Showing posts from September, 2017

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

There is one genre of movie I try to avoid whenever possible, and it is musicals.  There are exceptons: My Fair Lady, Singin' in the Rain and, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show come to mind.  Since I'm a guy, I know the first assumption is that I see something non-masculine about musicals.  That's not really true.  I just find them to be largely insipid, bottom-of-the-barrel entertainment.  I am always happy when I run into one that proves to be the exception. That wasn't how I always felt about Little Shop of Horrors .  It came out when I was in eighth grade, and I really, really wanted to see it, largely based on the fact that "Dentist!" got played frequently on Dr. Demento's radio show at the time.  I remember the movie getting lukewarm reviews, but that wasn't something that would have phased me.  What did, as usual for that age, is that cash flow was largely determined by allowance.  It was still a point where movies were a family thing

It (2017)

I remember driving my parents crazy when the novel It was released back in 1986.  I was 14, already a fan of Stephen King, and his new book present a challenge at 1138 pages.  It was a challenge I and others took up, namely seeing how long it would take to read it.  I managed two and a half weeks, if I recall, often staying up until one in the morning.  My mom and dad had had enough by the time I finished it. I was the right age to connect with most of the characters and getting to be mature enough to understand some of the underlying themes.  Yes, even back in the 1980s a few of the scenes people are discussing now (which are not in the new movie) made me a bit disturbed, but I'll defend them right along Mr. King himself.  I just understood if a movie version ever got made (which I fully expected, since almost anything Stephen King wrote turned up on the big screen at some point) I knew those parts would be glossed over, despite them actually having importance to the story.

Fight Club (1999)

Very few films meant to appeal to Generation X actually registered.  Many, like Reality Bites , tended to pander to the demographic.  It touched on things we liked, and archetypes of the generation, without really saying anything.  To find a film that even comes close to evoking the confusion and frustration of being "society's middle children" and the dawning realization that everything we had been taught, even when it came to revolutionary thought, was was false, we have to look at Fight Club . When Fight Club came out in 1999, it was David Fincher's fourth film.  Previously a music video director, he had helmed the disaster that was Alien 3 , but followed it up with the disturbing suspense film Se7en  and the sort of bait-and-switch action film The Game .  It should come as no surprise that Fight Club has some elements of the latter two, but is largely faithful to its source novel written by Chuck Palahniuk. Our Narrator (Edward Norton) works as a recall spec

The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936)

There is something about watching British and other European films (even German ones until Hitler came into power) in the period between the two world wars that is both interesting and unsettling.  It is obvious that a society, based so much on the prospects of empire building and the glory of battle, was shaken to its core by the wholesale slaughter that was the Great War.  Prior to 1914, despite the usual conflicts going on, there is still a sense of optimism, even from writers like H. G. Wells, is the human spirit.  Afterward, even in what is a light-hearted comedic fantasy, the loss of innocence that comes with losing nearly a generation of young men is apparent. Of course The Man Who Could Work Miracles has many laugh-out-loud moments, and features that dry British sense of humor in a way that the Ealing comedies later would.  There is just that feeling throughout that, despite the brief period of peace, things are going to be much, much worse.  I would say I was reading too m