Arnold Schwarzenegger

Total Recall (1990) - Paul Verhoeven

AWESOME SCI-FI ACTION FILM 98/100

Director: 
Paul Verhoeven  

BASED ON: 
"We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick

WRITERS:
Ronald ShusetT, 
Dan O'Bannon,
Jon Povill and
Gary GoldmaN

Stars:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone and Michael Ironside

Rating: R

Country:
USA

Language:
English

Release Date:
1 June 1990

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Total Recall is a tremendous science-fiction action film from 1990. It had been Directed by Paul Verhoeven who had helmed Robocop the prior year. And produced by Carolco Pictures and Tri-Star. Arnold Schwarzenegger is our lead actor supported by Michael Ironside, Sharon Stone and Rachel Ticotin. The story is based on a Philip K. Dick short story called "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" and the screenplay was handled by Gary Goldman, Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Kind of an all-star affair for 1990. This movie was a staple of my childhood, and the reason for my love of cheesy Arnold Schwarzenegger flicks. I had rented this several times from Blockbuster or Hollywood Video and also viewed is uncountable times on television. Hell, it still runs on AMC and Syfy to this day! No matter how you cut it Total Recall, is an important movie that can never be replicated.  

Douglas Quaid is a mild-mannered construction worker living on earth in 2089. He has a beautiful wife, a good job, but yearns for the stars. Something inside of Doug wants to get away. He wants to go to Mars, much to the behest of his wife and friends. Doug goes to Recall, a service that can implant a memory into your brain. A virtual vacation. However, during the operation, something is ticked and happy ol’ Douglas Quaid becomes the ruthless, cunning and deadly Hauser. A hired agent from Mars that has been suppressed with mental blocks. Now awakened to the false reality around him, and being pursued by people trying to kill him, Hauser must return to Mars to find out who wants him dead! 

The screenplay for the film was picked up by Dino De Laurentiis and shopped around Hollywood in the early eighties. De Laurentiis had tried to get the film off the ground seeking either Richard Dreyfuss or Patrick Swayze in the lead role. That would have been bad. He had gotten David Cronenberg attached to direct, but Cronenberg was hard about having William Hurt as the lead. Things just couldn’t come together and the screenplay had floundered in development hell. In 1989, the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group had folded leaving the script out in the wild. It was picked up by Carolco Pictures and the rest is history. 

Total Recall is the best science-fiction movie of all time. The acting, music, effects and writing are running on all cylinders. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the perfect fit for this role, and this was a big hit for him. The Quaid character is very complex, something that doesn’t become clear until his trip to Recall. The soundtrack was masterfully composed/conducted by a legendary musician, Jerry Goldsmith. It sets every scene with an epic beat that makes this movie a blockbuster. The main theme is unforgettable. Much better than many scores today. The special effects were handled by effects master, Rob Bottin. Bottin is famous for his tremendous work on movies like The Thing, The Howling, Robocop and Legend. He doesn’t shy away from gore and turns out some creative scenes. I would never expect less.

I really love this movie. I have seen it countless times and still love watching it frequently today. It’s the perfect film to come out of the late-eighties, early nineties time period. Arnold is a badass here. If you aren’t familiar with his work in action films, then I plead that you watch this movie along with classics like The Running Man, Predator and Conan the Barbarian. That man was entertainment in the eighties. Total Recall hits on every level and is now tame enough for early teens to enjoy. I highly recommend it. Five stars.

Jingle All the Way (1996) - Brian Levant

OKAY COMEDY 67/100

Jingle All the Way is a 1996 holiday comedy film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger alongside the comedic Sinbad. It was directed by Brian Levant and produced by Chris Columbus. Levant had experience behind the camera with The Flintstone's and Beethoven, both were effective kids pictures. Jingle All the Way proved to be a fun kids movie, but it also entertains adults. It’s a fun feature that has a great atmosphere and entertainment for the whole family.

 Howard (Schwarzenegger) is an overworked mattress salesman that has been spending too much time at the office and not enough with his family. His son, Jamie (Lloyd), wants the hottest selling toy of the Christmas season. An action figure called Turboman. The problem is that Howard never bought the toy, and it’s Christmas Eve. That means Howard will have to fight his way through the horrendous shopping crowds, including a sociopathic mailman (Sinbad), in order to fulfill his son’s Christmas wishes.

It was a success at the box office, dragging in $129 million worldwide. It was met with good reviews, but critics complained about the focus of the movie being on the commercialism of Christmas. Those complaints gained some serious traction, and the movie had gotten a bit of a negative response. But it quickly died out, and the film had begun to air regularly on television during the holiday season.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had only starred in a few comedy films before this one. The bulk of his portfolio is made up with action films, but Jingle All the Way was a change of pace. The story is really basic, and it plays it safe with the plot. This was another gripe by critics. But I think that the simplicity brings more out in the characters. This is less about the story and more about watching Arnold and Sinbad act around each other in a Christmas setting.

The cast is great for this movie. Even Jake Lloyd. He wasn’t nearly as annoying as he was in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Phil Hartman is perfect for the role of Ted. He plays a scummy neighbor so well. The way he acted and his mannerisms, they made me want to punch him in the face. I would say that’s pretty convincing acting, considering how much I adore Hartman’s comedic genius. I also liked Sinbad. He was great and worked as the comic antagonist. It’s interesting that Joe Pesci was originally intended for this role.

I am a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger films and found this comedy to be hilarious. I remember seeing this movie with my family during the 1996 Christmas season at the Northridge Fashion Center in Northridge, CA. I was a kid, but I can still recall the madness of the crowds. It was and still is a topical movie that rings true with a lot of people. This is a great holiday movie that I always enjoy around Christmas. It’s fun for fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and serves as something that the entire family can enjoy. There is also a quick cameo from the WWE’s Big Show as a giant Santa.

Jingle All the Way (67/100)

A good Christmas movie filled with laughs. Great for family movie night.

Director: Brian Levant
Producers: Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe
Writer: Randy Kornfield
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson, Jake Lloyd, Curtis Armstrong, Robert Conrad, Jim Belushi
Studios: 1492 Pictures, 20th Century Fox
Release date: November 16, 1996
Budget: $75 million
Gross: $129.9 million

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