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Fun with Franchises: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Part I — “I Like Stalactites”

We continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series. This week’s film is Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Fun with Franchises is a series born out of my friend Colin and I realizing how much fun it was for the two of us to watch the same movie separately and then share our reactions. We started by watching all of the James Bond movies, for the purposes of ranking them for the blog. I brought him in because he was much more of a Bond expert than I was at the time, and I felt his perspective would liven things up. He would be the color commentator to my play-by-play man.

We soon discovered that, by watching the movies separately and then putting everything we said together in the same place, hilarity ensued. We each brought in our own observations, not knowing what the other would say, and then reacted to what the other said. And we loved every minute of it.

We had so much fun, we figured we had to do it again. So we graduated from a single franchise, to all franchises. If you’re gonna have fun with franchises, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t franchise it. Season 1 included the Harry Potter movies, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Twilight (which neither of us had seen before we watched them for the articles) and Pirates of the Caribbean. All of those articles can be read on the Fun with Franchises page.

Also, just so we’re clear, this is all for parody. We’re just messing with them because we love them. (Well… Twilight…) We’re watching movies we enjoy and are simply having some fun with them.

Right now, we’re doing the Indiana Jones franchise, and today is the first part of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Title Card

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I wish the music could just be playing right now, over this. That’s really the only proper introduction to this franchise.

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Aw shit, son. The logo just turned into a mountain.

Brilliant. That’s how you know Spielberg is having fun with this.

Colin:

It’s a Paramountain.

We’re about to be Paramounted by greatness.

Colin:

And Lucasfilm. George Lucas can fuck up just about anything, but check this out. In 1980, he wrote the stories to two movies: The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I will contend that when Lucas puts his mind to something and has talented people around to help him focus the story, he can make amazing shit. Directing, not so much, but when he has ideas, things can (CAN) go really well.

And they can be Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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I also like how they don’t start with the music. It’s pretty low key. We’re just in this jungle.

Which reminds me… you guys remember the board game Forbidden Bridge? I used to fucking love that game when I was young. Not so much for the gameplay, just the idea. Probably for the same reasons why Legends of the Hidden Temple is the greatest game show of all time.

Also, man, while we’re at it… remember It from the Pit? Man, the 90s were great.

Oh man, this jingle.

As an Italian, this one was always stuck in my head.

Colin:

Were you not Puerto Rican? I can never keep track.

There are few who can.

Also not gonna lie… played this one a few times.

But seriously, though.

Man, that was a nice trip down memory lane. And we haven’t even started the movie yet.

But it’s appropriate, since what those links are to my childhood, this movie is to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s childhoods. This is that nostalgia.

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Colin:

I have no use for jungle treks. There are a lot of jungle treks in franchises, and they all look unappealing to me. Ever see the rain forest episode of Planet Earth? It’s fucking bugs and steam and spider webs and fungus and all the things you don’t want. Every time I print something single-sided, I think about how that’s one little bit less rain forest in Brazil to be gross.

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Alfred Molina!

Colin:

Doc Oc. Japan loved Spider-Man 2.

I’m gonna come right out and say it — he looks like a caveman.

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Setting up atmosphere in the jungle.

This is a legitimate place with real things.

As opposed to a particular entry in the franchise, where location doesn’t matter and it’s all about the sequence.

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METAL OLMEC!

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Oh no. Bats.

At least it’s not bees.

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And he’s just like, “Fuck you, bats.”

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Colin:

People used to be superstitious. What’s worse is how many still are.

A lot of them gather together one day a week to talk about it.

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Is that a lamp shade around the top of his hat?

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I love that we have no idea what the fuck is going on right now.

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What were they shooting at?

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Love how he doesn’t care to explain shit to anybody.

That’ll change.

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“The Hovitos are near.”

AWW, SHIT!

“The poison is fresh. Three days. They’re following us.”

Colin:

Do you really know what poison tastes like after three days?

Do you not?

Colin:

I don’t know what BREAD tastes like after three days. The same thing happened with Gimli and the orc blood.

If I had a nickel….

Colin:

None of this makes sense. So there’s a random dart stuck in the tree. Why? You find something that’s been there for three days and you’re just getting here for the first time, so why would that mean they’re following you? That’s not how following works.

That’s Not How Following Works.

“If they knew we were here, they would have killed us already.”

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Oh, we’re in South America, in 1936. They waited to tell us this. And I like it.

Colin:

Who wants to be in South America in 1936 [or ever]?

Well… Brazil. Brazilian chicks are… fun.

But otherwise, yeah.

That’s why in Twilight they went on their honeymoon and hid out there. Because who the fuck would wanna go there to look for them?

Colin:

Movie titles with years always make me think of what was going on at the time elsewhere in the world. Particularly in relation to other movie characters’ personal histories. So in 1936, the Spanish Civil War began, so I see this title and think about how as Indiana Jones is doing this shit, Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine is off fighting against Franco in Spain. It’s weird because even though it’s the same universe, those things don’t feel compatible.

I think about the fact that Indiana Jones the character probably dies before Harrison Ford has a film career.

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That water doesn’t look clean.

That’s that African Queen water.

That’s why you only bring the finest spirits aboard to drink.

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“Bro, you got the map?”

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Pretty shitty map.

Colin:

They do a good job of not showing him at all and building the mystique, although it seems funny once you get to see what a buffoon he can be.

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Did you not know he had the map? Were you waiting for it to come out so you could kill him? This makes no sense, but it’s great, because we get to see him whip whip him.

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No one really does this anymore. Holds a character back. We usually see them doing something dumb right off the bat. And then are given their full name.

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Colin:

WHIP YOUR ASS! That was more than enough time for him to shoot. Shit gets weird with like 3 cuts to different parts of the action.

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Well that gun’s no good.

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Are you gonna punch him, or are you cowering?

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Great introduction.

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I also love that he hasn’t said a word yet.

Apparently Sam Neill was almost offered this part. But he got a nice consolation prize. Not as iconic as Indy, but he got to fuck with dinosaurs.

He never got to see Indiana OR Montana.

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He looks like he’s mentally retarded.

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So, wait… they were just standing at that bank, and then the map told them to go right behind them where the obvious cave entrance is?

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This intro has been nothing but ambiance and John Williams score. When was the last time you heard a score like this, actually taking center stage for a movie?

Actually, when’s the last time you saw a mainstream action movie with an iconic score?

(NOT an iconic character motif. You couldn’t pick The Dark Knight score out of a hat outside of that two note Batman motif they put in it. I’m talking a score like this. Or Star Wars. No one does it anymore.)

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Ha ha. His job is to carry everyone’s shit.

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“This is it.”

Colin:

Aw, Michael Jackson’s dead.

Subtitle.

Is he collecting dirt like Tom Sizemore?

“This is where Forrestal cashed in.”

“A friend of yours?”

“A competitor. He was good. He was very, very good.”

Colin:

I want people to say that about me, just not as past-tensey.

The past tense is all I want. Especially now.

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“Senor, nobody has come out of there alive. Please.”

How do you know they haven’t?

Also, why did you want the map so bad if you knew where he was going?

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Does that make Molina Samwise in this scenario?

Colin:

Spider webs like that? This is some Shelob shit. I’m already out. In fact, I’m still back in the hotel looking for the, um, stationary.

This is South America in 1936. Pretty sure those spiderwebs are at the hotel too.

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Also, before we get to them… weird how so many ancient ruins had booby traps.

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I like stalactites.

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“Senor…”

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Oh. Spiders.

Somehow gone unnoticed.

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“Hmm…”

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Just brushes them motherfuckers off.

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How do you get so many of them on you and not notice?

Colin:

Fucking tarantulas. You have to do this, don’t you? Just tarantulas everywhere? Baby Aragog motherfuckers. And Molina is covered in them so comically it’s absurd. Like someone just dipped him in tarantulas.

Band name: Baby Aragog Motherfuckers

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For fucks’ sake, Molina, get your shit together.

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Why does it look like one of the tarantulas is jerking him off?

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Funny thing about spiders. Once you brush them off they just go away.

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Also funny how those tarantulas were only in that part of the cave and nowhere else.

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“Stop. Stay out of the light.”

How could you possibly know that?

Is this a regular thing?

What level of a booby trap is this?

Level 2, level 3?

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I can hear him breathing right now.

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Now, if you know there’s a booby trap that’s activated by light, why would you stick your hand in the light on purpose?

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The real booby trap would have something come up from the floor and shoot you in the ass.

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Colin:

How would they rig that trap to be triggered by LIGHT? Wouldn’t it trigger at night when it was dark? And how would that work, anyway? This ancient, South American tribal people had laser technology? Photons and diodes and shit? What? How do you make a light sensor out of ROCKS? What is this Flintstones shit?

How did that get reset? Why did they not remove the body after last time?

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That’s that moment you scream like a bitch and catch yourself too late.

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“Forrestal.”

Remember when movies made bodies for situations like this?

You don’t see that anymore. People coming across bodies.

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We’ve all been there.

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That’s gonna be him one day.

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That looks stable.

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My question here is — was this idol meant to be hidden from everyone? Or were they supposed to be able to get to it so they could pray to it? Because if you really don’t want anyone to get to it, just… make that pit longer.

Also, how did they make that pit?

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Colin:

Molina couldn’t possibly have a shirt any shittier than this.

That’s Die Hard level dirty, right there.

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Can’t you just go around the side? There’s enough room to shimmy, isn’t there?

Or… bring boards.

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Don’t see that much.

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Why’d you bring him with you, anyway?

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I can’t tell if he’s judging him or not. Because swinging from a vine held up by a loosely holding tree branch over a giant pit is not something you can fuck up. You either live or you don’t.

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Is that thing worth money? Steal that.

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His clothes are immaculate. This is why you have people.

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Colin:

The Force would be really nice to have right now.

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Well that looks too easy.

“We must hurry. There is nothing to fear here.”

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“Goddamnit, hold the fuck on, buddy.”

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“That’s what scares me.”

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Why are you testing the booby traps?

What if a giant dinosaur popped out and pulled you under?

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Why is that also expelling air? What kind of compression expulsion system did you guys have back in the day? Amazing that you knew all about physics, yet prayed to a gold idol.

Colin:

For all their engineering genius, these people sure lasted a long time. Oh right, probably religion. Human sacrifice and shit. We like to say they were a peace-loving, innocent people and that they got massacred by European invaders, but you have to remember that most of those South American cultures had mass human sacrifice.

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“You were saying, motherfucker?”

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“Stay here.”

“If you insist, senor.”

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I mean, that’s not the hardest path to have to cross.

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Why don’t you use the whip to grab the idol and run?

Because the key here isn’t the taking of the idol, it’s the getting out of there quickly. He hands around for like fifteen seconds before that boulder shows up.

That’s why, in cases like this, you have to be a screenwalker. Grab the idol and run. None of that measuring bullshit. You can make it across that floor without being arrowed before that boulder even drops.

Screenwalker 101. Lesson 2: You Got This.

The key is to act and then figure it out later.

I feel like Indy would be good at this.

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Why are you carrying an unlit torch? You don’t need it.

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He’s just standing there as the cheer section.

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Why does that idol look like he’s desperately trying to hold in diarrhea?

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What kind of elaborate string system is underneath that ground that triggers the poison darts?

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Ay yo idol, let me holla at you.

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Screenwalker does not understand your hesitation.

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This face.

This is high acting.

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This is basically what the black sidekick role in movies amounts to most of the time.

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I like how had a bag of sand on him for just such an occasion. And how he somehow knew exactly what the weight was going to be beforehand.

“Oh… that other dude died here. Let me collect some sand just in case I need it to balance the weight later.”

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Just take it and peace. SNATCH AND RUN, Y’ALL!

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Yeah, sure, like you can sight measure that. Guessing jelly beans and shit.

Colin:

That doesn’t seem like enough sand. Gold is heavy.

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Reaction shots are the key to comedy.

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Shame they cut out the laser dancing sequence.

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What exactly is your purpose on this trip?

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Right there, you fucked up.

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Colin:

How did it not start moving immediately? Fuck it.

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“You did it, Gilbert!”

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“Yeah, I got nervous for a second, but I didn’t need to be. I’m a baller.”

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Peace!

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Yeah, now you run. You don’t look to see what it is, you just run.

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What kind of fucking security system is this? You realize that if that idol so much as fell over on its own, that boulder was gonna come down and destroy it and everyone in the temple.

This is really poor security system design.

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Colin:

Why the FUCK does this shit keep fallin’?!

I will say, ancient civilizations in these movies really don’t get enough credit for creating early forms of home security.

That’s my favorite part of all of these movies. The elaborate home security systems of ancient peoples.

Who knew that they would anticipate what would happen if, hundreds of years later, a ten year old boy would be trapped in the house when burglars came in on Christmas?

Colin:

Mayacauly Culkin?

I feel like it should also be mentioned that conquistador is one of my favorite words of all time.

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Peace!

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And now you get shot with poison darts.

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Sure, doesn’t get stabbed at all there.

Also, presumably these things are dipped with poison, right? Otherwise, they’re not as dangerous, seemingly. So how long before poison wears off? I mean, this has to be a few hundred years old. Does poison just sit for that long? How does poison work? I guess I need to check with the astronomy majors to find out.

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^ ^ ^ ^ ^

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You could really only get away with this in South America.

Colin:

…said Mike, referring to most things.

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Wow, that took two swings too many to happen.

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And the door is closing. Because we needed another obstacle.

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There was a beam of light back there. You’re not trapped.

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“Give me the whip.”

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“Throw me the idol.”

What? Why is that a good deal? Just say, “Fuck you. Throw me the whip or we both die and get nothing.”

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“No time to argue. Throw me the idol, I throw you the whip.”

Colin:

This guy’s a major dick. “No time to argue?” What is this trade all about? I would throw it past him and make the jump anyway.

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This sets up his love of artifacts, that he’s not willing to let them be lost or destroyed.

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“Give me the whip!”

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Why would he give you the whip now?

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“Adios, senor.”

Well that’s a shitty thing to do. He stopped you from being killed like three times already.

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There’s a beam of light right there. 10 says he forget about it.

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Free your mind.

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Tally ho!

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There are vines there. You could always climb back up. I guess.

Colin:

This is one of those Resident Evil button mashing moments. Which, why the hell are there button mashing moments built into anything? It’s stupid. Just let me hold down the button and then test how fast I can react to a prompt to change to another button or something. I hate button mashing.

I don’t go in for much button mashing either. I prefer them lumpy.

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Action in a single image.

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Not to nitpick, but… never gonna happen at that speed. But go on.

Colin:

This door also closes pretty slowly. I thought it would just slam down REAL fast the second the trap got triggered.

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Maybe move.

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Maybe if he didn’t just lose his grip like he did. Now, no way.

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This face.

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That would have been my gag. If I were contributing to the booby traps.

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This face.

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No way he makes it. No goddamn way.

Also, it’s stone. It’s not like you couldn’t break through in time. I mean, sure, you’re on a deadline, and a giant fucking boulder is about to come your way. But still… let’s not pretend this is something that can’t be done.

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He’s making some great faces.

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Nope. Would have closed by now.

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Man, ain’t editing great? Moved that thing up like twelve inches.

Also, convenient whip placement.

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All right. Next obstacle…

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Hey, buddy.

How do you forget a booby trap?

Colin:

Yeah, fuck you. I wouldn’t have stolen that shit from him, cause I clearly don’t know how to get out of here alive.

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Oh well.

“Adios, Satipo.”

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I wonder about the guys who had to roll that fucking thing up there.

Colin:

What was the timing on this? There was no other trigger that got set off, so this is just part of the mechanism, right? Why now? Is the idea that they either got locked inside the thing or will be ahead of this? Cause it rolls out the door, I think, meaning that if he doubled back and stayed behind this thing, he could let it clear his path and get out safely.

This is a Rube Goldberg machine of inconsistency.

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And the guys who made it. Because someone had to shave that fucking thing down to be all smooth and rollable like that.

Colin:

That is a surprisingly spherical boulder.

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Not to mention, how was that not triggered at any point before this?

Or even now.

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There’s light coming from over there. Couldn’t you just have jumped out?

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Or hop up on the side over there?

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Doesn’t work like that. You’re dead.

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This is iconic, though.

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Spiderwebs! My only weakness!

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This is a great shot.

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That’s a fucking dive.

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How does the boulder not follow him out?

Also, how does it get put back?

Colin:

Does it not follow him out? Was there no way out other than ahead of it? Where was all the light coming from?

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Really? Those fucking things are gonna do any damage?

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“Uhh… parlay?”

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Colin:

Ah yes. Brown people. Ruiners of stuff.

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That could be Samuel L. Jackson.

Year is about right.

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This asshole.

Colin:

For this second, are we supposed to assume that he betrayed Jones? Like he brought them to this place to double-cross him? 

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Well that seems excessive.

Colin:

That’s too many darts. Weren’t they poisoned? Did you prop him up this whole time, just waiting for him to come out? Did you bring him here and THEN shoot him so you could do this dramatic moment, or did you shoot him elsewhere and then carry him up here so you could prop him up in time for Jones to come out of the cave?

I also like how these people don’t care that they might have families.

Colin:

Everyone has a family. Movie lives are cheap as hell. Think of all those soldiers at the beginning of Goldeneye. Every one of them with a mom and a dad and a babushka or two.

Two questions: Is a babushka like a mohaska? And can we have Sean Connery say those two words over and over?

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“Dr. Jones.”

What’s in his pant leg? The script?

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“Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.”

This is the guy who played Ivan Ooze in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. Just FYI.

Colin:

Sounds more like a PSA.

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“And you thought I’d given up.”

Why would he think that?

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They know what guns are?

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“Don’t make me pistol whip you.”

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Colin:

This is the most fun they can ever have on a Saturday. I bet an exciting weekend for this tribe is waiting for someone to die and then burying them.

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“You chose the wrong friends. This time it will cost you.”

Nobody really betrayed him.

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I hate stealing from a man covered in spider webs.

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“Too bad the hovitos don’t know you the way I do, Belloq.”

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“Yes, too bad. You could warn them. If only you spoke hovitos.”

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So, couldn’t he have done that? Or does he need the language to make it work?

Colin:

Listen to him, speaking in tongues. And the religious folk fall down on their knees at this statue of an ugly dude.

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PEACE!

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Colin:

I’ve always loved this sound he makes. It’s very tribal, and yet it’s universally understandable as, “Go fuck him up.”

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He takes like two steps forward and then is like, “Ah, fuck it, I’ve won here.”

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Indigenous peoples are so easy to control.

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Evil laughs are always welcome.

Colin:

You laugh like a maniac, Ivan Ooze.

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I also like when they echo through jungles.

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Nice to let us know we’re back where we started… in the middle of the fucking jungle.

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What if he just ran out and we were just in the middle of Central Park?

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Sure, don’t get on the horse. Why would you do that?

Colin:

Looks more like a South American donkey. I’m sure someone like Jones considers an animal like that burro him.

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Wow… you sure don’t belong here.

Why didn’t they kill this guy earlier?

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Inopportune moment to get a bite.

Colin:

How is this fuck’s foot in the water? How about just asking for all the disgusting parasites to get inside you while prepping your toes for all the carnivorous fish right there.

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How likely is that to be a crocodile?

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The amount of times this was copied.

Coli:

Awww, cannibullshit.

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Why aren’t they firing arrows at him? Pull some Platoon shit.

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That looks like if Dustin Hoffman were given an Arliss Howard mask to put on.

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“Jock! Start the engine! Get it up!”

His name is Jock? Is he Scottish?

Colin:

What’s with that tree? Looks like someone buried an erect Adrian Brody upside down to the waist.

Have you guys seen The Pianist?

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Yeah, sure, Jock, worry about that fish when you could be dead.

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Air pirates.

Colin:

Here’s what confuses me. This guy is not at all affiliated with him, right? Cause they’ve been trekking for days and had a burro and multiple people, and this is RIGHT there, and only two seats. So it can’t be his ride out of here. But then why the fuck is there a random white guy with a sea plane who just happens to be RIGHT HERE? It would seem more logical that he was working for Ivan. By the way, I’m calling Belloq “Ivan.”

But he knows his name (I just looked it up, and apparently it’s “Jock.” I thought it was “Chuck” for my entire life, and thought he was only calling him that cause that’s a name people used to use like “buddy.”). How can they have been on this long-ass trek if the plane was waiting RIGHT THERE the whole time, less than 5 minutes away from the cave?

Seems he was either counting on the other two fucking him over or he was gonna fuck over them.

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How did Jock hear him? He’s not close.

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Just what I needed to see… native ass.

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And look… more lembas bread.

Where’s a deer when you need one?

Colin:

They all have the same haircut as Andy Dick as the blowjob instructor in Old School. Just sayin’.

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That’s one interesting looking engine right there.

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I like old timey planes starting. One of my favorite silent movies is Aeroplane Flight and Wreck. It was meant to just be flight, but the plane crashed while they were filming, and they went with it. They show the whole process. It’s like three minutes long. They pull the plane out, they have to start the propeller. It’s great. (I also talked about it during my Pictorial History of the Movies feature I did last year. I rarely self-promote, but I will for silent movies. Get educated. They’re worth it.)

By the way, I’m that person. I’m the one who sits you down and shows you silent movies and talks about how awesome they are, and you have to sit there and humor me and pretend like you’re really interested and that I’m teaching you a lot. The way a parent pretends to listen when a kid talks about their Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

Only Colin will find this interesting. I actually sat down once and showed Maryann The Sealed Room. And I sat there, showed it to her for like ten minutes, and explained why it was more suspenseful and told a better story than most thrillers that come out nowadays. For everyone else — the reason that story is meaningful is because this is a woman who didn’t see Star Wars until into her 20s.

Colin:

And this is why I don’t listen to people like that talk about stuff. People who haven’t seen movies. You can tell me that you thought Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I had better effects than you think I give it credit for, but ultimately, I might as well be listening to a duck’s thoughts on stale bread. Sure YOU like it, you just finished swimming in a shitty pond. 

What were we talking about? Oh yeah, silent movies are great.

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Yeah, I’m sure you had enough footing to make that jump.

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Many tally hos so far. I am pleased.

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I find it suspect that there are so many swingable vines in the jungle, though.

Colin:

Conveniently placed vine that was strong enough to hold him.

Where’s the Tarzan yell?

Colin:

The year’s about right. But see? No Tarzan yell and no monkeys. This movie does things right.

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Not quite the Raiders march, but we’re getting there.

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You could have just jumped. That wasn’t very far of a swing.

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Norman, the loons!

Colin:

Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes. 

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Sure, now you shoot at him.

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He looks like the guy from I Know What You Did Last Summer.

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I hate it when that happens.

(P.S. Their motto is Apocalypse Now.)

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Colin:

You can see from the bank as he’s getting onto the pontoon that the plane’s callsign is OB-CPO, which stands for Obi Wan and C3PO, of course.

Oh. I thought it meant Obstetrician-Certified Pre-Owned.

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People getting into vehicles as they are taking off is always exciting.

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Colin:

I used to be really into planes, and I looked up this particular one when I was a kid. It’s a WACO UBF-2, which is a GREAT plane for this movie. Exactly right for the time period, and not a Stearman, which is in every movie.

So what happens now? Do the natives go back to where Belloq was to be like, “We fucked up, he got away,” and realize that Belloq stole their idol? Are they pissed? Are they relieved? I always get the sense that people pray to these things because they fear their vengeance. So if it’s gone, does that make it easier on them? Or does Belloq just have them all killed? I feel like that’s not his style. He just takes the idol and peaces, and now the natives kill every white person that comes along from here on out.

Colin:

Angry Natives and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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“There’s a big snake in the plane, Jock!”

Did you not notice that before?

I mean, sure, I’ll give you somewhat of a pass because you had to avoid being shot, but what about all those niggas waiting outside with guns did that thing not freak out when you hopped in? Did you not notice, “Wow, the floor of this plane is moving”?

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“Oh, that’s just my pet snake Reggie.”

Weird how you named your snake after a guy who’d be playing for the Yankees around 1981.

Colin:

I always thought it was weird how these planes put the pilot in the back seat and the passenger up front. This plane doesn’t even seat him much higher than the front seat, like a two-seat attack helicopter does, either.

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“I hate snakes, Jock! I hate ‘em!”

Colin:

Who actually shakes a fist while saying they hate something?

He’s gonna make a great crotchity old guy in forty years.

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“Come on, show a little backbone, will ya?”

The joke being that he just braved all of that and is afraid of a snake.

Colin:

And that every bone in a snake’s body other than the skull is a backbone.

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Meanwhile, at Yale…

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A nice period car for Colin to talk about.

Colin:

Damn, they got the cars right, though. Lucas knows cars pretty well. 1936 Dodge (THIS IS A DODGE!).

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Well isn’t that a nice tie-in to the previous franchise?

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Colin:

What’s that supposed to be? He doesn’t know how to spell? Guy’s got a PhD.

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He’s a teacher.

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And the ladies love him.

They call him LL Cool Jones.

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That student is like, 30.

Colin:

Are we to believe that all these girls are into field archaeology? Women in the 30s were taking archaeology classes in these numbers? He must be teaching one of those intro classes that covers your general education requirement. “ARCH 108: Archaeology for Future Stenographers”

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Denholm Elliott, baby.

Colin:

Look at that knock-kneed ass skeleton.

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Motherfucker just walks in. Just lets the door slam open. Dean don’t give a fuck.

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I like that. “Go on…”

Colin:

Yeah, get a look at that bitch, Marcus.

Is that a windup bell over there? Is that how they knew class was over in the 30s?

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He goes on about some local legend. A golden coffin buried at the site.

Colin:

This is one of those great character-building scenes that some franchises do well. This is also the difference between franchises like Harry Potter or Star Wars, where the characters begin totally uninitiated in whatever universe they belong to and the mode of action they’re required to partake in, and franchises like James Bond and Indiana Jones, where the story begins with a badass who then does something ESPECIALLY badass. Bond doesn’t really have the duality represented here, though. Archaeologists look nerdy and bookish, so he plays it that way in the classroom, when we know he’s actually a whip-toting swashbuckler.

And he doesn’t believe in folklore. This is like in Last Crusade, when he tells them that X never marks the spot, and then it does later on. They set up this conflict between how he teaches and how he acts in the field, and we get to watch as he shits all over his own lessons.

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Colin:

She’s not that good looking.

She’s better than the one in the back. Who looks like Kyra Sedgwick with a Sandra Bernhard nose, if played by a drag queen.

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Subtle. And not creepy at all.

Colin:

Who does this? Wouldn’t her friends see when she was talking to them? Did she write in pen on her own eyeballs? Weren’t those the days of fountain pens? I’m so baffled by this little stunt. And then what does she expect to happen? You had to be careful back in 1936, cause he could call her to office hours and ask, “So…you ready to knock this out?” And she could go along with it, but she could also be offended and want a serious relationship and sex after marriage. Which…no.

“I’m sorry, I can’t have sex with anyone wearing that sweater.”

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Colin:

Sorry, I just read that word on the left of the board as “Turducken.” Which kinda sounds like something an ancient civilization would have invented.

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Colin:

Bond wouldn’t react this way. Maybe Roger Moore would do a little double take (or they would let the pigeon do it), but Connery would just smile to himself and then fuck her later. Ford is stunned.

Ford likes his women like he likes his cave floors: loose, and ready to be pilfered at a moment’s notice.

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I like how college has a bell. Classes end whenever the professor wants them to end.

“Don’t forget, Michaelson, Chapters 4 and 5 for next time.”

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What’s with that face, Marcus?

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What’s with that guy? Just surreptitiously leaves an apple on the desk.

Colin:

Who brings an apple for their professor? Was that an actual thing? And why was it like 50 girls and this ONE guy at the end with the apple? Why would you bring an apple? Did he bring it and decide not to eat it himself? And Jones is like, “Well, I wanted a cookie, but I guess I’ll have to eat this piece of shit.”

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Badly too, I might add. Denholm Elliott has to go catch that sumbitch before it falls. Even Ford has to break character because of it.

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“I had it, Marcus. I had it in my hand.”

Like that apple.

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And he pockets the apple. Nice.

Marcus doesn’t want to hear about what happened with Belloq. “I’m sure everything you do for the museum conforms to the International Treaty for the Protection of Antiquities.”

That’s a thing?

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“Beautiful, Marcus. I can get it. I got it all figured out. There’s only one place he can sell it. Marrakesh. I need $2,000.”

Colin:

They’re doing so many things right. You throw out a random, exotic place and a cash figure like it isn’t shit. “There’s only one place he can sell it — Marrakesh. I need $2000.” That’s such a great line, cause you can tell he’s been thinking about it for a while and has it all planned out. Going to Morocco over a long weekend to fuck up a French guy and steal his statue.

I just love how off-handedly he throws out the amount at the end. Sell him on the plan and back-door the, “Oh, by the way, two grand. I need it.”

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“I brought some people to see you.”

“Look. I got these pieces. They’re good pieces, Marcus.”

“Indiana — yes, the museum will buy them as usual, no questions asked.”

Which is nice. They assume he goes by the rules for getting artifacts, and they buy his shit without question. Cushy gig, this guy has. I want my university to fund my adventures.

“Yes, they are nice.”

“Worth at least the price of a ticket to Marrakesh.”

Colin:

He’s a reckless adventurer with a one-track mind. See? Character building.

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Anyway, he’s got some army intelligence guys there to see him.

“They wouldn’t even tell me what they want.”

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“But what do I want to see them for?”

The plot?

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They introduce him as “professor of archaeology, expert on the occult, and how does one say it? Obtainer of rare antiquities.”

Colin:

This is a nice room. Big rooms with wood panels are nice. I also bet it was a conscious choice to put them in a room that looks so much like a church, with all the stained glass.

They’re probably showing off the campus.

Or showing that he’s more comfortable in a smaller lecture room than a giant one.

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He studied under Professor Ravenwood in Chicago.

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They ask if he knows Ravenwood’s whereabouts.

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“Just rumors, really. Somewhere in Asia, I think. I haven’t really spoken to him for ten years. We were friends, but uhh… we had a bit of a falling out, I’m afraid.”

Where do you hear these rumors?

Colin:

As someone who lives somewhere in Asia, trust me on this one. It gets around.

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I wonder why that is. Maybe because you banged his daughter and left her.

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Yesterday, they intercepted a comminque going from Cairo to Berlin. Ze Germans.

Colin:

More uses of the word “communique.”

The Nazis have been sending teams out looking for religious artifacts.

Colin:

This fat guy is so 80s. The other one KIND of pulls off 30s, but this one is fat and has an 80s mustache, no vest and an 80s suit.

He’s what Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Charlie Wilson’s War would have been in real life.

Colin:

That line. “Hitler’s a nut on the subject. He’s crazy. He’s obsessed with the occult.” See, for our purposes, they could have admitted the “he’s crazy” part, but I think we all knew that was going in there.

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They have some information, but they can’t figure out what it means. Maybe Indy can.

“Tanis development proceeding. Acquire headpiece, staff of Ra. Abner Ravenwood, US.”

Colin:

Abner was once a name that people had.

Abner Ravenwood would be the best porno name.

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Look at their faces. Jackpot.

“The Nazis have discovered Tanis.”

“Just what does that mean to you? Tanis?”

See, I was gonna call them out on this. Like, “How the fuck do you not have anyone who knows this stuff?” But this is the 30s. There was no internet, and I doubt the government really had archaeology people on staff with all this sort of knowledge. Now, I probably can call them out for not going to any local Washington university, but Connecticut is relatively close, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, owing to Indy’s reputation in the field.

Isn’t is nice to have a good movie for a change? Where you can’t really poke holes in the logic?

Colin:

This was before the US government employed enough people in house. Now, they’d have archaeologists on staff to cover this shit. Or at least they’d have the internet. And it would probably be more like they got him and brought him back to some base of operations. These two schumcks showing up at the college is an old convention.

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“Tanis is one of the possible resting places of the lost Ark.”

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“The Ark of the Covenant. The chest the Hebrews used to carry around the Ten Commandments.”

The actual commandments. The tablets Moses brought down.

Colin:

I always knew what the Ark of the Covenant because of this movie. But I would expect that these guys would at least know Noah’s Ark and think he was referring to that. Also, those are the only two arks out there, which makes me wonder what the fuck an ark IS. One’s a boat, one’s a chest.

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“Any of you guys ever go to Sunday school?”

Colin:

Love the Sunday school line delivery.

In my era, we had to go on Wednesdays. But it was cool, since in elementary school, we got half-days on Wednesday to go. Which is fucked up, that the school just let us go because we had to go to religion classes. But I guess that’s better than the school teaching it themselves. That would be way worse.

Man, those classes sucked. I remember having to go on Monday nights in middle school, and that was the last fucking thing you wanted to do on a Monday night.

Colin:

I’m not religious. Grew up Unitarian Universalist, going to Sunday school to learn about other religions and why we have to respect them. Now I’m just a reasonably tolerant atheist. I did read a children’s Bible once without any parental context, which I now realize is the spiritual equivalent of sticking a knife in the toaster.

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Basically, they put the broken tablets, put them in the Ark, then they put the Ark in the Temple of Solomon, then they put the lime in the coconut and drank them both up.

And they stayed in Jerusalem for a while, until they disappeared. But an Egyptian pharaoh invaded Jerusalem, and they figure he probably took the Ark and brought it back to Tanis and hid it in the Well of Souls.

Colin:

I can never keep the pharaohs and testaments and prophets and stuff straight. I think I only read that children’s Bible cause I was into ancient civilizations and Gladiator hadn’t come out yet. But an Egyptian fucked up Jerusalem AFTER Moses brought them out? Was that a thing? Apparently there was a sack of Jerusalem during the 10th century BC. Which….sack. Haha.

It’s a giant history lesson, but filled with enough key phrases for us to know our way around later.

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“Secret chamber?”

Motherfuckers, you work for THE GOVERNMENT.

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But then Tanis was overtaken by a sandstorm that lasted a whole year and was lost.

Colin:

This exposition doesn’t suck, somehow.

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“Obviously we’ve come to the right men. Now you seem to know all about this Tanis, then.”

“No, not really. Ravenwood is the real expert.”

That was his obsession. But he never found the city.

Colin:

Just like Connery later on, there’s a person who’s spent his whole life obsessed with something, and then all of it unfolds right now. It’s like all the groundwork is done and all that remains is one last discovery to get things going.

They’re suspicious of Ravenwood, mentioned so often in a Nazi document. But Indy and Marcus know Ravenwood ain’t no Nazi. The Nazis clearly want him because they think he has the Staff of Ra.

Colin:

I also have to wonder just how suspicious Americans were of the German government in 1936. Maybe they were actually this suspicious, treating them like the enemy already. But I’m not sure about that.

Do we ever find out if Ravenwood is alive? I don’t think we do. They’re all pretty okay with the fact that he’s probably dead.

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It’s a stick about ye high.

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And has that on it.

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Basically Ra’s pimp cane.

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And if you brought the staff in the room with a miniature of the city at a certain time of day and held it up to the sun, it told you exactly where the Well of the Souls was.

Seems like an elaborate thing to build just to show you the way to somewhere. Wouldn’t people just remember where it was?

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“Where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, right?”

Check out the big brain on Brett.

Also, how dumb are these guys? I can’t tell if this is being played for laughs or they’re supposed to be standing in for the audience, making sure everyone is caught up on all the exposition. I don’t really have a problem with it, either way. It’s just nagging at me, which one it is.

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“Which is exactly what the Nazis are looking for.”

“What does this Ark look like?”

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“Well there’s a picture of it right here.”

That’s convenient.

Colin:

That looks like the Monster Book of Monsters. Don’t open that. That’s how you get face-hugged.

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Nice drawing.

Colin:

Williams is so good with leitmotif. I will never not recognize that song as the ark music. And it will never not convince me that the ark is creepy and not to be fucked with.

“Good god!”

“Yes, that’s just what the Hebrews thought.”

Zing!

Colin:

Marcus has a good relationship with the Hebrews.

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What’s that yellow shit, Special Agent Johnson asks.

“Lightning. Fire. The power of God or something.”

GOD IS A POKEMON.

And on the seventh day, he left Adam and Eve in the Daycare and rode his bike up and down Route 5.

God Used Smite. It’s Super Effective!

But the Hebrews’ Defense Won’t Go Any Lower!

Colin:

Ugh. God would totally be a Normal type Pokemon. LAME.

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“I’m beginning to understand Hitler’s interest in this.”

Man, if I had a nickel…

Apparently the Ark can destroy mountains and shit. It’s a regular WMD. Good job, religion. Really important documents? Seal ‘em up and put them in a chest that can kill anyone who looks at it. Really making the world a better place.

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“An army which carries the Ark before it is invincible.”

Colin:

And now we have our conflict set up. Cause an army that carries the ark is invincible. BUT WAIT DIDN’T YOU SAY THE NAZIS WERE LOOKING FOR IT OH FUCK

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You know what I like about this movie? They’ll give you a giant scene of exposition explaining Tanis and the Ark and all that, but not once did they come out and say this is 1936 and in Connecticut. Not once. No title giving you the year and the location, none of that. We got 1936 earlier, but that’s it. You know why? Because this movie respects its audience. It allows them to figure shit out from context clues. The car, the Nazis – you can pretty much guess when this is. And honestly, it doesn’t matter. But movies nowadays, they have to tell you that shit, because apparently not knowing takes people’s limited brains out of the movie if they don’t know. Christ, this movie hasn’t even told us our main character’s NAME yet. We just know “Jones.”

Colin:

I didn’t recognize the car at first, but it’s a late 30s LaSalle, which was like a slightly lower-end car from GM. Baby Cadillac. I like that they used this car. It might be a little too new for the movie — unsure about the year — but it’s a good car for Marcus to drive. I wouldn’t mind a LaSalle. They might even be rarer than the Cadillacs.

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Colin:

More stained glass on the window in the front door. Was this all intentional?

“You did it, didn’t you?”

“They want you to go for it. They want you to get a hold of the Ark before the Nazis do, and they’re prepared to pay handsomely for it.”

Colin:

I’m just going to say, I will watch just about anything with Nazis in it.

What about a Nazi raping a goat?

Colin:

Not like, modern Nazis. The ones from Germany, back in the day. They’re the perfect enemy. And a movie like this just has to say, “Get the ark before the Nazis do,” and there’s magically tension. If Marcus had said, “They want you to get the ark before the Belgians do,” I’m not as interested. I’m still watching, but it’s like…what, are they trying to make, a holy beer? I would support that wholeheartedly.

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“And the museum?”

“The museum gets the Ark when we’re finished.”

Uh huh.

“Oh, yes.”

Colin:

I would have liked to have seen Montana for him to make a comment about Marrakesh. Like he still wants it. He’s got the huge adventure now, but you always want them to keep thinking about the smaller thing. Like the guy who just got a date with the head cheerleader and gets all excited, but still says, “AND I can keep that ratchet bitch on the side!” There’s no replacing, only addition.

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That face. Again, not overtly telegraphed.

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Let us have libations to celebrate.

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I like how he can just take off and leave his classes. I mean, how long was he gone on this Peruvian idol trip? You have to scout and pay people off and learn the location first, right? That’s not like a weekend trip. And even then, he gets back for one day and now he’s taking off again to go to Egypt. What must his students think? They signed up for a class with Dr. Jones, and now he’s just disappearing for half the semester? It’s not like he’s gonna go to Egypt and be done in three days. Is he?

Colin:

It’s Archaeology for Future Stenographers. Nobody’s gonna miss him. They can listen to his TA dictate dig manifests.

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I like how the first thing he packs is his whip.

“So she’ll still be with him?”

“Possibly.”

Colin:

Of course there’s a girl. These movies are so great cause they fit the formula and do it so well. It’s an adventure serial, and totally awesome.

“Marion’s the least of your worries right now, believe me, Indy.”

And they snuck an Indy in there. It’s great. All of the name exposition just happens, and you barely hear it.

Also, I love the visual of the whip coming out and then him talking (and thinking about) Marion. Pure 30s.

Colin:

That was almost excessive. They talk about Marion for four seconds and it goes to her song and then they go back to the ark and how creepy it is and it goes to the ark theme. They’re doing it so blatantly I wanted to say it’s bad, but sometimes putting the conventions right up in your face remind you of why you liked them in the first place. Watch a silent movie. It’s over the top with how obvious the set-ups are, but they’re so enjoyable.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 367

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I mean that, for nearly 3,000 years, man has been searching for the lost Ark. It’s not something to be taken lightly. No one knows its secrets. It’s like nothing you’ve ever gone after before.”

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 368

Indy’s like, “I don’t believe in all that magic bullshit. It’s an artifact.”

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 369

“Besides, you know what a cautious fellow I am.”

Colin:

That’s such a great character moment. “You know what a cautious fellow I am.” He’s already told students that folklore is bullshit and now we see him pulling out his gun (was it in the closet cause the one he used to use was taken by Ivan Ooze?) to demonstrate “caution.” So he’s the guy who doesn’t believe in magic and confronts his problems with the brute force of an action star. I’m on board.

I also like that you don’t see many action stars ever putting a gun away like that and be very open about using it. Unless they’re a cop.

Also, that’s the same gun he uses to kill the sword guy.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 370

Ah… remember the good old days, when you could just bring those on airplanes?

Anyway, that’s the END OF PART I.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is Part II, and the hardest drinking broad this side of Nepal.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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2 responses

  1. BlueFox94

    COLIN: “People used to be superstitious. What’s worse is how many still are.”

    “A lot of them gather together one day a week to talk about it.”

    Doesn’t sound like the Masses to which I go. Besides, I try to go every day if I can. Didn’t you guys ever go to Sunday School?

    Oh yeah, fuck you.

    And didn’t you guys ever go to Sunday School?

    I haven’t. Learned my faith in the library and the Internet for the most part.

    Also, a Catholic priest don’t give a fuck whether anyone comes to Mass or not. He’s kind of awesome like that.

    March 23, 2015 at 1:58 pm

  2. BlueFox94

    Also…YES to more silent films. I go to film school and none of my classmates care about watching stuff, but I do. Did a 12-page paper on SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS for my Film Criticism class and I loved the film. Furthermore, that gem is full on YouTube, along with SEVENTH HEAVEN, NOSFERATU, THE KID, and THE GENERAL. Also, HIS GIRL FRIDAY is full on YouTube as well. I really loved “Neighbors” by Harold Lloyd–give me that over any Apatow shit any day.

    March 23, 2015 at 2:56 pm

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