This post I wrote was published first at Blogcritics.
This is not a film review of the recent film adaptation of The Land of the Lost. However, I did see it and will review it at a later date. When I saw that movie it brought back a lot of memories about the amazing Sid and Marty Kroft television show The Land of the Lost that I watched all through the 1970s. Since I was born in 1969, I think I was likely the target audience.
The DVDs are available on Amazon and they rock. After I left the movie I came home searching for snippets on YouTube and the like. There is a lot of stuff there, but no full episodes. After a quick shop I found the released episodes on DVD and so I bought them.
When they arrived I watched the first three episodes in order. I was eating Oreos with a huge glass of milk laughing as my wife and kids all thought I was losing my mind. Perhaps I have surrendered it to The Land of the Lost, if not forever, for a time. Memories of soccer practice and piano lessons and fourth grade permeate these DVDs for me. And then … there are the effects.
The first episode of the series is called simply “Cha-Ka.” it’s the story of how the Marshall family meets up with the mythical caveman boy called by the epsiode’s name. They are met with fake dinosaur stop-action animation, really cheesy backgrounds, and monstrous creatures with huge eyes and lizard bodies called Sleestaks.
The recent film adaptation may not win awards, but it got me searching for Land of the Lost again. I think anyone my age and older would love the DVDs for the reverie. People younger should see it for what it is: pure family entertainment. Back in the 70s when you actually had to get up to change the channel, many of us stopped for a half hour to watch the Marshalls battle Sleetaks among the Pylons with Cha-Ka and a T-Rex named Grumpy. Before you see the movie, get the original episodes on DVD. Then at least you’ll understand how this movie first got its legs.
I watched Woody Allen’s Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) with my wife and it was just as good as the previous times I have seen it. There are movies you call “good writing” because they hit a formula well. Those movies you wish you would have written yourself to collect the box office dough. I call these writers “masters of the obvious.” Then there are movies that are so articulate and so perfectly woven together that you prefer to just sit back and be entertained, knowing you could never produce such artistry. Woody Allen’s movies are usually like that for me. The first Allen movie that really caught my attention and made me say “wow” was this one.
It takes place in the 1940’s. A fairly simple plot is the canvas Allen uses for his unique, proven brand of romantic humor. Charlize Theron, Helen Hunt, and a few other bombshells make it a sexy romantic comedy that is quick on dialogue replete with the ingredient he is famous for: poking fun at himself. Helen Hunt has been hired to find better document management solutions for Allen’s department. He likes the old ways and therein lay the romantic tension. It’s a mystery, gumshoe detective tale with Woody Allen humor throughout. IMDB summarizes it as: “An insurance investigator and an efficency expert who hate each other are both hypnotized by a crooked hypnotist with a jade scorpion into stealing jewels.”
I first saw this movie around 2002 when my parents had rented it and loaned to to me. Since then I must have rented it 3-4 times myself. My wife and I enjoyed watching it again. It was a grade A couch cuddling movie and I recommend it.
What’s your take on Woody Allen movies?
Though the critics are slamming this movie, it’s not all bad. It will sell on VOD and show up on Netflix soon I am sure. It won no awards with me. If you plan to see it, I should warn you that Larry Crowne is no top shelf Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts film. Neither it is worthy of co-writer Nia Vardalos, for that matter. It is corny writing akin to an after school special only its audience is unclear. It could be middle aged or 20-somethings, I am not quite sure. It is lost on me. In truth, I do not care about the intended audience. I do wonder however who will get this film.
IMDB synopsis: “After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.”
Commmunity college is misrepresented along with human patterns of relationships. This film isn’t horrible though. It’s a vanilla way to bide your time in between meals. It will not teach you anything profound however about real tragedies like downsizing or foreclosure. It’s a happy message … phrases like “Grin and bear it” and “Just smile” come to mind. As long as you expect that crap, you may enjoy this little fling at junior college. (That makes it sound like more fun than it is)