A showman introduces a small coastal town to a unique movie experience and capitalises on the Cuban Missile crisis hysteria with a kitschy horror extravaganza combining film effects, stage props and actors in rubber suits in this salute to the B-movie.
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Make sure that you see the laser disk version of "Matinee," which includes the complete version of "Mant!" This is the "film" within the film that plays at the matinee. "Mant!" (half man, half ant) is the best part of the film. It is one of the funniest spoofs I've ever seen, with classic sci-fi dialog ("Electricity and nuclear power--the worst possible combination!").
I've been a fan of campy disaster movies my entire life. You know the genre: Giant radioactive ants attacking Los Angeles, huge asteroids racing toward Earth, monster storms threatening human civilization. Good clean fun.Unfortunately, the biggest disaster of all -- global nuclear destruction --almost came true in October 1962. I was four years old at the time, living in a small Midwestern city with my parents and older sister. Now, all those years later, I can vaguely remember our family sitting around a huge black-and-white TV "console," watching the news updates. "Why don't WE have a bomb shelter?" my sister demanded to know. Ah, the quiet joys of childhood...History and imagination have a strange way of mixing together over time. Let's start with history: The Cuban Missile Crisis as power struggle was portrayed in two serious movies: "The Missiles of October" (1973) and the more recent film, "Thirteen Days" (2000). Both captured the immense tension gripping the planet as Kennedy and Khrushchev played chicken with the bomb.In contrast, "Matinee" (released 1993) captures the pop culture side of the crisis - how ordinary people responded to the threat of annihilation based on pre-existing Hollywood stereotypes. Scriptwriter Charlie Haas deserves high marks for finding the humor in this otherwise horrific situation. (I'd give him an Oscar any day.)The film centers on an over-the-hill movie producer named Woolsey, played to perfection by John Goodman. Woolsey travels to Key West in October 1962 to screen his latest schlock flick featuring atomic blasts, human mutation and B-movie cheesecake. A teenage boy named Simon, who knows everything about disaster movies, connects with Woolsey...and we're off!Every character clichÃ© from the late 1950s and early `60s is paraded across the screen with delicious irony and humorous affection: The "bad boy poet wannabe" just out of reform school. The sexually curious girlfriend. The lonely military wife, whose husband is stationed on a ship off the coast of Cuba. The beatnik parents and their radical 9th-grade daughter. The paranoid movie theater owner with a worthless bomb shelter in the basement. And so on and so on.Unlike cheap parody films such as "Scary Movie," this film takes the pop culture stuff seriously. You can actually learn something about America from "Matinee," while you simultaneously laugh your head off. The storyline is so perfectly crafted that even the most outrageous twists and turns seem to make perfect sense. Kudos as well to whoever selected the cast for this movie. I can't imagine a more delightful ensemble.If you haven't yet seen "Matinee," please set aside time soon for this masterwork of American filmmaking. Bravo!REVIEWER'S NOTE: This review concludes my personal writing project called "99 Books and a Movie," which I started back in September 2004. I hope you've enjoyed my postings on Amazon.com. Best wishes...Peter Kobs
My wife an I both grew up during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Sens-O-Rama movie craze. We encountered this gem when it was released on LaderDisc in the early '90s and had to make everyone we knew watch it. Most enjoyed it. We still show it to new acquaintances as a sort of window into who we are.I am so glad this has been re-released on DVD, as we had missed its initial release in the last century and were not about to pay collectors prices for it. Hopefully this will be better than the cr@ptastic transfer that was done with The Rocketeer. Then we can pull the LD player out of the stack and donate it to GoodWill...
Very good movie with a lot of comedy and such. I would suggest this film to any who enjoy a good movie.
For 1960s nostalgia buffs, or anyone with fond memories of growing up inthat decade, this film is a real treat. Several films successfully blended -kitsch B-movie horror pastiche, sensitive young-teens 'rites-of-passage' andCold War drama. Top marks not only for period detail, but also periodambience (great soundtrack), plus, thanks to contemporary film-stock, weactually feel we are watching a 60s movie. Witty blending of on-screenfantasy and real-life drama as film progresses. Lots of humour based onmovie culture and the Communist/'Bomb' neurosis. Enjoyableentertainment.
Having been this age and living in a Navy town in Florida in 1962, thisflick struck a chord with me-- from the Cuba Crisis hysteria to the publicinfatuation with late '50's monster flicks (atomic energy and it'slong-termeffects on the inhabitants of our planet were a source of unlimitedspeculation, and these cinematic efforts were just the ticket for a youngand hungry television to fill the nom-prime-time hours-- our local stationshowed these classics every day after school!) John Goodman is perfect asthe director/huckster, and the sets and costumes of the period are eerilyappropriate. If you ever spent time in the hall with 60 other kids,kneelingdown and covering your neck with your hands (the civil defense peoplecalledit "Duck and cover") You will love this movie-- when you aren't busytellingyour kids, "No! Really! It was JUST LIKE THAT!"(One complaint-- there were no falloutcellars in Key West, as the water table is about 6 feet below the ground;there were no cellars at all.)
This is a delightful film which portrays the same timeframe as the much moreserious THIRTEEN DAYS when the world was on the brink of nuclear disaster.John Goodman is wonderfully funny as the movie pitch-man who resemblesWilliam Castle and other cinema con-men of the 1950s and early 1960s whodrew the audiences away from TV and into the theaters with all sort of hokeygimmicks.As a background to the comedy, the potential tragedy of disaster looms. Thefilm is set in Key West (only 90 miles from Cuba), and the main character isthe son of one of the men who is on the blockade line, ready to do battlewith the Russian missile-carrying ships. This film is an interestingcompanion piece to THIRTEEN DAYS.
To the couple who wrote, "The reason why we never got rid of our old Laserdisc player, all I have to say is "Ditto". This movie is just a joy to watch. This film was released in 1993 at it went unnoticed, grossing under $10 million. I can hardly believe it. It wasn't because this film is bad. No, as a matter of fact, I find it at least as enjoyable to watch as say, "Groundhog Day", and that grossed $70 Million in 93. No, this "little" film just got buried by one hit after another, as that year I was working the AMC Coral Ridge and Hollywood locations, and we blown away by the amount of "prints" we received, starting with w/ Jurassic Park, which launched DTS! There were at least 10 other major "blockbusters" that year, including, "Sleepless in Seattle", "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "The Pelican Brief" just to name but a few. Anyways, I Bought the LD "Letterbox Edition" that included the "Special Featurette", the "movie within the movie", "Mant" in "Atomovision" which puts "You, the Audience, at Ground Zero"", as our host, "Lawrence Wooley" aka, Goodman, the Screen's #1 Shock Expert and "creator" of b-movie sci-fi thrillers, brings his form of showmanship to the unsuspecting kids of 1962 Key West, Florida, and gives them "a premiere they'll never forget." "The theatre rocks in spine-tingling "Rumble-Rama"(ever heard of, or experienced the sensation of "Sensurround"?, as in "Earthquake", or the original "Battlestar Galactica" movie, as us Cerwin-Vega fans know) I never lived though those days myself, however, as a young teenager, my younger brother Robbie and I would go watch all the Matinee shows at our local 3-plex everyday, all those long summers ago in SC. Hell, we must have watched "Return of the Jedi" 3 dozen times. And The theatre Manager wasn't to far off the mark for the character that John Goodman plays here either. When I was in high-school, he hired me to work there, and, that was my 1st job. I would later go on to become a IATSE certified projectionist before I "gave it up". This movie "gets" it. It's a movie about why we used to go to the movies. I may have just missed the world of backyard bomb shelters and missile attack drills, but the film's director, Joe Dante(of Gremlins), manages to make us understand the world of "innocence" kids living under the threat and fear of the nuclear bomb, and reminds us at the same time how we loved to go to the movies simply just be entertained. As our infamous leader at our now long ago closed Carmike Cinemas use to say on our answering machine tape, "We'll see you at the movies." It's a time that will never come again.
I was working in Central Florida's budding film industry at the time,and everybody in town was thrilled that this film was being shot on thelocal stages and at cool locations in the area. The Cocoa VillagePlayhouse doubled for the Key West 'Strand Theater,' and the last timeI was at the Universal Orlando park, John Goodman's beautiful '59Cadillac (that takes a head-on collision) remained un-repaired and ondisplay in the studio boneyard. People have reported that it's not easyto find "Matinee" on home video, but as of this writing, it's tough notto turn on the HBO Comedy channel and not see this movie repeatedly.Glad it's getting some airtime, because it's a real gem, Joe Dante'strue labor of love to schlock B-horror films. Great art direction andattention to detail hits the early 60's nail on the head. Halfwaythrough, John Goodman has a brainstorm about his character's next bigfilm. I'm just sorry we've never gotten to see Lawrence Woolsey'smutant epic, "Gal-igator!!" (in Amphibi-Vision)
Viewed: 7/12Rate: 37/12: John Goodman was a funny guy, but his talents were wasted in Matinee. If it wasn't for the annoying (they all were) children, Matinee might have somewhat worked. If I want to see a film about the Cuban Missile Crisis, I'll watch Thirteen Days. If I want to see a film about a movie experience within a movie, I'll watch Last Action Hero. If I want to see a film about teenage romance, I'll watch Mischief. And believe none of them contained annoying child actors and actresses. They really killed the film for me. The best parts of the film were the extra theater special effects. Then again, I actually thought of this movie after the Batman Movie Shooting. Go figure. All in all, Matinee is a waste of time. Even Cathy Moriarty looked tremendously bored.
I tried. I really did. I had paid good money (altho it was a bargain bindeal) but I could not watch it through. Why? Somnolent acting, inept direction, a scriptthat clumsily mocks thick anti-communists (while revealingly showing a contemptfor people's fears in the hoarding riot at the supermarket, for example), and anutterly uninteresting teenage love story...Gosh, what less can you wish for?The bright spots are all provided by the movie within a movie scenes. This isobviously where Ron Dante thrives and excels. But the rest? As we used tosay in the 50s: P.U.!
What's great about MATINEE is how it introduces fantastic elements to an ordinary setting and weaves them so invisibly into the story
This has to be the most under-rated, under-valued and criminallyunder-seenfilm of all time. Funny, touching, nostalgic in a good way, a wonderfultribute to the very joy of film itself and, the clincher, a cast of kidsthat never get on your nerves. And even in any of the Coen Brother's filmshe has been in, John Goodman has never bettered his performance from thismovie. If you love the movies, you'll love this film. See it; then see itagain and again. It really is the undiscovered artistic masterpiece of the20th Century.
Uproarious comedy that film buffs should love.
A good-hearted spectacle about teenage movie-goers during the Cubanmissilecrisis that gives you the same enjoyable experience probably felt by thekids who went to those old cheesy monster movies. Most movies on thissubject would get too self-importantly serious or "realistic" but thedirector Joe Dante is great at using pop culture nostalgia in light,entertaining ways. ***1/2 out of ****
Hello fellow Amazon costumers,I bought this film because it takes me back to a simple time not to 1962 but to 1993 when this film was released. I'm a horror film fanatic and well I'm not into the latest horror films which now a days is some crappy remake of an old horror film. Matinee goes back to the early 60's when horror films were not just cool but original and pays tribute to all the films of that era. John Goodman does a excellent job playing a nickel and dime hustling horror film director Lawrence Woolsey. William Castle is who his character is based on. Woolsey has this new film Called "Mant" which he hopes will be a hit, so he opens the film in a small town and with the help of a kid obsessed with horror films and some wacky shock gimicks the film gets going.Great characters in this film like Woolsey's henchmen who pose as right wing conservatives who try to stop people from seeing "Mant",in a subtle attempt to hype up the film.The film shows what it was like growing up during that time the kids deal with adolesence,a local thug the film's villain and the cuban missile crisis. All this wackiness and a great ending almost blowing up the theater, "Mant" is hit for Woolsey, I wish they made films like that now. This is a great little gem of a film from 1993 and I really think this film is perfect for Halloween.Its not a horror film, but a film about a horror film. I gotta say this is Joe Dante's best film by far. The only thing no special features and no trailer. So take my advice give Matinee a whirl.
Not really a horror movie, per se, but a family comedy that revolvesaround B-horror movies. John Goodman plays a William Castle-like horrorfilmmaker who is premiering his new movie Mant (half-man, half-ant!) inKey West during the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Goodman hasimagined Mant as a very interactive experience, with rumbling seatsthat can give the audience light shocks, pyrotechnics and a man wearinga Mant suit who wanders into the audience at certain points. The moviemostly revolves around the children who are going to see the movie. Thefilm has a lot of problems. The kid characters are all prettyuninteresting, and the main plot of the film, which is about SimonFenton, a horror fan, missing his father, who is in the military on aboat outside of Cuba, reeks of grade C Spielberg. And the screenwritersfigure that they can't have a movie where people are just sittingaround watching another movie, so there are a whole bunch of subplotswhere the kids wander off during the movie to do other stuff.Ironically, the parts where we're watching Mant are by far the bestpart of the movie. I've heard so much about how good this was foryears, and been wanting to see it forever (it was out of print on DVDfor years), so I have to say it's a pretty big disappointment. Still, Ithink it's an okay movie.
One of those films that deserved to reach a huge audience but somehowslipped away, Joe Dante's affectionate homage to creature features andB-movie king William Castle is a joy from start to finish. This is due toboth Dante's direction - and obvious love of the script - and JohnGoodman'sdelightful performance (what was he doing in crap like "Coyote Ugly?").Eventhe movie-within-a-movie - "Mant!" ("half man, half ant - all terror!") isfun. The only downside is that this rarely turns up on TV and hasn't beenreleased on DVD in the UK. A scratchy vhs is better than nothing Isuppose...
Joe Dante just doesn't know when to stop. That's always been hisproblem and most likely always will be. So, half of MatinÃ©e (theWilliam Castle half) is fun and affectionate mostly, and the MANTscenes, although a little too smart aleck for their own good, arebeautifully done. But trying to shoehorn that plot into a clichÃ©-riddenCuban missile scare story just doesn't work - it simply sucks theenergy out of the film, and the climax is truly terrible - they didn'tneed the drama of the balcony collapsing - it's like Screen writing 101- "Oh, we need one more really dramatic obstacle here." It's awful andI'm quite certain that it contributed in a large way to the movie'sbox-office failure. And for those of us who grew up back then, I cannot name you one singleoccurrence of sitting in a brightly-lit movie theater watching a film.Sorry, Joe, didn't happen. Ever. What would have been so difficult tohave it dark in the theater but lit so that you could see everyone.Hundreds of films have done it without much of a problem. That alonekeeps taking you completely out of the film.Nice Goldsmith score, well edited, well shot, but, as with a lot of Mr.Dante's films, despite enjoyable parts misses the mark.
I have a lot of time for Joe Dante. Most of his movies are fairlylight-hearted, nostalgic fare aimed at kids or the young at heart, butunlike his occasional collaborator Steven Spielberg he really pulls it offconvincingly without getting too sentimental and treacly, and always hasenough in-jokes and references in his movies to amuse diehard sciencefiction and horror film buffs. Dante is a BIG fan of film makers like RogerCorman (who gave him his big break), William Castle (a major inspiration for'Matinee') and Mario Bava, while one has to wonder if Spielberg even knowswho they are. 'Matinee' is a slight, but very entertaining picture,concerning b-grade 50s/60s horror movies, and fans of that era willabsolutely love it. John Goodman ('The Big Lebowski') plays flamboyantwriter/director Lawrence Woolsey. Woolsey's gimmicks and showmanship areinspired by William Castle ('The Tingler', '13 Ghosts', 'House On HauntedHill',etc.etc.) though the fictional movie 'Mant' which is part of the plotis quite unlike Castle's output and closer to 50s paranoid monster movieslike 'Them!' and 'Tarantula'. Goodman is perfectly cast and loads of fun. Ialso really liked Cathy Moriarty ('Raging Bull') as Woolsey's leadingactress/assistant. The chemistry between the two was enjoyable and made forsome nice comic touches. The young kid actors were all pretty good, andDante regulars Dick Miller ('A Bucket Of Blood'), Kevin McCarthy ('InvasionOf The Body Snatchers'), Robert Picardo ('Star Trek Voyager') and WilliamSchallert ('The Incredible Shrinking Man') seem like they are all having awonderful time. Trivia buffs note that this movie includes an actor from'The Thing From Another World' (Robert Cornthwaite) and also one from JohnCarpenter's remake 'The Thing' (David Clennon'). The movie within the movie'Mant' is hilarious, but I enjoyed the whole thing. 'Matinee' is another funmovie from the underrated Joe Dante.