The Set of 400: #389 – My Favorite Transparent Skiing

Today! Because I can see through my eyelids, I can see through the top of my head –

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Directed by John Carpenter

Starring Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean, Patricia Heaton, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ellen Albertini Dow

So if, like me, your exposure to this movie was brought about by its endless cable airings in the early-to-mid ’90s and never since, I can tell you, it’s not really holding up like you’d hope. Sure, the invisible man sequences are still pretty cool, and the effects aren’t bad, given the 1992-ness of it all, but that crusher combo of a Chevy Chase who has no business playing this part and Daryl Hannah, who has her typical rough time in any significant speaking role, drop this near the bottom of this list.

But hey, it is still clinging for dear life, and fairly, I’d say. Invisible effects made today almost wouldn’t be impressive – they can do far cooler things than just remove a person from a scene and float objects around nowadays. So this really hit at the right time – just long enough after, say, Claude Rains wearing a full head scarf and goggles, and just before there were realistic dinosaurs murdering lawyers on the toilet. So it manages a grip on my nostalgia, even after re-watching it and totally not recalling that turgid first 25 minutes setting the whole thing up. I was convinced Chevy must’ve been the, like, twelfth choice for the role, after every comedian of the day passed, but no – he seems to have actually had the rights to the book himself, and thus no competition for the part. Imagine a Steve Martin in this role! Or, hoping against all hope, a Bill Murray! How it might’ve sung! Instead, it’s all effects, limited jokes, and a hackneyed, nothing plot. But I still like it okay.

I mean, I don’t know, it’s kinda dumb I guess

It’s all focusing on the positive for this awardless dog – Best Half Invisible Building, a particularly cool effect, but mainly because it comes early in the movie, which is not the part I overly remember. And Best Inside-Out Vomiting, a feature that half breaks the logic of the film (Why can you see vomit in his stomach, but not food at any point?), but is still the only instance of inside-the-body visual puke I remember (Does Innerspace have any vomit in it? Fantastic Voyage?). Cool!

Coming Monday! You can’t even buy them anymore, you people are all shit out of luck.

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