Thursday, July 12, 2012

Film Cemetery
Case Study #8

Where we explore the more 
obscure films that bombed

Summer 1997, a phone 
call late one night....
Film Agent Bob Lipstein: Morgan, baby! Got two scripts in front of me. One is an Oscar-grabber about a black guy battling racism in....

Morgan Freeman: Wait! What's the other one?

Lipstein: Oh, some crappy heist thing. Pays a lot more, but...

Freeman: I'll take it. I want that new Lexus SC400, plus my bathroom is crying out for Italian marble.

Lipstein: Look, Morgan...I'm not so sure about this. In five years you'll be playing God with that fruitcake Jim Carrey. You can pass on the cheesy heist crap, you know.

Freeman: Just make sure the check cashes, Bob.

And so it began.....

Actually, I'm just kidding. I have no idea why Morgan Freeman would chose to star in a movie like Hard Rain

He was just coming off a string of hits - Shawshank Redemption, Se7en and Deep Impact

This choice doesn't really make sense in that context.

You handsome man, you

Oh, well.

Yes, Hard Rain lost a lot of money, but like the other films in Film Cemetery, I saw it in the theater and sorta liked it. 

Sure, it was ridiculous, campy and overly-complicated, but it was fun escapism. 

I have always said that some movies are just a two-hour getaway where you forget your own problems and enjoy yourself. For all its faults, Hard Rain does take you away.

As for Christian Slater, well, this film fits his resume perfectly. He was, like Freeman coming off a string of hits as well - Kuffs, Untamed Heart, True Romance and Broken Arrow

Make no mistake, except for Broken Arrow, I loved those films. But as you can see, a heist/disaster movie suits him better than it does Freeman.

This was an expensive movie to make, mainly because it combines the natural disaster of a flood with the man-made disaster of a complicated armored car heist. 

An entire fictional town (Huntingburg, Indiana) had to be built inside the old Rockwell aircraft factory. Then flooded.

Christian Slater and his beloved uncle Ed Asner are armored truck drivers trying to navigate a cargo of cash through the worst rainstorm in history. 

They get stuck in ditch and are ambushed by Morgan Freeman and his gang who shoot Asner dead as Slater runs off with the loot, hiding it a graveyard.

The chase is on! But wait! 

Is that Minnie Driver trying to save a historic church in the middle of a storm? Why yes it is. 

And are those jet skis being ridden through a flooded school for no apparent reason? Why yes they are. 

Is that a pre-crazy Randy Quaid hamming it up an an incompetent sheriff? Umm...yeah.

One more question, please. Are those jet skis - somehow - going to get inside the church Minnie Driver is trying to save, then jump out the stained-glass windows? Yep...count on that.

As for the plot, well there isn't a coherent one to speak of. Remember Ed Asner as Slater's beloved uncle and mentor? Naturally that was a double-cross, and of course Sheriff Quaid and his buddies want the money, too.

And don't forget Freeman and his bandits, who are thoroughly pissed off they can't find the cash.

Absolutely every cliche, outlandish stunt, bad guy speech, good guy speech and anything else you can think of happens in Hard Rain.

On some levels, there is nothing at all believable in this movie. On the other hand it is fun to watch them splashing about. 

You can kinda understand, then, why this film only made back a quarter of its 70 million dollar budget...but oddly, critics and audiences seem to be split on how they felt about it. Some hated it, others loved it.

Is Hard Rain worth watching? 

In a word, yes. 

No expense was spared in making this a thrilling disaster/heist flick....however, throwing money at a movie doesn't always make it watchable. Look at MIB III

Like I said before, I rather enjoyed myself at the theater when Hard Rain came out in 1998. 

But then again, that was the same year Godzilla arrived on our doorstep...and I positively loved that movie at the time. 

Now - as with Hard Rain - it's sorta difficult to see why. It's one of the films you either love or hate.

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