Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Instant Gratification Theater: Sly Stallone goes OVER THE TOP

We all have certain gaps in our film scholarship. Some of us have never seen a complete film by Bresson; others may have yet to experience Ozu. But it's not just world cinema that can elude us. I for one am unashamed to admit that many seminal works of the Hollywood canon have gone unwatched here at Cultureshark Tower. Fortunately, Netflix is available to help fill in the gaps.

Case in point: Over the Top (1987) by Menahem Golan, released by Cannon and starring Sylvester Stallone. If you haven't seen this epic meditation on fatherhood, arm wrestling, and trucker caps, see it before June 1 because it is leaving Instant Watching at the end of the month.

I could dissect this film in the form of a conventional "review," but how arrogant would I be to dare attempt to cover ground that hasn't already been trod in countless other critical studies? Instead, let me offer a list of things that amuse me about "Over the Top":

1) Stallone seems relatively uninterested throughout the movie. I guess he really did do this just for the money. Somehow, though, his lack of intensity becomes part of the charm.

2) The child actor who plays Stallone's son Michael, David Mendenhall, didn't exactly tear it up here, but he had a prolific career doing animation voiceovers and has continued working to this day.

3) Sly's character, a big rig operator/amateur arm wrestling superstar trying to reconnect with his estranged son, is named Lincoln Hawk. Say what you will about "Over the Top," but Lincoln Hawk is an outstanding moniker. I wish there were a sequel just so that we could enjoy more Lincoln Hawk. Really, that name is too good to use on just one middling 1980s film. I'd like to think somewhere in a drawer, Stallone has a treatment centered on someone (not even necessarily this one) named Lincoln Hawk. Say it with me, out loud: LINCOLN HAWK.

4) One of the credited screenwriters (along with Stallone himself) is Stirling Silliphant of Route 66 and Naked City fame.

5) Pro wrestling legend Terry Funk appears, sadly not for long. Several years later, "Road House" would more fully utilize his talents.

6) Awesome scenes involving Lincoln Hawks big semi:
--He rams it through the entrance gate of his rich father-in-law's property.
--He teaches his 12-year-old son to drive it by just switching places with him, impromptu, on the open road and letting him do it.
--Best of all, when the father-in-law's hired goons kidnap Michael at a truck stop and zoom off in their own pickup, Lincoln, despite their significant head start, hops into HIS big rig and chases them down.

7) The climactic tournament is filled with guys flexing, grimacing, and grunting.

8) That tournament is DOUBLE ELIMINATION, meaning even if you get defeated, you have another chance. Symbolism, anyone?

9) "What I do is I just try to take my hat and I turn it around, and it's like a switch that goes on, and when the switch goes on, I feel like another person. I don't know, I feel like a--like a truck, like a machine."--Lincoln Hawk explaining his pre-match routine.

10) While we all know and love "Meet Me Halfway," Kenny Loggins' classic ballad that appears throughout the movie, it's arguably not the showcase song. 'In This Country" by Robin Zander of Cheap Trick opens "Over the Top" and is heard again in the immediate aftermath of the big match (you know there's a big arm wrestling match). while Larry Greene is heard over the end credits with "Take It Higher." All these  songs, incidentally, were written by Giorgio Moroder (music) and Tom Whitlock (lyrics), and so was Sammy Hagar's "Winner Takes It All," another single from the soundtrack. The only credited song not penned by that duo? Frank Stallone's "Bad Night."

Does this collection of 10 tidbits make you want to see "Over the Top?" Or have you already seen this iconic eighties hit? I am proud to finally be a member of the club. That's one more down from my bucket list. Next up, 'Floating Weeds!" Well, maybe after I finally get around to seeing all of "Cobra," that is.

2 comments:

Michael Cowgill said...

As usual, you've made me kind of want to see it and yet feel like I don't have to actually waste the precious hour and half to two hours of my life because you so eloquently laid out the awesome parts.

roney ahmed said...

نقل اثاث مع الفك والتغليف والتركيب بالدمام لدينا فريق متخصص فى مجال نقل الاثاث اهم مايميز شركة نقل اثاث انه يحافظ على الاثاث اثناء نقله يعمل فريقنا دائما على الحفاظ على فرش المنزل والاثاث من التكسير اخى الكريم اعلم انه عند نقل الاثاث يوجد صعوبه بالغه فى عملية نقل الاثاث بالمدينة المنورة لان هذا الموضوع
نقل اثاث بالمدينه المنوره
يتطلب دقه عاليه بحيث يشمل فك الاثاث عند فك الاثاث نعمل على الحفاظ على الاثاث واثناء نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة من مكان لاخر يتطلب مهاره عاليه بحيث لايحدث كسر اثناء نقل أثاث او كسر فى الزجاج لذلك تعمل شركة نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة على ان كل شئ يعمل بالطريقه السليمه فكن مطمئن شركات نقل اثاث لديها اخصائين فى مجال تخزين اثاث لاتقلق سيتم نقل اثاث منزلك بطريقه امنه وسليمه
نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة
اما بخصوص نوع الاثاث شركه نقل اثاث تقوم بنقل الاثاث بجميع انواعه نقوم بتجهيز سيارات نقل الاثاث ونذهب الى المكان المراد الذهاب اليه ننقل الاثاث على السيارات بطريقه امنه ومضمونه نهب الى المكان المطلوب نقل الاثاث فيه وتقوم تغليف اثاث بانزال الاثاث بطريقه سليمه جدا وتتم بعد ذلك عملية تركيب الاثاث لدينا فروع فى جميع انحاء المنطقه الغربية
شركة نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة
ليس فقط تخصصنا بل لدي نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة فريق متخصص فى غسيل الخزانات وفريق متخصص فى مكافحة الحشرات وفريق متخصص فى غسيل السجاد وغسيل الكنب مكافحة النمل الابيض .خدمة شركة نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة من الخدمات التي تحتاج الي امكانيات ومهارة كبيرة وتحتاج الي الجهد البدني ايضا وهذا ماسوف تجده متوفر لدي نقل اثاث بالمدينه المنورهلاننا نقدم افضل اساليب نقل الاثاث الحديث علي الاطلاق ،فتستخدم شركة نقل اثاث حاملات تقوم برفع الاثاث من خلالها من خلال طرفي الحبل يقوم بحمله عمال نقل اثاث فطرق النقل القديمة والتقليدية قد انتهت فهذه الطرق القديمة
تركيب غرف نوم بالمدينة المنورة
التي كانت تستخدم في النقل كانت تتسبب في خدش الاثاث وتلفه نتيجة حكه المستمر في الحوائط والجدران وكان عند وصوله الي المكان الاخر يكون قد انكسر او تعرض للخدش والحك الكبير.