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Posts Tagged ‘David Keith’

Ernest Goes to School

Thursday, June 13th, 2024

June 10, 1994

I put ERNEST GOES TO SCHOOL on my schedule because it was on a list of June 1994 releases, but upon further research I realized they didn’t exactly attempt to mount a challenge to SPEED and CITY SLICKERS II. They only gave it a limited release in Connecticut (nickname: “The Ernest State”) before the rest of the country got it on video in December. So I could have very justifiably skipped reviewing it in this series. But never let it be said that I retreated from my search for knowledge. Ernest, going to school!? I mean, how is something like that gonna pan out? I had to know.

It occurs to me that I’ve never reviewed an Ernest P. Worrell movie before, so I’ve never had a chance to note that back in the Ain’t It Cool days some people thought my name was a reference to the off camera character Ernest was talking to in the commercials and TV series he did, or that it was funny to write “Know whut I mean, Vern?” in response to my reviews. Both were incorrect.

This one was the sixth Ernest motion picture, or seventh if you include DR. OTTO AND THE RIDDLE OF THE GLOOM BEAM (1985), where Jim Varney played several characters, including Ernest. There were three more after this, all DTV, and out of the whole series this is the only one not directed by John Cherry. Instead the honor goes to Coke Sams, writer of most of the Ernest works going back to the beginning. (read the rest of this shit…)

Daredevil (2003)

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

A little over 20 years ago, in a whole different cinematic era, they made a movie of the Marvel Comics super hero Daredevil. It was a strange, in-between period for comic book movies – they were neither the exciting novelty they’d been in the BATMAN-inspired ‘90s or the dominant cultural force they would soon become with the MCU. BLADE, X-MEN, BLADE II and SPIDER-MAN had come out, so Marvel finally had a track record of successful movie adaptations. But none of these took place in the same world, and there was even a famous outtake from X-MEN where a guy in a Spider-Man costume ran into a scene as a prank, and it seemed hilarious at the time.

DAREDEVIL was a test of what The Ain’t It Cool News and other self-declared “geek” voices on the internet had been preaching. In fact, Harry Knowles wrote a rave review of the script more than a year before filming started. It’s meant to be a dark, gritty and faithful adaptation of a character beloved by comics fans, but not very well known to civilians. Sure enough it was a hit, though only enough to get a spin-off and not multiple sequels like Blade, the X-Men and Spider-Man got. (read the rest of this shit…)


Monday, September 12th, 2016

tn_firestarterFIRESTARTER is a classic tale of ’80s style supernatural paranoia. An innocent father and daughter are on the run from menacing agents of a secret government entity nicknamed “The Shop.” A university experiment with hallucinogens in the ’70s gave dad (David Keith, WHITE OF THE EYE) and now-deceased mom (Heather Locklear, MONEY TALKS) psychic powers, which have passed on to daughter Charlie (Drew Barrymore in her next movie after E.T.). She can sense things, sometimes move things, but her trademark is fire. When she gets angry at people things get hot. Mom and dad had been trying to teach her to keep it under control, with mixed success. You really gotta recognize what a difficult parenting challenge this would be even if The Man wasn’t out to get them.

So now it’s Take Your Daughter On the Lam Day. They’re hitchhiking, scrounging up change, using Jedi mind tricks. She’s already used to lying to people and using fake names. It reminds me of Starman (TV show), or The Golden Years, like this a Stephen King creation and also using The Shop as the antagonists. Through no fault of their own this family are considered dangerous, and the government wants to either use them as weapons or kill them. Neither seems appealing to them.

This kill-them-for-safety-purposes policy is obviously fascist and heartless, but it’s based in a reasonable fear that if this little girl can blow up cars with her mind what will she be able to do if she grows up? And will she do it? (read the rest of this shit…)


Thursday, April 14th, 2016

tn_carrie02carryoncarrieSome years back I got an inkling to watch the 2002 TV version of CARRIE directed by David Carson (STAR TREK: GENERATIONS). I was thinking that of course it was gonna pale in comparison to DePalma’s version, but I liked Angela Bettis, who plays Carrie, in that movie MAY, and it might be cool to see another take on a classic story.

Then I put it on and the cheesy early 2000s TV aesthetic and laughable portrayal of high school turned me off so thoroughly I don’t think I even made it 10 minutes. Even Bettis seemed silly. I read that she was 27 at the time (2 years older than even Spacek was) but my math says 29. And we have to accept that she’s having her first period. If we even get to that scene, that is, which I didn’t the first time.

But now that I’ve read the book it’s interesting to watch different versions and compare and contrast the choices in adaptation, so I made it through and got what I wanted the first time. I even appreciated some aspects. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Indian in the Cupboard

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015



It sounds like a pun to say THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD feels small, because you see, it’s about a tiny little man who lives in a regular sized kid’s bedroom. But it also is a movie that feels small, in a good way. Based on the 1980 children’s novel by Lynne Reid Banks, it’s the story of a kid named Omri (Hal Scardino, SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER) who discovers that he has one of those magic cupboards that turns miniature toys into living beings. The first one he does is a model Indian, who becomes an Iroquois warrior named Little Bear (Litefoot, MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION). So Omri keeps li’l Little Bear in his bedroom, protects him, gives him materials to build a longhouse with (after he rejects a plastic teepee, having no idea what a teepee is).

So it’s a movie full of what must’ve been really difficult special effects, with many scenes of Litefoot on giant sets composited with Scardino on regular sets, but it’s all about smallness, a world inside this kid’s bedroom (or, in one scene, insides his fannypack). There is no bombast at all. It’s just a sweet, simple movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

In Her Line of Fire

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

tn_inherlineoffireThis is another one of these random movies I came across in the action section at the video store. It stars Mariel Hemingway as a Secret Service agent who has to rescue the Vice President from guerillas after Air Force 2 crash lands on a remote island. You don’t usually see a woman playing that type of action hero, but what really caught my eye was a logo from the Here! cable network, which I believe is all gay-themed programming.

A gay action movie? That’s something I’ve never come across before, and I like coming across things I’ve never come across before. But it’s a made-for-cable movie, so I hesitated. My instincts to give it a shot only won out because the director is Brian Trenchard-Smith, the sometimes-great director of DEAD END DRIVE-IN, THE MAN FROM HONG KONG and DEATH CHEATERS. And, uh, LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE.
(read the rest of this shit…)

White of the Eye

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

tn_whiteoftheeyeI rented a PAL import of WHITE OF THE EYE after some of you guys were talking about it in the comments back around Halloween. I really didn’t know anything about it, so I was off balance from the beginning. The opening credits said in huge letters DONALD CAMMELL’S WHITE OF THE EYE so at first I assumed that was some writer like Dean R. Koontz or John Grisham. Turns out it’s the director, he co-directed PERFORMANCE, did a couple weird ones like this, then killed himself.

Also it was co-written by “China.” Who the fuck is that? It’s not the bodybuilder lady from WWF, that was Chyna. Could it be the entire country of China wrote it communistically? Turns out it’s Cammell’s wife. As the movie began I didn’t even know what time period it was made in. I honestly thought it was a ’90s movie with some retro ’80s touches, turns out it’s 1987 and just happens to be very stylized.

The opening murder is a tour-de-force, it actually kind of creeped me out how fetishistically it captured every detail of the murder scene. It starts by showing this woman in her fancy home, extreme closeups of the objects surrounding her – flower vase, goldfish bowl, kitchen utensils – then every one of them is knocked over in the struggle when an unseen man attacks her. We only see him by the extreme closeup of the eye, which is disconcerting. And it seems to treat the wreckage as a carefully planned art installation. Or some kind of druid ritual. (read the rest of this shit…)