Monday, August 10, 2009

I netflixed a Claude

My netflix list is a constant source of strife in our otherwise peachy marital world. I am willing to take a risk on something that sounds appealing from the run-on netflix summary. My dear husband gets mighty peeved when one of our movies is only 22 minutes long. "That's not a value," he chides. (Granted this movie was a pilot for a show or something and it was called the Amazing Screw on Head. What about this doesn't sound awesome?)

Well, my brother told me about this one movie that I just had to see. It starred the Swaze, Ben Stiller, Bill Paxton, a Baldwin (Not that kind of Baldwin), a totally slumming Liam Neeson, and the one-armed man from the Fugitive. Also, a silver Camero. Ladies and Germs, I give you Next of Kin.


(I got off the plane from Ketchikan last Thursday evening and the first thing my dear, dear husband said to me was, "What kind of crap movie did you get?" I knew immediately it was Next of Kin. He then tells me that Liam Neeson plays some "yodel" or a logger or something.)

We begin in the sepia town of Aw-shucks, a happy town in "the hills" where coal mining is prominent. This fades to the deep blue mean streets of Chicago in Hillbillyville and two cops maligning some mutantbilly who beat the tar out of some people. They bring in Truman played by the mulleted man of 1989, Patrick Swaze. Swaze promises to bring mutantbilly out, and to justice. He threads his way upstairs the nasty flophouse, chatting up sterotypebillys. Swaze cosners about with his affected twang.

Mutantbilly lets Swaze into his terrible room, shotgun aimed at Swaze's moneymaker (chest). They chat about nackabilly ridge and "hollers" and other hillbillyisms. Two boys from the mountains decide to take a walk down to the station to talk. Swaze has mutantbilly's back going so far as to beat up a cop who beats up mutantbilly. So loyal is he to his mountainfolkfriends.

Bill Paxton, playing Gerald Gates younger brother of Truman (the Swaze) Gates, is stocking cigarettes into vending machines. He is kitted out in the hillbilly staple of sleeveless flannel shirt. Gerald hates Chicago so much. He just wants to buy a coal truck and go home and work with his other brother Briar. Briar, pronounced by these two, sounds like Braaauuur. They fight or whatever. Swaze peels out in his suh-weet silver camero. Complete with automatic transmission. Because a real man doesn't need to shift. (Or as my brother put it, at least he can do Neutral-Drops if he wanted to. I replied, but he never does. Brother said, yeah but he could.)

We're now in church where a 5 piece classical group is performing. Swaze sneaks into a row, his mullet tamed at the base of his neck. And he left his stupid hillbillyhat in his camero. The camera zooms in on Helen Hunt, all decked out in a polka-dot dress with 1989's shoulder pads of awesome. Oh, how cultured she is playing the Vi-oo-lynnne. She is married to the Swaze.

Now, at home, soft sax music oozing from the stereo, and Helen Hunt in her other outfit for this movie: nightgown. She spends this entire movie either in polka dot shoulder pads or in a nightgown. Costuming! In one of his several contractually-obligated shirtless scenes, Swaze serenades her with a fiddle. He flops after her with a fiddle crammed into his ribcage. "I love you," she whispers. "Know what that means to a Mountain Boy?" he smarms. "I wanna knock you up and take you to Walmart." I snob. They run upstairs.

At GeneraicChicagoItalianEatery we meet different Baldwin, one-armed man, and Ben Stiller. Ben stiller is one armed man's son and is supposed to be taught the family business by different Baldwin, Joey. Italian cliches ensue.

Bill Paxton and his friend are comparing music while driving around in a panel truck. Hilarity ensues when Bill Paxton calls the other guy's music "Rat" instead of Rap. Cultural understanding! Bill Paxton likes jazz fusion. (hahaha, that was a joke! he only likes both stereotypically allowable musics. Country or Western.)

They are chased by a Cadillac of Goons led by Joey (other Baldwin). They run the panel truck off the road and kill Bill Paxton in the back of it. Joey spits lots of racial slurs. Especially noting how the hillbillys are the dumbest. Seriously, the whole class warfare of Chicago Vs. Hillbillies is somewhat implausible. Swaze gets wind of it and is kind of mad.

Swaze and wife arrive in po'hilltown, Aw-Shucks in a driving rain. Be-overalled old men greet them and speak of sweet, sweet revenge. The code of the mountain people. They pull the coffin o' Paxton of under a blistering sun. Continuity! Location shots of trailers, clothes lines, shacks, and tobaccy let us know where we are. Poor Helen is stuck in the kitchen with all the sack-dressed women where she can't even set the table right. She's redeemed when she plays the violin on the porch in her nightgown. The mournful tune plays all through the holler while various poor folks do their poor folk things. At some point, contrivance child has Swaze shoot an arrow.

Swaze visits Briar, played by the illustrious Liam Neeson, in his natty trash trailer. They drink a beer at 9 am and talk about how times is tough. Swaze, it should be noted, is wearing city clothes in the country whereas he wears country clothes in the city. Briar is pissed because them big-city cops don' look our for our people no how. Swaze, however, wants due justice and to do right by the law. All the family swears on a big, old bible to take revenge. Swaze emotes and sez that's backwards.

Briar returns to the city, anyway, and stays in the billyville flop house. He befriends the wormy guy who owns/runs the establishment. Wormy guy promises to call Briar's family if something should happen to him.

Them Gates boys get to work! Briar shoots up Joey and Ben Stiller's pinball-ringed hang out. He throws their Chinese food on the ground. Swaze visits lead Italian stereotype, one-armed-man, at his club. Stereotype is making tomato sauce. Goons get upset at Briar's Chinese food-related shenanigans and chase him through the city. Briar jump from El (that's Elevated Train) to El slo-mobilly style. Briar and Swaze fight in a bar. Swaze interrogates Ben Stiller. Joey kills Ben Stiller. Briar extracts a shotgun from a bartender by shoving his fingers up the guys nose. Joey's gang kills Briar. Wormy man calls the Family back in Aw-shucks. Swaze goes outside the law.

At one point Helen, in her pj's, surprises Swaze by setting a place at dinner for a teddy bear. No, she's not crazy. She's pregnant!

They mount up. Various rednecky folks gather their snakes, bows, rifles, hatchets and hounds for a big ole vengefest. The women were very busy packing pickanick baskets and thermoses for their trip. You never know how hungry you get hunting people in Chicago!

Swaze agrees to meet Joey at the graveyard at on a dark and moonless night. All he has is his trusty crossbow. For Huntin. He kills some goons. Goons shoot automatic weapons at him.
Hark! is that an owl calling? No! it's a wolf baying. Close-up on the Swaze tucked behind a tombstone making a hillbillywhistle. Here comes the Gates family revenge tour! They throw a hatchet! The shoot an arrow! they release the hounds! They lock a guy up in the bus fulla snakes. Yee haw, that's some good revenge. Swaze's choking the life out of Joey when the one-armed man rolls up and says, "It's over now Truman." Swaze get's off Joey while Joey smirks away. One-armed man has his gun on Swaze but then quickturns it on Joey. Wow! Totally anticipated twist-revenge. Neat!

"Why?" Joey gasps. "Because you aren't a real Baldwin." Succincts the One-armed man.

fin

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