

But, for Hideaway, Brett- FUCK YOU, Brett Leonard. I WANT MY MONEY BACK! (I paid about $3.87 for the DVD and I want Every. Last. Penny back.)
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:12 PM   #2
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I get it, you hated the movie. What I don't get is why you'd say up front that you're not going to avoid a word that you expect will offend people you have the 'utmost respect' for.

You used the word twice; it would have taken less effort to change it than it did to write the forward note. So it's not just laziness on your part.

Just to be clear, I'm not calling you out for using the word, I'm calling you out for saying you have the 'utmost respect' for people you are intentionally disrespecting.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:46 PM   #3
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Is it me, or did it just get really fucking pretentious in here?
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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Ah, it's been a while since we've been treated to a display of DF9's histrionics.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:13 PM   #5
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I like THE DEAD PIT a lot. Haven't seen anything else from Brett Leonard that is up my alley, but I can't really blame him for wanting to get out of the cinema gutter that I enjoy.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:53 PM   #6
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The Lawnmower Man in Stephen King's Night Shift is much cooler. That's what I was hoping to see back in the day when this first came out - a big fat maniac guy mowing his lawn naked by grazing. Not even close
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:19 AM   #7
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This thread makes it very dificult for me to masterbate too it.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:19 AM   #8
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Thanks for reminding me that I have to see this. I'll hopefully be watching the first one tonight.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:27 AM   #9
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i saw this when it came out. i was 10, and it scared the bejeesus out of me. it also seemed pretty high-tech, with all the cgi and whatnot. i think this was around the time when people thought virtual reality was gonna be the next big thing.

i also saw hideaway when it came out - god help me, i read a lot of dean koontz as a young man i recall it being pretty blah, but i feel like i should watch it again too.

i liked dead pit too. and i remember thinking virtuosity was really fuckin cool when i saw it.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:30 AM   #10
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I remember being ''okay'' with THE LAWNMOWER MAN when it came out,but I knew going in that the only thing it had in common with the King story was the title.I recall seeing it again some years later (maybe a tape.it was a LONG time ago) and found that it was a wildly different cut of the film,quite a bit changed.Anybody remember this version ?

I saw HIDEAWAY in the theater and hated it.It was during the VR craze.Didn't last too long.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobby View Post
This thread makes it very dificult for me to masterbate too it.
DF9's threads seem to have that effect on women.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie Dude View Post
Thanks for reminding me that I have to see this. I'll hopefully be watching the first one tonight.
Try to watch the director's cut which is far superior to the shorter theatrical version and thus far still hasn't been released on DVD.

Lawnmower Man is one movie where I actually prefer watching my old VHS tape.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katatonia View Post
Try to watch the director's cut which is far superior to the shorter theatrical version and thus far still hasn't been released on DVD.

Lawnmower Man is one movie where I actually prefer watching my old VHS tape.
Thanks for the heads up. I think the DC of this film is on dvd in the UK. I may be mistaken though. It's the version I plan to watch
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Zombie Dude View Post
Thanks for the heads up. I think the DC of this film is on dvd in the UK. I may be mistaken though. It's the version I plan to watch
The DC is a good 33+ minutes longer (my VHS runs about 141 minutes), and really makes it a far better film in my opinion. The original theatrical cut just seems like a butchered film in comparison. Here's a good detailed comparison: http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=324384

Finland & Norway released DVD's with the director's cut, but those were full screen. It sounds like there's a German DVD out there too somewhere, based on the above link. These all sound like their probably sourced from videotape masters however. If there is a widescreen DVD of the director's cut out there somewhere, I want it!

I think most of the deleted scenes are included as bonus features on the US DVD, and somebody could probably edit together a composite if they had the time.

Hopefully Warner will release the full DC on a Blu-ray someday. I still don't understand why New Line chose to only add the R-rated cut on the DVD, when they had released the DC on VHS and Laserdisc before.

Edit: I guess there is also indeed a UK DVD with the director's cut: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0041G67V0/
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:49 PM   #14
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I still don't understand why New Line chose to only add the R-rated cut on the DVD, when they had released the DC on VHS and Laserdisc before.
Didn't New Line do the same with The Mangler and Guyver?
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:58 PM   #15
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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lawnmower-Ma...7796576&sr=1-2?
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