Last time: The whole damn movie, that’s what.
So what did I learn by writing 17,000+ words about Highlander over a timespan similar to the one needed to produce an entire new human being? Let’s take a look.
0. A few hard skills.
I learned how to make screenshots and audio files just to liven things up here on Mondays. As a completely different movie put it, “Education is never a waste.”
1. Things I thought were my fault perhaps aren’t.
I’ve been known to have a little more affection for villains than heroes, but digging in and taking the movie a piece at a time has only strengthened my impression that Connor is…not that great. Reactive, self-pitying and frequently dull, with worse people skills after centuries of practice than even I, a crazed grammar nerd who writes about Highlander as a hobby, would have, the Highlander can be really difficult to like. I’d hoped to appreciate Connor more by the end of this project, but I ended up with a more detailed version of the same opinion. His heart’s in the right place in a “doesn’t want to destroy humanity” sort of way, and he is occasionally amusing, but that’s it. Connor MacLeod is possibly the most low-energy franchise character in movie history—a kind of achievement in itself, I guess.
2. Things I didn’t come up with a good in-world answer for, but really wanted to:
- Why didn’t the Kurgan hang around after mortally wounding Connor in 1536? (I realize the correct answer is “because we have a lot more movie to go,” but even so.) Personally, I would’ve waited until Connor’s idiot kinfolk put him in that yoke, then popped up from behind that rock and SLICE!—problem solved. Given that the Highlander is in restraints, you’d even have time to say “There can be only one!” first, which seems to be really, really important to him.
- Why didn’t Connor point out that the Toledo Salamanca wasn’t Fasil’s murder weapon? It’s not like a good “And where’s the blood again?” could have made the cops look more incompetent (and baffled!).
- Why does Connor wear sneakers even though we never seen him get above a fast trot, even when the Kurgan is chasing him down an alley? And why does no one mention that it’s an odd look for a wealthy antique dealer? (If you’re going to argue that it’s practical, go back to the beginning of the movie and watch Fasil backflipping in dress shoes for a while, then get back to me.)
- What does Kastagir see in him?
- Brenda and Connor hooking up. I can conceive of a series of events that starts with Connor’s confession/stabbing himself and ends with those two going to bed, but I’m still at a loss as to how that first event leads immediately to Brenda wanting to jump his bones. His old, socially awkward bones.
- What’s Rachel’s deal? The first few times I saw this, I could’ve sworn the movie implied Connor and Rachel were romantically involved at some point; once I sat down to blog about it, I could never figure out what gave me that impression in the first place, other than that she is blonde and I have read too many old British stories in which some guy wants to marry his ward.
3. Why don’t immortals all run around in thick metal collars? Especially the one who could pull off the look. Speaking of which…
4. The Kurgan isn’t quite as fearsome as advertised, taken incident by incident.
He still might be okay as a proofreading client, though, since he is careless only about the chief focus of his entire existence. If you want me, I’ll be watching that Amélie clip up there a few more times.
5. My conviction that if this series of posts is ever widely read, I’ll go down in history as “that heartless jerk who hates Ramirez—my god, woman, don’t you like fun?” hasn’t budged a bit.
I am patient zero for Connery Guilt.
6: A list of things I kind of compared the movie to over time: Folk songs, The Incredibles (“monologuing!”), Death Wish and Police Squad! (at the same time), Black Adder, the farmers’ market in the next town, Jeepers Creepers and Iron John (also at the same time), Dracula, a song by Heart, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Zorro movies, various religious writings, The Secret of NIMH, Bugs Bunny cartoons, Santa Barbara, and, more often than I’d like to admit, Spaceballs.
7. …And none of that matters.
In a way, I slowly failed over the last nine months, because what I wanted most was to understand the hold Highlander has over me and its fans in general. Certainly there’s a lot to dissect there, and a lot of rampant silliness, but I’m no closer to putting my finger on the mystique of the movie than I was at the beginning. In fact, it’s worse now: I’ve watched Highlander once a week for most of a year, and there were very few weeks I wanted to give it a miss, and very few in which I didn’t sit down and watch the whole thing, even if I was only writing about half of Connor and Brenda’s awful date. It’s the most staggering case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts I’ve ever encountered—maybe in any medium.
My main conclusion? Writing this has been kind of fun. I also think my headphones + Highlander habit became a full-fledged hobby the day I was watching Connor ride into battle to the tune of Shirley Bassey’s “History Repeating.”
Also, from my compatriot:
Next time: A musical interlude.
Next time on TCBOM!: I plan to continue There Can Be Only Monday! for a few more weeks as I take a look at some of the sequels (not that one) and the TV series that started it all for me.