Leonard Part 6 (1987) (part 12 of 15)
Frayn blah blah blahs, and then tells us Leonard decided it was “time to reassert his parental authority”, so he returns to the dressing room. Inside, he’s shocked to find the entire cast tied up and gagged. Even though I’ve been to cast parties like this, apparently this is the work of Señor Sans Eyebrows.
Leonard removes Joan’s gag and she says a guy took Mom. Sure enough, Leonard finds a note taped to Joan that’s written in a total ransom font, telling him to bring back the Sphere in exchange for his wife. Leonard immediately runs to his car, telling Frayn they have to get the Sphere. Okay, then. I guess you don’t want to untie your daughter, or anything crazy like that.
Cut to the current location of the Sphere, over at CIA headquarters. The CIA guys (a group that once again includes Joe Don and Grace Zabriskie) are in a laboratory filled with caged rabbits, experimenting with the Sphere.
Snyderburn says they need to get the Sphere to work, and he even adds, “Why, I could rule the world with this thing!” Um, what? That’s not really something you want to hear from a CIA agent tasked with dealing with weapons of mass destruction. Especially when he’s played by Joe Don Baker. Can you imagine a world ruled by Joe Don? Everything would be made out of ham. Trust me on that.
Leonard and Frayn enter. Snyderburn complains that they can’t get the Sphere to work, and one of the agents technobabbles that the red fluid inside the Sphere “neutralizes the animal’s parasympathetic system, leaving the brain pan flaccid and open to encryption” [?]. I’ll take his word on that. But he can’t figure out how Medusa “activates” the animals.
Leonard says they’re just using the wrong rabbit, so he goes and opens up several cages, revealing that they’ve been feeding the rabbits the blue liquid from the Sphere. He takes out one rabbit and holds it up, and there’s a menacing close up on the rabbit’s eye.
Leonard tells the agents, “Well, I think the only thing missing here is to say the word… Quelish!!”
Suddenly, rabbits start leaping out of their cages in slow motion, and mauling Joe Don and Grace and all the other agents. I swear, whoever filmed this sequence must have seen Night of the Lepus, because the rabbit attacks are filmed almost exactly the same way—except in the case of Lepus, they weren’t meant to be funny.
Here, they’re actually meant to be funny, and as much as I hate this film, I must admit they achieved that goal. For me, seeing Joe Don Baker being mauled by a bunny is like a cinematic dream come true.
And I’m assuming Leonard remembered the word “quelish” from his meeting with Nurse Carvalho, but that doesn’t really explain how he knew the word would “activate” the animals.
Regardless, Leonard takes advantage of the confusion and steals the Sphere back. Or rather, he takes advantage of the confusion to tell Frayn to steal the Sphere back. Plausible deniability is the name of the game when you’re Leonard Parker.
They quickly leave, but unfortunately, it appears the filmmakers thought the rabbit attack wasn’t carried far enough past the point of being funny. So the scene continues on, with silhouettes of the agents struggling with obviously fake bunnies. The director wasn’t familiar with that motto about quitting while you’re ahead, was he?
Cut to Leonard’s camouflage car racing through city streets. Inside, Leonard has Frayn open the Sphere, revealing vials of blue, red, and green fluid. Leonard says Medusa must be planning to pump these into the bay.
Frayn comments that it looks like dishwashing liquid. The two look at each other, and the very next shot is Leonard’s car in the parking lot of a Safeway, while Frayn runs out carrying three red, blue, and green bottles of Palmolive.
There’s also a weird joke here where a guy is coming out of the supermarket behind Frayn, but instantly turns around and runs back inside when he sees the strange car. It’s almost funny, but so poorly shot, that I was originally wondering who that guy with Frayn was.
As they drive off, Frayn replaces the vials with dishwashing liquid, thus preemptively thwarting Medusa’s villainous plans. Where he dumped the supposedly deadly liquids that were in there before is anyone’s guess. Considering that—in this movie at least—San Francisco swimming pools empty directly into the bay, I’d be a little more concerned about that if I were them.
Soon, the car is being pursued by an old dilapidated school bus. Yes, it’s our old friend Nurse Carvalho, the “Albanian” fortune teller. Cut to inside the school bus, where she even has a TV, and her kids are playing a video game while she drives (specifically, a game on the Action Max, one of those consoles that used VHS tapes… somehow).
Leonard’s car comes to a stop, and the school bus pulls up alongside. Frayn looks over, we pan over to Leonard looking at Frayn, and when we pan back over, Frayn is gone and has been replaced by Nurse Carvalho. Wow! Movie magic! The car pulls off, and Frayn has now magically found himself at the wheel of the school bus. He drives off, trying to keep up with Leonard.
And for some reason, Frayn trying to keep pace with Leonard is played like a big car chase, with both vehicles screeching around corners. Well, I guess if your plot doesn’t call for an actual car chase, you might as well improvise.
The school bus makes a sharp turn, sending a flower bed [?] on the back of the bus flying. The flower bed rockets through the air, crashing through the window of a restaurant and spraying glass all over patrons eating a meal. Hilarity! Hope they weren’t using those eyes!
As they continue on, Leonard explains to Nurse Carvalho about how the bad guys have his wife. The nurse begins dealing tarot cards in her lap, with plenty of “Albanian” gibberish thrown in. She then puts her hand over her eyes and her other hand over Leonard’s eyes. Leonard says, “I trust you!” and begins driving blind through the streets.
Once this bit is finished, Carvalho does crab claw gestures with her hands, all the while screeching. And no, I don’t know why. All of this leads to a shot of Leonard’s car flying over a hill in slow motion, and hey, it’s the same clip from the opening teaser! Amazingly, the shot makes even less sense in context. But either way, it’s now two teaser shots down, just one more to go.
The school bus also goes flying over the hill. During this, we get a shot of the kids in the back playing their video game, completely oblivious. I think the joke is that those darn kids get so wrapped up in their video games that they don’t even notice this kind of extreme driving, but that’s sort of a guess on my part.
In Leonard’s car, the nurse pulls random stuff out of her purse, until she hands over what we’ll later learn is a big hunk of butter.
For more random mayhem, both vehicles pass through an alley, where there just happens to be a low hanging pipe. Frayn sees impending doom and makes the sign of the cross, and then the pipe completely obliterates the wood hutch on top of the school bus. The kids in the back feel the rush of open air, and being gosh-darn video game-playing kids, they immediately wither and die when all that fresh air and sunlight hits them.
In Leonard’s car, the nurse hands him a stack of frozen hamburger patties. He somehow translates her gibberish to mean “Let ‘em thaw!” Then, the car and the bus split up, leading to a shot of the two vehicles heading down both sides of a split two-lane street. My god, this is hilarious beyond belief! Driving the wrong way down a one-way street, does it get any funnier?
The nurse then hands Leonard a wiener [!] as the car races past the Golden Gate Bridge, and then they come upon the school bus parked on the side of the road with Frayn standing next to it.
The nurse puts her hands over her eyes and says, “Arrivederci!” I believe that’s Albanian for “adios”. In the next shot, she’s magically appeared next to Frayn, while Leonard continues on.
And thankfully, that’s pretty much the last we’ll be seeing of both Frayn and Nurse Carvalho, except for a very brief bit at the end. Farewell, completely useless characters!