I’ve already covered the 1945 version of this story, but I knew that eventually I’d come to this one. This is the 7th movie adaptation of the 1902 novel just in English, and at this point it’s surprising that it hasn’t been tried again. The reputation this version has is tepid, and it’s the version people think of when the name comes up (the last version with the same title was made 40 years previous), but it’s clearly a story with staying power, and within the next ten years, every memorable movie from the 80s is going to get remade if it hasn’t already.
Mel Brooks, early Zuckers, and the Scream movies. Those are the successful genre parodies I can think of right now. This one, I think mainly lasts because it’s an accessory to the Friday the 13th legacy (or a remora on it).
Reviews I’ve seen are mixed and polar. The biggest name now isn’t the lead. I’m thinking maybe this will be a decent cult movie, but almost definitely no classic.
The Seven Samurai has been remade and recontextualized and homaged many, many times. Its best known remake is of course the Western The Magnificent Seven, but pretty much every “go put together a group of mercenaries to save the hometown” story is probably based on Seven Samurai. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie do it so blatantly that the tagline itself invokes Magnificent Seven. Apparently Roger Corman wanted to do something like Star Wars and decided to do a sci-fi interpretation of Seven Samurai. So he did.
Among “contrived reasons for two people who wouldn’t normally interact to be stuck together”, “I will pay you a thousand dollars to be my girlfriend” is a pretty contrived one. It looks like he’s not even lonely, he’s just trying to increase his social standing.
It looks like there’s a little inverse-Pygmalion happening, where he brings her into his life and she helps him fit in? That is probably not what happens, but if it is, that could be a pretty forward-thinking concept for late 80s Hollywood.
I’m not sure how this is an inspiring movie about following your dreams and not an inspiring movie about how listening to the voices in your head can work out sometimes, but when I try to anticipate what this movie will be, I think of The Astronaut Farmerwith baseball instead of spaceflight. But anyway, family man tears his family apart doing crazy things and then there’s a happy ending. Apparently this time James Earl Jones is involved.
There are three kinds of movies that become modern classics. The ones that are constantly referenced to the point that very little remains a surprise on the first watch, the ones that have one specific scene that is synonymous with the movie, and the ones that are classics even though nobody seems to talk about them at all, apparently assuming that there’s nothing left to say. The last group is the hardest to discuss preconceptions of, since I have nothing to base them on.
I know this is about bloody revenge on a clique of popular girls who are bullies, and that’s it. Some blurbs have more words, but little more content. I didn’t even know it starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater until I sourced the poster.