Thursday, February 01, 2007

GET MEAN: The Review

To explain how ridiculously, impossibly, inconceivably bad Get Mean is, I have to recount the history of the Spaghetti Western, as it was recounted to me by the owner/operator of this Alamo Drafthouse:

"In the beginning, there was black and white. Americans made black and white cowboy movies, because they liked cowboys. Other countries liked cowboy movies too, though no one knew this, because Americans don't pay attention to other countries, and other countries don't admit to liking American crap. Soon space movies came along, and Kramer vs. Kramer, and Americans became tired of cowboy movies, and so they stopped making them. And other countries (one of which was Italy) became distraught at the sudden absence of crappy American cowboy movies, and began to fill the void with westerns of their own flawed design. A few years and several million foreign cowboy movies later, everyone got tired of them and they all quit, but not before 1976, when Italy cranked out Get Mean."

The randomly assembled events that comprise this movie are so unbelievable that they cannot be believed. It starts as they all do, with a lonesome stranger riding into a desolate Old West town. Except here, The Stranger (as he is referred to only once) has been tied to his saddle and is dragged into town by his own horse. He is then beset by Spanish gypsies who want him to escort their princess back to Spain, where she will somehow become rightful ruler again. They offer to pay him: one dumps about nine gold doubloons on the table and then says, "That's a thousand dollars." Naturally, all he wants to do is be reluctant, but those $111.11 gold pieces are tempting, and we're off.

They arrive in Spain (by train, if the opening credits are to be believed) and witness a battle between the Moors and the Barbarian hordes. I'll say that again... a battle between the Moors and the Barbarian hordes. We know who they are because of the dollar ninety-nine costumes and because The Stranger points at each side, saying, "Now, them's the Moors... right? And them's the Barbarians... right?" The princess, who is obviously Moorish Spanish, is rooting for the Moors, but they get clobbered is a crappy fight scene and she gets stolen by the Barbarian leader Diego, who seems to run with an English king who rides a revolving cannon cart, and a really gay guy in a frilly collar. Through absolutely no fault of his own, The Stranger manages to steal her back, and discovers that what everyone's really after is the Treasure of Rodrigues, which only the rightful princess can claim. But she has to stand the mysterious and deadly Trials to do it. Our hero whines a lot and then consents to undergo them for her. What you have to do to prove yourself in these trials, apparently, is stand around in a church while skeletons try to turn you into a wolf, and then fall into a cave where a caveman and explosions chase you. The skeletons just sorta sat there at some tables while The Stranger howled a lot. At one point he actually says, "Now all you people in them coffins, I don't belive in this kind of stuff... you hear me? So don't be trying to turn me into no damn wolf!" Right after a caveman attack, he becomes intrigued with the echo effect, and while he's shouting, "HELLO!" an explosion catches him and he turns black. Not singed or charred. Black. Like tar.

It is at this point that he says, "Oh no... I'm all black, and I think I'm gonna die!"
He eventually gets the treasure, which was a small statue of a horse all along, and then after he gets chased by a bull for a while, Diego re-captures him. He explains to Diego that he's all black and he thinks he's gonna die. I'll admit that at this point it was all a little too much (and I was a little too drunk) to follow, but somehow The Stranger escapes again, and makes it to the Boy Scout Scene, where he builds several improvised devices in order to have his revenge. He gathers scorpions into a container. He makes a four-barrelled shotgun. And several hundred rolls of TNT. When he's done, he finally makes sense of he title with the immortal words, "When men fight fair, you fight fair. But when they're really puttin' it to ya, and really stompin' on your ass, there's only one thing to do... GET MEAN." And then he blows the door off his own house with the shotgun and walks out through the smoke, strapped into so much dynamite that he's round.
What revenge, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked. He waits outside Diego's castle until Diego tires of the really gay guy and locks him in a burning straw house, then sits on the steps tossing TNT at folk. Decimates the entire Barbarian army sitting there on the steps, lobbing TNT. There's a tense moment when the female Amazon Barbarians outnumber him, but they suddenly become lesbian and ignore him in favor of each other. Diego eventually corners him, but he manages to dump the scorpions he cleverly gathered earlier down Diego's armor, and there is a twenty minute death scene. And then he rescues the princess by dueling the English king pistol to cannon cart, while the king shouts quotes from Richard III.

After that, it's a quick train ride back to the Old West, and credits roll. And I don't remember having more fun at a movie theater. Five stars.


Blogger Aviatrix said...

Is he still black? Does he die?

4:21 PM  

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