Monday, February 06, 2012

The movie I've seen more times than any other

Brian Adams of the cool pop-culture blog Cool and Collected had a pip of an idea in which pop-culture-obsessed bloggers each weigh in on a topic every week. The working title right now is The League of Extraordinary Bloggers, which, I have to say, is pretty catchy.

Being one of those said bloggers, and one in need of regular updates, I thought this would be perfect, so I joined up. This week's topic:
"What movie is, or was, your "go to" Saturday matinee — the comfort movie you always popped into the VCR on a rainy Saturday afternoon, the movie you watched over and over again, driving your parents crazy while you recited the lines along with the characters on the screen?"

Before I annoyed the crap out of my wife by watching old TV commercials on a loop (though to be fair, I can watch for a few days without having to repeat), my brother and I had a movie that we watched incessantly.

"Blood Freak."

Just kidding.

"Superman II" was always either in or right next to our top-loading behemoth of a VCR. Actually, it shared the most-watched stat with one other movie, but I'll get to that in just a second.

Dead center. Underoos, tights, and red knee socks over cowboy boots. Win.
When I was about 7, my mom babysat one of the girls in my class every day after school. Since I was supposed to share and be considerate of other people (even girls), we struck a deal in which we would alternate which movie we'd watch after school. I considered this a small victory on my part, because not only was she taller than me, but she was a grade above me, too.

My film of choice was "Superman II." Hers?


Yes. This is mostly why I own the movie in multiple formats, have two copies of the soundtrack album, and the sheet music book. Well, as far as you know, anyway. I have to admit that I do like the movie in a weird kind of way. I mean, just a few minutes into it, we see the sun rising from the west. How can you not love that? Or rollerskating to disco? Or legwarmers?

Right. Well, anyway...

We had taped both Superman movies off of TV. This was the magical time before "Superman III" or "IV" when there was no reason to be embarrassed about telling my friends I liked Superman movies. Well, I guess 7-year-old me wouldn't apologize anyway, but you know what I mean.

How much did we love this movie? Well, we still use dialogue in everyday conversation:

  • "That's funny--I've never seen garbage eat garbage before." 
  • "Why do you say this to me when you know I will kill you for it?" 
  • "Hey, you hippies! Get your butts off the road!" 
  • "These humans are beginning to bore me." 
  • "That's why they call them 'terrorists,' Kent." 

and of course,

  • "Come to me, son of Jor-El, kneel before Zod!" Adding "snoochie boochies" is optional.

We loved it enough that for years (after my brother was old enough to talk) we spent a lot of time making excuses and giving mulligans to the scenes in the movie that didn't quite ring true for us.

General Zod lifts a guy up in the air with a beam of light from his finger.

We figured that the Phantom Zone villains could've been exposed to something (red kryptonite, maybe) in the Phantom Zone or the violent trip from the Phantom Zone to our dimension altered them somehow to give them extra powers.
From the fight at the Fortress of Solitude alone, there's this:

What the hell is that, a Fruit Roll-Up?
Our explanation was that all of it was stuff Superman had at the fortress in case of attack. We couldn't think of what exactly the giant Saran Wrap S-shield was supposed to do, but we allowed it. I even tried to make one of my own to throw at my brother, but my markers didn't really stick on the plastic well enough.
and this:
Well, "clever" might be overstating it just a bit.
My dad actually came up with the excuse for this one. I asked, in all the indignant comic-book-geek rage my little prepubescent body could muster, since when can Superman teleport, let alone be in multiple places at one time?
They were running so fast, it just looked like they were teleporting. And all the other Supermen were holograms.
Okay, except for the statue that magically appeared for Non to crash into.
*insert "statue of limitations" pun here*
Once the bad guys were gone and Superman realized he couldn't leave Lois with the knowledge of his secret identity, he had to make her forget. How? The kiss of amnesia. This was before "date-rapey" was an adjective, and certainly not one we'd have thought of anyway, but we at least realized that it was bovine excrement of the highest order.

"Come here and make me feel like a woman. Come on, give me a nice, wet, lickery kiss."  "What, Clark?"
He was wearing like amnesia-flavored Chapstick. Brilliance!
My brother and I are in our 30s now, and we still watch the movie from time to time. Superman II, not Xanadu. Well, he doesn't watch it. And we still find more things to pick on, and we still come up with increasingly convoluted rationalizations.

This treatment, I should add, is not given to the two movies that followed. We might say nice things about "Superman III" on a good day, but "Superman IV," with the scene in which Superman rebuilds the Great Wall of China with what appears to be his rebuild-the-Great-Wall-of-China vision was just too much.

And don't even get me started on "Batman and Robin."


  1. Anonymous3:39 PM

    I used to watch Superman II every time it came on Cinemax or HBO in the early 80s. For some reason on of those channels would always play that execrable soft rock song "Sometimes When We Touch" behind the trailers for the movie, too, so I unfortunately associate that song with Superman II. Still like the movie, though.

    1. You know, as soon as I read your comment, I hit YouTube to see if I could find a clip of that promo, because it sounds awfully familiar. Considering how much I hate that song, there's a good chance I just blocked it out. :)

  2. I always found it weird that as a kid I never questioned any of the goofy stuff in this flick, particularly in the end battle. Of course Superman has Saran Wrap prisons hidden in his "S". Duh. Even though I find some of this stuff silly today, I can't bring myself to watch the Donner cut of the flick as I kind of want to keep my memories of the original intact. Nice write up, by the by!

    1. Thanks! I've been a fan of your blog for quite a while, so I feel honored.

      I just watched the Donner cut the other day, and as much as I appreciate the ways it differs from the original, it still feels weird, like I'm watching the Earth-2 version or something.

  3. Great trip down memory lane! True fact: I've been humming Xanadu ever since I read this post last week. ;)

    1. I hope you won't kick me out of the league for making you hum "Xanadu."