Tag Archives: John Lithgow

The Set of 400: #281 – My Favorite Radio War of the Worlds Explanation

Today! Because it’s not my goddamn planet. Understand, monkey boy?

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

Directed by W.D. Richter

Starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow (x2), Ellen Barkin (x2), Christopher Lloyd (x3), Jeff Goldblum (x2), Lewis Smith, Clancy Brown, Rosalind Cash, Ronald Lacey, Vincent Schiavelli (x3), Carl Lumbly, Dan Hedaya, Jonathan Banks, John Ashton, Yakov Smirnoff

Playing like the third or fourth sequel to a property that didn’t previously exist, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension doesn’t waste a ton of time explaining the hows and whys of the title character – a brain surgeon/rock musician who heads up a crime fighting team named the Hong Kong Cavaliers, none of whom appear to be from southern China. But there’s no reason to get too bogged down in all that – this movie plunges you straight into the action, with Banzai breaking the ethereal barrier to the 8th Dimension, and all the alien invasion/global intrigue that follows.

Quite the crew!

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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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