The Curator of Schlock #46: The Patriot

The Curator of Schlock #46 by Jeffrey Shuster

The Patriot (Finally, Steven Seagal is an Immunologist)

The Patriot

It’s the 4th of July and we here at The Museum of Schlock have declared this Patriots Month. Never let it be said that your curator doesn’t love the red, white, and blue. Over the next few weeks we’ll be celebrating some fine Americans like Chuck Norris, Rocky Balboa, and Superman! But first, I want to review a very special movie for the 4th of July. Everyone kept telling me to review some movie called The Patriot. They said it was the perfect 4th of July. Okay. We’ll see.

1998’s The Patriot features Steven Seagal as immunologist Dr. Wesley McClaren. He used to work for the government, creating viruses of mass destruction, but decided he wanted more out life so he moved to a small town in Montana where he trades his medical skills to the locals for fruit pies and wooden cabinets. McClaren also owns and runs a ranch and raises horses. I should also mention that McClaren is also a single dad with a daughter named Holly (Camilla Belle). Despite settling for a simple life, he still has a hotline to the CDC on the off chance that a killer virus gets set loose by a bunch of angry militia members.

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As it so happens, there’s a local militia led by a man named Floyd Chisolm (Gailard Sartain). Chisolm is a big fan of the Founding Fathers, but he believes the Tree of Liberty needs to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants. He doesn’t like the fact that the United States government has sworn allegiance to the United Nations. Instead of having a kill-or-be-killed shootout with the ATF, he decides to turn himself in. The judge gets him on a weapons violation, something about sawed off shotguns. Chisolm spits in the judge’s eye. Too bad for the judge that Chisolm had ingested a killer virus that his militia stole from the United States government.

The virus spreads throughout the town and McClaren declares a state of emergency. The feds show up with doctors in HAZMAT suits and everything.  One of Chisolm’s miltia men sneaks him the antidote in prison. Unfortunately, the antidote doesn’t work. It merely slows the virus down. Uh oh. Chisolm’s militia shows up, kills a bunch of feds, takes over the town, and breaks Chisolm loose from prison. They slash the HAZMAT suits of the doctors, exposing them to the virus.

McClaren escapes with his daughter. They discover a cure from an old Native American recipe for wildflower tea (obviously). McClaren kills a bunch of militia men and stabs Chisolm in the ear with the broken stem of a wine glass.

The feds dump wildflower petals on the town and tell the folks to boil them or something to that effect. Now we here at The Curator of Schlock don’t pass judgments. Does being a patriot mean releasing a killer virus on a small town or stabbing a militiaman in the ear with the stem of a wine glass?

I’d like to wish everyone a happy Independence Day.

(By the way, The Patriot was adapted from the novel The Last Canadian by William C. Heine.)

Five Things I Learned from The Patriot

  1. Hippopotamus has three Ps in it.
  2. Real patriots are real Americans and real citizens.
  3. Don’t infect yourself with a killer virus without a guarantee that the antidote works.
  4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt believed in 100% Americanism.
  5. Don’t offer Steven Seagal a glass of Merlot. You’ll live to regret it.


Photo by Leslie Salas
Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102) is an MFA candidate and instructor at the University of Central Florida.

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