A Movie A Day #261: Tropical Heat (1993, directed by Jag Mundhra)

In India, a maharaja is killed when an elephant steps on him.  His widow, an American named Beverly (Maryam d’Abo) stands to receive five million dollars but the life insurance company wants to make sure that the maharajah is actually dead before paying.  Luckily, insurance exec Carolyn (Lee Anne Beaman) knows the world’s stupidest private investigator, a man named Gravis (Rick Rossovich).  Gravis is busy house sitting a friend’s mansion and says he does not want to go to India but, after having sex with Carolyn in the pool, he changes his mind.  Once he arrives, he casually investigates the maharaja’s death whenever he is not busy having sex with Beverly.  During the course of his “investigation,” Gravis meets a young Indian woman (Asha Siewkumar), who thinks that there is more to the maharjah’s death than just a rogue elephant.  Gravis has sex with her, too.  Eventually, the movie runs out of people for Gravis to have sex with and it ends.

Though it often seems like it should be, Tropical Heat is not a comedy.  An American-Indian co-production, Tropical Heat is a softcore neo-noir, the type that used to dominate late night Cinemax.  By the standards of Skinemax, Tropical Heat is still pretty bad, with both Rossovich and d’Abo looking like they would have rather been anywhere other than this movie.  Filmed on location, Tropical Heat highlights all of the ugliest, most crowded urban areas of India and then, for some reason, has Gravis telling everyone that he meets that he cannot believe how beautiful the country is.  All of the hilariously bad dialogue sounds as if it was written by someone who learned how to speak English from watching someone else play Leisure Suit Larry.

If you want to see a good show about self-centered Americans in India, stick with that episode of Seinfeld where everyone goes to India for Sue Ellen Mischke’s wedding.

Music Video of the Day: Christmas In L.A. by The Killers ft. Dawes (2013, dir. Kelly Loosli)

We’re down to the last music video with Harry Dean Stanton that I can find.

Did you ever want to see a music video with Harry Dean Stanton just wanting to be left alone to drink and smoke rather than listen to Owen Wilson’s problems? I didn’t even know such a thing existed.

Okay, he does provide some “words of wisdom” at the start of the video. Granted, Wilson has to pressure him to answer a question by ignoring his simple “no”, but he does talk to him. After that, it’s leave-me-alone time.

In reality, they did three feature films together. Also, they share in common that people will likely remember both of them for a film that had “Paris” in the title–Midnight In Paris and Paris, Texas. Both of which I’m sure would give this video more meaning if I watched them again back-to-back with this video.

The rest of the video is a sad Christmas song about being alone in the reality behind the glamour of Hollywood that you can’t leave because your career depends on you being where the jobs are.

I like the animation. It feels like a cross between Do The Evolution by Pearl Jam and Don’t Answer Me by The Alan Parsons Project.

It has an animated Warren Zevon in it. He shows up when they mention Carmelita since that is one of Zevon’s songs. There’s also a character named Carmelita in Paris, Texas. Unfortunately, it’s been forever since I’ve watched it, so I couldn’t tell you about her character.

Unlike the other videos Stanton was in, this one actually has his name in the song. I think it’s a good one to go out on.

Rest in peace, Harry Dean Stanton.

Harry Dean Stanton Retrospective:

  1. Those Memories Of You by Dolly Parton & Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris (1987, dir. White Copeman)
  2. Get Rhythm by Ry Cooder (1988, dir. David Fincher)
  3. Heart Of Stone by Dwight Yoakam (1996, dir. Dwight Yoakam)
  4. Sorry You Asked? by Dwight Yoakam (1996, dir. Dwight Yoakam)
  5. Nothing To Believe In by Cracker (1996, dir. Samuel Bayer)
  6. Stop by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (2003, dir. Charles Mehling)
  7. Dreamin’ Of You by Bob Dylan (2008, dir. ???)