LETHAL WEAPON (1987)

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Lethal Weapon Ii (1989) Mel Gibson, Danny Glover Die Polizisten Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson,l) und Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) zielen nicht immer in dieselbe Richtung ... Regie: Richard Donner ,

Christopher

My only real connection to this series is when I rented Lethal Weapon 3 for a birthday sleep over in middle school. I remembered the duo of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson being much funnier and cooler than what was in this first film.

Glover and Gibson seem to look the same age in this film but it’s suggested Gibson is a young reckless suicidal wildcard on the force. He lost his wife and he’s been a wreck ever since. I really feel like most of the movie is pretty forgettable. However the climax of this film is not one I will soon forget.

The film comes to its climax at the end of the movie when everyone follows the main villain to Glover’s home. He’s going to kill his whole family and Gibson and Glover were the first on the scene. And what’s that? They stop him immediately!! Good job! But then Gibson decides he needs to fight the villain in a bare knuckle fight to….um, what? While they fight the rest of the police force are standing around watching. Even if this guy beats Gibson he’s still going to jail. WHY ARE WE WATCHING THESE PEOPLE FIGHT??? What’s at risk?

I’m already confusing this movie with 48 Hours in my head so I don’t think it was a favorite.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I wanted to see two bad-ass buddy cops take down bad guys while making charming quips here and there. We watched Lethal Weapon and instead I saw a psychopath be a bad cop and a girl almost get raped.

Mel Gibson is a problem. I grew up loving him; even though he tended to be in movies too adult for me he always seemed so charming, nice, and oh so cute. I inherited my love for Mel Gibson from my mom and then cemented it myself when he played the father of my own love, Heath Ledger, in The Patriot. He wasn’t the young heartthrob in that movie, but he played the I-Just-Want-What’s-Best-For-You Dad to one, which was close enough. When I got a little older I was finally able to watch Braveheart. When I saw that I felt like I truly “got” what everyone loved about him. The performance . . . the ass . . . everything was just so great. Things started to crack a little about a year after The Patriot came out and I read that Heath Ledger had been so excited to work with Mel Gibson and then had been so disappointed by actually working with him. After reading that, I figured maybe Gibson wasn’t exactly as I had imagined – at the very least he sounded like such an intense actor to work with that he often was just mean. But I mean, that happens, right? Actors are intense, we don’t all personally know actors, etc. Then the recordings of his drunken, hateful rants came out in 2010 and I felt duped. It seemed to prove that he wasn’t an intense actor at all, just an enraged, racist, sexist, mean asshole.

So now when I watch a movie like Lethal Weapon where Mel Gibson plays Martin Riggs, a completely unhinged wildcard cop needing a stable partner, it’s hard to feel impressed by much of Gibson’s acting. His rage is quivering and unfiltered and supported by his mediocre performance whenever he’s not a psychopath. And he’s supposed to be a cop? It was so stressful watching someone who is clearly supposed to be a good guy act like a bad guy. The best part about him was his dog that I think was only in one scene. The only time I felt an emotion for him other than disgust was when we wept over his inability to kill himself after crying over his dead wife. Extremely sad, but inevitably a completely unearned emotion.

Then we have Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh. Murtaugh is a good, level-headed cop with a good track record. He’s a perfect dad. He’s a perfect husband. He has a cute cat named BURBANK. He’s good looking, charming, and nice – for real. So of course he’s going to get paired up with Riggs and Riggs is going to fuck everything up. I was constantly waiting for Murtaugh’s perfect family to be in danger until it finally happened. His teenager daughter, Rianne, is kidnapped and the note left behind for Murtaugh says “Your daughter looks pretty naked,” with an unseen-by-us Polaroid. This was a minor detail in a major plot point but it completely distracted me. What was in that picture? Just a naked Rianne, which would be horrible enough? Or was she being raped, which is more in-line with the viciousness of the bad guys Riggs and Murtaugh are dealing with? I stressed out over that for probably a solid 5 minutes that I should have been watching the movie. Part of me was scared for the Rianne character and part of me was scared for what I may yet see. The next time we see Rianne, she’s being held by her captives but is fully-clothed. She really doesn’t look like she’s in bad shape at all. So I thought, despite that Polaroid, it’s not going to get any worse. Then Riggs and Murtaugh later break in to where Rianne is being held. When they find her, she’s in silk underwear and is a little bruised up. After beating Murtaugh, one of the bad guys remarks how attractive Rianne is as her hands are bound above her head. He either flicks one of her camisole straps down her shoulder OR my mind was racing so much with anxiety that I imagined it. I truly don’t know. That’s essentially as bad as it got – we never saw Rianne get assaulted or raped. But the prospect of it was right there – this teenage girl getting kidnapped and then raped in front of her bound father was so fucking stressful for me I literally couldn’t pay attention to other parts of the movie. When it didn’t happen, it was a relief. But I felt tricked – Lethal Weapon couldn’t make a tense, suspenseful movie without threatening to rape a kid?

I haven’t even touched on the weirdest and worst part. Gary Busey is in this, too, presumably before he was a walking joke. He’s a henchman named Joshua who, because he’s so crazy and unstoppable, eventually becomes the main bad guy. Toward the end of the movie Riggs and Murtaugh have chased him to Murtaugh’s house for a final showdown. What you think will happen is that one of them will kill Joshua right away, fight and then kill Joshua, or fight and then arrest Joshua. What instead happens is Murtaugh “lets” Riggs “have him.” Riggs and Joshua start fighting in the rain and as more and more cops show up, Murtaugh keeps them away from the fight, telling them that he (Murtaugh) will somehow “take the blame” for whatever is happening and is about to happen. Apparently this message gets through to every cop there, including those in a helicopter, because they all stand around patiently and wait for the fight to end. What the fuck? Why would we want to see Riggs and Murtaugh act like the bad guys they’ve been fighting for hours instead of like the good cops we’ve been convinced that they are? What is Murtaugh even offering to take the blame for? And why the fuck are there so many Lethal Weapon sequels starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson if Murtaugh did take blame for whatever happened?

WITNESS (1985)

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Christopher

I remember watching this when I was young. From what I remember my parents remembered really liking it so we rented it and must of watched it as a family. I really enjoy this movie and I find all the Amish aspects very interesting. However, I have always found this movie very slow and kind of boring.

I can’t really pinpoint why I feel this way in a bad way and not a good way but it just does not hold my interest all the way throughout. I definitely enjoyed it more than I did when I was a kid. I found it easier to be interested in the story but the way its shot is still what gets me. It reminds me of those old Paula Deen cooking shows. They were always shot so hazy and that drives me crazy. Witness is shot in a similar manner to me; it’s very hazy.

I still like this movie though and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. It’s pretty interesting.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Witness was great. It was a movie that I thought I had kinda seen, kinda not seen, mostly because it was a VHS that we owned but I wasn’t allowed to watch. After watching it now, I think it’s safe to say that I never really did see this movie before.

I really loved that Witness was quiet and a little slow moving but was still a good action-y movie. It follows Rachel (Kelly McGillis), a newly-widowed Amish woman and her young son, Samuel (Lukas Haas) who are really just trying to take a train to visit Rachel’s sister. Now, we somehow managed to watch two Lukas Haas movies back-to-back with Witness and Material Girls, which is sort of amazing since they’re on complete opposite ends of the good movie spectrum. And while Lukas Haas looks fine in Material Girls, he was so fucking cute in Witness.

He's just like this adorable little mini person in his cute Amish suit!
He’s just like this adorable little mini person in his cute Amish suit!

Anyway, while at this crowded train station, Samuel goes into the men’s bathroom. A man smiles at him as he walks in and Samuel locks himself in a stall. He hears some scuffling so he looks through the crack of the bathroom door . . . to see fucking Danny Glover slitting the throat of the man who smiled at Samuel. Shiiiiiiiiiit! That was the first sign to me that I hadn’t really seen this movie. I knew the kid witnessed a murder. But like, this murder was fairly gruesome. They practically cut the guy’s head off! And then to make everything super scary, Danny Glover (playing someone named McFee) suspects someone else is in the bathroom, so he goes through all the stalls until Samuel ducks under another stall at the last minute. It’s really an incredibly stressful scene and Samuel looking really cute and innocent and scared just adds to it.

So Detective John Book (Harrison Ford) and his partner, Carter, get assigned to the case and we find out that the murdered man was actually a cop. John brings Samuel into the police station the next day to look over mugshots and lineups, but Samuel doesn’t see the killer. While John is on the phone, Samuel starts walking around the office and stops at a trophy case where there’s a picture of McFee getting an award. This scene is great because when Samuel sees McFee’s picture, it’s like he’s seen a ghost. He looks at John across the room and John can immediately tell that something’s up. The scene is in slow motion as both Samuel and John silently realize that that is the killer and he’s a cop. John goes to Chief Schaeffer, his boss, to tell him about McFee and Schaeffer tells him to keep everything quiet until they figure it out. Almost immediately after, McFee shoots John in a parking garage, which makes John realize that Schaeffer is in on it, too. He calls Carter to get him to get the file on the murder and drives Rachel and Samuel back to their community but passes out from his gunshot wound.

Rachel is scared to bring John to a hospital because that could easily lead McFee and Schaeffer back to her and Samuel, so the elders agree to let John stay while Rachel helps nurse him back to health. They both start to fall for each other a little bit while she takes care of him, which makes a ton of sense considering both of their characters are beautiful, nice, and single. Rachel’s neighbor, Daniel (Alexander Godunov) is also beautiful, nice, and single, and likes Rachel, which sort of puts a spotlight on Rachel and John’s possible relationship. The Amish seem split on John; everyone knows (or seems to know) why he’s there and that it’s essentially for their own protection (and especially Samuel’s), but they’re also hesitant about him being there and what may be going on with he and Rachel. At one point, John accidentally catches Rachel bathing, though neither of them really leave once they both realize he’s watching. Rachel actually turns to him, topless, obviously ready for something, but instead he leaves and later tells her that if they had slept together (which was definitely about to happen) it would mean he would have to stay or she would have to go.

John and some of the men go into town so John can use a phone, when John is told that Carter was murdered. A bunch of asshole-y tourists start messing with the Amish, taking their picture and yelling at them for not being in the military. The Amish don’t do anything because they appear to have pretty strict rules about things like fighting in public, but luckily John is just dressed as an Amish man, so he has no problem kicking their asses. But doing that causes the news of an Amish man starting a fight to spread back to the Philadelphia police, who now know where John, Rachel, and Samuel are. Once John and Rachel both realize that John has to leave because of the publicity the fight brought him, neither of them have any trouble making out like crazy in a cornfield and, we can assume, having crazy awesome sex. The next day Schaeffer, McFee, and Fergie (who was the other guy that killed the cop along with McFee) show up at Rachel’s farm. John kills Fergie by suffocating him in a corn silo (which is both badass and super scary) and then uses Fergie’s shotgun to kill McFee. Before Schaeffer can kill John or anyone else, though, Samuel sounds an alarm bell that causes all the Amish in the community to come over. This essentially saves John as Schaeffer can’t kill John in front of a ton of witnesses, so he gets arrested instead.

I can’t help but wonder how this whole thing must have affected Samuel’s view of law enforcement. Because the world of law enforcement in Witness is a super scary one where anyone might be a killer and no one is safe. Obviously John is a good cop example, but he’s pretty much it. I just imagine that that would seem so terrifying to a young kid. But anyway, I was expecting Witness to be really fast and full of action but I’m glad it wasn’t like that. The movie had a sort of Terrence Malick feel to me, in a good way. And that makes sense, in it’s own way, that a movie that deals so much with the Amish would be more subtle and quiet. I also really loved how delicate John’s relationships with Rachel and Samuel were. He obviously respected them both and wanted to help them while also not doing anything that they would be against. It was just sort of sweet, like he genuinely cared about what happened to them (and not just because Rachel is hot). I really enjoyed this movie and everyone looked great . . . bummer that Danny Glover had to play a crazy killer, though. But at least no one was KGB!

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD (1994)

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Christopher

I used to love this movie and watching it now as an adult I still find it uplifting but the story is a mess. Based off of this movie I now know that as a kid I did not know that much about baseball. Almost everything baseball related about this film makes no sense other than the fact that baseball is a sport and that the Angels are a baseball team.

The biggest example of this is that Tony Danza plays a washed up pitcher who blew his arm out a few years ago. So the first time they send him in to pitch he has an angel with him so he pitches a perfect game!!! But no one seems to really care other than the fact that he just pitched well? But that’s not the really weird part. The weird part comes during the next game he pitches. So he’s pitching in the second game in the season and during the 8th inning (I think?) when he’s at 150 pitches, he begins to struggle. And for some reason it’s this big thing where it’s a great shame that he can’t finish the game. That makes absolutely no sense. Pitchers get tired. They can’t always throw a whole game and the number of pitchers that actually do are so slim this whole conflict is distracting cause it makes no sense! Just take him out and let a middle reliever take over!

This movie was fun but I think I watched it for the last time.

Elizabeth

This season I watched more baseball games that I think I had previously ever seen my whole life combined. So watching Angels in the Outfield now made me realize how much of the movie really doesn’t make a ton of sense. I sort of have the feeling that the filmmakers maybe didn’t know a lot about baseball, but know a lot about football. The baseball in Angels in the Outfield is this weird mix of baseball, football, and things that wouldn’t make sense in any sport. For example, every game the Angels play in Angels in the Outfield is a huge deal, and every game makes a huge difference. Sure, every game matters in baseball, but considering each team plays 162 games a season, there’s not nearly as much weight put on every game. It’s just sort of weird.

Despite that, Angels in the Outfield still reminded me how much I love baseball movies. They’re just the best sports movies, in my opinion. It’s also great seeing little Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Although I think having watched Angels in the Outfield so much growing up, I just cannot find Joseph Gordon-Levitt sexy. I was sort of shocked when I realized so many people find him sexy. He’s good looking, yes, but sexy? Isn’t he just little Roger?

Also, it’s worth noting that the angels are kind of huge assholes in this movie. Roger wishes for the Angels to win the pennant, because when Roger asks his father when they’ll be a family again, he says “I’d say when The Angels win the pennant.” Because The Angels suck, he means this sarcastically. But Roger wishes for this anyway, and even though God must surely realize Roger’s dad’s sarcasm, he goes with that wish anyway, rather than making Roger’s dad come back. The head angel also ends up telling Roger that his idol, pitcher Mel Clark (Tony Danza) is going to die in 6 months from lung cancer, and there’s nothing that Roger can do about it. Oh okay! I mean, that’s not a terrible burden to lay on this orphan with a shitty life or anything. COME ON, ANGELS!