People sure were stupid in 1986. In July of that year, John Carpenter’s amazing film of adventure and intrigue, Big Trouble in Little China, was released in cinemas. The sad thing there was no one really saw it. It was a “bomb” if you will. Not “Tha Bomb” (although the film is indeed Tha Bomb), it was a regular bomb, like the kind that dude in the woods used to make and mail to people.
This movie is so good. But no one saw it. 20 years later, people are still just as stupid. Slither leaked out of theaters faster than a blink of the eye, yet, Scary Movie 4 is pulling in an astonishing amount of coin. I guess the point of that story is we (the audience I mean) will always be a little dumb. That’s what makes being alive so much fun.
I have an excuse for missing Big Trouble in Little China in its theatrical glory. It was 1986, a year I’ll never forget, and perhaps one of the worst years in my life. I was about 5 years old then. My parents’ tumultuous relationship was coming to a close. They divorced that year. I don’t remember caring all that much about the separation (even then I thought divorced ruled because people that shouldn’t be together should indeed go their own ways) but I did care because I wouldn’t see my dad everyday anymore.
I was indeed sad. A few months after that happened, in a winter month, my good dog (a German Shepherd for you dog people) decided to call it quits. I walked out to his little doggie house to give him some food and water and I found him lying on his side. “Hey Corky, you okay?” I asked. “No, I don’t feel too good today Mike,” he replied. I went back into the house and told my mom. She then called my dad. I then went back outside to kick it with Corky, who was still just lying there on the ground, motionless except for his chest moving in and out as he inhaled and exhaled.
My dad arrived moments later with his old Nissan Sentra station wagon. He said, “This doesn’t look too good Mike. I am going to take him to the vet now.” He rolled Corky up in a blanket and put him in the back seat. My dad then hugged me and said, “You might want to say goodbye to him now.” I knew when he said it that I would never see Corky again. I looked into the window and Corky looked back at me. I gave him a little wave, then watched my dad drive off. I never did see Corky again.
1986 was indeed a terrible year. My dad and mom split, my dog died, my first hamster died (I left that part out on purpose) and Big Trouble in Little China was financially screwed. Being only five years-old, growing up with a single working mom, I never found a ride to theater that year to see Big Trouble. I was sad.
The following year or so, HBO decided to play the hell out of this movie. Thankfully, my mom still had HBO, so I watched it every time it was on. My mom used to actually get angry because everytime she came home from work, I was watching a crappy VHS dub she made for me. I must have seen that movie 237892344 times by now. And I love every second of it, still to this day.
To John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, I am sorry that I didn’t see your film in the theater. I highly doubt my 1986 dollars would have helped you or the film anyway, but it’s the thought that counts. I have since purchased it on VHS and DVD (the awesome 2-disc spectacular) to make up for the trouble.
When are you guys going to get back together and make another good movie? Do it for Corky.