***½/**** Image B+ Sound B- Extras A+
starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox
screenplay by Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner
directed by Paul Verhoeven
by Walter Chaw I feel like I must've seen RoboCop, one of the key films slotted into my moviegoing sweet spot, at least two dozen times one summer on a shitty bootleg I made by hooking two VCRs together--the now-defunct Orion being one of those companies that apparently never adopted Macrovision to discourage such a thing. I watched it in regular rotation with the big movies of 19861 (Aliens, Big Trouble in Little China, Highlander, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Manhunter, Cronenberg's The Fly2, Blue Velvet) and 1987 (Predator, The Untouchables, Evil Dead II, Angel Heart, Innerspace, Near Dark, The Hidden, Full Metal Jacket, The Princess Bride, Hellraiser, Raising Arizona, The Living Daylights, The Big Easy, and Lethal Weapon). Those years in which I went from thirteen-to-fourteen in a haze of hormonal delirium (9½ Weeks, No Way Out, and Fatal Attraction are in my onanistic hall of fame) I consumed more film than I ever would again until fashioning movie-watching into a pastime resembling a career. I developed the ability to distinguish between popular movies and movies I was supposed to like (Manon of the Spring--the medicine of it going down smoother thanks to the not-shy Emmanuelle Béart) and began keeping journals of my adventures at the cineplex (Union Square Six, Green Mountain Six, Westland Two, Lakeside Two, Cinderella Drive-In--all gone now), carefully stapling my ticket stubs to the page as some tithe to my flickering, twilit devotionals. Movies were the angel/devil at war on my shoulders: morality and venality; virtue and hedonism; good and evil; Apollo and Dionysus; the sun and the moon. I ebbed and flowed with them. It would be another five years before I fully understood the import of cinema in articulating a good portion of my worldview--not to mention almost all of the strategies with which I deconstructed other mediums. I was lulled by the popular opinion of my generation that movies were not worthwhile objects of devotion and so I channelled my attention in formal education into poetry and literature--but the space between mattress-and-box-spring was always stuffed with this secret totem.