directed by Paul Verhoeven
My recent bout avec influenza has got me thinking of all those amazing filmic comfort foods that we devour during our sick days. I’m not talking about the fake voice calling the boss so you can hopefully catch a glimpse of Miley Cyrus at Panera Bread kind of sick day. I’m talking about the body feels like you got stomped Rick James style by the Murphy brothers and you have to post up on the couch with pills and water kind of sick day. And it’s days like that when we all need our comfort films, shit great cinematic treasures that warm us up like chicken soup. One of the finest examples of such filmic fare is Paul Verhoeven’s sci fi spectacle, Total Recall, complete with a host of ridiculous mutants, aliens, government secrets and an Arnold smack dab in the middle of the mess. Schwarzenegger is Douglas Quaid, a regular Joe construction worker with Mars on the brain and Sharon Stone in the bedroom. Quaid heads to a company called Recall to have a virtual vacay uploaded into his melon, and that’s where things go batshit. Virtual memories? Mars? Vacays? It sounds so futuristic! Verhoeven’s films seem shockingly similar to one another, that slick slime sans a conscience kind of vision that permeates Robocop, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers and this fair gem. I’m indignant that this film can boast of being nominated for an Academy Award (it was just for sound, but still), but it is, sadly, one of The Governator’s finest “serious” roles. For some bizarre reason, I personally like Arnold in his comedic films, like Twins and Kindergarten Cop, as shitty as both of those films were. Total Recall does, however, satisfy that sick curiosity inside us all that asks, “what if Arnold’s eyes got even bigger?” And poor Ronny Cox. How far they fall. Total Recall is perfect for a sick day, the first half of an Arnie double feature with Commando or The Running Man. Good medicine.