Monday, December 15, 2014
Demolition Man Weekend
violation of the verbal morality code when you curse in public. Instead of toilet paper, there's a little shelf with three seashells on it. Stallone is hilarious here as the hardass cop/fish out of water, Snipes is also hysterical as the menacing and dangerous villain and Bullock is perfect as the naive 20th century loving action junkie. A terrific supporting cast includes Lethal Weapon Captain and Richard Donner's cousin Steve Kahan, Rob Schneider, Benjamin Bratt, then comedian Leary, The Shawshank Redemption's Bob Gunton and Beetlejuice's Glenn Shadix. Random cameos include Predator's Jesse Ventura, bodybuilding trainer Charles Glass and bit parts from an unknown Jack Black, MTV host Dan Cortese as well as Tatsu from Ninja Turtles himself, Toshishiro Obata. Of course it's an action movie so you get lots of shootouts (the two have the worst aim in the world), jumping from helicopters, cars and buildings exploding, hand to hand combat, car chases and the like.
Schwarzenegger was President!) and of course, pulse pounding action. I do recall the marketing being everywhere on MTV with Stallone, Snipes and Bullock on hand to demolish a Las Vegas casino and being handed Louisville Slugger baseball bats. Elaborate media promo packages were said to have contained bomber jackets, CD's with Sting's oddly chosen title track and a hard hat. Taco Bell offered the Demo Deal. Reviews weren't kind for the Joel Silver produced spectacle but DM would gross a then record breaking $14.2 million in it's first weekend on it's way to a $58 million total and another $100 million worldwide. That would be good enough for #18 on highest grossers for year behind Stallone's own Cliffhanger at #10. His next film, the bomb expert, Miami set The Specialist would open in the same October weekend in 1994 and do near identical business. A talented commercial director who landed the gig after impressive spots for Nike and Pepsi caught Silver's eye, Brambilla would only go on to direct the Benecio Del Toro/Alicia Silverstone kidnapping flick Excess Baggage in 1997 and episodes of 2002's Dinotopia. Silver would hit and miss with horror titles and action flicks like Demon Knight and Executive Decision before the one-two success of Lethal Weapon 4 and The Matrix in the later 90's. Snipes was riding a wave of action, drama and comedy in hits like New Jack City, White Men Can't Jump and Rising Sun. Demolition Man put him into action mode where he had a huge hit as vampire slayer Blade and of course, reunited with Stallone for 2014's The Expendables III. Bullock starred in Speed the next summer and has since become one of Hollywood's most bankable actors.
three seashells seems to be the one of the most remembered aspects as it's never actually explained. Years later Stallone said it was told to him that you were supposed to use two shells to wipe away and one to clean up while writer Waters only recently said the idea came to him from a friend who was going to the bathroom and had a jar of seashells on the counter. Bullock has also humorously evaded the question and just shows you that some things are better left unexplained. A commentary from Brambilla and Silver sticks mostly to technical issues while referring to the scope and tight schedule but Brambilla comments the film was well received and made money. Behind the scenes stories ran rampant around Hollywood, though. Before shooting began, several writers fought for credit and Monster Squad helmer Fred Dekker contributed a draft as well. Originally designed as a starring vehicle for Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme but the Belgian butt kicker objected to playing the villain. While that would have been a great pairing, Stallone and Snipes are just too good in the film to imagine anybody else in the roles. Stallone had flopped twice in comedies so a return to action but with humor was just what the doctor ordered. Snipes turned down the film but producer Silver visited him on the set of Rising Sun and convinced the actor to join.
huge fight scene with Stallone but footage has never been released.
Watching it as a drinking game this weekend where the rules are simple, drink anytime you hear "John Spartan", "Simon Phoenix" or see/hear the Verbal Morality Violations and three seashells. An hour in, you want to stop drinking because it's nearly nonstop. It's also fun to spot the locations around Los Angeles like the Design Center on Melrose, interior of the Los Angeles convention center downtown (which hadn't opened yet), the convention center in San Diego and what I thought was the Variety plaza by the Tar Pits on La Brea but is actually located in Irvine. Must be the same architect. Until next time, be well!