Saturday, March 19, 2011

Classics Illustrated: Red Dawn (1984)

Red Dawn.

What the hell?

Have you guys seen this movie? 

Well, I watched it for the first time last week and to say that my mind was blown doesn't even cover it. Red Dawn is bonkers. For real. In fact, it had such a tremendous impact on me that I was compelled to create these illustrations--a little project that I like to call...Red Drawn.
OK, so, for those who haven't seen it, Patrick Swayze and the venerable Charlie Sheen are brothers.  
C. Thomas Howell--who's wearing the raddest Star Wars hat for the first couple of minutes of the movie--Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey round out the cast. 

They're teenagers living in rural-blue jeans-work boots-gun hoarding-1980s-Colorado, defending American soil from commie invaders without the help of any adults. It's essentially Home Alone with only a few, very minor differences. 
The movie begins with a ton of kooky, socialist paratroopers landing right outside of the local high school, which--as any imperialist warlord will tell you--is the most logical place to begin an invasion.
The history teacher--the only black guy in the entire town, possibly the state--leaves the relative safety of the school building, nonchalantly walks up to one of these invaders (who's holding a huge gun, mind you), and asks what's going on. Naturally, he's killed. 
Commies apparently have an infinite supply of ammunition, 'cause this poor guy is shot, like, 20 times in the chest at point-blank range, and then they just start firing indiscriminately. One dude blows up an empty, parked, school bus with a rocket launcher while Swayze, Sheen, and their buds flee the scene. 
The gang get, like, 50 or 60  guns, head up to the mountains, and try to figure out how to proceed. Within minutes of being up there, they're super hungry. I mean, who wouldn't be, right? Like marijuana, full-out, Communist invasions, are notorious for their ability to give you the munchies. So, Swayze and Sheen take C. Thomas Howell hunting. After killing a deer, C. Thomas is peer-pressured into drinking the dead animal's blood--the brothers tell him that it's "the spirit" of the deer and that it'll make him a man or whatever. 
At which point, I start thinking that the whole invasion was just part of an elaborate plan to get him to drink a cup of blood. After munching on deer spirits, the guys go back into town to see if the Communists have left yet and find that their parents and the townspeople who haven't been rocket launchered to death, are being held in a reeducation/POW camp. Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen talk to their dad, who seems like a chill guy at first, but then he starts screaming "Avenge me, avenge me!" 
Apparently the entire invasion, which they're calling "World War III," was a personal attack on him. Patrick Swayze gets all emotional, thinking about his father, how red the dawn is, etc., and starts crying. 
They go back to the mountains, but not before picking up Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson, who've been living under the floorboards of their grandparents' house. Whether or not they were living under the house before the war started, I don't know. 
The kids make that all-too-common transition from happy-go-lucky teenagers to commie killing guerrillas and start calling themselves the "Wolverines"--ostensibly because their school mascot was the "wolverine" but really I think the name was more about how badass they all thought Wolverine's adamantium claws and huge adamantium crotch bulge were
They kill approximately one jillion kabillion commies, and things are pretty sweet considering the circumstances. Eventually, they come across an American pilot who wants to help them. He tells them about the escalating war--a conversation that leads to a very poignant bit of dialogue.
For some reason it's winter now and the Wolverines are betrayed by one of their own. Patrick Swayze has no choice but to kill the dude...
...which makes him sad. He cries again. don't know what happens next because I went downstairs to eat a delicious steak.
By the time I came back, things were really starting to go downhill for the Wolverines. Jennifer Grey is wounded and begs Patrick Swayze to shoot her so the enemy won't find her and force her to talk or something. I don't know. Anyway, he can't bring himself to shoot her, so she has to take matters into her own hands. 
Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen go into town where they're both shot. Swayze uses what little strength he has to carry his bro to a playground.
The ending isn't a total bummer, though. Lea Thompson delivers this doleful voice over where she assures the audience that America eventually won WWIII.

...Or is it? 
The Red Dawn remake is being released this year and Connor Cruise--Tom's son--is going to be in it. So, we all have that to look forward to...

If there's a classic movie that you'd like to see illustrated, just leave me a comment or send an email and I'll make your dreams come true.


girlwithglasses said...

this makes the move almost bearable. particularly with the inclusion of DELICIOUS STEAK.

beanditch said...

Red Dawn is officially going on my "must watch" list.

Maybe it's just because I'd like to swoon over your drawings of Maurice, but I think you should illustrate Little Monsters next. :)

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Your pictorial review is X times more awesome than the movie itself. And your drawings of the actors are uncanny! Plus, come on, wasn't Patrick Swayze the OLDEST teenager ever invented? :)

girluntitled said...

this makes me wanna WAYCH red dawn now. thanks for the colorful description!!

Aggy said...

Please please please animate the most awesome 80s movie ever. Legend. With Tom Cruise as a wood nymph and Tim Curry as possibly the most terrifying devil character. Ever.

Laura said...

You're one of my favorite bloggers EVER. It's like you have the hand of Midas, but instead of gold, you turn things epic!

Megs said...

I don't know if I'm more appalled at the plot of this movie or the fact that I had NO IDEA Swayze and Gray were in anything together besides Dirty Dancing. How did I not know this?

Heather Taylor said...

Deer blood is the new tiger blood, eh Charlie Sheen?
If you could do illustrations to one of the worst films ever, The Room, this would please me to no end.

Amiee said...

I watched this late at night once but we missed the beginning. Deer blood really? And that was before they even started crazy killing the commies!

Angie said...

I'll second LEGEND, but I also nominate The Princess Bride for illustration :)

SP said...

I would love to see an illustrated version of The Fugitive. "I did NOT kill my wife!!"

Roxanne and Lorraine said...

Yes to the Princess Bride! Is my favorite movie.

Also your drawing of Jennifer Grey captures her fawn face perfectly. You are amazing.


BeckEye said...

This is wonderful. WONDERFUL. I just watched this movie again recently and even though I will defend it to the death as being "awesome" and cringe at the mere thought of the impending remake, I'm well aware at how ridiculous it is.

Also thank you for pointing out the poignancy of that Powers Booth scowling by the fire scene.

One tiny thing...Swayze couldn't kill that Darren Dalton dude, so C.Thomas Howell (who experienced the quickest transformation ever by becoming a completely disaffected empty shell, like, 30 seconds after his parents were killed) actually shot him. Swayze then jutted out his chin in C. Thomas's general direction in either disapproval, sadness, outrage or some other very complex emotion.

BeckEye said...

Also, I think "Xanadu" would make for a wonderful illustration.

MC said...

Aw... no crying Swayze snot bubble action :(

(Swear to god, my word verification for this post is mucify.

Pics and it did happen.

Semaj said...

This is the best recap ever. Well done.

BTW, I read that this movie is set in an alt-timeline where events after WW2 are different.

soft nonsense said...

You've convinced me to do two things.

1. Never see Red Dawn. Because this version is most assuredly better.

2. Work a steak break into all future movie viewings. And that includes inside theaters.

Kylee said...

My high school was opened in the mid eighties when this movie came out, needless to say the teens of the day chose our mascot to be...The Wolverines.