Sam Strange Remembers: HOLY MOTORS (English Remake)

Surrealism for the elderly set.

I can understand why everyone liked Holy Motors so much, but it's not a very commercial film as executed. That's fine for all you art-heads. I, however, can't help but ache to see so much potential go to waste. Making a more monetarily correct version of Holy Motors would have been so easy, too. Easy enough that I decided to do it myself just to prove the point.

No one in the studio system knows anything about Holy Motors. But so long as you're remaking something, they don't really care. I've gotten a lot of original films greenlit simply by saying they're remakes of older films that don't exist. You just gotta know how to play the Hollywood system, man.

Holy Motors (English Remake) is about a very strange, very wacky guy named Connor Ashley. This man is a twenty year old up and coming actor. But instead of just acting in theater or film or porn, he lives the roles he's given, though only long enough to play a scene. He actually experiences whatever happens to him physically and emotionally, be it death or dismemberment, love or heartache, but resets for his next appointment, though remnants of each role stay with him, haunting him always.

We follow Connor Ashley on just one of his many days on the job. Truly, he's never "off" in a traditional sense. Even when he's sleeping, he's acting. He has a family, but they are different every night depending on what's required of him. Nevertheless, throughout the day, Connor drives around in his actormobile and frequently stops to play scenes. We get to see them all, more than enough to develop an idea of what a horrible life he leads.

For his first stop, Connor must portray a homeless old woman as she begs for money alongside a busy freeway. People ignore her, and she ponders the cruelty of age via voiceover. Once all this is established, Jonah Hill and Andy Sandberg walk into frame and have a profanity filled conversation inventorying how many dicks Madonna has sucked 100% for sure. Once their discussion ends, so does the scene and Connor returns to his actormobile.

Connor's second stop takes him to Weta studios where he plays a mo-capped creature in a Will Smith movie. This means he dresses in a skin-tight black outfit covered with white sensors. Most of this twenty minute segment asks Connor to jump around vaguely while occasionally pretending to get hit in the balls. There are also a few close-ups where he must look surprised just before pretending to blow up, as well as a couple where instead of looking surprised he just says "Shit." Sometimes he's instructed to say it like a heavyset black man. A couple of these are followed by a second take demanding he "Do it blacker."

Connor keeps the suit on for some quick overseas CG hentai work, in which he must have sex with another mo-capped person. This requires him to make love with a series of appendages he does not actually possess. Few of us would know what to do in such a situation, but Connor appears well versed in pretend hentai lovemaking.

He keeps the suit on for a third role in the next Smurf movie. He's not the main Smurf, though, so he mostly just stands still while occasionally pretending to get hit in the balls.

When that's over, Connor must next become a crazy homeless French guy. This part is nearly identical to the French version of Holy Motors except for when Connor steals Eva Mendes, he puts a hose between his legs and pretends it's his penis rather than showing us and speaking at his actual erect penis. That way it's silly and people can laugh. She tries to escape before succumbing to his charms. Then she's rescued by The Rock who raises his eyebrow at Connor, causing him to explode.

Next, Connor plays a regular guy as he drives his daughter home from a house party. It turns out she didn't have much fun due to her shyness and insecurities. As the dad, Connor tells her how beautiful she is and how proud she makes him. She then happens to see a boy she has a crush on. As Connor watches her run off to her youthful love, he wipes a tear from his eye and converses with the ghost of his dead wife whose face lives on the moon.

At this point, Connor has lunch. His lunch is a banana. To get it, he must sneak into a massive cage and steal it from a sleeping King Kong. Unfortunately, he steps on a squeak toy just when he's about to leave. King Kong awakens and rips Connor in half.

After lunch, Connor leaves his actormobile and sits in a police car instead with his police partner, a talking police dog. They are on stakeout. Little do they know, the bad guys they're watching know their location thanks to a mole in the police department (also played by Connor). They get the drop on Connor and his dog. A shootout occurs. All the bad guys are vanquished, but the dog is mortally wounded as well. Its last words are, "See ya later, pawtner." Connor cries to the heavens as his best friend passes from this world.

We then flash back to Connor as a child, picking up an accordion for the first time. A montage takes us on a journey through the main cornerstones of his young life, all of which feature the accordion, until we find him in a church just after attending his father's funeral. In his sadness, he plays a mournful song all by himself.

Connor goes from this to a mild sex comedy starring Jason Bateman as a mildly exasperated everyman who doesn't get enough loving from his wife. Connor plays his mildly wacky younger coworker who gets all the sex all the time.

The next time we see Connor it's dark outside. Wearing the apparel of a neo-Nazi, Connor appears to be leading a gang of bad guys as they purchase illegal weapons from another group of bad guys (lead by Eddie Marsan). He is stopped by Batman and arrested.

This actually happens over again, but the second time he is stopped by The Punisher and blown up. Then it happens a third time where he is stopped by Underdog and kicked in the balls.

After this, Connor walks around an apocalyptic wasteland for awhile with his eight year old daughter. He finds a can of Pepsi and cries over civilization's end. Then they are both smashed by a giant robot foot.

Finally, Connor's day comes to an end. He goes home to his family for the night, a female chimpanzee and her infant. The baby cries a lot and the wife has curlers in her hair and screams at him for being late. He just shrugs at the camera and the film fades out.

But it's not quite over yet. We fade back into a colorful, animated world where we follow the actormobile, which now has eyes and a mouth and a personality, as it returns to its garage and compares grievances with all the other actormobiles.

Then the credits role. If you leave at this time, however, you'll miss an extra bit where Connor eats the banana he got from King Kong. You can go once that's done, though.

(three stars)