I got fired from the Family Dollar for stealing, my life was at
a crossroads. I was too old to become an exotic dancer. I was
too young to completely give up without having everyone yell at
me to get off my ass. I'd have to grind out a few more years before
I could do that. I reviewed the careers listed in the flaps of
matchbooks, and for the first time in my life I found my calling:
a job that didn't take much work, that would impress the ladies,
paid really well, and I could learn through the mail. A matador.
In exchange for money, a correspondence school promised to mail
me their complete package: a how-to booklet; a set of audio tapes
with Mexican music and bull snorting; a list of stadiums to send
my resume to; daggers; confetti; tight white pants; weekly written
tests that would be graded by a professional; and a bull.
borrowed $400 from Worm at the Tavern because he had just won
the lottery or ripped off a donut store; I don't recall which
just that he brought in a newspaper clipping to show us. Anyway,
I sent in the money and began dreaming about my future of fame
and wealth amongst the decaying cultural relics in Mexico City.
I dreamed of the day that I took what I'd learn from the books
and tapes and applied it against a real live rampaging bull. I
could imagine my nuts being squeezed into a tight fleshball by
the lycra pants. I even tried to simulate the feeling with rubber
bands and a Ziploc bag. That only got me more excited.
out, the school was a scam; they never sent the bull, or the tapes;
the how-to guide was handwritten on three-ring binder paper, and
not even college rule. How could I have known? The ad seemed honest
with the bold letters and a Mexican PO Box. Plus, I asked everyone
at the Tavern and one guy said he knew a friend's sister who signed
up for the course and actually got gored by a guernsey. It sucked.
I had no fallback, had already Bedazzled the shit out of my nicest
shirts, turned Mrs. Filthy's favorite red dress into a cape. And
Worm was out $400.
tell you this story not to make you feel sorry for me, although,
you're more than welcome to do that. I used to hate pity, but
I've come to realize that the express bus to Pitytown is the easiest
ride around. Regardless, my point is that I have had a lifelong
fascination with matadors for about five years now. They're so
fucking macho, yet they look so damn sissified. It's a great look.
Not one anyone can pull off. After I had ordered the correspondence
course but before it had arrived I strutted around in my some
tight clothes and a gold-braided sombrero. I got a lot of looks,
a few ass-kickings and the occasional question, which was never,
"Are you a matador?" It was "Are you some kind of homo?" or "If
I bust you open does candy spill out?"
few elderly ladies were more polite, but even they doubted me
when I told them I dressed this way because i was a Bullfighter
in Training. "But why are you wearing that at Home Depot?" "Because
there may be a bull in plumbing, ma'am."
to say, I was pretty excited about The Matador, a new movie
starring Pierce Brosnan. I think there used to be a lot more matadors
in movies during the time of Hemingway and those other fistfighting
super males, and when Mexico was a glamorous, cosmopolitan part
of the second world. Those movies were all about something missing
in the matador: he couldn't cry, or couldn't love, or hated the
part where the crowd made him buttfuck the cow. Whatever, matadors
have always been ultra-macho characters with tragic flaws.
what this Matador is too, although the matador of the title
is a hired assassin who equates his skill to that of a bullfighter.
According to him, a great bullfighter respects his target, treats
him with respect and kills him as efficiently and painlessly as
possible. Brosnan's tragic flaw is that he's nearing the end of
his career and all the emotionless slaughter is catching up with
him. He is losing his edge as a killer because he has a hard time
detaching himself from the situations the way he once did.
Mexico on assignment, Brosnan meets and befriends a dull businessman
(Greg Kinnear) during a drinking binge. Kinnear is attracted to
the exoticness and excitement of what Brosnan does, and Brosnan
is drawn to Kinnear's stability and happiness. Brosnan has no
permanent address, no family or loved ones, and no class. Kinnear
has all of those. Brosnan insinuates himself into Kinnear's life
because, after one night of drinking, this is the best friend
from a loss of confidence and the discovery of a conscience, Brosnan
botches a couple of high-profile jobs. His syndicate wants him
dead, so he goes into hiding at Kinnear's suburban home. He also
asks Kinnear to help him with one last murder. If he completes
it, he will be allowed to live. If he fails, he's dead. and Kinnear
nothing revolutionary about the story of the Matador. It's
another story of a criminal who really isn't so bad but has to
do one more job before he can get out of the crime life. What
elevates it a notch above, say, something with Sylvester Stallone,
is Brosnan's performance as a gone-to-pot, bone-and-fat man who
doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about his appearance or his
morals. He's always seedy looking, his clothes about a half-size
too small and his eyes continually bloodshot. He'll fuck just
about anything that moves, but has a predilection for underage
movie looks fantastic, too, when it's south of the border. Mexico
City is a weird place. As recently as 60 years ago it was a world-class
city full of amazing art and culture. Now, it's mostly impoverished
and rotting, with flecks of brutal wealth and decaying artifacts.
When The Matador is there, it comes to life. When it is
in Denver, Vienna or Budapest, it feels flat.
soundtrack gets bonus points, because any one that includes the
Jam's "Town Called Malice" deserves extra credit. Fuck, that's
a great song. Throughout the movie, the music is cool and fitting
without being intrusive or pointing out its coolness.
movie's moral message is completely muddled. Writer/director Richard
Shepard gets too wrapped in breaking Brosnan's typecast to know
exactly what he wants to say. It's funny to watch a guy act sort
of sleazy and dirty and somewhat clueless. Hell, that's why I
spend as much time at the Tavern as I do. But, there is little
to hold on to in Brosnan's character beyond a superficial enjoyment
of his antics. And Kinnear's character is too easily acquiescent
to murder to provide a counterpoint. The movie tries to show his
transformation at the hands of Kinnear, but by the time it happens
they are both so compromised that the message rings hollow.
Fingers for The Matador, an amusing if a little forced
story with a hell of a performance by Remington Steele himself.
So, does anyone have his e-mail address? I want to see if he got
the correspondence course. He looked like he did.
Want to tell Filthy Something?