Number 5 is alive. But sadly so is casual racism and lazy story telling.
We watched Short Circuit. A film we all enjoyed as kids and probably should have left it that way!
Sidey: Rigs. This entire week's content is from your mind nugget.
Reegs: we should be afraid.
Sidey: You've taken us all the way back to the futuristic time of 1986 for our midweek mumble.
Saw this come up, it's free on Amazon prime at the
Sidey: Thank God.
Reegs: and I thought this is kind of one of those sacred cows from when you're a kid that you remember as being a really good film.
And I thought having watched a few movies recently, it might be decent to reappraise something like this. I must admit, I do remember Fisher Stevens, his character Ben, and I knew that would be problematic and interesting for us to talk about soy. Pick it, knowing that would be something we would
Sidey: yeah, it's short circuit. if anyone who doesn't know.
And I remember.
the old days when, Well, certainly when we were kids there wasn't like a blockbuster in there. So you would go to like the paper shop, and you could rent Videos. for that. So I remember having this from one of those shops you would have it for the whole weekend
it fucking loads because
you only have four channels.
This was the film you've got the weekends. So I watched this and fucking loved it. 1986 would have been about. Eight. Yeah, something like that. Eight, nine by the time it probably came to videos. And just thinking, this is fucking cool. It's got bit of swearing. It's sort of a bit.
violent it's got funny foreign guy in it.
And really, but I knew this is one of those ones that, you know, going back
to it, probably not going to be as great as
Pete: I, I, I don't know why it was like very misguided in me, but I had high hopes of loving this again. Yeah. I don't think I'd seen this first film. Probably since I was a kid, I'm going to say not since I was 10, 12, something like that, what I've watched there.
So we're talking 30 years ago
Reegs: And something we discussed off air that also seems relevant is that many of the good things that we remembered about this movie weren't actually in this movie, they were in the
Pete: very much so. Yeah.
Reegs: Yeah. So anyway, let's, should we start on.
Pete: number Johnny five was.
was, like him. He was a character. If someone showed me like a card of that robot and said, who's art said number Johnny fi. But as we find out in this film, that only happens once.
Reegs: Yes. Variant. Yeah. Spoiler alert.
Pete: Sorry about that for everyone.
Reegs: So we start off a minute. Demonstration don't we we see the robots, which are the strategic artificially intelligent nuclear transport, or St for short. And they've got these sorts of
Caterpillar tracks, I guess like a little
Reegs: and an, a kind of spindly upper body with a short sort of shoulder mounted laser thing. And.
Pete: Yeah. Sort of like butterfly ask eyebrows.
Reegs: It seems like, you know, in something that's very obviously been streamlined and is still in prototype phase. They're very clear about that in the movie it's prototype, they're really looking for applications for it. The application that they have got is utterly ridiculous, which is to parachute in behind enemy lines with a nuclear bomb and it takes a nuclear bomb somewhere and blows off, but you know, all, you could just use the nuclear bomb.
Yeah. So. But yeah, they're, they're clearly prototypes, but they took the time to put eyebrows on them. It does seem like unnecessary expenditure is what I would say
Pete: I sort of think that so the robots can show like surprise and
Reegs: but they don't, they do they that at the beginning, because they're just sort of cold red-eyed killing machines, like something out of Skynet.
Pete: I noticed is that these are obviously real robots. Now. Obviously there'll be scenes within the film where it's just like an art you already see as the arm in the center, it's a bloke holding the arm, whatever. But a lot of this, you see the robots in all their glory.
And I don't know a lot about robots, but if I, somebody said to me, one of you guys said to me, oh, this weekend, there's a load of robots down the park. Let's go and have a look at
Pete: And I went and I saw these robots. We got fucking hell. They're cool. They're really like futuristic. And they stand up like as, as, as brilliant robots.
Reegs: Well, they are a great notes. Good point. They're a great prop and they're a great prop. Still. It's a fantastic design. The guy who did it actually I have his name
Yes. And he did all kinds of cool stuff. Like he did the spinners in blade runner and he did the, he did the light cycles in Tron. So, you know yeah. It's, it's cool. Iconic design and they show off by blowing up.
Well, he actually, that said made, he,
He did comment on the eyebrows. He said that they like gave them the cameras, as eyes. And then. they, because they wanted to, obviously show them having some sort of emotion in the film because of what happens when he comes alive. And so the eyelid things were supposed to.
Is it cameras need that?
Reegs: I say,
Sidey: that you have.
Reegs: so there was a practical reason
explain it in that way, but have you ever seen a camera that has a shield? over it to protect from light? No, It doesn't exist.
Pete: So I'm going to say like, shit, like blinkers, you got like blinkers on a horse or whatever. Like you do see with like the
Pete: yeah, no, but so like lights in a, in a studio, they, they will have like, those, those things that, that are cutting out.
Reegs: reduce the exposure at the time they take the
Pete: amount of light that you need. And so that's what they're there for. So I'm siding with the robots there.
Reegs: Well, that's probably a good idea because the robots are killing machines and they do take out a tank and a truck full of obviously not people. And They are all sort of patting themselves on the back about what a fantastic demonstration they've given.
When they decide they li it gets a bit thundery doesn't it. So they all go inside. Although when they go inside, they go over to the facility and it's absolutely bright, beautiful day. I don't know whether anyone noticed that because in the previous scene they're like, oh, it's about to piss it down. We need to go inside, then it's lovely.
And then they do go back outside. And five is being powered up on the generator, the others 1, 2, 3, and four. Are there. Surprisingly they, they, they're getting loaded up on the truck fives on the generator. And then the generator is struck by lightning, which we all know of course is the way to bestow sentience
nurse sentience, to do that to a
Sidey: Well, It's it does.
Pete: it does. But it's not immediate.
Sidey: Sort of damaged,
Pete: Yeah. It's like you straight, so straight away. You think he's malfunctioning in
Reegs: Yeah You sort of like bumbling off the wall and yeah.
Pete: Yeah. He's he's having like a yeah, yeah,
Reegs: Yeah. And any sort of gets onto like a rubbish truck doesn't he gets carted off the compound, which seems I mean, this thing was $11 million back in 1986.
You'd think there would be good ways of tracking them, but they do come to that anyway, he gets on the rubbish truck and he falls off into a field. And they do try and trace him. Don't they? But five sends them back, like sort of these weird eight bit messages. It's unlike any code that I've ever seen, like Crosby types into the machine, like please come back.
Which you know that
Sidey: Python is that
Reegs: I don't know. I'm not sure it's not, I don't remember it.
Sidey: It Steve Guttenberg, We
at this time.
He was pretty bad. Back in the day. Cause I was looking at some images.
for the website and whatever, and there's a picture of him is a picture of him in shorts, which are very reminiscent of Daniel Craig, the bond, the famous
blue shorts, and
I was like, Fuck. He is fucking hot. He was yeah. Looking good.
Pete: Yeah So
Reegs: these sort of cow, like eyes that are sort of, you know, like,
Sidey: you just made this film and barons of this kind
Pete: The only other thing, there was like some, some men and babies was that him?
And then obviously like, to me, it's most phones from police academy. Yeah.
Sidey: Come on. Cocoon was fucking
Pete: Oh yeah. Yeah. But he was Mr. He was police academy that like someone says, Steve going back, I think police academy and captain Harris is in this as well.
Reegs: Bailey plays Scruton
Sidey: so he's that they'd want to destroy
military guys are like, we can't have this weaponized thing out and about,
We need to go and get it and fucking take it out. And the nerds were like, no, no, we can, you know, reproach, we can fix him and reprogram, and we can't just go around fucking blown this shit up. They're very attached to it.
Reegs: Well, Crosby is sort of had his research co-opted by the military, hasn't he? I mean, he prefers to kind of play cards with them and teach them a hand to play the piano and stuff like that.
But yeah, for some reason,
ends up in charge, GW Bailey, captain Harris from, and he's playing captain Harris in this verse
Pete: same guy. Yeah.
Reegs: guy. And they go and search for the robot. They really should have implemented a proper fail safe. That's all I'll say
Sidey: about course,
Reegs: Because five is now sort of wandering aimlessly about the countryside seeking input.
And he ends up doing this sort of bond move. Off a bridge doesn't even with a
Pete: Oh yeah he does. Yeah.
Reegs: we, he says, and I remember liking that as a kid and just feeling cold and dead inside when I watched it. It's an adult.
Pete: Yeah, yeah,
Reegs: Yeah. He put, he parachutes down and lands on top of Stephanie speck, which is Allie Sheedy's snack shack which her natural food truck alley Sheedy.
And this is a kind of. Catwoman, basically she has loads of animals around
Reegs: her house, which indicates to me serious emotional
problems straight away
She's she's Damaged.
She's also, I thought in a way kind of like number five and they're both sort of idiots like infantile. don't know how to fucking deal with the real
Pete: one. Yes.
Sidey: Probably everyone in the film is like that to be fair. I was. Saying earlier that you could play a drinking game of this film where every time someone says input,
your drink. You would be absolutely
paralytic about half an hour and You'd be on the floor. Yeah,
Reegs: you would be. And he is seeking input. So Stephanie invites him into the, into the house.
Cause she, she thinks he's,
Pete: she thinks he's an alien at first.
Reegs: and she knew that she would be the one to be picked by aliens
Sidey: Yeah. She wants to get probed, I
Pete: Cause who else?
Reegs: Then she comes in various mad cap. Shit happens. She goes to bed and leaves him watching TV and
Pete: he starts getting his input. I think it's like a dictionary or like yeah, encyclopedia. So he basically reads up on everything.
Sidey: Well, that doesn't make sense then when he goes to cook breakfast and he makes a huge fucking mess because he wouldn't know how to do that stuff, The save cooks the waffles in the packet, but he would fucking know.
Pete: Yeah. And he puts the eggs in with the shell.
Pete: another floor in this.
Sidey: First fucking idiot.
Pete: I actually thought Allie Sheedy D so I thought she was a really junk
Yeah. She's pretty, but she's not very good in this.
Sidey: not a knockout to be fair.
Pete: cannot say I've ever seen her in anything else.
Reegs: Breakfast club and a whole load of other shit in the eighties. You will have seen her in stuff just maybe not
Pete: Yeah. I recognize
Sidey: doesn't stand out for me. And she's like you say, I think she's pretty mediocre in this
Reegs: But she leaves five up all night watching telly. And when she comes down in the morning, he's an asshole. Cause he's had a whole night of watching American tele, and he's just speaking in like infomercial star. And I fucking wanted to kill him. If I'm honest, it's like having a two year old around
Sidey: That's how the junk con's learned, speak in transformers?
Yeah. They speak all in adverts Soundbites from telly, which is what he now does.
for the rest of the film.
Reegs: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And that's for the rest of the film, we're stuck with fucking three Stooges impressions and
Sidey: John Wayne and
Reegs: Lee noises and bugs. Oh Really awful.
Sidey: it's not the worst voice in this,
we mentioned earlier about Newton, Cosby's sort of sidekick in this film.
I, it wasn't.
until you mentioned it on the pod a little while ago. that This is some
cultural appropriation. Is that the right word? Or just flat out racism?
Sidey: because this is, this is
Reegs: He didn't actually use any brown face makeup.
Reegs: on a really awful Indian accent and speaks.
Pete: very brown,
Reegs: I think, well, Hmm.
Sidey: Is it automatically racist? Let's ask that
Pete: question right?
So if now, if that, if that film was made now like that, then it would be totally and wholly inappropriate at the time. And such as the way with a number of things. I don't think it was done with the intent to offend or be disrespectful or dismissive of, you know, getting an Indian actor or it was just that it's not the
Reegs: don't think they thought about those
Pete: exactly right.
That's what I'm.
Reegs: And this was, this was a change that was made really late in the day. Actually,
Reegs: he was supposed to be a white guy and, and they changed it up at the last minute. And I've read stuff from the director, John Badham about why they did it and all those things. It's pretty bad when you look.
Pete: Yeah. I mean, it, it, it made me, it was uncomfortable viewing for the rest of the film when I first watched this, I just thought it was an Indian guy.
I never had it because you didn't give any consideration to the, you know, who the actors behind the characters necessarily were. Steve Guttenberg would have been recognizable to me and captain Harris, other than that probably wouldn't have seen anyone else. So I just assumed it was an Indian guy and it was only.
In rewatching it and then looking up who the actors in some way, I was like, wow, this is just an American guy.
Reegs: Yeah. And, and a lot of the humor sort of about his malapropisms and getting different, you know, mixing his
Pete: metaphors. Yeah. All
Reegs: sorts of stuff.
Sidey: Steve Guttenberg. He convinced them that they should, he should go meet Stephanie
they go, cause Steve got back and this is supposed to be a nerd, with no sort of like charisma or ability to chat to women.
when you're thinking.
It doesn't look,
good. you know what I mean?
Reegs: Honestly, when he flashes those eyes.
Pete: he's got a smirk, isn't
Sidey: it? it's one of the things
Pete: like a playful boyish kind of charm about him and yeah, I jumped on board.
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. it does go to meet him. And this is one of the comments that when I was watching, it, I was like, what the fuck?
And it comes back to, like, I forget his name. Ben, is it?
Ben always say, yeah, she was into And whatever.
And he's said, yeah, and he goes, oh no, I'm getting a Woody. And I'm like, you're getting a hard-on about your mate going to chat with a burden. Like What the fuck.
it was so Jarring
Pete: Don't listen. As you get older, you take it where you can get it.
If, if you got, if you, if, if you got lucky, I'd probably just sit and wait in the wings and have a fiddle.
Sidey: Yeah, but this is a kid's film, right?
And then there's the other one. That's the, I, we all remember this quote and it, Johnny number five says
your mother was a snowblower. Yeah. So he's saying your mother. It's on Coke and he's like massive gearhead or
Sidey: And I remember saying that all the time at school,
Reegs: blower part of that. She
Sidey: she's a whole, yeah.
Pete: Right. So she's a crack whore.
Sidey: crack Okay. Right. I remember saying that at school all the time,
And this is obviously a PG and they're weird things to have in a
Pete: I think they just come up. Cause that's obviously something.
You know, it's, it's a bit of a, it's a bit of equipment or whatever, and it also has of other co yeah, exactly. It's got other connotations. So again, I don't think that there would have been a huge amount of depth of thoughts gone into it,
Reegs: It does seem inappropriate in, in this level of, and there's like you say, there's a number of sexual jokes. There's another one where he's like ogling her in the bath and he's like, Hmm, nice
Pete: yeah, yeah.
I don't know that
Sidey: The eighties were just fucking wild.
Reegs: Yeah. Then he goes on a killing spree. Well, he, he, so on the grass with the grasshopper, he's delighted to see a grasshopper, this quite key moment in the film because he's playing with the grasshopper, jumping with the grasshopper. Isn't it lovely.
Sidey: This assemble assembly
Reegs: when he crushes, it jumps on top of it and he asked Stephanie to reassemble it.
Sidey: He says, he can't sit. He poets, he fucking Killed it
Reegs: And he's like, oh, I don't want to be a silly bullet.
Reegs: quite quite. Yeah. And then he realizes that the guys who were coming to take him back to the lab, they want to disassemble him. And so this is really the point where this should have become the Terminator.
Sidey: Yeah, That would have been cool.
Reegs: Yeah. But it doesn't he gets in the car. He has to read the driver's manual.
Would that tell you how
Reegs: If you
Sidey: No. It would tell you how the car hated, like change the time on the radio and
Reegs: like moving the seat up and down
Pete: I mean, yeah.
I'll tell you where to find that fucking petrol cap, like that thing that you can never find. Yeah, yeah,
Reegs: a and he drives off. And I don't know, they he's, he's suicidal at this point. Isn't he do. He makes a break for the river or
Sidey: Three of the other robots into the three Stooges, other hilarious things happen, you want to go
Reegs: not far ahead. Okay. Yeah. So,
Pete: not really missed a great deal.
Sidey: I mean, not a lot happens in the film. Like He goes meet Stephanie. They come after him. He wins. They'll fuck
Reegs: a Saturday night fever scene.
Sidey: Oh, there is. He likes to. Yeah, well it's
Reegs: together. It's
Pete: Yeah. How fucking good dancing is John Travolta? I was just sat there thinking about that.
Reegs: And the director of this, he directed Saturday night fever, which is pretty cool. So her shitty ex boyfriend comes over and he disassembles the car, which was pretty low.
Sidey: Well, there's a ransom isn't there, there is a, there's a reward. for getting about 25 grand, I think. probably About 17 million in today's money. Yeah.
Reegs: empty, you know, 18. And he thinks it's a good idea to start firing shotgun at this $11 million prototype robot for carrying nuclear. Warheads. So he, he kind of deflects the bullets with like the, I want to say
Sidey: no sir, is the brake caliper, I think
Reegs: boat kind of a and then he, the guy Frank tries to hit him with a tire iron and his eyes go all red and evil at Johnny five. This is he makes
Pete: He's not Johnny five at this point. He's just number
Reegs: five sh he makes Bruce Lee noises. He shoots his belt buckle off and his trousers fall down. Huh?
Yeah. They go eventually to this place, the black cat in for Newton, Crosby for Gutenberg and Sheedy to have a chat.
And Chidi says to him, I'll, you know, Johnny five's alive. And he says, that's ridiculous.
number five is alive. And he, and he says, no, it's ridiculous. And then Sheedy thinks that that very good and burgers sold them out because GW Bailey captain Schroeder is in the bar.
Meanwhile, five's hiding in the words, playing baseball, and then the other saints robots turn up to try and stop him.
And there's all a load of mad cap shit here where
of LA people falling into toilets getting reprogrammed to do the three Stooges whistling. Hitler is only got one ball. Making a joke about when you got a go, when somebody goes into the toilet, you know, just real great, great stuff. Then five goes and crashes through the window of the black cat in to rescue Sheedy from the evil clutches of captain Harris from police academy they drive away.
There's a big chase Then she D tells five to disassemble the bad guys. What a crazy bitch she's advocating total genocide. But thankfully five doesn't do that. They have a hug. There's a few more John Wayne quote.
then it cuts back to Gutenberg and the racist Ben character. And he moans about being cocked blocked by shore. Doesn't he, that he couldn't get on with shady because Castro turned up. This is basically how I remember it anyway. Oh, there's a whole lot of extra shit happens.
There's a chase.
Pete: There is a chase, quite clever, quite clever from a number five here at the end where he basically assembles another like number
Reegs: we don't want to miss, we don't want to miss before that though. The key where he manages to convince Gutenberg that he
Pete: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is
stupid. It's like, yeah,
Reegs: a vaguely antisemitic
Pete: Yeah It was, it was anti religion, anti anti sematic.
Reegs: Yeah. And five laughs a day. And he's like, oh, you're racist. You must be alive. Then all the fucking army and security man and all that shit turn up. And they sent a helicopter after we had a really poorly staged chase. And then he shot and blown up. Oh my God, five's dead.
Sidey: No, I was really sad.
Reegs: And that was the end of the film.
Sidey: know it can believe it ended like that
Reegs: it ended like that
Sidey: And they still got a sequel out of it somewhere. Amazing.
Reegs: So what did he say?
Sidey: Well, I think that he built a facsimile of himself and somehow ported his newly found personality.
Reegs: Yeah. He instantly felt a version of himself. The talked like him and acted and behaved like him, but wasn't
Pete: Yeah, I think, cause I don't know if it says, does it say much whilst he's being chased because he says he shouts Banzai as he breaks out the back of the van.
Which is why I thought it was him because I'd forgotten at this stage that what
Reegs: you were, you were done by the
Pete: I was thinking, oh yeah, he's been blown up, but then a thighs. Yeah. They've built another one. And that's where short circuit two comes from. But yeah. Actually he's he built one in the back of the van, but I don't remember him saying a great deal when he's being chased.
He's just like pegging it along some canyon and, and gets blown up.
Reegs: he's killed pretty quick. Isn't he?
Pete: it wasn't,
Reegs: it wasn't him. And as they drive off altogether, he says, why don't you call me?
Sidey: Yeah. Kevin five. I was yearning for this to end it.
Reegs: This was hard work. This was hard work.
Sidey: I knew it wasn't gonna be as good as I remembered because I did love it when I was a child. And I do hate it as an adult.
Reegs: I thought about hate it, but it's, there's so much wrong with it.
Sidey: is crap. It's fucking, crap.
Pete: almost definitely never watch it again. but I can see why I liked it as a kid.
I can say all the stuff that, yeah. But like, you know, pretty like juvenile and yeah,
Sidey: Robots and cool shit like
Pete: Yeah. But again, like, as w as I said, I wouldn't have, when you say racism, the character isn't being made to the character is, is like, Rarely poorly. Yeah. You know, like as
Pete: in, in, in, yeah. In today's sort of what is, what is acceptable?
Sidey: We're being really woke.
Pete: I don't think it's, it's not, it's like what, why does a guy, are you sure? You sure he didn't brown out?
Sidey: I read, I read that he spent five
weeks in India in preparation for the role. but that's gotta be
bullshit. Isn't it?
Pete: Dan spent way more than five weeks in India, but we're not going to put him forward as a,
Sidey: there's literally no need. to be Indian in the film other than to take the piss
out of engines
Pete: There's going to be an Indian character, have an Indian guide.
Sidey: and just play him as a nerdy scientist guy. Not a Fucking weirdo gets a hard dominance mate.
Pete: Yeah. W w one thing I will say is that I only found out afterwards that Fisher Stevens, the guy who played, went out with Michelle Pfeiffer for three years.
Sidey: Career high.
Reegs: He also went on to reprice
Pete: Michelle Pfeiffer's chuff. Can I just, that is fantastic work.
I dunno what to say really? To follow that up. You can't.
Pete: thinking of,
Pete: thinking about it, sorry.
Reegs: Just a little bit of history on that.
People director John badum did Saturday night fever. He did blue thunder war game, stakeout bird on a wire drop zone and a whole host of very successful TV work, including the shield heroes, supernatural
Reegs: arrow. Yeah. Gutenberg had already done three police academy movies by the time that this one came out and he went on to star in at least one more, which was citizens on
Pete: on patrol.
Reegs: After short circuit, he still had a terrific run of films, including three men and a baby and its sequel, three men and a little lady and cocoon the return. But that his career all sort of, kind of petered out really
Reegs: it? It was, it was odd the way that happened.
Pete: what is he doing now
Sidey: happens to the best of us?
Reegs: And then Tim Blaney was the puppeteer and voice of number five.
He worked on the men in black franchise, a flight of the navigator, the obese team America. So
Reegs: number of different and also probably better
Sidey: Should we talk money? Yeah. The budget for This was 15
Reegs: which must have basically all gone on Gutenberg and the
Sidey: Yeah, I think it did. Yeah.
Pete: fucking hell.
That's a lot of money in those days. That's sort of a comedy kind of,
Reegs: I'm assuming this was a huge hit
Sidey: how a, we know it had a sequel, so that tells you it must've made some
money, 40.6 mill, which is less than I thought
there is, or there was, or that men probably is a script for Short circuit.
Pete: I saw they were Bree. I heard they were
there is chat in 2013. There already
Reegs: the third short circuit movie, which is chappy the Neill Blomkamp movie, where he ends up being reprogrammed and fighting for its south African guy.
Well, In 2013, it was announced that a remake was being. developed. And it was rumored that Fisher Stevens would return has been
Reegs: Wow. Oh, that I
Pete: that's not going to happen because Fisher Stevens every everyday when I did some research that he he's, yeah. He's a pretty sorry for, for everything that he ever did.
Reegs: But I way prefer what side he said,
Pete: yeah, true.
Well, enough money, throw enough money. Hell I'll do it.
Reegs: Throw enough money and brown shoe
to summarize this wasn't the classic that I remember is
Reegs: Yeah. If you remember this being really good, then just leave it there.
Reegs: leave it there.