Category Archives: the rock
Starflight One ~ The synopsis for this 1983 gem reads, and I’m not joking, as follows: “By mistake the captain and passengers of the world’s first hypersonic airliner go past Australia, into space.” Also known as Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land, it’s a disaster movie on a low budget telemovie scale starring the semi-warm cast of Lee Majors, Lauren Hutton, Ray Milland, Kirk Cameron, Robert Englund and Hal Linden. Just as bad as it sounds and would be fun if you make a drinking game out of it. This serious version of Airplane II is abysmal and yet sometimes unintentionally funny.
It’s Alive ~ This TV movie from 1968 is pretty cool, and riding on a smooth drive-in horror flick vibe, until you actually see the monster. Wow. This thing, a recycled prop costume from a previous film just as bad as this one, makes the monsters from the old “Doctor Who” TV series look professional. Hell, it makes Barney look like he walked out of Jurassic Park. This one’s okay excluding the monster. With the monster, it’s just terrible. An example of how one ‘special’ effect can ruin an entire flick.
Kitten with a Whip ~ This 1960s exploitation flick is indicative of the genre and one of the best with name stars. Sociopathic prison runaway Ann Margaret chills at aspiring senator John Forsythe’s home Desperate Hours style while the family is on vacation. This couldn’t have been better if William Castle or Roger Corman had directed it.
Yes Man ~ Jim Carrey plays a negative man who through a positive thinking guru forces himself to say yes to everything. Yeah, it’s kinda like Liar Liar only less funny. It’s not as bad as it could be as Zooey Deschanel saves all the scenes she’s in. As much as Zooey is a delight, Jim is equally a hyperactive and sullen brat. Not as bad as it could be, might be worth seeing if nothing else is on, and as long as you don’t pay for it.
Planet 51 ~ Other than the interesting twist of humans and aliens switching roles, which you can see in any of the previews, there’s really no surprises here. It’s fun animation for kids featuring pantless sea monkeys with Alien dogs in a retro 1950s world, along with The Rock being tiredly ironic for ninety minutes. The shine will wear off for adults pretty quickly.
Pineapple Express ~ You know those great action thrillers where some innocent bystanders witness a murder and then spend the rest of the flick being chased by the bad guys? Yeah, now imagine everyone in said flick is a stoner and/or a doper. Yep, you got it, that’s what Pineapple Express is. It’s funny, but it’s probably a lot funnier if you’re high.
Get Smart ~ It is really really difficult to screw up a “Get Smart” movie. Looking at the past attempts – The Nude Bomb in 1980 and Get Smart Again for TV in 1989 – two of the worst movies ever made, you would really have to try diligently to make something worse. Despite the shadow hanging over this film, the 2008 remake of “Get Smart” isn’t bad, it’s not bad at all.
The cast is fun. Steve Carel is a comedy genius, and has yet to fall into any of the traps Jim Carrey (who incidentally was originally cast) did when he was on top. Anne Hathaway is always a delight on screen, and her chemistry with Carel is delicious, inspiring positive comparison to the originals, Barbara Feldon and Don Adams. Always good to see Alan Arkin, and The Rock, Dwayne Johnson rules every scene he’s in. Bill Murray makes an embarrassing cameo while James Caan shows a real flair for comedy as the President. Terrence Stamp does an interesting impression as the typical Malcolm McDowell villain. Even Masi Oka of “Heroes” and Nate Torrence are fun. I wish however that Patrick Warburton as Hymie had been throughout the film rather than half a minute at the end. There is even a quick but great cameo by Bernie Kopell, who played the original Siegfried. But it’s not the cast I take issue with.
Why does this have to be a “Get Smart” movie to begin with? Name recognition? Surely not. No one who was alive when the program first aired or even when it was in syndication is among the major movie-going demographic these days. Is it to make more money for poor Buck Henry, the creator of the series? Maybe. That’s really the only reason I can see. And let’s face it, unless we count “Quark,” Buck does deserve it.
The reason I question this is because really the only weak parts of this film are the “Get Smart” gimmicks and where Carel does his bad Don Adams impression. That’s where it falters, when it tries too hard to be “Get Smart.” If you removed all of those references this would be a fairly strong but simple spy comedy. Really, if you needed name recognition that didn’t make sense to the demographic anyway, why not make it a sequel or remake of Spies Like Us? It works just as well. Worth watching, but I don’t know if I would feel good about paying for it.