Originally we were going to watch The Notorious Landlady, but the DVD in the case was a different, inferior Jack Lemmon film. Then we tried The Prize, get a little Paul Newman going. But it wouldn't play. So here we are.
A short list of things that made my dad laugh while we watched Capricorn One:
- Telly Savalas repeatedly telling Caulfield (Elliot Gould) to 'get his goddamn head down'.
- My complain that an astronaut played by a former football player (O.J. Simpson), should not be exhausted and dying in the desert faster than one played by the guy who was on Law and Order for 20 years (Sam Waterston).
- Immediately after that, I shouted, "Your bullshit won't save you this time!" at Waterston.
- My advice that before Brubaker (James Brolin), tries explaining to the country that his landing on Mars was faked, and now Shadowy Forces are trying to tie up loose ends, he might want to clean the raw snake entrails cleaned out of his teeth.
I incorrectly identified the evil Dr. Kelloway (Hal Holbrook) as the jerk mayor from Jaws, when really, he's the leader of the vigilante cops from Magnum Force.
I'm not saying my dad laughed at that, I'm just mentioning it.
The movie has serious pacing problems, and chooses to waste time on the strangest things. We spend a couple minutes watching Waterston struggle up a mesa that he should have walked around, while he tells himself some joke. That went on forever. We were also treated to a lesson on proper journalism by Caulfield's boss, which only served to waste more time and raise the question of why the hell he hadn't already fired Caulfield, if he's so terribly at his job.
The approach of the Shadowy Forces to removing Caulfield didn't make any damn sense. They're going to the extreme of faking the astronauts' death, then pursuing the astronauts with two helicopters through the desert when they made their escape. Yet they take this half-assed approach to Caulfield. When tampering with his brakes, accelerator, ignition, and emergency brake failed to produce results, they tried shooting him at a ghost town. except they sped off after the first try. There was no one else around! He's on the ground! Walk up and put two in his heads, morons! Then they decide to impersonate FBI agents and plant coke in his bathroom and have him jailed. They don't shoot him and plant a gun, they don't have him shivved in holding. He gets bailed out, and goes on investigating.
And on top of all that stupidity, the ending is some ambiguous mess of Caulfield and Brubaker crashing Brubaker's own funeral, running towards it in triumphant slow-motion. But we're never told what the fallout is from all this, since the whole reason for faking it was the space program couldn't suffer a failure, and the project would have failed otherwise, since they cut corners on their life support system.
It's only 2 hours, but it feels longer, in a very boring way. It would have been one thing if the film had devoted more time to showing how they faked things, like Wag the Dog, but they basically handwave it so they can waste time on other crap.