Tag Archives: Joe Dante

The Set of 400: #325 – My Favorite Rambo Cosplay

Today! Because of the end of civilization, the Clamp Cable Network now leaves the air –

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Directed by Joe Dante

Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, John Glover (x2), Robert Prosky, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lee (x2), Dick Miller (x2), Gedde Watanabe, Haviland Morris, Keye Luke, Rick Ducommun, Hulk Hogan (x2), Julia Sweeney, Dean Norris, John Astin (x2), Henry Gibson, Leonard Maltin, Howie Mandel, Tony Randall

There might be other instances on this list – not many, but maybe one or two – wherein a direct sequel made the cut without its predecessor. I don’t know why, I just tend to give more credit to originals, even when they have popularly acclaimed superior sequels. I have some sequels higher on the list where the first foray also cracked the 400, but as much as I liked Gremlins growing up, it’s not something I go out of my way to watch – unlike Gremlins 2, which I still love.

The balls of this movie! It’s a sequel, yes, but it’s also a straight parody of the original, a fourth wall breaking mockery of the first movie’s serious-ish, tongue in cheek horror story. Completely revamping the setting – taking it from the typical creatures invading a small town trope to the office building of a cable television channel – opened the film up for opportunities to poke fun at numerous films and media in general in a wide-ranging satire, replete with monsters. It took the concept of Evil Dead 2 – parodying the original film – and exploded it into nearly a throwback sketch comedy film, ala The Groove Tube or The Kentucky Fried Movie. Well, almost – it does hold together as one story a little more than that, even with its many digressions. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #331 – My Favorite Punchable Child Character

Today! Because he’s got a chip on his shoulder the size of the national debt –

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Directed by Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller, and Steven Spielberg

Starring Dan Aykroyd (x2), Albert Brooks (x2), Vic Morrow, John Larroquette (x2), Steven Williams, Scatman Crothers, Selma Diamond, Bill Quinn, Murray Matheson, Kathleen Quinlan, Dick Miller, John Lithgow, Donna Dixon, Burgess Meredith (x3), Abbe Lane, Bill Mumy, Nancy Cartwright, William Schallert, Patricia Barry, Kevin McCarthy, Jeremy Licht, Priscilla Pointer, Martin Garner, Helen Shaw, Charles Hallahan, Doug McGrath

A wildly uneven movie, which is to be expected considering the basis, the highs in Twilight Zone are pretty damn high, while the lows are only mediocre – this is a wall-to-wall watchable movie, even if on paper it seems like it shouldn’t have worked at all. Bringing in the high profile quartet of directors was certainly a good first step – with the only one I tend to skip being Dante’s “It’s a Good Life.” I don’t know, it’s not an episode I particularly enjoy either, so I’m not blaming the way they execute it, I’m just not a huge fan of that asshole kid. It’s pretty meh.

But the other three – pretty solid. The only original story of the group – the Landis directed “Time Out” is a bit heavy-handed, but effectively lead by Vic Morrow (famously killed on the set of this film, requiring a different ending to be concocted). Spielberg’s “Kick the Can” is schmaltzy, but has always been my favorite segment, with its sadly sentimental senior citizens getting one night to be young again. But clearly they saved the stand-out sequence for the finale, as George Miller’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” surpasses the episode it’s based on (the best episode they chose to adapt, too) and gets a dynamite performance from Lithgow as the tortured passenger, seeing a monster on the wing of the plane.

Lithgow is largely not doing well

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