Written by Daisy Leverington


Rated or Dated: Romancing The Stone

Standard Issue writers revisit an album/film/book/TV series to see if it’s stood the test of time. This week, Daisy Leverington douses herself in Eau de 80s Blockbuster.

Romancing 1What and why: When your sister is kidnapped by a shady group of Colombian gangsters, there’s really only one solution. Grab a treasure map, get Michael Douglas to chop the heels off your best shoes with a machete and maintain impossibly high romantic ideals. Kathleen Turner’s role as Joan Wilder, romantic novelist and hapless dreamer, sees her spattered with mud, attacked by a one-armed Argentinian Sean Connery and French-kissed by Michael Douglas.

Joan Wilder lives with a cat called Romeo and a sideboard full of miniatures, which took me right back to 2004 when I’d also write shit poetry and cry a lot. An excitable Danny DeVito rolls down hills while Douglas wears tighter fitting clothes than a hipster in Hoxton. It’s an 80s blockbuster, but does it stand up to today’s CGI-encrusted cinematic diamonds?

Rated or dated: The 80s were an experimental time for computer effects in film, and thankfully director Robert Zemeckis has opted to use stunt men and real action sequences rather than composite flames in post-production. If you see someone swing across a gorge on a vine, it’s because there’s someone swinging across a gorge on a vine. When a car explodes, they just blew up a spare car. And that’s the way I like it. What I’m saying is, I like my actors in danger at all times. If they aren’t in some kind of genuine peril, I’m not interested.

Even though some of the landscapes look like the Peak District in February, you know it’s foreign and exotic because women wearing tasselled shawls carry pigs around and shout at Kathleen Turner. My favourite scene involves our Kath and Mike finding a crashed plane full of alcohol, weed and spare flannels. Mike is dressed in sopping wet leather, arms glistening, chugging tequila like it’s Thursday afternoon. “TAKE ME NOW,” my subconscious shouted, throwing away any feminist leanings I may have otherwise held dear. (Although to be fair, Kath does chug a Jägermeister while being shot at later on.)

A dubious plot involving some baddies chasing our heroes to steal their treasure map means there’s little time for exposition or indeed explanation. Michael Douglas buys Kath a necklace and 30 seconds later they are falling asleep after a sweaty session in a yurt. We only know the villain is evil because someone thoughtfully dressed him in a trench coat and leather gloves. Why Danny DeVito is there I’ve no idea. But it works! It still stands above the Liam Neeson/Katniss “The Hunger Games” Everdeen flicks of today. You don’t get a funky electro-pop soundtrack over montage scenes of a permed Neeson, do you? And we’re poorer for it in my opinion. Verdict: RATED.


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Written by Daisy Leverington

Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.