Sean and Cody, back from an unplanned hiatus, are joined by The Industry podcast host Dan Delgado for a look at the rarest of birds: an actually good film from schlocky 1980s grindhouse studio Cannon Films! In Runaway Train, prison lifer Manny (Jon Voight) is joined by a whiny shoeless sidekick Buck (Eric Roberts) for a poop-scented breakout from Alaska’s most notorious hoosegow. But their brilliant escape goes terribly wrong when the engineer of the freight train they stow away on croaks from a heart attack, and no one in the entire Alaska Railroad system seems to know how to slow down the train. Environmental issues discussed include the impact of the railroad, a harebrained early 1900s scheme to turn Alaska into Scandinavia, and how perennial Green Screen podcast villain Tricky Nick Nixon swindled Native Americans out of their land for, you guessed it, oil.
How, when, and why were railroads built across Alaska, and how was that process different from how train infrastructure developed in the rest of America? What was “recapitulation,” whose idiotic idea was it, and how did it manage to be both environmentally disastrous and crudely racist? What did President Warren G. Harding really die of? Why did so many of the Cannon films star Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson? How did famed Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa get involved in this movie? Why is “600” the magic number for Eric Roberts’s career? Should Golan and Globus have just shelved the idea for this film and concentrated by putting more money into Superman IV: The Quest For Peace? How did Danny Trejo parlay a life of crime into a successful film, philanthropy and restaurant career? All these questions and more are waiting to jump the track in this, the third-to-last regular episode of Green Screen.
Big thanks to Dan Delgado of The Industry podcast for joining us on the show.
Where you can find Runaway Train: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/runaway-train
Next Movie Up: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)