Oct 20, 2014
When Time Ran Out... (1980) (part 5 of 8)
Meanwhile at Mona’s, Tiny still has to get to his cockfight on this busy morning. At length, the bets are dispensed with and the fight commences. Cue Tiny, Kelly, Sam, Mona, and lots of other people urging on the roosters. But enough of that, because before the match even starts we cut away. [?]
Back at the hotel, Shelby (sporting a white suit of his own now) stops by Bob’s office to tell him he’s come from seeing Webster. He’s okay and is already back on the job. [!] Shelby says Webster told him the accident wasn’t serious, and was just a problem with the cable. Bob says that’s true, but Shelby calls him out on it. “I’m in the partner business! I can’t be in 64 resorts at the same time! I have to rely on what my partners tell me! Up to a point. And if I come to feel they’re lying, I call in the cards!”
“Do it!” screams Bob. See, that kind of comment would be a little suspicious to me. Bob calls Webster up at the crater to settle the matter. He asks him what the latest readings are.
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Webster tells Bob, “No question in my mind. She’s building up. We better evacuate.” Bob nonchalantly asks if he’s sure, then smiles and says he’d like Shelby to hear it for himself.
Shelby takes the phone and hangs it up. “As I said before, I trust my partners, up to a point.” He leaves and Bob stares after him. On the desk beside him is a lava rock paperweight. Bob picks it up and flings it at the painting of Daddy, which has me even more convinced it was painted on velvet.
Back at the cockfight, people are still cheering and betting [?] and Tiny’s bird finally wins. Though, why we had to cut away from this scene, I don’t get. And again, that’s all there is to it. They’re just pretending this movie has action, I guess.
On the beach, Hank and Kay are progressing with their picnic. They have an odd conversation about Hank’s past and love for the ladies. Kay says Shelby told her all about him, trying to make Hank look bad, but it didn’t work. Meanwhile, Hank struggles with the wine cork, leading to this odd bit of dialogue.
| Hank: Aw, this thing won’t come out.
Kay: Push it in.
Hank: [looks at her] Ohh yeah!
She asks what else he did with his life, and he says he taught housewives various types of needlepoint. Kay laughs in big gasping, pig wheezes at every different type of needlepoint he mentions, which is just stunningly annoying. Amazingly, Hank turns serious and says, “I really like the way you laugh. [!] I like the way you listen, too. C’mon over here.” She crawls across the blanket to him and they start kissing. And at that moment I thought to myself, y’know, this would be the perfect time for that volcano to erupt. On cue, the volcano erupts! And from this point on, the movie enters the period I’m terming “Called It”, because not a single thing now happens that isn’t entirely predictable.
Hank and Kay stare, of course, at the volcano. Hank tells Kay they have to get out of there. They wisely leave their stuff on the beach and take off in Hank’s helicopter. Volcano or no, that’s a pretty sweet way to get around.
A shot of the Volcano Command Center shows that it’s not the best place to be right now. A quick cut to Nikki’s farm shows her riding a horse that bucks her off when the ground shakes. (Aren’t animals supposed to sense these things before they happen?) Two of her native workers and two little kids run out of a barn. That’s right, an hour and two minutes in, and we’re still meeting characters that will have an impact on the plot.
At Mona’s place, Tiny’s still clutching his cock. What? He is! And during a lull in the rumblings, Mona announces, “Don’t worry, folks, just our usual friendly morning rumble!” Since everyone here looks like a native or a regular, I don’t know who that’s going to convince, but when she says drinks are on the house, most everyone stays. Seems kinda early to be serving drinks. It’s only a little after eleven, but I suppose that’s island living!
Just as everyone calms down, another big tremor hits. Or at least, the camera and cast all move like there was a big tremor while a stagehand dumps some dust down on them.
We cut to the local landing strip where the runway starts buckling. It’s a decent effect, until they switch to an overhead shot that looks like thick gray Styrofoam breaking apart. On a dirt road, a car—perhaps escaping from another movie, because it’s certainly not from this one—speeds away while trees and electric poles sway and fall. Suddenly, and quite unrelated to anything, the car plunges over the cliff and enacts the Pinto Principle as it immediately bursts into flames. [!!]
Then the volcano really lets loose with a rather unusual gasoline-type explosion at the crater. It’s lights out for the volcanologists as their balsa wood observatory breaks to pieces. Suddenly, it looks like a bunch of people work there, because Webster, Ed Begley, Jr. and four or five other guys scream and run around while the place catches fire, then breaks up and falls into the crater. What a bad day Webster had. I’d feel sorrier for them, except for the fact that Webster told Bob they needed to evacuate, and they had quite a bit of equipment there to let them know this was coming.
Safe in their helicopter, Hank and Kay survey the eruption and subsequent destruction. Hank radios the oil field and tells someone to tell Tiny to round up the crew and get them to higher ground. Finally, we cut to stock footage of actual lava flowing instead of a gasoline explosion, but even here, part of a helicopter door frame was poorly matted in to make it look like it was something Hank could see. The obvious black line along the edge, and the fact that Hank’s doorframe is considerably wider than the matte doorframe kind of destroys the believability.
Kay asks if there’s any stopping the volcano. Well, we could put a cork in it. Duh, Kay! Hank ignores her stupidity and merely points out if it continues, it’ll go over the ridge that separates the town and hotel from the volcano.
They fly over Nikki’s ranch, and decide to set down to get her and the natives out of there. Nikki and the kids climb in the back while the two native guys stand on the skids. After a tough time getting off the ground, Hank yells out to the guy on his side, “The air’s gonna be a little rough over the lava!” Native Guy yells back, “I’ll be all right!” Okay, buddy. By the way, you might want to put on this red shirt. You’re going to need it in a second.
No more than three seconds later, the guy sees the lava flow, freaks out, and falls off the helicopter. He even falls at that intriguing Pumaman angle right into the lava that seemed to be a good three miles away. Quite a feat. Everyone reacts with scrunchy noses and they fly on.
At the hotel, Bob’s doing his best to assure everyone they’re in no danger. Bob is what we call “buried up to his ankles in sand”. Random Female Guest points out they’re a thousand miles from the nearest island and asks how long it would take to be rescued. Bob says there’d be plenty of time. Once they’re all dead! After listening to all his non-answers and double talk, everyone is quite appeased and the group disperses.
Findly laughs and says to Det. Conti, “Wouldn’t it be ironic if this volcano erupted and you got stuck in the lava?” A little too ironic, don’tcha think? Conti, of course, stares at him and gives a hollow laugh. Conti tells him he’ll get the insurance company to go easy on him if he gives up the bonds. Findly responds with a sweetly innocent, “If I had the bonds, wouldn’t I give them back?”
Mr. and Mrs. Valdez are also at the character meeting point, I mean, on the veranda. Mrs. Valdez asks her husband if they’re in danger. Mr. Valdez assures her it’s all just rumors and she shouldn’t worry. Even that little scene, they’re good in!
Shelby and Bob discuss what to do. Shelby says Bob may have sold the guests, but he doesn’t buy it. In his boring, analytical way, he says he’s upset that in all his reports, Bob didn’t mention that Mauna Nui was dangerous. Shelby says they now have contingency plans for everything that might go wrong, except for the volcano erupting. Which is kind of dumb if you think about it. That would be the first thing I’d make a contingency plan for on this island.
Bob says he’s the one who’s lived on the island all his life, and therefore he knows the volcano better than Shelby. I think I’ll wait and see who survives this movie before I pass judgment on that little nugget of info from Bob.
Finally, Hank and company land at the hotel. Kay leads Nikki inside and wow! Does Kay have a big butt. Maybe she’s really the ad company’s secretary. Hank informs Shelby and Bob and quite a few nearby guests that the guys at the crater are all dead, and soon the stables will also be gone. As an afterthought, Bob asks if Nikki’s alright, and Shelby angrily tells him to go see for himself. Hank tells him the fissure is facing the hotel and the lava is slowly but surely headed straight for them. The nearby guests begin a worried watermelon, rhubarb debate.
Bob insists there’s no way the lava can get over the ridge. Shelby says he sick of Bob’s guarantees. Finally! “This could be a repeat of Mount Pelée, Martinique, nineteen hundred and two,” Shelby says. “Everybody making excuses ’til the damn mountain blew up!” It might also be a repeat of Fantasy Island for all I know. Anybody else remember this one?
Shelby realizes all the guests are getting worked up, so he lowers his voice and continues. “Thirty thousand people dead in less than five minutes, and not one from lava. The explosion took all of the oxygen out of the air. Now what about that possibility?”
Bob proves why he didn’t make his junior high debate team by countering, “That was back in 1902! That’s a one in a million shot!” Get with the times, Shelby! Volcanic oxygen-sucking eruptions were outlawed by the Geneva Convention! We’re perfectly safe! Amazingly, Bob’s argument doesn’t convince Shelby. He says they need to prepare to evacuate.
Bob tells Kay to talk some sense into Shelby. Kay says, “Shelby? Someone needs to talk some sense into you, Bob!” Or pound it in. I’d go for that. I’d even help! Brian has also wandered into the meeting, and he and Shelby confer. Shelby tells Bob that Brian’s already contacted Fiji, and two nearby ships will be on the lee side of the island by noon the next day.
Hank deadpans, “Terrific.” He jerks his thumb up and says, “They may cancel tomorrow.” He walks away with Kay. Shelby stuffs Brian’s report down Bob’s shirt [!!], then walks away with Brian.
Findly, who’s still standing next to Conti for some reason (yes, yes, IITS) asks, “Not that it matters, but what do you think?” Conti just stares up at the volcano as black diesel smoke pours out of it. Nice to see all that smoke and (presumably) ash hasn’t obscured the sun or fallen back to earth yet. Mr. Valdez calms his wife again. Iolani and Bob exchange a meaningful glance. And so it goes.