Tremors. PG-13, 1 hr. 36 min. Directed by: Ron Underwood. Release Date: January 19, 1990. DVD Release Date: April 28, 1998.
I saw this a million years ago, back in what would have been a rare trip to the movies, probably unsupervised because I know without a shadow of a doubt that neither of my parents would have been dragged into a theater to see this in a million years. In 1989 or 1990, I can't remember which, I was deemed old enough to see movies on my own (a day I suspect my parents had waited for for a very, very long time at that point). The only problem was that I struggled to find rides to the theaters. When I found this in my Netflix streaming suggestions, I remembered that I'd seen it. I remembered a few vague details: Kevin Bacon with too much Einstein-crazy hair, the monsters that dwelt beneath the surface of the planet, and I remembered that I hadn't liked the movie very much. So, I was surprised when I started to enjoy myself.
Horror movies with a PG-13 rating are generally a hairy bunch: not only not scary, but so much care has been made to extract every single cent to be obtained from the widest possible teen market that the film is boring. If you're lucky. If you're unlucky, you consider trying to end your life with the straw from your Coke. I've been in that position a few times, although not recently. Well, The Virginity Hit was like a year ago and I had that brief thought back then.
Tremors doesn't suffer from that. This movie, if viewed through a 12-year-old's eyes, would have been pretty scary, the characters vibrant and a little funny. In some ways, this reminds me, at least in spirit, of Scream, and if you read my blog with any regularity, you KNOW how I feel about Scream. Even new, knowing stuff was coming, I still jumped pretty frequently. I wasn't scared, but they got my pulse racing a few times. Fun times, although not for the whole family, unless your family's a little dysfunctional, which is cool.
Jonah Hex. PG-13, 1 hr. 24 min. Directed by: Jimmy Hayward. Release Date: June 18, 2010. DVD Release Date: October 12, 2010.
I walked in to this knowing that I was about to sit through a comic book movie, which I normally enjoy, but my problem with this particular sub-genre comes in to play when I’m faced with comic book movies made from comics that I’ve never heard of before. Jonah Hex is one of those comics. I went through my comic book phase, although I focused on Marvel superhero teams like The Avengers, Generation X (for about three months), and especially The X-Men. A scarred cowboy with a lisp and an ability to speak to the dead wasn’t really going to be high on my list.
But, on the one hand, I loved the setting, which has elements of a “what if?” America, in which technology was a little more advanced post-Civil War than it was in the history books. Culturally, everything appeared right, but the technology that we did see was years ahead of what it should be, without explanation. I also thought that while this wasn’t Josh Brolin at his Oscar-nom best, it was still a decent performance within the parameters of the character.
On the other hand, I had about 40 minutes of dealing with Megan Fox playing herself… more or less. I’m not inferring that Megan Fox is a prostitute or anything like that, but the personality we watch her is basically the personality we “see” when Megan Fox is in front of a camera, but not acting a role. Sure of her appearance and its impact on the men around her, a certain awareness of her sexuality, and a constant battle with the fact that she’s not nearly as smart as she thinks she is. And since not once in the 84 minutes of this movie was she actually showcasing her best… um, talents, that got old pretty quickly.
I also had a problem with the story, which meanders its way through a series of highly improbable events which the hero not only manages to survive, but thrive within. There’s no magic, no mutant powers, but apparently physics were taking a few days off. On top of that, it’s not all that interesting OTHER than the setting. If this had taken place in some other place in history, I wouldn’t have had anything I enjoyed in this tale.