Sunday, December 18, 2016

No Fun or Go Figure

The A.V. Club has been running an excellent series on the best action films, year by year.  They recently got to 1991, and the obvious choice was Terminator 2.  But I have a question about what Tom Breihan writes.

In the paragraph describing how Arnold Schwarzenegger, now a superstar (he wasn't when the first Terminator film came out), is introduced, we get:

...that scene establishes Schwarzenegger as a badass.  But then he walks out, in his head-to-toe black leather, and revs that motorcycle while George Thorogood's weekend-warrior anthem "Bad To The Bone" blares on the soundtrack.  And then, when the bartender threatens him with a shotgun, he grabs the shotgun and the poor guy's sunglasses.  So he's a badass and a figure of fun.

Maybe I'm misreading this, but I don't think Breihan understands what "figure of fun" means.  From the context of his piece, he seems to be saying that Arnold's new terminator is a tough guy, but also a fun guy, or at least an android involved in humorous moments that we can have some laughs with.

But a "figure of fun" isn't someone who's enjoyable to watch or be around.  A figure of fun is someone who's considered ridiculous.  You're laughing at him, not with him.

"Figure of fun" is a great phrase.  Nothing quite like it.  But is the original meaning being lost?  If enough people start thinking like Breihan, it's gone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever the phrase's original intention (which I am not sure I agree with LAG on), I think the AV dude's reading is just as natural- fun meaning something to snigger at whether due to the figure's foolishness or the figure cracking wise

2:18 PM, December 18, 2016  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Yes, the guy's reading of the phrase is "natural"--i.e., wrong.

6:29 PM, December 18, 2016  

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