Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The pavement was his enemy

Twins (1988)
I have particularly fond memories of this one.  The right movie at the right time in my life.  Very funny, very sweet, and Kelly Preston looking hot-as-hell.  It'll be interesting to see how well this holds up, particularly after having watched Arnold's previous movies in rapid succession recently.  I remember a pretty high cheese factor, but something about the movie just clicks and really connected with me.  I'm not sure how well this movie would stand on its own if you weren't familiar with Arnold and his action movies, but it's probably a pretty rare that this would be someone's first Arnold movie.  Watching this after something like Commando or Predator is the perfect contrast, and makes the comedy just that much more effective.

Upon rewatch, the movie doesn't disappoint.  While the plot is not exactly involved, from a storytelling and execution standpoint, Twins excels.  This is Ivan Reitman at the height of his creativity and the movie is an obvious labor of love for all involved.  The beginning immediately hooks you with the great voiceover and the cute/soft music.  The contrast of the title sequence between this and Red Heat is striking.  Red Heat had me questioning whether I wanted to watch the movie or not, and here I already have a smile on my face.  Speaking of, I noticed regularly that I was sitting there with a big goofy grin on my face (appropriate given who I was watching) for the majority of the movie.  To me, this is what a movie is supposed to do:  entertain.  One of the best introductions of Arnold's character in any of his movies, and I love the shot of him rowing his boat out to sea.  Nice touch putting a motor under the boat so it looks like he's rowing it that fast.  It's the perfect nod to his size and reputation and does a good job setting the tone for the film.  With that one moment, you know you're in for tongue-in-cheek, but not in-your-face comedy.

Arnold is in top form again and having him play a completely naive, incredibly kind, and gentle character is genius.  It's another great example of putting Arnold in a fish-out-of-water situation and just letting him run with it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that there are very few completely cheesy moments (they're there, but not distractingly so) and the majority of it, he's just playing it wonderfully straight and genuine.  His expressions are awesome, his delivery is spot-on, and he shows incredible comedic timing that had only been hinted at in his previous films.  This is the most range I've seen from him thus far, and when his charisma is combined with sweet and soft-spoken moments, it's magical.  He's not "doing Arnold", he's constantly in character, and we actually get to see his character evolve over the course of the movie, which may be a first in an Arnold movie.  He's given a chance to show some range in his acting, and he makes the most of it.  He plays an excellent straight man to Devito, but also helps to rein him in so Devito isn't as grating as he can often be and even has some sweet moments of his own.

Love the entire Santa Fe sequence.  Arnold confronting his "creator", getting his matching suit, the bar scene, the hotel scenes....  All excellent stuff and a much more interesting 2nd act than frequently happens in his shows.  All too often his movies are fun at the beginning and great in the obligatory random-violence endings, but often sag in the middle and this is a pleasant change of pace from the standard formula.

Special note of appreciation for Kelly Preston...  Have always had a sweet spot for her, and here she's at her peak in my favorite role of hers.  She's crazy-sexy, but also very open, encouraging, and sweet to Arnold and really fills the dream woman role nicely.  Watching this now, I still get echoes of the 20-something lonely person I was back then and several of her scenes with Arnold scratch that same itch of longing that any good romantic comedy of the era can.  In the bedroom scene, she's just over-the-top sexy, but also plays well off of Arnold's nervousness and manages to turn that into a very touching scene and one of the most memorable for me in any of his movies.  

Ahnold Quotient - 8
There's just the right amount of Arnold in this one and they make appropriate use of his size and physique and manage to not go over the top.  He has plenty of opportunities to show off his strength, but they all serve the story and aren't there just for the sake of it.  Every time his size comes up, it's used to good effect for a visual gag or something for Devito to riff on.  We do still get some good glares from him, but again they're used to good effect and make for some excellent moments.  

Rewatchability - Yes, please
This is another of those movies that I want to start watching again the moment it ends.  It's an excellent feel-good movie and one that I can always count on to put a smile on my face.  I probably manage to watch this at least once per year and appreciate it all the more in contrast to his previous films.  If you've not seen this movie, but have enjoyed any of Arnold's more standard fare, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.

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