Monday, July 2, 2007

Excellence In Ass Kickin'

Why are there Academy Awards honoring every strange, eccentric and over-hyped type of dramatic film (Little Miss Sunshine wasn’t all that!), but there is not category to recognize the courage and cojones of stuntmen and women as well as the hyper-kinetic visionaries of the directors, screenwriters and stunt coordinators.

My recent viewing of “Live Free or Die Hard” inspired such a questioning. The third sequel to the “Die Hard” franchise is a visually insane action-thriller, starring Bruce Willis, a man in his early fifties. My stating this is no dig at his age, but a testament to his youth (I played kickball last week, and I think I pulled every muscle in my body, and I’m 25).

The beauty of action movies is, like superhero franchises, they exist in a different plane of reality, enabling John McClane to drive SUVs through buildings, shoot cars into helicopters, and save the nation by well…shooting himself. If you happened to catch the FOX movie channel any time this month, you would have seen all 3 “Die Hards,” wonderfully undubbed (“shit” and “suck” sound so much better on cable TV. It’s naughty!), but also a juicy little making of “Live Free” and a step-by-step, don’t-try-this-anywhere segment on how they filmed the sequence where McClane is trapped in a tunnel with cars speeding at him in both directions. Amazingly, it was mostly live action, meaning, yes, cars were flipping like a college cheerleader on crack and landing on other cars…and helicopters.

While the movie itself is ridiculously over-the-top and the villains FRENCH?! (How imtimidating can they be?!), the action itself is award-winning…and I’m not talking about an MTV Movie Award or a People’s Choice Award either. Unfortunately, what pleases the lowly masses, does not please the stuffy Academy. With that in mind, should I really value their opinion? They robbed Djimon Hounsou of the Best Supporting Actor gem for…Alan Arkin’s five-minute turn as a druggy granddaddy.

So I will hand out my own awards for Excellence in Ass Kickin’.

Best Unnamed Bad Guy— “Hamster”. He looked like an angry reject from Cirque Du Soleil (and Toad from the first “X-Men” movie), but provided one of the best fights and deaths in the movie.

Best “Live Free” Fight Sequence— John McClane kicking the shit out of the stoic kung-fu lady (and hopefully that played out stereotype).

Best “Die Hard” Sidekick— Sorry Samuel L. You were horribly miscast in “Shaft” and you don’t win this one either. It totally goes Matt Farrell, (played by the adorable Justin Long) the techy geek-turned-“That Guy.” Could they pass the franchise onto him? If they can think of anything left to do, I hope they do! Long was fabulously entertaining and stole a lot of the scenes. “This is like shoving a pine cone up my ass, dude.” Me likey!

Best “Die Hard” Villian—Timothy Olyphant. I know Alan Rickman is, like, it for most “DH” fans, but bear with me. He’s got great skin and wears chic black, but he also pulls off that eerily controlled crazy-rage so well; it was reminiscent of my mother when she found out I took her car without asking. Bravo, dude, bravo! The only downer was that he never really got to explode.

Best McClane Moment—His blood-choked laugh after sending the car careening into the chopper.

Congrats to all the winners! I appreciate all that you do! Now go blow shit up! Up next "TRANSFORMERS." SO EXCITED!

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