Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's official: Michael Caine will do anything for money: "The Hand"

Seriously, I might throw $50 his way to see if he'll be in my vacation video, perhaps as the kindly innkeeper who offers sage advice to various travelers.

Discussing "The Hand" -- a so-called thriller/horror movie from 1981 -- is like standing in front of the Thanksgiving turkey: Where do you stick the knife in first? One thing is certain, though. I've seen a lot of movies, and few, if any, made me laugh louder at its very premise (and plot and performances and ... ) than "The Hand."

So let's get into it. Caine plays a cartoonist with marital troubles that aren't helped when he loses his right hand in a traffic accident. Yes, it's his drawing hand, but a bigger problem is that the hand isn't dead yet, and apparently is pissed off enough to crawl around and kill people.

I'll pause to let that sink in. The hand crawls around and kills people. Rather than make the obvious Addams Family joke -- "Gee, Thing, who peed in your Cheerios?" -- isn't this idea beyond absurd? I mean, I'm more likely to believe a guy can kill you in your dreams than a murderous hand. How can a hand by itself can get enough traction to choke someone? How can it get enough lift to spring at someone's face? It's a matter of physics, really.

While no amount of acting or direction could offset this premise, Caine and Co. don't do us any favors. Keep in mind that Caine was pushing 50 by the time this came out. We're not talking about a Renee Zellweger/"Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" deal here, where an actor is young and unknown. Caine had been around and done a million movies before this. Hell, he was in "Hamlet!" Did he take "The Hand" just to add another "H" movie? He really has to be seen to be believed in this. And his hair is bad, too.

The rest of the cast isn't worth mentioning, even if it includes one of my personal favorites, Bruce "D-Day" McGill. But get a load of the director: Oliver Stone. That's right, the man who made it big with "Platoon," went on to "Wall Street" and became Hollywood's leading conspiracy theorist. Gotta wonder if "The Hand" -- in which Ollie also plays a bum -- is still on his resume. This is why I should have a talk show someday. "Oliver, thanks for being here. Now tell me ... you're a big-shot director with a few Oscars. When can we expect 'The Hand 2: Digits of Danger?'"


At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This, of course, begs the question: Who would win in a one-on-one "Over the Top"-style fight to the finish -- Michael Caine's severed hand or Bruce Campbell's from "Evil Dead II"?

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adams Family's It should be allowed as a contestant so supporters could chant, "Give It a Hand!"

Opponents, of course, would volley with,"Hand It over!"

Yeah, I might go see that...

At 1:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it was totally possible until the gloved scene. Yeah right! You ever try to put a glove on without the use of your other hand or teeth? Can't be done.


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