Sunday, December 19, 2010

Revisiting Nostalgic Movies as an Adult

 Since I've been home alone while the family has been at school or work, I have used my downtime to watch some movies I loved as a kid to reevaluate them. From the movies Good BurgerHookRaiders of the Lost ArkBlank CheckHeavyweightsBrink!Muppet Treasure IslandBack to the FutureHoney I Blew Up the KidRescuers Down Under, and Mary Poppins, I have found that some movies have actually managed quite well against my ridiculous criticism of movies that has formed since I loved Blank Check. At least 7 of the 11 movies were enjoyable, and among the 6 I found 3 to be more enjoyable now than I thought they were when I was 7. However, 4 movies out of the 11 really let me down. 

The Bad
I'm looking at you Blank CheckGood BurgerHoney I blew Up the Kid, and Brink! (Sacrilege!). From these films, I have to confess I couldn't even finish Blank Check and Honey I Blew Up the Kid. They were irresponsible with their audience. Why would any film for 8 year old boys depict a father as blatantly verbally abusive as the one in Blank Check? This guy is a horrifying parent. Just watch the first ten minutes of it on youtube and you'll wonder what the screewriter was even thinking. Not to mention the moral of the story being something between "you don't need money to be happy" and "money is the only thing that brought the protagonist happiness." Oh, and the limo driver is really scary. Why does he hang around at the non-alcoholic wet bar that clearly belongs to an 11 year old with no other people around? He's just asking to be arrested. Speaking of which, why doesn't he ever get fired for never working? Or is this kid paying him? It is never explained... 
Honey I Blew Up the Kid is irresponsible to its audience as well. Wayne, the scientist, blows his kid up into the size of Godzilla (Hahahahaha) and then...oh yeah that's the whole plot. Take away a few of those Ha's, there. Well, okay, there's a subplot where the nerdy brother seduces a supermodel, but lets stay focused on the more plausible story for a minute. This kid, at one point in the movie, is rushed through a building in safari clothes (??) and nobody seems to notice that a 9 foot tall person, who is clearly a toddler, is running around. Even if the disguise somehow worked, he is 9 feet tall. I'd look. It's like how we're supposed to believe the Ninja Turtle disguise of a...trenchcoat. Anyway, after the toddler is 60 feet tall he is electrocuted twice (Giant guitar and giant ice cream bar), shot (cops and people in dark clothes who are allegedly FBI agents. We don't know, those scenes giving us context are probably on the cutting room floor), and, oh yeah, steps on buildings and does millions of dollars of property damage in Las Vegas, and if my logic is right, kills the people in those buildings. None of these things are brought up in a serious manner, but are done to be funny. It's not funny to watch a baby get electrocuted or shot. Or to watch people in buildings get crushed. Hmmm, maybe things were different when I was 8. 
For Good Burger and Brink!, it isn't that I hated them the way I did for the two prior movies, but that they just didn't do much of anything at all. They have their moments, but I got bored for most of them. Whatever I saw in them is lost on me now. However, Abe Vigoda's presence in Good Burger certainly helps its cause. But it's also kind of sad that he's in Good Burger

The Good
The three movies I liked better now than I did then are HookRaiders of the Lost Ark, and Mary Poppins. I have to say that I can defend Hook all day long. Is it too long? Yes. Is it self-indulgent? Absolutely. But you know what? I love it. I love that there are cameos by George Lucas, Carrie Fischer, Glenn Close (The pirate thrown into the booboo box, look it up), and Jimmy Buffet. I love Bob Hoskins as Smee. And Robin Williams gives a completely adequate performance. But to be fair, I think I love the idea of the move better than I love the movie these days. It's just a bold move for Spielberg, coming off of the success of Schindler's List and Jurassic Park, he makes an almost 3 hour epic about an intentionally boring man who doesn't battle the titular villain until after the 2 hour mark. And for the most part it works. You have to give them credit. Even though the middle drags and Julia Roberts mugs the camera, you have to love the obvious work and love that went into the making of it. 
Need I explain Raiders of the Lost Ark? It's a movie that is exciting, funny, dangerous, and fast. Nothing is wrong with it, in my opinion. And I enjoy it even more now, you know, now that I know what the Ark is, and a Nazi for that matter. 
Mary Poppins is a visual effects masterpiece that has appeal to any age group. The movie is long, sometimes slow, totally preachy, cheesy, and sometimes silly, but what is more appealing than an offensively bad cockney accent and a bag with no bottom? How about the absurdly brilliant chimney sweep sequence? What about the sincerity of "Feed the Birds"? The film is full of moral lessons. It has got a huge supply of interesting characters. The character that seems to have stuck with me the most in my latest viewing is the man who lives on top of his house, on a roof that has been fixed up as a battleship. It is never really explained why this guy does this. We get a semi-excuse, but this guy is totally insane. Why is he allowed to shoot canons? How long has this gone on? When are we going to get a movie about him? Mary Poppins has great sequences of special effects and a performance by Julie Andrews that is eerily endearing. 

What are some movies you've revisited in recent years that you loved as a child? Did they cut the mustard? Why? Why not?

1 comment:

  1. The one movie that I remember loving more than life itself as a child is The Brothers Lionheart, based on the novel with the same title by Astrid Lindgren. While it really didn't matter to me then that the movie was made in the 70s, I certainly noticed when I watched it again just how almost embarrassingly bad the special effects were - mainly represented by the huge fire-spirring dragon Katla. However, the story in itself I found just as touching as I did when I was a child, and the message and the themes of the film is just as important today as it was then.