Is This MY Life?
Douglas Keith McEwan | Reseda, California United States | 09/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was 12 years old during the Cuban Missle Crisis, in love with cheap, schlocky horror movies (ANYTHING with Vincent Price!), and had a subscription to "Famous Monsters of Filmland" Magazine, so, except for living in Florida (I lived in Hollywood - well - Los Angeles, the only place for a film fanatic to grow up) this could be my biography. When the boy is shown with monster magazines spread all over his bed, they're real magazines from the period, and I had every last blessed one of them! I also had the monster models in his bedroom. When he turns into a fount of movie minutia at lunch, he IS me at school lunch, the kid who knew the difference between William Castle and Roger Corman, who couldn't have mistaken Dick Miller, who knew every trivial fact about every trivial horror movie ever made, and who would share them all with anyone in earshot. This hilarious yet heartfelt movie pushed all my nostalgia buttons. Even now, I can say what's that poster for "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" doing in a 1962 movie theater when the film hadn't even been shot yet? I remember the panic in our local grocery store during the missle crisis, and it was exactly as Dante shows it in the film. It's my favorite John Goodman performance. He was born to play William Castle, aka "Lawrence Woolsey". This is Joe Dante at his best. Apparently he and I had the exact same childhood."
This is a WUNDERFUL movie
Douglas Keith McEwan | 05/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i really, really, really love this movie! it's sweet and fun and really cool. it's one of my favorites ever because it deals with really cool, corny cheaply made horror films which are really hilarious. john goodman makes a charming, whimsical, and endearing performance as a visionary film maker and the younger stars of the film are really amazing too. what can i say, this is the best and if you don't buy this, rent it!"
You must sign a liability release "In case you die of fright
Skyhawk | USA | 12/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has to be the most under-rated, under-valued and criminally under-seen film of all time. Funny, touching, nostalgic in a good way, a wonderful tribute to the very joy of film itself and, the clincher, a cast of kids that never get on your nerves.
John Goodman has never bettered his performance from this movie. If you love the movies, you'll love this film. See it; then see it again and again. It really is the undiscovered artistic masterpiece of the 20th Century. I look forward to this movie on HD-DVD.
Until 'Man Conquers Space' comes out, we have Matinee!"
A great tribute to 50's era horror films and panic in the st
calvinnme | 01/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I felt that the advertising for this movie was somewhat misleading. I expected to see a film about John Goodman portraying a loose characterization of showman William Castle. Instead, the main focus of the film is a young boy, Gene Loomis, whose father is a soldier who is dispatched to active duty during the Cuban missile crisis, which is the time period in which this film is set. You have your typical coming-of-age themes revolving around Gene and his friends as they discover their own emerging adolescence, and this consists largely of tired material that has been done to death. However, I did like the scene where the character Sandra refuses to get down on the floor and put her hands behind her head during a civil defense drill, saying that "duck and cover" was useless. I actually remember doing these drills in elementary school back in the 60's.
Somewhat in the background we have John Goodman as old-fashioned showman Lawrence Woolsey, a vaudevillian stuck in the age of cinema who wants to put the show back in picture shows. He is tied into the film because Gene enjoys Woolsey's showmanship as a way to forget about the world around him which seems to be on the brink of self-destruction. Woolsey pulls such stunts as having his girlfriend (Cathy Moriarty) dress a a nurse and ask patrons to sign a waiver releasing Goodman's character from liability in case they die of fright during the movie. This is based on a similar stunt by William Castle and his movie "Macabre". Woolsey also wires the seats to produce a mild electric shock during a key moment in a film, which he labels "Atomo-Vision." That antic is based on what William Castle did during the showing of "The Tingler". Then he rigs still another device to shake things up as buildings on the screen are tumbling and calls it "Rumble-Rama." Again, these are all very similar to the showman-like stunts of William Castle during the 50's and 60's.
The best part of the movie is when Woolsey comes up with an atomic-age monster movie entitled "Mant" that is a composite of cheesy 50's horror films such as "The Fly," and "Them!". "Mant" is about a mutant that is half-man and half-ant and is a total riot. Woolsey's schlock merchant displays just the right mix of con-man materialism and childlike glee at his own bogus movie magic. It's too bad that Goodman's character and his showmanship weren't the main focus of the movie - Goodman was truly born to play the part of Lawrence Woolsey. Perhaps the biggest joke of all is realizing that this movie cost about 100 times the budget of any of the old pictures being parodied.
Besides recognizing all of the silly rituals such as the civil defense drills that people have performed and always will perform in order to feel like they have some control in an uncontrollable situation - remember the run on duct tape and plastic sheeting four years ago? - this movie really made me wish that there was a William Castle collection on DVD. Some of Castle's films were not so bad, and some were so bad they were good - "Macabre" comes to mind - but all of them were memorable. But none of them outside of "House on Haunted Hill" and "The Tingler", both starring Vincent Price, are ever on TV anymore."