Monthly Archives: January 2013

Bargain Basement Films: Deadfall (1993)

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Following on from my post about Sarah Trigger yesterday – I had a look at her filmography and she appeared in a film called Deadfall, which was released in 1993. The photo I added to the post is a still from that film (I couldn’t find any good ones from “P.C.U.” or “Bill And Ted…”).

I couldn’t recall ever seeing it, or if I had, I completely forgot about it. Reading some online reviews, it seems it’s better that I did forget it. Directed by Christopher Coppola, but unfortunately showing none of the family-name’s flair – it stars Michael Biehn (who seemed to have wandered into B-movie territory in the early 90s after his Aliens triumph in the late 80s) and James Coburn, in a dual role, as crime-gang brothers. It purports to be a neo-film-noir, but according to what I’ve read, falls pretty short of the mark.

Sarah appears as “Diane”, part of Coburn’s con-game crew and girlfriend of “Eddie”. Now Eddie is pretty much why this film is even remembered, apparently. Played by Nicolas Cage, Eddie is a slimeball hitman/henchman to Coburn’s “Lou” (“Mike”, Coburn’s other character, is Lou’s brother). Cage, for some reason – maybe because he’s Coppola’s brother and was doing him a favour – decided to play the part as some sort of “Tony Clifton on meth” (as another reviewer described Cage’s…er…performance). Not only does he seem hopped-up on goofballs, he becomes goofballs. He talks in a strange staccato rhythm in an indiscernable accent, makes ridiculous hand-and-arm gestures and just generally hams-it-up in overdrive. Seriously, I’ve watched some clips and it makes his turn in the lame Wicker Man remake look like Peter O’Toole in Lawrence Of Arabia.

Biehn and Trigger try to play it straight, but are hampered with poor dialogue and a plot so over-done, you can see the double-and-triple crossings coming from miles away. Besides, whenever Cage is on-screen, his dynamo scenery-chewing dwarfs all of the other actors and dialogue. Cage’s character does get killed mid-way through the film, but then his absence leaves the rest of the proceedings fairly lifeless, aside from a cameo by Charlie Sheen, looking like he raided Hugh Hefner‘s wardrobe and a hair-product shelf in a Walgreen’s. I won’t even get into the other crime boss, with golden shears for a hand. You can read a full synopsis of the plot, such as it is, here.

Trigger also just seems to be far too fresh-faced and inexperienced to be the con-moll/femme fatale. Yes, she looks sexy in her stockings-and-basque outfit, but she just looks out of her depth playing this character. Why her character would shack up with a complete freakazoid like Eddie is beyond me as well.

Needless to say, the film bombed on it’s release – not even making back a fraction of it’s cost. Biehn and Trigger probably signed on thinking this would be a breakthrough picture, given the Hollyweird pedigree involved. Not to be – it was straight to late-night cable and the video shelves. I’m really, really surprised this one hasn’t become a midnight-cinema-gathering staple, much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room – seriously, there could be fun to be had with Cage’s screams, tantrums and nonsensical utterances.

You didn’t think I was going to end the post without showing a glimpse of “Eddie” in action, didja? Bask in the glory, my friends:

Where Are They Now? Sarah Trigger

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If you lived in the U.S. in the 1990s and you had a cable teevee subscription, chances are you saw either Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey or P.C.U., or maybe both, on some lazy Saturday afternoons.

I was listening to Funkadelic‘s brilliant debut album the other night and I remembered that the El Supremo funkateer, George Clinton, had a cameo appearance in “P.C.U.”. The film is a comedic send-up of militant identity-politics on college campuses in the 1990s, on both right and left, which would be epitomised in earnest by John Singleton‘s Higher Learning, released a year later*. I also remembered one of the lead actresses, Sarah Trigger, who played new student “Samantha” and wondered what had happened to her.

I crushed on her for a while in the 90s, but then I’m a sucker for ginger hair and green/blue eyes. I didn’t realise she was born in London, which would’ve made her even more attractive to me. She apparently moved to the U.S. when she was eighteen. Her birthday is five days after mine, though she was born two years before me. She seemed to do a good job of hiding her “Laaan-dan” accent, ‘cos I was convinced she was American.

My favourite role of hers, though, was in the ‘Gen-X’ (blech!) romantic comedy/drama (blech!) Don’t Do It, which was released in 1994. Trigger played ‘Alicia’, struggling through a relationship that seemed doomed from the beginning. I don’t remember much from the film, other than Trigger projected a vulnerability that cut through the knowing smarm of some of the other actors’ lines and performances. ‘Course, now everyone probably remembers the film only for the appearance of an up-and-coming Heather Graham, before her big breakthrough as “Roller Girl” in P.T. Anderson‘s 70s/80s epic, Boogie Nights. I suppose I’ll have to watch “Don’t Do It” again, to see if it’s aged well – I’m guessing maybe not.

After that, well, she sorta dropped off the radar. She did appear in a few teevee movies and in the Tarantino-lite Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead. I do recall watching a bit of that, but never got all the way through it. Her last appearance (according to IMDB) was on CSI:Miami in 2005. She went on to marry Jon Cryer in 1999. Cryer, who most of us remember as indie-kid misfit “Ducky” in John Hughes’s “rich-boy/poor-girl” 80s romance, Pretty In Pink, had a string of teevee flops before having a ‘hit’ with Two And A Half Men. Yep, the very same show that Charlie Sheen was appearing on before he had his spectacular meltdown/burnout. I couldn’t tell you about the quality of it, as I’ve never actually watched one episode.

They had a son together before splitting in 2004. Things started to get a bit weird for Sarah after that, it seems. She married David Dickey (no idea who he is) and had another child and then she and Dickey split up. She took up with a guy named Eddie Sanchez. Meanwhile, she was battling with Cryer over child support payments that he wanted to drop. Cryer lost the payments battle, but things got sinister for Sarah.

In 2009, she was arrested for child neglect. The child in question was her second, not her son with Cryer. Then came the strange allegations that she was looking to hire a hitman to dispose of both Cryer and Dickey. Of course, these are the allegations of Hollyweird gossip vultures, but they’re enough to effectively kill off her acting career once and for all. Even if she returns to the UK (very unlikely), her reputation and the child-neglect arrest will certainly follow her.

Most of the public support fell to Cryer, with Trigger being called a “bitch”, “whore” and “gold-digger”. It’s a sad situation and as with these things, no-one really knows what went on in their marriage. Perhaps Cryer was neglectful or even mildly abusive – or possibly Trigger does have psychological issues. Nothing more has been reported about the child-abuse case and the news stories stop in 2011.

I hope for her sake that she is alright and if she needs help, getting the help she needs. I also hope she doesn’t become just another footnote in a seedy Hollyweird gossip book. She was a promising actor – good-looking and talented. I mean, she may never have reached Streep-level, but she could’ve carved out a nice career for herself. As Bill and Ted would say “Dudes, this is bogus.”

*”P.C.U.” may also be a lightweight college gross-out comedy, the “Animal House” of the 1990s, as well.

We’re All Still Here…No-One Has Gone Away…

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Hey now – it’s Gregorian year 2013…we all survived the dreaded ending of the world, which was supposed to happen on 21st December, 2012. I suspect there’s some fundie Christian preachers still wiping the egg from their faces. Not only them, quite a few New Agers and counter-culture luminaries, too. Like Daniel Pinchbeck, who even wrote a book all about the coming transformation. To be honest, I’m a little gutted. I was hoping that maybe humanity would transform and get a bit smarter – could be a delayed effect, though. Maybe the intelligence level will rise in the next two years.

Ah well, I suppose it’s good the world didn’t end – it means more time for books to read and music to listen to!

Our new-ish feline arrival, Magic, is doing well and settling into life at Ooze Towers quite well, now that his brother and sister have (mostly) stopped hissing and growling at him. He’s even ventured outside and has explored a couple of the neighbouring gardens (hopefully not leaving any…er…surprises in them). He’s a happy-go-lucky little character, though he wasn’t thrilled about going to the vets’ and getting his shots. According to Pixie, he was a trooper and didn’t freak out at all.

What else can I tell ya? Kate Bush accepted a CBE from ‘her majesty’. Aaaaaargh. That really did my head in. After years of fighting the EMI bosses to do things her own way, releasing quality records despite public indifference and generally being the definition of the word ‘integrity’, she accepts an ‘honour’ bestowed by a family of parasites who are alleged to be our ‘betters’. Why, Kate, why? I suppose, being an artist, she can cofound her fans, much like Dylan and Lou Reed. It takes her down a smidge in my estimation – but I can’t help it – I still love her.

David Bowie‘s back with a new single, in case you’ve been trapped under a rock for the past few days. The song’s O.K. – sorta melancholy and harking back to his late 70s/Eno collaboration albums. I’m not convinced it’s all that the Bowie-maniacs in the press are making it out to be – but it’s cool the dude is still alive and cranking out tunes. Some American record exec guy had the gall and temerity to try and give (unsolicited, mind) advice to the Thin White Duke…and has become a laughing-stock amongst the UK Twitter muso-hipster community. I dunno – while he may have mis-fired with the “Do It Like The Mumfords” comment – some of it seemed fairly spot-on, particularly about the choice of tune for the single. Anyway, it’s not like Bowie’s going to listen to Lefsetz or me or anyone else. He’s 66 and probably past caring what anyone thinks. More power to him, says me.

I am to start working on a new episode of my podcast, The Kaleidophonic Stroboscope, soon – so I’ll have that posted when it’s done. I bet you can’t wait!! (heh heh…)