Tag Archives: Robert Zemeckis

The Set of 400: #344 – My Favorite 3D Shark

Today! Because he’s in a ’46 Ford, we’re in a DeLorean – he’d rip through us like we were tin foil –

Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis (x2)

Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd (x2), Lea Thompson (x2), Thomas F. Wilson, Elisabeth Shue, James Tolkan, Billy Zane, Charles Fleischer, Casey Siemaszko, Elijah Wood (x2), Flea, Joe Flaherty, Donald Fullilove, Mary Ellen Trainor (x2)

Ah, 1989! A transformative film year for young Joe, not so much due to Back to the Future Part II, but because its release finally prompted me to watch Back to the Future Part I. And, you know, Batman, Indiana Jones 3, Ghostbusters 2, and so on. As I didn’t have the luxury of great distance between the original and the sequel, these two movies fell into that aforementioned issue I had as a kid – where a movie and its sequel sort of blend together. It didn’t help that BttFII straight rehashes the original movie during its second half, so the sheer laziness of this move didn’t much bother me as a ten year old.

And, I mean, they try to make it clever, showing the old scenes from new angles, with all new stakes and complications, but with a decidedly older face on Marty, and a completely different Jennifer. If you watch the first and second movies one after the other – and try to think of it as one movie – I think it actually makes for a cooler experience. If you allow yourself to ruminate on the fact that four years passed and this is what they came up with – not to mention the mind bending time travel convolutions and all that chalkboard explaining of things – you might not think back on II all that fondly.

Whatever you say, Doc!

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The Set of 400: #375 – My Favorite Romance Novelist Heroine

Today! Because I have been through every one-horse shithole for a 200 mile radius –

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas (x2), Danny DeVito, Holland Taylor, Zack Norman, Mary Ellen Trainor, Manuel Ojeda, Alfonso Arau

Two months before the release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Fox made a sexy, whimsical attempt to eat Paramount’s lunch with this modern day jungle adventure. Set very much in the vein of the action archaeologist, Douglas’ Jack helps Turner’s romance novelist Joan track down her kidnapped sister in South America, and in the course of it they find treasure, get shot at a bunch, get kinky, get high, and repeatedly get the better of an in-pursuit, opportunist Danny DeVito. It’s a rip roaring yarn that I probably should not have been allowed to watch as often as I did as a child. But like the rest of America, we couldn’t wait for new Indiana Jones adventures, so this had to fit the bill! And it did!

The cast is so solid together that they’d reunite for the direct sequel Jewel of the Nile (also pretty good) and spiritual sequel War of the Roses (come to think of it, also good). And with this, his third film, a great run of Robert Zemeckis movies kicked off, as for the next fifteen years he’d win Oscars and direct gigantic box office hits every two or three years. Hell, even with his uneven sojourn into strictly motion-capture animation in the ’00s, he didn’t really have a disappointing film at the box office until The Walk in 2015. Nice track record! You’re welcome for me not looking too close at Death Becomes Her‘s numbers, or mentioning Allied at all! Continue reading

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