Memorial Day Movie Review
“See? That was nothing. But that’s how it always begins. Very small.”
Happy Memorial Day everybody! I hope you all take some time today to eat, drink and be merry with your loved ones. Of course, remembering those who served and died protecting your freedoms might not be a bad idea, either. A whole lot of exciting stuff is going on with Love in the Time of Monsters right now, unfortunately, we are still a little bit away from announcing it. I know I keep teasing everybody, but when we actually start announcing things, it’s totally going to be worth the wait, I promise! Mike just commented the other day, “what’s better than good news? Good news you can’t legally talk about!” I completely agree….
So yeah, I plan on firing up the BBQ tomorrow in between LiToM work. In the meantime, I thought I’d do a review of one of my all-time favorites: Big Trouble in Little China.
I first saw BTLC at the perfect age: 12. It had everything I was looking for in a movie: action, laughs, special effects, and kung-fu! You know how most of the time when you go back and watch a childhood favorite years later, it doesn’t hold up at all? Well the best thing I can say about BTLC is just as good today as it was the first time I saw it! In fact, as a more discerning/older viewer, I usually notice all the flaws in movies I never saw as a kid, but with BTLC I actually appreciate the things director John Carpenter was doing even more.
Carpenter wanted to make a film that paid homage to all the kung-fu classics he loved growing up as a kid, but update it for a modern/western audience. How was he going to do that? By getting Kurt Russell (in his absolute prime) and surrounding him with the best choreography, martial artists, and special effects he could get a hold of. At the time, BTLC was criticized by some asian-american groups for its portrayal of the Chinese in the film. The irony is that even though Jack Burton (Russell) is the “hero” of the movie, he’s actually the one being made fun of whole time!
As Jack, Russell channels his best John Wayne, swaggering around like he knows what’s going on, but in over his head the whole time. That’s where the comedy comes from! I dare you to watch this film and not absolutely love Kurt Russell as an actor. Legend has it that the head of 20th Century Fox actually made John Carpenter put the first scene of the movie in after he was done filming because he felt like Jack Burton wasn’t “heroic” enough. It’s a fascinating and unusual dynamic, and it totally holds the movie together. And John Carpenter blends the various action, comedy, and mystical elements brilliantly; he makes it look so easy. And once this story gets going, it doesn’t slow down! There’s something to be said for an action-packed movie that leaves you wanting more when it’s over. Add to that BTLC being one of the most quotable films of all-time (my friends and I drop lines from this thing almost daily), and you have yourself a must see.
I could go on and on about BTLC, but I suggest you just sit down and see it for yourself. It is probably the most FUN I’ve ever had watching a movie, and that’s the kind of spirit I saw when I read the LiToM script. If we can capture even close to the sense of fun that this movie conveys, I will be very satisfied. If you still don’t believe me, check out this clip of the fantastic villain David Lo Pan do his thing. See how they weave, jokes, exposition, and danger so easily together:
Movies like this remind me why I love movies. Indeed!