Frank Mengarelli and Podcasting Them Softly’s James Bond resident, Tom Zielinski are joined with returning guests film journalist Paul Sparrow-Clarke and novelist and film historian Raymond Benson to discuss John Glen and Timothy Dalton’s final outing in the franchise, Licence to Kill. Tom and Frank will return with their discussion of GOLDENEYE.
I was mid-way through my interview with C. Courtney Joyner when Tim Thomerson’s name came up. Joyner of course, had directed Tim in Trancers 3, and cooler still, he had just had him round for breakfast earlier that day. You might call it an imposition, but I mentioned that if there was even a remote possibility that he could put me in touch with Tim, I would be forever grateful. Courtney told me he was seeing Tim again on the weekend and would put forward my proposition. Soon after, I received a message with a phone number.
Now, I’m usually in the habit of arranging an appropriate time and day to call, but Courtney had left it open. I remember for the first time, in a long time, being nervous to make the call. After all this was Tim Thomerson who was going to be picking up the phone; a guy, a legend that I had watched for years. So I summoned my moxy and dialled the number. The familiar international ring-cycle began and then . . . “Thomerson,” the voice on the other end of the line said.
I’m going to come off as an idiot here, but I.D.G.A.R.A. “Damn,” I remember thinking. “He sounds exactly like he does in the movies.” Stupid, I’m well aware. But the moment was profound, and I was instantly transported to that time when I sat in the theatre watching Metalstorm, and that glorious afternoon I first sat down to watch Future Cop (aka Trancers). Here was Jack Deth now, on the end of the line and talking to me like we had been buddies since forever.
I did kinda wish we could have jumped into our chat right there. Tim was at once disarming, candid and as cool as i had expected him to be. He was off to his retreat in the desert to do “old man shit” as he put it, and, while I realize he is an aged gentleman now, that voice, the larger than life character that he is still packed all of the vitality, swagger and youthful exuberance that very much belies his years.
I didn’t have to wait long before we would talk again, and when we did, the conversation picked up right where it left off. I would take a significant amount of time to go through the length and breadth of his career, so I restricted myself to personal favourites among his credits. We talked about his beginnings, his great friendships, his bumping into Mel Gibson at the doctor’s office, him working with his idols, Australian Cinema and his meeting with the legend that was Sam Peckinpah.
For those of you who regularly check out my stuff here on the site (God bless you), I fear I might be starting to sound like a cracked record. A number of times in the past I have found myself gushing about the opportunities I have enjoyed whilst writing for PTS, and how humbled and indeed awe-struck I have been as a result of these encounters with the folks who make the movies. Sadly I’m now going to do it again. Tim Thomerson is a hero of mine and it was at once spellbinding and an indescribable treasure to have had the chance to shoot the breeze with an actor I have long held in high regard . . .
. . . and an equal pleasure it is, to now share it with you.
Who’ll Stop The Rain is a sadly forgotten Nam era film that deftly blends genre better than most movies can ever hope to. The level of quality ratio to the amount of people who remember it is criminally unbalanced, but that’s commonplace in cinema. The title comes from the Creedence Clearwater Revival song of the same name, serving as both a metaphor in itself and a theme for the film, an anti war outcry that warbles forth beautifully at least five different times during the movie, becoming the script’s national anthem. Plus,who can say no to CCR on loop. It’s actually one of the best and most fervent anti war films out there, showing you an extended look at just how many ways the Vietnam War followed soldiers home and infected many customs, institutions and individuals. That kind of important sentiment wrapped up in a thriller is the kind of package I strive to find in film, and this is a glowing example. Nick Nolte plays Ray Hicks, an american GI getting ready to head back stateside after a tour. His best buddy John Converse (Michael Moriarty) convinces him to smuggle a brick of hash back with him and deliver it to his wife (Tuesday Weld). Only problem is, that ain’t where it ends. The people John was in contact with turn out to be a dodgy bunch, and before Ray knows it he’s o the run from some very dangerous dudes with his best buddy’s wife in tow, headed straight for a violent confrontation via a slow burn of a plot that sits on a low boil before you realized it’s reached a fever pitch. Nolte and Weld are a corrosive romantic couple, making the downbeat best of their situation, evading two nasty drug runners (Anthony Zerbe and Richard Masur being scary and classy as fuck) and getting a feel for each other along the way. Thriller. Drama. War. Moral dilemma. This one’s got it all, in a very specific concoction that never forces anything and treats you to more than it ever promised, before you have the chance to realize it. All timer stuff.