Film and TV

Deep Thoughts With RoboCop At the Texas Theatre

You a big fan of the cinematic sweet spot that existed between 1985 and 1995? Like, say, B-grade, man-in-fishmonster-suit horror? How 'bout tiny buzz-saw robot slashers? Pesticide-tripping exterminators uncovering secret insect intrigue? Yeah? Well, your Jesus was at Texas Theatre Saturday -- looking rangy and awesome, wearing smoky, round, actor-emeritus tea shades and that characteristically bony brow -- to discuss the apex of his film career.

On its 25th anniversary, Peter Weller sat for a "RoboCop" Q & A following a mint, 35mm screening of this great low-budget gem of the 80s, cigarette burns and all, at the Dallas International Film Festival. Ya, that was Reunion Tower Murph just sped past in his gunmetal cop sedan. Uh huh, that's I.M. Pei's municipal vision, with about four other City Halls stacked on top of it. Yes, my adolescence tinged in rose tones my recollection of this film. But no, I don't remember it being so blackly humorous. Or pre-gaming so intensely before watching it. That may have something to do with it.

To be sure, I was a kindergartner during the 1987 release of "RoboCop," so seeing it on the big screen for the first time was a thrill. Guffawing at all its unintentionally hilarious moments while sitting just a few rows up from the cyborg himself, however, was something else altogether.

Weller admitted he hadn't seen "RoboCop" in a while. I think the distance gave him a whole new appreciation of, um, the prescience of "The Future of Law Enforcement." Shit got real deep, real quick. This is "RoboCop" through the eyes of RoboCop:

"RoboCop" and the future foretold: Evil multinational Omni Consumer Products, a symbol of wanton corporate greed, privatized everything, including the Detroit Police. RoboCop saw the future through his all-seeing robot eyes, and blew it to pieces with the fully automatic pistol stowed in his leg-compartment.

RoboCop as Christ: Yeah, Weller said, themes of resurrection run through this film. Instead of a cross and a spear in the side, he got his hand blown off by Red Foreman ("Na-na-na-na-na-na POW!").

RoboCop v. Casablanca: Comparisons were made. That's all I'll say.

Best scene, best Saturday ever: Yes, Peter Weller did the robot (cop) with finger guns onstage. "My favorite scene is the drug bust, where I shoot the shit outta the bad guys."

Will the "RoboCop" remake rule?: "I don't think so."

Typecast: Said producer, "Orion really wanted Schwarzenegger."

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Brantley Hargrove