So it’s come to this, has it?
Yep. I’m blaming Plexico Gingrich for writing his fantastic Jingle All The Way review. Reading it caused me to browse Arnold’s filmography and realize that there were only three Arnold movies I couldn’t remember seeing: The Villain, which I believe he only had a bit part in, The Last Stand, released earlier this year, and Junior. The other two can be explained by mere laziness, but there is a good reason I never watched Junior: even without seeing it, it’s obvious that it’s Arnold’s worst movie. I’ve now seen it, and I can verify that this is true, but this definitely qualifies as a priori knowledge in the Kantian sense. Honestly, who wants to see a god reduced to this?
Sometimes in life, though, we have to see things that we don’t want to see. Sometimes, we have to learn that our idols are human. Sometimes, we have to learn that the gods are at the mercy of the same flaws as us. Sometimes, we have to learn that the world is not the fairy tale that we were taught it was. Sometimes, we have to walk in on our parents fucking. Sometimes, we have to watch Junior.
And it is in these moments that we learn what it truly means to be alive. For it is only through being cast down from the heavens and placed through these trials and tribulations that we can attain any lasting spiritual growth. We are defined by what we have overcome, and to paraphrase
Nietzsche Kanye West, that which has not killed us has made us stronger. John F. Kennedy had the Cuban Missile Crisis, Steve Jobs had his decade-long exile from Apple, Adolf Hitler had his stint living in the ghetto in Vienna, and I have this. I watched this film and lived to talk about. There’s only one word for that: victory.
So now, without further ado: Junior.
That was the most incomprehensible intro I’ve ever read. Let me guess: the review’s all downhill from here, right?
This is going to be the best review I’ve ever written. You don’t even realize!
In case you forgot, Junior is the movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger gets pregnant. It’s part of what I’ve always viewed as Schwarzenegger’s 90’s Trilogy of Crap: Junior, Jingle All The Way, and Batman & Robin. You know that’s a shitty lineup when Jingle All The Way is, objectively, the best film of the three. Yes, these are Arnold’s three worst movies, and I say that as someone who watched every entry in his Everyman Trilogy (End of Days, The Sixth Day, and Collateral Damage) in the theater. I could handle John Leguizamo’s rapping in Collateral Damage on the big screen, but I didn’t see any of the entries in the Trilogy of Crap theatrically. They’re that bad, folks.
I have a lot of respect for those who actually watched this movie in the theater, though. For our younger readers, you should remember that this movie was released in the mid 90’s, before smart phones and ubiquitous Internet access. There was no one to text if you got bored during the movie. You were locked in there with this fucker for 100+ minutes. I can still remember watching the Everyman Trilogy in the theater, and one thing that sticks with me after all these years is that everybody watching those movies theatrically was an Arnold fan. The Everyman Trilogy came out after Arnold’s fall from grace, leaving only his true fans to intermittently shout “Get to da choppah!” at the screen while he fired Moonraker laser guns in The Sixth Day. But Junior was a film that the fans skipped. We all knew it was just too much.
We’re well over 500 words into this review and you still haven’t started discussing the movie itself. Are you… avoiding it?
Oh, ok. Fine. Junior opens with a dream sequence, where Arnold discovers an unattended infant while all alone in a library. Wandering about trying to find its mother, he turns a corner, runs into a herd of crying infants, and wakes with a start. The infant he was carrying also urinated when picked up, by the way. I’m reminded of the fact that according to my parents, my first act on this Earth was urinating on the doctor who delivered me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything.
Not to be outdone, there is a second dream sequence maybe 10 minutes into the movie, where Arnold wakes in bed to a nurse walking in with his newborn child. After receiving the child, he sees that the infant has the best Arnold Schwarzenegger face that mid-90’s CGI could buy. It’s one of the most frightening visuals in film, and it sets the tone for the remaining hour and a half ahead of us. It’s shitty, unnecessary, and embarrassing. After much contemplation, I’ve determined that the joke is supposed to be that Arnold is afraid of babies, when he successfully fought the T-1000, the Predator, Michael Ironside, Richard Dawson, the guy from Murphy Brown, and the one and only Bennett. Oh, the juxtaposition. The brilliance. I don’t get why they didn’t just burn the master of this film after viewing this scene for themselves. Why inflict this garbage on the populace? What is the matter with them?
Is that Kuato?
God, don’t remind me of better movies. Though, seeing as the plot of Junior revolves around Schwarzenegger’s character developing a new fertility wonder drug, I don’t get why they didn’t have the drug make women grow three breasts. It’s not like it would make the movie any more ridiculous. But anyway, Arnold’s funding is cut off after the FDA rejects the clinical trials. Arnold plays a scientist, working at a real university and everything. Danny DeVito is a pregnancy doctor who is Arnold’s partner. Faced with no other options, Arnold and DeVito inject a fertilized donor egg into Arnold’s abdomen to get the data needed to prove that their wonder drug works. This is the plot of a real movie. Let me repeat: this movie is real.
From there, it’s a bunch of “wacky” hijinks as Arnold has morning sickness, scarfs down ice cream, and cries while watching soap operas. Mixed up in this is Emma Thompson as the scientist who moves in to Arnold’s old lab space and becomes his love interest. Why does Arnold need a love interest in this film, anyway? He didn’t need one in Predator. He has no wife to shoot in the face before riding off into the lobotomized sunset with a hot Hispanic woman a la Total Recall. But no, in this movie, Arnold needs to have a love interest that he somehow manages to fornicate with despite being on enough estrogen to prepare for sexual reassignment surgery. Arnold’s virility is so powerful that it overcomes any estrogen-induced impotence. DeVito even comments on his “strong swimmers” when viewing Arnold’s sperm donation. This movie is just too much information all around.
Case in point: the following quote. Really, everything else described so far is just a preamble. The movie doesn’t truly begin until Arnold utters the following line of dialogue. It is the start of Junior, and the end of our pre-Junior lives. This is it, folks. There’s no turning back after this. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Here we go:
“My nipples are very sensitive.”
Now, while I’ve enjoyed looking at Arnold’s nipples for decades, I don’t think I ever really needed to know anything about their sensitivity. It’s just not something that’s entered my mind. Now it has. My eyes are open. Arnold’s nipples are not just window dressing to Conan throwing Thulsa Doom’s severed head down the stairs; Arnold now throws the severed head as an afterthought to his nipples focusing upon us like the Eye of Sauron, their piercing gaze penetrating deep into our minds, goading us on to touch them, to caress them, yet we remain thwarted each time as our gentle fingertips touch only the screen. But we cannot help ourselves. Arnold’s nipples are our lives. They’re what we live for. They’re everything.
I think you can stop the review right there. I’ve had enough.
We’re just getting started, my friends! Junior is a neverending spiral into the depths of insanity that ends after an hour and a half. It takes all of your mental energy to keep focused on the movie to any real extent. It’s just exhausting. You keep waiting for an oasis to appear, a moment where Arnold will proclaim that “It’s not a tumah!”, but the moment never comes. You’re trapped in a world without Rae Dawn Chong, without Maria Conchita Alonso, without Rachel Ticotin, and left all alone with only your thoughts. Among them: Why did I decide to watch this movie? Why does this movie even exist so that I can watch it? Why am I even alive? Is that the girl from The Remains of the Day? What the fuck is going on? Am I… am I breathing?
The closest thing to an oasis is an inexplicable appearance by a pre-Oz, pre-SVU Christopher Meloni as a patient at DeVito’s practice. It’s not quite as awesome as Billy Bob Thorton’s turn in On Deadly Ground, and Meloni only has like two lines, but it’s still amusing to think of Keller’s ample penis having any fertility issues whatsoever. Yes, the high point of watching this movie for me was flashing back to Meloni’s penis shot from Oz. Really, though, that’s the high point of any day, and I don’t want to give Junior too much credit here. I once had a flashback while reading a portion of Klein’s “Lectures on the Icosahedron”. It’s just one of those constants in my life.
Anyway, just when you think this movie might be over, and Arnold might let the embryo be absorbed back into his body after the first trimester data has been collected, he makes the selfish decision to prolong the film for another hour and carry the baby to term. God dammit. Don’t babies need a uterus to develop in, anyway? I don’t know. I’m not a biologist, and I probably know more about the stages of development of the aliens from Alien than of humans, but something seems off here. Is Hollywood lying to me?
“Feel how soft my skin is.”
I’d love to, Arnold, but this is bothering me. I mean, arbitrary implantation in the abdomen is something that a developing chestburster does. Even the one from Spaceballs went through the same process (I would presume). How does a human infant develop without a uterus? Are we really supposed to say, “It’s just a movie?” I’m willing to accept Arnold posing as Joseph “Pussy” Brenner, but I just can’t handle this. It’s too out there.
Honestly, though, there was a part of me that thought it would have been funny if the baby turned out to be a mutant. I mean, DeVito just randomly grabbed a donor egg from the love interest’s cyro-chamber. Of course, for maximum stupidity, the donor egg implanted in Arnold turns out to be from his love interest (spoiler), but wouldn’t it have been awesome if Junior turned out to be the psychic mutant girl from Total Recall? No? That’s stupid, you say? Well, you’re stupid!
Calm down, man. You’re losing it!
I’m sorry. Anyway, the love interest in this movie is supposed to be funny because she’s clumsy. She accidentally knees Arnold in the balls early on in the film, a moment that really sets the stage for everything to follow. She dances with a piece of toilet paper stuck to her pump, then accidentally sends her pump flying onto somebody’s table as she tries to shake it off. She waves at Arnold and accidentally swats a serving tray out of a waiter’s hands. Are you laughing yet? No? Well, these are the jokes, guys.
But you know, retarded clumsiness aside, Emma Thompson kind of reminds me of my friend, who still hasn’t talked to me in over a month. She did text me a “Merry Christmas Eve”, but maybe she was trying to text someone else. It’s just another level of pain that Junior inflicted upon me. This movie really is the end of everything. Schwarzenegger is emasculated and kneed in the balls, my mistakes are paraded before me, Frank Langella keeps popping up and inadvertently reminding me that I could be watching The Ninth Gate instead of this. I’d say I should just stop watching the movie while I still have a chance, but it’s too late. I’ve already watched it. It’s already been seen. It cannot be undone. It’s over.
Come on, now. Don’t you remember the words of John Rambo? Nothing is over!
You’re right! I mean, that was Stallone, but you’re right. I can beat this. I’ve certainly seen worse movies. But this movie is quite difficult to watch if you were a big fan of Schwarzenegger growing up. I mean, Arnold was always my favorite 80’s Action star back then. I’m more partial to Seagal nowadays, seeing as Seagal is much more darkly hilarious both on- and off-screen, but Arnold was a god to me as a kid. Then, in my first year of college, my roommate Phil (who I haven’t talked to in years) and I would watch his movies often and laugh hysterically at his threats of ramming his fist into Richard Dawson’s stomach and ripping out his god-damned spine. We even used an Arnold Schwarzenegger soundboard that he downloaded to dial up various fast food restaurants and prank call them. I would dial the number over the university Internet, he would operate the soundboard, and much fun was had by all.
Girl at Arby’s: Hello, this is Arby’s.
Arnold: Hello cutie pie.
Girl at Arby’s: Excuse me?
Arnold: Your clothes. Give them to me. Now.
Girl at Arby’s: Um, I’m going to have you speak to the manager.
Manager of Arby’s: This is the third time you’ve called tonight. If you don’t stop, I will call the police.
Arnold: Fuck you, asshole.
Manager of Arby’s: I am calling the police.
Arnold: You’re all sluts!
And now, my life has come full circle, returning to the one Schwarzenegger film I was never brave enough to face. Maybe we all need closure in our lives. Sure, Arnold has fallen from grace in many ways, what with screwing things up with Maria, his mixed success as Governor, his illegitimate son with the housekeeper, and his appearance in Expendables 2. Still, I’ve always been somewhat confused at everyone lashing out at the post-Governor Schwarzenegger in the media. These people were not and are not Arnold fans. They did not watch End of Days in the theater. I can understand Maria being pissed off, but I can’t understand the endless articles tearing him down. Have these people no souls? Did they never laugh at the steel drums in Commando? Are they not human?
All of this leaves Junior in a very strange place. Ostensibly a followup to Twins, it is a movie that could only conceivably be enjoyed by Arnold fans while at the same time being completely horrifying to Arnold fans. In other words, no one on this planet finds Junior enjoyable. No one could ever find this movie enjoyable. It exists as a strange cultural artifact, a lasting monument to the question, “What were they thinking?” Beyond Hudson Hawk (which is actually pretty awesome), beyond Stop or My Mom Will Shoot!, there is this. There is Junior. This is it. This is the bottom.
“Feel it. Come. Just feel it. Come here.”
Sorry, Arnold, I’m not falling for that one again. Anyway, we’re back in Junior, and Arnold’s baby is kicking. DeVito finally admits to his pregnant ex-wife that Arnold is pregnant, at which point she passes out. Oh, the creativity involved in this film! Arnold and DeVito only admit to the pregnancy after the ex-wife insinuates that the two of them might be gay. Heavens, no! Arnold will gladly fuck a housekeeper that looks like Calibos from Clash of the Titans, but he draws the line at DeVito. I mean, who wouldn’t?
There’s a subplot in this film where DeVito’s ex-wife is impregnated by Aerosmith’s personal trainer. For a moment, I wondered if this might actually be a more embarrassing appearance for Aerosmith than Revolution-X, but then I remembered two things: 1) Aerosmith does not actually appear in this movie, and 2) Revolution-X was fucking awesome. DeVito gets quite upset at the fact that he fired blanks for seven years, yet the personal trainer got the job done in one night. After much anger and resentment, DeVito comes around at the end of the film, and after delivering his ex-wife’s child, proclaims that he’s the father. Has this man never watched an episode of Maury?
Mixed in with all of this excitement is a bit where Arnold talks about how his sexual appetite is heightened from the pregnancy. He starts making moves on his love interest, who admits that she likes “upholstery on a man”. This movie, man. This movie. The sex scene is averted when DeVito’s ex-wife walks in, but much like the Treaty of Versailles, it merely delays the horror until later. Actually, though, they jump over the sex scene there, as well. Thank God. I have to say that Arnold’s not really one for sex scenes. His best remains the “lock and load” pre-finale sequence in Raw Deal. He loads those shotgun shells like it’s their first time.
Wait, Arnold has sex in this movie while pregnant? I think you mentioned it earlier, but this review is longer than War & Peace.
He does everything except discharge a firearm. It’s like Collateral Damage without explosions. But we’re getting there, folks. We’re coming up to the finale, and I need to get myself ready. Hell, we all need to get ourselves ready. Arnold is about to give birth! Sure, there’s the crossdressing bit before that, but it’s really all wrapped up into one giant 30 minute long finale in this film. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let me state the line that kicks it all off.
Now, the final stages of the film commence as the head of the biological research department at the university, who fired Arnold earlier in the movie, deduces that Arnold is indeed the first pregnant man in history. He enters the lab flanked by security immediately after Arnold admits to his love interest that Junior is hers. The department head states that Arnold and Junior are university property, and moves to capture him. In the movie’s sole action movie one-liner moment, Arnold throws a gentleman through some lab equipment and exclaims:
“My body. My choice.”
Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like “Stick around”, does it? There are so many layers to this line, so much 90’s era political correctness wrapped up in it, that I don’t even know where to begin. Perhaps there isn’t anywhere to begin. The absurdity of it all, the visual of Arnold as the angry seahorse defending his young, the reduction of the Arnold one-liner to this, it’s just so much to deal with. It fully encapsulates Junior, and should have been the tagline for this film. I mean, Jesus Christ.
And with that, the movie goes into complete insanity. I’m not sure if you guys realize this, but in the process of writing this review, I find myself rewatching selected scenes from Junior, just to keep all the little nuances fresh in my mind. I think I’m losing my grip on reality, but it must be done. So here we go, folks. I’m gearing up and going in. If my friend texts me again, tell her I love her.
How could this movie possibly get any more insane?
Arnold needs to hide for a few days while DeVito closes the deal with a pharmaceutical company, so he is checked in to a resort for pregnant women. To hide, he dresses in women’s clothing, speaks in an attempt at falsetto, and wears a ridiculous wig and earrings. It is at this resort that he consummates his relationship with his love interest, by the way. So, yes, Arnold becomes “Alexandra”, an East German athlete who took too many anabolic steriods. Sure, blame the Soviets, Arnold. Let’s face it: you did this to yourself.
I can’t believe people talk about Last Action Hero as if it is Arnold’s worst movie. I mean, my reaction to it as a kid was that I didn’t understand why they didn’t just make Jack Slater IV, and my reaction today is basically unchanged, but overall at least it had its moments. Bridgette Wilson is fantastic in that movie. But Junior, on the other hand, is just something else. Part of me thinks that the sight of Arnold engaging in a musical montage while dressed as a woman and picking flowers in a field would at least be memorable, but it really isn’t. It’s just painful. God dammit. Fuck this movie.
This entire bit is really the worst part of Junior. It needlessly draws the film out, attempts to manufacture drama due to our “uncertainty” as to whether the love interest will show up for Arnold, and plays through a litany of stale tall woman jokes. At least Deuce Bigalow just went straight for the jugular with “That’s one huge bitch!” And yes, guys, I’m citing Deuce Bigalow as a positive example. That’s just where we are right now.
Is this thing over yet?
Arnold goes into labor. Shit just got real. DeVito and the love interest arrive at the resort just in time to drive Arnold to a clinic where they will perform an emergency c-section. Predictably, DeVito’s ex-wife also goes into labor at the clinic, leading to much hilarious role reversal as Arnold’s love interest is told to wait outside of the operating room. She attempts to console and comfort DeVito’s ex-wife despite having no prior experience in pregnancy or childbirth. In the midst of all of this, Frank Langella’s evil department head is made to look like a fool and loses his job at the university. I realize that at no point in this film does Arnold’s love interest seem to do any real work at the university. I guess that’s what her grad students are for.
Anyway: Junior is born. We made it. In the epilogue, we find that the love interest is now pregnant naturally, and Arnold is very supportive of her needs. It’s a touching ending. Or something like that. Whatever. It’s over! Thank fucking God.
And so we find ourselves in the aftermath. We made it, but at what cost? We’ve survived Schwarzenegger’s worst, and we will regrow into stronger people as we heal, but right now, what we need is time. We need time to deal with what we’ve seen. Already, through writing this review, I’ve engaged in an important first step in the process. Hopefully this review will be helpful to all of those still suffering from PTSD after viewing Junior at some point in their lives. We all need to heal. Together.
My God, it’s full of stars.
Babies do seem to be fascinating creatures. I saw my 9 month old niece on Christmas, and she really does seem to naturally become the center of attention wherever she happens to be. Still, there’s a major difference between seeing a baby in person and seeing one on film. Babies on film have the complete opposite effect, and make you want to run away at all costs. What I’m trying to say is that this is a mess of a film, and I didn’t even mention the chimpanzees. It’s just a complete trainwreck, and it’s every bit as bad as you anticipated. But at least I can say I watched it. That’s got to get me something, right?
Oh, whatever. By the way, I watched The Last Stand last night just to take my mind off of Junior. Well, it beats the shit out of the Everyman Trilogy, and Arnold is actually at a stage in his life where the everyman character is somewhat believable. It’s not his greatest film, but compared to Junior, it is a masterpiece.
So here’s a belated welcome back, Arnold. The Villain, here I come…