One time on late-night television, Letterman or something of that sort, Tom Hanks was interviewed. I guess at some point in the past he was in a movie where a dog was a major character. I remember if vaguely; I believe the dog’s slobber was as much a character as the dog. Tidy people forced to live with big sloppy dogs is a Hollywood staple. Not as common as the fifty attempts each year to recreate the odd couple with guns, but there are obviously many producers who read Marmaduke and somehow haven’t realized that the implicit punchline (Boy! That’s a big dog!) hasn’t changed since the first frame was drafted many years ago.
This has nothing to do with what I intended to write about tonight, but if Marmaduke were to choke to death on Garfield’s corpse, the world would be a better place. I know, I don’t have to read them, and I don’t, but my newspaper is paying – giving someone else money – to put that crap in when their whole business is selling space to other people. But enough of that.
I guess the Hanks-dog movie didn’t do so well. So there was Tom, sitting smugly in the guest chair, and rightfully so as I think at that point he’d picked up two oscars in a row, lovingly bashing on Gary Sinese for dragging him down, and the dog movie comes up. The Hankster said something like, “We forgot the hollywood rule. Never kill the dog.”
I just got done watching The Road Warrior. There is only one line I would change in the whole movie. He comes staggering out of the tent and says “I’ll drive the tanker.” There’s some argument, and then he says to the leader, “I’m the best chance you’ve got.” That’s the line I would have changed. ‘Cause really, he doesn’t know how tough the others are, and he’s pretty banged up. I would have written, “They killed my dog.”
I had a housemate once, one of the lowest people ever to walk the Earth. Listing his sins would have to be a whole nother episode. But when I list his sins, the one I finish with was, “and he’s mean to his dog.” Truly, some of his other, um… habits… were more despicable and more harmful. He was a blight on the planet. But his poor dog’s brain was entirely dedicated to pleasing him. I’m digressing again.
In Road Warrior, the bad guys kill the dog (whose name is ‘dog’) in cold blood, while Dog is defending its master. (Incidentally, the dog in question bears a striking resemblance to John and Janice’s dog Jesse, but with a lot more tail.) In that same movie, there is the amazon warrior, up on the tanker as it blasts out of the compound. If I’m not mistaken (and when was the last time that happened?) her last line was “I was wrong about you.” I have seen the movie more than once before, but my reaction every time her body is torn from the barbed wire to bounce across the highway, transfored from being a warrior to being a traffic hazard, has always been the same. “They can’t kill her!” They killed her, and left her on the side of the road for the buzzards to clean up. Not even a pause in the pacing of the film to let us feel the tragedy. Just another casualty. You wonder how she lived so long, being so brave.
The title at the top of this episode promised you an accident of fate, and looking back I may have oversold. But, when looking up the name of the warrior woman, who had a fierceness but carried a lot of freight when she said “I was wrong”, I ran across an actor whose name is… Boulder Road Warrior. Now I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that’s not what his momma named him. The name of the movie he was in was Twister:A Musical Catastrophe. Yeah, I’d change my name, too. Possibly I’d change it to Joe Blow or something like that. Boulder Road Warrior. Imagine you’re casting a film and that name comes across your desk underneath the head shot. There’s an agent crying to be fired.
In one of those Lethal Weapon movies they kill the girl, and wasn’t he the guy in payback, where they kill his dog and his wife? The dog is a much more sympathetic character, but you know sittin here typin I have to take my hat off to Mel, that he turned what for Tom was a Hollywood mistake into a great role. More than once.
Gotta sign off now, I’m playing the soundtrack to Get Crazy, and damn if it ain’t the best movie soundtrack ever.