FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Mar 24, 2007

You were waiting? Really? I wasn't.

Did you know that there’s a Hitcher II? There is, and it’s called Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting. Somehow it seems to have gotten lost or overlooked in all the hullabaloo surrounding the recent remake of the original film- not that that's a bad thing, necesssarily. Hitcher II is pretty much the same as The Hitcher, except instead of Rutger Hauer as the psycho bad guy hitchhiker, this time around it's Jake Busey as the psycho bad guy hitchhiker. To me, this is the equivalent of going to a strip club once and seeing Angelina Jolie do a routine and then you return the following week and you see the same routine but it's performed by the mom from Growing Pains. She’s lovely and all, but the effect isn’t quite the same, now is it?

I just realized I talk about strip clubs a lot. I find them sort of fascinating, though in my heart I know they’re not. They're actually sort of sad and boring, yet I still find them endlessly intriguing. Oh well. Maybe I should start a blog about them.

C Thomas Howell returns as Jim Halsey, the kid who was so very traumatized by Rutger Hauer in the first film. Jim is now a cop, but he can’t seem to get over his confrontation with the evil hitchhiker; he’s plagued by flashbacks of the desert and the mullet he sported at the time.

After Jim gets trigger-happy on the job one too many times, he’s summarily fired. His girlfriend, crack cropduster pilot Maggie (Kari Wuhrer), reminds Jim that he just can’t go around killing people all the time and things have got to change. They decide to take a trip back to Texas so Jim can confront his demons once and for all.

Before long, they’re driving in the middle of a sand storm and Jim is sweating a lot and generally acting weird. He refuses to pick up a hitchhiking Jake Busey, but Maggie insists- the poor guy is out in the middle of a sand storm, after all, and man, why the fuck is Jim acting so oddly?

Yeah, see, Jim hasn’t told his girlfriend about those life-altering events long ago or exactly what demons he has to exorcise…if he had, she wouldn’t have insisted on picking up Jake Busey and then we ALL could have avoided a little heartache. They pick him up, however, and yes, he’s psycho. As in the first film, Jim soon finds himself framed for 543657651665217 murders as Jake Busey keeps fucking with him. In a super-shocking twist, however, Jim ends up dead. This means that Jake Busey now has to torment Kari Wuhrer and somehow frame HER for 543657651665217 murders.

Busey kidnaps Maggie and tucks her away in a decrepit water tower…she escapes, however, and drives off in an 18-wheeler. She heads to a rest stop/diner and contacts the sheriff, ready to explain everything. Much to her chagrin, however, Jake Busey is already at the rest stop/diner and he’s killed everyone inside. Now he’s behind the counter, posing as a short order cook, complete with hat and apron- and the sheriff is on the way! Whatever will happen?

I’ll tell you what will happen: Jake Busey will cut off one of his own fingers and throw it in the deep fryer. Then he will say- I fucking kid you not- “BAM! Kickin’ it up a notch!” Then Stacie will turn the DVD off for 20 minutes as she waits for her blood pressure to return to normal.

More and more ridiculous scenarios unfold until there’s a final showdown, with Jake Busey behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and Kari Wuhrer behind the…whatever you use to fly a plane. That’s got to be the most retarded showdown in the history of ever and I can’t believe it actually happened, but I saw it with my very own eyes.

I tells ya, the only thing that kept me going to the end of this movie was my fervent desire to see an end to Jake Busey and his Chiclet teeth and relentlessly ‘90s hairstyle once and for all.

While I think there’s something valid to the notion of sequels that deal with the aftermath of events from earlier films and their effect on characters (this idea was handled well in Halloween H2O, for example), Hitcher II ultimately felt more unnecessary than even a remake of the original film. Jim never got to sort his shit out or have any kind of real resolution: he found himself in the exact same situation he was in almost twenty years earlier, and he died a lame death. Maggie ends up traveling down the same path, which seems ludicrous to me. How many cuckoo nutso nihilistic hitchhikers are there in Texas, anyway?

You’d be right to think that the “BAM!” line would take top honors for Most Appalling of Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting, but that’s only because I haven’t yet presented this evidence:

Umm…is that nose hair? I think it’s nose hair. Once I noticed it, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, and I was therefore glad when Jim met an early demise. C Thomas Howell will always have a place in my heart- I mean, he’s PONYBOY. But come on…when it becomes a distraction, it's time to fucking trim that shit, dude.

Hitcher II was just plain silly, and despite a decent performance from Kari Wuhrer, I can only appoint it a rating of:


Anonymous said...


Thanks for seeing this so I don't have to! I'll have my original memories of severed fingers and semi-truck quartering to keep me warm at night.

Hey, speaking of Jake Busey, he was a really good Starkweather-type psycho in The Frighteners, wasn't he?


Neil Sarver said...

Hey, I have that same fascination with strip clubs, while realizing they don't actually deserve my fascination... although I must say if Angelina Jolie, or really Joanna Kearns, as it goes, showed up at one, it could make all the fascination worthwhile.

Honestly, I'm intrigued enough by The Hitcher II that I may have to see it despite the negative words. The nose hair only makes it more appealing somehow.

Stacie Ponder said...

You're right, Bill- Busey was good in The Frighteners, and I liked him a lot in Starship Troopers as well. This was just sort of..."menace lite" or something. He wasn't "crazy", he wasn't "scary"...and while it's not his fault, that "BAM!" line is unforgivable.

Neil- This movie isn't terrible, I'll say that. It's got an absurd denouement, but that's ok. It just felt like a retread, and I had sort of knew exactly what would happen before it happened, you know? It's competently made, Wuhrer was decent, and it's nice to see C Thomas Howell get some screen time.

It's definitely a Sunday- afternoon- on- UPN kind of movie. Which, you know, is fine.

Reese said...

jesus effing christ, stacie. was that zoom in really necessary? Lol, girl, you're nuts.

But ... nobody plays crazy like a Busey. Good call, Stacie.


Stacie Ponder said...

Sergio, his nose hair must have been itching- that's why he started picking!

Reese, I zoomed in for the betterment of humanity, really. I wanted to make sure no one missed the grossosity. Think of it as a PSA, reminding people to trim!

Anonymous said...

So I have a question. Out of all the women you could have had your readers imagine naked, what led you to choose the mom from Growing Pains. Good stuff.

Stacie Ponder said...

Ha HA, I say. The short answer, anonymous, is that it's simply how my mind works.

The long answer, I suppose, is that to make the analogy work (at least in my head) I had to choose someone who, while quite different from 'sultry' Angelina Jolie, isn't exactly hideous. I mean, the mom from Growing Pains is basically attractive, yeah? But in a different sort of way than someone perceived largely as a sex symbol, like Ms. Jolie. And by calling her "the mom from Growing Pains" rather than by her name, Joanna Kerns, I also differentiated the two women further. Additionally, because most of us know Joanna Kerns as a "mom" of sorts, heading to a strip club expecting a sexy sexpot like Angelina Jolie and getting a benignly attractive mother figure instead, to me, was an idea akin to watching Hitcher II after seeing the original film.

In other words, it's the same, sort of, but not really. It's got all the same parts, but it's a blander version of what we saw the first time around. Not AWFUL, necessarily, but not as good, either.

This glimpse into my thinking process has been brought to you by too much Diet Coke and the letter G.

Amanda By Night said...

I have this movie on DVD somewhere. Jake Busey was really bad but oh-so-good in Roadhouse 2. Yeah, I said it.

I worked with C. Thomas Howell on a film and he was about the nicest guy ever. I don't remember any nose hairs but his wife was smoking in that Joanna Kerns kind of way, so it all kind of ties back to surreal world of Final Girl. How I love thee!

Anonymous said...

One of the funniest reviews I've read here at Final Girl, bar none. God bless C. Thomas Howell and Jake Busey but wow - what a stinker!

Anonymous said...

This was one odd flick. I remember when there were some serious discussions about a Hitcher sequel Rutger Hauer and Robert Harmon were going to be involved. No dice there, though it would be difficult to replicate Eric Red's creepy-ass script.

The movie just didn't go anywhere interesting. Howell gave a terrific performance as the barely holding it together Jim, so why just kill him off other than to jolt the audience? It made no sense. Kari Wuhrer was good, but c'mon. That showdown didn't make any sense.

Hourglass, a Howell- starring and directed 1995 Basic Instinct clone was marketed overseas as Hitcher 95, even though it has nothing to do with the original.