Wednesday, March 13, 2013

# 91: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)

Code-name: Felicity

Director: Jay Roach
Type: Comedy/Spoof

Austin Powers/Dr. Evil/Fat Bastard- Mike Meyers
Felicity Shagwell- Heather Graham
Mini-Me- Verne Troyer
Scott Evil- Seth Green
Mindy Sterling- Frau
#2- Robert Wagner
[past] #2- Rob Lowe
Basil- Michael York
Mustafa- Will Ferrell
Rebecca Romijin- herself
Burt Bacharach & Elvis Costello- themselves

Notable Awards and Nominations:
Grammy- Best Song written for TV/movie ("Beautiful Stranger" by Madonna)
nomination- Grammy- Best soundtrack album
nomination- OSCAR- Best Makeup
nomination- Golden Globe- Best Original Song ("Beautiful Stranger")


I guess at this point my list has gone to the dogs known as "guilty pleasures." After picking a bunch of decidedly GREAT films, most of which I liked from the get-go (otherwise they would not have made the list at all), my next few (started by entry #92) will be movies I love to chill out to, make fun of and quote whenever the opportunity presents itself.

A bunch of my guilty pleasures have in common the fact that they have great inside jokes and allusions to other films. 
Ironically, the first time (ok, maybe one of the first times) I came across it was after seeing one of the things it was spoofing. For a precisely short amount of time, it helped take the edge off and I could laugh for a little bit... after which I proceeded through the only sleepless night I ever had... I can still laugh at the scene where Dr. Evil's chair develops a mind of its own, but I will never sit through "The Exorcist" ever again. My dad's into his psychological thrillers and I broke down and watched this for the sake of saying that I saw it.

[Someday I will temporarily breach the subject of scary movies and such. Make what you will of the fact that I couldn't sleep after seeing this, but sleep managed to find me after "Nightmare on Elm Street"... 3-4 hours later, but it still found me]

Two things about the movie, despite its crude humor (which I initially wanted nothing to do with... I think I was maybe 16 at the time), that kept me coming back for more:
Seth Green and Heather Graham.

I don't know why I loved the character of Scott Evil so much, in this Austin Power movie of all of them. Maybe I just felt sorry for him because he never seemed good enough for his father. Maybe it was because he had some of the best lines in the movie, most of which took place after he joined Dr. Evil in 1969. 

Throughout the series, Dr. Evil more than lived up to the cliché of the dad failing miserably to be funny and appeal to the younger generations. 
While attempting to hold the world hostage, he's making all of these pop culture references that wouldn't come out for several years. 


  • Naming his "laser" The Alan Parsons Project, after which Scott sarcastically suggests "Operation Wang-Chung" and "I'm sure operation Banarama will be huge"
  • Nicknaming the moon with his new "laser" a "Death Star." (Scott calls him "Darth" and coughs "rip-off!")
  • In demonstrating the power of the "laser," he shows a clip of Independance Day
  • Quoting, perhaps the most famous line of Jerry Maguire: 'Show me the money!'
The first time, I was already well aware of "Stars Wars," (spoofed later when Dr. Evil says in a deep voice "Austin, I am your father" and retracts his statement), my memory of Jerry Maguire was vague aside from that specific scene, and I hadn't heard of the Alan Parsons Project.

Sibling rivalry is taken to new extremes with Scott and Mini-Me, and I can't help but feel bad for Scott, who never seems to come out on top.
Scott isn't evil enough for Dr. Evil, so he fills that void (bringing forth another quote line from Jerry Maguire, "you complete me.") with a clone of himself that's "like [him] in every way... 1/8th [his] size." 
We have a few cameos of Jerry Springer who does his best to help mend fences between the "Evil" clan. He fails with Scott and Dr. Evil, but the credits scene shows him and his mom working things out.

Given that this is an overall spoof of the James Bond franchise, Austin Power has to have a different love interest in each movie.
It really doesn't make sense for the writers to "reveal" after the entire first installment of the series that Ms. Vanessa Kensington was, indeed, a fem-bot all along. 
Okay, supposing that was true, how does she [eventually] succumb to the charms of Austin Powers, if robots can't love? Did Mrs. Kensington know that her daughter was a fem-bot?

Or, the more plausible explanation, Vanessa was killed and replaced with a fem-bot, who tracks down Austin Powers after his mojo overwhelmed Dr. Evil's Fem-Bot army... I guess we'll never know.

The time machine makes its first appearance in the franchise and, of course, in the past is where Austin Powers finds love.
By far, Felicity Shagwell is my favorite of his female partners. Heather Graham looks amazing in every scene and it is impossible to listen to Lenny Kravitz's cover of "America Woman" without her introduction scene coming to mind. I just love it.

Each "Austin Power" film has some really good music in it. Of course we have the theme song (which originated somewhere in the 60's, I believe). We're guaranteed a Burt Bararach cameo. This time, he teams up with Elvis Costello for "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" while Austin and Felicity are enjoying each other's company in 60's London.
Somewhat underappreciated is Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger," which appears in a short scene in London.

On the flipside, though, we have the "love-in" scene with Dr. Evil and Frau, set to Marvin Gaye. Which is one of my least favorite scenes in the entire movie because it does get a little weird and "out there"... as these two characters tend to get whenever they're alone together.

It's also my favorite in the franchise because of the jokes. Especially the running jokes.
  • Robin Swallows (maiden name Spitz) being that the enemy that refuses to die, no matter how times she's used as a human shield and falls off a builiding.
  • Mustafa makes a second appearance, where he not only refuses to answer questions unless he's asked the same thing three times, but like Robin before him, will not shut up and die after he's injured beyond conceivable repair. (In this case, though, the timeline works because he was killed in 1997 in the first movie, and his scene here takes place in 1969)
  • Dr. Evil interrupting Scott by tying in pop culture references/jokes with "zip it" or "shh"
  • "Ex-zip-it A" and [after some Spanish] "subtitle 'zip-it'"
  • The quotation fingers, which is a staple for the entire franchise, really.
I didn't notice the longest time that in each of these movies, Mike Meyers added another character of himself. You have the duo role in the first movie. Fat Bastard is introduced here. And in the third movie, we have the Dutch Madman "Goldmember."

Bleck... Dr. Evil sums up the disgusting factor of Fat Bastard perfectly in this one scene, where he reveals that he and Felicity slept together (Felicity agreed to it only to plan a tracking device on him in order to find out the whereabouts of Dr. Evil's "secret lair"):

"That's enough... as much as I like seeing Austin Powers in agony, and I do, the thought of you naked is just gross." 

Although I find the interaction between him and Mini-Me is pretty hilarious.
"Hey, I'm gonna eat you. I'm bigger than you, I'm higher in the food chain. Get in my belly!"

The gross factor continues with how she manages to plant the tracking device on him, when they procure, and maybe a tad with the shadow puppet game. Where Austin is bending over and Dr. Evil's henchmen believe she's removing the contents of their baggage from him.

Then, of course is the most infamous running joke: everyone making their own assessments of Dr. Evil's rocket, which has a "long smooth shaft complete with 'two balls'."
They temporarily carry over this spoof to the next movie. Which may have marked the end of the franchise because the Osbournes broke the 4th wall with their cameo, referencing the previous movie's joke.

IMDB has a confirmed file for a 4th movie. Following the line of reasoning of these movies, supposing this gets a foothold, they really should go back in time to the 1980's.
They start at the present, they've been back to 1967, and they went back to the 70's in the third movie... I mean, it's the least they can do, right?

Anything to make up for the diss at the end of this movie:
Felicity wants to see what happens in the 70's and 80's and Austin Powers says "You're not missing anything. I looked into it. There's a gas shortage and a Flock of Seagulls. That's about it."

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