Friday, December 02, 2011
The Prince of Pennsylvania
This is one of those movies I don't know what to do with. It's not bad enough to watch at a bad movie party. It's not good enough for everybody to have seen. It's not hilariously bad to make people watch. It's just simply...there. And I own it. On VHS. As a screener. I didn't even know this movie was released until I did some research and saw Roger Ebert did a review of it, and it's available on DVD through Netflix. But I figured I'd at least talk a bit about it.
Let's go back to 1988. Or 1989. Whatever. I was either 8 or 9. And I had a cousin who worked in a video store. As a result, she'd bring home all these screener tapes of movies that were coming out on video. Most of them were popular, like "Rain Man" and some weren't. Like "Prince of Pennsylvania". And for WHATEVER reason, she decided to give me "Prince of Pennsylvania".
I remembering being confused by it as a 9-year-old but what did I care? It was a free movie. I was happy! Since then, I've rediscovered it about 3 or 4 times. It sits in my VHS collection today but again, I don't ever plan on showing it to people. So just to get it out of the way, here's what this movie is about.
It stars Keanu Reeves. Yeah, how about that? You know who else is in this movie? Fred Ward! And Bonnie Bedelia (Mrs. John McClane)! What a cast, huh? Ok so Keanu is the teenage son of Fred Ward and Bonnie Bedelia. He doesn't go to school. He steals. He spends his time in a junkyard taking things. And he likes fucking an older woman.
Not much else happens. Bonnie Bedelia ends up cheating on Fred Ward with his friend (kinda like the "The Room" but with less football playing). Fred Ward and his friend work in a coal mine and they end up trapped in the mine for 16 hours. Because they thought they were gonna die, the friend confesses to the affair...but then they survive. Awkwaaard!
There is one funny moment in the movie when Fred Ward gets home and confronts the wife. He has an epic meltdown and starts yelling about all the things he bought her, including the VCR. She claims she didn't want a VCR, so he yells, pulls it out of the wall, runs outside, and throws it into a pool. It's really the only reason to watch this movie.
So despite the movie starring Keanu and he looks like this:
the movie doesn't focus too much on him. That is, until he realizes his dad sold some valuable land and is hiding the money. So Keanu and his older girlfriend decide to kidnap the father and have him tell them where the money is. But this is Fred Ward, so he doesn't give in that easily.
To get him to talk, Keanu takes Fred Ward back to the mine and threatens to blow it up if he doesn't tell him where the money it. It's revealed to be hidden inside a locked port-a-potty. Then there's a 20 minute chase scene down the mine, before it blows up and they think the older girlfriend is dead.
The movie more or less simply ends with Keanu walking down a hallway, cuffed to a refrigerator door. It's...not worth explaining. But that's it. That's "Prince of Pennsylvania". Sounds interesting, doesn't it?
Not really. It could've been funnier. Or more interesting. Or something. Not even Keanu sounding like a surfer in Pennsylvania could save this. I say don't bother watching it. But will I ever give up my copy? Probably not.