A Total Recall

Posted by on Aug 25, 2012 in Life in SoCal, Movie Reviews


Second grade, an ordinary Saturday afternoon, hanging out at a friend’s house. His Dad asleep on the couch, his Mom out for the day, and I wasn’t getting picked up for at least another two hours. The mission was clear: Sneak into his parents room and watch an R-Rated movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger… Total Recall.

I was still being restricted from watching even some PG-13 movies by my parents at the time, nor had I yet experienced 3D video gaming, so this was pretty much the coolest thing I’d ever seen in my life. It was a great flick, far better than anything I could have appreciated at the time… but this was all about seeing how unrelentingly action packed a movie could be and on such grand a scale, more than anything else. It was also apparent, very early on, that I really was too young to be watching this kind of movie. I mean, one character reveals that she has three breasts. Nice ones. I didn’t know the significance of that when I was eight years old, but I had a good feeling about it.

It left an impression (the whole movie, that is) on me to this day, one I’ve never been able to shake off. Some films make a fundamental blueprint in your mind for how that certain type of genre could or should be done. Indy 3 and Back to the Future were two of my earliest influences; now after watching this one again I’m finding bits of it scattered throughout my various writings and general concepts over the years.

I’ve got to hand it to the folks at The Egyptian Theater, there was no better a classic to revive for tonight than Total Recall. The new one just came out to mediocre reviews and now Arnold is back on the big screen with The Expendables 2. If one movie was subconsciously on everyone’s mind, this was it. And the show sold out.

Total Recall is not a film I feel compelled to review, far from it, the name stands for itself. The best Arnold movie, in my opinion. You know what you must do if you haven’t seen it. Also wins the award for Most Priceless Screencaps. I wish I had more to write (I do, but it’s unnecessary) so I could continue to fill the article with the many shots from the film, alas, three shall suffice.

As an added bonus, Paul Verhoeven showed up with two of his Writing / Producing partners on the film just as it was about to screen. Seeing a 70mm print in Hollywood of one of my earliest filmic influences with the Director was a pretty cool moment to have.

SPOLIERS: During the Q&A after, there was inevitable talk about the ending, to which he replied it was designed to work as both dream and reality, viewer decide. However, when the screen fades to white at the end, his own interpretation is that the film isn’t simply ending (as a fade to black), but that Arnold is being lobotomized. Bummer, but good to finally hear “the truth” from the man who made it.

  1. Tim Noonan says:

    Watched it the theater, excellent movie but I have to say Predator was a better Schwarzenegger flick. Thoughts?

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