Sunday, July 1, 2007

Schwarzenegger Sunday: Roundup, Part II

Thursday we reviewed all of the criteria we had in place and declared which of Arnold’s films best exemplified each of those aspects. Today we’re going into a little more depth and getting (slightly) more analytical.

Firstly, we must address the criteria chosen. They were laid out ahead of time, based mainly on my recollection of the films I’d actually seen. As mentioned Thursday, there were a few things I did not realize would be recurring themes, but beyond that, I think we had all the bases covered. Aside from Franco Columbu, each category appeared in at least five of the eleven films. The average category showed up in 7.6 of the eleven movies. I’d say that’s pretty good. If you’ve been following along over the weeks and months, you have seen just how prescient the employment of these categories has been.

But let’s get to why you’re really here. Which of his movies is the most “Schwarzeneggery”? Even though Kindergarten Cop did not make our list, we have the major players in Arnold’s oeuvre. Unless you really think Batman and Robin or Junior belongs up there. In that case, you’ll have to wait until 2008. It would be good to see if even those lesser movies still follow the Schwarzenegger plan. We had nineteen categories of analysis (not including “Director” as that category was noted but not scored). Often times, we had to declare certain categories not/applicable for a given film. In fact, none of the films featured all of our aspects. But some came very close. Total Recall, Conan the Barbarian, and The Running Man all covered sixteen of the nineteen areas. But having many of our issues covered is only one half of the equation. By rating the virtues on a 1-10 basis, we have more information at our disposal. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that the most Schwarzeneggery movie of all time is Conan the Barbarian. It had the highest average (8.1) across the criteria it covered and was one of the movies that covered the most categories. Total Recall (7.7) came extremely close to taking the title both in terms of average and total points. See the attached chart and peruse at your leisure.

Quality of Arnold Lines75978376742
Plethora of Arnold Lines23939429337
I'll Be Backnana7na9na1096nana
Smarmy Villain10109na45na9763
Rough and Tumble Henchman1010nana57na95na9
Diminutive Sidekick7na1087nanana105na
Really Hot Rejected Love Interest910nanana6nanana74
Not Nearly Hot Enough Love Interest77nana6nana2na84
Arnold Yelling910nanana9na59na3
Poignant Curse Word672na7109746na
Arnold Crazyface109458828977
Superfluous Explosionsna510na109583103
Franco Columbu8nana10nana85nanana
Sven-Ole Thorsen103nanana9na104na8
Shirtless Arnold104810978na10na8
Severly Brutal Killing of Henchman810nana78na73na1
Even More Severely Brutal Killing of Villain9103na43na2na53
Plausibly Implausible Plot7109na79107832
Ambiguous Endingna109nanana87na2na
Average Score8.067.697.427.177.146.936.906.886.295.504.57
Number of Categories161612614141016141214
Total Points12912389431009769110886664
CtB = Conan the Barbarian
TR = Total Recall
T2 = Terminator 2: Judgment Day
PI = Pumping Iron
Com = Commando
Prd = Predator
T1 = The Terminator
TRM = The Running Man
Twn = Twins
TL = True Lies
RD = Raw Deal

Critical Questions

How tall is Arnold?
One of the theories behind the Diminutive Sidekick was that Arnold was consistently placing smaller costars in movies to make himself appear taller. At the outset of this experiment, I shared anecdotal evidence and other theories about his listed 6’2” height being exaggerated. After going through all of these films, I now believe that such claims are unfounded and he is certainly at least six feet tall – probably exactly the stated 6’2”. What’s interesting is that there have been a fair amount of people scouring the internet for this information (I know this because it keeps showing up in google searches that bring people here). I have to think that most of them are also skeptical (I often see things like “real height” in the searches), plus it’s there on his IMDb profile as well as various other official sources. I know that movie magic is easy to come by to alter perceived heights, but after examining these films, the 6’2” seems legit.

Does more Schwarzeneggery mean it’s a better film?
The short answer is, it depends who you ask. My answer would be “most definitely”. If you read my review, you know that I believe Conan the Barbarian is a superb film which deserves more credit than it gets. Our other top scoring films, Total Recall and Terminator 2, are also great. However, using the IMDb ratings to judge, things will look a bit different. Arnold’s highest IMDb rating is for Terminator 2 with a 7.3. But True Lies is right behind it with a 7.1. Running correlations between the IMDb rating and our data, you get:
Total Points0.060
Number of Categories-0.292

So we see a 55% positive correlation between the average of the criteria, but when we look at total points, we find no significant relationship. And looking at the number of categories covered, there is actually an inverse relationship. So this would tell us that it’s what you do with those categories that is more important than how many you hit. Note that I am somewhat appalled by Conan’s paltry 6.6 IMDb score. Clearly sample size is an issue here as well. Because Raw Deal covered a lot of categories, but covered them badly, it is likely pulling our correlation numbers down. Once we have more films in the data, we can recalculate the numbers.

Which category is your favorite?
You’d think it would be the Arnold Crazyface as that is the most popular one for people reading these reviews. But the one that gives me the biggest kick is Arnold Yelling. It enhances the hell out of Total Recall, and the scream he emits when learning to drive in Twins is one of the highlights of his movie career. But I certainly understand the love for the Crazyface. I know that Detective John Kimball will provide a stunning one if we ever have time to get to him.

What else have we learned?--Commando is way better than I remembered.
--The Running Man is way worse.
--Raw Deal should be watched for only one reason – to laugh at Arnold’s hilarious accent (“Did yeu evah quit in fruhnt uv Blaiuh?”). OK, maybe two reasons. That Casablanca scene is hysterical.
--Twins holds up despite the horrendous clothing everyone wears throughout it.
--In the right role, Tom Arnold can save a movie.
--Schwarzenegger is at his best and more in his element when he is able to show his cheeky side.

Finally, I think it’s important to note that he is truly the “Arnold”. When you hear someone say “Arnold”, it is clear who they’re talking about. Perhaps in the 70s, that would have meant Pat Morita. And certainly in the mid-80s, it was Gary Coleman. But ever since Terminator 2, there is no mistaking that single moniker. People can call him The Governator or whatever other nickname they want to use, but that first name is now exclusively his.

I leave you with one of the best scenes from the movie that wears the Scwharzenegger Sunday crown. We’ll have one more Schwarzenegger Sunday this summer, but it will be a bit different. You’ll see what I mean when we get there.

Thanks to everyone for reading these. They’ve been a lot of fun. Of course, keep reading the blog for other music and filmic insights, analysis and sarcasm.

All the Schwarzenegger Sundays:
The Terminator
Raw Deal
The Running Man
True Lies
Pumping Iron
Conan The Barbarian
Total Recall
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Last Action Hero
Roundup, Part I
The George W. Bush Administration

No comments: