In my world humor is as necessary as food and air, and I enjoy and appreciate those who can deliver humor well.
I rank actor Tim Allen right up there on the top tier of those who provide us with momentary respite from life's trials. His long-running comedy/slice-of-life show, Home Improvement, is entertaining a second generation of fans in my home, thanks to the marvels of syndication.
Allen also is enjoying a successful film career and among the funniest of his products is Galaxy Quest, a fully enjoyable spoof on Star Trek. And, before we go too far down that road, yes, I also am a big, big fan of Star Trek, in addition to Star Wars, The Last Starfighter, and others of that genre.
In Galaxy Quest Allen plays a nearly washed up actor who long ago starred in a defunct television series of the same name. He is most ably assisted in this role by none other than Alan Rickman of Harry Potter, Dogma, and Die Hard fame, Sigourney Weaver, Daryl Mitchell, Sam Rockwell, and "Tony" Shalhoub. In Galaxy Quest this ensemble has the unenviable task of appearing at "Quest" conventions, and supermarket openings recreating their roles from the long dead show.
A running gag in the movie is that the characters must keep repeating lines from the show, to the point that Rickman's character, who considers himself a serious actor, is in a state of severe depression over forever repeating "By Grabthar's hammer, by the sons of Worvan, you shall be avenged."
But the quote that matters most for our purposes today is one repeated by Tim Allen in his role as actor Jason Nesmith who in turn plays Commander Peter Quincy Taggart in the original show - "Never give up, Never surrender."
That snippet actually comes from a longer quote used in the make believe series, "As long as there is injustice, whenever a Targathian baby cries out, wherever a distress signal sounds among the stars, we'll be there. This fine ship, this fine crew. Never give up ... never surrender."
Now, let's turn our attention to Hillary Clinton and her "Never Give Up, Never Quit" comment in Philadelphia the other day, which she indirectly attributed to Sylvester Stallone's character in the Rocky films. Fans will remember that Rocky came from Philly and has a memorable scene running up the wide and high stairs to the art museum. Mrs. Clinton points out that he didn't stop running halfway to the top, and neither will she.
Those who didn't follow that series of films closely enough are forgiven for not realizing that Rocky got punched silly in that show, and spent most of the series quoting variations on the theme "Yo, Adrian!"
The simple fact is, I don't remember a "never give up, never quit" (or surrender if you prefer) quote in Rocky. Maybe you could find some dialogue in one of the films that equates to that general concept, but all I really remember from Rocky is the aforementioned "Yo, Adrian."
The point of that film may have been that the underdog can triumph, but I have to wonder, if Hillary takes a similar political beating before somehow emerging as president of the United States, will she be in any shape to answer any telephone, regardless of whether the call comes at 3 a.m. or noon? It seems to me that if you are going to use fictional movie characters to make a point about a political campaign you should at least use some that are more in keeping with your theme.
Rocky didn't start out to be the champion of the world, he was just looking for a payday. He was supposed to be a stooge, a warm-up fight for the real champion, and even though he did far better than anyone had ever supposed, he still lost in the end, disputed though that loss may have been.
Kind of like Al Gore.
At least in Galaxy Quest Tim Allen's character comes to the realization that while he has been acting a part his entire life, he can use his skills in that arena to do some universal good, and emerge as a better person along the way.
Kind of like Ronald Reagan.
Hillary's advance team should have done a lot better preparation for her in terms of linking her appearances to movie lines. Rocky just doesn't get it.
I suggest that for her next big line she arrange an appearance with California Governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She can do it in a way that doesn't imply an endorsement, but does give her an opportunity to use another of Rickman's lines from Galaxy Quest, "I see you've managed to get your shirt off."
And if the good Governator upstages her she can always use "Oh, RIGHT! Of course! It's always about you, isn't it?!"
Frankly there are even better lines from Galaxy Quest that would be more in keeping with Mrs. Clinton's current role as presidential candidate.
I suggest reviewing some of the lines spoken by Sigourney Weaver, playing the actress Gwen DeMarco who is playing Lt. Tawny Madison, Hubba, hubba!
This is totally off the point, but let me say this about Ms. Weaver. We all know she is gorgeous and a tremendously accomplished actress, and if you think those two points should be rearranged be my guest.
But she has some scenes in Galaxy Quest, in which the obvious intent is to show cleavage, and actually the word 'cleavage' doesn't do justice to the the scenes or Ms. Weaver. In fact, I could freeze-frame some of her more notable scenes and lose an entire day in just staring at them, catatonic-like with my mouth open. I won't because of the absolute certainty that if my wife caught me she would roll up a newspaper and hit me on the nose with it, but still ... .
Back on message, there is one great line, among several great lines Ms. Weaver has in the film that Mrs. Clinton could use when she is under fire by her opponent, the media, party insiders and her husband.
When people are questioning her campaign, saying she should quit, saying perhaps she should just slip quietly back to the Senate and write her memoirs, she can fix them with that infamous Hillary ice-cold gaze, draw herself up imposingly, point an index finger straight at her tormentors and let loose with, "Look, I have ONE job on this lousy ship! It's stupid, but I'm gonna do it, OKAY?"
Wednesday, April 02, 2008