Given the huge cultural significance of this film, based on the "Saturday Night Live" sketch starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, we felt the situation called for more than just a review. So we asked Dr. Stephen Stratocaster, Professor of Popular Culture at the University of
Illinois-Aurora, to interview Wayne and Garth in an attempt to pin down the reason for the film's massive appeal.
S.S.: "I'd like to begin by talking about the plot of your film, which involves an ultra-smooth video producer, played by Rob Lowe. He tries to turn your public-access cable show, which you've been producing from a basement in suburban Illinois, into a mainstream network success. But he also dupes
you into giving the show's new sponsor--a video arcade owner--his own spot on the program. Then he tries to iron out the shows's rough edges, turning it into a cheesy, plastic version of the real thing. Did you intend this as a satire on the crass, commercial nature of network TV?"
WAYNE: "No way, Professor; we just needed a story so we could string a lot of gags together without it getting too boring."
GARTH: "Yeah, like NAKED GUN!"
S.S.: "I see. Well, let's talk about the other storyline, which involves Wayne falling in love with Cassandra (Tia Carrere), a beautiful Asian woman who sings in a rock band. I was deeply moved, Wayne, by one scene in which you're sitting on the roof of a nightclub with Cassandra, and you launch
into fluent Cantonese, a language you've learned specifically so you can get to know her better. I feel the scene says a lot about our current need for a global understanding--an understanding that can best be achieved by studying the languages and customs of other cultures. Is that what you were
trying to express?"
WAYNE: "Oui, exactement."
S.S.: "My next question concerns the satirical references to modern pop culture, from TV shows like "Mission Impossible" to sports personalities like Stan Mikita, which saturate your movie. I'm particularly interested in the way you got pop-culture icons to turn in cameo performances. Ed O'Neill,
for instance, from TV's "Married With Children," plays a donut-shop manager with a psychopathic conversational style; and rock performer Alice Cooper delivers a speech on the socio-political history of Milwaukee. In addition, you both address the camera directly, as though you know you're in a
movie. All this makes for a very post-modern, self-referential tone which seems to reflect the media-saturated nature of contemporary society. Was this an effect you were actively seeking?"
WAYNE: "Absolutely, Professor. Our film confronts the cultural emptiness of late 20th-century life head-on, revealing a profound hollowness in the heart of modern man (and babe). But we manage to find humor in the midst of this despair."
S.S.: "Well, thank you, gentlemen, that was most enlightening."
WAYNE: "No, thank you, Professor. You've helped us understand our work in a new light ... NOT!" leave a comment