At The Movies With Javid #05

An amazingly relaxing weekend and a slightly hungover Sunday mean there are some new films that have suffered the wrath of my acerbic wit! 90’s marathon, BEGIN!

TWISTER (1996) 

Director Jan de Bont actually wrote the dialogue in the sky for reference..

Director Jan de Bont actually wrote the dialogue in the sky for reference..

I haven’t seen this movie since about 1996 and, whilst I remembered enjoying it the first time, I had a high level of trepidation about the foray down memory lane. Instead I was taken on a wonderfully nostalgic thrill ride as Helen Hunt chases down the Tornado that killed her Dad way back because he held on to a door that didn’t need to be held, like a moron. What follows is a whole bunch of moronic decisions made by Helen Hunt – because the best way to make sure something horrific like that never happens again is to keep driving STRAIGHT INTO THE MIDDLE OF TORNADOES. Sheesh.

Bill Paxman is busy being Bill Paxman, that guy you think you remember but always get confused with Bill Pullman because they’re both as unmemorable as each other. Thankfully his characters name is also Bill, so he doesn’t get confused.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays a seemingly drug addled madman, a role he revisited as recently as within the last 12 months. Carey Elwes plays a bad guy in a family film who actually dies (which makes a nice change), and something I never noticed before – they’re watching ‘The Shining’ at the Drive-In before it’s destroyed.

Still, I had fun.

It shows me that it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, as I suddenly discovered the line “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you”, delivered by Elwes (not long before he dies actually). How that line made it into the movie I have no idea, but it nearly made my head explode. Thank god writing has come so far in the last 18 years…… (insert sounds of crickets chirping)

Luckily the film has a happy ending as exes get back together and the new partner, after being dragged through multiple life-threatening experiences, is left to go home on her own (you’re an asshole, Bill!). The soundtrack is so awesome you’ll be doing air guitar solos while the characters spend their time either running after or away from potential death.

A heart-warming family film about not getting over death, or your ex-wife. It has tornadoes in it too. 7/10

POINT BREAK (1991)

This might surprise you given my seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of everything, but I hadn’t seen this movie prior to last weekend. I was expecting surfing, sky diving, bank robbing and average acting and you know what? I got it all in a 90 minute thrill ride that genuinely makes you wonder how films got so shit.

It’s got everything, a tepid romance, logic-defying decision making, surfer accents (brah), elaborate action sequences AND GARY FUCKING BUSEY. Despite all of these aspect as the credits rolled I still thought ‘that was awesome!’ – but why?

Answer: I have no idea. 8/10

THE CABLE GUY (1996)

I loved Jim Carrey as a kid, and still do to this day (even after the Batman that he did and the Number 23). I distinctly remember, though, walking out of this movie as a kid (approx age: 12) thinking ‘that was shit’. Probably because films like the Mask and Ace Ventura were overloaded with nonsensical comedy that really appealed to a 12 year old, and this film goes a little deeper.

Carrey plays the overly friendly, sadly alone cable guy who incorrectly assumes that doing a favour for someone means that they want to be his friend. Matthew Broderick plays the poor fool not knowing what he got himself into (just like his marriage to Sarah Jessica Parker I guess), but watching this movie as an adult helps you to see more.

Carrey is replaced for one scene by a reanimated Freddie Mercury

Carrey is replaced for one scene by a reanimated Freddie Mercury

There’s nothing more threatening about Carrey’s character than the fact you just don’t know what he’s capable of. So many things his character does appear dark, on the screen, but if it wasn’t for this portrayal I feel you couldn’t help but see them as the actions of someone with the best of intentions. He genuinely likes Broderick, who blatantly uses him and isn’t ready to deal with the consequences. The nightmare sequence was far more creepy than I remember and the finale also helps shape the picture of Chip Douglas as a maniacal sociopath. The question is, what would the character be like if Broderick hadn’t been such a reluctant asshole so as to be friends with this well meaning guy?

I knew people like Chip growing up. Socially awkward, sure, but all they want is to be heard, respected and maybe even gain a friend or two. Unfortunately they’re ostracised and excluded by the majority of people because they’re a bit ‘different’, and sociopathic behaviour evolves. I was in the Broderick camp, and a movie like this reminds me of the kind of selfish-asshole behaviour we’re all capable of.

There is a lot more to this film than meets the eye. Yes it has silly moments, stupid moments even, but being able to look past those on this viewing and see the subtext – the line of friendship, lack of societal reciprocation, awkward behaviour, exoneration, loneliness – it’s like the sauce that makes a meal so much more delicious. The first time I saw this film I would have given it a 4. Watching it now? 8/10

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