Beer & A Movie is back! Along with Cody at Three B Zine and Eugene at Reviews Galore we bring you our latest movie pairings! Continuing our review of the amazing talkies of the 1900’s directed by Paul Verhoeven this week we bring you 1987’s ROBOCOP.
“In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.”
This is what IMDB wants you to think Paul Verhoeven’s subversive 1987 masterpiece is about, but, in actuality, it’s about how escalating violence will desensitize our society to the point where a militarized police for isn’t just commonplace, but necessary, and no one bats an eye, because they’re too distracted by over-sexualized imagery.complimented by ultraviolent entertainmentbut. It’s just a movie, right… that’d never happen, right?
Verhoeven is the Nostradomus of his generation. However, some would make the chicken and egg debate about his work, but more on that later..
Happening Now is a Session IPA brewed by Cigar City Brewing, Kyle Hollingsworth and Rock Brothers Brewing. According to the good folks at Cigar City Brewing this beer was brewed to celebrate the release of Kyle’s new album “Speed of Life” which was released Tuesday, August 19, 2014. Happening Now Session IPA is an easy-drinking take on an IPA at 4.5% ABV, brewed with copious amounts of experimental hops selected by CCB brewmaster Wayne Wambles. Happening Now Session IPA just so happened to have hit store shelves and CCB’s tasting room on Thursday, August 7th, which is also known as National IPA Day!
I chose this beer for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the name “Happening Now” works on so many levels. For instance, session IPAs are so “in” right now, Stone’s “Go To” session IPA, Karl Strauss with their “Mosaic” and “NZ Pacifica” session IPAs, even Modern Times got in the mix by not designating “Oneida” as a session IPA out of principle.
The society shown in Verhoeven’s Robocop is not that far off from the world we live in. What’s with Verhoeven, is he anticipating trends or causing them? A bit of both? Maybe. The point is Omnicorps, a mega-corporation that’s really into grey suits for some reason, is running the show in future Detroit. In the 1980’s vision of future Detroit the city is run down, depleted, over run with poverty and crime while only corporations, seemingly, having rights and powers that were once inalienable… sound familiar? Yes, yes it does. Why? Because that’s what’s happening right now.Corporations have been granted personhood meaning that corporations are seen as entities with civil liberties and rights, whereas a real-life human being that is too poor to afford water is unable to get access to it outside of paying a premium. Ironic that the corporation that bottles and sells water has more rights than the impoverished consumer.
Anywho, Omnicorps is trying to develop a robotic peace officer. The tank with legs ED-209 freaks out during a board meeting at Omnicorps and shoots an executive about 100 times. This leads them back to the drawing board where it’s implied that there’s a human element missing from the program, enter Officer Murphy. Man this Cigar City Session IPA is hella fresh.
There’s about 2 hours of over the top acting, gruesome special effects, ultra violence, and a social commentary on extreme violence in society that is perpetuated by the film itself. Again the chicken and the egg. Sure, Verhoeven is using the metaphor for violence in media and entertainment by showing violence in faux media and entertainment, however, this film really raised the bar on what it meant to be a violent movie. The metaphor and irony was lost on much of the audience who actually just liked the gore and violence. Looking back on the Starship Troopers review, this seems to be Verhoeven’s curse – gaining an audience he had no intention of creating. I guess sarcasm doesn’t translate well to celluloid.
Verhoeven is like Omnicorps, he made Robocop in his likeness to bend to his will and share his views on society, but Robocop was bigger than the idea behind it, it took on a life of its own, it fueld the flames of violence and unrest. Once made, there was no turning back. Audiences loved the ultra violence, attended movie theaters in droves, which in turn lead to an entirely new genre of ultra violent action films that influenced a generation of people that control many mediums of communication from news to arts. Am I talking about Robocop the film, or Robocop the character? Am I talking about the impact Robocop had on the real world, as well as the impact on theoretical Future Detroit. The answer is yes. This movie was a game changer in so many ways it’s mind-boggling. I’m going to crush another, might as well, it’s so sessionable.
If I try really hard I can ignore all of the metaphors and the ironic appeal of the film and concentrate on the fact that it’s a pretty bizarre and ultra-violent entertainment that is nothing more than comic-book action and adventure, but there’s not enough beer in the world to make me believe that.
The Good: The bizarre commercials that are also social commentary that are dismissed as silly violence, but, once again, are social commentary.
The Bad: For the future, it really feels like 1987 when you watch this film.
The Ugly: It makes me sad that this film did little more than create a whole new genre of escalated ultra violent films as opposed to being the wake up call the world deserved. A bit grandiose of a task? Perhaps. That’s Verhoeven for you.
Overall: Robocop was the last great action film in that it was trying to be more than an entertaining flick, but I will admit it, Robocop is a hell of a fun ride and is still relevant now. Also, about Happening Now, I’m sad I crushed 2 cans of this brewery only release because it was crisp, balanced, and refreshing, perfect for pairing with artsy crime dramas.