Liking problematic things, part Last.

This post has been percolating since January, when A. gave me my final Xmas present–it arrived in the mail after we got back from our holiday visit to Minnesota. What was it? Only a copy of LAST ACTION HERO, one of my favorite movies ever.

But Peppery, you say, how can you be feminist and like an Arnold movie? This does give me pause, as do most problematic things I like. In fact, knowing what we know now, you can definitely see the Creeper-Groper-Sexist-Pig Arnold peek out at us in a couple of the movie’s scenes. Yeeech. Locking Arnold in a temporary opaque prison cell, let’s look at what else goes on in the movie:

Robert Prosky. Mercedes Ruehl. Red carpet cameos. Tom Noonan, hamming it up like there’s no tomorrow. Charles Dance with multiple glass eyes. Bridgette Wilson, who knows movie kung-fu and yet still requires a partial rescue. Musical cues in the soundtrack for other action/John McTiernan movies. THERE’S A FUNERAL FOR A GUY NAMED FART.

It’s simultaneously a celebration and send-up of classic action flicks. But it also has surprisingly sensitive moments (although Arnold isn’t always capable of acting it) regarding what Kameron Hurley referred to a while back* as toxic “hyper-masculinity”. It hurts my brain, since LAH both glorifies and denigrates hyper-masculinity.

Honestly, I love it. It’s conflicted and childish and there is absolutely no way it passes the Bechdel test because the two women in it who have speaking roles exist in completely different universes, but I do love it.

Also, I wonder what happened to Austin O’Brien? Time to wiki, I guess.


*Link to her post: Women and Gentlemen: Unmasking the Sobering Realities of Hyper-Masculine Characters

 (Note: Obviously Kameron Hurley in no way endorses my opinion of Last Action Hero. To be fair, no one should. But this link will give you a well-thought-out post to read in conjunction with my flailing. Enjoy!)


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