The Postman Recap

Jamie

In the dystopian future of 2013 a wandering actor escapes from the clutches of a militaristic dictator and dons the guise of a mailman in order to gain access to local communities. His ruse inadvertently spurs a revolution and thus the ire of the dictator. Can he realize his destiny as a leader, defeat the dictator, and perhaps find love before it’s too late? Find out in… The Postman.

How?! Wandering across the West following a devastating disaster that has left the United States in a dystopian ruin, an actor uses his (meager) skills to get food. While performing in a town he is taken captive by a military dictator who leads a group called The Holnists. There he is told that he better be all cool with their way of life and there are a bunch of rules including one where the leader of the Holnists is whoever can defeat their leader in hand-to-hand combat. But don’t even worry about that because you’ll never defeat their leader played by Will Patton… wait… is that right?… Will Patton? Anyway, our actor hero is like “no way” and is able to escape. Finding shelter in a mail delivery truck he gets an idea and dresses up in a postman uniform. This uniform turns out to be magic and he becomes our hero The Postman, a man so powerful that he might just be able to beat up a middle-aged Will Patton (spoiler alert… also not all facts in recap are true). The minute people see this dude in a postal uniform they are super jazzed and he’s hailed as a hero. Literally women throw themselves at him and he totally bones the beautiful Abby as her request to get her pregnant with his powerful postman babies. While visiting the next town (and actually delivering letters) the Holnists catch up and blow everything up. The Postman is able to escape with Abby and they hide in the mountains and recover from their injures. Coming down from the mountains, they are surprised to find that a movement of Postmen has started and are bringing hope of a new United States. The Postman takes this movement over, but eventually after the death of several people he cares for he decides to disband it. Trying to get Abby to safety he finds that everyone he meets is super inspired by him and he realizes that perhaps his movement isn’t based on a pile of lies after all and once again he dons his Postman cape and collects an army. They ride to confront the Holnists, but he’s like “remember your rulez?” and challenges Will Patton. They tussle like a couple of dopes on the ground until The Postman prevails and unites everyone under the flag of The Postman. THE END.

Why?! Ah, one of the rare cases where the motivations of the hero are more interesting and complex than the bad guy. The dictator is just evil and insane and honestly doesn’t even look like he works out much, bro, so not sure why no one has come along and crushed him in hand-to-hand combat yet. The Postman on the other hand just wants a hot meal every once in a while, thus the reason he becomes a postman. He’s pretty cynical about the meaning of the movement this creates and tries to stop it couple times. It’s only at the end that he realizes that the world can be better (and not just in the tall tales he tells) and that he can lead the country back to unity. It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it… it’s just… just so boring.

Who?! All of Costner’s children appear in the film, including Annie who appears in a not small role as *checks imdb* Ponytail… that was her name apparently. Anyway, I thought she was actually OK in the role and a little surprised she hasn’t acted a bit more. Only odd bit was where her character seems like she wants to bone The Postman at a local dance. It’s weird not just because he’s a million years old but also because he’s portrayed by her dad. The singer Tom Petty also appears as the Mayor of Bridge Town and it’s a super weird performance. Really subdued. Doesn’t really seem all that comfortable acting.

What?! A number of articles online point out that the film acts as a pretty intense example of product placement for the USPS. Obviously had to be in the film because it was the basis of the books, but it is funny to think that it got an entire epic war drama devoted to it. The mere idea of delivering mail is the impetus for breaking away from a literal dystopia to found a new United States of America. Nuts. As for props I was specifically interested in whether the giant Kevin Costner statue shown at the end was ever for sale. The answer: yes, obviously. $610 at the time. Not bad. I also found a picture posted by the guy who owns it where it’s sitting in his garage next to his car. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! We had considered this at one time for the Oregon entry of our mapl.de.map. Would have been a pretty good choice seeing as we get multiple intertitles telling us that that’s where we are. All in all I liked how the setting was used. B+.

When?! Takes place in the far future of 2013. It never gets old for a film to be set in a year that has already passed. Ages like a fine wine. Getting more specific is difficult. Presumably the film opens in the late summer or fall and then the middle takes place as Costner gets trapped in the mountains in the winter. After the thaw it seems to proceed fairly quickly to the climactic battle, so everything seems to occur over one year. However if they told me that it actually took place over a five year period I wouldn’t be surprised. Took me about that long to watch. A-yo. B-.

This movie is real long (read: boring) and can be separated into three pieces. I thought the first was fine or whatever… kinda sad. The second, where The Postman and Abby were recovering in the mountains, I thought was actually pretty good and reminded me of a traditional western. The third was actually quite bad. Unfortunately that third part dominated the film and just had a bunch of actors smiling at The Postman like he delivered rainbows and unicorns to them. They couldn’t get enough of this dude and how he delivered mail. It was unsettling. I love inspiring, sugar sweet movies (I am a red-blooded human person after all), but this was too much. I felt like they were waiting for the audience to stand up and applaud for two hours straight. Tone it down, Costner. We get it, you’re a hero. Patrick?

Patrick 

‘Ello everyone! There are only so many “The Postman is long and boring” jokes you can make before they feel trite, but I still think I got a solid dozen more available to me no prob. The Postman is so long and boring Rip Van Winkle was like “wow, this movie needs an editor!”. Heeeeeyooooooo. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I’ve never seen Robin Hood, or Dances with Wolves. I liked Waterworld well enough. Basically I had never really seen the Costner Classics. I liked him in Field of Dreams and such. But what I’m getting at it this: This is a Costner vehicle known for being long and boring, so I kind of knew what to expect going in … a Costner vehicle that was long and boring. And yet I was kind of excited because I hadn’t actually seen that many Costner vehicles. That’s all.

The Good – Most of the story is solid. You can definitely imagine the book (which, sadly, I didn’t read beforehand) being extremely good. If you don’t mind the cheesiness the film can deliver what is a pretty simple but good-hearted message to the people: believe in yourself, each others, and the goodness of man and you can change the world, you can make it better.

The Bad – The movie is two films kind of smooshed together. There is a war film in which a drifter is absorbed into a dictator’s army and reluctantly leads a rebellion against him. And then, about 40 minutes into the film he finds a postman outfit ( I forgot that was what the movie was about while I was watching the beginning, no joke) and there is this second film stuck right in the middle in which he kind of wanders around being a fake postman and being shot up and ill in the woods. I think the middle part is more interesting, and the entire beginning should have be cut. You can have the run in with the army being the instigating event without then spending thirty minutes with him joining the army. I don’t care that they would have to explain why Costner can challenge Will Patton to a fight, hell, they can merely explain that he was part of the army at one point in time, it doesn’t matter, it is more important that this movie be 30 minutes shorter than it is. Because it is long and boring.

The BMT – I would never watch the film again, nor recommend it as a bad movie. It is the perfect storm of why you wouldn’t want to: it is long, boring, and the message is so cloyingly sweet that to make fun of it makes you feel kind of dirty. It had to be done for BMT, but I don’t think it has the joyful badness to stand the test of time. It is a checkmark. Just look at the cred. It legit just had to be done.

Roast-radamus – Let’s see. It definitely has some Where? (Setting) appeal with Oregon, a very unique kind of post-apocalyptic setting there. The Who? (Cameo) option on Tom Petty is interesting, if underwhelming. He pops in and it like “I’m Tom Petty playing myself!” … coooool. What? (Product Placement) is there, Ford, Mercury, the cigarettes … the Postal Service? (Some people probably wish the Postal Service was some corporation which sponsored The Postman), but those are probably all mostly from the book and don’t really count. I think that is all of the plausible ones. It is neither Bad, Good, or BMT.

StreetCreditReport.com – So it definitely appears on some worst of the 90s lists, but I think this list of the 6 (!) most boring films is even funnier. On this weird ass site you can see that it is definitely in the top 5 worst flops ever. And then it won five Razzies. Triple threat. Not only is it long and boring and hated by audiences, but it then made no money and was also hated by critics. It’s got the cred, just not bad movie joy, ya heard?

You Just Got Schooled – Originally like a normal person I was going to read the book … but then I didn’t. Then I was going to watch Dances with Wolves … but I didn’t. So instead read this article! It is much shorter than both of those. Also … it isn’t really good? It is kind of weird. I’m not one to criticize other media, I mean … have you read the crap we write most of the time? But suggesting critics misunderstood Will Patton? I don’t think they did, his performance is hammy. To suggest audiences rebelled because dark edgy films like Seven were the flavor of the month at the time? This movie is cheesy no matter the context. As cheesy as Forrest Gump, but with worse performances and a worse story. And then ends with “Most people who hated Air Force One would criticise it for its blandness” … who hates Air Force One? This article is weird. Usually I enjoy these types of review because they give you nice nuggets about filming and the context of the film, but this is just making excuses for a film that is frankly long, boring, and pretentious (as Leonard Maltin would say).

Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!

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