Watch Bad Movies So You Don't Have To
2 QUESTIONS WE'VE BEEN ASKING OURSELVES: Do you have to actually
rent Cutthroat Island to know that there is nothing redeemable
about it? AND-If a movie bankrupts a company in the middle of the
ocean, does it make a sound?
There are bad movies.
And then there are movies that carry such a stink that people who
have not seen them will warn you away from seeing them.
Consider this a different kind of warning.
When I pop in the DVD of Cutthroat Island, I half expect
a siren, or an alarm to go off, announcing the World's Largest Sucker
is about to watch one dumb-ass movie. No luck.
The movie begins...
The OPENING CREDITS are transposed onto Da Vinci-style cartographer's
papers. Reminds me of Hudson Hawk. A dark cloud casts a shadow
across the room.
The movie begins in Jamaica, 1668-And the Anachronistic Olympics
At 00:01:15, there is a monkey at the end of the bed. This shows
00:05:20-Harris Yulin enters the story as Geena Davis' pirate father,
Black Harry. Oh, good. Harris Yulin is one of my favorite actors.
00:08:09-Fuck. Harris Yulin is dead.
The plot unfolds with some legend of the island with the titular
name, mountains of treasure, and a map in three pieces (also reminiscent
of Hudson Hawk). The race for high sea hi-jinks is led by
the team of Geena Davis/Matthew Modine. (because you can't spell
action without "M-O-D-I-N-E"). They are chased by the evil arched
eyebrows of Frank Langella, who plays Geena's uncle, Dawg Brown.
Modine starts off as a 15th century pickpocket, albeit a bad
one, and winds up in jail.
00:12:10-Another shot of the monkey!
00:18:45-Monkey attends Modine's thwarted hanging.
We learn that Geena Davis' name is Morgan Adams. More importantly,
we learn the monkey's name is King Charles. Yes, I agree. He looks
like a King Charles.
I start to wonder-When Geena and Renny Harlin separated, who
got the custody rights to Cutthroat Island?
00:21:50-The first full-blown action-scene. I can hear the first
wave of pink slips at Carolco being handed out.
00:23:10-Matthew and Geena leap from impossibly high cliff. Would
be impressive if I hadn't seen Butch Cassidy and The Sundance
Kid, Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom, The Long
Kiss Goodnight, or the wank trailer for Six Days, Seven Nights.
00:29:09-Monkey rides in a caravan. Modine makes a vagina joke.
Then follows it up with a testicles joke. High-larious.
00:36:08-Bad Blue Screen Fx 101 Class being taught here.
00:38:20-Second explosion-riddled action sequence. At this point,
Carolco employees are wondering who replaced the kitchen's complimentary
soft drinks with a vending machine.
00:43:05-Frank "Dawg Brown" Langella walks through fire a la Bob
Patrick in T2.
00:45:00-Monkey watches Davis booze it up.
00:47:57-Monkey gets queasy at sight of Davis' blood.
00:50:18-Monkey gets queasy at sight of Davis kissing Modine.
Maury Chaykin reveals his true traitorous nature and gets Davis/Modine
thrown off the ship. Whether the monkey was thrown off is now the
one million dollar question for me.
01:02:47-Davis/Modine find Cutthroat Island.
I can probably name 36 movies that are worse than Cutthroat
Island, 3 of which are also directed by Renny Harlin. Where
Cutthroat Island most miserably fails is in having the hubris
to believe that THIS is what audiences want to see.
01:12:00-Davis/Modine search a cave and find the treasure.
There are still 45 minutes left. To pass time, I think of The
Goonies and things are right with the world again.
01:22:00-In an act of solidarity, Davis/Modine jump off a cliff
together. And live. Rats.
01:23:40-Modine captured by Langella and British Army.
01:28:00-Davis' "ass-kicking" rescue mission begins.
01:29:31-Revelation that monkey has been hiding in cabinet for
the last 39 minutes. Whew.
01:30:00-Monkey assists in "ass-kicking" rescue mission by loading
ammo into guns.
01:35:00-After all the preparation by Davis to rescue Modine, Modine
escapes by himself.
01:35:15-Cannon fight between two ships at sea begins. Somewhere.
Carolco employees are wondering who changed the building's security
I will admit that Geena Davis holds her own as an Action Hero.
She would be good as Modesty Blaise.
01:48:30-What appears to be the final showdown between Davis &
01:50:55-I can't even remember the last time anyone found it funny/ironic/apropos
for an action star to spit out a laissez-faire catchphrase a la
Die Hard's "Yippie Ki-Yay, Mother F-er". This doesn't stop
Davis from scraping the bottom of the barrel with this howler-"Bad
Dawg!". She then lights a cannon and blasts Frank "Dawg Brown" Langella
through the side of the boat. I calm myself down by thinking, "Langella
will be okay because John Neville survived the same cannonball trickery
in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen".
01:53:24-Langella's ship is blown to kingdom come. It is now official-the
word, "Carolco", is no longer recognized by English-speaking people.
01:56:23-Monkey pops out of treasure box wearing jewels.
01:57:31-Monkey makes painful comic double take at the allusion
that Davis/Modine are going to get it on. I know exactly how the
I would have to rate my Cutthroat Island experience with
low marks in Enjoyability, Plausibility, and Recommendability and
high marks in Monkey Antics & *Wistfulness.
(*Wistfulness for the fact that Cutthroat Island is preserved
for eternity on DVD while I am sure Jacques Tati's Playtime
sits in a broken meat locker somewhere, disintegrating.)