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Dan Deacon Hosts 'Total Recall' at Maryland Film Festival

The MFF has breathlessly announced, "Baltimore-based musical sensation Dan Deacon hosts a rare, late-night, 35mm screening of the modern sci-fi classic Total Recall. Come see Paul (Robocop) Verhoeven's killer Philip K. Dick adaptation, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone, the way it was intended: on the big screen, hosted by Dan Deacon!"

Cool. There are few things more fun at the festival than watching a guest host like Deacon reveal a little piece of his heart and mind with his pick.

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But is "Total Recall" a "modern sci-fi classic?" And is Verhoeven, as the MFF touts, "a misunderstood genius of cinema" providing "first-rate thrills, diabolical humor, and incisive social commentary" even in an Arnold Schwarzenegger star vehicle?

I followed Verhoeven's career from the early 1970s, and pushed for his terrific World War II film, "Soldier of Orange," to win the 1979 Best Foreign Film Award at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. But when it came out in 1990, I thought "Total Recall" was an overproduced yet run-of-the-mill futuristic chase film that mangled a suggestive, compact Dick short story, "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale." Verhoeven used more bullets than Dick used periods and commas.

To me, the best part of "Total Recall" is that the chief goon chasing hero Schwarzenegger is named Richter: a homage to W.D. Richter, the director of the delicious 1984 cult sci-fi comedy, "Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai." The "Total Recall" screenwriters swipe the signature line from "Banzai" -- 'No matter where you go, there you are." It becomes the one clever bit of dialogue in this movie.

I'll show up to savor Deacon's enthusiasm. I even look forward to seeing whether "Total Recall" will look better compared to contemporary blockbusters such as Michael Bay's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."  But I hope some guest host picks "Buckaroo Banzai" next year. Has anyone else out there

seen

"Buckaroo Banzai?" Who shares Deacon's fondness for "Total Recall?

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