Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema…bitches leave. Can you smell that? If you’re reading this column, it’s probably not fresh air. Our fearless leader is off fighting healthy eating in parts unknown and thus it falls to me to continue this tasty treat. You may have noticed we’ve been mixing things up recently here at JFC, throwing out the old formula of why it’s bad and why we love it anyway and instead selecting a specific topic to examine. This week’s full-flavored film choice is none other than JFC alum Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Raw Deal. Direct from 1986 to your eyeballs, Raw Deal is everything you’d hope for in an over-the-top action flick. But one of the greatest aspects of the movie is it’s tagline. Emblazoned across the cover art are the words, “The system gave him a Raw Deal. Nobody gives him a Raw Deal.” And so without further ado, here are the 7 other things noboby gives Arnie S!
1. Any shit!
Some wiseguy in Arnold’s town gets the bright idea to run around in a police uniform on a motorcycle and pull people over, allowing them to get off with a warning in exchange for a little cash. Arnold is having none of that shit. He chases our friend down in his trusty Jeep Wrangler. And just for being a wiseass and giving Arnold shit, Arnold adds “lying to the sheriff” to the wayward man’s list of charges. On the one hand, I’m fairly certain you can’t just make up laws and charge people for breaking them. On the other hand, when you’re the sheriff of a one-horse town I guess you can pretty much do what you want. It also helps if you’re the size of a starting linebacker chiseled out of stone.
After a long day at the office, Arnold wants the same thing we all want; a cold beer, a hot meal and the remote control. But upon arriving home, his crazy alcoholic wife has apparently decided that cake is an appropriate dinner. The thing is it’s hard to put the icing on a cake when you’re shitfaced. It’s even harder when you’re being an emotional wreck and yelling at your husband who just wants to eat his dinner. Instead she throws the cake at him. To which our intrepid hero responds with one of the greatest, most unheralded action movie one liners of all time, “you should not drink and bake.”
3. Holy Matrimony
The basic plot is that Arnold is former FBI but gets pulled back in when his old boss’s son is killed by Chicago mobsters. Unable to attack them legally due to rampant corruption, Arnie’s boss decides to seek vengeance the old fashioned way…by killing a lot of people. He enlists Ahnuld to go undercover with the Chicago gangs, get close to those responsible and take them out. Schwarzenegger has no problem with this and literally in the very next scene after meeting with his old boss, we see him fake his own death. No phone calls to his wife, no bye sweetheart, just a huge explosion and Arnie driving off into the night. He sets up shop in Chicago and goes to work. I swear it feels like everyone on this movie forgot they even had a wife character until some industrious young PA piped up and said what about the wife? It’s almost an hour later before he even mentions her. But it’s a brief scene and he soon goes back to killing bad guys. Never sees his wife again. Apparently his vows read “until death or until my old boss needs a favor.”
4. Jump cuts when long fades will clearly do.
I realize Arnie probably wasn’t in charge of the editing, but you never know. It was the 80s and our favorite action star was riding high on the waves of films like The Terminator and Commando. If Arnold wanted to get in the editing booth, it’s not like anyone could have stood in his way. In any event, the blame should lay somewhere even if it’s not at Ahnuld’s freakishly small feet (Editor’s note: We have no idea what size shoe Former Governor Schwarzenegger wears.) The point is that during the scene with his former boss, there’s a long fade…within the scene. It’s between a shot of them sitting at a desk in the boss’s office to a scene where their sitting at a small side table. There’s no reason they couldn’t have just shot at all the desk. Apparently if your characters move 10 feet across industrial carpeting you HAVE to do a long fade. It’s in the 80s action film editing handbook.
5. A decent haircut
I’m not sure who told Arnold that he’d easily fit in with a group of Italians if he wore a nice suit, smoked a big cigar and slicked all his hair back. What are they really going to think this massive Austrian thug is from the old country just because he discovered the magic of hair gel and a fine tooth comb? Obviously not, and his fake name isn’t Italian so that doesn’t seem to have been the point. Maybe Arnold just likes his hair slicked back. AND WHATEVER ARNOLD WANTS, ARNOLD GETS!
Despite the cover art promising us a Schwarzenegger sporting a wife beater and a machine gun to go with his slicked back hair, the film doesn’t actually deliver on that. While Arnie does suit up in just that fashion with a duffel bag filled with enough weapons to knock over the castle where that Nigerian prince lives, he completes the look with a black leather jacket….which he never takes off. I would get pretty sweaty killing a bunch of criminals in black leather, but Ahnuld punches sweat in the face. Nobody makes Arnold sweat!
As you might have guessed, Professor Salisbury and I own Raw Deal on glorious VHS. The tape we have is an HBO/Cannon release. I don’t know if maybe HBO required profanity edits back in the day, or if Arnold went through a Chuck Norris-like “swearing is bad” phase or what, but there are several lines where characters lips are clearly shouting some choice four-letter words but the audio proclaims things like “oh no!” Like most 80s action flicks, Raw Deal got an R rating so there’s no reason why the expletives couldn’t fall like rain, but for some reason, a lot of them seem to have been altered with ADR. At some point I’ll have to check out a different version of the film to see if it matches up with ours.
If you’ve made it this far you know what time it is…
Junkfood Pairing: Raw Cookie Dough
It doesn’t get more raw than this folks! Take those salmonella warnings with a grain of salt. They were made up by vegans who don’t want you to taste good things. Everyone knows that NOBODY MAKES ARNOLD WAIT FOR COOKIES TO BAKE. And it’s unreasonable to expect you to wait. So grab yourself a roll of Nestle Tollhouse from your grocers biscuit section and bite off a huge chunk while you hit play on Raw Deal!