Ever have a bad day? One of those days where nothing seems to go your way? Maybe your boring office job is frustrating you to the point of complete despair. Maybe you're deciding that your life is dull and pointless. Or maybe it's a little more specific. You get stuck in traffic for two hours. You step in a giant puddle and ruin your brand new shoes. Your girlfriend leaves you for a forty-year old bald lawyer. Or, as in the case of rookie Miami cop Dave Speed, you get caught in a top secret NASA experiment gone awry and are exposed to a massive dose of radiation while trying to collect on a traffic violation in a swampy Indian village.
1980's Super Fuzz finds Italian actor Terence Hill (real name Mario Girotti) as Officer Speed. Believed dead after the NASA explosion by his partner Willie Dunlop (played by Ernest Borgnine), Speed shows up later that day and unwittingly moves a manhole cover into place just as a dumbfounded Dunlop is about to fall into it. Realizing at that moment that he has developed "super powers", Speed quickly begins using his powers to outdo Miami's other 1980's top cops Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs and catch Miami's biggest bad guys.
Despite several earnest (pun intended) attempts at convincing his partner
of his powers (making a coffee cup fly into his hands when Dunlop isn't
looking, jumping out of a thirty story window, again when Dunlop isn't
looking), Speed somehow always loses his powers when he tries to show
them off. Is it Ernest Borgnine's voice that causes him to lose his powers?
Is it salt water? Is it counterfeit fish? Is it the color red? And is
illegal gambling going on inside that truck or not? But never mind that
for now, back to the story...
Speaking of turning green, 1981's darkly comic Modern Problems follows a weak-minded, self-conscious, insanely jealous, romantically inept air traffic controller Max Fielder (played by Chevy Chase in the prime of his hot streak). His bad day seems to be at its worst when green toxic waste sprays into his car through his broken sunroof. As he arrives home that night (to find that his girlfriend has left him, of course) he is glowing a bright shade of green. Max is a reactor - and not even a good one at that. Things just sort of happen to him. Given a chance to talk his girlfriend Darcy (played by Patti D'Arbanville) out of her decision to leave him, he simply can't think of anything to say. When confronted by the egotistical and wildly successful writer/psychiatrist Mark (played hilariously by Dabney Coleman), Max sheepishly backs down, avoiding confrontation. Then comes the toxic waste.
Shortly after his green glow subsides, Max, when angered, acquires the ability to make objects move - with his mind. After spending some time using his ex-wife Lorraine (Mary Kay Place) and disabled high school buddy Brian (Brian Doyle-Murray) to try and help him through his depressed, confused funk, Max tries to deal positively with his telekinetic powers. One positive example being Max helping Darcy achieve twenty consecutive orgasms. Another example is Max giving Darcy's date a bloody nose from across the room. Unable to come to grip with his newfound existence, however, Max begins to lose control. Fortunately for him, the multiple orgasms and bloody noses help Darcy decide to give him another chance. All the characters, including Nell Carter, who shows up as Brian's voodoo witch housekeeper, converge for a quiet weekend at Brian's beach house, which everyone thinks is just what Max needs to get a grip (for some reason, no one believes he has special powers). The whole weekend spins wildly out of control and peaks with Max snorting a ten-foot line of "demon powder" and Mark announcing that "I'm a God damn good looking man!"
And you thought you were having a bad day.
Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
[email protected] | February 2002 | Issue 23
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