Sam the Man - Pt. I

Sam the Man - Pt. I

MovieBob takes a look at the iconic filmography of director, producer, writer - and yes, even actor - Sam Raimi.

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Nice article. I'm actually not ashamed to admit I really liked The Quick & The Dead as a kid (I was 12-13 at the time). Looking back at it now, I can see why it's not a great movie, but I still find it perfectly enjoyable. But then again, I'm a 90s child, so I'm inherently flawed in all my pop-culture likes ;)

1) I'm over 30 and will readily admit that the first Evil Dead movie I saw was Army of Darkness. I don't care and will still say it is my favorite.
2) I'll still defend The Quick and The Dead to this day. I watched it a few weeks ago, it's a whole lot more fun and better paced than most of the "great, classic" westerns, and unlike those, it has a giant hole shot through someone's stomach. That's great stuff, right there.

I'll agree with previous speakers: I still like The Quick and The Dead. No masterpiece, but it's a good, entertaining movie.

I've never got Raimi films.

Recently watched the Evil Dead movies for the first time. My reaction could best be summed up as, "Well, okay then." Now I barely remember them. I wouldn't remember them at all if people didn't keep mentioning them.

As for the Spider Man movies, I had no idea they were considered good until I came to the Escapist. All I remember about them was how utterly stupid the Green Goblin villain guy looked in the first one and how irritating his son was.

Medieval Dead?

...I never knew that.

That would have been an AWESOME title!

Now I'm sad they changed it. Anybody know why they did?

"...I'm Bob, and THAT'S the Bi-"
Uh, sorry. Wrong thing.

Anyway, I'm kind of a baby when compared to Bob, so my first foray into Sam Raimi was a smattering of episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess. I was way more into animated shows at the time (yeah, I'm THAT young), but I definitely remember catching it when it became syndicated.

However, my first REAL experience with Raimi - as with a lot of people - was the first Spider-Man. And as a life-long fan of the superhero, I couldn't think of a better way to be introduced to him or Raimi. Ever since, I've been on a quest to look at all of his stuff, and so far I haven't been disappointed. Luckily, my cousin happened to be really into Xena when it was on so I can borrow her DVD set when I finally have time to watch it.

Okay, I think I have a viewing list for the next time I have time to watch a crapload of movies. I love the Evil Dead trilogy, and I grew up on Herc and Xena, but I wasn't aware of the rest of pre-Spiderman output.

I just hope the other ones have that campy Raimi charm that made the Evil Dead sequels and those two TV shows good. Ever since Spiderman[1], he's been too conventionally hollywood. Stuff like Legend of the Seeker, which should have been a slam dunk for someone like me, especially because it came at a point when I was /really/ sick and tired of basically the entire live action TV output of the United States (too much post-9/11 cynicism, not enough pre-9/11 fun), and Raimi is the guy who always knew how to deliver on the fun. Then you watch the show and find out it's your typical mid-2000's procedural, but with swords and magic tacked on. In other words, exactly the kind of show I was hoping it would be a reprieve from. The weird thing about that show is nobody was happy with it. The fans of Raimi's older shows didn't like it because it wasn't campy enough[2], and the fans of the books complained that it cut down on all the sex and violence (not to mention the bondage porn, which combined both in excruciating detail) from the books. It was like he had no idea which market he was targeting.

P.S.: As you can probably tell from my post, the generation immediately after you first encountered him from his TV shows, Bob. It's only the kids who are too young to remember the 90's who would know him for his modern blockbusters first, fortunately.

[1] Which I'm sorry, but the Raimi Spiderman trilogy was /not/ good. It was right in there with that early 2000's bandwagon of superhero movies that were embarrassed of their comic book heritage, which is really odd coming from the master of schlock. I'll take Batman '89 over the Dark Knight trilogy any day, and I'll take The Avengers and its lead up movies (aside from The Incredible Hulk, anyway) over that.
[2] Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, which was a Comedy Central Parody from around the same time that only got one short season, actually did a better job of capturing the old spirit than Raimi's own show did.

Phuctifyno:
Medieval Dead?

...I never knew that.

That would have been an AWESOME title!

Now I'm sad they changed it. Anybody know why they did?

From what I understand, the original premise was darker and more in line with the first two movies. They changed it to Army of Darkness when they realized they were making something that was more adventure comedy than horror comedy.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Phuctifyno:
Medieval Dead?

...I never knew that.

That would have been an AWESOME title!

Now I'm sad they changed it. Anybody know why they did?

From what I understand, the original premise was darker and more in line with the first two movies. They changed it to Army of Darkness when they realized they were making something that was more adventure comedy than horror comedy.

I guess I can understand them changing the name to distance it from the other movies, but ironically, I think Army of Darkness sounds like a darker movie title than Medieval Dead. lol

I seem to recall part of the problem with quick and the dead was raimi being forced to direct a group of established actors who weren't familiar with him or his directing style. He's not a "mean" director but he's prone to lots of random ideas which mostly don't work but he always pulls something good out of it. Anyway, I believe Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman were apparently really really difficult to work with and basically were storming off every 5 seconds mimicing brando.

Owyn_Merrilin:
Okay, I think I have a viewing list for the next time I have time to watch a crapload of movies. I love the Evil Dead trilogy, and I grew up on Herc and Xena, but I wasn't aware of the rest of pre-Spiderman output.

I just hope the other ones have that campy Raimi charm that made the Evil Dead sequels and those two TV shows good. Ever since Spiderman[1], he's been too conventionally hollywood. Stuff like Legend of the Seeker, which should have been a slam dunk for someone like me, especially because it came at a point when I was /really/ sick and tired of basically the entire live action TV output of the United States (too much post-9/11 cynicism, not enough pre-9/11 fun), and Raimi is the guy who always knew how to deliver on the fun. Then you watch the show and find out it's your typical mid-2000's procedural, but with swords and magic tacked on. In other words, exactly the kind of show I was hoping it would be a reprieve from. The weird thing about that show is nobody was happy with it. The fans of Raimi's older shows didn't like it because it wasn't campy enough[2], and the fans of the books complained that it cut down on all the sex and violence (not to mention the bondage porn, which combined both in excruciating detail) from the books. It was like he had no idea which market he was targeting.

P.S.: As you can probably tell from my post, the generation immediately after you first encountered him from his TV shows, Bob. It's only the kids who are too young to remember the 90's who would know him for his modern blockbusters first, fortunately.

What exactly do you prefer in the Burton Batman over Nolans' Batman, if you don't mind me asking?

[1] Which I'm sorry, but the Raimi Spiderman trilogy was /not/ good. It was right in there with that early 2000's bandwagon of superhero movies that were embarrassed of their comic book heritage, which is really odd coming from the master of schlock. I'll take Batman '89 over the Dark Knight trilogy any day, and I'll take The Avengers and its lead up movies (aside from The Incredible Hulk, anyway) over that.
[2] Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, which was a Comedy Central Parody from around the same time that only got one short season, actually did a better job of capturing the old spirit than Raimi's own show did.

Owyn_Merrilin:
Okay, I think I have a viewing list for the next time I have time to watch a crapload of movies. I love the Evil Dead trilogy, and I grew up on Herc and Xena, but I wasn't aware of the rest of pre-Spiderman output.

I just hope the other ones have that campy Raimi charm that made the Evil Dead sequels and those two TV shows good. Ever since Spiderman[1], he's been too conventionally hollywood. Stuff like Legend of the Seeker, which should have been a slam dunk for someone like me, especially because it came at a point when I was /really/ sick and tired of basically the entire live action TV output of the United States (too much post-9/11 cynicism, not enough pre-9/11 fun), and Raimi is the guy who always knew how to deliver on the fun. Then you watch the show and find out it's your typical mid-2000's procedural, but with swords and magic tacked on. In other words, exactly the kind of show I was hoping it would be a reprieve from. The weird thing about that show is nobody was happy with it. The fans of Raimi's older shows didn't like it because it wasn't campy enough[2], and the fans of the books complained that it cut down on all the sex and violence (not to mention the bondage porn, which combined both in excruciating detail) from the books. It was like he had no idea which market he was targeting.

P.S.: As you can probably tell from my post, the generation immediately after you first encountered him from his TV shows, Bob. It's only the kids who are too young to remember the 90's who would know him for his modern blockbusters first, fortunately.

Wait, wait, what do you mean by "ashamed" of their source material? And looking back on his Spider-Man trilogy, the campiness does get kind of grating.

[1] Which I'm sorry, but the Raimi Spiderman trilogy was /not/ good. It was right in there with that early 2000's bandwagon of superhero movies that were embarrassed of their comic book heritage, which is really odd coming from the master of schlock. I'll take Batman '89 over the Dark Knight trilogy any day, and I'll take The Avengers and its lead up movies (aside from The Incredible Hulk, anyway) over that.
[2] Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, which was a Comedy Central Parody from around the same time that only got one short season, actually did a better job of capturing the old spirit than Raimi's own show did.

I can't stand Raimi's work, after the Evil Dead films and I think his work on Spider-Man and Darkman were his worst. I honestly don't get why people like him other than the "he's just like us" thing and his homages to other types of movies. I honestly think he's a terrible director. I could go on for hours about how terrible I think he is... But that's just me, I guess.

But The Evil Dead flicks were pretty great. The first one was an example of how anyone can make a film that they want to make, even if it looks like crap and the two follow ups were two of the most fun films I've ever seen, mostly thanks to Ash/Bruce.

Despite disagreeing with most of the article, though, it was well written. A whole lot of passion in there.

He also wanted to make Thor when they offered him Spider-Man. I think he would've made a memorable film but Brahna's version was an unpredictably perfect fit and lynch pin of the Mrvel connected universe so I'm glad the chip fell where they did.

Zeras:

What exactly do you prefer in the Burton Batman over Nolans' Batman, if you don't mind me asking?

Several things. For one thing, it's kind of nice that it doesn't start out with the origin, it just delivers the relevant parts in flashbacks as needed. For another, I really liked the way it didn't shy away from the silliness, while still being dark where appropriate. Because let's be honest, even classics like Watchmen have their bits of weirdness. To do Batman the way Nolan did it is to ignore everything that makes Batman different from, say, The Count of Monte Cristo. Basically, Batman '89 is that perfect middle ground between the silliness of the 60's show, and the grimdark realism of the Nolan trilogy.

Darth_Payn:

Wait, wait, what do you mean by "ashamed" of their source material? And looking back on his Spider-Man trilogy, the campiness does get kind of grating.

Really simple example: go look at the costumes for the X-Men films. Notice the way they did away with the bright colors in favor of "realistic" black leather? Now go look at what everyone is wearing in The Avengers. That's not just trashing the movies based on the costumes, though. The costumes are a sign of a much deeper disdain for the source material, as are most of the other little changes, like the web shooters and the mopey Peter/Spiderman from the Raimi trilogy. He's supposed to be a wisecracking genius, not some average guy with spider powers. Heck, having the web shooters be something he cooked up himself with a chemistry set instead of a part of his powers goes a long way to showing that genius. Even in Spiderman 2, where we got to see him getting a little bit of his scientist on, he didn't come off as particularly intelligent. It was more like the plot demanded that he be a scientist, so he was, whether he was smart enough for the job or not.

The Raimi Spiderman films (at least the first two, I've never seen the third) just had that disdain running through the whole project, making fun of or ignoring a lot of what makes superheroes different from your average 80's action heroes, as did the Nolan Batman trilogy, minus Rises, which is actually my favorite of the three because of that. I'd never argue that the Nolan movies are bad movies (to the contrary, they're absolute masterwork quality action films, I'd even grant that as an example of how to turn the genre into something snobby film critics and the average Joe alike will gush over, the first two are a cut above the third), they're just not good batman movies. And I don't know about you, but when I go to see an entry in an established franchise, I'm not looking for a completely different one with some of the characters sharing names. Star Trek '09, I'm looking at you.

P.S.: Did we watch the same movies? Because I don't remember the Spiderman movies being campy. Not in that awesome Sam Raimi way where you know it's on purpose, anyway. Unintentional campiness, on the other hand...

Evil Dead 2 is in my top 5 favorite movies of all time. I watched it when i was 6, though by watch i mean sneakily watching from the corridor when my dad watched it. lol. I like how the line between comedy and horror is perfect where you just have to laugh at how silly some of it is. Love it.

I enjoy his Spiderman movies, and the first two are pretty perfect. Especially the fact they didnt go all dark and gritty as seems the way forward for most directors. The third was ok, but it suffered from to many characters, although this was due to the studio forcing him to add Venom when Venom should have had his own film. I liked how he made the villians relatable, human. An as much as a lot of us like Ledgers Joker - we like the character cos he is Joker, not because we identify with him.

piscian has it right according to Bruce Campbell's tell-all If Chins Could Kill. Stone and Hackman were being crazy difficult on the Quick and the Dead set, and he was having to shmooze them for every other shot.

I, for one, have a grand fondness for The Quick and the Dead partially because of Hackman's performance first in the great Western shootout deconstruction that was The Unforgiven (1992). His presence in Quick lent it to be juxtaposed to Unforgiven. The Quick and the Dead was the spaghetti western (or at least cut from the same cloth) that Unforgiven was promised to be in its trailers. Raimi's representation reminded us that yeah, the Western gunfighter movies were fantasy, but they're fun and for that sake alone, they are worthwhile.

238U

EDIT: formatting.

Chalk me up as another Quick And The Dead fan. It's a bit silly in places, but what's wrong with that? I like the way it takes a lot of the Spaghetti Western tropes and marries them with Raimi's hyper-kinetic style. And there aren't many films out there which not only have a female lead who casually sleeps round with other characters, but also refuse to judge or denigrate her for it. That's a rare thing in any film, let alone westerns. And it's nice to get a female gunslinger every once in a while.

Owyn_Merrilin:
Okay, I think I have a viewing list for the next time I have time to watch a crapload of movies. I love the Evil Dead trilogy, and I grew up on Herc and Xena, but I wasn't aware of the rest of pre-Spiderman output.

I just hope the other ones have that campy Raimi charm that made the Evil Dead sequels and those two TV shows good. Ever since Spiderman he's been too conventionally hollywood.

TQATD has definitely got a similar sense of style to the Evil Dead films. It's not quite as knowingly campy and over-the-top, but there's still a lot of the same visual flair the ED filsm had, and more than a few one-liners. Basically, imagine a Spaghetti Western shot Evil-Dead style (with a slightly bigger budget), and that's the film in a nutshell.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Chalk me up as another Quick And The Dead fan. It's a bit silly in places, but what's wrong with that? I like the way it takes a lot of the Spaghetti Western tropes and marries them with Raimi's hyper-kinetic style. And there aren't many films out there which not only have a female lead who casually sleeps round with other characters, but also refuse to judge or denigrate her for it. That's a rare thing in any film, let alone westerns. And it's nice to get a female gunslinger every once in a while.

Owyn_Merrilin:
Okay, I think I have a viewing list for the next time I have time to watch a crapload of movies. I love the Evil Dead trilogy, and I grew up on Herc and Xena, but I wasn't aware of the rest of pre-Spiderman output.

I just hope the other ones have that campy Raimi charm that made the Evil Dead sequels and those two TV shows good. Ever since Spiderman he's been too conventionally hollywood.

TQATD has definitely got a similar sense of style to the Evil Dead films. It's not quite as knowingly campy and over-the-top, but there's still a lot of the same visual flair the ED filsm had, and more than a few one-liners. Basically, imagine a Spaghetti Western shot Evil-Dead style (with a slightly bigger budget), and that's the film in a nutshell.

Sounds like it's right up my alley, then. Thanks for the heads up.

I've seen all of these and enjoyed each. (All have Bruce Campbell in the credits.) The campiness of Evil Dead II is what got me hooked on Sam Raimi. While the populous may not always embrace "his way" (see Drag Me to Hell), I find "his way" to be very very entertaining.

The '73 Olds Delta 88 makes an appearance in Evil Dead 2013 for those of you who may be wondering. I understand the engine block is part of Oz's machinery in OtG&P.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Darth_Payn:

Wait, wait, what do you mean by "ashamed" of their source material? And looking back on his Spider-Man trilogy, the campiness does get kind of grating.

Really simple example: go look at the costumes for the X-Men films. Notice the way they did away with the bright colors in favor of "realistic" black leather? Now go look at what everyone is wearing in The Avengers. That's not just trashing the movies based on the costumes, though. The costumes are a sign of a much deeper disdain for the source material, as are most of the other little changes, like the web shooters and the mopey Peter/Spiderman from the Raimi trilogy. He's supposed to be a wisecracking genius, not some average guy with spider powers. Heck, having the web shooters be something he cooked up himself with a chemistry set instead of a part of his powers goes a long way to showing that genius. Even in Spiderman 2, where we got to see him getting a little bit of his scientist on, he didn't come off as particularly intelligent. It was more like the plot demanded that he be a scientist, so he was, whether he was smart enough for the job or not.

The Raimi Spiderman films (at least the first two, I've never seen the third) just had that disdain running through the whole project, making fun of or ignoring a lot of what makes superheroes different from your average 80's action heroes, as did the Nolan Batman trilogy, minus Rises, which is actually my favorite of the three because of that. I'd never argue that the Nolan movies are bad movies (to the contrary, they're absolute masterwork quality action films, I'd even grant that as an example of how to turn the genre into something snobby film critics and the average Joe alike will gush over, the first two are a cut above the third), they're just not good batman movies. And I don't know about you, but when I go to see an entry in an established franchise, I'm not looking for a completely different one with some of the characters sharing names. Star Trek '09, I'm looking at you.

P.S.: Did we watch the same movies? Because I don't remember the Spiderman movies being campy. Not in that awesome Sam Raimi way where you know it's on purpose, anyway. Unintentional campiness, on the other hand...

Oh, Ok, I get what you mean now. And when I said campiness earlier, I think I mistook it for something else. It may have been schmaltziness or melodrama.

 

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