Okay, Christopher Lambert is about to wander around for 450 years or so changing nothing but his name and his haircut in the 1986 cult classic "Highlander." It also stars Sean Connery as an even older guy who teaches Lambert how to keep his head on. Literally. This is probly Sean Connery's second strangest movie--the first being, of course, the cult favorite Zardoz. Anyhow, let's do the drive-in totals and get it started. We have:
21 dead bodies.
Three motor-vehicle collisions.
Knife to the stomach.
Self-destructing parking garage.
Self-destructing New York alley.
Immortal lightning Fu.
Three stars. Check it out, we'll be here.
[fading] You guys remember Zardoz? "The gun is good . . . the penis is evil." Opening line, delivered by an actor named Niall Buggy. DEFINITELY Sean Connery's strangest movie.
"HIGHLANDER" Commercial Break #1
Did you notice the Fabulous Freebirds in that opening sequence? Biggest thing in rassling in the mid-eighties. Whatever happened to those guys? Michael Hayes. Bam Bam Bigelow. And who was the third one? Anyhow, nice accent Christopher Lambert has, huh? He's doing a pretty decent Scottish accent in the flashbacks, but I don't WHAT he's doin in the modern parts. I shouldn't laugh, though--he actually worked with a dialogue coach to come up with that goofy accent. In fact, I shouldn't laugh at all, cause 90 percent of the people watching right now are probly in the Highlander fan club. "The Clan," they call it. I ticked em off the LAST time we showed this movie. I don't want to alienate these people. These are the people who go to the nerd conventions, and plan things like "The Second Annual Highlander Clan Cruise," which they had last year. Yep, three days in the Bahamas with people who actually understand the plot of this movie. Kinda scary, right? Okay, back to the flick.
[fading] I go to those nerd conventions sometimes. I like the porno ones, where you get to have chubby gals in g-strings autograph your hiney. Or the ones where they have Miss April 1962 signing autographs. Why do we love that? Why do we WANT to see Miss April 1962 in April 1998? It's kinda masochistic and cruel, right? Then we say "Well, she looked GOOD, don't ya think? Good for a '62." What is that about?
"HIGHLANDER" Commercial Break #2
We must be ready for . . . The Gathering. You think they've talked enough about . . . The Gathering? I've watched this movie nine times, and I still don't quite understand the concept of ... The Gathering. All I know is, it's the scene at the end where the vampires with swords laser one another to death. Anyway, how bout that fancy metal detector Roxanne Hart had? All those cars and lead pipes and steel reinforcements, and it went RIGHT for that little sliver of sword in the post. That's Roxanne Hart as the feisty forensics specialist. Roxanne's biggest credit is her Tony nomination for that Stephen Sondheim musical about a stalker, "Passion"--remember that one, where we're supposed to LIKE the stalker? But I think mostly she does TV. She was a nurse on "Chicago Hope" for a while. Anyhow, she wants to know what's up with the sword fights in the middle of New York City, and I guess I do, too. So, roll it.
[fading] She thinks it's strange to see a swordfight in New York. I don't think it's strange. There's something like a 3-day waiting period on guns, right? Swords--nada. Walk in with cash, walk out with ten pounds of reinforced steel with a mother-of-pearl grip. If this was one of those big-budget shows, we'd send a camera crew to New York to buy a sword. But this is "MonsterVision." We'll send a guy with a Polaroid down to Lazlo's Pawn Shop in East Dallas and have him buy a Guatemalan switchblade.
"HIGHLANDER" Commercial Break #3
The quickening. Now we've got the quickening, but only until ... the gathering. Sean Connery shows up for the big exposition scene. Did you catch that? He's gonna explain what's going on in the movie, and so he says "You cannot die, McLeod!" But how did it happen, McLeod asks. "Who knows?" says Sean Connery. And that's the whole exposition scene! Also, he must conceal his power until ... the gathering. When only a few are left, there will be "an irresistible pull to a faraway land, to fight for the prize." And also--what a coincidence! Not only is Roxanne Hart a forensics pathologist, she's also an expert on ancient swordmaking! I guess it's kinda like putting the proverbial monkeys in a room--you hang around for 450 years, eventually you're gonna meet a female police-officer metalurgist. But this has gotta be the only movie with a Swiss guy playing a New Yorker who's really a 16th Century Scot, and a Scot playing a Spaniard who's really an ancient Egyptian. Sean Connery looks cool, though, doesn't he? He always does. And that underwater scene was cool, too. The director of this flick started out doing music videos, but we'll talk about him at the next break. Let's go.
[fading] This is another one of those movies that tanked in the U.S., but did great in France. Christopher Lambert is very big in France. People always say that. Well, they don't really know who I am here, but I'm FAMOUS in Europe! Like there's all these Europeans walking around saying "Can't WAIT for that next Danny Bonaduce album to come out. Hey, look, Wayne Newton in yet ANOTHER dramatic role. What an actor!" Is there really an alternate universe in Europe? They LOVE me in Lichtenstein.
"HIGHLANDER" Commercial Break #4
How often do you see that? A headless Sean Connery! But where the heck was MacLeod? What'd he do, run down to the Renaissance Faire and dance with a fat girl playing the recorder? Where is there to go in the middle of the misty crags? This movie is really big on MISTY CRAGS, isn't it? By the way, that castle was used in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." They rent it out between golf tournaments.
Okay, the director of this flick is Russell Mulcahy, and he's an Aussie guy who did music videos for Culture Club, Duran Duran, Elton John, Billy Joel--VERY big back in the early days of MTV. And he made a pretty decent horror film called "Razorback," about a giant killer pig. Remember when we showed "Razorback" and we cooked wild boar casserole, on "Six Pack and a Movie"? What IS it about these Aussies and PIGS? George Miller and the "Babe" flicks, not to mention all the pigs in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which we show here occasionally. I always thought Australia was kangaroos and koalas and crocodiles, but it's really just pigs. All right, let's get back to "Highlander."
[fading] We shouldn't joke about pigs. I was in Arkansas recently and they were giving away hogs. That's TERRIBLE what happened to the hog producers. They had 16-cents-a-pound pork in some places. And the hog, in Arkansas, is SACRED. Woo pig sooey. They had pig farmers so depressed they were jumpin out of ... well, they don't live in tall buildings ... jumpin out of pig stys. Wallowing in their depression. It was not a pretty sight.
"HIGHLANDER" Commercial Break #5
That was the chick sequence of the film, with the sappy Queen ballad. I don't think I'm alone when I say this movie was obviously a little past Freddy Mercury's prime. Anyhow, that was Beatie Edney as the bonnie wee Heather, looking VERY tasty in her younger scenes. In fact, she doesn't look too bad as an old lady, either. Course, I would've cast an actual OLD LADY, but that's just me. Christopher Lambert was having an affair with her on the set, so he probly wanted to keep her around. And I'm not gonna disagree with him. Okay, roll it.
[fading] Chris Lambert looks kinda like a monkey, doesn't he? A lot of women think he's a babe, but he's got those Neanderthal eyebrows, the kind that look like, if you ripped em out, there'd be a golf divot there. Earthy and STINKY. They coulda made him even older in this movie--like, a million years old. I would've totally bought it. "Oh, Joe Bob, you're just JEALOUS." Earthy and stinky.
"HIGHLANDER" Commercial Break #6
Boy, the token black guy didn't last long, did he? "Hey, I'm here for The Gathering." Whoops! No head! Anyhow, I think it's a good time to read some mail from some of our favorite prisons of America in what we like to call "Joe Bob's Jail Break," and here with this week's letter is the token TNT Mail Girl, Rusty.
MAIL GIRL: Hey, did I hear you say Summer School starts next week?
Why, yes it does.
MAIL GIRL: What are you teaching this year?
I'm glad you asked. The first week we'll be throwing ourselves into med school--why don't you come by early that night and we can play doctor?
MAIL GIRL: Play doctor with you? What night is that exactly?
MAIL GIRL: Oh, the tenth. I'm getting my teeth cleaned on the tenth.
At ten p.m.?
MAIL GIRL: My dentist is kind of a night owl. Here's a letter from Richard L. Graves at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Your dentist is a night owl ...
"Dear Joe Bob,
"One night while sitting here in prison I found myself wondering where exactly I had 'gone wrong in life.' It was in this moment of self-reflection that I stumbled across yourself and MonsterVision for the very first time! At first glance, I thought who is this veritable Jethro Bodean of the film review community. In the evolutionary scheme of things, I must admit, I thought you were just a coupla jumps outta the swamp! I said to myself 'this is the kind of guy who drives around town with a gun rack in the back of his Pacer!' However, as I continued to watch your feature 'Night of the Living Dead - the Original' I was to be shocked beyond belief! Your commentaries, although somewhat short and pithy hinted at a rather profound insight not before seen in such illustrious film fare! Zombies with an 'existentialist twist!' Who'da thunk? Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! After all, who could be a better authority on 'Being and Nothingness' than a zombie."
Richard, what are you in prison for? You sound like one of those philosophy professors who get thrown in the slammer for flashing his students his whangdoodle or something.
"It makes me wonder if there could be a Nobel Prize in Joe Bob's future? Stranger things have happened! Like how you come to be seated next to what I regard as the 8th and 9th Wonders of the Modern World! Yes, of course I mean Reno and Rusty! It would have taken the Greeks five hundred more years to figure out the math involved in these curves! Whee doggies! Open one of those 'Old Mils' for me Joe Bob! Thanks buddy! Maybe you could explain to them it gets mighty lonely here in prison and I sure would be able to sleep easier at night with a coupla autographed pictures of the two of them! That way if I do have trouble sleeping I can just start counting Renos and Rustys, right? I look forward to a future segment of MonsterVision when perhaps you might explain the Freudian symbolism behind King Kong. I could be wrong, after all, a skyscraper could just be a skyscraper! If you're ever feeling down because the TNT Mailgirls won't give you any play remember what my old Uncle Earl always sez 'You can't keep a good dog off your leg!' If in the future, any of you think you might like to have personalized license plates, please feel free to write!
"p.s. - Don't shoot!!! I am only a convicted felon!!! Reno and Rusty's Wannabee Boy-Toy
"Keep up the good work!
"Richard L. Graves #35781
"Montana State Prison, Deer Lodge, Montana."
Preciate the support, Richard. I assume you witnessed my discourse on that party animal, Immanuel Kant. "Eggo cogito sum." "I eat waffles, therefore I am." Or was it, "I think, therefore I am a waffle"? I can't remember. Montana State Prison is located in Deer Lodge, Montana. 1300 male inmates, all security levels. Besides the usual weight lifting and intermural sports, prisoners enjoy tying "horsehair belts." You ever seen a horsehair belt, Rusty?
MAIL GIRL: If I have, I didn't know it.
Montana State Prison also recently boned up on safety by instituting a "cook/chill" program, which means that the prisoners were such bad cooks, they were poisoning themselves, so now they ship in frozen TV dinners for em. They also installed a "BodySearch(TM) machine." I don't even wanna KNOW what that is. Thanks for writing in, Richard. We love a captive audience. Free your mind and your butt will follow. [to Rusty] You ever seen a BodySearch machine?
MAIL GIRL: No, thank goodness.
I could show you how it works.
MAIL GIRL: And I could show you a karate kick to the groin that'll make your head spin.
[beat, then] What if I said okay?
"HIGHLANDER" Commercial Break #7
Well, I guess we know EXACTLY what was missing in the 23 seconds that TNT took out of the aardvarking scene, don't we? But the movie was rated PG in the theaters, so how bad could it have been? All right, that's Clancy Brown as the Kurgan. That's how the credits list him--not "Kurgan" but "THE Kurgan." He's like that guitarist from U2, "The Edge." By the way, what happens if you forget your ancient wife's birthday? It's hard enough remembering it when she's been hinting around for three weeks. How hard is it when she's been dead for 800 years? Course, how mad can she get, right? Okay, this is a great scene coming up, so let's roll it.
[fading] This flick was written by a guy named Gregory Widen while he was at UCLA film school. He says his original script was much darker. They always say that. "I wrote 'Pretty Woman,' but my original script was MUCH DARKER.'" Actually, that's true about "Pretty Woman," but how much darker could this flick be? "They put safety pins in the Kurgan's neck--I had em in his EYEBALLS." You know? Why don't they ever say, "My original script was much LIGHTER?" What would be wrong with that?
"HIGHLANDER" Commercial Break #8
And another well-timed commercial--right in the middle of the final sword fight! Way to go. There have been a whole lot of famous shows filmed AT Silvercup Studios in Queens. But this is the first one I've ever seen filmed ON TOP OF Silvercup Studios in Queens. And how did you like the musical irony--song by Queen as they drive into . . . Queens! Anyway, there's some more grade-A editing that happened in this movie. You know that sort of older woman, Rachel, who works in the antique shop with Chris Lambert? They shot a scene where he rescues her as a little girl during World War II. But the studio hacked it out. NOT TNT, for once. Okay, let's go to the thrilling conclusion of "Highlander." Roll it.
[fading] Did you notice how Christopher Lambert has been living two centuries in New York? He invented LOFT LIVING. Right? He moved into that place when a warehouse WAS a warehouse. I don't know if you remember, but every movie released in the eighties had a guy living in a loft. Back when very few people lived in lofts. Now everybody lives in FAKE lofts. The building never WAS a factory or a warehouse, but they built it to LOOK LIKE a factory or a warehouse so they can say it's full of lofts. But when they were REAL lofts, nobody wanted to live there. You could get em for, like, 10 bucks a month. Is anybody following this? Does anybody ever listen to me as I pass judgment on the folly of American culture? I didn't think so.
The quickening at the gathering. The quickening WHILE they're gathering. They're gathering and they're quickening, and they're gathering quickly and quickly gathering. And then . . . they take a vacation in Scotland. Aaaaah. And what's the prize for the whole deal? E.S.P.? E.S.P., having kids, and dying? That's a pretty lame prize, if you ask me. But people LOVE this movie--they're doing the third sequel now, and there's a new TV series based on it, the second one. It stars a female immortal, Elizabeth Gracen. Who, by the way, is one of the notches on the President's belt. Did you guys know that?
Okay, I wanna remind you that next Saturday is Week One of Joe Bob's Summer School, so sharpen up those number two pencils. I'm not sure what I'm gonna lecture about yet, but I'll come up with some excuse to run a couple of good shoot-em-up westerns, "High Plains Drifter," directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, and "The Long Riders," which has been called "All in the Family" out west.
That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.
Did you guys hear the one about the knights who are leaving for the Crusades? One knight tells his best friend, "My bride is without doubt one of the most beautiful women in the world. It would be a terrible waste if no man could have her. Therefore, as my best and most trusted friend, I am leaving you the key to her chastity belt to use should I not return from the Crusade." The company of knights are only a mile or so out of town when they notice a cloud of dust approaching. They think it might be an important message, so they halt. A horseman approaches them. It's the knight's best friend. Runs up to the knight and says, "Hey, you gave me the wrong key!"
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] Speaking of the President, the U.S. Treasury has announced that it will sell three new types of bonds starting January first. The Al Gore Bond, which has no interest. The Monica Lewinsky Bond, which has no maturity. And the Bill Clinton Bond, which has no principal.
Come back next time for The 7th Sign on MonsterVision
Amazon.com has Highlander movies on video, and Highlander movies on DVD
By the way, the background noise is Highlander themesong (midi version). If you would rather hear a Wav (over 800K), click here for the movie's themesong Princes Of The Universe as background audio
Back to MonstervisionHost segment transcript from 6-26-99 broadcast ©1999 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved