The Poole Film Festival Highlights

Britain’s The Daily Mail, more commonly recognized as a cheap, sensationalist piece of drivel, is in actuality a cinephile’s delight. With complementary DVD’s arriving attached to its fear-inducing front pages every so often, readers can stock their home collections with a riveting variety of bland genres (1980’s British melodramas, documentaries about plants) and obscure relics of Michael Caine’s career (i.e. 1968’s “Play Dirty“).

Luckily for us, Nana George is a fervid sometime-buyer of the Mail, thus we were able to take advantage of the swollen stockpile of DVD’s in her living room. Nana had never watched any of the discs, because she thought that they were all just single episodes in a series, and since she didn’t have the full hypothetical series, she might as well just leave them unwatched under the television. She also didn’t know how to work the DVD player, so there was that.

The Poole Film Festival was born after only a few minutes of perusing Nana’s library. Titles were chosen for their probable ability to bore or annoy the viewer, and for this reason Nana, with her proclivity to nasty comments, was not included in the selection process. Long story short, the curtains raised and our time-wasting began.

EL CID

The 1961 Charlton Heston/Sophia Loren epic depicting the life and love of the honorable, eponymous 11th century Spanish prince, this turned out to be the only film in which Nana was present for at the Festival. What can be said about this sprawling, sumptuous piece of cinema that hasn’t already been said? Well, for one, the soundtrack was overbearing, and 15 minutes into the film, while attempting to turn on the subtitles, Steve caused the DVD player system to reboot. Twice. Which resulted in a very humorous, antagonistic exchange between Steve and hi grandmother, and finally in us deciding to stop watching “El Cid”.

FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR:

This 1986 family adventure, starring a young Joey Cramer (who now works at an outdoor store) and a fresh-yet-still-horse-faced Sarah Jessica Parker, depicts the tribulations of young David who, while walking through the woods near his home, is knocked unconscious by a bright light (and a fall down a ravine), then awakens to find that the world around him is 8 years older, that he has a massive amount of extra-terrestrial navigation data stored in his head, and that NASA is going to try to collect this data so they can pilot a captured alien spaceship they’ve discovered. Evading both the moral dilemma of submitting himself to socially-beneficial scientific study and a lot of inept NASA guards, he manages to jump into said spaceship, which he apparently spent the last 8 years in, and pilot it through time and space back to the moment he fell unconscious, so that he can go enjoy his cliched childhood again.

Highlights of “Navigator” include the familiar honking of Pee-Wee Herman, since Paul Reubens voices the highly irritating computer system of the spacecraft, and Sarah Jessica Parker, as a very insubordinate NASA intern, helping David escape his NASA captors by hiding him in the conveniently boy-sized compartment of a large, pointless robot. Also, there were a lot of silly 1980’s computers with shoddy, green spaceship graphics that were meant to look high-tech.

The film, if anything, is tenacious, and sticks to its narrative guns. What I mean by this is that nothing interesting happens during the kid’s involvement with the spaceship: upon entering the craft, he says to its computer, “I want to go home to my family!”, and that’s, over the course of 30 minutes, exactly what he does. No exploration of the cosmos, no discovering alien species or learning about the mysteries of the universe, just going home to the family.

As it turns out, a new generation will soon be able to enjoy the thrills of “Navigator”, because it’s set to be remade sometime in 2012. Upon hearing this, Devon yelled across a crowded internet cafe, “Well we need to go see it. And we need to whack off in the movie theater in honor of the co-star of the original.” So those are our thoughts on it.

THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE:

Based on the dramatic artwork of the DVD cover, we thought this was the 1970’s version of the film. Then, two minutes into it, when we noticed the crisp digital cinematography and Middle Eastern terrorist-driven plotline, we thought it was the 2006 theatrical remake. Nope. Turned out it was the 2005 Hallmark TV version, that was deemed so dramatic and rating-winning that it was cut into two parts, to keep Hallmark’s audience captivated for, well, two days on end.

Adam Baldwin, of apparent “Full Metal Jacket” fame, stars as the everyman sea marshall (in the sense that there’s absolutely nothing to remember him by), in this harrowing depiction of a cruise liner that gets blown up, defies physics, and instead of sinking floats upside down for an interminable amount of time while a small group of dedicated passengers make their way to the surface to be rescued by – and this, I must say, didn’t make any sense – six Navy Seals in a dinghy.

Apart from the creepily chiseled physique of Steve Guttenberg, “Poseidon” painstakingly highlights the Hallmark commitment to strong, archaic family values: in one ten minute long sequence, both a vaguely ethnic terrorist and a single, childless, mid-30’s adulterous woman die by plummeting into an inferno. Also, a doe-eyed 20-something nursing student falls in love with a man well into his 50’s. Just like things oughta be.

Something we both very much enjoyed and didn’t complain once about the film was that you don’t miss any of the action, because it was literally not edited whatsoever. Almost four hours long, it’s like living out the disaster in real time. As Devon succinctly put it, “the irony that the movie is about a sinking ship is too much – it blinds my mind.”

LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS

Everyone knows this one – the brash, serpentine-plotted Ritchie-helmed smash-and-bash-fest. Well, everyone except Nana George. Her only input regarding the film, 10 minutes in, was, “I don’t think this is suitable for a great-grandmother to watch” promptly ended its viewing, which meant that, sadly, we never found out if Tom got the guns at the end.

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About Steve and Devon

Yeah! We're the best!
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