Sea Of Love – Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome – tape 1375

First, from the Movie Channel, Sea of Love. One of the spate of ‘erotic thrillers’ in the 90s, including Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. This one I have a bit of fondness for because I saw it first at the London Film Festival, as a surprise film, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Al Pacino is a cop who we meet when he’s in charge of a sting operation on a lot of low level criminals with outstanding warrants. They sent them all invitations to meet the New York Yankees, then when they were all in the hall, they arrested them.

One of the perps is Samuel L Jackson

Pacino’s partner is Richard Jenkins, recently to be seen in The Shape of Water.

His lieutenant is John Spencer off of The West Wing.

They are investigating a murder (which we saw at the start of the movie). A naked man is face down on his bed, shot through the back of the head. An old 45 rpm record is playing on repeat on his stereo, leading Pacino to suspect that it was a woman the man picked up who was the shooter.

He’s looking for witnesses, and one he contacts is a cable repairman, played by Michael Rooker.

Boy, this film has a fine cast. Now Pacino meets John Goodman, a cop in a different precinct who has just discovered a second murder victim with the same MO as Pacino’s.

They team up, and find out that both victims had advertised in a local lonely hearts magazine, so they put their own ad in, and meet with all the women who respond, taking their fingerprints to try to find a match with the killer’s.

One of the women Pacino meets is Ellen Barkin, and wouldn’t you know it, she blows him off without leaving her prints, and he falls in love with her. So the story continues with them beginning a relationship, and all the ups and downs that you would expect from a relationship that started when one of them was under surveillance and the other was lying about what he did for a living.

There’s a weird bit of tape noise in the broadcast. Definitely not from my tape, it must have been on the broadcast itself.

I won’t give the ending away, but keen watchers of casting might be able to work it out.

After this, we switch to BBC1 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. After Mad Max 2 I have to say I found this one a bit ponderous.

It abandons the kinetic chase that made the second film so thrilling (and which director George Miller returned to for the amazing Mad Max Fury Road) setting most of the film in static locations. I appreciate the worldbuilding, but my appetite for sweaty, shirtless men is fairly low, so the opening Bartertown sequence drags for me. Plus, long-haired Mel Gibson never did it for me.

Tina Turner is good, though, as Auntie Entity.

She wants full control of Bartertown, but she has to deal with Master Blaster, the two-man team which controls the methane production, and therefore the power of the town.

She gets Max to fight Blaster in the thunderdome, a cross between a cage match and Cirque de Soleil.

He beats him, but doesn’t kill him because he has downs syndrome, so Auntie Entity declares he’s broken the deal, has to ‘face the wheel’. So now it’s not Cirque de Soleil, it’s the Wheel of Fortune, Or perhaps, more accurately, Judge Nutmeg’s Wheel of Justice.

Max is banished from the town, and travels through the desert until he comes across an encampment populated by children. I’d completely forgotten this part of the story, and probably explains why I wasn’t that taken with the film. I guess Miller thought that the Feral Child was popular in Mad Max 2 so why not chuck in a whole load of them. Unfortunately, groups of feral children is something I find a bit annoying in films – the ‘Hook’ effect – and it holds true here.

They have been waiting for a ‘Captain’ to come to them, to fly the passenger plane they live next to. I didn’t catch how they are there – are they descendants of the original passengers? Where are their parents? But I couldn’t bear to listen back to their interminable oral history. At least they paint a picture of Max.

The final third of the film finally gets us back on the road, as Max and the children steal a train from inside Bartertown, along with Master, the methane expert, and ride it out of town, pursued by Auntie Entity’s posse.

The ending involves all the kids flying to pastures new, thanks to a returning face from the previous movie, Bruce Spence as the Autogyro pilot, now with his son.

And the film finishes with the children finding their way to Sydney.

So yes, this is still much less fun than the second film. But then, even the original is much less fun than number 2. And Fury Road is better than any of them.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 25th July 1992 – 22:10

After this, recording continues. There’s a trailer for the Richard Pryor comedy Brewster’s Millions. And a trailer for the Olympics.

Then recording continues for a short while with a Richard Widmark movie, Madigan. Then that recording stops.

Underneath, there’s the tail end of the Movie Channel recording, with the start of a Bert I Gordon film, Malediction. The tape ends shortly into this movie.

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4 comments

  1. Idid not enjoy Malediction”/”Satan’s​ Princess,” Bert I.Gordon was much more fun in the ’50s – and also funless, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome'”

  2. I’d forgotten what a great cast Sea of Love had, in fact all I recall is the identity of the killer, and Ellen Barkin saying she was irked that the director chose to film various of her body parts in the love scenes, which she felt was needlessly depersonalising.

    But man, I loved Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome at the time, I saw it at the pictures (got in though I was underage), and it’s still probably my favourite of the series. It’s also the funniest one, Angry Anderson IS Wile E. Coyote! They had a bigger budget to play with and they really went to town on it, plus Tina Turner proved she could have been a great actress if she had wanted to. I know fans believe the death of the series’ guiding producer in an accident during production hurt it, but I don’t see that, I see more that everyone decided to unite and make the best tribute possible.

    1. Recall most about “Sea of Love” was a) not being able to understand a word of Tom Waits’ growling over the end credits…b) one guy in the audience loudly saying “Dat body from Tokyo!” in response to one of Ellen Barkin’s nude scenes.

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