Mission to Mars

It was the year 2000: my skirts were short. Practically microscopic. And the little shirts I wore hardly bridged the gap. I thought I was hot shit, and presumably so did the two boys treating me to a Sunday night movie (a school night!). Notably, we’d hit up the hip new restaurant in town, Wendy’s, just minutes before. Oh, you’ve heard of it? Well I grew up in a teeny little town that celebrated the coup of a luxurious chain restaurant. It was glamorous to eat at a place we’d seen commercials for on American cable! So I ate the meal that a real foodie had recommended: the spicy chicken sandwich. And then the guy I was currently fucking and the guy I’d fucked roughly 2 months before at the New Year’s party to end all New Year’s parties (remember, it’s the year 2000) decided we’d see Mission To Mars.

I’ll get to the “review” part of the movie in a minute, although caveat: I’ve never seen it. Why haven’t I seen it, despite having been to the movie, as it played in theatres? Shut up. I wasn’t making out. Or not much. The truth is, I feel asleep. Which has happened to me approximately never. I’m a crazed insomniac who struggled to achieve sleep in her own comfy bed. I never sleep anywhere else. Except this one time I fell asleep while sitting between two men who were each touching various parts of my body suggestively under the cover of darkness in a dingy small town cinema. Later I went home and threw up undigested spicy chicken sandwich. I’ve never attempted to eat Wendy’s again, nor have I revisited Mission to Mars. Turns out I had mono. Yes, the dreaded kissing disease.

Anyway, in 2000 we were apparently obsessed with Mars, this being the first of two movies about that particular planet released that year (Red Planet is the other – I haven’t seen it either. co12Probably). Neither did well commercially or critically. Mission to Mars is set in the distant future – 2020. Oh wait, that’s only a few years away? Fuck me. Well anyway it seemed like the very distant future at the time. A future in which I’d be so improbably old that I might even wear skirts that entirely covered my snatch. Hard to imagine, I know. And in this future, there’s a mission, and it’s to Mars. Don Cheadle goes on this mission along with, you know, other, expendable astronauts, and weirdly enough, Don Cheadle is the only one to survive it when a “freak” storm hits. So then his real buddies, who had stayed back due to grief and whatnot, come to rescue him. And they learn that there’s a “face” on Mars that’s causing some weird shit. So as you can tell from this brief, befuddling synopsis, you really haven’t missed much.

The movie cost a lot of money and didn’t make it back. I’d like to know the exact dollar amount Brian De Palma okayed on the  14,000 gallons of paint used to spray the soil of a Vancouver sand pit “Mars red.” I’m guessing $toomuch. The actors wore $100K space suits for filming (Tim Robbins complained that he could always hear  himself breathing) which seems like a lot of money on outfits, except the real NASA space suits actually cost more like $12M. Maybe NASA should talk to them about this knock-off version? Well, maybe not. De Palma wanted Cheadle’s space suit to look dirty after the storm, so the costumers eschewed real space suit material – teflon – because it never looks dirty.  They used 10 massive 350-horsepower wind machines to blow dust on the poor guy, forcing the crew into gas masks, even though we all know THERE’S NO WIND IN SPACE.

Anyway. Fast forward a dozen years or so. Now I’m at Disney World with a husband who is neither of the men from the movie theatre, two thirds of my sisters, one third of my brothers-in-law, and my one-year-old nephew. The sisters have stayed at our rented home to swim with the baby. The brothers-in-law were out playing golf. And I was for some reason at EPCOT standing in line for a ride I did not want to go on. Gary Sinise was welcoming us to Mission-space-epcotMission: Space, an attraction that needs several strongly-worded warnings. Just when you get your courage up, Gary Sinise starts talking you out of it. Not that I needed any help from Gary Sinise. I am a chicken shit. I knew damn well this ride wasn’t for me. It simulates an actual spacecraft launch, complete with g-force, and a pretty rough landing. There are barf bags in this ride AND THEY GET USED. Each spacecraft holds 4 “astronauts” and we’re each given a specific role – navigator, pilot, commander, or engineer – and tasks to perform during the mission. This is a hilarious example of misplaced optimism. I don’t think I pushed a single button the entire ride because I was too busy TRYING NOT TO DIE. The thing about simulations is that your brain (not to mention your stomach) doesn’t know the difference. It believes! Lots of props from this movie are in display in the queuing area for this ride. I didn’t really appreciate them because I was busy sweating through my socks. I lived through this ride but I cannot and will not say that I enjoyed it. I bore it. Almost stoically. But you know what’s funny? I didn’t need the barf bag. I didn’t throw up, not even a little, not even just in my mouth, which as we all know, is more than I can say for the movie Mission To Mars.

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26 thoughts on “Mission to Mars

  1. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    One of your best yet.

    On Tue, Apr 4, 2017 at 8:07 PM, ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES wrote:

    > Jay posted: “It was the year 2000: my skirts were short. Practically > microscopic. And the little shirts I wore hardly bridged the gap. I thought > I was hot shit, and presumably so did the two boys treating me to a Sunday > night movie (a school night!). Notably, we’d hit” >

    Liked by 2 people

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  2. John Charet

    Great post 🙂 Whenever you visit my blog again, search the name Brian De Palma and click on the blog entry regarding my favorite films of his. This one is actually number five on my list of his * * * * star films. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. J.

    I totally forgot about this one. I think the best thing about it was Gary Sinise’s hair.

    I think Red Planet was the better movie and that wasn’t very good either (I’m one of the few who were lucky enough to have seen both).

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Christopher

    I’ve seen Mission To Mars and I’m glad because if I hadn’t I might have skipped reading this “review”, and that would be a shame because even though all I remember are the aliens at the end that looked STUPID AND TERRIBLE you have made the experience worthwhile.
    You have taken something bad and created something good from it, and I’m not just talking about the mono.

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  5. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy

    First and foremost, this cracked me up so much.

    Second, that ride is evil. At my bachelorette party and Disney World, we went on it first thing in the morning (we were heading to Drinks Around the World, but the drinks don’t start until 11:00 AM, so the other parts of EPCOT got explored, however briefly). My friends all decided they wanted to do the “more intense” side of the ride. NEVER AGAIN. How in the world I kept from throwing up, I will never know, but I definitely took one of those barf bags with me just in case (and then sat on a wall for like 10 minutes afterwards, trying not to be ill). In related news, all of this could have been prevented if Disney would start serving alcohol earlier.

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      1. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy

        I am shocked Disney doesn’t start selling alcohol earlier if for not other reason than it seems to be the only chance to make money that they are passing up.

        And yes, I had my bachelorette party at Disney. My friends were all coming in from places around the country, so I wanted somewhere with direct flights from everywhere – so Disney World it was!

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  6. calensariel

    Oh dear… I’m a real sci-fi nut. I really liked this one! (Calen hurries and hides behind the chair so Jay won’t throw a tomato at her! 🙂 ) (Perhaps they’d have made more money had they filmed your disastrous date? 😉 )

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