Arnold and Predator: Bringing Fathers and Daughters Closer Together

I’ve been pretty busy with work recently. I have an English Department meeting this afternoon and more grading behind that. The small consolation is that it’s Catholic Schools Week so I get a dress-down day tomorrow and only a conference on Friday. I wish there was a way to doubly charge my phone battery for Friday, but it’s just a half-day. I can make it.

The longest, manliest handshake in human history.

The longest, manliest handshake in human history.

Last night’s highlight came courtesy of AMC’s showing of that timeless action film Predator. I hopped in bed and checked the usual spots. I had already seen the episode of Criminal Minds playing on Ion, and I have to be in a mood to watch Law and Order: SVU. I moved through the channels and caught a glimpse of Full House which startled me. I don’t remember DJ’s hair being that big. By the time I stumbled onto Preds, I was all too glad to have found it. Besides, I can watch this movie anytime…

Okay, I made this one up.

Okay, I made this one up.

AMC’s presentation of the film was accompanied by Story Notes, or little trivia about the film. As interesting as some of those notes were – like the one about JCVD playing the Predator for two days before quitting – the best part about this particular airing was that AMC would highlight key scenes, then display how much longer until those parts would come up before the station broke to commercial. I mean for a movie as familiar as Predator, I have a decent sense of when things take place, but I can totally see how this might be helpful if I am watching a movie I am slightly less in-tuned with such as U.S. Marshals. Additionally, I don’t think I’d want the Story Notes laid over a film I haven’t seen, it would distract from from the film. I suspect that AMC understands this, as the only other film I have seen with Story Notes is Top Gun, a movie which is as entrenched in the brains of males my age as Predator. 80s action films of this ilk have thin plots, lots of explosions, and the Story Notes work perfectly in that anyone likely to watch these films on a Tuesday night probably night has probably seen them anywhere between 4 and 200 times.

This scene led to one of the worst bullet-to-hit ratios in cinematic history, edged only by anyone shooting at Neo in the last 10 minutes of the first

This scene led to one of the worst bullet-to-hit ratios in cinematic history, edged only by anyone shooting at Neo in the last 10 minutes of the first The Matrix film and its subsequent sequels.

I think it’s pretty clear that Predator is the best of all films featuring the character. Predator 2 is an abomination, and all the AVP stuff is a perfect illustration that sometimes things look waaaaaaaay better on paper than on screen. In fact last night I tweeted (yeah, I’m on Twitter, currently trying to get to 30 followers) the following:

If OG Predator were to watch all the Predator sequels, he’d nuke himself. Without laughing this time.

It’s true. Anyway, the action sequences have held up decently, led by my friend Brett’s favorite scene of Arnold’s troop firing blindly into the jungle, missing the Predator, but managing to cut down 3% of the planet’s oxygen manufacturing in the process. It’s not so much the action, though, that’s made this film a classic, it’s the many quotable lines from the film which have given this movie the legs to make the long trek into perpetuity.

I text messaged my college roommate Derek a simple “He’s using the trees.” I was quickly met with “I’m gonna have me some fun.” To which I replied “Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant!” Yeah. It went on like this for a while. Now, one might think that this would have been the apex of my viewing experience, but it wasn’t.

"He can't see me..."

“He can’t see me…”

Madison popped into the bedroom just as Arnold jumped off the cliff and into the river. “Why did he do that?” she asked. “Because he’s running from something,” I said. Before she could follow up, Preds splashed into the river and emerged as his cloaking device powered down. “What is that?” she asked. “It ain’t no man,” I said. “What?” she said. I giggled, then I said “It’s an alien. That’s Predator. Preds.” “Preds? He’s an alien?” she said. “Yes.”

She sat in silence – except for the part when she asked why Arnold was so muddy – as the Predator stalked close to Arnold, then blew up the log chasing that huge rat-thing out from under. “Is he a bad guy?” she asked finally. “Yeah, the muddy man is the good guy.” “He’s human?” “Yes.”

Now, a film like Predator isn’t Madison’s usual fare, but she and I do share two key traits: curiosity and wild imagination. She was hooked. Lynnette called her to bathe and she didn’t move. AMC went to commercial and she said “Is he going to get him?” “I don’t know,” I said. “You better shower so you can see.” She jumped off the bed and sprinted into the shower.

When I took her from the shower, the first thing she said was “Did he get him?” I carried her to the bed and plopped her down. I tried to dry her face and hair, but she shouted “I can’t see!” “What’s he doing?” she asked. “He’s building mantraps to catch Preds,” I said. “Oh, that’s good!” she said. She saw the part where Preds pets one of his trophies and Madison said “I think he has a skull.” “You’re right,” I said. Then Arnold did that thing where he yelled so loud that it chased the birds out of every single tree in the jungle. “I don’t like this part,” Mad said. I changed the channel. As we settled down to bed, I pulled up Temple Run 2 and she snuggled next to me to watch.

“Did the alien get him?” she asked. “Oh, no, the man beat him,” I said. “That’s good,” she said. “Hey Mad,” I said. “Would you protect me if an alien was trying to get me?” “There’s no such thing as aliens, dad,” she said. “You’re probably right,” I said. “Yeah, he was mean.”


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