Twins (1988)

twins_1Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Kelly Preston, Chloe Webb, Bonnie Bartlett, Trey Wilson, Marshall Bell, David Caruso, Hugh O’Brian, Nehemiah Persoff, Maury Chaykin, Tony Jay, Heather Graham

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Expectations: Optimistic that I’ll still like it.

threestar


Twins is a hard movie to criticize because as much as I know it’s not a great movie, I thoroughly enjoy every minute of it. It’s films like this that make me question the necessity of critics to judge the “effectiveness” of a film. I did some quick research and, as I suspected, despite being a huge box-office hit, the critics gave Twins largely mixed and negative reviews. In my ’80s nostalgia I like to believe that everyone back then knew how to have a good time, but these critics are evidence against my ridiculous theory. Somehow over the last 20–30 years their desire for more realistic, less goofy films took hold, and movies like Twins are relics of the year they were produced, trapped in amber for all to peruse.

I know I’m getting rather heady for a film about Arnold and Danny DeVito playing twins, but the film’s happy-go-lucky nature brought as many thoughts about the current state of film as it did genuine smiles. This probably isn’t too different from how I experience a lot of ’80s films these days, although this one is a little light on plot, allowing for these heady thoughts to creep in. Regular readers will know my general preference for ’80s films over current stuff, and this film really reminded me of that tangible, real-world beauty that is largely missing from the slick, focus-tested films of current Hollywood.

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Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)

Starring Jeffrey Byron, Michael Preston, Tim Thomerson, Kelly Preston, Richard Moll, R. David Smith, Larry Pennell, Marty Zagon, Mickey Fox, William Jones, Winston Jones

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: High. With a name like “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn”, it has to be good.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


Pitch your tent and start your fires, it’s about to get campy! Coming off the high-brow 3D horror flick Parasite, Charles Band, never one to rest on his laurels, set out to create another 3D epic for the ages. This time he set his sights on the science fiction genre, specifically Mad Max and Star Wars (Technically, I don’t classify Star Wars as science fiction, but that doesn’t matter for this review). The result is the ultra-camp, ultra-fun Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, and it’s one hell of a film.

Summarizing the plot in any depth would require a re-watch as its intricacies aren’t something I was able to keep up with on the first go-round, but the gist is this: Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) is a space ranger hunting the evil Jared-Syn. Along the way he runs into a girl whose father was just murdered by Jared-Syn. They team up and set out on the adventure of a lifetime amid the arid wastes of some post-apocalyptic planet. That’s the overall, but to look at it in such a way belittles the power of the movie. Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn isn’t about “Plot Point A” leading into “Plot Point B.” It’s about an alien with a retractable claw-hand that shoots out green hallucinogenic acid. It’s about Dogen hooking up with the Han Solo-esque Rhodes (Tim Thomerson) in a seedy alien bar in the desert (nothing familiar about that one). It’s about fucking awesome car chases with vehicles crudely fashioned from scrap metal and old VW parts. The awesome literally never stops in this film, so I frankly could not care less if it all makes sense. It’s a popcorn movie that succeeds handily, and if that’s what Band set out to make, then it should be applauded. Do purely fun goals make a film any less worthy of praise than one with more artistic goals? Not on your sai-wielding cyclops’s life. (Yes, there are a bunch of cyclopes in this too, see what I mean? Nothing but awesome.)

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