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ExpDelTop100 #31 - Masterminds

I may consider myself a major action junkie today, but that wasn't always the case. Time was when I'd say that I didnt like action movies with the same ferver that I use now when saying how much I despise rom-coms. Then along came an actor named Vincent Kartheiser. Nowadays, you prolly know him as the sleezy Pete Cambell on Mad Men. If you're really cool, you know him as the angsty Connor on Angel. If you're me, you first knew him as the rebellious Sean in Alaska. I was in love. I still am. He's actually responsible for my vampire obsession. Lemme explain.

Yeah so I adored him in Alaska, and so with my obsessive tendancies, I watched everything of his I could. One day I heard he was on an episode of Angel. I didnt know much about it other than it was a spinoff of Buffy and there were vampires involved. I sat down to watch. When it started, my daddy came in and asked what I was watching. "Angel? I dunno, some tv show. There's a guy on it that I like". Now those of you who know the Buffyverse know that Connor was introduced at the end of season 3 and featured thru season 4. This was exactly in the middle of season 4 that I started watching. You Whedonites will also know that season 4 was the most soap opera-esque, in that the story was continuous throughout the season, and the episodes weren't very self contained. The episode ended. My daddy and I sat there staring at the tv with confusion because we had no idea what happened. The next week, we were there in front of the tv for Angel again. This continued for about a month before we could figure out the plot, and that's that I had to ask a friend for some Buffy 101. Anyways, Angel led to Buffy, which led to Anne Rice, which led to any vampire I could get my hands (or fangs) on.

Right so, similar motivations drove me to Masterminds. Im sure there's very few of you who have heard of this movie. My cousin took me to see it and the two of us were the only ones in the theater on that Saturday afternoon. According to IMDB trivia, it only took in about 80 pounds in the UK making it the lowest grossing film that year in that country. The movie was never even released on DVD. Trust me, I check Amazon and Best Buy every year or so just in case. But I \m/ loved it. It's prolly my second most watched movie of all time. In junior high, I would put it on most nights to fall asleep to. I practically wore out the tape. I haven't watched it in years, but I can still recite pretty much all the dialogue.

So the real reason you've probably never heard of it is that it's kinda awful. Or at least, looking at it now, I see how absolutely flawed it is. But it's so charming in how hard it's trying to be a relevant action movie. Im guessing this is the film that Patrick Stewart leaves off his resume. Oh that's right, Patrick Stewart is in this movie. Now that you're probably really thinking WT\m/, I'll tell you all about Masterminds.

I like to think of it as Die Hard Junior, or Die Hard in a middle school. It's ridiculous how much it parallels Die Hard: outcast trying to save some hostages from terrorists, personal connection to an important hostage, crawling around thru the air ducts, communicating with someone on the outside via walkie talkie, wise cracking monologues, over the top foreign baddie (Patrick Stewart as the Hans Gruber-esque Raif Bentley), gratuitous explosions. Hell, our hero, Ozzie, even says "I'm telling you, man, we got a Die Hard situation here".

I'm sure it sounds absolutely appealing to you, doesn't it? I realize now that I really was the perfect demographic for the film when I first saw it. I didnt think about how excessive all the machine guns and explosions were. I thought they were cool. And I felt so grown up watching a movie with so much profanity, or at least it was a lot for me (lots of S's, but no f bombs). And Oh-my-god so many one liners. I thought they were brilliant at the time, but now they sound so silly. But I still say them with nostalgic warm fuzzies. The quotes page on IMDB doesnt even begin to do them justice.

I do think that the soundtrack is genuinely decent at least (dare I say good?). I loved the song that played over the opening sequence (that clip is actually the first ten minutes of the movie...click it if you dare) which is What Do I Have to Do by Stabbing Westward. So I bought the soundtrack, and that song was the only one in the film that wasn't on it. Either way, I still listen to the songs on the first half of the soundtrack all the time (the second was kinda lame, or at least I haven't even heard it since high school).

Right, well now that I've talked up the movie so much. Yeah, honestly, this is one of those that I love to talk about with people who know and love it (there aren't many). But if you've never seen it, I find it hard to believe you could watch it and have the proper appreciation for it. Alcohol may be an important factor. If the VHS quality werent so bad on the big shiny tv, I'd be tempted to movie night it (of course, it'd be the late 1 AM feature when everyone is drunk and/or falling asleep), but I fear it may end up as an embarassing situation.
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