Friday, December 21, 2012

But Above All This, I Wish You Love

The Bodyguard
Director: Mick Jackson
Cast: Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston
Released: November 25, 1992

Oscar nominations:
Best Original Song - "I Have Nothing"
Best Original Song - "Run To You" (lost to "A Whole New World" from Aladdin)

Movie confession time: this was my first (and likely only) time seeing The Bodyguard. However, it was my 300 millionth time hearing Whitney Houston belt out the epic love song, "I Will Always Love You" which is so associated with the chanteuse. So much so that I had no idea that Whitney's version was a cover of a song Dolly Pardon had written and recorded in 1974! 1974! That was 18 years before Whitney's cover was released! I have both versions on my iPod and obviously they're both very different as Whitney, the pop singer, sings it as a power ballad, and Dolly, the country crooner, almost sings it in a melancholy style, as a very sad love song. Whitney's version is much "bigger" (and longer) while Dolly's is more low-key which might explain why the cover version is the more popular of the two.

Let's quickly get one thing straight here: The Bodyguard is not a very good movie. It's pretty bad at times. But it's the kind of movie that's still enjoyable to watch because it's not so bad that it's unwatchable. It's still very watchable and that makes it the good kind of a bad movie.

Kevin Costner plays Frank Farmer, a bodyguard (duh) who used to be a bodyguard for Ronald Reagan and still blames himself for the time Reagan was almost assassinated because he wasn't there that day to protect him...even though Reagan didn't die!  (Wasn't this a similar plot point for Clint Eastwood in In the Line of Fire?) He wants to retire, but he's been asked to be the bodyguard for actress/pop singer Rachel Marron (is it me or is that the most vanilla name ever?) played by Whitney Houston. Whitney playing a pop star? Of course I can buy that. She's playing herself. Whitney playing an actress? Sure, I can see it. Whitney playing a Oscar-nominated actress who (spoiler alert!) wins the Oscar? Laughably absurd. I'm sorry, but in what world would Whitney Houston be considered an Oscar-winning actress? The woman could sing flawlessly (well, at least in her heyday) but she was a mediocre actress at best.

Frank Farmer was hired because he's the best in the (bodyguard) business and because Rachel (unbeknownst to her) has been receiving threatening letters from a creepy stalker that only her manager and sister and now Frank know about. They don't want Rachel to know because they don't want to her to worry. Of course she finds out because the stalker makes his way into her dressing room before she's to perform and she sees a menacing letter addressed to her. She is very concerned, not only for her safety, but for that of her young son. Extreme safety measures are put up around the house and Frank Farmer accompanies Ms. Marron wherever she goes. Since Frank always has to be around, Rachel suggests they go out on a date. After they sleep together, Frank tells her it's too dangerous for them to be together because he can't be distracted from protecting her and she gets really angry at him, but of course true love can't tear them apart.

I thought the love aspect of the film, which is the biggest part and main drawl of the movie, was very lacking. I was expecting to see this amazing chemistry bursting on screen, but there is barely anything. I can tell that they care about each other, but I never got the sense they were passionately in love with each other. I only get that when Whitney/Rachel sings "I Will Always Love You." I would have loved to see more of an epic love story, like Jack and Rose...or Jack and Ennis!

One of the nicest moments between the two of them is when they're at a small bar and dance to the original "I Will Always Love You" which is the reason that is "their" song. Speaking of songs, like I mentioned before, I didn't know at first that "I Will Always Love You" was originally recorded by Dolly Parton, but I also didn't know "I Have Nothing" and "Run To You" were written especially for this movie, so technically they're Rachel Marron songs, not Whitney Houston songs. I found out the truth about "I Will Always Love You" a couple years after it was released. I didn't know about these other songs until I just watched the movie. I'm not very familiar with "Run To You," but I love "I Have Nothing" and have it on my iPod. She gets a hilarious (okay, maybe hilarious isn't the right word, but I found it amusing) note from her stalker that says, "I HAVE Nothing, YOU have everything, bitch!" I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like that.

Another song I like that Whitney/Rachel sings is "Queen of the Night" even though it sounds exactly like En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" which came out the same year this movie was released. I don't think that's a coincidence!

At the Oscars, Rachel's big night where she's nominated for (and wins!) an Oscar, she is nearly killed when her stalker shows up and aims at gun at her, but Frank Farmer, the best bodyguard in the history of the world, jumps in front of her and takes a bullet for her. His only injury is an arm in a sling. The whole scene at the Oscars made me think of The Naked Gun 33 1/3 and that whole scene at the Oscars where Frank Drebin is trying to stop a terrorist attack at the ceremony and I realized that movie came out two years after The Bodyguard, so I just realized they spoofed it! I probably would have appreciated it more if I watched The Bodyguard before Naked Gun 3!

Do Frank and Rachel end up together? No. Lame!

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