‘Ello everyone! Get Carter? More like Retched Art, Huh?! (Holy shit, that’s the worst I’ve done, bar none). Anywho, we went to crazy town and absorbed way too much information about this film. I’ll let Jamie cover the book, let’s get into a bit about the movie (and by extension its predecessor)!
- The Good – I’m going to be honest, not much. Rourke worked for the character they were going for. With their tone choice (see below) I didn’t mind how they twisted the story to fit the tone so much. Jeez, yep.
- The Bad – Sigh. It’s not like I loved the original, it was just an interestingly dark drama with one of the most profoundly detestable main characters you might see as your anti-hero of choice. This movie though softens it so much in favor of a lighter tone it kind of manages to destroy whatever it had going for it in adapting the source material a second time. Sly mumbles the entire time, it is way too flashy, the Alan Cumming character is nonsense. The entire thing leaves a sour taste in your mouth and isn’t even very interesting to boot because, to be honest, the lighter tone doesn’t work. Give me Sly as a drunk thug out for revenge, not some pinnacle of Family First nonsense we know and love from Fast and Furious. As I said, sigh. I might not be as jazzed as Jamie about it, but it really is rather detestable when you sit back and look at it.
- The BMT – Yep, you could teach a master class on it. The only thing that doesn’t kick this up a notch to the legendary range is that Sly is at least somewhat competent. You put someone who is also just way out of his league in there and you got a stew going.
I’ll leave it there and close with a very abridged Audio Sklog-entary. This was yet another Director-only commentary with Stephen Key and I quit after thirty minutes. The only thing of remote interest is hearing Kay talk vaguely (although surprisingly frankly) about how intimidated he was by the project and by extension explaining a little of where things seemed to go a little wrong. But it is boring, filled with not-very-interesting factoids, technical nonsense (you can see at one point that they had to add a filler shot and so the gatekeeper transforms into an old man! Coooool), and no funny or interesting anecdotes. I stopped. I couldn’t do it. I have better things to listen to. F. An aggressive unyielding F. Although I’m willing to listen to someone if they tell me the last hour of the commentary is decent.
In many ways the Get Carter remake exemplifies the spirit of BMT. The film contains MonoSklogs, a prominent and specific setting (Seattle/Las Vegas), a horrifically bad side character (John C. McGinley), a horrifically bad bad guy (Alan Cumming), mirrors featured as metaphor (a la I Know Who Killed Me), Sly Stallone having a weird character quirk (OCD), Sly Stallone mumblemouth, randomly taking place during Christmas, dutch angles, Hollywood badass bars, Chekov’s guns (or in this case a Chekov’s cookie jar), etc. etc. etc. etc. All things that we have harped on over the years. Add on top of that the fact that there is waaaaaay too much source material to deal with (a book, two previous adaptations, and a commentary) and it’s like Hollywood asked us to make a film for BMT (although in our Get Carter adaptation John C. McGinley’s character is played by Chris Klein). If it was more fun in its badness it would probably be a BMTHoF candidate. As it stands it’s simply a case study. A film that would be taught in BMT lecture halls across the world, but just doesn’t go to the extreme in any one particular area to be pushed to the next level. Still fun to watch though.
As hinted above Get Carter was a masterpiece of source material. I read the book, watched the previous adaptation, and watched the new one and have to say: remarkable how similar they all are. The original film is ridiculously true to the book. Almost Pinocchio-esque. Most changes made were minor except for the final twist in the film which is more substantially changed (I’ll get to that later). The remake is much more divergent. They really softened everything up. To be true to the source Stallone’s character would have had to been an alcoholic rage monster that kills both men and women with no regard (which is exactly what Michael Caine is in the original film). Who can blame them for balking at that and instead making him an estranged uncle looking to forge a familial bond with his niece. So how do they all rank? Well you can kinda tell the quality by simply looking at how the ending twist was handled. Alright, so in all three cases the story ends with Carter confronting the man who killed his brother (Eddie in the book). In the book the main character is about to kill Eddie but lets his rage get the best of him. Eddie gains the upper hand, stabs Carter, and takes his gun (an antique rifle Carter and his brother bought as kids). When Eddie tries to shoot Carter it blows up in his face killing him instantly (remember it was an antique). Carter dies in the forest from the stab wound while still fulfilling his task of revenge. Great ending. Shocking and satisfying. Carter was an asshole, but you also wanted him to get revenge. Perfect. In the original film they weirdly chose to have Carter succeed in killing Eddie, only to be shot by a sniper sent by the mobsters a moment later. Really an odd choice. A tad too Deus Ex Machina for my taste. Not as satisfying for that reason. Finally in the remake the studio clearly didn’t want to kill Stallone so he kills his nemesis and then goes on the run, but not before imparting some valuable life lessons to his niece. Blech. So you see: book best, original film OK, remake terrible. Just have to look at that ending.