338. Total Recall

Movie: Total Recall

Release Date: June 1, 1990

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox.

Tag Lines: “How would you know if someone stole your mind?”

“How would you know after memory implantation if your mind is yours?”

“They stole his mind, now he wants it back.”

“Get ready for the ride of your life.”

“What would you do if someone stole your mind?”

Relevance: As soon as I saw the trailer for ‘Total Recall,’ I knew I wanted to see it. Not because I am an Arnold Schwarzenegger fan (oddly enough he does appear three more times on this list) or that I am a huge Science Fiction fan. It just looked like the perfect summer, popcorn movie that would entertain the hell out of me. It was a big box office hit (the fifth biggest movie of 1990) and was praised by both audiences and critics alike.

Oddly enough I never actually made it to the theater to see it. The summer of 1990 was a big Madonna summer with the release of an album “I’m Breathless,” The Blond Ambition Tour, which I saw front row on June 16, 1990 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pa and the release of ‘Dick Tracy’ in theaters which I saw on June 15, 1990. (And yes, of course ‘Dick Tracy’ will be on this list.) The rest of the summer I worked and basked in the glory of the Queen. So, I didn’t actually see ‘Total Recall’ until it was available for rental. And like I thought, I was enormously entertained and watched it a few times before I had to return the VHS tape back to Blockbuster (Oh how I miss those “Blockbuster” days!)

The special effects alone were a reason to see it. In fact it was honored in that category at the Academy Awards that following year. However, it also was a complex story with a smart screenplay adding just the right blend of sci-fi, violence and humor. It was a step above the normal science fiction fare we were used to seeing at that particular time.

Today’s Thoughts: Sometimes toward the bleak, cold end of January, you just need to be entertained and forget about your (and the world’s) problems. ‘Total Recall’ still has that going for it. Sure, the movie looks and feels a bit dated, but it is still a fun ride to endure. The special effects that it was once lauded for have definitely suffered over the years, but only because we as viewers are used to the technologies of today. The story is still as complex and fun as it was the first few times I watched it.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Arnold Schwarzenegger will never win an Academy Award for acting. Just watch this movie. His acting is quite atrocious. But that’s not what he got paid for, was it? To be quite honest, the rest of the cast isn’t that impressive either. If I recall (pun intended), this was the first time I was introduced to Sharon Stone, although it wasn’t her first movie. I never became a huge fan of hers and she doesn’t give an award winning performance here. But, I guess she got the job done.

With that said, ‘Total Recall’ is still considered a sci-fi classic at least by me. I never saw the 2012 remake starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. And from what I heard, I haven’t missed out. We seem to be stuck in an era where there are very few original ideas in Hollywood and more regurgitation of the same ol’, same ol‘. Sometimes it is best to just let things alone.

Awards: Academy Award for Visual Effects, Eric Brevig, Rob Bottin, Tim McGovern, Alex Funke (winner), Academy Award for Best Sound, Nelson Stoll, Michael J. Kohut, Carlos Delarios, Aaron Rochin (nomination), Academy Award for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing, Stephen Hunter Flick (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects, Eric Brevig, Rob Bottin, Tim McGovern, Alex Funke (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, Hulu, DVD Availability.


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