Childhood Movie Thoughts #4-6 (Necessary Roughness, The Goonies, and Jurassic Park)

The dream is dead. Once you go Rick Fox, you don’t go back.

*I recently wrote about three movies I watched when I was younger and I wanted to continue that series because God knows I have something of a problem finishing things. Starting things? Easy. Keeping them going? Difficult. Finishing them? Next to impossible. Speaking of impossible, some time last week, Lynnette told me that Rick Fox was dating Eliza Dushku. I didn’t want to believe it, but apparently, it was/is true. Reason #2,118 I love my wife: during this conversation about the happy couple, Lynnette used the term “old balls.” As a predicate nominative, as in “He’s [Rick Fox] old balls.” I think news like this doesn’t hurt so much because it means that I no longer have a chance with a girl like Eliza, but because her and her contemporaries are getting married and having kids. These are women that I used to fantasize about when I was in high school and college and well, they’re just like me. Married with children. Except they’re still beautiful and also rich. But they don’t call them impossible dreams because they’re possibly realities.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent, but yeah, just like last time, three movies I watched as a kid. Now that I’m something resembling an adult, I’ve got an added perspective. Remember, “adult” does not equal “intelligent.” This is how I combat the feeling of feeling old. I over-think all of these movies that I’ve seen hundreds of times and try to find some kind of perspective that I didn’t have as a kid. In honor of Robert Loggia’s appearance on Hawaii 5-0

“If this wasn’t friggin’ astro-turf, I’d dig a grave for myself.”

4. Since I’ve been doing a lot of talking about “impossible,” I figure I may as well throw in 1991’s Necessary Roughness. I suppose the premise itself (a university’s football team violates multiple NCAA rules and must field a team from the student body without scholarships) isn’t completely absurd, and I guess that counts for something because the just about everything about the rest of the movie is.

To wit: An college program with 10 players who play both ways (the ones that don’t: Samurai, Paul Blake, Popki, and Lucy Draper), arranging a scrimmage with prison inmates (still stands as one of the best collections of film cameos ever), Sinbad as college professor and a football player, holding football try-outs in the basketball gym (best exchange in the movie: “Show us the arm, son.” (Popki flexes) “Throw the ball, moron.”), and of course Coach Rig’s (Robert Loggia) halftime speech during the final game in the film.

Looking back at the film nearly 20 years after it was made, the most absurd thing about the film is the bizarre love triangle between quarterback Paul Blake, Dr. Suzanne Carter, and Dean Phillip Elias (as an aside, any “Phillip/Philip/Phil” in a movie, TV show, or commercial is a jackass. I don’t know why, but it’s true). This triangle is absurd because it adds absolutely nothing to the film (and also because the three principals were older than the rest of the cast, save the coaches). Sure, they tried to pull the whole blackmail-inappropriate relationship thing, but it didn’t create any suspense at all because it happened during the final game- it wasn’t going to matter anyway. It’s a comedy. You can’t have a referee rule on an illegal martial arts move, then try to work in something as serious as academic records to get in the way of laughs. Necessary Roughness is very nearly the definition of a “guy’s movie.” It’s about football. It features cameos from former and (then) current football players. There was a fist-fight scene in a bar. They brought in Kathy Ireland to be the kicker and star in an uber-letdown of a shower scene. It wasn’t as if women were a demographic.

The all-time “not-just-a-clever-nickname” name.

5. The first segment of this Childhood Movie nonsense was inspired by having seen Goonies on ABC Family. Over the weekend, the movie popped into my head (for whatever reason) and I began thinking (shocker). Lynnette and I were talking about how we had both grown up watching the movie, but that the first 200 times we saw the film, we had seen the edited version without the scene in the convenience store (where the map gets burned) and the octopus (which made Data’s comment about the scary aspects of “the octopus” at the end of the film seem odd). My mind was blown the first time I saw the full version. I remember seeing the Goonies in the store and thinking “what the hell is happening.” It might have been the first time in my life that something I absolutely believed to be true was shattered. Thanks to several romantic relationship, it wouldn’t be the last time. But anyway, like I said. I got to thinking and I basically ruined the movie for myself. The problem I’ve encountered is relatively simple: how do the gems in Mikey’s marble bag matter?

Supposedly, the Goonies are being kicked out of their homes so that a golf course can be developed on the land. My lack of knowledge in the realm of real estate and property laws is probably to blame for what I’m going to say next, but here it is: I don’t understand how finding money makes any difference. I assume that none of the Goonies’ families own the land, otherwise, they wouldn’t have to move. Since Troy and his father seem adamant about kicking them out and claim to be “the richest people in Astoria,” I think it’s a fair assumption that they own the land (or at the very least, are representatives of people that do). Troy makes some kind of remark like, “C’mon, Walsh, we don’t have all day! There’s fifty more houses to tear down after yours.” Like I said, they’re at least the instruments of doom. If that’s true, then the Goonies and their families have no leverage. It doesn’t matter if they have $8 billion dollars: if Troy’s dad doesn’t want to sell the property, there’s nothing they can do.

He would later redeem himself in Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

6. I never realized how influential Jurassic Park has been in my life until I noticed that raptors continue to pop up in much of my own fictional work. When I was nearing the end of college or just out, I had an idea for a series of children’s books featuring Ishtar, a raptor who would become the pet of a little boy (my brother Paul unceremoniously shit all over this idea and I’ve never touched it since). Ishtar and his human friend would get into all kinds of misadventures and eventually learn and therefore teach some kind of moral lesson.

More recently, my grandiose idea for a series of novels in a high school setting also featured the Raptor- as the school mascot. In fact, when the three brothers who run the school were attempting to come up with the mascot, they went through quite a few animals and heated debates before unanimously settling on the raptor- because they all simultaneously remembered Dr. Alan Grant’s impromptu speech about the raptor’s killing ability given to the fat kid who called the raptor an oversized turkey.

I think my affinity for raptors is the result of what I perceive as their personalities. Of course, I can never know how raptors truly behaved, but what the Jurassic Park series taught me is that they are ruthlessly efficient killers and they smile while they do it. None of the other dinosaurs have much personality, but I will always love the scene in the second movie when the people are running across the field and someone shouts “There are raptors in the tall grass!” Then there is a side view of a couple of raptors ginning while looking at their dinner run through the tall grass. It’s hard not to love such single-mindedness. Additionally, the raptors are always portrayed among the greatest threats in the dinosaur landscape. Dr. Grant and to a lesser extent Dr. Malcolm (above) taught me that if I ever come across a T-Rex, that I could survive if I stood completely motionless. Robert Muldoon, however, illustrated that even a seasoned hunter with a really big gun could be slaughtered by the clever kill strategies of raptors.

Why the hell would the supreme killing machine get frosted tips? And don’t say “irony.”

The one thing I didn’t care for, though, was when the people involved with the film decided to try and individualize the raptors by giving them what amounted to different hairstyles (left). I never thought that vanity would ever been high on the list of priorities for killing machines, but I guess that’s what happens when you get famous.

Jurassic Park and its sequels did for raptors what every single MTV “reality” show has done for morons: it gave them a platform for notoriety that would have otherwise not existed. Since the raptors became the stars of the films (one film revolved almost completely around stolen raptor eggs), I suppose it was inevitable that they would become egotistical monsters hell-bent on fame and the destruction of nearby living things.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that raptors may have jumped the shark in terms of popular culture, but I will always love them. I will always remember that tooth smile and hope that I look somewhere near that devious whenever I notice an opponent has forgotten to take a card after their round during a game of Risk. Now that I think about it, raptors might be the reason why I’ve always been subconsciously fond of Tim Curry.


One comment on “Childhood Movie Thoughts #4-6 (Necessary Roughness, The Goonies, and Jurassic Park)

  1. […] installment of Childhood Movie Thoughts. It’s been a while. You can check out parts 1-3 and 4-6 […]

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