Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Extraordinary Measures does not star Jean Claude Van Damme.

Good news everybody. Next week a Hollywoood movie opens called Extraordinary Measures. Well, you know what to expect with a title like that. We will begin with a mid-grade female star — it used to be Anne Archer in the …

Fri, Feb 12, 2010, 23:21

   

Good news everybody. Next week a Hollywoood movie opens called Extraordinary Measures. Well, you know what to expect with a title like that. We will begin with a mid-grade female star — it used to be Anne Archer in the 1990s — picking her children up from school and driving them back to a house surrounded by white picket fences. The phone rings. It is the Archerian husband in the muscular form of Stallone, Schwarzenegger or, to a lesser extent, Van Damme. Cleverly — to suggest some lurking presence — the director shoots the phone call, during which hubby explains why he’ll be late for dinner, from the other side of a hallway window.

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A scene from Extraordinary Measures (probably).

A few moments later, Joe Pantoliano bursts into the house and, after standing rudely on the toddler’s teddy bear, murders the entire family in a noisy, smoky mess of Uzi fire. “Nooo!” Stallarzendamme yells, before setting out to annihilate the appalling culprits. He will do anything to put the villains in the ground. Yes, he will even take EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES! This is going to be awesome.

But, hang on, what’s this? It seems that Extraordinary Measures is actually a true story about a man seeking a cure for a fatal disease that affects his unfortunate children. It stars Brendan Fraser,  but this is not the awesome Brendan Fraser of George of the Jungle. It is the serious Brendan Fraser of Crash or  The Quiet American. No fair. You can’t call a film Extraordinary Measures and then refuse to give us a scene in which a Mexican drug lord gets eaten by his own Rottweilers. Isn’t there a Movie Title Ombudsman to whom I can complain?

This week, Screenwriter is listening to: Dark Eyes by Tomasz Stanko. Another limpid winner from the great Polish trumpeter.

This week, Screenwriter is reading: Gloriana by Michael Moorcock. An anarcho-feminist classic from one of the very great English eccentrics. He played with Hawkwind, you know.

This week, Screenwriter will be watching the following telly: Generation Jihad on BBC Two. After landmark series on Northern Ireland, the excellent Peter Taylor investigates Islamic extremism in the UK. Very good so far.

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