Tangmonkey Forum

Submit to pulp

Early October 1999

Second Spectacular Issue! Featuring:    The New Fall TV Season!    Indiana George of the Jungle Vs. The Mummy!    PLUS: The Secret Origin of Ash!    Drive Me Crazy drives NEW staff member Buffy completely insane!    And   Eeyore takes on the Hollywood Death Machine!
The Inferno and America

Well, I just had a whirlwind weekend with Dante's Peak, The Siege, and Simon Birch. All of these movies shared some common themes, however the theme that I found the most pernicious and therefore entertaining was the death of one of the antagonists in each film.
In Honey, the Volcano Blew Up the Town, Pierce Brosnan portrays a vulcanologist. The director or wardrobe people tried to turn Beaver Boy into a geeky scientist by having him stuff a pocket protector type eyeglass case in his front shirt pocket. Anyhow, the entire story is about a lonely mountain that just wants to spew its ash and lava all over the apple pie USA #1 town. Nobody believes that the mountain is going to blow, but BB does. He has ESP [extra scientition perception]. Dead squirrels, poached nude couple in a hot spring, and pH levels that similar to lemon juice are all the clues that he needs. Meanwhile, BB's boss comes into town and contradicts BB in front of the town folk. BB's boss may as well be wearing a red uniform on an away team on the old Star Trek; this last action guarantees us that he has to die at the hands of the volcano. Another dissenter against BB the scientition is a feisty mother-in-law of the town's mayor. She lives way up on the volcano and keeps ranting on about how the volcano will never hurt us and blah blah blah. She is guaranteed toast now, as well.
Now here is the sickly part, as puerile as a Sirloin serenade. Mom in law dies by getting out into a lake that is more acidic than the most concentrated sulfuric acid and pushes her grandchildren with BB and the town mayor [Linda Hamilton] into shore. Later on she dies of acid burns but she gets to say a quaint farewell. The reason she ends up saving her grand kids etc. is due to the fact that she made them all come up and rescue her. Even when the volcano is spewing billions of tonnes of ash and all the forest is dead, dead, dead, she is still yammering on about refusing to leave. The grand kids come up the mountain to save her. She doesn't deserve a hero's death. But Hollywood believes in redemption, so in the final moments she can say her spiel and perish.
In The Siege Annette Bening gets to say the Lord's Prayer before she dies of a gunshot wound even though she is directly responsible for the gory deaths of a few hundred innocent people.
Only in Simon Birch, does the character Simon Birch deserve a good death scene. He saves a bunch of kids from a school bus sinking in a river during the winter. At least he just says "I got to go now."
Is there a death choreographer? What is the secret message that Hollywood is giving us? Since when do murderers and killers deserve heroic deaths? This reminds me of a diatribe from Apocalypse Now; Martin Sheen witnesses a bunch of his soldiers in a state of panic shooting some innocent civilians. After they come to their senses, they realize there is one person left alive and they all try to administer first aid. Martin Sheen comes along and shoots the dying civilian and thinks to himself -"That's just like the army, first they shoot them and then they offer them a band-aid."
Wake up Hollywood, it's time to die.


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