Sam Neill Update: Total Player, Overbearing Dad, Crackpot

The Good Wife (1987)
Apparently the only thing to do in interwar Australian small towns was sleep around!

Can you blame them? Look at those sexy, sexy hats

The Movie: Marge is married to a good guy that she loves(?) but she still seems really bored with her life. So when her husband’s kind of weird younger brother Sugar wants to try out sleeping with her, she basically says “Whatevs”. Oddly, so does her husband. Then a hot new bar tender comes to town and attempts to force himself on her! She says no (eventually), but then spends weeks mooning after him, wondering why he won’t hit on her again. He’s hitting on everyone else! What’s wrong with me?? , she weeps. Eventually she causes a huge scandal, but the bar tender is embroiled in a scandal of his own and forced to leave town. She tries to go with him, but he throws her off the train. Like, literally. He grabs her by the shoulders and pushes her off a moving train. She wakes up days later at home, where she tries to leave (from shame?) but her husband tells her she has nowhere else to go. The end!

That train is maybe the only thing in this movie Sam Neill DIDN'T sleep with

The Character: Sam Neill is the bartender who has won every heart in town! I’m not surprised; he’s clearly trying to channel Clark Gable. He orchestrates a threesome that becomes a foursome, and somehow nobody minds. When someone starts to cause trouble in the bar, he calmly kicks his ass without even breaking a sweat. Plus, he’s not afraid to throw a lady from a moving train.

Thing I Learned: Women weren’t allowed in bars back then, so they had something called a “Ladies Parlor” or “Ladies Lounge” that adjoined the bar and had a little window through which they could order from the bar tender. Marge uses it to shriek at Sam Neill to come sex her up in front of amused bar patrons.

Would I Watch This Movie Without Sam Neill?: Probably not. Sam Neill’s character was pretty much the one draw this movie had for me. I completely understood Marge’s boredom with her surroundings, but would feel more empathy for her if she had run away or done something awesome, instead of trying to cause scandals and sleeping with her weird brother-in-law.

In Her Skin (2009)

As per Netflix Marathon rules, I made no attempt to restart this movie or see the rest of it at the point the DVD crapped out, probably about 40-60 minutes in. So, I’ve only seen the first part of this movie, and, unlike Merlin’s Apprentice, Wikipedia and imdb are less helpful in reconstructing the rest. I will therefore be reporting on the part I saw, plus what I imagine happened in the lost ending.

I find ballerinas creepy in general; this movie and Black Swan are totes not helping

The Movie: Once again, this movie was based on a true story. Caroline Reid has always been unhappy. She hates her looks, her mom, and pretty much everything about herself, except her dad, who seems kind of distant and annoyed, especially after the divorce. She is fascinated by and jealous of Rachel, who lives across the street and seems to have the perfect life: beautiful, ballet-dancing body, hot boyfriend, loving parents and sisters. So Caroline kidnaps and kills Rachel, and then starts trying to sort of absorb her life, starting with wearing her clothes. Meanwhile, Rachel’s parents, Eowyn and the time machine guy, are frantic, the police less so. That’s about where my DVD cut out, so I am left to assume that Sam Neill brought his horrible daughter to JUSTICE.

Apparently she also goes to the hospital, I assume because Sam Neill pushed her through a window

The Character: Sam Neill plays Caroline’s distant and uncaring dad, who clearly would rather be doing pretty much anything else than deal with his crazy, whiny daughter. Unfortunately, I only got to see him in one scene before the DVD failed, so who KNOWS what kind of awesome things he did in the rest of the movie! We may never know, but I’m imagining he discovers Caroline’s crimes while using her as a test subject of his latest, wildly unstable invention. Yeah, in my version the job he is always too busy with to care about Caroline is Mad Scientist, and it’s awesome. In reality, he seems to care a lot about appearances, so it’s possible he discovers her crimes but tries to cover them up.

Thing I Learned: Gotta watch out for those fat people

Would I Watch Without Sam Neill?: Nope. Fun fact: this is the Sam Neill movie that finally broke Steven. I suspect him of sabotage, because he was angling for me to turn it off even before the DVD “broke”. He then vowed never to watch another Sam Neill movie with me again, crying at the ceiling “WHY DO YOU KEEP DOING THIS TO ME SAM NEILL????” You WISH Sam Neill was in our attic, Steven. Anyway, I admit I was worried that Steven would forsake Sam Neill, making it impossible for us to watch anything together for at least the next few months. But then this week we watched the first half of The Triangle, so I think it’s going to be okay. He’s a born-again Sam Neill fan. But In Her Skin really shook his faith.

To the Ends of the Earth (2005 miniseries)

It’s really great that Sam Neill’s head is gigantic on this cover, since the main character is actually the guy next to him.

The actor's name is Benedict Cumberbatch, which I assume means he is actually an Edwardian butler.

The Movie: This three-part miniseries is based on a trilogy of novels by William Golding published in the 1980s. The story follows young aristocrat Edmund Talbot on his voyage from England to Australia back in the days when opium was a totally acceptable sea sickness cure (1812). Basically, it’s a 19th-century version of Big Brother. Everyone’s trapped on a boat with each other, and everyone is a different brand of crazy. There’s a passenger with two mistresses (one posing as his daughter–awkward!), a scrappy 1st lieutenant from humble beginnings who just wants to prove himself, a crazy crackpot, a disgraced Frenchman, a servant who dies and then comes back and then dies, and a captain obsessed with his on-ship garden. Plus this one time they almost hit a glacier. Eventually, Edmund learns a lot of life lessons about who he is as a man, and successfully makes it to Australia.

Sam Neill maintains this level of disapproval for the ENTIRE 267 minutes it is magical

The Character: Sam Neill IS Mr. Prettiman, the crackpot!!! It is amazing!!! He has some historically weird political beliefs and at one point tells Edmund that women’s brains can’t handle Greek, but the best part is that he is “the inveterate foe of every superstition.” Someone brings up how they’re on a ship so shooting an albatross would be SUPER unlucky (Rime of the Ancient Mariner was first published 14 years prior), and he demands that someone give him a gun so that he can PROVE THEM WRONG, and spends the rest of the episode prowling about the deck in the background of the action, looking for an albatross to shoot the hell out of! Then he hurts his leg, gets awkwardly married to an equally disapproving governess, and has many an awk convo with Edmund about what to do with Mrs. Crackpot after his death (hint: it involves a secret letter of sex reportage).

Mr. and Mrs. Crackpot hate your inferior hats with equal vehemence

This Sam Neill might be my new favorite Sam Neill!!

What I Learned: Okay, so if your mast has been kerjiggered out of whack and isn’t in the right position to hoist a sail, just thrust some iron in there and then heat it up. Something about metal expanding or whatever will SOLVE EVERYTHING! Until days later after everyone but Scrappy Lieutenant has gotten off. Then the whole thing will catch on fire! It’s physics!

Would I Watch Without Sam Neill?: Yes, although I would miss him terribly. The other characters were all crazy and entertaining in their own ways, and sailing in an old-timey ship is exciting!

Previously: SuperCroc, Apartheid, Boat Kidnapping
Next: Mustache Sam, Bolshevik Doctor, Choppy McAxeFace

3 responses to “Sam Neill Update: Total Player, Overbearing Dad, Crackpot”

  1. Brian says:

    The last one sounds kind of awesome, actually. At least partly because you made my brain go “BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH!!!” He is big in England. He is really big in England. He is freaking 11 feet tall.

    Also he is going to be in this

  2. […] Character: Sam Neill plays Drunken Country Doctor! He reminded me a lot of his character in The Good Wife, but perhaps slightly less smarmy. Although he still pretty much seduces the hot young wife in a […]

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