Movies For Dudes: Unstoppable

[Originally posted on November 15th, 2010.]

[Gabe Liedman is a stand-up comedian. In his new column, he takes on the genre of Dude Flicks, where guns, pecs, car crashes and glib one-liners delivered in front of a burning building with only half a t-shirt on and nothing left to lose reign supreme. He loves those movies for so many reasons, all of which are that they turn him ON.]

Train = penis! I can’t believe no one figured that out before! Analysis complete!

When veteran train in-charge-of-person Denzel Washington meets his boyfriend for the day, a rookie train in-charge-of-person with turquoise eyes and a jawline by Ginsu, he’s like “greeeeeeeat … NOT.” The rookie is Chris Pine, who’s got a bad attitude and some baby-mama drama as implied by a TOO SHORT scene during the credits when he wakes up on some couch in his tightie whities, while his wife is across town packing up their son for school. Oh, and he looks like Star Fox in THEHOTTESTWAY possible. If you’re not familiar with Chris Pine from 2009’s Movie for Dudes of the century Star Trek, then close your laptop, walk outside, and tell a stranger that you’re sorry FOR EVERYTHING. If Chris Pine already has a page in your Scrapbook About Heaven, then keep reading!

Denzel Washington and Chris Pine have a job to do: drive the front part of a train from somewhere in Pennsylvania to somewhere else in Pennsylvania and pick up other parts of the train along the way until they’re driving one big train and arrive at their destination. Sounds simple—a moviestar could do it!—but on the day this REAL LIFE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT TRUE EVENTS (I take text-on-screen in movies very seriously) takes place, they are in for a bumpy-ass ride, because a half-mile-long runaway train full of toxic chemicals shows up on their track and is like “beep, beep! Coming through please!”

“I hope it’s not … UNSTOPPABLE!”—Rosario Dawson?

You see, it’s normal: across Town, PA, Randy from My Name is Earl and comedian TJ Miller are moving a humongous train from one parking spot to another, and Randy from My Name is Earl hops out of the cockpit (or whatever?) to grab something (or something?) and the train just pretty much ghost-shifts itself into megadrive (kind of?) and rolls away and he can’t catch up with it. The train chugs along, driving itself, picking up speed, and hauling its toxic freight to Hell. This turns out to be suuuuch a bad day for this to happen, because so many kids are on a field trip from Elementary School Academy, PA, to the train tracks to learn about “train safety” (don’t get out of the train and let it drive itself classdismissed?). They don’t get smashed into and blown to shreds by the runaway train though, but it’s a close one!!!

Chris Pine and Denzel Washington don’t know about the runaway train for a while, so they have some peaceful hours together in the train’s cockpit to get to know each other. Denzel is like a stern dad who’s seen it all—he doesn’t expect you to be perfect, just do what you’re told, and DON’T say “whatever” under your breath. Ho, boy, he h8z that. He’s been doing the train thing (as they say) for a thousand years, and has two beautiful daughters who work at Hooters and looooove the song “Work” by Ciara. We also learn that Chris Pine has a restraining order against him because he thought his wife was sexting with a local cop, so he grabbed her phone and “scared her,” then went over to the cop’s house and pulled a gun on him. Really his wife was texting with her sister. Bad Chris Pine—you need to spend a year in my apartment with no bail (“bail” is what I call shower privacy).

Meanwhile, the runaway train is becoming a big problem! Rosario Dawson (yes, that Rosario Dawson) is the person in Train Tracks, PA, who’s in charge of making sure all the trains don’t run away, and she’s scrambling to figure out what to do.

She thinks it would be smart to derail the train on purpose and let it blow the fuck up on some empty plot of land, before it reaches the town of Stanton, PA (population and landscape-wise a fictional Scranton, with a disappointingly less testicular name), and blows up on a bunch of peoples’ heads. But, her GREEDYPIGBOSS and his GREEDIERPIGBOSS don’t want to lose all that money (trains are expensive, y’all (“I got mine on Craigslist, it was cheap!”—you)), so they devise a battery of ridic Plan A’s that all fail somewhat spectacularly.

The funniest Plan A was when a bunch of sheriffs opened fire on the runaway train, trying to shoot a teeny tiny “stop!” button on its side, conveniently located right next to its gas tank (?!), as it barreled by at 75mph. “That didn’t werk?”—GREEDYPIGBOSS. The weirdest/most tragic/awesomest Plan A involved dangling a 22-year-old Marine twink, freshly home from Afghanistan, from helicopter over the runaway train, hoping he’ll … do something helpful? Yikes, that one really didn’t work—the politically-sensitive twink gets all smashed up by the train and ends up dangling lifeless from the helicopter live on the news (BUT HE’S NOT DEAD, we learn at the end from onscreen text (are you … sure? ‘Cuz he looked PRETTY DEAD)).

Luckily, behind the GREEDYPIGBOSSES’s back, Rosario Dawson has hatched a Plan B with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine (the only train in-charge-of people who are still on the tracks). They’re gonna let the runaway train pass, then chase it in reverse, hook their butt onto its face, then grind it to a stop. Man, this shit writes itself. My favorite part of their plan was when Rosario Dawson spelled it out in trainspeak for extra smartness: “they’re coupling at ten-times the regular speed and backwards!” YEAH THEY FUCKING ARE. Chris Pine and Denzel Washington are ALWAYS COUPLING SUPER FAST AND BACKWARDS—that was the audition tape they sent to Tony Scott. I’d been waiting for SOMEONE to say SOMETHING like that for tens of minutes, so when it came I Niagra’d some serious Coke Zero on some seriously less-turned-on strangermen.

At this point, the runaway train is news story #1, so every network in Trees, PA, is live on the scene, following our happy couple as they back their asses onto the head of the rogue, hard-as-steel-because-it’s-made-of-steel-or-something-like-it penis machine and clamp down for dear life. Chris Pine’s wife is watching and crying, Denzel’s daughters and all their co-Hooters are watching too. Lots goes wrong, or almost-wrong; Chris Pine has to do some shit by hand and it looks like he won’t be able to do it (believe me, he can do it), Denzel has to run on top of the train for awhile and it looks like he won’t be able to do it. The action sequences, when they finally come, are exciting and a ton of fun to watch—mostly because leading up to them, we’re brainwashed into thinking these Hollywood action heroes are just regular fantasy fucks Joe’s who happen to have the balls to get the job done (show us their balls).

Chris Pine and Denzel Washington both give nice performances as unlikely heroes on a train. There is MINIMAL nudity (the aforementioned Chris Pine in his undies scene is so quick you’d miss it if you masturbate closed-eyed in public) and ZERO intercourse—implied or otherwise. MAJOR WHOOPS. But, bedecked in Carhartts, well-tailored flannels, lugging around backstories and clipboards and weary frowns, they are sex on wheels (or tracks (or wheels designed for tracks, not roads?)). While this may not be Tony Scott’s BEST dude flick of all time (The Last Boyscout? Top Gun? Days of Thunder? Enemy of the State? Crimson Tide?), it’s certainly his best one about trains and co-starring Denzel Washington (The Taking of Pelham 123 can suck a dick). While this lacked the wit, villainy, and SOMUCHELSE of Speed, it managed to create tension, and excitement, in its way, and was far better than it needed to be.

I’ve never been aboard the “Denzel Washington is the handsomest man in Hollywood” runaway train that pulled out of the station in the early ‘90’s, but it’s not like he’s ugly. Jesus Christ, no, he’s gorgeous—just a little flat in the bra and serious in the personality for my taste. But, playing the exquisitely stubbled-and-troubled lacrosse-asshole-turned-artiste Chris Pine’s on-the-job dad, he shined with all the 55-year-old two-Oscar-having quiet gravitas only a megastar could muster correctly. To understate it grotesquely: I’m into it! Hey, maybe I’m ready to see Training Day finally? Nah.

Oh, and then the movie made a big mistake during the end credits—they played “Work” by Ciara again, when they meant to play this, doyoyoyoyoyoy:

Incidentally, that music video has just been named “Fashion Week Spring 2011-Fall 2555,” so designers can all just quit now, perfection’s been achieved.

Chris Pine is pretty!

[Originally posted on November 15th, 2010.]