Wednesday, August 5, 2009

All The Lies That Are My Life

Harry Knowles today did something very interesting. Tom Arnold started a rumor that a sequel to True Lies would start filming in 14 months. Tom Arnold would love this since the highlights of his film career are True Lies and this, the best movie deal he was able to land after being in a Schwarzenegger film. I'm sure Arnold's career will turn around in 2010 when he appears in The Jerk Theory. It also has Danny Bonaduce, a fact that screams quality.

Anyway, Harry Knowles forgot what it was you're supposed to do on the internet. Instead of wildly speculating and posting outrageous rants based on nothing but that speculation, he emailed True Lies director James Cameron and asked if there were any plans to do a True Lies sequel and Cameron quickly replied with a polite and definite no. Hell, I could have done that if I knew James Cameron well enough to get a personal reply. My reply from James Cameron would have looked like this:

Hello Michael Clear.
Thank you so much for your recent email
concerning True Lies sequel.
I always love hearing from devoted fans.
Please be sure to check out my new
movie, Avatar, coming out this Christmas.
Sincerely yours, James Cameron

Anyway, good job on Harry's part. I'm not his biggest fan, mainly for his belief that he must inform the world every time a sexy actress gives him an erection, but he did well here.

So, why am I even commenting about this? Simple. I love that I have a reason to bash True Lies.

It took me a couple of years to realize what a really creepy movie this is. It starts off just fine with a Bond-style action sequence which, at that point in time, hadn't been seen in Bond films for many years. It then gets a bit dull when you discover that Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Harry Tasker, hides his job as a spy from his wife, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. After he discovers that she's so bored with her life that she's thinking of having an affair, Arnold arranges for her to do a fake spy job in which she must dress up like a whore and meet some strange guy in a hotel room. It turns out that Arnold is the guy and he orders her to do a striptease.

When I saw this, I was mainly thinking, "Woo hoo, Jamie Lee Curtis is in her underwear." When I saw it again a few years ago, my thoughts were something along the lines of, "Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, what made them think having a guy scare the shit out of the woman he loves and force her to strip for what she thought was another man would be entertaining?" It's really one of the more despicable scenes you'll ever see in what's supposed to be a light hearted action film. I'm tempted to pass extreme judgment on James Cameron but he's never really done anything like that before or since. Sure, Kate Winslet was stark naked in Titanic but that was her choice. Leo DiCaprio didn't tell her that he was actually a famous painter and that the nude picture of her he was sketching would hang in the Louvre.

So why did they think that was a good idea? Don't know. Maybe it looked better on paper than on film but I can't see a way to write "Shwarzenegger's character abuses and debases his wife" in a way that sounds good. Maybe Cameron himself is a misogynist and that's the only time it really slipped or maybe he just liked the idea of watching Jamie Lee Curtis dancing in her underwear. If his new movie Avatar contains a scene in which star Zoe Saldana is tricked into stripping, then we'll know.

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