Tag Archives: Philip K. Dick

1982, THE YEAR OF BLADE RUNNER

1982 was one of these years, with the passing of time, we should celebrate, at least regarding film releases. From Annie, to Creepshow or Porky’s, 1982 also rewarded us with The Thing, First Blood and 48h, among many others.

But it’s Blade Runner I want to talk about now. Last week it was the 30th anniversary of its release, and I’m particularly fond of this film as I grew up with Deckard and Nexus 6 close.

Sure my parents didn’t take me to the cinema to see this sci-fi film, probably for the same reason they didn’t buy me Star Wars toys. For many years, and still nowadays, sci-fi has been a male genre, as if girls couldn’t dream of being astronauts, heroines nor fighters. Well, as far back as my childhood memories reach, I’ve been fond of stuff related to this portrait of the future, dark, sinister and even hopeless.

You already know the classic Star Wars saga is essential in my existence, and I accomplish certain rituals every year which have to do with it. Well, Blade Runner is actually my second all time favorite movie, and I also have to watch it once or twice a year. I need it.

Ridley Scott’s free adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, shocked the world in 1982. Although I’m not sure the exact time I watched the film for the first time, I still have the moment fresh in my mind. The same guy who gave me my favorite childhood toys, the space Airgam Boys, when I was 5, and videotaped me the Star Wars saga and the first Muppet Movie, he played me Blade Runner to keep me entertained while he, his girlfriend and my parents were playing card at his house in the Pyrenees. Hi son was off with his ex wife, thus, movies will be the perfect babysitters for me.

If you are acquainted with the plot, you can imagine at 7-8, I barely managed to comprehend 10-15% of the film, yet there were many visual things which made me fall in love with the film. On one hand, Han Solo was now Rick Deckard, the image of the Japanese geisha taking a contraceptive pill was something which settled in my mind immediately, J.F Sebastian’s toys at his huge apartment, the origami figures made by Gaff, and the enhancing device to observe the tiniest details of the picture Deckard found at Leon’s flat. No need to say violent scenes were very intense and welcome.

Have you ever thought of the amount of violence we used to swallow when we were kids? Damn, we were allowed to watch action films and nothing happened. Blood, shoot-to-kill prosecutions, executions, beatings, rapes…anything. Think of Robocop, The Terminator, Rocky, Conan… I don’t have any regrets and don’t think it as wrong, I haven’t suffered from any side effects.

Anyway, sorry for this off-remark. I was fascinated by the aesthetics and the imagery, and my love for the film was increasing and becoming stronger and full of sense, as I was growing up and developing my own vision of the story. When I started understanding about the replicants Nexus 6, the actual task of the Blade Runner as a shoot-to-kill cop hunting them in order to carry out their retirement, the need for memories, and the Voight-Kampff test, an amazing fictitious world was there open to me, the Future, and this film became another source of endless thinking and dreaming.

Your vision on certain aspects in the film changes as you grow old. You used to think Deckard was a cool cop, but in the end you realize he’s a total tortured loser who strongly believes Rachael feels and is in love with him, but she’s actually obeying and fulfilling his desires, it’s not love but submission. And the Replicants are not evil, they’ve just fighting for survival!

Slavery, feelings, memories, survival, humanity, morality… Blade Runner conveys all these features and make you think. It’s not just another sci-fi story, it reaches levels of social criticism.

The more developed and technologically advanced we are, the more valididy Dick’s message has. For this and more, Blade Runner will be in my top 5 for good.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME, DOC? I LIKE TOM CRUISE

Tom Cruise and Toi are connected by a relationship of love and hate.

There are some days I wake up in the morning and think that this guy is a complete jerk, but at the end of the day, after doing some thinking I always reach the same conclusion: he earned a tiny corner in my heart, thanks to certain things I’m about to tell you now.

Whenever I think of him attending a Franciscan seminar in order to become a priest I can’t help laughing. Can you imagine Cruise overacting during the homily with a mic? That’d be worth experiencing, instead of yelling “Respect The Cock! And tame the Cunt” it could be something like “Respect the Bible, and Love Jesus!”. This guy has serious issues with religion as far as I can tell, Catholic, Scientologist? WTF?

When I was attending the nun school and wasn’t even a teenager yet, Cruise appeared in my life already triumphant. Coppola had discovered a new generation of talented young actors, the Brat Pack, and gathered them to be part of The Outsiders cast: Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon and our Tom. His role as Steve Randle wasn’t very prominent, but that’d be the actual starting point to the top.

RISKY BUSINESS  (1983)

1983 was an important year for Cruise. Outsiders was relevant for what’s been mentioned before, for Coppola Cruise was a rough diamond, and right after several teenage films followed, Losin’ It, All the Right Moves and Risky Business, Legend was a different style though.

Cruise was to be the next teenager hero, a guy with a very expressive and beautiful smile, targeted to fill up most of American teenage girls’ walls bedrooms, this is, the new soaking pants machine. I must admit I was more up to Rob Lowe, he wasn’t so perfect, especially after his sex tapes having sex with an underage.

There are certain scenes or images which for some reason keep in your mind forever. Risky Business had several. Apart from the hot scene on the train with Lana (Rebecca De Mornay), and the classic pic of Cruise with the Ray-Ban Wayfarer, the dance scene with Joel Goodsen singing Bob Seger’s  Old Time Rock and Roll is a blast.

That kind of relief we used to experience when our parents were off for some days and the possibility of do whatever you want, is perfectly reflected in that scene.

Growing in the 80’s, all these American high school / university films made an impact on me, and Risky Business is included in my personal  top 10 of this genre, together with Animal House, Porky’s, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Revenge of the Nerds among others.

For Cruise  this was the propeller to stardom, exploding his funny side and also his sensuality.

COCKTAIL (1988)

You can have a laugh now but yes, I love Cocktail. I might have seen it around 20-30 times for sure, and I purchased it on DVD 3 years ago in an attack of nostalgia.

If I ever had a bar, I’d have trouble deciding the name for it, but let me tell you one to be considered is Cocktails & Dreams.

At school, the advanced courses were showing pictures to raise funds for the end of school-year trip at lunch time, and Cocktail was so popular, it was featured every two weeks. My favorite part, no doubt is when young Flanagan starts working for Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown) as a bartender in Manhattan. Those choreographies serving cocktails with Hippie Hippie Shake, Cruise singing Addicted to Love trying to pick a female customer, and his poetry at the posh club are bigger than life.

I’ve always felt fascinated for the hairstyles of Cruise in this film, they change a lot. Final mullet at the end of the story is a bit disturbing, but have to admit at this point I realized Cruise’s hairstyles are usually very cool, even nowadays his hair always look perfect.

EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)

When I heard the news about Kubrick’s movie featuring the couple, my first reaction wasn’t very enthusiastic. I never liked Cruise and Kidman together, they were one of these Hollywood perfect couples hard to believe. I didn’t buy their happiness with all those adopted children. Beside I had read something about Cruise first ex-wife, Mimi Rogers, the one who apparently introduced him into Scientology, related to the false impossibility of having kids due to her conditions…bullshit! She had two kids after their marriage. It was the time when rumors on homosexuality were a hot issue.

No, I couldn’t understand why Kubrick had counted on them for being the main characters of what would be his last film. Let’s talk serious here, none of them are good actors, she’s a Barbie and Cruise is too histrionic and very exaggerated.

The fact is that I eventually saw the film, after too much buzz, and I liked it. In fact, I dig it a lot, the story, the decadence, the filth…it’s disturbing.

Probably the scene which captivated me most, leaving the orgy at the mansion aside, was that scene, after the initial party, under the effects of a weed joint, when Alice confesses during holidays in Cape Cod, she’d give up everything including her marriage and her daughter for spending just one night with a stranger she met at the hotel.

During the revelation, Kubrick makes use of intense close-up takes, and Tom Cruise, Bill here, is not really doing anything but staring, and yet, the shock is so clear in his face, I can’t help loving it. Brutal!

MAGNOLIA (1999)

Love these films in which separate characters and acts eventually are related. I never get tired of this film, although many people hate it.

Tom Cruise is Frank T.J Mackey, the author of Seduce and Destroy, a self-help book providing they keys to the doors of women. He’s manly, charismatic, strong, with a developed point of arrogance, misogyny, focusing on improving self-confidence to get to  women’s pants.

During a break of one of his speeches, he’s to be interviewed by a very attractive woman, Gwenovier. He tries to project all his strength and security but once the interview starts, she recalls a series of facts and life details which unmask his true identity. Again his face in an extreme close-up, Frank/Cruise just stares at her, and he only says “I’m quietly judging you”

MINORITY REPORT (2002)

This time I have to give credit to both Cruise and Steven Spielberg for making a film out of one of Philip K. Dick’s short stories in a more than decent way.

We had seen the actor moving among drama, comedy, action and fantasy, but had never participated in real sci-fi project. Coming from the same author, Minority Report shares common elements with Blade Runner, Total Recall and A Scanner Darkly.

Cruise had already played the role of Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible, and despite the fact that I’m not very interested in this saga, I have to admit all the action and dangerous scenes are visually amazing and brilliant.

I’ve mentioned Minority Report as a reason to like Cruise, but what I really respect is his taste for action scenes and the willing to take the risks himself, rejecting any stuntmen. I like to think Tom Cruise, a guy who has achieved everything thanks to his successful career despite his low-average acting skills, whose one of the wealthiest actors in the world, needs the adrenaline to feel alive and wants to emulate Steve McQueen in order to be proud of himself. Think of it, if a tragedy occurred, this guy would pass away happy and fulfilled, leaving his wife, ex-wife and kids in a safe position, taken care of. He’s got nothing to lose and he knows it.

If the legend was true, and contracts with the devil were for real, no doubt Cruise signed one of the best. Like Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, the actor doesn’t grow old, he’s still taking risks in films, and his religious freak conditions  and dark and mysterious personal and family life, rather than sinking him into poisonous gossip, keep him floating triumphant.

What can I say? Once you assume his Hollywood histrionic attitude, just his smile and the reasons I’ve just explained, make me think “Cruise, you asshole, yet adorable”.