My son and I watched a movie last night. I hardly ever watch movies, so I thought I’d multi-task and review this one. Flyboys.
A guy that looks vaguely like that other guy that was The Joker in the Batman movie –no, not that Batman movie, the other one. No, not that “the other one.” The other, other one. Anyway, he died –no, not this guy, he didn’t die, the other, Joker guy, died — at any rate, our hero was a jolly rancher for a while in Texas, but for some reason the Depression showed up early, like twenty years early, and he lost the farm and took to hanging around in a movie theater like Lee Harvey Oswald, and the sheriff comes in and tells him to join the French air force or go to jail for punching Mr. Potter at the bank.
So he goes to France to smoke Newports and fly Nieuports, and I suppose World War One isn’t interesting enough, so his new best friend, who he doesn’t like much, has a pet lion instead of a dog, and they are, like, pilots and guys and depressed together about stuff. Then someone decided the movie needed Jack Johnson, the boxer, in it, only his name is different, I think — I don’t know; I was still wondering if guys like the guy that looks vaguely like the Joker actor would have highlights dyed into his hair in 1917 in the Lafayette Escadrille — so I didn’t get to wonder why they needed a poor man’s Jack Johnson in the Lafayette Escadrille. I guess French people and guys that keep lions aren’t exotic enough.
Anyway, the Jack Johnson-ish dude shoots a German dude right straight down in the top of his head using only an airplane and CGI, and that’s hard, and thereby saves a rich, overweight dude with Daddy Warbucks issues who previously didn’t care for the black dude because he’s black and all, but now he does you betcha. So the fat guy buys the black guy a drink, only he doesn’t buy it, he stole the booze from his father like Ferris Bueller would, and the fat guy says my father is rich, how about yours? And even though the black guy is noble enough already for five movies if you ask me, they double down and make his father a slave even though it’s 1917 and slavery was outlawed in 1865 and that seems like a long time between jobs, but who’s counting in this movie.
Then the Hindenburg was bombing the Eiffel Tower and the guy with the lion gets all shot up and whatnot defending it, and decides to become a kamikaze pilot and blows up the Hindenburg, and instead of bombing Paris I guess it sets Paris on fire when it crashes full of flaming bombs instead of just dropping them, but that happens out of the frame so he’s still a hero if you ask me.
Then yet another guy who is a brave guy acts like a coward a lot, because we all know brave guys are all cowardly in real life, and that guy hangs out a bit with another guy that reads the Bible all the time so you know he’s a weirdo and not a regular person in 1917 in America — everyone was reading Chomsky back then no matter what Ted Nugent says.
Then yet another guy, who is wanted in Wisconsin for armed robbery with a toy pistol (to pay the bookie in The Sting, I think) lands his plane in No-Mans Land between the trenches, which is hard to do indeed, but his hand is caught and he can’t run away, which normally would seem easier than landing a plane in No-Man’s Land. Just his hand is caught, mind you, and he looks like OJ trying on a glove when he’s trying to pull his hand out, not like a normal person would under shelling and machine gun fire; so the brave guy — not the guy with the lion, he’s dead; and not the brave guy that’s a coward all over the place — the brave guy with the highlights and the ranch near Dealey Plaza who doesn’t have it anymore. Anyhow, he lands his plane in No-Man’s Land between the trenches and parks it next to the guy trying on OJ’s glove and chops the guy’s hand off with a shovel he borrows from a dead French dude who was lying around handy, even though the airplane wing is just made of canvas and a little pine. I guess it’s just easier to chop the guy’s hand off; don’t ask me. So now that guy can only be a one-armed armed robber, not a regular armed robber with a toy gun, and he gets a hook instead, like in Peter Pan, and that improves his flying because he sucked before.
Later the guy with the hook and the cowardly brave guy save the regular brave guy, for a while, anyway; at least until he can find the German guy who sneers and waves a lot and kills guys and leaves orphan lions all over the landscape willy-nilly like a really bad guy would. This happens when the brave guy’s machine guns don’t work because a bullet hit them and they busted open like a pinata and spilled the wrong kind of bullets for that kind of gun all over the place like Jolly Ranchers, and then the brave guy…
No, not the brave guy with the lion; he’s dead, I told you! The guy with the highlights who’s now stepdad to a fatherless lion; the one that’s been stealing planes to go see a French woman all the time, and at first thinks the French woman is a prostitute — which I gather is normal for Americans sizing up French women for the first time — but she’s just the cleaning lady or something at the cathouse (which strikes me as a much less desirable job than being a prostitute, but maybe that’s just me) where the first guy that had the lion liked to hang around and act like Vince Vaughn would at a French cathouse, but he’s not even in this movie which is a shame because he couldn’t have done any worse, really.
Anyway, the brave guy that steals airplanes goes to save the one French girl that isn’t a prostitute because she’s hiding from the Germans in her attic quietly like Helen Keller…
… now they’ve got me doing it. Like Anne Frank, not Helen Keller. Anyway, at first he flies the stolen plane at night for a while, and then he flies it at night with the motor turned off for a good long while, and then lands it like a ninja next door to Anne Frank’s house and the Germans don’t notice, even though they’re in her living room drinkin’ wine spo-dee-o-dee; but after a while they decide to notice and shoot Anne Frank in the shoulder. But just so you know, I’m swapping back to calling her Helen Keller right now because she gets a Mauser bullet through the chest and says nothing, I shit you not.
Anyway, he saves her and gets a medal, not a hook or anything, for stealing the plane; and later he steals a motorcycle instead of the plane for once, and goes to another place all bombed out and full of Germans and finds her again and they decide to meet in Paris later — or at least the part of Paris that survived having a flaming Hindenburg dropped on it — because she’s going to England with some kids that aren’t his, or even hers, now that I think about it, and he’s got a lion to take care of.
So the brave guy with the highlights and the second-hand lion is saved for a while by the cowardly lion and Captain Hook…
(Dammit, I mean the cowardly brave guy, not the cowardly lion; the lion seems legit, if strung out on barbiturates a little bit; and I don’t think Captain Hook is a captain, really, prolly just a corporal or a lieutenant or something, or whatever the French word for lieutenant is, I don’t know)
.. but he gets all shot up by the Red Baron, who inexplicably seems to be the only German not flying a red Fokker triplane in this movie, but that’s got to be him, he’s so evil; but anywho, this German guy shoots more bullets into our hero than a carnival attraction with ducks for some reason, and then stops shooting him for some other reason, shits and giggles I expect, and then Rolf or Heinz or Manfred or whatever his name is just pulls up next to our beauty parlor hero like a guy at a red light in American Graffiti, just to wave and smirk. Then the shot-up brave guy — the guy with the used lion and the only French girl that’s more interested in housecleaning than prostitution — why, he pulls out a revolver of all things and shoots that German Snidely Whiplash right through the eye, which is pretty good shooting indeed, considering he’s all shot to pieces and flying a biplane that’s all shot to pieces that was made by French people in the first place.
Then they ran out of money or interest or film or something, and explained over the credits that the Jack Johnson guy gets a job at the Post Office, and the rancher with the highlights never meets the girl in Paris, but he gets his ranch in Texas back, only it’s another ranch, not that one, but it’s way better so never fear.
I guess it’s not his fault the stupid French chick, the one that’s not a prostitute, didn’t know he meant Paris, Texas.