Total Recall (1990): Throwing Multiple Mommas From Multiple Trains

Total Recall (1990): Throwing Multiple Mommas From Multiple Trains

In which Jason and Laura Straub of Vouched Books review the 1990 trailer For Total Recall.


Back in 1993, I was a fifteen year old bag boy at a middle Georgia Bi-Lo. (This was when bag boys were still allowed to receive tips, as tipping had not yet been banned by the bag boy supreme court. You can spot the difference between regular court and bag boy court by the statue of a blindfolded Piggly Wiggly pig in front of the courthouse steps, balancing the fairness of $1.49 Boston Butt Pork Roast against the righteousness of $4.99 Seedless Watermelons.) While I was bagging his groceries, a disheveled man in a Members Only jacket and thick glasses told one of our pregnant cashiers he’d pay her $20 to sit on his face.

First of all, everyone—you can put down your twenty dollar bills. It didn’t work. Believe it or not, the cashier declined the man’s offer of a twenty dollar mustache ride. Which, has this man not seen the novelty T-shirts? His rates are well above the going market rate of FREE.

Second of all, if that dirty old man lived in the world of Total Recall, he wouldn’t know whose face to tell a pregnant cashier to sit on, because apparently everyone’s face is morphing into a different face all the time.


My question is: does it hurt when your face morphs? It looks incredibly painful. Also, I’m a big fan of the start of this trailer, i.e: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s head is either a planet or a moon, rotating around this other planet, which has a pyramid so large that it can clearly be seen from outer space. Clearly not earth. It really sets the tone for the film, I think: 1. Worship Arnold 2. This movie is going to be its own kind of psychedelic trip.

I wonder what would have happened to that guy at the supermarket if he WERE in Total Recall and the cashier turned out to be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, Douglas Quaid. The DB of a shopper would probably say something like, “Hey sugar-britches, I’ll throw you an Andrew Jackson if you sit on my face.” Then the pregnant clerk you were working with would do that crazy painful Rubix Cube morph and transform into something all ripped and manly aka: Douglas Quaid. Douglas would then say something quippy, as a Douglas is prone to do. In fact, I imagine he’d just pull out a gun and say something like, “Sit on this.” Or Is that how your mother taught you to speak to a lady?

Jason… what would you have done if that had happened?


Is having britches made of sugar exclusively the province of women? Can a man not also wear pants, trousers or britches made of sugar, or artificial sweetener? Or are us men-folk forever doomed to wear these rough-hewn pants of plain old denim or khaki cloth?

Actually, calling a woman sugar britches is oddly progressive, if you consider that women weren’t even allowed to wear pants for years, lest they find themselves opening a Fried Green Tomatoes stand and learning about friendship. “Damn it, woman, put on a proper dress! Do you want Kathy Bates to wear a dress of Saran Wrap?!”

I once got some powdered sugar in my beard, and realized that saying a man has “a little sugar in his beard” is a good way to describe a sensitive man with some feminine characteristics, like myself. But then again, it might get re-appropriated by the kind of men who come into Bi-Los and ask unsuspecting women to sit on their face.

Anyway, if the cashier had turned into Douglas Quaid, I would’ve probably grabbed my Canada Dry and hightailed it out of there, leaving a trail of sugar from my (nonexistent 15-year-old’s) beard.


If a man were to wear sugar-y britches, they would probably have to be made from straight cane sugar/’Sugar in the Raw’ to maintain gender standards. Right? Or maybe men wouldn’t wear ‘sugar britches’ so much as ‘sugar chaps.’ Right? Because all men should be cowboys… with chaps made of sugar.

Now, as for “Sugar in the beard”…are you sure that’s not a drug reference? Sounds like one to me. I bet Kathy Bates would try it. She doesn’t seem like the type to ‘just say no.’ Just look at her filmography on IMDB. That’s all the supporting evidence needed.

People give Kathy Bates a lot of guff. She’s the female Danny DeVito. After TAXI ended Hollywood had no idea what to do with him. The best they could come up with was Twins (which granted- was pretty awesome) but felt a bit contrived. Danny DeVito shouldn’t perform in cutesy comedies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He needs to get riled up and grumpy- or dig through some trash. He needs to throw more Momma’s from more trains! Thank goodness It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia came along and gave him a home.

In Kathy Bates’ case- Misery was her shining moment. We all know it. No one has been able to top that sense. Once again, look at her filmography on IMDB, I implore you. Will someone please just do her a favor and give her an oversized hammer?


I like the idea of multiple Danny DeVitos throwing multiple Mommas from multiple trains. Or is it just one Danny DeVito, hopping from dimension to dimension, throwing each alternate momma from each alternate train, hoping that his next leap will be the leap home?

Speaking of alternate universes, I was watching Forrest Gump last night and I think I came up with a good explanation for why he keeps crossing paths with historical figures and influencing their lives. My Gump theory is that in his universe, some super-villain came along and ruined the timeline. Nixon was never impeached, the SHIT HAPPENS bumper sticker was never invented, Gary Sinise kept both his legs—the darkest timeline essentially.

So a team of scientists sent Forrest Gump back in time to undo the damage, but severely limited his intelligence so he wouldn’t start asking questions when his path coincidentally crossed almost every single important historical event of the latter half of the 20th century.

God Speed, you magnificent dimension-hopping idiot. Momma always said, “Stupid is as stupid alternate timeline does.”

 Laura will be reading at Avid Bookshop on Saturday, March 23rd.