Movies of My Yesterdays: Jetsons: The Movie

The Jetsons. Universal Pictures 1990.

I believe I have been told this is the first movie I was ever taken to see. Of course, I was young enough that I don’t remember that at all. It was always a part of our home collection in my memory, one of the Beta cassettes that got run into the ground.

I always understood The Jetsons as having been a 60s series that the movie had revived, but I eventually learned that most of the episodes were produced over 20 years later. I’d thought that was either to justify or follow up on the movie, but some quick research right now informs me that the movie came years later, after the show had done well in syndication. I have no doubt the main reason for the 80s episodes was so there would be enough episodes of the property to sell in syndication.

As a kid, I didn’t pick up on much of a difference between the movie and the episodes I’d seen. Longer of course, and a big deal is made about moving the family to a new location, but pretty much the same. Oh, and the interminable song breaks, that I can now appreciate as pretty good MTV music videos that still don’t belong in the movie. As I got older, I came to recognize the CGI, and the cultural shift that had happened underneath the surface.

The last few times I watched this movie, I saw it as the wholesome 60s family uprooted to place them in a setting more relatable to contemporary audiences, but they’re slightly modernized themselves, Judy’s starstruck melodrama (it was just a date with a touring celebrity, not a long-term boyfriend she’s torn away from, come on) aside. Their roles within the family unit are slightly less regimented and clean.

The environmentalist and coexistence message might be a little pat today, but it’s a movie made when those messages were at their most popular in the industry, especially in children’s media. And it certainly wasn’t an overused message for me as a kid. Star Trek taught us that we can make the future better, but it seems very distant next to The Jetsons, which shows us that in the future, we’ll be much like we are now, but with better technology. And this movie asks us to consider what that kind of lifestyle might cost, and if we can do better than that. Sometimes, that just seems possible.

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Ghost Dad

Ghost Dad. SAH Productions 1990.
Ghost Dad. SAH Productions 1990.

Before watching the movie:

I may have mentioned a multipack of cheap movies I bought with gift money late last year, about half of which I reviewed. There are still a few more candidates in that set, but I wandered away from it for months. This is one of them.

Since before I acquired the set, I’ve been reluctant to cover Bill Cosby for obvious recent events reasons (warning: serious article on an alleged humor site), but I think the moratorium has worn off, and I’ve been interested in this movie since years before I started the blog, when I saw it in a discount movie bin back when I was just starting to decide that I didn’t want to buy videocassettes anymore.

The summary on the box sounds a lot like Ghost, only with a dad. And this dad, who is a ghost, instead of being played by Patrick Swayze, is Bill Cosby, who is, as Cracked put it, America’s Dad. It essentially sounds like instead of trying to be a lover while working out the whole being dead thing, he’s trying to be a father. Which actually also sounds like Jack Frost, only not as a snowman. This train of thought is getting circular and silly, and is best dropped at this point.

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Total Recall

Total Recall. Carolco Pictures 1990.
Total Recall. Carolco Pictures 1990.

Before watching the movie:

Why is it that Hollywood seems to like Phillip K. Dick more than any other SF writer? Off the top of my head, there’s Minority Report, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Looking it up, I was surprised to learn that the recent The Adjustment Bureau is another adaptation of his, as well as almost as many more I hadn’t even heard of, including two television series.

I recall the short story this is based on “We Can Remember it For You Wholesale” as a cerebral thriller, while this movie seems to be positioned as an action-packed blockbuster. To be fair, I can certainly see the room to open up the plot with action sequences.

I feel like this is one of those movies that if it wasn’t rated R I would have seen it ages ago. It came out only two years after I was born and its staying power has only been diminished by having a recent remake. If I’d been 17 in the 90s, I probably would have been invited to watch it with someone before the decade ended, or been invested enough to make the effort myself. However, in the last ten years it’s just been on a shelf or digital shelf somewhere, with no particular reason to make “I’ll watch it someday” into “I’ll watch it now”, until well, now.

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Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore. Brillstein-Grey Entertainment 1996.
Happy Gilmore. Brillstein-Grey Entertainment 1996.

Before watching the movie:

The main thing I can think of to describe my impression of this movie is… normal. Adam Sandler in the 90s playing a hockey player turned golfer sounds pretty normal next to Adam Sandler as a failure of a demon or Adam Sandler as a rich manchild going through elementary school, or even, to go later, Adam Sandler as an Israeli superspy turned fabulous hairdresser. I think he might actually be a fairly normal human being in this movie. I know he’s more serious now, but he did complete oddball roles back when he was “you know, that weirdo from SNL”.

I seem to recall the reason he gets into golf is the idea of hockey players having good golf drives, which reminds me of Jamaican sprinters being good bobsledders. I wonder if there are many other movies built on sports having overlapping skillsets. When I was young, I got his powerful drive confused with the kid with the superhumanly tensioned arm from Rookie of the Year.

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Cry-Baby

Cry-Baby. Universal Pictures 1990.

Before watching the movie:

Well, I liked Hairspray, and Johnny Depp disappears into his roles entertainingly. A John Waters musical with Johnny Depp should be fun. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a movie where Depp seriously sang other thanThe Nightmare Before Christmas, so I can’t predict how well he’ll be able to lead a live-action musical.

As this is a musical set in the 1950s about kids in leather jackets and their relationships, I’m expecting a movie more like Grease than Grease was.

 

EDIT: I have been reminded that Johnny Depp was not in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Trying to hear him in Jack Skellington is probably part of the reason I have a hard time identifying him.

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The Hunt for Red October

The Hunt for Red October. Paramount Pictures 1990.

Before watching the movie:

This movie stars Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery, is based on Tom Clancy’s work, and the main thing I’m thinking about is that the plot reminds me of the Star Trek episode “Face of the Enemy”. That’s how my mind works.

Alec Baldwin’s obviously in the “taking things seriously” part of his career, and I have no great expectations for Connery other than being his usual brand of incongruous greatness (A Scottish Russian, you say…)

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Ghost

Ghost. Paramount Pictures 1990.

Before watching the movie:

For a long time this film has been on my list of important movies to watch, but I’ve never really given it very close examination. In fact, the most I learned about it was one occasion when I had an idea for a story, and then decided to check how much like Ghost it was. I ended up deciding it was close enough to wait on it.

In preparing for this blog, it seems that it’s actually more of a supernatural love story than I wanted, but if it turns out to be so, hopefully Whoopi Goldberg’s presence will make it bearable.

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