Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Eyes Wide Shut - "If You Men Only Knew."

Writing about Eyes Wide Shut has become a yearly tradition (obsession?). It is sincerely my favorite Christmas movie. I don’t mean that in a funny “is Die Hard a Christmas movie?” kind of way. The movie takes place during Christmas, and its plot only moves forward because of the holiday (Bill wouldn’t end up at the orgy if he didn’t meet Nick at Ziegler’s Christmas party). The traditional wholesome themes of family and joy associated with the holiday also create a juxtaposition with the state of the Hardfords’ marriage. More importantly, I watch this movie every year at this time because I love to watch it next to the glow of a Christmas tree. Anyway, here are my thoughts this year.

Alice in Chains, or “If You Men Only Knew!”

I tend to focus almost exclusively on Bill every time I write about Eyes Wide Shut, so this time I wanted to devote a section to Alice (that written, I still have some things I want to address about Bill in the next section). 

The Harford marriage is certainly troubled, which is what leads to the events of the entire marriage. Bill seems to think that since his life appears to be perfect (he’s a doctor with a beautiful wife, a happy daughter, and a very nice apartment), then it must be (his are part of the titular shut eyes, after all). Alice, on the other hand, is clearly not happy with the marriage, seemingly because Bill is so focused on the fantasy of their perfect marriage.

The events of Ziegler’s party (Cruise flirting with the models and the Hungarian trying to bang her at the party [hey, I hear Ziegler’s got a great bathroom for that!]) are the breaking point for Alice. With the help of a little weed, she decides to give Bill a push with her revelation of the fantasy she had with the sailor. Bill’s response to this attack on his alpha male status is to go on a misguided and disastrous odyssey to try and cheat on Alice.

Alice’s story about the sailor destroys everything Bill thought he knew about Alice and their marriage. Of course, men think about sex all the time, but how is it possible that his wife could think like that, too? Alice is trapped by these generalizations about women and by her marriage. Her stoned confrontation with Bill is her attempt to wake Bill up. She underestimates just how fragile Bill’s ego is, however, as Bill’s decisions directly after the fight are extreme, to say the least.

This is typically where I leave Alice and focus solely on Bill for the rest of the film. It is true that the majority of the remaining screen time is devoted to Bill’s journey, but Alice still has some pivotal moments, especially when you consider the last lines of the movie. 

At the end of the film when Bill and Alice come to terms with their marriage, Bill tells her that a “dream is never just a dream” making the claim that Alice’s desires, both conscious and unconscious, are as much to blame for their marital issues as Bill’s crazy night of attempted infidelity. 

For a movie “about” sex, Eyes Wide Shut is much more focused on the idea, attempt, and fantasy of sex more than the actual act. Sex, at its core, is an animalistic function. Desire, or lust, is more personal. Alice’s fantasy of throwing her marriage away for one night with another man is much more hurtful to Bill than Alice actually having sex with someone else. One night of spontaneous lust can be forgiven; fantasizing for months about one night is too much for him to the point that Bill feels the need to get revenge.

Beyond Alice’s conscious fantasy with the sailor, we also learn of one of her dreams. Bill comes home to find her laughing or crying or both as she sleeps. When she wakes up she tells Bill about her dream, and it sounds eerily similar to the orgy Bill just escaped. In some of the theories out there about the film, it has been suggested that this means Alice was actually at the orgy, or at least has taken part in one of them before. I don’t believe that. I think the point of her having a dream that mirrored Bill’s actual night (although it’s also theorized that Bill’s evening is at least partially a dream, as well, but let’s not get into that…) is to hammer home that final moment even more. Yes, Bill went to an orgy, but so did Alice, in her mind. Which is worse?

Personally, I think going to an orgy trumps dreaming about one, but the problems in the Harfords’ marriage aren’t only caused by Bill. Alice has felt trapped by Bill’s closed eyes to the problems of their marriage, but she was silent until the evening after the party. Finally, after the revelations of Bill’s evening and Alice’s fantasies, they can move forward in their marriage aware of each other’s desires and needs. Eyes Wide Shut is truly about opening up to your partner on a conscious and subconscious level. And without Alice’s dreams and fantasies, both of them would still have their eyes shut.

Bro Cruise, or the Dude Who Tried to Cheat on His Wife but Couldn’t Get the Job Done Even Though He Went to a Fucking Orgy

Alice may set the plot of Eyes Wide Shut in motion by admitting her fantasy, but it all could have ended there if not for Bill’s fragile masculinity. Bill likes to imagine he has a perfect, typical marriage, and part of that delusion is that he is a typical man. But like most people who try to be something they are not, Bill overdoes it. 

The first instance of this is when he runs into his old college buddy, Nick. Their interaction is normal and bland enough, but it’s the body language that makes it feel forced and odd. Excluding their exaggerated handshake, Bill and Nick pat or slightly hit each other eight times during a two minute conversation, and Bill keeps his hand on Nick’s shoulder for half of it. Bill initiates most of it, and Nick seems to simply be reciprocating, especially at the end when Nick has to switch drink hands to playfully punch Bill back before he leaves. It’s not a natural way for old friends to interact; it’s more like how Bill thinks two old college bros would interact. 

The college connection is important because later in the film Bill is accosted by some college men who accuse him of being gay, despite the fact that Bill is simply walking down the street. The college bros calling him gay is Bill’s, and every overly masculine male’s, worst nightmare. This moment is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for Bill’s night to either be a dream or at least heightened by his own subconscious. Deep down he is terrified of not appearing to be a typical man, and this manifests in the form of a completely unprompted attack by the cartoonishly masculine bros. 

The argument for Bill’s adventures to be a dream or fantasy is strengthened when you look at all of his interactions with people throughout his two day journey. Basically everyone wants to have sex with him. He catches vibes from nearly everyone he interacts with, from Milich’s daughter (who is later offered to him) to the desk clerk at Nick’s hotel. Does everyone really want to have sex with Bill (as Alice hinted at in their argument about the “fucking hypothetical woman patient”), or is this just what he fantasizes about? That he’s such a fucking man that everyone, man and woman, wants him? 

Let’s say everything in the film really does happen (I think it does, by the way, but with moments that are exaggerated because we’re seeing them through Bill’s perspective) and all these people want to have sex with Bill, then why doesn’t he follow through with any of it? The guy went to an orgy, for fuck’s sake, and he didn’t get laid! It’s because, deep down, he’s not the fuck machine he wishes he was; deep down, he’s scared that everything in his life is a lie. 

Before Alice’s revelation, living the lie was easy. All he had to do was partake in some occasional flirting with other women and drink Budweiser; you know, guy stuff. But Alice admitting she wanted to have sex with someone else destroy’s Bill. Rather than talk through the issue with Alice (because that’s what pussies do!), Bill instead decides that he must get some revenge sex immediately. Because real men don’t get cheated on, not even in their wives’ minds! 

It’s only through Bill’s dangerous and failed attempts at sex that he finally wakes up and talks to Alice at the end of the film. This is forced upon him, however, as Alice finds the mask and leaves it out for him to see (causing Bill to sob, which is not exactly a manly thing to do). Alice freeing herself from the oppression of living in Bill’s masculine fantasy forces Bill to likewise wake up. The difference here is that Alice wants to live life with her eyes open while Bill’s are forced open (Alex during the Ludovico Technique sequence in A Clockwork Orange comes to mind). It doesn’t really matter how they each reached the endpoint, as long as they both go forward with their eyes open.

Why Do I Own This?

I’m clearly mentally ill when it comes to this movie, so owning it is a must. This year, I broke out my DVD copy of it because that’s the only version I own that’s uncut. It’s also streaming on Hulu at the moment, so it’s been nice to put it on as I fall asleep at night during this holiday season.

Random Thoughts/Favorite Quotes 

Some people have theorized that the mask left out on the bed isn’t really there. I can see that, and I think it still works for my argument in that Bill’s subconscious makes him see it there to force him to wake up. But I still think it’s really there, mainly because when he went to return the costume the mask was missing. It’s not that unlikely that the mask fell out of the bag or something in the apartment and Alice found it.

I mention Budweiser above because it always threw me off when I watched the film. I’m sure there was some product placement money involved, but it’s still an odd choice for a wealthy doctor. I think he drinks Budweiser at home because he thinks that is what a typical man drinks. He doesn’t actually care what it tastes like. This is evidenced when he just asks for a “beer” at the Sonata Cafe. Why not name a brand? Try to order a beer in any bar or restaurant by just saying “beer,” and you’ll always get asked which brand. And it’s not like he couldn’t name a brand because it’s a movie because Budweiser has already been in the film at this point. He orders a “beer” because all that matters is that he’s seen drinking a beer, the drink of the ordinary man. 

That TV stand in the Harfords' bedroom is pretty janky. 

Fucking Ziegler has a toilet and a bidet, not to mention a couch and a desk in his bathroom/sex-during-his-own-Christmas-party room. It’s perfect for when you want to shit in a regular toilet, clean yourself with a bidet, write a letter, then fuck a prostitute right before she ODs. Fuckin’ rich people...

“I love you.”

“We barely know each other.”

Right before Bill is accused of playing for “the pink team” by the bros he walks past a sign for the Pussy Cat Pink Boutique.

It still really bothers me that Bill takes a cab to Rainbow Fashions after leaving the Sonata Cafe, even though the Sonata is right across the street. Before, I have posited that perhaps he went to an ATM to get more cash, but that doesn’t feel right. This time, I think it’s possible that he went looking for an open costume shop before realizing he had an in at Rainbow.

I prefer the unrated version not because I just want to see more sex, but because the CG people blocking the scenes in the rated cut look so odd and out of place.

Looking back, that orgy is really pretty tame. Most of the “participants” are just watching, as if they just wanted to feel like they were on the set of a porno or something. Hell, that one room just has people slow dancing in it! Is that the junior high portion of the orgy? This is why I believe Ziegler about the theatrics of it all. None of this is as deadly serious as it seems. It’s much more about creating a fantasy. This goes back to the issues with Bill and Alice’s marriage. It’s not actual sex that causes problems, but the desire and fantasy of sex outside the marriage.

Bill keeps pushing Alice to finish describing her dream like she did something wrong. Hey Bill, I know you didn’t do any actual fucking, but which one of you went to a prostitute’s apartment and then to an orgy, and which of you sat at home and ate Snackwell’s and had a sex dream, motherfucker?

Why did Kubrick have a big ass truck backing into the alley next to Rainbow Fashions when Bill returns the costume? It's definitely a decision someone made on the day of filming, but to what end?

This is the first viewing that I noticed Bill’s office door is blue. The color scheme becomes more and more meticulous with each viewing.

“By now he’s probably back with his know...banging Mrs. Nick.”

“If I told you their names--I’m not going to tell you their names--but if I did, I don’t think you’d sleep so well.”

The look on Bill’s face the morning after revealing everything when Alice tells him they need to take their daughter to go do some family shit is hilarious. 

“Are you sure of that?” I feel like this question is directed at me every time I watch this movie and apply some new theory to it.



Monday, December 21, 2020

“Nomadland” Lauded at 2020 Indiana Film Journalists Association Awards


“Nomadland,” the tale of a woman who eschews convention to live out of her van while exploring her own spiritual road map, took top honors at the 2020 Indiana Film Journalists Association awards, winning four prizes including Best Picture, Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for Chloé Zhao.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” won the runner-up prize for Best Picture as well Best Ensemble Acting. In addition, eight other movies were announced as Finalists, which along with the winners represent the IFJA’s picks for the top 10 films of the year.

Delroy Lindo won Best Actor for “Da 5 Bloods,” Maria Bakalova was named Best Supporting Actress for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and Leslie Odom Jr. won Best Supporting Actor for “One Night in Miami.” Jamie Foxx won for Best Vocal/Motion Capture Performance for “Soul.”

Indiana University graduate Eliza Hittman took Best Original Screenplay for “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.” “Another Round” was named Best Foreign Language Film, “Soul” won Best Animated Film and “Dick Johnson is Dead” won Best Documentary Film.

The Hoosier Award was given to the documentary “Athlete A,” which chronicles the sexual abuse of gymnasts, the attempt to cover it and the heroic journalism that brought it to light. The IFJA issued the following statement along with the award:

“We congratulate The Indianapolis Star investigative team, the filmmakers and especially the survivors for having the bravery and persistence to speak an uncomfortable truth and tell a story that needed to be told. ‘Athlete A’ represents the finest achievement in both journalism and documentary filmmaking.”

Below is a complete list of winners and runners-up in all IFJA categories:



Winner: “Nomadland”

Runner-Up:  “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”

Other Finalists (listed alphabetically):

  • “Another Round”

  • “The Assistant”

  • “Da 5 Bloods”

  • “First Cow”

  • “i'm thinking of ending things”

  • “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

  • “Minari”

  • “The Twentieth Century”



Winner: “Soul”

Runner-Up: “Wolfwalkers”



Winner: “Another Round”

Runner-Up: “Song Without a Name” 


Winner: “Dick Johnson is Dead”

Runner-Up: “Athlete A”



Winner: Eliza Hittman, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

Runner-Up: Matthew Rankin, “The Twentieth Century”



Winner: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Runner-Up: Charlie Kaufman, “i'm thinking of ending things”


Winner: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Runner-up:  Regina King, “One Night in Miami”



Winner: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Runner-up: Jessie Buckley, “i'm thinking of ending things”



Winner: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Runner-Up: Youn Yuh-jung, “Minari”



Winner:  Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods”

Runner-Up: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”


Winner: Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”

Runner-Up: Chadwick Boseman, “Da 5 Bloods”



Winner: Jamie Foxx, “Soul”

Runner-Up: Sean Bean, “Wolfwalkers”



Winner: “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”

Runner-Up: “One Night in Miami”



Winner: Ludwig Göransson “Tenet”

Runner-Up: Emile Mosseri, “Minari”



Winner: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” 

Runner-Up: Andrew Patterson, “The Vast of Night”



Winner: “The Twentieth Century”

Runner-Up: “Dick Johnson is Dead”



Winner: “Athlete A”

(As a special award, no runner-up is declared in this category.)


About the IFJA: The Indiana Film Journalists Association was established in 2009 to celebrate the cinematic arts and support Hoosier film criticism.


Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Godfather - "It Insists Upon Itself."

If you pay attention to movie news at all, then you know that Francis Ford Coppola, the guy who can’t stop revisiting his movies but doesn’t take shit for it like George Lucas does, is releasing a new cut of The Godfather: Part III now titled The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. I plan on watching it and writing an article, but I wanted to revisit the entire series first. I love these movies (I even like the theatrical cut of Part III), and I honestly don’t have some unique take on the first one. So I’ll keep this simple and just focus on what I love about it and have a little fun with a Family Guy joke about the film.

Dark and Gritty Before Dark and Gritty Was a Thing

The Godfather came out before I was born, so by the time I got around to it, it was already considered a classic. The whole series always loomed large in the video store when I was a kid: all three movies were double VHSes! Once I started getting into mob movies, I knew I had to check it out. 

At first, I liked it, but I think I liked it because I knew I was supposed to, it being almost unanimously considered one of the greatest films of all time. I sincerely enjoyed it, but a lot of it went over my head. I’ve watched it at least a dozen times over the years, and I find new reasons to love it each time. I’ll skip all the classic reasons (the cast, the music, the famous moments, etc.) and focus on what hit me this time: the pacing and atmosphere.

The Godfather is a dark film, both literally and figuratively. It’s legitimately hard to see what’s going on in a lot of scenes, but that plays into the dark mood of the film. These are men who work in the shadows of society, why should they be well-lit? The opening scene seems to take place in a dungeon, not in the middle of the day in a home office in which business is regularly conducted. When Michael finds his father alone at the hospital, everything is dark, signifying the danger of the situation. And it gets even darker when Michael and the florist have to pretend to be tough guys to protect Vito; who knows who is out in that darkness?

All of this sets up Michael’s descent into the dark underworld of his family, but it also feels realistic. Too often city streets are lit up beyond belief. Sure, Times Square will always be a bright spot, but even the biggest cities have their dark streets where dangerous things can happen. 

The darkness is realistic, but the pacing is even more so. Movies in the ‘70s were slow and subtle, and Coppola was a big part of making that the norm. The Godfather is still a very straightforward movie, and it has plenty of traditional gangster movie moments, especially in the violence department. But rather than showing someone get killed every other scene, there are lengthy discussions and arguments about every move. This is mainly to accentuate the difference in the leadership styles of Michael (slow and methodical) and Sonny (quick and loud), but it also sets the standard for a great gangster movie with something to say.

“It Insists Upon Itself.”

When I think about The Godfather critically, I always remember the Family Guy clip in which Peter admits to not liking the film, and says “It insists upon itself,” as his main argument. Over the years, I’ve tried more and more to understand differing opinions on everything, especially movies, and that applies to Peter Griffin, too. I know it’s just a joke from a silly show, but is he right?

Well, no, in my opinion, of course. But I can see where he’s coming from. The Godfather may have a few moments of levity here and there, but overall it treats its subject matter with intense seriousness. As well it should, but because of this, people like Peter Griffin, who can’t get into the movie, can easily cast judgment on the film for its serious tone. 

I can’t argue with Peter not being able to “get into it,” but I can defend the seriousness of the film. All gangster movies deal with life and death, The Godfather more than most. But it’s the life the film deals with that earns the seriousness. Death is expected in this world, but The Godfather insists upon itself because it is dealing with the soul of Michael Corleone. Over the course of the film, he goes from war hero who wants to stay out of the family business to running the criminal empire and having multiple killed. His descent intensely solidified by cross-cutting the death scenes with the baptism scene with him renouncing Satan, even as he plans to have the father of his Godson killed soon after the baptism. 

If such a descent from good to evil doesn’t deserve to insist upon itself a bit, then what does? So fine, Peter, you couldn’t get into it and would rather watch The Money Pit (a movie that definitely does not insist upon itself), but that doesn’t mean The Godfather isn’t allowed to take itself too seriously at times.

Why Do I Own This?

The entire saga is a must-own for any fan of mob movies. I’ve owned this movie in every format it’s been released in since the double VHS, and I’m sure I’ll end up buying it again once hi-def reaches its limits.

Random Thoughts / Favorite Quotes*

*Just assume all the famous quotes (“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli,” for example) are also my favorites. It just feels silly to type up all the quotes that have become part of the culture at this point. Instead, I’ll focus on more random quotes that amuse me. 

The parking situation at the wedding gives me anxiety. Imagine being the car at the very front but needing to leave first. You'd have to ask a dozen people to back out first.

Easily one of my favorite moments is Don Corleone making fun of Johnny crying and Tom laughing about it. 

"Let me tell you something, my kraut-mick friend…"

The lack of squibs when Vito gets shot always bothered me. Sure, there are squibs and blood in the close up, but in the overhead shot there's nothing. Maybe they were saving all the good squibs for Sonny's death.

Did Sonny really need to write "8:30" on the cabinet? Is that time too complex to just remember?

Michael has the slowest healing black eye in the history of black eyes. Either that, or all the shit in Italy takes place the first week he's there.

Upon some research, it's because McCluskey really fucked up Michael's face with that punch, breaking his jaw and eye socket. Apparently, McCluskey's full name is One Devastating Sucker Punch Iron Fist McCluskey.

That missed punch Sonny throws at Carlo is only slightly better than the horrific punch at the end of Rocky V.

Fredo does make a comment about the doctor doing great work on Michael's face when they see each other in Vegas.

No one says "Scram!" better than Fredo.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Hard Target - Chaos in Slow Motion

Becoming burnt out and not writing anything for at least a month is a yearly tradition for me for some reason. I don’t know what causes it. I still watch movies, and I even take notes for future articles, but something keeps me from actually writing the articles. I guess sometimes I just like to watch movies just to watch movies instead of watching them to write articles that maybe a dozen people will read. Anyway, I’m back, so here’s an article about Hard Target.


Slow motion is a fairly standard part of a good Van Damme movie. A roundhouse kick just looks better when things are slowed down so the audience can appreciate it. John Woo takes it to another level at times in Hard Target, especially during Van Damme’s first fight scene. Slo-mo might seem cheesy to film snobs, but when used correctly, as it is here, it can heighten an action movie. 

Too often, especially in martial arts films, fight scenes are edited into a hectic blur with only sound effects letting you know when someone is punched or kicked. To be fair, a fight is a chaotic situation, and quick editing can convey that feeling. But when I watch Van Damme kick someone in the face, I don’t want to feel like I’m part of the fight. I want to see his foot connect with someone’s face. John Woo gives the audience that.

I’ve always felt that slo-mo does more justice for the performers and for the action itself in a film. Why go to the trouble of casting able performers and choreographing a fight when the end product is indecipherable? It’s like a guitarist learning an incredibly difficult solo that sounds like shit; yeah, it’s impressive that they can perform it, but who wants to hear it?

Slo-mo isn’t a cure-all for an action film, though. Van Damme was obviously influenced by this film when he directed The Quest. That movie would be fifteen minutes shorter if all the slo-mo scenes ran at regular speed. He has slo-mo of characters looking at each other. (For the record, I love The Quest, but even I can’t defend all of the slo-mo in that movie.) And you do lose the impact of a good kick to the face when you slow it down. It’s a difficult style to perfect, but if anyone comes close, it’s John Woo. 


John Woo is also a master of chaos, and Hard Target is definitely chaotic. The action in the finale is just absurd. The trademark Woo birds flying around, explosions, Mardi Gras parade floats, and about a thousand bullets: it’s fucking crazy. And it’s great. The last fifteen minutes of Hard Target is a perfect example of what I miss about ‘90s films. And it’s not just the action that’s nonsensical. 

By the end of the film, I can’t come up with a good reason for any of it to still be happening. Lance Henriksen’s hunting people for sport business is done because there’s too much heat. Usually, he just packs up and moves on to a new location. But for whatever reason, he wants Van Damme dead. I get that Van Damme messed things up for him by investigating and whatnot, but if he’s truly a businessman, he would cut his losses. And it’s not like Van Damme did something to him personally. I would get it if Van Damme had killed Arnold Vosloo earlier in the film, then it would be a kind of revenge thing. But that’s not the case. Vosloo survives until the end, and he even argues with Henriksen, asking him to drop the hunt and move on. But Henrksen is obsessed. He wants to fuck shit up. And why? Because the movie needs it.

Sure, it makes no sense for Henriksen to be this devoted to killing Van Damme, but it’s an action movie, and there needs to be fucking chaos for the last showdown. And you know what? That’s fine with me. Watching the final insanity, I would find myself wondering why it was happening, but before I could get too far with the thought, more awesome shit would happen to distract me from trying to figure out any logic of the film. 

I’ll take entertaining chaos over boring logic every time in an action film. The best Van Damme movies embraced this idea, and Hard Target is a perfect example of that. Let me put it to you this way: this movie is so gloriously crazy that it made me forget until just now that Van Damme rocks a greasy mullet the entire film and at one point bites the rattler off a rattlesnake. What else can I say?

Van Damme Name Check

Obviously foreign actors playing characters with typical American names always annoys me (think Schwarzenegger playing “Adam Gibson” in The Sixth Day [by the way, I looked that up; I do not know Schwarzenegger’s character name from The Sixth Day off the top of my head]). Because of that, I like to devote a little space to Van Damme’s character name in each film. Usually, the filmmakers do a good job giving him a half-assed realistic name matching his accent and heritage. For Hard Target, it’s Chance Beaudreaux. Fucking perfection. 

Random Thoughts / Favorite Quotes

The writer of the film plays the guy being hunted and killed at the beginning. Is this a metaphor for what happens to a writer's script during the development and production of a film?

Van Damme slides some change to the waitress to pay for his gumbo and coffee (fucking gross, by the way); it totals sixty cents. He's a regular, but you can't run a business at those prices!

The film is tonally all over the place at the beginning, going from thriller (dude being hunted) to melodrama (daughter looking for her missing father) to western (Van Damme in a duster saving a damsel in distress as stereotypical western music plays). I actually dig the western vibe, despite the film taking place in New Orleans in the early '90s. Also keeping with the western theme, Vosloo's character is named Van Cleaf, an obvious homage to Lee Van Cleef.

Van Damme's reason for sticking around (being in arrears on his union dues) is the exact same reason why Llewyn Davis can't leave in Inside Llewyn Davis. Obviously, the Coens were inspired by this film.

The music seems to change genres depending on which character is being focused on.

I'm pretty sure Woo's direction to Arnold Vosloo for this film was, "Always look like you just got done stomping a puppy to death, and you enjoyed it."

"Eastern Europe. We can work there for years." It's like a prediction for Van Damme's DTV career.

The hunt doesn't seem all that thrilling or challenging with the dudes on the dirt bikes taking care of most of the work.

New Orleans is presented as such a shithole that a shootout can happen in a famous cemetery and someone can be executed in the French Quarter in front of dozens of witnesses, and the cops won't show up until the next morning. 

This film makes New Orleans come across like such a ghost town at's odd. I know it's not Mardi Gras all the time, but it's still a major city.

Van Damme breaking a dude's neck by kicking him in the head as he drives by on a motorcycle is about as badass as it gets.

After watching the ridiculous shit Van Damme does on a motorcycle in this movie, the nonsense John Woo came up with for Mission: Impossible 2 makes perfect sense.

Okay, that shit with the rattlesnake is just too fucking stupid.

Completely forgot that this movie featured Wilford Brimley on horseback shouting gibberish while holding up a bow and riding away from an explosion.

Henriksen treats all the hunters at the end like complete dog shit, and these dudes are all paying him $750,000 for it. Why the fuck are they willing to take so much shit from him? 

What's worse than taking a Van Damme roundhouse kick to the face? Getting shot a dozen times THEN taking a kick to the face.