Thursday, December 8, 2011


I guess you can't have a picnic without ants.
When I was a kid I remembered seeing this movie and thinking it pretty good.  However, having grown up and having found out more about the person that actually is the basis for the Lawrence Woolsey  character I can honestly say I appreciate it a lot more.  The movie is a 1993 period comedy about a Florida town during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  A high school boy is trying to make friends and find romance during this frightening time.  They find distractions in visiting the movies.  Some of which are produced by Lawrence Woolsey who is a character inspired by William Castle.  

Jeez, fine I'll go.
Woolsey, played by John Goodman, visits the small town to show his monster feature “Mant!” about a man that is half human and half ant.  He befriends a teenage fan and we see him setting up all the gimmicks that made Castle famous. Things like, buying insurance in case you die of fear during the movie, a man dressed in a costume scarring audience members, and shockers put under the seats in order to give the audience a jolt at the right times.  It’s fun homage to Castle.  Woolsey is a showman and it comes off really well since he wants everyone to have fun in his shows and escape the fears of the real world.  

This Naomi kid is bad. She'll never go places.
The real world meanwhile is building to tear itself apart.  There are high school high jinx and some other shenanigans that make this movie relevant to what it’s trying to portray.  It’s a very self-aware movie that most movie lovers can really get behind.  There is also a young unknown Naomi Watts in one of her first film roles playing a small part in the film within a film “The Shook-Up Shopping Cart.”  I think if you haven’t seen this movie you should give it a try.  You might find it as charming as I did.  

The Captain ate Tennille.
If you are a fellow movie geek you can find a goldmine of gems in this movie.  From hidden references of other movies to the musical score being directly taken from some of the biggest monster movies of the era this movie is covered in classics. A fun thing to do one day is make a scavenger hunt out of all the old stuff one can find in movies like this.  There are a lot of interesting things I am sure many people would discover that way.  The hardest part is labeling them all when there is so many to choose from.

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