The Greatest Movie Never Made (Warriors, come out and playyy)

(Originally appeared in Open Salon)

JUNE 12, 2010

My wife says I'm "middle brow" but I think she's aiming too high.

I am proudly low brow.

I think Joe Dirt is on to something.

And not just because the movie shows, way back in 2001-whatever, that in the future Dennis Miller would turn out to be even more of an asshole revenge bully whose relatively simple intellect is now being used to piss on everybody who ever offended him and that appears to actually be everybody.

And not just because the broadcasting of Joe Dirt's adventures, broadcast over LA radio to a crowd of Howard Stern-fed misery voyeurs, foreshadows the rise of reality entertainment as a tool to further divide working class people by giving them extra tiers on the social "class" level.

You won't try to move up if there's somebody you can already look down on, right? 

Joe Dirt, despite some seriously Beavis and Butthead moments, makes a coherent statement about social structure, class war, and the fundamentally mean-spirited philosophy of the ivy-league driven ruling class.
 
Or you could watch Escape From New York.

For a low brow like me, this is a pretty exciting movie.

It has everything you could ever want in a science fiction/action/prison/fight movie.

It has the greatest set ever, a trashed  New York City, which has become a walled penal colony.

It foreshadows the explosion of mixed martial arts, and they even get to use clubs with nails!

It has a completely corrupt and self-serving penal administration.

It has an explosive device that is injected into the bloodstream and is set to go off in a mere 24 hours.

And it has the greatest action figure hero ever in the history of time, Snake Plissken.

And he's played by former Disney tween star Kurt Russell.*

*Russell also starred in the greatest low-brow car dealer movie ever made, Used Cars.**

**"At New Deal Used Cars...we're blowing the shit out of high prices!" 

 Snake has to recover the President from the gangs that now rule New York City, before the explosives in his blood stream go off and he blows up!

Things don't go as expected.

And of course, Snake doesn't know the real story, that the president has a tape that is somehow critical to the existence of humans.

And he is going to play it at the United Nations.

 And the USA will continue to rule the earth.

And because Snake just doesn't play well with others, when he does find the tape, he records over it.

The corporations don't want the president around.

 The bad guy from the government has a bad mustache.

Snake Plissken is a dead man walking and he carries it pretty well.

Who would have thought that Kurt Russell could be so damn funny?

In case you've never seen it, I won't tell you how it ends.

But it ends real good.

And for low-brow social commentary, it sure looks like we're headed that way.

Filling up the prisons and letting the government send criminals to fight for them?

Naw, that will never happen. 

But for pure low-brow entertainment, both Joe Dirt and Escape From New York pale in comparison to the white-paranoia Walter Hill flick, The Warriors.
Can you dig it?

I said...CAN YOU DIG IT?

Can you dig a movie with gangs that dress up in Yankee uniforms and blackface?

Can you dig a movie where the morally bankrupt (as gang leaders go) villain resembles a tiny Patrick Swayze dressed up as Olivia Newton John?

Can you dig a movie where the girl gang is called "The Lizzies" and not one single Warrior gets it? 

Can you dig a movie that was designed purely to scare the shit out of suburban housewives and actually did convince the right-wing morons that America was chock full of gangs of color-coordinated, fashionably dressed lower class murderers?

 Can you dig a script that is deadly serious to the point of having no sense of humor?

Can you dig a movie that has spawned websites devoted to the subway/train trip that the fictional warriors gang takes to get back to Coney Island as if it actually happened?
 
And can you dig a B movie that represented pretty accurately the divide between the haves and have-nots, the openly criminal and the institutionally criminal? 

Can you dig a movie that, despite being utterly ridiculous, points out that when you trade up to straight life you just trade one set of crime bosses for another? 

The Warriors, at least some of them, get back to Coney Island, safe from all those savage gangs.

Remember the British empire?

Can you dig it...they are back on their island, aren't they, away from all those tribes!

 White Mischief anyone?

High brow might just be British accents (with the requisite amnesia for Benny Hill). 

Life is generally low brow.

At some point all intellectualizing in the world has to give way to something that moves forward.

I have one request.

Would somebody please make a movie where Snake Plissken meets the Warriors?

Please.

For the low brows. 

Lyrics below.
 
THE GREATEST SEQUEL NEVER MADE (Warriors come out and play)
 
Can you dig it, people, can you dig it
It was gang history in the making
The Warriors rode the train from Coney Island
The city was theirs for the taking
 
He was a one-eyed man and a hardened criminal
A time bomb with hair like Jesus
He had 24 hours and not a single minute more
Before they blew his sorry ass to pieces
 
The warriors may have looked like gay biker dudes
But they were tough little queens who took no crap
And Snake Plissken was the kind of man you wouldn’t want to cross
If he fell out of the sky into your lap
 
They were headed toward each other down the New York City streets
In a filmmakers feverish wet dream
And you were looking through your fingers cause you couldn’t help but look
As those legends met up on the silver screen
 
Chorus
 
It wasn’t a night for the fainthearted
It wasn’t a night for the Christians
Things were gonna get plumb out of hand
When the Warriors met Snake Plissken
 
The warriors said “hey, aren’t you snake Plissken”
“Man everybody thinks that you are dead”
And Snake Plissken said “Hey who the fuck are you guys?”
At least that’s what I think he probably said
 
And Snake said “boys are those vests that you’re wearing?”
“Vests that you’re wearing with no shirt?”
And one of the warriors said,”Snake, you’re gonna get wasted”
Which is warrior slang for getting hurt
 
You could hear a pin drop as the tension rose up
It was building up like water behind a dike
But nothing really happened they just went their separate ways
Because the screenwriters had all gone on strike

 (repeat chorus)
Well I guess life is never quite what you expect it to be
And a lot has changed a lot these days
The Warriors all found jobs and settled down in the suburbs
And Snake Plissken is working for the CIA
 
And everywhere he goes in every language
They say the thing that drives him out of his head
“Que no eres tu, Snake Plissken”
Yo, man, everybody thinks that you are dead
 (repeat chorus)
 
Words and Music copyright 2010 Nathan Bell

1 comment

  • Tim McMullen

    Tim McMullen Rowland Heights, CA

    Apt observations and a very funny song. The writer's strike is a cleverly comedic anti-climax, but rhyming "Christian" and "Plissken" is just too hilarious, and the denouement fits your prose observations perfectly.

    Apt observations and a very funny song. The writer's strike is a cleverly comedic anti-climax, but rhyming "Christian" and "Plissken" is just too hilarious, and the denouement fits your prose observations perfectly.

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