I went to England for a week at the beginning of the month because I wanted a break from studying and reading for a bit. As a medievalist and a student of English literature, it’s the place to be. There are castles galore over there, lots of history, many manuscripts to look at, the landscapes and art are beautiful, and the architecture is awe-inspiring. While I was there, however, I couldn’t help but feeling a lot like Mick Dundee from Australia. He’s the central focus of the 1986 comedy film Crocodile Dundee, which is certainly my most cherished comedy film of all time (and obviously one of my favourites too).
The film is about a sexy journalist Sue (played by Linda Kozlowski) who heads out into the Outback to write her story of a lifetime. It may sound familiar, but it’s not. She meets Mick Dundee, who is played by Paul Hogan (not to be confused with Hulk Hogan; I made that mistake once when I was younger). He is the reputed survivor of a crocodile attack and she wants to interview him for her story. He takes her into the heart of the Australian bush, where they endure more than a few adventures, which include everything from mellowing water buffaloes to fighting crocodiles to eating lizard (at least that’s what I think it is). They also form a budding relationship, much to the chagrin of Sue’s ignorant boyfriend/editor Richard.
The second part of the film involves Sue taking Mick to New York City with her. Mick hasn’t really been to a big city before, so he goes around chatting with random people. Some of the more humorous episodes involve him beating up a pimp, getting drunk with a cabbie and offering a cocaine user an attempted herbal remedy. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it’s amazing when you consider the adventures that you have when you’re travelling by yourself in a big city. Like Mick, I met a few interesting friends along the way (I argued with the bus driver going from Oxford to London about the Celtic people, met a cute girl from Slough, met a friend from Stanford College and gave my Oxford lighter to the dude I always talked to at my hotel). As mentioned, Richard doesn’t respect Mick all that much, and this is where the major conflict in the story ensues. Richard is a wanker and snubs Mick’s heritage, and righteously earns the punch in the face that he gets. Richard proposes to Sue in front of Crocodile Dundee, which causes turbulence between the three of them. Mick’s riotous episodes are classic, and the cinematography of the Australian landscape is breathtaking. The actors’ performances are great and the film has a delightful (not dated) ’80s feel. I started watching the sequel at one point in time, but it didn’t have the charm and wit of the first film. I met an Australian in London and we were talking about how awesome it was. He didn’t speak too highly of the Aborigines though (I was telling him how I wanted to go to Uluru and play my didgeridoo with them, and maybe learn a few of their secrets, and he called them “bongs”). Maybe he was a bit more a Mick Dundee than I was, but I still felt a bit absent-minded with my suburban Ottawa disposition in a big city like London. Crocodile Dundee is a great film to watch no matter where you are in the world. It also reminds you how wonderful it is to travel on your own and is reminiscent of the myriad of adventures you have along the way. On a final note, you’ll feel like embarking on a walkabout of your own once you’ve seen this film.