Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Charles S. Haas
Cinematography: John Hora
by Jon Cvack
There is something about 90s children’s movies that fills me with a nostalgic joy. And while this same sentiment seems to apply to any movie fan's respective decade when their love of film came of age - the time when we’re most impressionable, before we start digging into the classics, keeping up to date on the awards fair, and having Opinions - I don’t think that’s the case for 90s family films. They were objectively the greatest. Off the top of my head we have the timeless classics - Camp Nowhere, Mrs. Doubtfire, Heavyweights, Little Giants, Sandlot, Angels in the Outfield, Rookie of the Year, Hocus Pocus, The Big Green, Dunston Checks In, Richie Rich, Blank Check, with each movie I name making me think of so many others, most possessing some rendition of that classic 90s uplifting, feel good score (see composer John Debney, with his Hocus Pocus score providing a perfect example).
Still, just when I think I had seen most of the good ones, I come across Matinee, which takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis, about a kid obsessed with horror films, who teams up with a slimy B-horror producer Hitchcock-ripoff (John Goodman) who’s in town to promote his latest monster picture. It’s the type of summer movie that makes you wish you grew up in the era, when cheap monsters and practical effects were still effective. Similar to other 90s kids films, there’s highly suggestive content and realistic characters - the boys actually talk like boys; the female love interest wants to move things along quickly; and there’s a great climactic ending that’s entirely fitting for a 90s kids films.
It made me want to return to that time when having obsessions and hobbies had no bearing on what I ultimately wanted to do. I loved Star Wars because of the story and toys, not because I wanted to make movies. I loved playing with toy guns and creating stories about rogue, pulpy cops/former & future Navy Seals, not because I knew I wanted to tell stories, but because it was fun. I had no need to constantly document adventures and vacations as material to use later and instead could remain present , appreciating the girl that looked at me in ninth grade science, having difficulty making the phone call, never realizing how silly the whole situation actually was.
BELOW: The Matinee VSH trailer
Thoughts on films, old and new
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