Friday, August 3, 2012
Today's theme seems to be "movies I wanted to watch when I was a kid but my mom wouldn't let me." I grew up seeing the cover of this movie in video stores and staring at it longingly, wanting to see what the two evil looking parents depicted on the cover were up to, and why their poor son was so afraid of them, but alas, it was not to be. As I got older, my desire to watch this dissipated, because come on, it looks pretty cheesy, right? I added it to my list of movies to watch for this 80s challenge, but I started it today and I admit I wasn't expecting much.
I must say, I was happily surprised. First off, this movie is billed as a comedy (albeit a dark one) but don't let that fool you into expecting a lot of laughs. This movie is very off-kilter and disorienting and downright strange, but it's definitely more creepy and funny. The movie is so whacked out because it's told from the perspective of a little boy who's pretty whacked out, and who can blame him? He lives in the stuffy 1950s, and his parents are very stiff and straight-laced and strict with him (particularly his father, who doesn't seem to like him very much, though his mother seems loving, if not a tad bewildered by her son's strange behavior) and he doesn't really have any friends except for another girl at his new school who seems to be even stranger than he is. His parents moved him to a new town for reasons he doesn't understand, they seem to be hiding a lot of strange secrets, he's seen strange things that he's blocked out in his mind, and to top it all off, he suspects his parents of doing some unthinkable things he can't bring himself to speak out loud, even when a concerned guidance counselor at school pushes him to let it all out. It's hard to blame him for being scared. After all, if he really looks into his parent's strange activities, what will he find?
I'm kind of glad I didn't see this movie when I was a kid (that seems to be a running theme of today's movies as well) because I had my share of family secrets and creepiness when I was a kid, and I honestly think this movie would have bothered me even more back then (not that it was any picnic now...the whole experience really got under my skin). I expected this movie to be really silly, but it wasn't, it was weird and eerie, and Randy Quaid does a great job playing the menacing father here. I knew he was a good actor, especially in roles that are slightly off-center, but I didn't expect him to be this creepy. This movie was definitely worth a watch (and maybe another, and another, and another...)