Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mad Max, blog spam and Aussie movies on a hot morning

I'm not really having a "rant" this morning (for one thing, it's too hot! The temperature will be tickling 100 degrees Fahrenheit this afternoon, and by 8:00am it was uncomfortably hot sitting in the shade in the back yard), but ...

I do want to grumble a wee bit -- before I progress to much happier subjects! Bear with me.

It might be futile, but I'd like ask visitors not to spam this blog. 99% of users don't (and many thanks to all those who don't!), and I delete the spam fast, probably before it's even been seen, but ... still.

The spam I'm seeing is basically along the lines of 1) blatant commercial copy pasted in, or 2) some brief, inane statement of the utterly obvious, with a commercial link attached. Like this, which was blithely parked on

    Mel Gibson is mythic hero Mad Max, champion of post-nuclear survivors in an all-time-great action spectacular. He always looks like he's having fun up there on the screen. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover bust loose as Vietnam vets-turned-L.A. cops after heroin smugglers. The best pure action movie since Raiders of the Lost Arc.

And yes, a commercial link was attached; and no, I'm not quoting the link -- I'm also not naming names, but -- if you're reading this, please don't park your advertising on my blog -- or, if you MUST do it, leave a proper comment, have something to say, and make sure your facts are correct. Then, I'll leave your advertisement up. We'll call it a trade.

My problems with the above comment are far too numerous for it to be taken seriously...

Mel Gibson is an actor ... Max Rockatansky was a character -- an absolute anti-hero, not a champion, in a 1978 Australian movie in which economic collapse, not nuclear war, is hinted at, on-screen in the original Mad Max, as having caused the wasteland scenario we see in Mad Max 2. (View the first movie, not the second, for the backstory and worldbuilding.) Everyone in the DVD-viewing world knows Gibson and Glover starred in Lethal Weapon -- but Glover's character, Sgt. Roger Murtaugh, was not a Vietnam veteran. Only Martin Riggs is described as having served in 'Nam. And is Lethal Weapon the "best pure action movie since Raiders of the Lost Ark?" First of all, learn to spell ARK, as in "of the bloody Covenant," not "a segment of the circumference of a circle."And then, be gracious enough to say, "imho" or similar, because with the above bald statement you're going to get a big fight from fans of virtually anything made by Arnie, Sly, Segal, van Damme, Peter Jackson, Jim Cameron, Gore Verbinski, Marvel Studios, and scores of others who are responsible for projects as diverse as Iron Man, The Mummy, Van Helsing, The Peacemaker, Terminator, Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean -- and many more action films that have been made in the two decades since the original Lethal Weapon movie was made. I would seriously counsel against making such a sweeping statement without the small, life-saving prefix, "imho."

Okay ... I'll stop grumbling now. But, I mean, really. And yes, I deleted the post as pure spam. And no, I don't at all mind you putting in a link to your own blog or page or site. Only, please -- have something to say, add something, and make sure your facts are right! A comment that adds value stays up -- trust me. I can smell pure spam from a mile away, and as soon as I notice it, sorry, but it gets deleted. The blog has been spammed by everything from glass manufacturers in India (!) to Internet marketers in heaven-knows-where. I try to be vigilant.

To clarify ... I'm not having a grumble about Raiders of the Lost Ark! It's one of my favorite movies, and highly recommended.

I also highly recommend the original Mad Max, which is very, very different from The Road Warrior. It's raw, and "honest," and doesn't have a particle of "hype" about it.

The movie was shot in Victoria, Australia in 1977 (!) and released in 1979, with a copyright date of '78, after being edited in the late Byron Kennedy's spare bedroom! Gibson was 21 ... and nope, it wasn't his first movie, either. He'd made SUMMER CITY the year earlier, while still studying at NIDA.

Of the three "Max" movies, which is the best? Depends what you're looking for. If you want "hype" then, the the third one, with Tina Turner, a bunch of cute little kids, and plenty of outrageous stunts. If you want "the kapow effect!" then you want the second, with an all-Aussie cast, and cinematography by Dean Semler, who went on to win the Oscar (T-bloody-M) for Dances with Wolves.

But if you want raw truth, total honesty, bleeding-wound emotion, with none of the Hollywood candy-coating ... watch the first one. It's not fun -- it's not about having fun. It cost A$150,000 to make, as an indie movie, and it earned over$125m at the box office -- in Japan it swiftly became a cult.

Of course, in the US is was difficult to exhibit; it had to be heavily censored ... because the violence is very realistic, and the injuries sustained by accident victims are also realistic; director and creator George Miller is a doctor ... and it also had to be overdubbed with heavy American accents, because in 1980, US audiences couldn't understand foreign accents!

[Left: the final shot of the first movie where Max, busted up and broken, takes the last of the v8 Interceptors and heads for the wasteland.]

The net effect is absolutely weird. Remember, all the cars are right hand drive, the landscape is Aussie, the cars are Australian makes and models! Yet you hear US accents issuing from Jim Goose, and Midge, The Feef and Jess, and -- Max. Yeek. I saw this cut of the movie on VHS when I was in the States a loooong time ago. Get the Australian original, uncut. The US has stopped overdubbing Aussie movies in the years since, but I imagine the old cut of Mad Max is still circulating somwehere. Avoid it, if you can.

Anyway -- there you are: Max Rockatansky, age 21 ... Mel Gibson when he was so young, you blink and shake your head. Was anyone ever that young?! Back in the days when he was as Aussie as the next cobber, before he went whacko, and ... the rest is history. (In fact, his looks still had to "settle in." He would acquire those drop-dead gorgeous characteristics in about another 4-5 years. He was a nice kid in Mad Max, though ... he was a superstar downunder when his face was still inclined to break out occasionally. Seriously. Some of us were there, and have good memories.

Right now, I'm going to close this post -- not because there isn't more to talk about (there is), but because it's getting way too hot. Both the PC and I need to cool down (and it's only 9:15am).

More later...

Ciao for now,

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