Life Beyond Thuderdome: Gotcha!

I've got a fresh new column up over at Forces of Geek: This month, I'm examining 1985's Gotcha! in waaaay too much detail. Gotcha! is not the sort of film that holds up well under scrutiny. In fact, it's thoroughly obnoxious from start to finish. Still, Paris and West Berlin in the mid-Eighties both look fantastic, and Linda Fiorentino is awfully pretty, so there's that.

My review is here.


Ingrid Richter said…
I remember the suction-gun shoot-off at LC! What a strange thing for a school to do... and nigh impossible (and ill-advised) after Columbine.

Great review, Morgan, as always!
Morgan Richter said…
Oh, how times change -- it seems vaguely unreal now that our school would organize a (non-lethal) Battle Royale for the students. It was a different era...

And speaking of things that seem vaguely unreal: It struck me as so bizarre in Gotcha! that, after lovingly establishing Anthony Edwards' crackerjack shooting skills in the first five minutes, this aspect of his character would be totally forgotten when he's on the run from the KGB in Germany, until the last couple of minutes of the film when he's back in Los Angeles. Argh. It's a frustrating movie.
Ingrid Richter said…
You know, you could almost argue both sides of the Battle Royale high school game:

On the one hand, kids can take out their aggressions at other kids in a non-lethal way, thus (hopefully) averting real violence.

On the other hand, maybe it's not such a great idea to plant the whole 'let's shoot my classmates' idea in anyone's head.

I miss Berlin in the 80's The KaDeWe... U-Bahns and S-Bahns... Might have to watch Gotcha just to reminisce.
Morgan Richter said…
Much as I hated Gotcha! (and believe me, I really, really hated Gotcha!), I'd recommend it to you for the specific nostalgia factor. Netflix has it streaming; we can watch the good-parts version (the less bad-parts version?) whilst you're visiting next week, if you wish. I got very melancholy at the scenes of West Berlin -- the snub little cars, the cafes, the streets... I'm certain they didn't actually film in East Berlin, for obvious reasons, but they did a pretty good job recreating it -- there's a scene set in the subway, with these strange wooden subway cars with rattling wooden doors, which struck just a tremendous chord of familiarity.

1988: We crossed on foot at Checkpoint Charlie to get into East Berlin, right? (Unlike Anthony Edwards's character, you and I were smart enough not to mouth off to the border guards.) And then we crossed back into West Germany (heading to Frankfurt) by train from... Erfurt? I'm looking at a map, and that seems right. We stayed in Eisenach, Halle, and Erfurt in East Germany, I think. Probably other places I'm forgetting.
Ingrid Richter said…
Yup - we definitely crossed into East Germany by foot. I had a different sticker on my passport because of my age (over 16). It was nerve-wracking, as I recall.

Let's see, we visited: Berlin, Jerchel, Halle, Naumberg, Eisenach, Ohlweiler and Frankfurt-Langen on our 1988 trip. I remember Erfurt too - not sure why it wasn't listed on the itinerary.

I also remember the train ride out of East Germany, and the guards by the side of the road who were instructed to shoot anyone getting on/off the train.
Morgan Richter said…
I'm looking at my long-canceled passport from that trip right now. What's funny is that the DDR pretty much stamped the crap out of it (there's at least four different stamps, some in red and blue, some in black, and I have the DDR emblem on it three separate times)... but the BDR never stamped it. US Immigration stamped it when we re-entered the US, but apparently West Germany didn't need to stamp passports? No visa needed, maybe? I feel like I have no proof I was ever there.

I remember Jerchel and Naumburg, but I'd swear I'd never heard the word Ohlweiler before. It looks like it's pretty far west, about midway between Frankfurt and the border to France -- must've been at the tail end of our trip?

We packed in a whole lot of places (and a whole lot of host families) in a very short time. It's all kind of a blur now.
Ingrid Richter said…
You know what I think? I bet we did a quick swap of Ohlweiler for Erfurt at the end. I seem to remember getting a kick of visiting Erfurt, then on to Frankfurt..

Here's my itinerary from the Germany trip, if you have the stomach to handle all my inane comments about Berlin at the age of 17.

I started to transcribe my travel journal literally - then petered out - and never got a chance to edit for content.
Morgan Richter said…
We stayed at one other place in West Germany besides Frankfurt after leaving East Germany -- that might've been the mysterious Ohlweiler. Here's what I'm thinking: We didn't spend the night in Erfurt -- we were just there for the day and boarded the train to cross the border from there. Then Ohlweiler must've been the place where you and I stayed with female cousins (we were in two separate places), neither of whose names I can remember. It was kind of a remote area, and I think we were just there for one night. Wish my memory wasn't so foggy, but I was fourteen and overwhelmed... My strongest memory of that place was listening to my host play "It Never Rains in Southern California" on the tape deck in her car. There was something odd about the bathroom in the place where you were staying -- it was connected to the barn, maybe?'s all so fuzzy.
Ingrid Richter said…
Ah, you're right! The house I was staying at shared the same wall with their barn, and there were cows right next to the bathroom. They'd moo at you once you got settled in.

We played some sort of game there - and not cards, which we were playing all throughout East Germany. I'm thinking it was some sort of memory game, but I could be wrong.

Heh. Cows and bathrooms :-)
Morgan Richter said…
I remember the US shows airing on German television in that place (Ohlweiler? Will we ever know for certain?) were Alf and Airwolf. Quality exports, in other words.

We played some sort of game there - and not cards, which we were playing all throughout East Germany. I'm thinking it was some sort of memory game, but I could be wrong.

Not sure if this is what you're thinking of, but we did play with the Top-Ass cards there -- a simple Google search has reassured me that, yes, this is a perfectly legit, if poorly named, card game in Germany. I've been able to find Top-Ass cards with bikes and with cars on them online; I believe the set we were playing with had airplanes?

Again, fuzzy.

Popular Posts