“The Dead Zone”

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One of my big dilemmas when watching a film from the past that I haven’t seen is that sometimes, the ensuing years will intervene and hamper my enjoyment. For example, try and watch one of Rock Hudson’s old leading man roles knowing about the whole gay/AIDS thing. Like it or not, you’re distracted. This happened to me when I was catching up with David Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone.

The Dead Zone came out in 1983, when I was 8 years old. My family, being shockingly sensible, decided they wouldn’t take me to see it, since it was rated R. Therefore, my first exposure to The Dead Zone came by two other means:

1) 20 minutes’ worth of the film I watched on television once;
2) The SNL sketch “Ed Glosser: Trivial Psychic.”

Take it away, Sir Walken:

As a result of one of my favorite SNL sketches, I was almost unable to enjoy The Dead Zone. Every time Walken did the “SHOCK” reaction, I couldn’t help but smile and snicker in that same childish way I do when the Ford Super Duty truck commercial comes on. Ha, oh man . . . Super Duty. Gross! lol

My split-second blips of immaturity aside, I liked The Dead Zone a lot. Cronenberg shoots in the same style as A History of Violence and Eastern Promises: Dry, direct, with an almost invisible hand. Like those other films, The Dead Zone contains a freaky scene of violence that will jolt you. I think I preferred The Dead Zone to those films, largely due to my Walken fandom. If you have Netflix Instant Watch, by all means catch up with it.

Speaking of which, this is one of the first films I watched using the Netflix Streaming service for the Wii … Like nearly every other viewing experience through this system, watching The Dead Zone was alternately enjoyable and unbelievably infuriating. While I was satisfied with the picture quality (I don’t have HD, so I’m unable to complain), The movie froze a handful of times, adding 15-20 minutes of delay to the film’s running time. My connection just isn’t constant enough, and is guaranteed to freeze at least twice during any program. Any help with speeding up this connection would be appreciated.

“Clash of the Titans” (2010)

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(NOTE: I didn’t watch the 3D version, because paying 4 extra bucks to have crap thrown at me isn’t going to fix an awful story.)

After rewatching the original Clash of the Titans, I felt safe in saying that I didn’t feel any real affinity for the original; God knows there were plenty of aspects that could have been improved.  Combine that with today’s amazing computer graphics that can make computer people look like very human-seeming computer people, and the fact that everyone likes big loud things, and we had a sure-fire winner of a remake on our hands.  Bring on the PG-13 chicanery!

Sam Worthington, aka The Blankest Slate In All The Land, appears onscreen claiming to be Perseus, but I thought he was just some crappy actor.  The crappy actor claiming to be Perseus rallies a bunch of people into fighting back against the Gods, something that should seem sort of ballsy, but in this movie, its just a thing that’s said that carries no weight whatsoever.  “We’re gonna overthrow the Gods. Wanna order a pizza?”

Clash of the Titans is that rare film that I forgot about as it was playing.  Stuff just sort of happens in between the CGI monster fights, and since you don’t care, it’s hard to get excited about those CGI monster fights.  Note to filmmakers:  If your movie has a Kraken in it, I should be able to remember the movie.  This is known as the Pirates of the Caribbean 2 Corollary.

Liam Neeson plays Zeus, and much like Lawrence Olivier in the original version, he sleepwalks through the movie, enunciating his lines thoroughly and doing his absolute best not to check his watch.  Ralph Fiennes plays his bro-ham, Hades, and he looks like a cross between latter-day William Hurt and John Travolta in Battleship Earth.  Bravo to both actors for stifling their yawns.

There are scorpions in the movie too, so there’s that.