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***Please welcome our newest Moviegasm contributor, WaffleBoy!
One of my friends recently sent me a disturbing photo, because well that’s what the internet was invented for. It was a photo of the highest elected official in my state on vacation in a little black bathing suit that brought on a 14 minute bout of hysterical blindness.
Granted for a guy his age, Arnold doesn’t look that bad, and the truth be told he not only looks better then I’m going to at that that age, but you could make an argument that he looks better then I do at my current age. Still I think after looking at this photo we can all agree the world would be a better place if Arnie retired his mankini.
I was pretty down in the dumps when I got this photo, because it was just a sad reminder that time is marching on for all of us, even high ranking republicans who pumped themselves full of steroids. Still the one great thing about the age we live in is thanks to DVD’s we can go back to a happier time. A time when we could grease Arnold down with baby oil, dress him not only in a mankini, but a series of outlandish headbands and make a totally awesome action movie. Of course I’m talking about the 1982 release, Conan the Barbarian.
If awesome was a color, then Conan the Barbarian would be neon awesome. If awesome was the same as bringing it, then Conan the Barbarian would be the greatest high school cheerleading squad in the history of mankind. If awesome was a fried food, then Conan the Barbarian would be awesome with ranch dressing.
I love this movie Oprah. I love it, love it, love it! [You couldn't see it, but I was jumping up and down on the couch while I typed that last sentence.] I’m giving this movie the coveted “Waffleboy09′s pick for best movie to watch after a 60 hour work week when you just want to watch your governor decapitate people.”
Some action movies have a good story, others have dynamite action sequences and some are just so goofily bad you can’t help but watch them. Conan the Barbarian is one of the few movies I know of that not only has all three of the above mentioned traits, but they are all usually happening on the screen at the same time.
Our movie starts with Conan as a little kid. His dad is that drunken Ruskie from Red Dawn, whose nose is pretty red in this movie too, but they live in the mountains so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. We also meet Conan’s mom, and by the hammer of Thor she’s hot.
Anyway, Conan’s dad spends the opening credits making this super bad ass sword and telling little Conan about “the enigma of steel.” (Note, for the rest of the movie Arnold will call it “the riddle of steel.” Why? Because if Arnold tried to say enigma it would be so unintentionally funny that your television would spontaneously combust.)
Life is pretty good. Daddy Conan is getting his blacksmithing career off and running, Momma Conan is wandering around in a tight leather dress has probably already inspired one of the village’s teen aged boys to invent masturbation, and little Conan is learning to ice fish. What could possibly go wrong?
Cue the scary music and the bad guys. A whole bunch of mounted baddies burn Conan’s village to the ground, and kill his dad. Conan’s mom has a sword and Conan and she’s holding off Ben Davidson and some Swedish bodybuilder when the head bad guy, Thulsa Doom, shows up. It’s James Earl Jones and boy is he scary. He’s wearing this black leather armor, that gives him the same build as Marlon Brando in The Isle of Doctor Moreau, has blue eyes and shoulder length straight hair that is parted smack down the middle of his head. (I would have loved to seen the stylist’s face when Jimmy sat down in the chair, handed her a picture of Marcia Brady and said; “make me look like her.”)
James Earl Jones makes these sad puppy eyes at Conan’s mom until she is hypnotized and lowers her sword. James Earl Jones starts to turn around, and then spins back and boop! We have the movie’s first decapitation, oh and then the bad guys sell little Conan into slavery. So the bad guys have destroyed Conan’s childhood, killed his dad with armored Rottweilers, and lopped off his mom’s head. I don’t know about you, but sounds like the kind of character motivation you can build a 131 minute action movie around to me.
The bad guys then take little Conan and chain him up to this big wheel in the middle of BFE that as far as I can tell exists only to turn little Conans into big Conans. Once little Conan has turned into Arnold, Arnold begins his career as a pit fighter.
These five minutes of the movie gives the producers an excuse for Arnold to kill a bunch of people and wave his biceps at us without ever having to talk.
After Arnold gets turned into a finely honed killing machine his owner frees him. Why? Because the movie is called Conan the Barbarian, not Conan the Pit Fighter, Jesus, pay attention, ok?
Arnold outruns some wolfs, and finds a sword, and meets this hot chick who lives in the middle of nowhere. They have a little dinner and everything is going great right up until she turns into a demon while Arnold is playing hide the shitsengruber with her. Say what you will about their pain in the ass questionnaire, this sort of thing never happens on an Eharmony first date. Luckily Arnold is able to toss his demon date in the fire. Well lucky for Arnold, not the demon date.
The next day Arnold meets his sidekick, Subotai, archer and thief. Wait a minute, archer and thief? That’s a real job? Where was that on the list when I was talking to my high school guidance councilor? I think I got screwed on this one.
Conan and Subotai are going to rob the local temple of Set when they meet Valeria a hot lady thief who actually brought a rope to use to climb up the wall of the temple. They team up, and then Arnold chops the head off a giant mechanical snake, and steals what is quite possibly the most fakiest gem in the history of the movies.
Conan and Valeria then hook up so she goes from being Conan’s partner to Conan’s lady. This is then followed by the obligatory extended sex scene. By the way, Conan’s lady naked? Nice.
The local king has Conan, Subotai and Conan’s lady arrested. But it turns out he’s not mad, because his daughter has run off to join the Temple of Set and he wants her back.
Conan’s lady points out to Conan that they are rich and happy, so heading off on a suicide mission to rescue a princess is kind of dumb idea. Too bad Conan has found out that James Earl Jones just happens to be the big cheese of the Temple of Set, so we aren’t surprised when she wakes up the next morning and Conan is gone.
Conan makes his way to Thulsa Doom’s Mountain of Power, and it turns out it’s easy to find. Conan just follows the trail of dirty hippies streaming towards it.
It’s a well known fact that all dirty hippies belong to snake cults, that guy in your dorm who constantly played Sugar Magnolia and reeked of patchouli oil? He was totally in a snake cult.
Once Conan gets to Thulsa Doom’s Mountain of Power, he promptly gets taken prisoner and crucified on The Tree of Woe, which sounds pretty bad, but it’s slightly more dignified then getting crucified on The Tree of Shits and Giggles.
Luckily, Subotai and Conan’s lady show up and with the help of the wizard Akiro are able to bring Conan back from the brink of death.
Then all three of them break into Thulsa Doom’s Mountain of Power and rescue the princess. (By the way, Conan’s lady in a super tiny leather skirt with black and white camo stripes painted up her legs? Nice. ) Unfortunately James Earl Jones kills Conan’s lady.
Conan then uses the princess as bait and builds a bunch of elaborate traps for when the bad guys show up. Of course it works. Arnold kills him a mess of extras, skewers the Swedish bodybuilding guy with a booby trap and kills Ben Davidson, after Conan’s lady comes back from the dead for a second. (BTW, Conan’s dead lady in a silver chain mail mini-skirt? Nice. ) Unfortunately James Earl Jones gets away.
Conan goes back to the Mountain of Power for the third freaking time and finds James Earl Jones giving the dirty hippies some mumbo jumbo pep talk. James Earl Jones then pulls out the sad puppy dog eyes and tells Conan that he’s Conan’s father. Well that line may have freaked out Mark Hamill in that Star Wars movie, but Conan’s not buying it, and Boop! Off comes James Earl Jones head. Conan then steps to the edge of the balcony and tosses James Earl Jones’s head down these stairs so it lands at the feet of all of Thulsa Doom’s followers, which is Conan’s way of saying; “ok dirty hippies, the concert is over. Get the F@#k out of Woodstock!”
And of course they do. Conan then sets Thulsa Doom’s Mountain of Power on fire and leaves with the princess who looks like she is about to apply for the now open position of Conan’s Lady. The end.
Like I said at the top of the post, this movie is neon awesome. Of course, if you know of a better movie where a current state governor runs around in a fantasy setting decapiting bad guys then I’m all ears.