Too soon?

James O’Barr lives here in Dallas. I used to work with a guy who’s best friend was his handler… err… assistant. Regardless, the story depicted in the pixels above is actually mine, not Josh’s (but someone had to die and it wasn’t going to be me). “The Crow” really was a pivotal milestone in my young geek development. It was this confluence of comic books, violence, darkness, depression, grunge music, counter culture and anti hero that simultaneously fired off every synapse in my 13 year old boy-brain. I know it’s not a cinematic master piece. “Right place, right time, right emotionally withdrawn kid” is all I’m saying.

Add to the various levels of awkward, outcast kid appeal the fact that the star, Brandon Lee, died during filming when a stage gun was accidentally loaded with live ammo and you have added a layer of all-too-real tragedy, martyrdom and general spookitude. Not to be disrespectful to Brandon Lee (his performance was fantastic), but he died tragically playing a guy that died tragically. Teen angst feeds off that kind of stuff.

I discovered, and latched on to the movie LONG before I ever even saw the actual comic. I knew it was out there but at the time we were all too young to buy it (spoiler: it contains bewbs). When I finally read it in my latter teens, I was certainly impressed with the beutiful artwork and (can I use this word again?) TRAGIC love story, but the shift in style from Kurt Cobain to David Bowie caught me off guard. Now that I’m older, I wish they had actually let Bowie star in it. It would have been “Labrynth 2: Jareth’s Rock and Roll Revenge.”


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  1. You could totally have used the word "tragic" three or four or seven more times.

    Also, Josh needs a hug for dying on a regular basis. He's become the HE version of Kenny.

  2. Maybe it's just people "our age" because I had a very similar story. While I waited a few more years to start dressing the part, I went through the same sort of transition at roughly the same time that I was watching this movie. I don't know if the movie made a new me, or if the new me was in line with the movie but, it was certainly life shaping, regardless of where it started.

    Stunt bacon sucks. I want the real thing.

    • Like I said, "right place, right time." I was going to end up a weirdo loser outcast anyway, but The Crow gave me an easily accessible guidebook. In pre internet times you have to have an older cooler person introduce you to things like underground comics and zines and obscure bands. The Crow was mainstream enough that I could still get to it without having to be too cool in the first place.

    • Do not, I repeat, do not, see the third one. Well, not unless you've had copious amounts of alcohol beforehand and can forget it's Crow-related. Think of it as a SciFi movie of the week and you're good.

        • Oh, you know what, it was 4 that I was thinking of. Three had Kirsten Dunst in it. I only know that from the poster. Can't imagine it could be worse than 4, though.

          Don't forget to mention that Tara Reid was playing opposite poor old David, there. Sad times!

          • Your comments still stands. 3 was terrible.

            1. Fantastic
            2. Basically a rehash of one but with a little of its own style. watchable, even enjoyable.
            2.5 The Series… no comment
            3. ridiculously bad
            4. RIDICULOUSLY BAD

            • 2.5 The Series was filmed in Vancouver, right when I was living there. They used the top of the Sun Tower as the exterior of his place, and I used to catch a bus within view of it each evening. Not a great area of town anymore, but it was cool to look at the windows at the top and imagine him up there.

              Mind you, I always loved that building from long before that; the aesthetics of it appeal to me. Trivia: the same building is in a shot of Flesh Gordan (which was also filmed in the area) when the spaceship first leaves earth. XD So now the series can be tied to Flesh Gordan (and then to Flash Gordan, and then to Queen), which is probably deeply significant in some (gay-related?) way, but I'm too sober to try and figure out exactly how. XD

  3. The Crow > Wolverine, as far as comic antiheroes go.

    You know why?

    Because the Crow's not taking up space in every fucking Marvel book right now.

  4. Years ago, when my wife & I were first dating, we saw "Rapid Fire" (the movie he made just prior to The Crow) as one of our date movies. My wife and I thought afterwards that Brandon would end up being a huge star. He just seemed to shine in every scene he was in in Rapid Fire. But I also remember watching him in "Showdown in Little Tokyo" and thinking the same thing.

    But I also recall watching interviews with him where he really gushed about playing the character in The Crow – sort of like the way Hugh Jackman talks about loving to play Wolverine. I also remember how he wanted to get away from just simple action movies and
    wanted to start delving into more serious acting roles. The Crow was going to be his launching pad to do that – which makes his eerie death all that more tragic.

    On another X-men side note, I always thought he would have been a really cool Nightcrawler.

    As for the musical influence of The Crow, I never associated it with Nirvana or grundge as much as I always associated it with The Cure for some reason.

    • Wow. I COMPLETELY forgot about "Showdown in Little Tokyo". I watched that with some friends as part of our Crappy Movie Tuesdays we used to have. Best display of homoeroticism involving Dolph Lundgren EVER!

    • O'Barr quotes a song called The Hanging Garden in the comic. I was on the industrial-goth track at the time, and didn't think The Cure had anything to offer me, but the lyrics to that one actually got me to give them a chance. I still wouldn't call myself a fan, because Robert Smith's voice makes me cringe, but I had to admit that they had something to offer after that…

  5. Lee definitely had a bright future ahead of him. He was a scene stealer for sure. By the music I meant more about the actual soundtrack and the fact that Eric looked the part of the grunge rocker in the film. I know the original comic was inspired by goth, and though the style carried over to the movie, they certainly altered it to fit in with mid 90's music.

    • Goth music was heavily inspired by glam rock and Bowie. Bauhaus was often accused of being a bad Bowie knockoff, and in response, released a (bitchin') cover of "Ziggy Stardust". Coincidentally, this was their biggest hit.

  6. You remind me of the babe.
    What babe?
    Look, I… I really don't like to talk about it. Lots of stuff, you know… -sniff- just… lots of stuff.
    Okay, okay then you just take your time. We don't have to talk about it until you're ready.
    Thanks man, that, that means a lot. -sniff- I'm okay. I'm, I'm okay.

    Not to be irreverent.

  7. While not spun off into Goth-hood and older than a teen at the time, I remember watching the Crow and thinking – see, you can do this shit seriously. I never got past the second one, and I think a lot of the dark in movies like Dark Knight owe something to the OG Crow.

    Can't imagine them adding to this flick in a remake but who knows.

    And FWIW – it wasn't live ammo what killed Lee. It was the head of a dummy bullet which got lodged in the barrel. Then the blanks were put in, one was behind the dummy head. The rest is history.

    Also FWIW – the actor who pulled the trigger NEVER should have actually had the gun aimed at Lee. It should have been aimed just off his body to give the illusion via the camera he was being aimed at.

    • It is kind of funny that hollywood is clammering to adapt every comic they can since they finally figured out how to do it right with Spiderman and Batman Begins. I guess they forgot about the succesful earlier comic adaptations like The Crow and (dare i say it) Tank Girl.

  8. When my wife and I were in our pre-marriage dating phase, we say “Rapid Fire” in the theater. “Rapid Fire” was Brandon’s movie just before he started filming “The Crow”. I knew about Brandon before Rapid Fire – thanks to my one-time gig as a video store clerk where I discovered “Showdown in Little Tokyo” with Dolph Lundgren. But after “Rapid Fire” my wife and I both commented that we thought Brandon was going to be a HUGE star – he just seemed to shine throughout Rapid Fire.

    I mention that because I remember seeing interviews with him as he talked about “The Crow” and his love for the character. It was very much akin to how Hugh Jackman gushes about playing Wolverine. I also remember watching Brandon talk about wanting to get away from being “simply” a kung fu action/adventure movie star and really delving into more serious acting roles. The Crow was going to be his launching pad for that.

    Which makes his eerily, spooky death all that more tragic.

    As for the grunge, emo, The Cure stuff… I never got into all of that. That was my brother’s thing.


  9. While not giving me an outlet to be a goth like it did for others our age, The Crow did seem to speak to me in volumes. It provided the framework for the smiling on the outside, but crushed by loneliness and despair emo-ness on the inside that I pass off for being the incredibly well-adjusted functional adult that I am today.

    And trying to imagine Josh with long grey-dyed hair is kinda scary.

  10. I have to admit my introduction to the Crow series was "Crow:Salvation" (3rd one), but it did turn out as a similar "right place, right time, exact right feelings of outrage and being outcast". And it did lead me back to the awesomeness of the original. Probably 3rd one is an example of one of your favorite childhood films watched when you didn't know any better, then upon review, you can't believe you still like it.

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