Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Fly: A Somewhat Belated Review

   I'm a big movie buff. I have like three hundred DVDs sitting in my library wing, and not all of them are even good movies. For God's sake, I own Hudson Hawk on DVD.

   I know compared to some, my collection might seem rather like the kid at school everyone calls Special, but bear in mind that I am but a broke-ass person, so each and every one of those books and movies were acquired through blood, sweat, tears, and sometimes a little pee. I have swapped for and bought second hand nearly anything I could afford, just to carve out my own little multi-media library.
   Oh, but that's not all of it, I forgot to tell you, there's yet more buried in the cabinet/desk thing to the right. I want it to be infinitely bigger still- I won't be happy until it swallows my room one fateful day, and I am lost to a sea of poetry and ghostly melodies. And Hudson Hawk.

   But I digress. What I meant to say was this: I am big movie buff. Massive in fact; more than several handfuls of people know me to be the walking IMDb. It's a fairly accurate assessment, too- even movies I've never seen and know of only tangentially are archived in my strange little psyche, and I could probably have told you that Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis star in The Fly which was shot in 1986 without looking. Of course, a decent amount of the living populace know this too, so that was probably a bad example- but it was germane, I (and the title of this post) assure you.
   So, encyclopaedic as my knowledge of movies is, I find myself rather grossly amiss in my actual "having-seen-the-classics"ness. By classics, of course, I mean such fare as Casablanca, Jurassic Park, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Fly ("There it is again!"), Stars Wars 1 through Aweful, (from what I hear, anyway), Terms of Endearment, etc etc. Then having found myself in an ever lengthening wiki-walk through TV Tropes, I came across the page for The Fly.

   I decided to remedy my ignorance in the field of 80's era Jeff Goldblum, and now, my friends, enemies and facebook frienemies, I shall review said classic for your enjoyment and mine. You, who like a normal human being have seen this movie probably several times (or at least the obligatory once), shall have the chance to see it through the eyes of a Fly-Virgin (that sounded oddly like something that ought to be censored by the Chinese government), reacting to sights seen for the first time.
   I remember The Fly as this ominous presence in the Video shop when I was younger. It was always right next to the little door that led to low-lit taboos, and in my mind the two became inextricably linked. I knew, without even asking, that I was unquestionably too young to watch it, and much like the feeling that little room gave me, the feeling seems to have stuck- I still kinda feel like this might make me a very bad girl. Although it must be said that even back then I had the vague knowledge that Jeff Goldblum was in it, and I had at least the basics of the plot down fairly well. I have no idea where I assimilated the information.
   So, background exposition sorted: here we go.

    I love how direct this movie is. Within seconds, we've got both the protagonist and the love interest right there on screen, and they're expositoring all over the hot diggety pig. It's brilliant, really, and it reminds me that I've become un-used to watching eighties movies. Also, this:

Look at that business. How have I managed to forget that 80's era Geena Davis and Jeff Motha-Flippin' Goldblum were the absolute shit?

   I mean, yowza. Brr. I suspect I'm going to need a cold shower before this movie is done, on account of Geena alone- never mind the sexahness that is 80's era Jeff Goldblum. I mean neither of them have  done too badly at all for themselves over time, but lets face it, 2010's era Jeff Goldblum looks a little like a well-tanned doughtnut.
   When we get to see his paradigm-shattering machinery, I'm hit by a thought. 

1986 so hard. And Also,

   Really big Dalek.

 Things progress in a more-or-less linear sort of a fashion, and before long we have nakedness. I love that TV Tropes has this to say about 80's era Jeff Goldblum: "For the first half hour of this movie, {80's era} Jeff Goldblum is your boyfriend." It's accurate. "One word: Cheeseburger." Damn, so very charming. Just once I'd like to see someone write Dane Cook anything near so stomachable in a this era. Followed of course by slow and painful metamorphosis into a devolving fly/man monster. (Tangent: I apologize, I've just got a lot of Cook
   You can also smell the eighties not just on her truly awesome wardrobe- which I envy badly- but from the multiple shots of Geena smoking casually and coolly.

Now I think you'd probably have several concerned parent groups on your arse because of how politically incorrect it is to make smoking look that damn cool. Less cool is an inside-out baboon writhing bloodily inside a giant dalek. I'm really not easily freaked out by gore, and this has not even made my jowls tingle, but a little part of my brain tells me that if this is the appetiser then the mountains of body-horror to come are going to make me lose my oregano. Saw 1 through 500 does nothing for me, but just the image of Wikus peeling off a fingernail in District 9 does unspeakable things to my gag reflex.
   Let me interrupt my pointless train of thought to bring you not only our video for the day, but my new favourite reaction to be worked into as many apropos points of conversation possible. Behold:

   Yes, my man, let it all out. Such glorious swearing I approve of muchly.
   I'm at about 29:57, and things are just going too well for these kids. I know what's coming, and it's still making me horribly uncomfortable. 80's era Jeff Goldblum agrees with me, and in a fit of drunken jealousy, does what every single audience member over three decades has been screaming at him not to do. He puts himself nakedly through the Dalek, managing somehow to miss the raccoon-sized fly buzzing around the port window. Then he hugs a monkey.
   He is now forever altered, and wakes up in the wee hours of the morning in order to do some olympic-level gymnastics on a handily placed beam in the middle of his trendy warehouse apartment.

   It gets worse. After buying Geena a gold heart necklace- because presumably after she told him right at the beginning of the movie that she doesn't wear jewellery, a necklace seems to be the obvious gift- he starts talking like a cross between Woody Allen and a Gilmore Girl, and seems to have developed a taste for my coffee order (Sugar with some coffee). As pretty as I seem to find 80's era Jeff Goldblum, I'm going to have to balk at the fact that you can't get away from that nebbishy voice when it starts motor-mouthing. Upon the discovery of several bizarre hairs growing from his back, he throws a tantrum before fucking a dude up and picking up a dirty looking groupie at a bar in a fit of manic energy. This is where you're in danger of losing me permanently; it was the point where Mel Gibson's apparent undying love for his dead wife waned in favour of random tail that I switched off Braveheart. Of course, the romance of the thing has gone out of it somewhat now that he looks a little like he's picked up four different kinds of hepatitis and possibly a brain worm of some sort.
   It's after only Geena tells him that she had the hairs on his back (that she thought to keep for some reason) analysed and found them to be not of human origin, that he takes a decent look in the mirror and is suitably horrified. Thinking a moment longer than he bothered to before jumping into the doom-pod, he consults his wide-cracking but lovable computer sidekick, Steve. {Note: some of that may have been made up to suit my own fancy. MAY HAVE.} Steve has some bad news for Jeff Goldblum of Yore. Your sarcasm isn't helping here, Steve.





   Yes, Jeff Goldblum circa 1986, I share your terror. And don't pick at that, it'll just get worse.
   And then it does. Apparently the dirty looking chick he picked up in the bar did nothing to help the ten different strains of alien herpes he had been gestating, and now he's starting to lose some sex appeal. By the way, if you were wondering, it was somewhere before the first fingernail fell of but after he squeezed super-puss from his finger that my jowls started tingling in earnest. He retains his sense of humour somehow, though; apparently Brundlefly is pretty damn funny. Points for having more moxy than I would in your situation, dude. I would probably just give in to Ghost Pops and Milo eaten directly from the tin and wait for the end with sticky fingers and an attempt at near-fatal cholesterol.
   Inevitably, Geena is pregnant. Not knowing if this is pre-fly or post Brundlehorror offspring, I think she'd be forgiven for soiling those immaculate beige slacks of hers. Dude-who-is-a-beard and looks a little like John Ritter seems to be a lot more sympathetic and less douchy than he was about an hour ago, which I guess is a good thing if Geena feels like she needs some entirely human DNA to keep her warm at night after the Brundlefly has put himself out of the running. And who wouldn't- amirite, ladies?

   Brundelfly's makeup gets progressively more Weta-workshopish, and more bits of his person are falling off by the minute. I'm starting to feel like the hunchback of Notre Dame has been getting a bad rap, this shit would make the Elephant Man queasy. Quite naturally, all of this devolves into an inevitable count-down timer and a deranged Brundlefly trying to splice himself and his Geena together, proving that it only takes 90% integration with a housefly before you lose your everloving mind. Also, I think Brundleflydalek might be where one draws the line and your indecisiveness veers sharply into the human corner.

   My final thoughts post-credits is this: I am a fan. This is excellent horror, and not once did I have to curse a director for having something jump out at me to carefully timed strings. I think I'll do this a little more often, catching up on the movie basics I missed while I was watching Detroit Rock City over and over again. I love that as much as this was about squicking the holy begeezus out of me, it was also a genuinely moving thought on having to watch the person you love come to such a slow and unavoidable doom in front of your eyes. Overall, 7 1/2 stars I say.
   Is there any specific movie I ought to be putting on my list of things to catch up on?

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