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The Curator of Schlock #333 by Jeff Shuster

The Rock

Sean Connery and Nic Cage. ‘Nuff said. 

This was the worst Thanksgiving ever! I sat with Jervis, Wally, Celestial, Bud, and some guy that looked like the Amazing Kreskin. They were eating a ham dish with extra glaze. I’m not a big ham eater, and Thanksgiving is Turkey Day! Jervis then tells me that he didn’t forget about me and sets a Smart Ones turkey dinner on my plate, microwave steam flying in my face! We then sat down to watch Love Actually. Somebody shoot me!

schlock mansion

This week’s movie is 1996’s The Rock from director Michael Bay. It stars Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage—wait! What? How is this possible? Sean Connery and Nic Cage in the same movie? I don’t think modern audiences would be able to handle this much testosterone on screen. But this was made back in the 90s before the Age of the Namby Pamby that has so polluted modern entertainment. And we got Michael Bay as the director. I think I liked one of his movies.

I’m not sure how The Rock eluded me all these years. What was I so busy doing back in 1996 that I didn’t seek out this cinematic masterpiece? Maybe I had become so fixated on my newly purchased Tamagotchi that nothing else in the world could compare. I rectified that mistake this week in an effort to celebrate the life of the late Sean Connery. Does The Rock stand the test of time? Uhhhhhhhhhhh…

Our movie begins with a renegade Brigadier General named Frank Hummel (Ed Harris, naturally) leading a group of figurines marines to steal some highly classified toxic gas-armed rockets from a weapons depot. Hummel and the figurines rogue marines then set their sights on Alcatraz, the former prison turned tourist trap. They make hostages of the tourists and threaten to gas San Francisco. He informs the FBI and the Pentagon that if he doesn’t receive 100 million dollars to pay the families of soldiers that died under his command, he will send the gas straight into the heart of San Francisco and melt everyone’s face off. That’s what the gas does. It melts your face off! I wonder if John Woo saw this movie.

Enter Nicolas Cage as Special Agent Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, an expert at chemical warfare and disarming bombs. He also spends $600 on Beatles vinyl records and plays the guitar in the nude. Oh, and his pregnant girlfriend, Carla Pestalozzi (Vanessa Marcil) is pressuring him to marry her. Goodspeed is brought in to join a U.S. Navy Seal unit that will infiltrate Alcatraz Island, neutralize the traitorous soldiers, and stop the missiles from getting launched. But the team needs to know how to get inside the most impenetrable prison ever built. For that they need the help of the only man ever to escape Alcatraz, John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery).

Mason was a former SAS Captain that, according to him, took the wrap for something he didn’t do. The Director of the FBI, Jim Womack (John Spencer), offers Mason a pardon if he cooperates. Goodspeed learns that Director Womack has no intention of honoring the pardon which is why we cheer when Mason breaks Womak’s arm and leads the authorities on a high speed chase through the hills of San Francisco causing millions of dollars worth of damage in the process.

I have to say, Connery upstages Nic Cage in the weirdness territory for this movie. In one scene, he barks like a dog and in another, he laments how he should have been a poet instead of a SAS Captain. Oh, and if you ever wanted to hear Connery say the word snacks then this is the movie for you. He pronounces it shhhhhhhnacks!


Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443 and episode 444) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.