Blogulist’s note: Since Per Omnia Saecula is no more, I’m posting here the second half of our collaboration of last year for posterity. Those of you who wonder what JLJ is up to these days ought check out her webcomic. If you have a blog and are interested in a collaborative cross-post project like this one, hit me up with a proposal. I can be reached in the usual way.
Here we are, for the thrilling conclusion of the Got-Medieval-Per-Omnia-Saecula-Cross-Blogination-Bad-Medieval-Movie-Spectacular!! If you’ve come here without reading Carl’s blog first, then WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Get over there and read the beginning! [Blogulator’s note: This first part is written in JLJ’s voice, because this was originally at her blog. So when she tells you to go read my blog, you can follow the link, but remember that technically you’re already reading my blog. And you’re still reading it now, I might add.]
Are you back? Good, I’ve been waiting very patiently. Here we gooooooo!!!
Per Omnia Saecula: So for those just now joining us,* Where we?
Got Medieval: Well, let me look. We covered Alan Rickman’s luscious locks, Costner’s ass, and Brian Blessed’s large hams, I guess that means it’s time to talk about the film’s other lead, Mary Elizabeth Masterandsomethingorother as Maid Marian.
POS: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
GM: Right. Pretend you didn’t look that up on IMDB just now.
POS: Marian and Costner meet in the forest, he shows her his tree fort, and they make out to a Bryan Adams Song. That was my dream date in high school.
GM: Now, I don’t have to tell you that I had quite the crush on Mary Elizabeth Masterchief when I was a wee lad. But I just did tell you, so there.
POS: That’s not nearly as embarassing as my Rickman obsession, but I appreciate the candor.
GM: She was so hot in 1991. She’d just come off The Abyss, in which she’d never given up on anything her her life so live, damn it live. You know, the movie that introduced James Cameron to computer animation.
POS: A love affair for the ages. Do you think you could be a movie star with her last name these days?
GM: I’m not sure. It was the early 90s, which was basically still the 80s. Things were different then. Bill Clinton was still just a fresh-faced governor from a backwards state. The Spin Doctors were at the height of their popularity. Women in their thirties who looked like they were in their thirties could still play women named Maid Marian.
POS: Holy crap. She was in Scarface. I know, because I was checking IMDB while you were waxing poetic there about your lost youth. She was all over the late 80s and early 90s.
GM: Her perm was much bigger in Scarface.
POS: Her perm was EPIC in Scarface. It set the bar for all later film perms.
GM: Not to get all patriarchal and white male privilegish, but don’t you think Marians really ought to be credible maids? Mary Elizabeth was 33 when this film came out. Cate Blanchett’ll be 41 in the new one.
POS: So who would be your ideal Marian now? Kristin Stewart? iCarly? Abigail Breslin?
GM: Hmm… iMarian? No, no. Probably Rachel McAdams, but she can’t be in every movie. Just 82%. It’s mandated by law. Like the percentage of rat droppings in your peanut butter.
POS: You realize she’s in her 30s now, too, right?
GM: But she doesn’t look like she is. Whereas Prince of Thieves-Marian did. But never mind. I think we can agree that Mary Elizabeth Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World isn’t bad in this movie. Really, I think it may be just Christian Slater and Kevin Costner that suck this movie up.
POS: And Guy of Guisborne, to be fair. His growly voice is kind of ridiculous. He sounds like he’s doing Christian Bale’s Batman voice.
GM: I think we’re losing the film again. So, in our little synopsis, we were up to the part with Costner’s ass.
POS: Again with the ass.
GM: Yes, again with the ass. It’s the focal point the movie turns on. The appearance of that ass marks the transition between acts 2 and 3. Pre-ass, things have been going pretty badly for Robin. His dad died. An ethnic stereotype sidekick won’t stop following him around. Whiny emo Christian Slater/Will Scarlet won’t respect his authoritah. Then it all comes to a head when the Sheriff’s men discover the Merry Men’s treehouse funland and burn that sucker to the ground. Wait–why do the Merry Men live in a village in the tops of the trees, again?
POS: It makes perfect sense. You’re on the run from the law for stealing the king’s deer, so you build an elaborate tree fort.
GM: Or, rather, you move into the leftover set from Return of the Jedi.
POS: They ran so far they ended up on Endor. Everbody secretly wants to live in a tree fort, I guess, but this is taking it a bit far.
GM: Interesting side note: when they put out the toys for this movie, they just re-used the molds for the Ewok stuff Hasbro had put out for Return of the Jedi. Robin’s Sherwood Forest playset was just the Ewok village with Ewok village crossed out and Merry Men written in in crayon. I think it might have even included C3P0’s magic chair.
POS: I don’t think you should be allowed to be the judge of what makes a side note interesting.
GM: They did the same thing with Robin’s forest attack catapults.
POS: Speaking of those catapults. Did the Merry Men not know that the Sheriff had fire-hurling catapults? It makes it harder to understand why they’d choose to live in the trees.
GM: Stealth catapults no less. The Sheriff’s men find the place by letting Robin’s blind servant Duncan go free so they can tail him home and attack about five minutes after he gets there, which means that they didn’t just follow him, they followed him WITH CATAPULTS.
POS: Stealth fire-breathing Ewok catapults. Makes perfect sense.
GM: So after the village is attacked, Robin rouses the men in his version of the St. Crispin’s Day speech and it’s time for a training montage.
POS: They MAKE SWORDS! They LEARN TO SHOOT ARROWS! They MAKE A TREE FORT! Peasants can do ANYTHING!
GM: The montage is the best part of the eighties populist fantasy action movie. Because at first you’re all like, oh no, the Merry Men don’t know how to use their bows, but then the music starts playing, and the scene switches, and then it’s like oh, no they’re getting better, but they’re still not that good, and then it changes again and you’re relieved because, hey, they can totally use their bows now, the Sheriff had better watch out. But this movie goes that extra step, because by the end of it their bows can make stuff explode!
POS: Their bows INVENTED GUNPOWDER.
GM: I knew the Moor thing was a ruse this whole time. The only thing the Muslims ever gave us was algebra, sherbert, and diagnostic medical techniques.
POS: And water wheels. And religious tolerance. And the internet. And mullets!
GM: It’s Robin’s mullet that makes him a man of the people.
POS: So, much like in The Bad News Bears, a mulleted hero leads a ragtag band of scruffy rough and tumble outlaws.
GM: Were there mullets in The Bad News Bears?
POS: It was the 70’s. Everybody had mullets.
GM: I stand corrected. But it’s still not that much like The Bad News Bears. For instance, Robin doesn’t really assemble this ragtag band. All he does is show up and win the band from Little John, who had pre-assembled them before he got there. And they follow him for some reason.
POS: By dint of being Kevin Costner.
GM: Possibly his skill at archery?
POS: Flaming explodey archery.
GM: No, wait, it’s his skill at quaterstaffchery.
POS: And don’t forget his vast puttingthemovesonthemaidenchery skillz.
GM: And they don’t really bother setting up any of these skills. It’s just, “Hi, I’m Robin. You’ve read the stories, so you know I’m pretty good with bows. I’ll be doing some archery and leading some Merry Men now, as soon as I finish smooth talking this fine, fine lady.”
POS: By mooning her.
GM: She mooned herself! How could he have known she’d choose that exact moment to convince his well-meaning-but-bumbling comedic effect Merry Men to guide her to his camp? Unless… maybe his real talent was carefully orchestrating opportunities for people to see his ass.
POS: Oh, he knew it. You don’t think Robin Hood can orchestrate that kind of subtle seduction? I was seduced right through the Netflix instant view.
GM: Everything is falling into place.
GM: What’s left to discuss? What does our public want to know about this film? I mean, after the explosions start flying, the film kind of gives up, too. Sean Connery drops by for a cameo and they all live happily ever after.
POS: We’ve not talked about the accent yet. Nottingham by way of SoCal.
GM: Yeah. His accent gets a lot of flack from the critics, but Mary Elizabeth isn’t very British in this, either. I think it’s that he seemed to try for all of two scenes. If he’d just never tried, it’d have been fine. Like Connery in The Hunt for Red October.
POS: Absolutely. As an actor you need to make choices, and he never makes any. He just seems to do whatever it occurs to him to do for a few seconds, until he’s distracted by Marian’s perm and he forgets.
GM: Marian is distracting. I spent the better part of 1991 and 1992 hoping she’d come up behind me and blow in my ear when I was trying to do something precision and intense.
POS: It didn’t happen? She was there when I was translating Prester John’s letter in 2007. What did you do wrong?
GM: Agree to re-watch this movie?
POS: That’s it.
GM: It’s not that bad, really, but it brings into sharp relief how not full of Maids Marian my life has been to this point.
POS: Do you think she’s behind your medievalist career? She’s certainly got something to do with mine.
GM: No, let’s not blame that debacle on her. She’s too pure. Too perfect. Let’s just quickly move on to our final judgments.
POS: Do you mean Final Judgments, like on the popular bad movie podcast The Flophouse, which in no way provided us with promotional consideration for mentioning them in our post? Should we rate this as either a Good Bad Movie, a Bad Bad Movie, or a Movie You Kind of Liked?
GM: No. Let’s go with their more recent metric. Suppose you’re in a video store, and the only things available to rent are a VHS copy of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and a Bluray of Step Up 3D (in theaters this summer!).††
POS: It depends. Have I already seen it in this scenario?
GM: You have. You’ve also seen Step Up, but not Step Up 2 The Streets, so you’re worried that you won’t be able to follow the plot now that it’s 3D.
POS: Oh, definitely Robin Hood. I always choose not to challenge myself.
GM: Just like Kevin Costner!
POS: And THAT is how he influenced my career. Full circle.
GM: I say two thumbs up. Way up. But only because they’ve just been blown off in an explosion that Kevin Costner is jumping dramatically in front of. It’s only a matter of time before those thumbs come down to earth and I have to find ice for them and rush to the emergency room. Then there will be the awkward physical therapies, the multiple surgeries, but one day I will be able to type again.
POS: I have no doubt you’ll be blogging at full force in no time, my friend. That’s all from us, tune in next time we decide to make ourselves feel better by ridiculing the hard work and creative productions of others. Ta!
*GM: I thought you’d instructed them to go read my blog first. Very disobedient readers you have over here.†
†POS: They are free-spirits. If you’re going to insult my readers, that’s it. No more footnotes!
††POS: Promotional consideration not given by the Step Up people, either, though oh how Carl tried. But they were like rocks, even when he broke down sobbing on the phone with them.**
**GM: No fair, you said we couldn’t use footnotes anymore. I’d be up to *************** by now if I knew we could. And for the record the sobbing was totally unrelated. Those were the bitter tears I shed when they rejected my spec script for Step Up 4 Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo 2.