May 28, 2007
When Time Ran Out... (1980) (part 2 of 8)
Oh no. What’s this? Please, no! No!! Not an oil drill!! Am I cursed? IS THAT IT?? No wait. There’s Paul Newman. And none of these drillers appear to have been in Armageddon. But if you like shots of big metal shafts spinning, then look no further. This is your scene!
Hank (Paul Newman) is monitoring a pressure gauge. He gives it a long meaningful stare as it climbs higher and higher. It climbs into the dangerous red zone and still he stares at it. Only when it pegs out and a warning siren sounds does he yell to the crew to stop drilling and bail out.
Everyone runs in random directions, and one guy slides down a ladder in an extended shot where he has a harness and wire very visibly supporting him. Now, I doubt this is standard safety equipment on oil rigs (he’s the only guy sporting one), so it was probably put in place just for the purpose of shooting this guy sliding down a ladder safely. Which really ruins the stunt.
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It seems they struck oil, because a geyser of the dark stuff shoots high into the air. Everyone is instantly blackened while they work to cap it off. The workers are all celebrating, saying they’re millionaires now, but Hank remains worried. He asks if anyone else smells sulfur. They do, but they just joke about it. They tell Hank to come join their fun, but he says later. He needs to figure out what they tapped into. He stares into the distance (take a drink) at a matte painting of a volcano with white smoke billowing out of the top.
Back up at the Volcano Observation Post, the phone rings. An assistant who looks just like Ed Begley, Jr. goes to answer it, but Bob beats him to it. Hotel manager Brian is calling back to tell Bob that Hank needs to see him as soon as he gets back. Bob asks if Shelby was upset that he wasn’t there to meet him. Brian says no. Resort Running Intrigue!
Bob hangs up and goes to check the seismic counters. Another aluminum foil-wrapped volcanologist approaches and tells him, “It’s not good, Mr. Spangler.”
“What’s not good, John?”
“All this seismic disturbance. This indicates unusual magma activity.”
Bob says that the last time Mauna Nui erupted was in 1912. Before that, sometime in the ninth century. Before that, it was a gas station. He reasons that since it only erupts twice every 1,000 years, they’re perfectly safe. Because as we all know, volcanoes are extremely predictable. Bob tells John, “If it’ll ease your mind any, you go ahead and run some computer studies. I mean, that is your department, isn’t it?”
John zings back, “Lately, Mr. Spangler, I’ve begun to wonder.” He reminds Bob he was against building a tourist platform on the rim of the volcano, but Bob went ahead with it anyway.
Bob asks, “Is it wrong to want to share a natural wonder with the public?” Yeah, really. Is it wrong to want to kill a bunch of people for money? C’mon, John!
Back at Kalaleu Gilmore (that’s Lorelai’s mom, right?), David Cassidy—I mean, Brian—takes Iolani aside to discuss their relationship. He’s still in the dark on the whole postponement deal and can’t figure out why she’d say that. He thinks maybe she said it to impress Mr. Gilmore, to show how dedicated she is to his hotel. (Ah, the crazy hotel world!) But, no. J-Lo says she isn’t ready to commit to Ben and the wedding is off.
Brian says they’ve known each other all their lives and have been pledged to each other since childhood, but again, no. Iolani’s devotion to the hotel guests must come first! so she tells Brian they’ll discuss it later because she has other passengers to attend to. I mean, guests. Forgot this wasn’t a Love Boat episode for a second.
Finally, we start to meet the secondary characters. We’re nearly 19 minutes in and still have half a cast to meet! Iolani greets an elderly couple named Valdez who’ve just checked in, and shows them to their room. Brian stares after Iolani as she passes, and she turns to coldly stare back at him. Take a drink.
Shelby walks by and Iolani stops him to introduce him to the Valdezes. It seems Mr. and Mrs. Valdez (played by Burgess Meredith and Valentina Cortesa, respectively) are retired circus folk, and they used to have a high wire act. Hmm. That couldn’t possibly come into play later in the movie, could it? I don’t see how it could. After all, they’re retired!
From above, we see a lady in what appears to be lion tamer clothes walking through the hotel. Man, get a trapeze artist and an elephant and we got a circus! This is Nikki (played by Veronica Hamel), Bob’s wife and Shelby’s goddaughter. Oh, and that’s a riding outfit she’s wearing. Okay.
Shelby calls down to her and asks how she likes the new Arabians he sent her. She says she likes them, and they agree to have dinner. Not that any of this matters to the movie. Well okay, it establishes that Nikki rides horses, which will come up again later. But it’s not so important that it couldn’t have waited.
In Nikki and Bob’s apartment, she tells Bob she saw that Shelby’s arrived. Then she starts talking about some native worker of theirs who was taken to the hospital. Bob totally ignores the welfare of his employee and asks if Shelby said anything. Yes, Shelby said stuff to Nikki, but not pertaining to you, Mr. Me!
Nikki repeats that this guy is in the hospital because he was stung by a foot-long centipede from the volcano. From the volcano? Do centipedes live in volcanoes? Bob stares at the floor for a second (count it!) and then asks if she told Shelby about it. Geez! Shelby, Shelby, Shelby! Why don’t you just marry Shelby, Bob? He’s already got a ring with him and everything!
Bob’s all worried that Shelby’s going to bail on the hotel over the least little thing. Yeah. I’m sure a multimillionaire businessman who owns tons of resorts and sank millions into this one is going to bail over a guy getting stung by a centipede.
Cut to a helicopter landing at the hotel, and Hank is the pilot. (Since he’s an oilman, he knows how to fly a helicopter.) Does Paul Newman just have this one outfit for every movie? He always looks the same. He’s sporting the Cowboy look, so he puts his cowboy hat on as he gets out.
Hank goes into Bob’s office, where Bob is doing some serious 70’s stylin’. We’re talking white suit, white belt, and a purple satin shirt unbuttoned to expose his chest hair and fab tan. Oh please, oh please, be wearing white shoes!
Hank, with nearly zero emotion, tells Bob the oil well came in. Bob (who’s now bearing a disturbing resemblance to Andy Griffith in the later color Mayberry episodes) is super-excited. He offers Hank a drink and tells him they’re gonna party like it’s 1999. Well, not those exact words, but that’s the emotion.
Bob turns to a portrait of his dad on the wall and yells, “You hear that, my esteemed lord? Oil! And you thought sugar was king!” Now, this is one seriously scary painting. It was apparently done by the same artiste who painted “The Master and Ceres” for “Manos” The Hands of Fate. And yet, there’s something about the immense white cowboy hat that just screams “Daddy Ewing”.
Meanwhile, Hank still looks like someone just ran over his dog, and Bob wants to know what’s up. Hank tells him he almost lost a man bringing in the well (When?), and the pressure readings are so high they’re blowing the dials off the instruments. (I don’t recall that, either.)
Hank asks what kind of readings they’re getting up at the crater. Bob lies, “Nothing out of the ordinary.” We finally get a long shot of Bob and… Hot dog! White shoes! And it would seem that Bob has two white suits (I guess if it’s the 70’s and you’re unsure, buy another one), because that coat is definitely a different shade than those pants.
Hank says in response to Bob’s “normal readings” line that “it doesn’t make sense.” Just then, Shelby and Kay walk into Bob’s office, and Bob couldn’t be happier for the interruption. Cue meaningful stare from Hank, thank you. Bob asks if they both remember Hank. Cue meaningful stares between Kay and Hank. Kay says, “Of course.” Hank just keeps staring.
Bob tries to rush Hank out by saying, “C’mon Hank, I’ll walk you down, discuss that problem with you!” Ooh, Bob! Ixnay on the oblempray! Too late; Shelby’s intrigued. He says he heard them talking about a pressure buildup. “Is that something… I should know about?”
Bob laughs it off, saying it’s nothing, and in fact Hank just brought in their first well today. Kay, with really misplaced inflection, says, “You… di-id it!” It’s way wrong and kind of funny. Regardless, the guys all ignore her.
Shelby asks what the problem is then. Bob says Hank had some abnormal pressure readings that don’t “amount to a hill of beans.”
“About an hour ago,” Hank counters, “we recorded twelve tons per square inch. That’s a pretty big hill of beans!” He asks Bob to take him down into the “fire pit” to see what’s going on with the volcano. Bob promises to take him at eight the next morning. Bob also says they can check the instruments at the crater and find out why their measurements don’t match up. Couldn’t be because you’re reading them! could it, Bob?
Bob says they should all just stop worrying and celebrate by going out to dinner. Where? It’s a private island you own, and you have the only restaurant. That’s not exactly going out. But it doesn’t matter anyway, because downer Hank says no. He says goodbye to Shelby and Bob and totally ices Kay. Cue meaningful stare from Kay. Kay then makes a complete fool of herself by running after him. Real professional, Kay! Run out on your advertising pitch over Paul Newman! Well, okay, I see her point. Hank waits for the elevator as Kay tries in vain to communicate with him.
| Kay: I had that coming.
Kay: “Nice to see you again, Shelby.” [Silence.] I missed you.
Hank: Not good enough.
Kay: [Stare. Walk to his other side. Stare.] I have missed you.
The other set of elevator doors opens. Isn’t that always the way? They both stare at the elevator, and the doors close again. She says she tried to call him, but Tiny wouldn’t let her talk to him. She wanted to tell him she’d be back for three weeks, maybe longer.
“You putting Shelby out to pasture?” Hank asks, “Or are you going to race us both?”
She gives him a meaningful glance, then says she made a mistake, but it was a mistake she had to find out for herself. “Do you want to see me again, or don’t you?”
He shakes his head. “I don’t know if I could handle it.” He turns and walks down the stairs. So why did he even wait for the elevator?