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Awfully Good: Hercules in New York


Good news for Brett Ratner and The Rock; their version of HERCULES can't be any worse than…

Hercules in New York (1969)

Director: Arthur Seidelman
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold Stang, Deborah Loomis

After pissing off his father Zeus, the mythical Hercules is sent to New York City, where he clashes with the mortals and tries to make it as a professional wrestler.

As the child of a non-native speaking immigrant, I don't usually tale pleasure in making fun of people's accents. That being said, I giggled like a schoolgirl at almost every line out of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mouth in HERCULES IN NEW YORK. The future governor's overall mannerisms and amateur attempts at acting make his debut feature memorable, but his legendary line delivery is what really makes this special. (It truly sounds like the exaggerated Arnold they used to do on Conan O’Brien.) And for the young Austrian’s performance alone, HERCULES is a must watch.

"But what I really want to do is politics!"

The film features a stupid plot built around a guy with big muscles. Hercules is a young hothead, itching to leave Mount Olympus because he's bored. He wants to go down to Earth to bang a few mortal women and see what all the fuss is about. Reluctantly, his dad Zeus lets him go, thinking he'll learn a lesson. Instead, he gets to Earth, starts dating a pretty girl and becomes a wildly successful wrestler and strongman. Seeing this in his crystal ball, Zeus decides to send down a couple of his lower-level gods to bring his son home. Eventually this leads to Hercules having his powers taken away and you can guess where it goes from there.

I have to admit; the Fat Bastard cameo was unexpected.

What’s great about this movie is that the majority of it is literally just Arnold Schwarzenegger wandering around, acting like an ass and/or beating up random people. As soon as he falls to Earth, he's rescued by some kind sailors who give him safe passage on their ship. However as soon as they ask him to help with some work, he refuses and knocks them all out. Immediately after, he takes a taxi and has no money to pay. When the driver points this out, Hercules again beats the dude up and flips over his cab out of spite. This is the hero of the movie and he acts this way the entire time, including constantly referring to himself in the third person (which will come in handy in the Drinking Game section). Schwarzenegger, going by the name “Arnold Strong” here, is so wooden you can actually hear the woodpecker going to town on his head. The dude exhibits no charisma or emotional presence whatsoever and the constantly dead expression on his face seems to be saying “Who fahhted?”

… as was the surprise appearance by Big Jim Slade.

The movie starts off as a classic of bad cinema, but unfortunately the fun slows down quite a bit in the second act, where it feels like Arnold’s character disappears for a while. (I don’t give a crap about Zeus or a homoerotic Pluto, give me more blubbering Schwarzenegger!) Still there’s plenty of absolutely ridiculous stuff that makes HERCULES IN NEW YORK worth watching. The Arnold vs. A Bear fight is famous, but my favorite part is the climactic chase, which takes place between a station wagon and a stolen chariot. You see, the chariot’s owner was busy buying a hot dog, and when he start’s running after his jacked vehicle, the hot dog vendor actually follows him the entire way because the guy forgot his sauerkraut. I don't know what drugs everyone was on in 1969, but they sure don't make them like they used to.

At that exact moment, Arnold knew that big guns would be the trademark of his cinematic career.

A few examples of Arnold's great line delivery ("You have strucked Hercules!"), plus a hilarious bit of him yelling and moaning in Zeus' crystal ball.

Arnold scares a lady on a plane, attacks a forklift, takes off his shirt and, of course, fights a dude in a bear costume

Nothing on camera, although knowing Arnold's history there was probably plenty of skin behind the scenes.

At leas it's not a tumor! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • Arnold refers to himself in the third person
  • Arnold attacks someone for no reason
Double shot if:
  • Someone on a plane is freaked out

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com



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