Sunday, April 3, 2016


Year 8, Day 94 - 4/3/16 - Movie #2,294

BEFORE:  And as difficult as it was to link to "The Warriors", it was just as difficult to find another link away from it - this required separating "Quicksilver" from another Kevin Bacon film, "The Big Picture", which of course goes against my nature, but doing so not only made a space for "The Warriors", it also made certain things line up rather nicely.  So it had to be done.

Oddly enough, this is the fourth film in 6 months that shares its name with a Marvel superhero, but is not a superhero film - in October I watched both versions of "The Thing", and in February I watched "The Invisible Woman", which turned out to be about Charles Dickens.  I suppose if I were in a pranking mood, and if the linking supported it, I could have watched those films directly before the new "Fantastic Four" film.  Or watched this one before an "Avengers" film.  Strangely, I can't think of another film that fits that bill, sharing its name with an unrelated Marvel hero, except maybe "Demolition Man".  Or I guess that film "Iceman", which was about a frozen caveman.  And that film "Domino", about a female bounty hunter.  And there's probably a horror film somewhere called "The Beast", so never mind.  

David Harris, who played Cochise in "The Warriors", carries over to play "Apache" in this film, and if you check out the cast list, you'll see I'm perfectly set up for "Batman v. Superman" tomorrow.

THE PLOT:  Jack Casey used to be a hot-shot stock market whiz kid. After a disastrous professional decision, he loses his nerve and joins a speed delivery firm in San Francisco, is attracted to a fellow bicycler, Terri, and befriends Hector, a budding entrepreneur.

AFTER: A few years ago, when that film "Premium Rush" came out, I wondered how they got away with promoting it as the first movie about NYC bike messengers.  What about "Quicksilver", did everyone forget about that movie?  Ah, but "Quicksilver" is set in San Francisco, a whole different thing.  I spent a day walking across S.F. a couple years ago,  and I was exhausted by the time I got to the really hilly part - I can't imagine it's a great environment for any cyclists, let alone messengers on bikes.  Throw in the traffic, pedestrians, and the fact that movies always depict San Francisco as having an abundance of fruit stands and workmen carrying giant pieces of plate-glass around, and you've got a recipe for disaster.  

But when our hero flames out in the world of high-finance - though the movie spends no time explaining exactly what went wrong on the trading floor - he finds that the high-speed world of bike messenger services is just the thing he needs to boost his confidence again.  Seriously, how do you lose all of your money AND your parents' life-savings over the course of an afternoon?  That money should have been in an IRA, because those capital contributions are pre-tax, and you don't have to declare the dividends until you start drawing from the account.  

Similarly, we never get to understand how exactly he gets the money back, near the end of the film when he's pulled back into the world of finance - high risk, high reward, sure, but is he trading on margin?  Is he just buying low and selling high, or what?  Does he even have a right to try and win back his parents' retirement account while using his messenger friend's hot-dog cart money?  Isn't this what got Bernie Madoff in all that trouble?  I have a feeling that the stock exchange works quite differently from betting on horses at the track, but you'd never know it from watching this film. 

Apparently, this guy is some kind of addict when it comes to being in trouble, because if he's not involved in high-stakes trading, he rides a bike at high speed through the aforementioned dangerous streets of San Francisco, and in his spare time he engages in staring contests with the drug dealer that he knows killed another bike messenger.  Good times.  Oh, and he likes to do bike-dances around his impossibly large loft apartment while his entitled girlfriend practices for the ballet.  

OK, I could kind of allow it if his girlfriend was a professional ballet dancer, like maybe she could afford that enormous downtown loft space and let him crash there, but eventually they realize that they travel in vastly different social circles and she's never seen again.  In which case he has to pay for that giant living space on a bike messenger's salary.  No freaking way.  But this frees him up for a possible romance with the troubled loner girl, who's also a bike messenger for some reason, yet never tells the same backstory twice, so I'm not sure if she was just a compulsive liar, or hiding from someone, or just incredibly insecure.  

So there are a lot of gaps in the story, many things are never explained, like why is Louie Anderson hanging around the bike messenger service?  Does he own the place, or is he a frequent client, or does he just like hanging around with skinny people?  How does working as a messenger help someone get his mojo and self-respect back, does it have something to do with collecting all those phone numbers from those horny secretaries?  Maybe it's just the rush he gets from the endorphins. 

NITPICK POINT: Maybe this is just on my mind because it's tax time, but if you buy stock low and then sell it high for a massive profit, you have to report that on your tax return, that's called a capital gain.  By making a one-day killing on the exchange floor, and then signing the profit over to someone else, say, your parents, you're not doing them any favors - they're going to have to pay the capital gains tax on that.  

Also starring Kevin Bacon (last seen in "The Big Picture"), Jami Gertz (last seen in "Sixteen Candles"), Paul Rodriguez, Rudy Ramos (last seen in "The Enforcer"), Laurence Fishburne (last seen in "Man of Steel"), Louie Anderson, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Georgann Johnson, Whitney Kershaw, Charles McCaughan. 

RATING: 5 out of 10 issues of the Wall St. Journal

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