“We call it the Ego Trip.”

I want to tell you that I was interested in this next one because the plot was intriguing.  I want to tell you it was because it’s special effects were fresh and innovative.  I want to tell you that it was because it had multiple twists and turns that kept you second guessing yourself at every point.  The film had all of this…but those were not the reasons I really wanted to see this movie to begin with.

Unfortunately at 13 years old, I was shallow, and *clears throat* … developing?

It’s a phrase.

Anyways…the movie was released in theaters when I was 12, it was available on VHS when I was 13 and all my friends had seen it.  I of course, had not.  It was rated R after all and there was no way I was going to wait for a made for TV version for three crucial reasons…

I’m realizing this will be the post that finally gets me into trouble with some of my audience.  Apologies, but without honesty, what are we, really?

My friend Jimmy:  So I saw Total Recall

Me: Yeah?

Jimmy: You seen it?

Me: No.

Jimmy: There’s a lady with three boobs in it…

Me: (jaw drops, eyes widen)…

Jimmy: Yeah…three.

At this very simple stage in a straight young man’s life, the only goal is “more mammary.”

Deal with it.

So I did what I always did when my parents wouldn’t let me watch something I wanted to.  I went over to my cousins and made sure they rented it.

On my first viewing, this is what my brain was doing:

Where are they? Where are they? Where are they? Where are they? …

At approximately the 45 minute mark (the pseudo moment of truth).


I had built myself up too much for it and found out the hard way that two’s plenty and thank you.

Needless to say, I watched it again and shifted my focus.

It was a great movie.


This is the fourth Schwarzenneger  movie that I am writing about.  “Predator” is easily in my top three of best “pure action” movies of all time.  “The Terminator” introduced me to great science-fiction and story elements.  “Commando” was just fun. “Total Recall” was fresh, exciting, intriguing, packed full of action and kept you guessing even through the end credits.  It’s the first Arnold movie when I finally sat down and watched it for what it was and realized that Arnold was actually a better actor than anyone gives him credit for.  Like John Wayne, I think we right him off as typecast and as another big dumb guy that talks funny.  I’m here to tell you that “Total Recall” proves he is much more than that.

Our premise is a future world where Mars has been semi-colonized for its resources and a man that is living a dreary life decides to take a virtual vacation (lays in a machine and experiences his adventure in a dream state) to Mars.

This is a movie with mutated human/martians (three boobs–remember?), brain probes that need to be extracted through your nose canal, malfunctioning robotic disguises, eye-popping suffocation scenes, and femmes fatales  galore.

It sounds ridiculous, but this is a movie winking at itself the entire time while delivering a very suspenseful tale trickled with moments of great action.  I mean, Arnold is in it after all.

The entire setup is to determine whether what he is experiencing is real or virtual.  I’m telling you, I’ve seen the movie five times.  I don’t know if it is real or virtual.  I believe what I want and I think that Paul Verhoeven wants all of us to draw the same conclusion; whatever you desire.


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7 thoughts on ““We call it the Ego Trip.”

  1. Despite the modifications to the short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, I thought the movie lived up to the philosophical explorations of the late, great Philip K. Dick. Given that we never really find out which reality is reality & who our main character really is, it very much lives up to the identity crises that pepper pretty much all of his works. So much superior to the Blade Runner bs that doesn’t even remotely live up to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Okay, maybe I’m just a fan girl of the author & prone to babbling…. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All opinion is valid. I happen to be a Bladerunner fan, but that doesn’t mean that Total Recall isn’t as good or not better than Bladerunner simply because it was made 8 years later with the Governator. I feel that Total Recall is the kind of movie that needs multiple views because of the detail thee writers and director did with crafting the story. A true masterpiece.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have always loved Arnold’s movies, and like you, my number one favorite is Predator. I loved Total Recall because it reminded me of something my brother once said, “What if when we’re dreaming that’s our real life, our reality; and when we think we’re awake, it just a dream.” I thought the premise behind Total Recall was very similar. I also agree that Arnold was basically seen as a Character Actor, and a lot of people didn’t really see just how good his acting was at times, as in Total Recall. One of his more recent movies, “Maggie,” really showed just how good of an actor Arnold is. I also loved him in “Escape Plan” with Sylvester Stallone (one of the very few actors that I outright admire; He wrote Rocky in 3 days! along with so many other great movies; a great writer and he’s also a pretty great abstract artists). I really enjoy your articles. They’re excellently written and I always love the trip down memory lane. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eve. I love that idea from your brother. They play on that a little in “Inception” too. Leonardo always feels at peace when he’s under. He feels like it’s “not normal” when he wakes. I do want to see Maggie, I’ve just caught up on other movies lately. I hope you continue to enjoy the blog. I’ll try and deliver. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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