Diary of an RA Fan — Part 17 — Spear Carrying, An Education

See Diary Part 16 here, or to access all entries, hit “The Diary” tab above.

Entry — Very Late Summer, 2008:

I was down at Tammi’s house this afternoon, and she had just come home from “yard saling.” Dangerous words. I no longer go “yard saling.” Trying not to be anywhere near it, but I just had to ask what she bought. “All sorts of things I don’t need,” she said. I hear that. That’s why I don’t go “yard saling” anymore. SO became frustrated with half the garage being filled with crap we don’t need. I know it takes up space, but he just couldn’t get his head around how that was going to help us, how it was being frugal. He advised me, “Well, maybe you should take advantage of that freight sale I read about this morning. An entire boxcar of toothpaste. If you bought it, you could save enough for us to take a nice trip and store the toothpaste in the other half of the garage.”

I still couldn’t help asking to see what Tammi bought. She hauled out a large paper grocery sack full of DVDs. I mean that sucker was stiff it was so full. It’s a miracle the sack didn’t tear. I said, “Wow. How much did you pay for that?”

“It was only $5.” And the ‘only’ was what made it so beautiful. I had to see the rest of it. “I haven’t even looked at them yet,” she said.

“Well, pour it out so we can see what you got!”

After a few minutes of looking at a lot of junk I had never heard of, and that’s saying something for me the movie fiend, I said, “Just another stash that made a stopover at your house on its way to the resale store.” She sighed and was about to bag everything up when I saw something I had dismissed earlier, “WAIT!! Let me see that one again.” She handed me a golden colored case with Cleopatra on the front. I flipped it over and started reading the back. Richard Armitage had been in a production of Cleopatra, but I had no clue which one. Then I remembered it was early on in his career so he probably didn’t have a big part. “Tammi, can I use your laptop?”

She pointed to it, and said, “Feel free, but what’s up with that movie? Who’s in it?”

“Oh, I’m just curious about it. Billy Zane’s in it, and I’m about half fascinated with him. A real nut but still fascinating.”

I logged on and got to IMDb. JACKPOT! Yep, it was the one with Richard Armitage! I couldn’t even wait to get home to watch, so I popped it in her player to take a looksee. I told her we didn’t have to watch the whole thing since it’s three hours long. Neither one of us had that kind of time.

Cleopatra was played by someone I had never heard of. Oh, she was beautiful. Aren’t they all? But I was struggling to get past her Latin American accent. That, and the fact she could not act. Sad really. Then poor Timothy Dalton being relegated to this pitiful piece. But I started mentally cataloging his movies, and actually, I couldn’t remember any memorable one’s he’d been in except for maybe James Bond, and his Bond was not the most memorable. Oh, but his voice is beautiful. Not enough. You gotta have something to say and have that quality that I can’t define which pulls me into a piece. He doesn’t really have it. Maybe he should be grateful to get some work? Whatever, I wanted to see Richard Armitage and was so afraid he would be in a costume that disguised him, and it would be a repeat of the Naboo fighter pilot debacle.

Tammi kept urging me to fast forward (as I had commandeered the remote when we first sat down). I wanted to fast forward but was afraid I would miss Richard Armitage! Billy Zane FINALLY came on screen after about 45 minutes. Billy was not memorable either, so we decided to just watch a few scenes and then put the thing away. I knew I could really watch it at home! I selected the death of Caesar, and that’s when it happened! I saw Richard Armitage! Well, I wasn’t sure if it was him at the time, because if I had blinked, I would have missed him. At the beginning of the scene, he’s walking down some stairs with Octavius and another guy. Good thing Tammi has a large screen high def tv! Tammi was groaning about this time, but I could not look away. It soon cut to the death scene, and that is when we both lost it. ROFLOL!!! LOL!!! I mean I nearly wet my pants. Did this movie have anyone who understood props or action scenes? ROFLOL!!! Timothy Dalton looks normal at the beginning of the scene, and then he crosses behind a pillar or something and gains about 50 pounds. We could literally see the padding, which probably contained “blood pockets,” under his toga. ROFLOL!! As he fought off his attackers, the square padding was so evident, that… ROFLOL!! I can barely write this. It was sad. LOL!! Man, that high def is hell.

[note: RA at :0.1 to :01 and then again at :12 to :20]

While I was watching, it occurred to me that Richard Armitage has to laugh at this movie too. He has to if he’s the smart guy I think he is. I’ll bet he learned a ton about how a movie should not be made. Of course he could have been taking notes on Billy’s eyeliner. Wonder if he was standing around when the funeral speech was made. Even Billy himself seemed to be saying, “Do I really have to say this crap?”

When I got home, I was able to finally see the other scenes with Richard, but that was no mean feat. I had to watch the whole movie to do it. If he knew, he would realize that makes me a great admirer. This is a truly awful, awful movie. I would put it in the “so bad it’s good” category, but I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t watched the whole thing which I never would have done without the chance of seeing Richard even if only a few seconds. Thankfully, those were not wasted. God Bless Him he still gets completely into his part even though he’s only a prop. I noticed at the end of this scene (clip below) where he appears for about three seconds and is obviously an underling of Octavius, that he engages his eyes and head to really get the point across. It was such a contrast to the other minion who just stands there like cardboard. No cardboard for Richard. I think I really have gone nuts to repeatedly examine a piece of film that’s no longer than 3 seconds.

[note: RA at 2:48-2:50]

And then there was fighting and gore, and Richard in the middle of it. I’m tired now, so I’m not quite up to scrutinizing this part (clip below) so much yet. Maybe that’s a healthy sign?

[note: RA beginning at :06 off and on until about 1:17]

But I was glad SO watched this with me later, and it reminded him of the good times we had laughing at ‘Tough Guys Don’t Dance.’ Another one “so bad it’s good.” He didn’t even mind that I brought home a yard sale item, but then he thinks it’s a loan from Tammi.

See Diary Part 18 here.


  1. Good going, RAF!

    I can’t resist this: we’ve just had a second high-command army officer removed from duty for an “inappropriate relationship”. Both, as far as the media knows, were “inappropriate” hetero relationships. Now, is your country, or is mine, the more “puritan”? How would John have made out (no pun intended) with the “innapropriate relationship in Strike Back? Hmnnn…

  2. I’m glad you posted these clips as I’d seen only the still images, and my Armitagemania apparently doesn’t yet extend to watching a movie like this in which he’s essentially an extra. I do enjoy seeing him in Roman military gear, though.

  3. Actually, this movie is now in our “So Bad It’s Good” collection. I got sick from laughing when I watched the whole thing, but then SO watched it with me and did a running commentary. By the time Billy Zane got done with his funeral speech, SO said, “Does Tammi want this thing back? This is a keeper!” I wish I could remember SO’s commentary. Should have taped it.

  4. If you haven’t watched Caesar’s death scene yet, you have to check it out. ROFLOL!! That has to be one of the worst movie scenes of all times. LOL!

  5. What a find – I can’t get over Ruperts atrocious curly wig!
    At least it looks like a lot of British thesps got the opportunity to get a nice sun tan while working on this if nothing else.
    Poor Timothy Dalton, I’ve seen him on stage, years back, in a couple of Shakespeare plays and he was magnificent but in this not so much I guess. Have you seen the BBC Jane Eyre adaptation with him as Mr Rochester – he was perfect.
    Glad you enjoyed this – it seems to be a case of something on paper looking like a winner but the finished product way off the mark – at least it has given you a good giggle and I thnak you for the clips.

  6. Wow oh wow – I haven’t watched the clips yet but I have to say THANK YOU for posting them!!!! I am so happy. Of course I may be less happy when I have actually viewed them but I can’t help that!!!!

  7. Ooh you are right – so bad it’s good. This is the sort of thing that, pre Internet I might have sat and watched on a rainy Sunday afternoon but now I would not have the patience. I like the senate clip best because you can really see it’s him – ooh they had no idea what they had got there! I suppose that young(ish) American chap sitting down in that clip is Billy Zane, ‘scuse my ignorance but though I have heard the name I have never consciously watched anything he has been in (probably no loss, though, on this evidence). What a lucky find!!

  8. @izzicat,

    I’ve never seen Dalton’s version of Jane Eyre, and I’ve liked him in other things I’ve seen. I just couldn’t think of anything really memorable. Maybe I should watch it!

    It’s also fair for me to acknowledge that the producers and directors of this movie are responsible in great part for how poorly this comes across.


    Don’t get too excited. They’re not that great. LOL! Of course I think RA is adorable in his toga.

  9. RAFrnzy – like the Tin Woodman in RH 2 costume”? Somehow, I think Mr. A’s sense of humour extends to early, workng actor, learning all the ropes, to pay the bills, and eat, occasionally, And just learn and watch all the intricasicies of production.

    So bad, it’s good (and funny, indeed – Cleopatra!)

  10. Tim Dalton is a good actor. He managed to steal the show at the end of the first part of the Doctor Who Christmas special which was shown on Christmas Day last year. Apparently the previews to journalists did not include the last few seconds that he featured so there were no leaks and when he came on, it was an amazing moment – and one that needed the ‘gravitas’ he could bring to the part. My favourite Bond movie is one of his as well – License to Kill – I know it’s hated by many but it seems much grittier and realistic to me that the (say) awful Pierce Brosnan ones.

  11. This is so wonderful of you for posting these clips! I too, had only seen the stills. I like the part with the sword action–very Gisbornesque!
    Thanks so much for this!

  12. […] It gets more complicated, though, when I think about either sending flowers before a performance or standing outside a stage door to request an autograph that he could give me. Those two things trouble me most about the possibility of going to London; they tempt and repel me in equal measure. Of course, if I were to go to the stage door, I certainly wouldn’t shout my blogging alias or wear a t-shirt with the name of the blog on it, and I wouldn’t try to give him anything in person. (He’d be foolish to accept it, and I’m a bit surprised when I read thanks for various food gifts in some of his early messages.) The money I’d have to spend does play a role, as well as the sheer craziness of such a decision, but the real problem is that potentially, anyway, I could come face to face with the object of my blogging attentions and personal preoccupations of the moment. It’s not so much that I fear that he would disappoint either in person (though who wouldn’t want to verify the frequent claim that he’s even more lovely in person than on screen?) or as a thespian — as many have noted, his professionalism shows up even when he’s essentially just an extra. […]

  13. I’m with Izzicat Timothy Dalton made for a great Mr. Rochester. I actually liked him as Rhett Butler and like Kaprekar I love license to kill. I have to admit to a soft spot for Pierce Brosnan Although Sean Bean made Golden Eye!
    This production is pure cheese with so many wellknown faces?? Bizarre!

  14. […] not to mention obsession with him I’m sure. Reading this made me feel so much better about my continual examination of RA’s three second spot in Cleopatra. LOL! It’s clear I have not crossed a very […]

  15. […] Cleopatra being crap, and I about fell off my chair laughing. Oh, you are so right, Mr. Armitage. Crap indeed, and a comedy. SO and I watched it again the other day and howled with laughter, and SO still doesn’t […]

  16. […] Have seen screencaps. After Frenzy’s send-up, I won’t be able to make […]

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