The Postman (1997)

"Bad"

The Postman (1997) Review


When picking a protagonist for a movie as massively pulp as this filmwas, a good idea is to make a character that the audience can have some connection with. In order to do this, it might be a good idea to not associate said character with anything that alienates the character. In other words: if you want to choose your basic pulp protagonist, please do not choose their occupation as something that has become synonymous with psychopath.

Yes, I'm talking about The Postman. Post-millennial, post-apocalyptic, and post-intelligence, The Postman is the story of patriotism being reborn (ironically, the patriotism is in opposition to nationalism, which is the flip side of the patriotic coin) in the form of Postal Carriers. OK. It's dumb. The United States has become defunct, a racist psychopath holds all of the power, and the first thing that the new US Government is trying to get working is the mail.

Somehow, I think that David Brin, the author of the book upon which the film The Postman is based, listened to "Please, Mr. Postman" on the radio a lot as a kid.

To add more to the plot synopsis, a travelling actor (Kevin Costner) is drafted by an ultra-nationalist army called The Wholeness (run by another psychopath named Bethlehem (Patton)). As you can probably guess, The Wholeness has nothing to do with Tastee Wheat. Because Costner disagrees with the politics of the program, and because he's a loner, he escapes. On the verge of dying, he discovers a postal truck, dons the clothes of the postman, and starts delivering mail.

The misguided and laughable premise (it might not have been laughable pre the Son of Sam, who first nailed the idea of a psychopathic postman together) is but one of the films many flaws. Another is its three-hour running time. Being forced to watch misguided sci-fi for three hours isn't my idea of fun. In fact, I don't think its anyone's idea of fun. Yet another are the over-the-top acting jobs by Kevin Coster, Will Patton, and Olivia Williams. The only person who acts his role just right is Larenz Tate, who gets stuck with the name Ford Lincoln Mercury (he named himself after a car dealership) and ends up becoming a laughable character for the rest of the movie.

Whenever you have a movie that is so obviously B-rate, putting in a plot that takes itself too seriously is not the thing to do. The Postman is a movie that, despite all of its shortcomings, attempts to tackle the subjects of Nazism, patriotism, and nobility. Again, we come back to the concept of the postal worker who has gone postal and the irrevocable damage it did to this film.

Since I grew up with the image of crazy postmen, I can not comment on how good or bad the movie could be without the running unintentional joke that the film makes of itself. However, even if I removed and ignored the idea of the running joke, even if I resisted the temptation to laugh whenever the postal workers actually start shooting people and thinking it's a good thing, I think I would still think that The Postman was a bad movie.

An idea: FedEx instead.

Please, Mr. Costner.



Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $17.6M

Budget: $80M

Production compaines: Tig Productions, Warner Bros.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as The Postman, as General Bethlehem, as Abby, as Ford Lincoln Mercury, as Bridge City Mayor, as Bandit 20, as Idaho, as Pineview Sheriff Briscoe, as Luke, Roberta Maxwell as Irene March, as Colonel Getty, Ron McLarty as Old George, as Ellen March, as Woody, Todd Allen as Gibbs, as Mercer, as Billy, as Eddie March, as Michael, Abby's Husband, as Ponytail, Ty O'Neal as Drew, as Hope, the Postman's daughter

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