Two Minute Warning


‘…quite watchable in a distasteful way; you won’t make a film like this now, not least because the characters are so stock they feel like ducks in a shooting gallery….’

Yikes! Say what you want about the 70’s, but they knew how to make a good old fashioned socially irresponsible film. Larry Peerce’s Two Minute Warning came at the end of a cycle of disaster movies, and didn’t have the iconic punch of The Poseidon Adventure or The Towering Inferno. But what it does have is a dangerous edge; this tale of an anonymous sniper who terrorises a football stadium of potential victims plays with a loaded deck when it comes to representation, and risks glamorising mass-shooters, an issue that’s even more of a problem now than back in the mid-70’s.

So that in itself may be the reason that Two Minute Warning is largely forgotten, but it’s a firmly constructed all-star drama. Several generations of stars, from Beau Bridges to Walter Pigeon gather in LA for a big game, little imagining that a killer has them in their sights. Who will the sniper kill, and who will he let live? That’s quite an unappetising proposition, particularly since there’s zero connection between assassin and victim other than a speeding bullet. How does it change our view of David Janssen’s character that he dies mid-argument with his wife? And why should we accept a sniper playing god as the pretext for a story?

Such qualms aside, Chuck Heston turns up midway to little fanfare round about the halfway mark and pulls together a team to take down the killer; his second in command, played by John Cassavetes, as a furtive look that suggests he might be a sniper himself, but in the final analysis, we get no clue who the sniper is or why he’s doing any of this, other than badness.

With ridiculous knee-jerk visuals like a line of potential targets running across the pitch towards the goals, Two Minute Warning squanders some authentic match-day footage with some questionable crowd-physics in the final, bloody scenes. Yet, as a big Hollywood production, Two Minute Warning is quite watchable in a distasteful way; you won’t make a film like this now, not least because the characters are so stock they feel like ducks in a shooting gallery.

Sigh. Obviously I still haven’t mastered the WordPress draft function, because this morning’s post somehow didn’t show as the latest one, prompting angry readers to complain that there wasn’t one. I’ll delete the original, replace it with this one, and apologise for email subscribers for the double post. I also include for posterity this comment from the hardy perennial commentor Alex Good, who located the post and left these pithy words, which I will answer forthwith. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Alex; Hey! Where were you last night for the midnight screening of the restored Scream Blacula Scream? I had a seat saved for you.

Did you mean Chuck Heston showed up in Midway at the halfway mark?


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  1. Here I was thinking my witticisms had been lost forever, but they’ve been rescued for posterity.

    You never did say where you were for the midnight screening of Scream Blacula Scream.

    This movie always gets mixed up in my head with Black Sunday, which I think was a better movie.

    • Big fan of Black Sunday, good book too. The Twilight marathon took it out of me, emotionally as always, so I had to turn in before the Count Yorga double header.

      I’m exclusively revealing that a Binstagram bombshell that in a personal experience, guided by the spirit of Bram Stoker, I believe I have found, through a telepathic connection with the past, the location of a public bin that may have been used by the iconic author.

      And before you say it didn’t happen; there will be pics…

  2. Man, you are just not having much luck with doing scheduled posts, are you? Glad to see that this showed up now though.

    I can’t see this ever getting much attention now. It’s too close to home. After the DC highway sniper a decade or so away, and the mass shootings, people can’t view it as entertainment. Because if they could, they’d be sicker in the head than I could possibly imagine.

    Hope you are having a blast at that gothy vamp thingamajig you’re at 😀

    • Back, with only a couple of puncture marks to show for it. But I am looking to buy some land in New England, not for me, but for a new business associate, you understand…

      …totally agree, sniper attacks are way too close to home for a mainstream, mass-entertainment movie like this…

      • Blah, blah, blah, I’m a vampire now, blah, blah blah. Yeah, I’ve heard it all before. Don’t try to con me like that Prince of Belgravia did. I learned my lesson!
        However, if your “associate” is hungry, I’d be willing to let him have Massachusetts super cheap! He can even use it as an all you can eat buffet if he wants.

            • That’s more that a misquote, in what text was Massachusetts mentioned? I think you’re making this up…

                    • Me moving to NH. I sounded the warning bells in this eternal war. But sadly, nobody listens to me. The Governor won’t impose a 1million fine for anyone moving here from Mass and the toll departments charge them the same as everybody else. I proposed a 10,000% increase, but to no avail…

                    • No, more like a male version of Sarah Connor. Connor, James Connor!
                      I’m doing my best, but even an underground bunker kingdom can only do so much.

                    • Letting the world know what jerks people from Mass are AND that they are trying to buy our state out from under us.

                      Information is Power!
                      * RAWR *

                      Other than that, giving myself stress headaches would probably be the biggest physical advancement. But I just gotta keep soldiering on. It would help if Charlton Heston had moved here about 50 years ago and set up a border wall though 😉

                    • Sadly, no.
                      Once Dr Whatshisface found out I didn’t think he had any staying power, he kicked me out of the Tardis and I’ve been stranded here ever since.
                      Timelords, bunch of big babies if you ask me. Probably came from Mass!

                      And here you thought you had bile and vitriol in your little island, eh?

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