Around the year 2000 or 2001 I got a job working in a plastics factory in Redruth, Cornwall. My shift was midnight to 7am, my job was taking hot plastic lids – the kind used on a handy storage box around the home – and scraping off the jagged bits of plastic from around the edges. I had one glove to protect me from the hot plastic, and a strange little scraping tool. I worked on this machine alone, and that’s kind of how I’d like it.
What got me through those long nights working that job was – bizarrely – being able to run through the 1997 film version of The Saint starring Val Kilmer in my head.
I was a fan of the film when it came out a few years earlier, I was writing film reviews for my school paper and I think I gave it 9/10, which, in retrospect, was a bit too generous.
I think I’d become a bit of a Val Kilmer fan because he was in 1995’s Batman Forever – a film I was beyond excited about because I was a massive Jim Carrey fan – so he had a lot of residual goodwill left over from that.
Elisabeth Shue was his co-star in The Saint and I had something of a crush on her thanks to growing up with the film The Karate Kid (1984) and her amazing performance in Leaving Las Vegas (1995).
It was also the season when Hollywood was really mining the retro television show caverns for all their worth, and with each movie update you got a funky remixed theme tune, and Orbital’s spin on the theme from The Saint was proudly in my CD collection: https://youtu.be/LCVuIsw78yA
I think I loved the film because it was pretty old-fashioned, it took its time to develop its characters and it was more of a romance than an action blockbuster, which, to be fair, was probably why it didn’t set the box office alight in 1997, where it finished 28th of the year behind such classics as Anaconda, Dante’s Peak, and Flubber.
Anyway, I discovered, whilst working in that plastics factory, that I pretty much knew the entirety of the film off by heart – having watched it an awful lot on VHS, it was the perfect casual romp for a rainy Sunday afternoon, and, to this day I can still rattle off a reasonably accurate renactment of the whole film and will do so for a small fee at birthdays, weddings and Olympic opening ceremonies (get in touch if you’d like to book a performance).
It’s full of such memorable scenes like the one where he’s a flirtatious old man, the one where he’s a flirtatious German with curly hair, the one where he’s a flirtatious South African traveller in leather trousers, and, of course, the one where he’s a flirtatious old cleaning lady*.
Also, the 1984 spoof (and box office flop) Top Secret starring Val Kilmer is one of the funniest films ever made. #FACT.
So, that’s kind of why I felt it my duty to celebrate the actor Val Kilmer with this Valentine’s Day card I made – that and it’s a really silly non-pun – which you can buy from my Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OwainsGubbins
Thanks for reading!
Also, what’s your favourite Val Kilmer film?
*Truth be told, this one doesn’t get much screen time to do any actual flirting, but if all his other disguises are anything to go by she’s probably pretty flirtatious.