Sunday, February 1, 2009

O.J. says: "A snake? Damn, I wish I thought of that. (long pause) Oh, what I meant to say was 'Wow, that's scary'."

Right after high school, I started working as a file clerk for some credit financing joint. One of the two main dudes was a guy who I'm going to refer to as Clint Eastwood, because that's who I can see playing him in the movie of my life. For the record, the drunk rich lady on Will & Grace would play me. Anyway, Clint Eastwood was a white dude probably in his late 60's or early 70's, and he was a hardcore Republican and NRA member who would occasionally bring one or two of his guns to work just because. He drove a nice car, made lots of money, treated people like shit and took to making racist and homophobic jokes. Naturally, I looked up to him. When I started there, Clint was going through a divorce, and one day he was looking over some forms he had to sign. Apparently it had to do with the monetary settlement he and the ex agreed on. After signing and putting the forms back into his briefcase, he casually looked over to my supervisor and said matter-of-factly, "It would be cheaper to just kill the bitch".

Fair Game (aka Mamba) is about a dude who not only thinks the same way, but is actually going to put his money where his mouth is (as opposed to in his ex-wife's wallet). This dude is named Gene, and he's a multi-millionaire in the computer business. He's also a creepy fuck, and you can see why his wife would want to ditch him. Gene meets up a snake wrangler in a shack way out in the desert so he can buy a mamba snake from him. When the wrangler tries to give him all the details about this particular reptile, Gene beats him to the punch. He knows everything to know about this snake; it's one of the most highly venomous creatures around but it's particularly dangerous during the mating season, when the poor thing gets so fuckin' pent up with sexual frustration it has to bite the first motherfucker it sees for some goddammed relief. Can you believe that shit? That's like if some dude walked up to you in the street and suddenly stabbed you once in the chest. As you lay bleeding on the ground, covering your wound, you ask the guy "Why?!" and the guy responds "Sorry, I'm just so fuckin' HORNY, dude!".

It happens to be mating season and the snake wrangler kinda gets the hint that this dude is up to something bad, so he takes advantage and doubles the price of the mamba, which doesn't make Gene so happy. Here's a multiple-part question: if you were to suddenly jack up the price on some deadly shit knowing you're putting the buyer into a real pickle, would you then afterwards take up an offer by the buyer for a ride into town? And if so, would you allow yourself into the vehicle first and wait while the buyer is outside putting the deadly shit into the back seat of the car? And if so, would you just stay there like a dumbass while the buyer stands in front of the car staring at you all sinister-like? And if so, would you still remain seated while the sinister-looking buyer slowly raises his car door-locking thingamabob and points it at your direction? If you answered Yes to all those questions, then your ass is as dead as this stupid-ass snake wrangler.

We're then introduced to Gene's ex-wife, Eva, who is played by Sting's current wife. This is one of those lame fucking intros, with that fucking late-80's top-40 KISS FM Rick-Dees-in-the-morning type of pop music playing and the character being all wacky and cute and shit. She's carrying a bag of groceries to her loft and keeps dropping shit while talking to her cat and turtle. Gene may be a fucking over-controlling creep, but Eva is a fucking loon and you wouldn't want to be married to either of them. Maybe that's how these two found each other in the first place -- no one else could stand them. This flick was made in either '88 or '89, and you certainly will know this when you see the trendy shit this chick's wearing. My favorite article of clothing would have to be the beret with a Swatch watch attached to it, I guess that way everyone else BUT her can know what time it is. Later, when she takes off her stupid overpriced designer cowboy boots and puts her feet up on the table, we see that she's wearing mismatched socks with differing wacky color patterns. We get it lady, you're a free spirit!

The movie doesn't think we get it yet, though. So we get another musical interlude of Eva as she takes of her clothes and walks around in her underwear and a shirt that has a design of fish flying next to the moon, while some Laura Branigan type of shit plays in the background. Eva struggles to put her groceries into her already full refrigerator (then why the fuck did you go grocery shopping then?!) and solves her spacial problems in her own wacky way. Oy. She even gives a name to the fish she puts in the freezer, she calls it Moby Dick, and I just want to beg her through the screen to please stop with the wackiness. Please, lady -- I never did anything to you. Dial it down a tad for me, and I'll buy you some matching socks. Please! Por el amor de Dios, STOP!

Eva is also a sculptor, and she's currently working on some grade school piece of work, an octopus. Two of them, actually, a male and female octopus. The person who commissioned it calls Eva to tell her that he is sending the finished female one back, because he wants it to look meaner, along with the male octopus she's currently working on. She's kinda bummed about it, but she goes ahead and gives the octopus a mean face. She's interrupted by Gene, who sneaks in and gives her a good scare doing so. He notices the octopus and believes she's making it look like him. Dude, it's not always about you. Much dialogue follows. This is actually a pretty decent scene, because Eva changes her attitude quite a bit, turning into this rather meek and scared individual. It felt a little real, I thought. I mean, I'm sure there are people out there like that, loud and boisterous people, incredibly confident people who you'd never expect were actually frightened victims behind closed doors, people who somehow fell under the spell of some creep and may even excuse the creep's abuse with illogical logic. It happens to the best of us, I guess, and I can see how it happened to Eva. During the scene Gene is saying how much he despises Eva and weak people like her and then next he's hugging her up and nuzzling against her neck doing the "I'm sorry, baby" thing. Shit, that pretty much sums up their relationship right there.

Gene manages plant a tiny transmitter on the back of her necklace. This will be important later. Eva tries to get tough and tell him off, but it's obvious how scared she is of him, which leaves the fuckin' asshole pretty satisfied with himself. At this point, you figure it's less about the money and more of a "If I can't have you, no one else will" trip he's on. He takes off, pretending to accidentally leave behind one of those long cylinder-shaped blueprint containers. But you just fuckin' KNOW there ain't no blueprints in that motherfucker. Eva suggests that maybe in about a month they can get together again and talk about this more (Jesus Christ, girl! Stop doing this to yourself!) and he responds with "I don't think that's very likely". MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Outside, he jams the lock to the only door in the loft and then rigs the phone lines so that only he can contact her and she can't make any outgoing calls. He gets into his SUV parked across the street and takes out his heavy duty briefcase and opens it, revealing a heavy duty computer setup like the portable computer in Spies Like Us, but that shit controlled nuclear missiles. He turns it on and activates a program called "Fair Game", which consists of an entire floor plan of Eva's loft with two flashing icons moving around within, a blue snake representing the Mamba and an apple representing Eva. An apple and a snake? Oh, I get it. "Ladies, do you have to eat everything?" Anyway, thanks to the transmitter he planted on Eva and the snake, he can track their movements around the loft. There's also a timer in the game, counting down from 60 minutes. Why, you ask? You see, Gene wasn't happy with setting a highly venomous and eager-to-bite snake in an enclosed area loose with his ex-wife. So he ended up injecting a shitload of sex hormones into the snake, making the mamba REALLY hard up now. The downside to this is that the snake will die if it doesn't bite within the hour. Don't I know the feeling. Anyway, it's Eva vs. The Mamba, the clock is ticking, and it's on like Donkey Kong. Or Fair Game.

We get Snake-Cam whenever we cut to Mamba's point-of-view, as it slowly slithers it way throughout the huge loft. There are some near-misses as Eva walks around in her bare feet (says Quentin Tarantino: "Oh yeeeeaaaahhhh!") and talks to herself. A lot. Look, I spend as much time alone as Eva and I hardly talk to myself. Oh yeah, I'll whistle and maybe even sing a tune. But the most that I ever do as far as talking is maybe repeating something funny I heard, like some dumb line or impersonation. There's one in particular I've been doing variations on for a while. But even then, it's very rare that I do so. This chick, on the other hand, talks non-stop. She talks while treating a cut on her finger, she talks while watching television, she talks while taking a bath. Fucking conversations, too. This ain't I Am Legend, ma'am, there's people outside that loft of yours that you can talk with. But then again, she lives in L.A., so I could understand why she wouldn't want to deal with those assholes.

Eva comes up with the idea of videotaping a message to Gene, to tell him everything she wants to say to him without having to deal with actually having to go face-to-face with the scary motherfucker and freezing up again. By the end of her message, she remembers she left a kettle of tea on the stove and bolts up to go get it. When she comes back, she plays the tape to watch herself, and even though she shot the video and was on-camera the whole time, there's a surprise ending that she didn't see coming. That's because at the moment she jumped up in the video, the muthafuckin' Mamba made a bite for the booty and missed, and the whole thing was caught on tape. AIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!

So our girl Eva knows what's up and immediately heads to the door. But of course, the lock has been jammed, so she can't get it open. Bunch of savages in this town. If you didn't get it through the visual representation of Eva unable to open the door, she says out loud "Why won't it open? The door won't open!". That's our Eva, always looking out for the dim bulbs in the audience. She tries to calm herself down, telling herself that it's probably a garter snake. Eva eventually realizes that she's up against a mamba, though, and freaks the fuck out.

Meanwhile, Gene is watching all of this in his SUV, watching as the video game snake chases the video game apple, and the whole time he's munching on a sandwich and drinking coffee from a thermos. This shit is only supposed to last an hour, but the motherfucker still thought to pack a lunch. That's a little bit of awesome. It's human nature, really. Set me up in a stakeout-type of situation in my car, and it won't matter if it's supposed to last eight hours or eighty minutes, I'd still wanna bring coffee and donuts to the motherfucker.

Eva keeps moving and getting away from Mamba in her loft, but Mamba is part-zombie or part-Jason or something, because no matter how fast she runs, the snake is always there waiting. Mamba will make the occasional bad choice, though. It's like he knows she's going to eventually want to protect her feet, so he finds a pair of boots to hide in and wait, and she ends up putting on the other pair of boots right next to him. Ha ha, Mamba. Don't you feel like the fucking asshole. Eva, on the other hand, ends up looking like an asshole, after she puts on layers after layers of clothing from her closet. But since it's being done for her own survival, it's excusable. She now has on all these tacky and soon-to-be outdated clothes all over her body, and given her already nutty predisposition, she looks like a brand new crazy women ready to hit the streets with her shopping cart full of cans. She's already got the Talking To Herself part down.

The lights conveniently go out, so Eva heads over to the fuse box to fix that. Sure enough, Mamba's there waiting for her. But he doesn't strike, because the fire from Eva's lighter scares him. Eva realizes this and gets all happy about it, or at least that's supposed to be the idea, because she displays this wide-eyed look that one usually gets when they've been ignoring their meds for about a week. Eva ends up setting a small fire between her and the snake, and again, she comes off more psychotic than triumphant. She then starts running laps around the loft, I guess to throw Mamba off or frustrate him or something. I'm surprised Mamba hasn't starting chomping on a couch or something by now, with his blue balls wracking him out.

Later she ends up covering the whole kitchen floor with flour, and waits on top of a refrigerator for the snake to come in. This scene is so full of Win; you have Eva propped up on this refrigerator, dressed up in layers of mismatched clothes and a scarf wrapped around her neck, face partially covered in flour, all sweaty and giving out that psycho look of hers as she darts her eyes in all directions. She looks like an older version of Kirsten Dunst in Crazy/Beautiful after a three-day crystal meth and LSD bender. Then Mamba arrives and she starts pelting him with deadly weapons like eggs, apples and Moby Dick all the while screaming "Filthy! Filthy!".

There's a bit of a close call for Gene when some Rastafarian dude on a bike shows up with a boombox hanging from his neck. Goddamn, the things some people went through before the iPod. The Rasta Man has come to drop off a package for Eva, and when he rings the doorbell and the film cuts to Eva's frenzied reaction, anyone coming in late to this movie would assume they were watching a flick about drug abuse. Rasta Man leaves the package on the doorstep and heads back to his bike. By the time Eva gets to the door and starts banging away at it, he's already taking off, plus his loud boombox makes it impossible for him to hear her. But at least he left the package for her. I hate when the opposite happens, when you're waiting for something you ordered on or something. You're like a little kid waiting for that shit, and then you come home one day to find that note on your door, the one from the UPS that says that they came to deliver your package but since you weren't home, they will come back on the next business day, but today's Saturday and Monday's a holiday. Then you're all like "Nooooo!!!! I was waiting all week for that!".

Eva finally loses it and starts whacking away at her indoor tropical garden with her hatchet, screaming at the Mamba to come on out and finish this once and for all. I guess this really freaks the Mamba out, because he slithers back toward Gene's blueprint container. Eva catches all of this and puts two and two together.

The hour is nearly up, so Gene calls the loft again. There's no answer, so it looks like it's all over. Gene gets out of his SUV with a golf club, heads back to the loft, unjams the lock and makes his way in. He looks around and finds the mess that's become of the loft, and then discovers Eva sprawled out on the floor with a motionless snake beside her. He chops the snake in half with the golf club, then goes over to the dying Eva. This asshole is such a sore winner, the way he just goes on and on about how the snake was only minutes away from dying anyway, and how she belonged to him and blah blah I'm better than you blah blah everyone is for sale blah blah the game is over blah blah. He then goes over to the container and opens it up to put the dead snake inside, but upon closer inspection he notices something. The dead snake isn't a snake at all, but a sculpture of one. And if that's not the snake, then that could only mean...CHOMP, baby! The Mamba pops out of the container and gives The Bite to the son-of-a-bitch.

Gene freaks out and starts running around the loft like a chicken with its head cut off, bouncing off the walls and tripping over furniture while Eva follows him. When he finally falls to the ground, she goes down to gently hold his head as he passes. She's not there to spit in the motherfucker's face or kick him and tell him to burn in hell. I'm taking it as one more example of how fucking opposite they are to each other. Whereas Gene stood over Eva and acted an asshole to her in what he thought were her final moments, Eva's too decent a human being for that kind of shit. There's no anger or excitement in her eyes, nor is there that psycho look she had for the past ten minutes. It's a passive, nonjudgmental look that she seems to be displaying here. It's like she's saying "Gene, you're a fucking murderous prick who tried to kill me with a motherfucking mamba, and you reap what you sow. But no matter who you are, death is a real bitch to have to go through, and I'm sorry this is how it's going to end for you." That's how I took it anyway.

You know what, Eva? You're a wacky broad and not my type, but when push came to shove, you held your own, you made it through and when you came out a winner, you stayed classy about it. That makes you better than me and a whole lot of other motherfuckers out there. You're certainly leagues above that prick diddler Gene. I tip my hat to you, Eva. You're all right. Now go put on some decent socks. You're not 12 years old, you're pushing 40 and that kind of shit ain't cute anymore.

So Eva goes outside her loft and finds the package on her doorstep. She opens it up, and finds that it's female octopus for her mean octopus sculpture. It's a smiling lady octopus, painted pink and wearing a bow on its head. She's supposed to change it to be as mean as the male counterpart, remember? Eva begins to tear up. Aww. Roll credits and cue late-80's love song.

This is about 80 minutes long, and there's definitely some heavy padding all over, but I dug Fair Game. It kept me interested. It's really a 45-minute movie stretched out, but even with the padding it moves fairly quickly. Like Curfew, it's something you'd watch at two in the morning and chill out with. There's only three actors in the entire movie (Yo what about Rasta Man, you fuckin' racist?) and they all do well with their roles, even Trudie Styler, who I don't think is bad, but just very inconsistent. Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, we weren't given much difference between regular Eva and crazy Eva. Instead you have nutty Eva and even nuttier Eva. But because Styler has since gone on to produce both Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, I'm gonna give her the benefit of the doubt and blame the director for that shit. That's the kind of slack I cut a motherfucker if they were involved in something I liked.

But the real hero of this flick is my main ace, the Mamba. There wouldn't be a movie if it wasn't for homesnake. You can't call the Mamba a villain either, it's just doing what nature put him out there to do. You might as well hate the fucking sun for shining. Mamba. I like to say that, I've noticed. Mamba mamba mamba. MAMBA. As you can see, I like writing it too. I also like to say the word "snake", except I like to pronounce it "snaw-kee" or "snaw-kay" or "snack". The last one I got from my father, a good man from Mexico who speaks English as a second language. He has a strong grasp of the language and speaks it fluently, but every once in a while, he'll take a word that he's prononced correctly many many times before and come out with a brand new pronounciation of it, like he forgot momentarily or he just got lazy. And boy, is it glorious when that rare moment occurs. "Tienes la pelicula con el 'snack'?" he asked me, wondering if I had Anaconda in my collection. Oh, how I loffed and loffed behind his back. In case my father ever reads this, I Love You Dad. Please don't hit me with the belt.