Matinee. Universal Pictures 1993.

Before watching the movie:

I hadn’t intended to create a theme, but here’s another theater movie set during a historical time of unrest. This time the Cuban Missile Crisis, and somehow screening a movie too close to reality for comfort causes a plot to happen.

I’m mainly here for John Goodman, but I’ll probably find something good that the blurbs haven’t been able to express.

After watching the movie:

Lawrence Woolsey is a monster movie showman, constantly topping himself for the biggest B-movie scarefest. As the Cuban Missile Crisis descends upon the nation, Woolsey is planning the opening of his latest and greatest horror movie, Mant, in Key West, Florida, in spite, or perhaps because of its proximity to the current tension. As the whole town is gripped by fear of the impending nuclear conflict, two budding teenage couples have their own troubles, and it all culminates at the show.

This movie seemed uncentered through the first half. It seemed the protagonist was “The town of Key West”. Lots of characters, few conflicts other than “we might be atoms tomorrow”. It seemed very gradual that the two boys and the girls they’re interested in took center stage, and nothing started catching my interest until they rolled the film.

The camp of Mant‘s cheap tricks was the best part for me. Seat-buzzers (available today for enthusiasts), flashes and smoke (interesting immersion), high-powered subwoofers rocking the theater (pretty excessive), and scenes where a guy in a suit runs around menacing people (THIS CHEESE IS BURNING ME!) are all just a layer of polish on a delightfully campy bit of cinema (or movie).

I think this movie deserves a rewatch for me, since I wasn’t watching it for the kids’ story, and they made up the bulk of the movie. The end was like watching a domino chain fall down, but the lead up to it wasn’t the anticipation of watching dominoes being set up, but wondering why the mosaic artist was running around setting tiles in random places.


Watch this movie: ignorant of all the misleading and vague promotional information.

Don’t watch this movie: for the tale of John Goodman as P.T. Barnum in the 20th century.

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