Daily Archives: April 15, 1996

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

Whatever you think of the cable TV showa postmodernist recycling operation in which characters watching a 40s or 50s movie make teenage wisecracks about how terrible it isthis is a dreadful spin-off that starts out on the wrong foot by selecting one of the better SF movies of the 50s, This Island Earth, as its stinkburger. A kidnapped Mike Nelson (playing himself) and robot pals Tom Servo, Gypsy, and Crow are watching this color feature on the so-called Satellite of Love while mad scientist Dr. Forrester (cowriter Trace Beaulieu) monitors their responses. The running time here is actually 13 minutes shorter than This Island Earth, even with the projection breaking down twice and an exceptionally feeble prologue and epilogue tacked on; the 50s movie is also shown in the wrong aspect ratio, with the top and bottom of every frame cut off, perhaps because the filmmakers realized that showing it correctly and completely would render the effort to ridicule it even more pathetic. Six people are credited with the atrocious script, one of them director Jim Mallon. PG-13, 73 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Truth About Cats & Dogs

The first movie directed by Michael Lehmann that I didn’t dislike, this relatively tender 1996 romantic comedy, written by former jazz disc jockey Audrey Wells, concerns a talk-radio hostess (Janeane Garofalo) who dispenses advice about pets and has self-esteem problems regarding her looks, her attractive next-door neighbor (Uma Thurman doing a Marilyn Monroe-like ingenue turn), and an intellectual English art photographer (Ben Chaplin) who through various mishaps falls for the voice and mind of the former while believing she looks like the latter. Though the basic brains-versus-beauty tension suggests a female variation on The Nutty Professor, this is a softer version of the dilemma than Jerry Lewis offerseasier to take and easier to forget. With Jamie Foxx and James McCaffrey. 97 min. (JR)… Read more »