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C'mon Hollywood: Get Paul Verhoeven behind the camera again!

Jul. 31, 2012by: Paul Shirey

Next week sees the release of the new TOTAL RECALL, starring Colin Farrell, and while it looks like a fun time, it’s not likely to hold a torch to the blood-soaked, rollicking great time of the original.  The reason?  Paul Verhoeven. 

The Dutch director has lavished us with a number of classics, (including the aforementioned TOTAL RECALL) from the first ROBOCOP, FLESH + BLOOD, STARSHIP TROOPERS, and BASIC INSTINCT.  With an eye towards excess, gore, violence, camp, and satire, Verhoeven’s unique style was a thing of beauty.  It was something to look forward to in his heyday.  Between 1987 and 1997, Verhoeven laid out a string of memorable pics, many of which are revered as classics.  Even Verhoeven’s worst films have a distinct nostalgia, his style and superfluity rising above an otherwise lackluster film (see: SHOWGIRLS). 

ROBOCOP set the stage for Verhoeven’s foothold, giving us a hyper violent, gorefest of sci-fi satire that announced the director’s place in the market with a bang.  Who can forget the scene where Murphy is reduced to a bloody pulp?  Or the first ED-209 sequence?  The shoot-out at the steel mill?  It’s a quotable mash-up of greatness from start to finish, one that still holds up today (and yet another of his films to be remade within the next year).

TOTAL RECALL was an even more ambitious project for Verhoeven, with an elevated budget and more ambitious story.  The director tackled the film with his excessive style, casting Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lead of what would become yet another highly quotable sci-fi classic.  Afterwards, Verhoeven jumped into the erotic thriller business with the Michael Douglas/Sharon Stone starrer, BASIC INSTINCT.  The film generated a lot of steam for it’s graphic depiction of sex and violence, which was consistent with Verhoeven’s sensibilities.  It made a star out of Stone, mostly for that renowned “vag flash” and was one of the biggest films of the ‘90’s.

The director then reteamed with BASIC INSTINCT scripter Joe Eszterhas on the NC-17 rated SHOWGIRLS, a film that flopped at the box office, but has since become a cult classic.  Starring former Saved By The Bell alum Elizabeth Berkley, the film is a mess of excess, but a total riot (and great for drinking games).  It may not be Verhoeven’s best, but it’s still his.  He followed SHOWGIRLS with another jaunt in the sci-fi genre with an adaptation of the Robert A. Heinlein classic, STARSHIP TROOPERS.  Starring Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards, the film was a return to form of sorts for Verhoeven and a welcome return to the blood-and-gore action he was so well known for.  The film didn’t fare so well at the box office, but like SHOWGIRLS, found new life on the shelf as an esteemed masterwork.

HOLLOW MAN, starring Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Shue, was the director’s next outing and was a decent hit for the director.  Although not as strong in the gore and violence quotient as we’d come accustomed to, it was still an eerie romp, which is also notable for one of the best topless scenes of all time, featuring the lovely Rhona Mitra.  In the end, it’s still a solid Verhoeven flick, just not at the top of the pile. 

And then, Verhoeven disappeared.  He went back to the Netherland’s and didn’t reemerge onto the filmmaking scene again until 2006, when he premiered his foreign language pic, BLACK BOOK.  Starring Carice Van Houten (Melisandre on HBO’s Game of Thrones), the film was a fairly engaging thriller almost completely devoid of the director’s usual signature style.  While an effective film, it was almost unrecognizable as a Verhoeven movie.  It won many prestigious awards and sent the filmmaker off into the celluloid sunset, where he’s been absent since.

In his seclusion there have been a number of projects linked to his name, including another Dutch war film called HIDDEN FORCE, and most recently an adaptation of his own novel, JESUS OF NAZARETH.  At 74 years old (yes, seriously), the director may have said all he has to say about sci-fi satire and excessive sexuality, but I think he’s got at least one more in him.  With so many veteran directors still knocking out awesome work (Clint Eastwood and Ridley Scott, to name a few), I think it’s time for Verhoeven to come out of hiding and hit us with one more classic, a grand opus to put a cherry on top of a tremendous career.

With Arnold Schwarzenegger jumping back into film, perhaps the TOTAL RECALL duo could reunite to make the long-awaited Crusades pic that almost came to be in the ‘90’s (sets built, cast assembled, and CUTTHROAT ISLAND bankrupted the studio).  Widely revered as one of the best, unproduced screenplays of all time, perhaps now could be the time to bring the historical epic to life. 

Regardless of whether Verhoeven returns to any of his signature genres or not, he’s left us with an outstanding resume of films to enjoy for years to come, but wouldn’t it be amazing if he decided to get back in the saddle and take one last ride into the sunset and leave us with a film that’s worthy of his legacy? 

Extra Tidbit: What would you like to see Verhoeven do next? Give me your ideal genre and cast. I'm partial to the Crusade pic happening with Arnold.
Source: JoBlo.com

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+8
12:49AM on 07/31/2012
If he were to do anything, I'd like him to do the often teased, but never green-lit, Sgt. Rock with Ahnuld. Not only do I think it would be fun, but I think it might be another hit outside of Batman that has eluded DC comics so far.
If he were to do anything, I'd like him to do the often teased, but never green-lit, Sgt. Rock with Ahnuld. Not only do I think it would be fun, but I think it might be another hit outside of Batman that has eluded DC comics so far.
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2:21AM on 07/31/2012
I would actually love to see how he would handle a true comic book movie. He did a good job with Starship Troopers.
I would actually love to see how he would handle a true comic book movie. He did a good job with Starship Troopers.
+13
12:55AM on 07/31/2012
For my money, he's created 3 of the funnest, coolest sci-fi action flicks from the past 30 years...c'mon Paul, give us 1-2 more....we need you man!!
For my money, he's created 3 of the funnest, coolest sci-fi action flicks from the past 30 years...c'mon Paul, give us 1-2 more....we need you man!!
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6:40PM on 07/31/2012
Totally agree. I can't think of anything that's matched Robocop, Total Recall, or Starship Troopers. Most of the stuff that's come out since either takes itself too seriously or gets slapped with a PG-13...or both. Verhoeven has the balls to do it his way...and that's what I want more of.
Totally agree. I can't think of anything that's matched Robocop, Total Recall, or Starship Troopers. Most of the stuff that's come out since either takes itself too seriously or gets slapped with a PG-13...or both. Verhoeven has the balls to do it his way...and that's what I want more of.
2:18AM on 07/31/2012
Agreed i can't believe it's been over 10 years since he made a film. He has made some of the best & worst cult movies ever. Robocop is awesome, Total Recall is awesome, Showgirls is the best worst movie ever made. Basic Instinct is a great thriller. Starship Troopers is an unintentionally hilarious gorefest that has NPH. Hollow Man is a creepy fun flick. A very underappreciated director in my eyes that needs a comeback bad. Finally a good C'Mon Hollywood article.
Agreed i can't believe it's been over 10 years since he made a film. He has made some of the best & worst cult movies ever. Robocop is awesome, Total Recall is awesome, Showgirls is the best worst movie ever made. Basic Instinct is a great thriller. Starship Troopers is an unintentionally hilarious gorefest that has NPH. Hollow Man is a creepy fun flick. A very underappreciated director in my eyes that needs a comeback bad. Finally a good C'Mon Hollywood article.
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2:46AM on 07/31/2012
Agreed. He is long overdue for a comeback. While my first thought is for him to give us another R-rated balls-to-the-walls sci-fi flick, I'd also like to see him go full-on horror. Let's face it, you can see bits and pieces of his horror potential in his previous work.
Agreed. He is long overdue for a comeback. While my first thought is for him to give us another R-rated balls-to-the-walls sci-fi flick, I'd also like to see him go full-on horror. Let's face it, you can see bits and pieces of his horror potential in his previous work.
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2:49AM on 07/31/2012
His classics are hard to beat and if you watch any behind the scenes work, he was clearly having fun shooting them. Hollywood, get on the phone, throw $100M at the guy and let him run free.
His classics are hard to beat and if you watch any behind the scenes work, he was clearly having fun shooting them. Hollywood, get on the phone, throw $100M at the guy and let him run free.
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2:49AM on 07/31/2012
His classics are hard to beat and if you watch any behind the scenes work, he was clearly having fun shooting them. Hollywood, get on the phone, throw $100M at the guy and let him run free.
His classics are hard to beat and if you watch any behind the scenes work, he was clearly having fun shooting them. Hollywood, get on the phone, throw $100M at the guy and let him run free.
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5:45AM on 07/31/2012

a comeback is certainly due

The man's record of awesomeness speaks for its for itself and its kinda difficult top that though that doesn't mean it can't be done and since comic-book heroes are all the rage, the project I can see him handle (which combines old school action) is The Punisher:2099 [link]Jake_Gallows) which I think would fit into his style of sci-fi, gore, violence, ass-kicking chicks, very nicely.

My choice for The Punisher would be someone like Charlie Hunnam and Chace Crawford as Miguel O' Hara
The man's record of awesomeness speaks for its for itself and its kinda difficult top that though that doesn't mean it can't be done and since comic-book heroes are all the rage, the project I can see him handle (which combines old school action) is The Punisher:2099 [link]Jake_Gallows) which I think would fit into his style of sci-fi, gore, violence, ass-kicking chicks, very nicely.

My choice for The Punisher would be someone like Charlie Hunnam and Chace Crawford as Miguel O' Hara (awkward I know - like the other guys) who later becomes Spiderman probably in a separate movie.
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5:59AM on 07/31/2012
Amen! I'm also a fan of the batshit crazy 'Turkish Delight' and 'Soldier of Orange' (both starring Rutger Hauer!). I loved Black Book, and Paul it did contain a signature "vag flash" from the lovely Van Houten.
Amen! I'm also a fan of the batshit crazy 'Turkish Delight' and 'Soldier of Orange' (both starring Rutger Hauer!). I loved Black Book, and Paul it did contain a signature "vag flash" from the lovely Van Houten.
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6:41PM on 07/31/2012
I've only seen Black Book once and wasn't all that impressed. Perhaps it's due another day in court. I also haven't seen Soldier of Orange, which I will remedy immediately. I love Flesh + Blood as well, which really makes me hunger for him to do that Crusade pic with Arnold. Man...it would be so damn awesome.
I've only seen Black Book once and wasn't all that impressed. Perhaps it's due another day in court. I also haven't seen Soldier of Orange, which I will remedy immediately. I love Flesh + Blood as well, which really makes me hunger for him to do that Crusade pic with Arnold. Man...it would be so damn awesome.
8:11AM on 07/31/2012
I wish he could do more thrillers in the vein of Basic Instinct.
I wish he could do more thrillers in the vein of Basic Instinct.
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8:16AM on 07/31/2012
You gotta love the ultraviolent sci-fi he made in the 80s and 90s, and some directors seem intent on recapturing that vibe at the moment, but I guess Verhoeven is kind of unique and perhaps of his time. Would be a shame to think that time had passed completely.
You gotta love the ultraviolent sci-fi he made in the 80s and 90s, and some directors seem intent on recapturing that vibe at the moment, but I guess Verhoeven is kind of unique and perhaps of his time. Would be a shame to think that time had passed completely.
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9:51AM on 07/31/2012
I'd buy that for a dollar!
I'd buy that for a dollar!
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+6
5:24PM on 07/31/2012
I love Verhoeven, I'd love to see him pump out two to three more movies over the next decade.
I love Verhoeven, I'd love to see him pump out two to three more movies over the next decade.
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8:01PM on 07/31/2012
Then lets get Fred Dekker behind the camera again..
Then lets get Fred Dekker behind the camera again..
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+2
6:13AM on 08/01/2012

Paul Verhoeven and John McTiernan

These guys don't get enough credit
These guys don't get enough credit
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