Leonard Part 6 (1987) (part 8 of 15)
Once she’s done bringing passive-aggressive behavior to a whole new level, Allison finally admits that she’s still upset about seeing Leonard with “that 19 year old”. No way! Really? Well, if it helps any, she’s got to be 26 by now.
Allison then spots a giant platter of rice and shrimp. Yeah, I think we all know where this is going. She says it’s Leonard’s “favorite”, and we cut to Duchamp giving a big old bug-eyed look right into the camera, leaving little doubt of what’s about to occur.
Allison full-on shoves the platter in Leonard’s face, covering his head with rice and shrimp. She pretends to sound apologetic, picking grains of rice off his face. Cut to Duchamp as he looks into the camera and says, “Cancel the grits!” True dat.
Leonard exits the house covered in food. Frayn’s VO says, “Something told me at a glance that the evening had not gone well.” Something told me at a glance that making this film had not gone well. Frayn asks Leonard if it had something to do with the tie. Yeah.
Leonard gets in the car and says he wants to be taken to see “Nurse Carvalho”. (Meanwhile, we get a nice continuity flub as a big hunk of lettuce magically appears on Leonard’s forehead for the sole purpose of sliding down his face and falling into his lap.) Apparently, this incident has inspired Leonard to go back to work as a secret agent, because Frayn’s VO explains that before any mission, Leonard always consulted Nurse Carvalho, “an Albanian fortune teller who now lived in a trailer park in Oakland.”
But the place where Leonard’s Rolls pulls up looks nothing like a trailer park. It’s more like the standard center of urban decay seen in all ‘80s movies, complete with a Rastafarian bum playing bongos, and ubiquitous flaming barrels. Lots and lots of flaming barrels. Which is kind of odd, considering it doesn’t really get that cold in Oakland. I would think just one flaming barrel would be enough to keep a Rastafarian warm.
Leonard walks over to an old school bus and steps inside, and it’s a total gypsy bus in here. He passes through a beaded curtain to meet with a youngish blonde woman who’s the aforementioned Nurse Carvalho, who has Drew Barrymore’s chin and Carol Kane’s shtick from Taxi.
Frayn’s VO expositories that Leonard never understands anything Nurse Carvalho says, and sure enough, she speaks in total gibberish. But, um, just out of curiosity, did the filmmakers know that Albanian is a real language? I have to wonder what an actual Albanian person watching this movie must be thinking, seeing their language rendered as total made-up gibberish. The least they could have done was have Carvalho be from Mypos.
Leonard tells Nurse Carvalho that he’s going back to work, and he needs her to do the thing she used to do. Cut to her massaging a crystal ball. She then grabs Leonard’s face, offhandedly picking the rice out of his ears, ha ha. She starts yelling in gibberish and slapping his face, but then gets interrupted when three little kids sitting in the upper loft (of a school bus?) throw a doll at them.
Nurse Carvalho yells at her kids in a stream of gibberish that includes the words “spanky spanky”, prompting the kids to run and hide. Then she goes back to her hilarious Cosby face-molesting antics.
After more gibberish from the nurse, and a few unfunny shots of her opening a cabinet and wildly tossing around clothes, she finally gets down to business. First, she hands Leonard a pair of ballet slippers (as the Nutcracker Suite plays, thank you, Mr. Bernstein), and then she gives him a red ring box and makes a buzzing noise.
Leonard thanks her, saying he doesn’t understand what these are for, but he’s sure “eventually everything will be clear.” Don’t count on it. Finally, Nurse Carvalho lies back and mutters “quelish” over and over. So “quelish” is an Albanian word, then?
Leonard exits, walking past Mr. Rasta-Bongos on the way back to his car, where he laughs and tells Frayn that Carvalho was “still weird”. See, the high concept here is that Carvalho is psychic, and therefore knows exactly which objects Leonard will need to complete his future mission. So, she’s a lot like Q in the James Bond movies, except in this case they’re a lot more upfront about the psychic abilities.
Cut to Leonard’s house, where the ballet slippers are hung around a small statue of Genghis Khan. Military-sounding music accompanies a pan across various guns and other assorted weaponry: grenades, rocket launchers, what have you. It appears we’ve now come to the part of the film where Alfred helps Batman suit up. Er, that can’t be right. Well, it’s something like that.
Leonard is now in his padded “foreign elite republican guard” uniform from the teaser. Frayn straps weapons to Leonard’s outfit, including a “boomerang knife”. Which doesn’t really sound like that great of an idea. And then twenty minutes from now we’ll find out that that’s actually the joke. No, really.
He also equips Leonard with “wafer thin grenades”, as well as a hair clipper, because in Frayn’s words, “you never know”. Ain’t that the truth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck somewhere with an excess body hair emergency.
Frayn also hooks Leonard up with “a pair of underarm heat seeking missiles”, which are two small bomb-shaped rockets that he attaches underneath Leonard’s arms. Yeah, armpit ordnance. This almost, but not quite, tops the prop humor found in most Carrot Top routines.
Leonard whispers, “Talk to me!” As they march through the house, Frayn gets Leonard pumped up by reciting a litany of great “going into battle” speeches from history and various plays, including excerpts from Henry V, King Richard II, Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade, and even a bit of “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”
To the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance”, Frayn then does his best Winston Churchill impression (at least, I assume it’s his best, because I’d hate to see his worst), saying with a wobbly voice that “now is the winter of our discontent!” Then he switches to a John Wayne impression as the score transforms to that of an old Western. There’s nothing quite like padding out your movie with a string of speeches written and/or performed by guys who are dead and therefore can’t sue you, is there?
The entire time, Leonard strolls through the bowels of his home, walking through dimly lit, foggy hallways. Eventually, he’s passing through the wine cellar, where he stops and tells Frayn to “do the Latin”. And you might think he’s ordering Frayn to get freaky with Julio Iglesias, but he actually wants Frayn to switch over to speeches in Latin.
As Frayn babbles on in Latin, Leonard straps on a bicycle helmet and opens the door to a large garage. Inside is the car from the teaser, the one with the camouflage paint and the tank-like turret on top. According to the opening sequence, Leonard will soon be flying over a hill in this car. In slow motion! It’s gonna be awesome!
Leonard strolls (also in slow motion) across the garage to the car. Suddenly, Frayn is wearing a checkered helmet, just like a handling officer on an aircraft carrier. He makes various hand gestures, and in response, Leonard switches on the headlights, and flips random switches above his head. And here I notice that Leonard’s bicycle helmet is emblazoned with the words “IPSO FACTO”. This is Latin for “by that very fact”. And no, I have no idea why he has it on his helmet.
Frayn runs Leonard through using a joystick to move the turret back and forth. Once this rigorous examination is complete, they give each other big thumbs up.
Frayn makes the field goal sign and then quickly gets out of the way. Well, as quick as one can go in slow motion, anyway.
A path of flashing orange hazard lights appears. The garage door slides up, a rocket blasts out of the back of the car, and Leonard speeds out. A moment later, he’s rocketing down the freeway. And I’m sure your car with flames shooting out of the back will attract no attention at all, Mr. Secret Agent Guy.