Flatliners

Thanks to Hailee for submitting a request for this week's tribute to Joel Schumacher, who passed away last year. Stylistically, Flatliners in some ways is the quintessential 90's movie, including this ensemble of young up-and-coming stars at their prime. Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, with even a Baldwin brother thrown in there for good measure.

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Flatliners (1990)

Episode 244, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

Todd: hello and welcome to another episode of two guys and a chainsaw. I’m Todd and I’m Craig. We continue our tributes, the reef this month by paying tribute. You to a director, who’s put out some very notorious films over the years, definitely made his stamp on cinema and has had a very, very interesting past.

His name is Joel Schumacher and he died of a heart attack last year. And today’s film that we’re reviewing is a request from one of our listeners, Hailey. She wanted us to do Flatliners. Now, Flatliners, I think is one of those films that Joel Schumacher did just before he started doing Batman movies, I think.

And. I believe it was Kiefer Sutherland that called this movie St. Elmo’s funeral or the breadth

Craig: breakfast club dies. Yeah.

Todd: And you can kind of see why this is, this is sort of like a nineties brat pack movie. It certainly doesn’t start any of the original brat pack, but it’s got Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin bacon, Oliver.

What’s his name? Oliver Platt Pratt Oliver. Oliver Platt and one of the Baldwins. Yeah. And, uh, so you know, these guys, especially, um, this was a few years after Joel Schumacher did the lost boys and we have reviewed the lost boys in the spoon on the show before. And, uh, we had nothing but great things to say about it.

It was certainly his previous work with Kiefer Sutherland. I think that brought, that helped him bring Kiefer Sutherland back into this movie to do. A very good role. I think this, he said that the reason that he chose Kiefer Sutherland for this role was just his intensity coming through as sort of our main protagonist, if you will, of this, otherwise, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a ensemble film really.

Craig: Yeah, well, and, and Schumacher and Sutherland worked together several more times after this, too. I think that they must have had a really positive working

Todd: relationship. Yeah. You know, I, I’ve always known the name, Joel Schumacher. I’ve known that he’s done a lot of movies when I was going through his Uber guar man.

So many of these movies, um, were not only mainstream heads, but some of them have really left a profound impact on me. He did a Batman forever. Which, you know, Tim Burton did the first two Batman movies and Tim Burton really is credited, I think could be credited with bringing superhero movies really back into the mainstream.

After Superman. He just took Batman. The idea of the dark night. And really gave a style to that movie. And remember, God, remember that movie when it came out, it was huge. Oh my gosh. Yeah, it was an event and it was also a superhero movie, like we’d never seen before. And certainly Batman, like most of us had never seen him before on screen, dark and brooding.

And the style that he brought to that film was just incredible. Then he followed it up with Batman returns and Batman returns. He was given a hundred percent creative control over that. Tim Burton was, and it didn’t turn out so well for him. Um, it just wasn’t as popular. It wasn’t as highly regarded. It didn’t make as much money.

Although I think it’s a great movie, actually. I really like it. I do too. Then the reins were handed over to Joel Schumacher for the third one, Batman forever and yeah. Once again, he just added a whole new style to the franchise with Batman forever. Jim Carrey was the Riddler in that one. And I remember just really enjoying that, really enjoying the style that he brought to it that still had some of that darkness, but add a little bit of comedy and color to it.

I felt like. Anyway, it struck a pretty good balance. And I haven’t seen that movie in ages, but I do remember

Craig: liking it. I remember enjoying it at the time, but if we’re going to be honest, I feel like Joel Schumacher is kind of credited with killing the Batman franchise for the time. Certainly

Todd: was with the followup to that.

Right. Batman and Robin, which was. A nightmare of a movie. I mean, you’re right. Is, is actually put on the list as one of the worst films ever. I don’t think it deserves that,

Craig: but, but it was really goofy, like really goofy, you know, that was the whole nipples on the bats and Arnold Schwartzenegger dropping one liners every five seconds.

Like it. It’s like, there are things that I enjoyed about it. I remember enjoying Uma Thurman has poison IV. It was okay. But it was very different. It was, it was very light and kind of hokey, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. I just think that it moved so far away from Burton’s image that it just kind of left a bad taste in people’s mouth and it really did kind of kill the franchise for awhile.

It

Todd: really did. And, uh, and it was like a total. Cash grab. It seemed purposely to take it in a direction that they could sell toys,

Craig: right? Oh, absolutely. And they did. And they partnered with McDonald’s and had a happy meal toys and the like, yeah. I mean, it was a total marketing deal, but.  but that’s Hollywood, you know, and, and Joel, Schumacher Schumacher is a Hollywood director, like you said, lost boys.

He also did St. Elmo’s fire, which I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I remember thinking was edgy

Todd: was for the time, you know, I saw it when I was in college, which was, you know, many years after it came out and I didn’t feel like it aged too well. In fact, the movie really irritated me, but for its time, anyway, it made a lasting impression and it had a killer theme song

Craig: and he wrote that too.

Oh, I didn’t know. He wrote that. So, um, but then after, right after Flatliners, he did dying young, which he, which was a big hit movie, but it was a total like depressing, you know, Kleenex type movie. And, um, he even said that he really didn’t feel like he was the right director for it, but he did it as a favor to Julia Roberts because he had so enjoyed working with her on this movie.

And then he did other. Movies that I enjoyed falling down with Michael Douglas. Fantastic in kind of a dark movie, but, but quite good. Uh, the client, I liked, um, eight millimeter with Nick cage. I think it was, was pretty good. Eight

Todd: millimeter. No, I mean, eight millimeter was good, but for, you know, that was one of the movies that had a deep, emotional impact on me.

I mean, it’s super dark, super dark felt like I had to take a shower afterwards. I thought about it for weeks. Um, I don’t even know if I’ll ever go back and watch eight millimeter again, it was so disturbing.

Craig: I don’t remember. What was it about? Was it about snuff films? Is that what it was about? Yes.

Todd: Nicholas cage, snuff films. He just goes into super dark territory and really never lets up. It’s really depressing.

Craig: Last one that he did, that I was familiar with was the live action musical film, musical of the Phantom of the opera, which. I don’t remember being a fan of, but I’m not really a big fan of that show.

So it doesn’t really surprise me, but it was huge. Like it was a big production, um, and a big deal when it came out, you believe

Todd: that this guy got his start with like musicals and stuff. Like he was a costume designer. Oh really? Yeah. He did some costume design then production design. Um, I think he wrote a screenplay for the, of course line that never actually got produced.

He wrote the Wiz. Yeah. He wrote the screenplay for the Wiz and he wrote carwash, which is kind of a comedy that came out before that. And one of, one of Mr T’s first and only starring roles, uh, was a movie called DC cab, which totally bombed, but that’s kind of interesting. Um, but he had a really depressing childhood.

I think he had just a horrible like parents as far as, um, his father died when he was four. Um, and then his mother raised him in long Island and during his youth, like he started drinking alcohol. By the time he was nine, he was using LSD. Math graduated from Parsons school of design and studied the fashion Institute of technology.

And he became a designer for Revlon in 1966. This is how he started out and he was super in debt. By the time his mother died, uh, and lost, had lost teeth weighed really nothing. He was just wasting away from drugs. Then just, you know, kind of decided to get a self-worth as quote and I’m reading from Wikipedia here.

I got myself respect back, getting a good day’s pay for a good day’s work. And he just became a costume designer on a bunch of movies, a few, a Woody Allen movie sleeper, and just kind of worked his way up. And, uh, after he took over as the director of the incredible shrinking woman, replacing John Landis who left the movie after they cut the budget for it, he was at least had a directing job and it was St.

Elmo’s fire. That he wrote and directed that gave him the regular steady work that, uh, kind of rocketed him through. Um, what we now know is  so very, very good, interesting guy, more interesting than I ever realized, because I think he’s been pretty quiet and secretive about his life more or less, but yeah.

So here we are, we’re doing Flatliners and it’s great that Hayley, uh, happened to request this movie. Nah, uh, around the time that, um, that he died. So, uh, we’re happy to do this as a request and also as a tribute. And, uh, I do remember watching this movie once when I was in high school, this was kind of one of those, I think it was more or less one of those rental store staples.

I know that at a lot of parties, I went to friends, had rented it and we’d watched it and we talked about it every now and then what I had remembered from the movie having not seen it in what, 30 years it’s been 30 years is that it was just. Really dark and really, um, depressing and gloomy. And I remembered it anyway as being maybe even.

Deep and a little hard to follow, at least from my teenage brain or whatever, watching it now. I agree it is dark and gloomy, but it’s certainly not hard to follow. No, in fact, it’s quite straightforward and that might be one of my major criticisms with it is it’s, it’s really exploring some very. Deep territory, but it doesn’t actually seem to go that deep on it.

Like it doesn’t have so much to say about the subject of life after death. It’s just a little more campy and it would probably come across as more campy. If the acting wasn’t so good and the production, wasn’t just so super stylized. I think, uh, if it weren’t for those two things, this would come across, you know, at its core, the, the plot of this is, is pretty camp.

That’s what I would say. I’ll

Craig: agree with you. I remember when it came out too, I remember just like, this was one of those movies. It was like, it was a cool movie. Like it was really cool. And like all these, these people that were in it, I didn’t realize that this came out the same year as pretty woman. I was thinking that Julia Roberts was already a little bit.

More well-established as a great, big, huge star too. Pretty woman. I mean, she had worked before that, but that, that established her as, as this huge movie star, but Kiefer Sutherland had been working for a while and of course comes from an acting families, dads. Very famous too. And, um, Kevin bacon had been around for a while.

The Baldwins were, you know, a famous family. All of her plat stands out a little bit as maybe not being, maybe not having the same kind of clout that these guys had, but a very good actor, nonetheless. Um, and like you said, it is, it, that’s what I thought. I like it kinda like a new nineties brat pack. But not

or the behind the scenes stuff of this too, you know, like, um, Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts started a love affair. And like, they were this Hollywood kind of it couple for a second and they were going to get married. And then she called off the wedding at the last minute. So there was a lot of drama going on there, but it was just a cool movie and it was.

I don’t know. It’s just kind of an interesting concept because. It doesn’t specifically adhere to any genre formula. Um, there are definitely horror elements, but there are also scifi elements. It’s also very much a human drama. Um, of all of these people dealing with their demons in the literally I guess, and figuratively, but they were all young and sexy, like Kiefer Sutherland.

Yeah, just a sexy guy. I mean, he still is. He’s just kind of got this charisma, this dark charisma about him, William Baldwin. I mean, all of them, they’re just these, these beautiful people in this interesting environment. And like you said, the production value is so good. It’s very. Nineties lately. So nineties, which is great and lots of really cool work with the cinematography amazing set design, like set design to the point where it’s unbelievable that they would always be in these amazing occasions.

Yes. Surrounded by this Gothic, incredible architecture and statues. And. Artwork. And like it’s saying

Todd: it’s a medical school, like in a museum

and it was filmed in Chicago. And I think the, um, the, yeah, mostly in Chicago, of course the interiors were mostly sets I believe, but, you know, loyal. Loyola university there on the Lake. And I think it’s meant to evoke some of the grand architecture of the old world’s fair exhibition area that, you know, was there exterior shots and, and it’s just, it’s so Gothic.

Right. And the settings are. Let’s see the room where they do all this flat lining and we’re even where they are dissecting cadavers. It just evokes like a church. Oh gosh. Yeah. And their images and frescoes on the wall of God and their gargoyles and big statues of angels and things looking over them like, like they’re somewhere where the stuff that they’re dealing with is really larger than life and holier than them.

Whereas the same time the lighting is just, it is maybe the extreme example of this teal and orange thing that is it’s so cliche, right? This teal and orange kind of go back and forth this movie it’s, that’s all it is. There’s almost no daylight in this movie. Everything either takes place at dusk or at night time.

And the screen is either a wash in teal or. Orange. And sometimes both that plus the architecture and the sets that they’re in and that, that coloring and just the darkness of it just adds to this really oppressive nature. Like I watch this movie I’m never quite comfortable. It’s just always moving first of all.

And it really doesn’t stop to take a breath and the camera never stops moving. And when the camera stops moving the lighting, doesn’t stop moving. Like if there’s a still. Camera shot in the whole movie. Then you’re going to start seeing like, with light sweeping across the screen or some kind of action going on, it’s just very well thought out and very well set there.

And I do feel like you said, like, this is like the quintessential nineties movie, almost like it set the stage for what cinematography would be like for like the next 10 years in these hot hip kind of films, you know? Uh

Craig: huh. But at the same time, as we say all of that, it works like, yeah. I didn’t feel like it felt cliched or overly grandiose, like in the world of the movie, it works and it’s very atmospheric and it sets a re like it sets the mood very well.

And it makes the story feel Gothic, which I think is appropriate to the story. I had heard somebody had described the story as like Frankenstein in reverse and based on the plot. You know, that makes sense, but it has that feel, you know, it almost feels like these events are taking place in an old castle or something, you know, it it’s just that kind of feeling.

Um, and it works. And I, and I think you’re right, that it’s a combination of everything and the acting is a big part of it. These are believable characters, even though some of them, especially Kiefer Sutherland’s character. And up, not that you can’t really tell from the beginning, but, uh, he ends up being deeply flawed, but nonetheless, I cared about these people, uh, and I was really interested in what was going to happen to them.

I thought they were incredibly stupid. Yeah.

Todd: But reckless and

Craig: stupid, reckless and stupid. But. They’re also young and ambitious and those things kind of go together, right? If you’re a young, young, and ambitious, often you are reckless and stupid. And sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn’t. And.

The thing, I, if I have any criticism of this movie, it’s that these guys are too lucky. They’re just too lucky. Yeah. There’s no way they could have gotten through this movie. I am sure most people who listened to us. You know, this was a big movie, so I’m sure most people have seen it. But what these young medical students do is they’re interested in what happens in the afterlife.

So they killed themselves medically and then resurrect them selves, medically. Uh, it’s not. Implausible it could happen, but every time they do it and they do it multiple times, um, every time they do it, they just barely get them back. And like, that’s what that’s, every time it happens in my notes and they barely get him back early, get her back like.

Todd: And yet, as soon as it’s done, they’re like bidding on. Who’s going to go next. Me, me, me, me next. I’ll go for two minutes to 2230. Okay. You’re you got the next one. That kind of thing until one’s like, yeah, I’ll do it for five minutes. It’s like, it just feels insane

Craig: is insane. And I think that it’s kind of supposed to be, I think that they get carried away and I think that we’re yeah.

Supposed to under their, their curiosity in them, their ambition allow them to get carried away and they do have different motivations, you know, keep her Southern one’s character Nelson, his motive really. His fame. He wants to be the guy that discovers the secrets of life and death, and he wants the claim and the attention that’s going to come along with that.

A couple of the other characters. Yeah. Well, Kevin Bacon’s character, David, he’s more of like the skeptic cynic atheist one, his. Curiosity is more genuinely not academic, but he just, he really wants to know, you know, like everybody talks about there’s supposed to be these things that happen when you die.

And he just seems to be genuinely curious almost from like a pragmatic academic kind of sets. Julia Roberts is damaged and is motivated. She’s lost. She says people, but it turns out it’s really just one person in particular. She’s lost people in her life and she wants to be assured that they have gone on to someplace better.

So they have various motivations, but nonetheless, their motivations drive them to do very reckless and stupid things. But it does make for very high drama and the movie is long. It’s almost a full two hours, but. It doesn’t feel long. It’s very fast paced, like crazy fast paced.

Todd: Yeah, it really is. And it’s so funny that you kind of get to know these characters so well and care about them so much because usually in a movie where the plot flies forward this quickly, there’s little time for that.

And then you don’t really. I feel it it’s just a credit, I think, to the writing and also the acting that you really get a sense for these people right off the bat. Like you said, Nelson, he’s the, he’s like the go-getter really ambitious guy. And it’s interesting because it starts the movie off with what we’re going to get.

A lot of, which is the sweeping shots. Just, I mean, even indoors, these shots sweep across furniture and dollies. Through doorways and things like that, even when people were just having a conversation, the image moves just as much as the plot does and it’s, you know, goes across the Chicago Lake and all that, which I thought was kind of interesting too.

Cause the lost boys starts out too. Doesn’t it? With the sweeping shot coming down

Craig: from the sky. Yeah. And it swings in on keeper Sutherland who is just looking like they’re capitalizing so much on his coolness. And he is very cool and he looks very cool. You know, he’s in like a trench coat, he’s got his blonde hair, Zack and his sunglasses, and he’s just standing on the shore and he says, he’s a good dude

Todd: to no one in particular.

And then all we get is really it’s like assembling the Avengers. Really? Yes. Clearly, he’s talked with the other, his other classmates here about this, but we have, uh, Joe, uh, Joe Hurley, who was, um, um, who’s what, uh, uh, Baldwin, the Baldwin boy, right?

Craig: Yeah. William Baldwin, handsome, handsome guy,

Todd: really handsome guy.

And he’s taking full advantage of it in this, in this movie because, uh, his thing is that he’s just, um, Likes to sleep around a lot, but not just that, but he likes to film women without their knowledge. So he has a camera set up in the roof of his studio apartment or whatever, and a whole stack of videotapes where he’s videotaped all of his conquest and he happens to be engaged, to be married as well.

Right. So he calls him up and says, Hey, don’t forget to bring your camera. And we meet David. David is Kevin Bacon’s character. He’s like an orderly, or I guess he’s on his, um, he didn’t call it his

Craig: internship or his rounds or whatever they call. I don’t remember what

Todd: they call him. And he seems to. Be the guy who wants to leap in and do things, uh, that maybe he’s not supposed to before the doctor gets there, it’s like a person having an emergency or whatever.

And he leaps in and tries to start an emergency surgery on him. Then the doctor comes in and they apparently kind of boot him out. Right. He’s booted out by this point. Yeah. He’s repelling out of his apartment window. That was silly. No real reason, right. Getting into his army style, like literal army surplus truck that he’s got with a canvas, you know, back on it and everything.

When, um, he’s approached by Nelson saying, Hey, are you going to do me on this prod? Join me on this project. And he, he kind of refuses, but you know, he ends up coming in at the last,

Craig: yeah, everybody, everybody is reluctant. I mean, they all know. I feel like the way the story is set up, we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen or what Nelson is proposing.

We’re given little hints here and there, but pretty much everybody, if they don’t outright refuse, they’re at least very, very reluctant. And they realize that not only is it dangerous, but they could also get in huge trouble and get kicked out of school, which would be an end to their. Careers. Yeah. And they’re all very reluctant, but ultimately at the last minute, they’re all like, okay,

Todd: why not? And I love the way the first one goes down too. We’ll get to that a second. But, uh, and then Rachel, uh, who’s played by Julia Roberts. She’s clearly, like you said before, she’s very interested in the afterlife, maybe. Maybe has been for a while because you see her sitting down at the bed of a woman who’s dying.

It seems like she’s in the cancer ward or something and doing her rounds and she’s sitting down and there’s this woman here that she’s just asking her, her feelings and the woman’s sharing her feelings about death and dying. And there are other patients there who are telling her about their near death experiences and what happened to them.

I

Craig: was legally dead. Four and a half minutes, but I didn’t see no tomorrow. And I didn’t see no light. Oh, why did? And it was so beautiful. I was in this God, in this tunnel and, and this light and then this like a guide and a chariot. And. Music, Terry,

Todd: I think they’d better get you off medication then there’s Randy Steckel, Oliver Platt he’s by far the one who’s almost the least on board throughout the entire thing.

He’s like the voice of reason that nobody listens to, I guess,

Craig: kind of. And ultimately he’s also the only one that doesn’t ever go through with it. Not because he doesn’t consider it by the time that he might be. Sort of open to it. He talks about it briefly. At one point he said, I might do it. I might still do it.

But soon thereafter, they realized that it has bad side effects. So he never actually ends up doing it. And Oliver Platt is a funny guy and I think that’s kind of his, his role in this group. He’s supposed to be kind of the. Goofy one he’s he’s all the time dictating his like autobiography into one of those little handheld cassette recorders.

And it’s funny, like it’s very self-indulgent, but at the same time for us as the audience funny, and, and they’re a good group, they’re believable as classmates, maybe not necessarily best of friends, but they know that they’ve worked closely together. Probably for a long time and they know each other, well,

Todd: they have their strength.

The one guy is just a video taper. He’s chronicling. It is kind of, again, dictating what’s going on and more like a recording thing, but helping out on the sides. And then it seems like the most medically capable of them all is supposed to be David. Right. Kevin, Kevin Bacon’s character, who just seems to know all the right things to do and is willing to do them, especially when things come to a head and love, you know, what is, what is believable as their relationship?

What is it so believable as to how they come together and do this first thing, and just like, keep her Southern wind storms into this giant chamber where he’s got this equipment that he’s just kind of pulling together, like going, gonna take

Craig: me down with nitrous. So the independence and the refrigerated blanket, I got some Sheltie five w in the cooler, when my body temperature hits 86 degrees.

If you’re going to hit me with 200 joules electric, Cara was stop my heart. When the hardest dad,

Todd: I think the mask off like, okay, I hope somebody is actually writing this down.

Craig: What I read was that they did a lot of, um, consulting with. Actual medical professionals. And so most there are some mistakes made in the filmmaking, but most of what they do is.

Medically sound. They’re going to use drugs to slow down the, their metabolic system. And then they’re going to put a cooling blanket on them to lower their body temperature. And that has something to do with protecting them from brain damage. And then they’re going to use a defibrillator to stop their heart.

And then. After a certain period of time, the first time, it’s what? Just like a minute, like, yeah. And then they’re going to revive them with, they’re going to restart their heart with the defibrillator. And drugs if necessary. They all get together for this first time and Steckel and Joe object, but everybody else at the last minute, David and Rachel are on board and they do it to keep her Sutherland.

They kill him. And every time this happens, which is multiple times throughout the movie, we get to see what each of them sees. And what Nelson sees is first very beautiful. He’s again, another one of those, you know, sweeping flying shots over a field of flowers and there are kids playing and a dog running with them and it all looks very nice and innocent.

And till it starts to literally. In the vision or experience, whatever it is, starts to get dark and windy. And then you see kind of these ominous visions of a tree and a little boy in a hoodie. And then my next note is they barely get them.

Todd: I know you’ll be repeating several times.

Craig: They worked to get him back and like, they think everything’s going to be fine, but you know, and this happens every single time. If he doesn’t come back as quickly as they thought he would. And it’s, it’s very high stress and high tension, but they do get him back. And the other thing, uh, I don’t know, it’s not really a criticism because it’s a movie and you gotta keep them moving, moving.

But for the most part, aside from being a little shaken up. They’re always just fine. Sort of. I would imagine that if you were clinically dead for a few minutes, you might need some rest.

Todd: Have you ever been clinically dead for a few minutes? How would you know? I feel like after some nights of drinking, I could have been pronounced clinically dead. And my mornings after that are horrible. So, uh, but it’s, it’s a movie, but yeah, they just wrap a blanket around them and drive out to a very smoky, dark Chicago street in the back of David’s pickup.

And as he’s sitting there, you know, he says to David, he says, I have these heightened senses. You know, it says, I can hear the traffic and I can hear the hum of the streetlights and I can even hear something else. And the others go inside, I guess, to get some food or whatever, while he’s sitting out there.

And he has his first vision in real life. He’s looking down this alley and the lights and things kind of come on and he sees this dog limping along and you can tell it’s the dog from his, from his dream, but it’s bandaged on, you know, what’s back half and it’s really limping and he calls out and then somebody else kind of snaps him out of it.

And he looks, and the dog’s not actually there. What is going to happen later on is he’s going to be haunted by much worse visions. And this is something that, this is what I remember the most of this movie. This is what actually kind of terrified me was Nelson’s. Post traumatic stress that he goes through after this thing, very

Craig: first time after Nelson goes, Rachel immediately says, I next and somebody always jumps in and says, no, me and that, like you said before, then they bid like, well, I’ll do it for a minute five.

Well, I’ll do it for a minute 20. And Joe wins with a minute 30 and this happens at least the next time too, that she says. I’m next in somebody, somebody jumps the line. It’s interesting with her as the only woman in this group of men. Yeah. It’s an interesting dynamic because I think that they all respect her.

Uh, I don’t think that that’s an issue at all. They all have much respect for her, but the only one of them that doesn’t hit on her is. Oliver Platt’s character. Um, even though the Baldwin brother is engaged to be married to a woman who seems very nice and who he genuinely seems to love, he’s just a womanizer and you know, not a great person, but they all hit on her and she just takes it in stride.

Now I. If I were her, I guess, I don’t know. I’ve never been a stunningly beautiful woman, but if I were her, I would like tell them to knock it off. Like you don’t all need to be hitting on me all the time. Like I’m not a prize for one of you to win, but she just goes along with it and it’s not like it’s totally skeevy.

It actually seems like the way that they’ve tried to set it up is that Nelson and David both genuinely. Have interest in feelings for, I think that they’re supposed to be set up as romantic rivals and, and there is there’s clear tension between them. Um, especially as David and Rachel start to get closer, Nelson is visibly bothered and, and makes offhanded comments, um, about it.

But I think that Nelson and David are also just set up to be foils. In the movie. Yeah. Nelson is presented as the protagonist and he’s very ambitious and he has these, you know, really interesting ideas. He’s the one that starts everything. And he seems very much the leader, but as he falls farther and farther into the rabbit hole of all of this, he kind of starts to lose it.

And David, who is the skeptic from the beginning? Really emerges as their rock, their, their moral center that ultimately they all end up turning to. And he’s not necessarily the hero. I wouldn’t say there’s a hero of the movie, but he ends up being the one who is more. Practical and well clearheaded about it.

Clearheaded. Yeah. That’s

Todd: yeah. He’s the one that reorients, people gets very practical about it. And then when he he’s also happens to end up becoming the one who figures out how to make their visions of things go away. I mean, this is what happens. They each go under it. Everything happens to the same way to each of these people.

Joe goes under next, and then he has dislike. Super sexy, erotic, kind of like a flashes to all of the women he’s bad at or whatever. Um, actually seems like the most pleasant of all of these experiences.

Craig: One thing that I liked about this movie was that each of their experiences was very unique. It wasn’t, there were similarities, like all of them seemed to have, it was kind of a life flashing before your eyes kind of thing.

Like from in utero, Through birth and childhood, but then it focused on whatever their interest or issue was. And his is that, you know, I don’t even know if we identified sex addiction in the nineties, but that’s kind of what it’s implying that he’s kind of this sex addict. And so his is. Ultimately very erotic, but not unpleasant.

And when he comes out of it every time any of them come out of it, they’re asked to describe it. And they all say it’s very difficult to put into words. Um, but he says there definitely is activity beyond death. And he said, Something that I thought was really interesting. He said, there’s something vaguely feminine guiding me.

And I just thought that that was very interesting from this guy who is such a womanizer. That that’s what he felt, that it wasn’t. Negative, but that he was guided by something vaguely feminine. I just thought that was interesting, right? The

Todd: guy who, who takes advantage of women, uh, you know, becomes the one who needs a, a female guide in the afterlife or ends up with a female guide.

Yeah. Yeah. Truly

Craig: David, at this point, Thinks they’re full of shit. He thinks that they’re just seeing what they want to see. That it’s not, that there’s really anything there that it’s just maybe brain activity or something. And, but again, Rachel says me next and David says, no, I’m going to go. And they bid again and they end up at two 20 and David wins and then they have a talk.

And I really liked this talk where they talk about. Death and David is an atheist and he doesn’t believe that there’s anything after life. And Rachel it’s as though she wants desperately to believe, but she’s uncertain. And that’s why she’s so adamant that she wants to do this, but David wants to do it because he says.

If I do it, I’m not going to go in wanting to find something like, you know, if it’s there, it’s there. If it’s not, it’s not, I’m not going to be influenced by wanting to find something. So if there’s nothing there and I come back and I can say that nothing happened, then we can deduce that it’s just your brain doing whatever you want it to do.

I think really. His true purpose in wanting to go next is to try to prevent Rachel from doing it at all.

Todd: Yeah. There’s like a protectiveness thing, right? Going on here, where that as the woman she’s being protected by these, these three guys, I feel like that in a sense as well, you know, by these guys, it might be a little problematic,

Craig: but it is today, but especially Kevin bacon and I can excuse the writing.

Because the acting is so good that I genuinely believe that he really cares about her. And he really is just trying to protect her. Now that’s not to say that women need protection from men. I don’t believe, or maybe they do need protection from men, from some guys they don’t necessarily. Needs to be protected by men.

Right. Right. But, uh, you know, it is what it is that leads up to when things get really interesting with Nelson, because up till now he’s had these visions, but it progresses at this point. And I thought this scene with him, First of all, it was a little heavy handed with him walking down this very shady alley in Chicago.

Now I live in Chicago very briefly, and there definitely are parts of town that you don’t want to walk through by yourself at night. Um, but he wears a trench coat and smokes a cigarette. So,

Todd: so nobody’s supposed to be there

Craig: walking down this alley. Filled with hookers and people shooting up about, and yes, you might see those things, but you’re not going to see an alley full of it.

Todd: Huddled around trashcan fires.

Craig: Lady hobo is talking to herself, but it ends up. Looking at him and calling him by name as in the end? No, that’s when he sees and hears that injured dog again, and he starts to follow it and things get

Todd: crazy. Yeah. He goes down into a what must be an abandoned subway line or something it’s kind of it’s underground, but I don’t know what it was.

He sees the injured dog and he’s kind of calling after and following it, but then there’s another shadow. And as he walks across, a kid is in front of him and he looks down and is like, Hey, and he kid’s wearing a hoodie and looks up at him. And I think what, he pulls out a bat and starts to beat him. Well, no, at this

Craig: point, yeah, he just kicks the crap out of him.

This is a little, a little tiny kid in a hoodie and we’ve seen him before. In the vision, this is the kid from his vision, but Nelson doesn’t seem to recognize him, but the kid kicks the shit out of him. And I just thought that was a really interesting turn to the movie because it’s one thing to be haunted by visions.

It’s a completely other thing. When these visions can kick the shit out of you. Yeah.

Todd: And there’s no question because the next shot is he’s in front of a mirror, sewing up his eye. So he’s definitely getting beat up and of course shaken, but he doesn’t say anything to anybody about this.

Craig: Meanwhile, um, Joe, the Baldwin, uh, is, is now also having visions and what he is seeing is his sex tapes pop up on any screen.

That’s around and we don’t get the impression that anybody else can see them, but obviously it’s haunting him. Um, but then on Halloween night, David, they do David and he has a trippy vision of like his friends and again in utero and then flying over mountains. Cause he’s a climber or whatever. And then he sees a little.

Black girl. And I feel like at this point he just sees her. So we don’t really know the context. Meanwhile, while, while he’s under Nelson is acting crazy and like a total Dick, like already David is staying under longer than anybody else. But when it comes time to try to bring him back, Nelson’s like, Oh, let’s give him another 20 seconds.

And they’re all looking at him like, are you fricking crazy? And he kind of argues with them and it’s like, I’m just kidding. But it doesn’t really seem like he is kidding. No, but, but they do bring him back and he thinks that it was just a dream or memories. He thinks that it must’ve just been electrical activity, remaining electrical activity in his brain.

But Nelson says, no, we had you hooked up to the EKG or EEG or whatever it is, the reads. Brainwaves. He said, if there was any electricity, it would have read it. So it’s not that. And I guess David just kind of accepts that at which point Nelson says he wants to go again and Rachel is like, Pardon? My French, fuck you.

I’ve already been bumped twice. I’m going. And Nelson’s like, Nope, this was my idea. You all are riding on my coattails. I’m doing it. And Rachel says, you know, do whatever you want, but I’m not going to help. And all of the other guys back her up. So, uh, she gets to go next. Joe continues to be haunted by the video.

Nelson gets beat up again. By the kid with a hockey stick. He like knocked some of his teeth

Todd: out. And once again, when Rachel goes under David rushes in to try to stop it early, again, trying to kind of be her savior or whatever, because

Craig: he realizes that it’s got bad side effects that Nelson hasn’t told them about

Todd: because while he was riding the train and kind of a flashback to that same vision that he had when he was under.

He sees this girl only, it’s this weird kind of vision where the train goes dark and she starts walking towards him and she’s calling him all kinds of names. He of course recognizes her as a girl that he used to bully when he was her, which was a hard

Craig: scene to watch. Wasn’t it like when he remembers the bullying?

Uh, it was so bad. I couldn’t even tell if the bullying was. Racially based, but it was very difficult. It was so sad and uncomfortable to watch this cute little black girl being taunted, not physically abused in this memory, but being taunted by these other kids. And I don’t even think, you know, David was white and I think that there was another white kid, but I think that there were other black kids involved too.

So I don’t know if it was racially based, but it was very uncomfortable and I felt so bad. And so I under. Stood why David, like he genuinely feels bad. Like I did something really bad and that’s why this is

Todd: happening. And, and, you know, he clearly is the more moral, I guess, you know, if the guys between him and Nelson, like we said earlier, being the moral center of the movie, he comes across that way too, because his first thought in all this is, I’ve got to go and fix this.

And, uh, he thinks this is a way he can make the vision stop is to actually go. And visit this girl. He looks her up and finds her in her house before he goes there. I believe that Joe comes home and his fiance is there because he’s called her previously. And he sounded a little, a panicked on edge and said, I love you.

And I don’t know what I’m going to do. And, and, uh, she ends up coming, but she comes to his apartment before he gets there. And she has seen all of his tapes. Yeah, she says, I can’t trust you anymore. I just can’t do this.

Craig: I loved this scene though, too. I just thought it was such great writing because she starts to storm out.

And she says, the thing that I hate is that you’re going to think I left because you had sex with all those women and that’s not why I’m leaving. She said, I think that maybe I could have. Dealt with that. I could have worked through that, but the fact that these women trusted you and you showed them so little respect and you used them and taped them without their knowledge, that’s what I can’t live with.

And he leaves. And so I do feel that there’s a morale, you know, there’s a morality play going on here. The, these people are being faced with. They’re Sans for lack of a better word, but I think that Joe doesn’t get much of the story. He doesn’t get much focused, but I think the implication is that he realizes what he’s been doing.

Somebody puts a mirror up in front of his face, basically is what happened. And he realizes that he’s a Dick. Um, and hopefully moving forward, he will change. The same thing happens with. David, you know, he realizes that he had done something wrong and he wants to fix it. Now, the other two, when Rachel goes under, she has all these visions of her father who had, I assume, uh, served in Vietnam and was coming home and we see his coming home party.

But then. Um, she walks as a little girl. She walks into this room that apparently she wasn’t supposed to, and she sees her father from behind and you can’t tell what he’s doing. Um, but the, her mother calls her back and says, you’re not supposed to go in there. And then the father storms out and runs downstairs and the mother looks at her and says something like it’s your fault or something like that.

And the dad goes outside and shoots himself in his car. And so that’s what. Rachel is haunted by, she feels like it was her fault. And so her visions, which start immediately because she had plans to be under for like four minutes, something like that. But again, they barely got her back. Um, and so she ended up being under far longer than any of the rest of them, like five plus minutes.

And, uh, so her vision started immediately and it’s her dad. She’s seeing her dad everywhere and it’s, it’s haunting and of all of them. Probably the most sad. Yeah. But it comes down to your right. David basically figures out what they have to do, which is write their wrongs.

Todd: Yeah. It’s I feel like it’s kind of a ghost story in reverse, right?

I, they say it’s Frankenstein and reverse. I feel it’s like a ghost story in reverse. These people are their own ghosts. Right. They come back from the dead and now they have to write some wrongs that they can. Be at peace.

Craig: Something else that I think is interesting about this movie and something that’s debatable because it’s not laid right out there.

I don’t think that these people or visions that they’re seeing are ghosts at all. I think that these are. Their own manifestations of guilt. Um, fact, this isn’t, you know, like the, the young girl that David had bullied, she’s not even dead, so it’s not like she could come back and haunt him. This is them.

They’re they’re doing this to themselves. They’re

Todd: haunting themselves. Yeah. Yeah, their guilt is haunting them basically. And so, yeah, so that, so David goes with, um, Nelson Nelson’s in the car and in the truck, he looks up, this woman goes and finds her as an adult and spend some time with her and her kids and apologizes for what he did.

And you can tell this is going to stop his visions. Uh, however, in the car while he’s in there, Nelson. And hasn’t yet another encounter with Billy Mahoney who picks up a pickax and, uh, is trying to wrestle with him in the back of the truck. And he has locked the doors and things with Billy Mahoney shown up, back there.

Anyway, I thought this was hilarious. Uh, then, you know, Kevin Bacon’s character gets there in about the Nick of time, but, uh, he tries the driver’s side window and it’s locked. He goes to the other side when it wants locked and I’m thinking. Why are you even doing this? Just go to the canvas back that you have, but instead he picks a rocket smashes through his own window just to climb over and into the back there.

Craig: And then later in the movie, the window’s totally fixed. Oh,

Todd: I haven’t noticed that, but you can see, I mean, Kiefer Sutherland is still there. He’s wrestling with this pickax and there’s nothing there. Right? So it’s definitely, well, it’s probably coming from inside of him. Right. He then has to explain what’s going on.

And he, you know, once he sees the David’s kind of fixed it, then he knows what to do. And this is when he goes in, admits what he did. He brings the whole crew out to the woods and they’re in the woods is a tombstone. And he tells the story of how he chased that he and some friends chased this boy up a tree and they were throwing rocks at them.

And the last rock that he threw at this kid knocked him down. He fell down dead and the tree limb came down on him and also came down on his dog, which is why we were seeing the injured dog visions earlier and stuff too. Um, and so he says, I’ve got to go back under because. You know, he can’t apologize to this kid.

Craig: Well, yeah, I mean, he, he doesn’t tell them that he just says, I know what I have to do. And he runs away and he abandons them. And David who has been staying with Rachel has to leave her to go pick them up because, um, Nelson abandoned them in David’s absence. Rachel has another vision, but I really liked the way that they played this because they, she.

Julia Roberts. I really liked the way that she played this because in the vision, you can tell that she’s still very nervous, but she doesn’t seem scared right. In the vision. She, you know, reinvisioning this scene that we had seen before where she now. As Julia Roberts walks up to this forbidden room and she goes all the way in and she sees the, what her father is doing is shooting up.

I’m sure that he had become an addict in his service, which was not terribly uncommon at that time. And it’s actually a very sweet scene where the dad apologizes to her and they embrace and she cries and the cinematography is so cool. The light. And the space change, like the lights soften and the room kind of expands.

It’s very cool. Nelson calls. Rachel. She’s done with her vision. He calls her and apologized to her and says, please apologize. To the others. And at the same time, they all figure out that he is going to go flat line alone. Like that’s going to be how he’s redeemed. I guess he’s going to face David in the afterlife, or you’re not David face Billy in the afterlife,

Todd: which is kind of weird.

Like, was he planning on just hoping that his, with his cryptic message would bring his friends there so they could revive him? I mean, he doesn’t have like an auto revive system. You think he was just killing himself? I think it was suicide.

Craig: Oh yeah. Yeah. He felt that he had to kill himself. That that was his only path to redemption.

Um, kind of, I F I, for NY kind of, that makes sense does flatline himself, uh, with drugs and he has visions of Billy, but this time he’s in Billy’s place. He’s the one. That’s being chased and he’s the one in the tree and Billy’s throwing rocks at him. Meanwhile, the other people all have figured this out and they arrive and they are desperately trying to revive him to the point where they inject something.

Adrenaline, I guess, directly into his heart.

Todd: It was popular in the nineties as a way to

Craig: remember. I mean, it’s a real thing, but it’s, it’s definitely. Uh, last Russ, I guess this, you know, it is last resort. Cause uh, Rachel says he called me, but it’s been at least nine minutes. So, you know, he’s been dead for awhile and uh, in his vision, dream, whatever you want to call it.

David falls out of the tree and appears to die at which point he’s been out 12 minutes and David is pounding on his chest desperately trying to save him, but everybody else says stop. And they do. They stop trying and Steckel just stands there, very stoically and says, we are all responsible for this, but then they, you know, they talk for 15 seconds and David says, no, he doesn’t deserve this.

And he shocks him again. And this time in the dream. Nelson wakes up and Billy and champ, the dog are standing there with a bright light behind him looking at him. And Billy just smiles at him and turns away and walks into the light. At which point it seems like Nelson has a choice as though he could follow billions the light.

But he also hears his friend’s voices behind him. So he turns and runs towards their voices. And that’s

Todd: what makes us a mainstream film. It all kind of ends happy. Everybody’s redeemed and Willa.

Craig: They do. And it’s a little bit cliched, but at the same time, I kind of liked that notion that when Nelson is down for long enough, Ultimately, he does see that bright light.

That everybody in these near-death experiences says they see, I don’t know, I’m not a deeply religious person, but I would like to think that there’s something after death. I don’t know if I believe that maybe we just snuff out. I don’t know, but it would be it’s, it’s a comforting thought to think that there’s something after.

Um, and I feel like the movie ended on. A high note, like, yes, there is there, there is something, there is redemption and that’s, you know, it’s a pleasant note to leave it on. And I, I don’t know. I was really excited to see this because I remember seeing it in the nineties and really liking it. So I was excited to watch it again.

I think I remembered it more fondly than I ultimately ended up feeling about it this time around. I liked it. It was good. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because at the time those people, the actors were so hot, you know, not just physically though. Yes. True. But you know, they were huge actors. It was a big movie.

People were talking about it. It was mainstream horror and it is super fast paced. It is good. I still like it. I do. I honestly do. I do still think it’s a good movie. I think maybe my expectations going back or a little bit too high. I wasn’t disappointed, but I didn’t end up walking away feeling as fond of it as I expected to.

Todd: I also remembered it. Fondly than, you know, this time around watching it. I actually still think it’s a very stylish and cool movie. Surprisingly, it’s not as dated as some of these previously stylish and cool movies that we’ve seen that turn out to be a little silly, like, Ooh, that’s so eighties or that’s.

Oh, so nineties, um, I feel like this one could have been made yesterday more or less and probably a lot of that’s due to, they really went back and right. It’s practically a period piece with the set design and all that. Stuff, you know, the setting and everything like that. So in that respect, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t, I didn’t feel it was any less of a cool movie, but I maybe it’s my age, or maybe it’s just the, the entire premise that is underneath it.

As I said, when we started out is just, it’s, it’s pretty campy. And the movie doesn’t have a lot of the depth and things to say that I. I think I remembered feeling back when I was in high school watching this like, Oh, this is deeper. It’s kind of got some interesting things. It’s, it’s really quite simply, you know, these people had this, have these issues in their past, and then they have to resolve them.

And, uh, the whole near-death experience and their visions and things are just kind of the layer on top of that really. But, uh, still pretty awesome filmmaking as well. I think a very fitting tribute to Joel Schumacher. It’s got his stamp all over it, you know, all over it. He’s got a clear style here.

Craig: Good one.

I mean, even those can’t be Batman, Batman movies, stylish. They are very stylish and yeah. Arguably, they’re very different from the Tim Burton stuff, which is what people I think had come to expect and were wanting more of. But it’s not like Juul Schumacher set a precedent by making that man can’t be Batman was campy.

Yeah, it’s super campy. Um, so it’s not like, you know, Oh, he did something, you know, totally off the beaten path. He didn’t, but, and it was very stylized and it looked, I mean, if you were just looking at set pieces and lighting and cinematography, if you were just looking at the visual aspect of it, it looked cool.

He’s a cartoonish, but fine. Yeah. I would be, even though I don’t think Joel Schumacher had anything. Thing to do with it. I would be very interested in seeing the remake of this movie starring Elliot page. I actually, after watching this yesterday, I looked to see if it was streaming anywhere and it is, but not for free.

And I just wasn’t ready to shell out $3.

Todd: You cheap ass,

Craig: the rebuttal. I’d be really interested to see it. It is a remake it’s described as a remake, but I think. And I may be wrong and, you know, we record these things and then they’re out there forever. So if I’m wrong, I’m sorry. But I think when the remake came out, it leaked that I think that Kiefer Sutherland makes an appearance in.

Remake as Nelson. I hear he does. Yeah. So I think that the remake exists in the same universe, uh, as, as this one. And I would like to see it. I love Elliot page. Um, I think he’s great and everything. So I’ll have to check that out at some point, but yes, I do think that this was a fitting tribute to Joel Schumacher.

And I do like this movie. And if you haven’t seen it, I would recommend it. If for no other reason, you get to see some of these big stars in their heyday. It’s so weird. These were some of the biggest stars of our generation, Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, William Baldwin never had the success of his brother, uh, Alec, but.

Rising stars and watching this, I just couldn’t help asking myself why don’t we still see more of these people? Like it is still major celebrities. They just don’t work as much as I would expect them to. And maybe that’s by their own choice. I don’t know. It was just something to think about anyway.

Totally a time capsule of the nineties. Huge stars. So yeah, if you haven’t seen it, I would definitely recommend it.

Todd: I agree. And thank you so much for the request on this as well. Thank you for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend. You can find us online. Search for two guys and a chainsaw, and you’ll find our website and our Facebook page and our YouTube channel, which is getting quite a bit of love lately.

Thank you guys for that. Please subscribe to us there. If you haven’t already to help boost our numbers up there, we’d love it. If you’d leave an honest review for us as well on any one of these, a podcast aggregator places like Apple podcasts. Very much. Appreciate that until next time. I’m Todd and I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.


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