April 03, 2006

Soldier of Waaaaah

Michael Medved's famous quote about the original Basic Instinct, "basically, it stinks", by most accounts applies in spades to its sequel, Basic Instinct II, which is currently strangling itself at the box office.

To director Paul Verhoeven - who has directed classics (Soldier of Orange, Robocop) as well as stinkers ( Showgirls, Starship Troopers), there's only one possible explanation; President Bush and those dang conservatives:

Paul Verhoeven, director of the first "Basic Instinct" (which scored $353 million worldwide) as well as the widely ridiculed "Showgirls" (now regarded as something of a camp classic), attributes the genre's demise to the current American political climate.

"Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States," said the Dutch native. "Look at the people at the top (of the government). We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends."

Scribe Nicholas Meyer, who was an uncredited writer on 1987's seminal sex-fueled cautionary tale "Fatal Attraction," agrees, noting that the genre's downfall coincides with the ascent of the conservative political movement.

"We're in a big puritanical mode," he said. "Now, it's like the McCarthy era, except it's not 'Are you a communist?' but 'Have you ever put sex in a movie?'"

Hm. Where can I find transcripts of those hearings?

Paul? Nick?

Could it be there's another explanation?

For producer JC Spink, the genre's demise has little to do with politics, scripts or willing talent and everything to do with the Internet, which became ubiquitous in American homes around the same time studio executives were suffering through such debacles as "Body of Evidence," "Showgirls" and "Jade."

"Why pay $10 to see something at the movies that you can see for free on the Internet?" Spink asked. "I think the genre is suffering because sex is more pervasive in our society now than it was 10 years ago, from Vanity Fair ads to reality TV. I mean, there's porn stars on reality TV."

I suppose that's Bush's fault, too?

Posted by Mitch at April 3, 2006 12:18 PM | TrackBack

Sometimes a bad movie is just a bad movie.

Posted by: Max at April 3, 2006 01:38 PM

Showgirls is a classic Mitch.

Posted by: the elder at April 3, 2006 02:26 PM

On this, we agree thoroughly. Besides, if there were really any kind of censorship preventing this movie from being successful, there would be - y'know - censorship preventing this movie from being successful. Instead, the promos have been running non-stop on commercial television, and people are staying away in droves.

The fact that society in general doesn't care as much anymore for gratuitous beaver shots in their thrillers doesn't necessarily mean your movie doesn't also suck.

Posted by: Beeeej at April 3, 2006 04:14 PM

The most close-minded intolerant people on earth are finally falling victim to the ivory towers they’ve built. (think they were union or illegal immigrant built?) Did you read that article on upcoming "projects" a Jim Carrey erotic thriller? Jim Carrey and erotic should never be used together. A Jennifer Garner starrer or is that J-Lo? Does it matter? There are no new ideas coming out of Hollywood, haven't been for a while. Take a look at the rentals at Netflix or new releases at BestBuy. Is there ANYTHING that just leaps out at you? Are there any likeable stars left that no matter what they're in you'll see?

Unless you're (insert crude verb here) some producer on a casting couch or (same verb) behind some Hollywood bar, you're not going to get your idea heard much less made. But don't worry, you five Paul Verhoeven fans, Basic Instinct 2 will still make money in the overseas markets as do most movies. And isn't that what Hollywood wants anyway, to be accepted by Europe and the rest of the "global community".

Posted by: Painteddog at April 3, 2006 05:45 PM

"Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States"
Terry's 1st law of socio-technology is that in the US access to pornography is limited by the bandwidth of your internet connection.

Posted by: Terry at April 3, 2006 05:47 PM

"Is there ANYTHING that just leaps out at you?"

Jennifer Garner naked?

(Raises hand)

Posted by: Roger at April 3, 2006 06:35 PM


Nice allusion in the post title to one of Verhoeven's only decent movies.

Posted by: RickDFL at April 3, 2006 08:09 PM

Wait a minute: Starship Troopers is a stinker? That movie was eye candy classic!

You're right about the porn, though. Just waaaay prevalent nowadays, even the nasty stuff.

Posted by: Bill Haverberg at April 3, 2006 09:46 PM

Agreed Bill. The problem with "Troopers" is that it went over so many heads; most never realized it was a parody, not unlike "Robocop." Verhoeven will be remembered as a great director.

Posted by: Tim at April 3, 2006 10:21 PM

Well, being a girl and all, I enjoyed Starship Troopers. The second one? Puke.

As for BI 2? I don't even want to think of it.

BI the first stunk to high heaven. I can't imagine why I'd want to watch a repeat of the same stinker.

Let's face it. Some movies stink.

And when you remake a movie that already was stinky?

Welp, let's just say there's not enough clothes pins in the world for this treat.

Posted by: Gina at April 3, 2006 10:26 PM

"Seminal sex-fueled"??? Good Lord.

I am not gonna go there, I am so not gonna go there...

Posted by: Dave in Pgh. at April 4, 2006 07:44 AM

Starship Troopers is a classic...It is "over the top" fun movie watching. Even have a genuine Bush hater friend right down to the signs in his yard enjoy this movie as his favorite.

Posted by: Greg at April 4, 2006 08:03 AM

Robert Heinlein was a master. He had some interesting political ideas too.

Posted by: Kermit at April 4, 2006 08:19 AM

Agreed that "Troopers" is a great popcorn movie. And that's what mad the fans of the book so mad. Except for the names of some of the characters and the title the movie strays a long way from the book.

Posted by: rps at April 4, 2006 08:27 AM

"Starship Troopers" the movie stank! "Starship Troopers" the novel remains a classic which I re-read for the umpteenth time just last week. Perhaps since I was such a big fan of the novel, my expectations for the movie were high. But the movie is a terrible adaptation of the novel.

Posted by: Loren at April 4, 2006 08:37 AM

"The problem with "Troopers" is that it went over so many heads; most never realized it was a parody"

Hey, I resemble that remark!

I spose I would have had to read the book to see it as a parody. To me, it was just a bunch of nasty giant bugs.

Posted by: Bill C at April 4, 2006 09:36 AM

"I spose I would have had to read the book to see it as a parody. To me, it was just a bunch of nasty giant bugs."

Somehow we come full circle to Sharon Stone...

Posted by: Kermit at April 4, 2006 09:51 AM

Let me just echo the previous posters. Starship Troopers the novel: great sci fi classic. Starship Troopers the movie: a parody that was about as subtle as a tanker bug in a mattress factory. Same for Robocop although both movies managed to get some of my favorite character actors (Michael Ironside for ST; Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox for RC).

With regard to the failure of BI2, Dave Thomas made an excellent point last night. Right now just about anyone can go on the internet and find all of the photos they want of Sharon Stone through Google or women who are much better looking and 20 years younger. Why spend $7.50 on a movie when you can see better stuff for free?

That being said, Sharon Stone has been in some pretty good movies like Casino and the Quick and the Dead. She was also pretty hilarious when she did her guest appearances on The Practice so the woman does have some range as an actress. It’s a pity that she’s returning to doing the sort of garbage she did to break out as an actress.

Posted by: Thorley Winston at April 4, 2006 11:15 AM

Quick and the Dead a good movie?

For shame, Thorley, for shame.

Posted by: Ryan at April 4, 2006 02:10 PM

Ms. Stone's best movie? Total Recall, without a doubt....Arnie's, too.

Posted by: Pious Agnostic at April 4, 2006 04:25 PM

Pious on for Total Recall....another great movie and another of the Dutchman's productions....

When you link Phillip K. Dick stories with Verhoeven you have dynamite...

Posted by: Greg at April 5, 2006 07:34 AM


Posted by: Bíró Zoltán at May 5, 2006 05:43 AM
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