Suburbanites suspect their reclusive neighbors of malfeasance.
Directed by Joe Dante
Starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, and Carrie Fisher
Initial Review by Jon Kissel
Directing a film is often as simple as maintaining a tone. I can’t remember where I heard that, whether it was on one of the half dozen film podcasts I listen to or if it was in an interview with someone (maybe the Coen brothers), but it’s a sentiment that rings true. Keeping the mood consistent and establishing a world that a film’s events can credibly occur in both fall under the umbrella of tone, and it’s a particular aspect of filmmaking that Joe Dante has never considered. We’ve previously discussed his Explorers, with its jarring third act spent amongst corny aliens. I only recently saw Gremlins for the first time, a film that wants to be a horror comedy but also contains a reaction shot to a fuzzy puppet when a character laments how her dad suffocated in a chimney during an elaborate Christmas prank. Both of those films are on solid ground when it comes to premise, but the tone is out of control. The same is true of The Burbs, a cogent satire with a vast distance between how it’s interpreting its characters and how they’re coming across. This is one more Dante film that has no idea what it wants to be.
In a world devastated by acid rain and a nuclear winter, a movie is born to leadoff 80's-90's nostalgia flicks. What I think the makers of Turbo Kid are trying to do is create some 1990s nostalgia with tons of gore to make that good-bad movie. For a while, they were succeeding, I appreciate that Turbo Kid got straight to the point, there wasn't a lot of lolly gagging. Grown men in a bar with their BMX bikes parked out front is funny. When The Kid gives Apple a ride on the pegs of his bicycle, that's classic 90's. I can relate to the bikes, the Viewmaster, and the distractingly bad SNES music.
But Turbo Kid never does anything. There is no story, there is no apex, and there are no on the edge of your seat action moments. My generation (born circa 1984) seems to love 80s nostalgia movies, maybe they're living vicariously through their older siblings, but I find them mostly lame. And unfortunately Turbo Kid can't survive on nostalgia alone. The gore is absurd and the soundtrack, even while reminding me of playing Super Nintendo, is atrocious.
I glanced at some of the Rotten Tomatoes (89% score) and they talk 80's retro for this movie, but I think it bridges the gap to the 90's as well. Turbo Kid looks retro and is mocking of 80's/90's action movies, so of course condescending critics are going to like it. Chop this movie into a series of it's bike chases and I'm down for 5 minutes of Youtube glory. Otherwise this is bad. C-
Watching this movie in 2016 for the first time is a bit hard because since this movie came out, at least 40 more movies have dropped with the exact same premise and even some of the exact same scenes. None of them were particularly good so I wasn’t expecting much from this movie except good acting and I believe that’s what I got.
The movie starts out showing the Gallagher family as they get ready to go to a party and that’s basically all we get of them being a family. There are a few quick 2-3 minute scenes throughout that show them together, but none of it really does anything. It doesn’t really show them as a happy family rather than a group of people that are together.
Glenn Close is the highlight of the movie. She takes a slightly boring character (Crazed woman) and makes her intriguing, but all that Glenn does for the character doesn’t fix the movie. Alex has no real backstory or reason given as to why she went so crazy. What was it about this one night stand that made her snap? Was this built-up over years of bad relationships? There’s just nothing more given to us than she had a miscarriage and her father died of a heart attack.
Overall this movie is not great. I’m sure it was good and people loved it back when it came out in the 80’s, but watching it now it’s pretty mediocre with some really good acting. I’m giving the acting an A-, but the movie at most can get a C+.
I’ll give it a C.
Also I think the alternate ending was much better: https://youtu.be/GY_NQK7rJrY
I picked this movie out because I’m the only person in the group that had previously seen this movie and some of the issues discussed in this movie still need to be discussed today. Also I’ve decided I’m only going to be doing “Black” movies from now on.
The first thing we need to talk about is the opening credits of the movie. One thing I believe that no one ever really talks about is the opening credits of movies and Spike has the best with ‘Do the Right Thing’ and he has one of the worst with ‘Chi-Raq’. These opening credits fall right behind ‘Do the Right Thing’. The credits show African-Americans through the years, from slave times all the way through to modern times all while the old Negro spiritual ‘Buildin’ Me A Home’ is playing. The pictures focus mostly the struggles black people went through to be treated equally and the education that they received and the way they united to achieve them. All of this composes the opening credits to a movie that starts out with a demonstration against a school to divest in Apartheid laden South Africa, and later shows the divides within the black community on an all-black campus even after these struggles.
In his first 8 movies, Steven Spielberg made two of those about aliens. The first, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has only been seen by two of us, at least as far as the spreadsheet is concerned, and in comparison to E.T., that film is very different. The aliens don't show up until the end in Close Encounters, where they're present at frame one of E.T., and the endings of each film present the protagonist with a choice of whether or not to go with the aliens. Most importantly, Close Encounters is told from an adult's perspective, while E.T. is told through a kid's. That contributes to a much darker film, perfect for the decade in which it was released. E.T., however, is released several years later in the more optimistic 80's, and reflects the lighter, more frivolous era of its consumption. In exchanging adult fascination for childlike wonder and changing the protagonists' relationship with the aliens from one of obsession to one of companionship, Spielberg is making a less interesting film, albeit a more emotional one.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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