From his book Essential Cinema.
Twilight Zone: The Movie
You're travelling through another dimension. A dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!
Four directors collaborated to remake four episodes of the popular television series 'The Twilight Zone' for this movie. The episodes are updated slightly and in color (the television show was in black-and-white), but very true to the originals, where eerie and disturbing situations gradually spin out of control. "A Quality of Mercy", "Kick the Can", "It's a Good Life", and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet".
The Twilight Zone is kind of an interesting choice for a big blockbuster adaptation, as it isn't one of its (iconic) production elements or characters that resonate with audiences as much as that "holy shit" moment when you figure out that they were never on Earth to begin with or that it's the rest of the world who's disfigured and she's actually beautiful!
But these filmmakers do an okay job of it anyway for the most part, with only Spielberg's segment providing a real drag. I haven't seen the episode it's based on, but I can say that it seems like an attempt by Spielberg to try and distil his very worst qualities as a filmmaker with none of the…
That last segment is a true work of art, the reason to watch, and one of the scariest imaginations to put into the mind of a child, as it did to me. John Lithgow brings pent-up demands for thunder, for the first hour and fifteen didn't hold up well at all. The John Landis one is the most unforgivable and should have never saw final cut. It's repetitive and crass too, especially with the tragic accident in mind. The Spielberg segment might as well be outright parody and the Joe Dante story was typically goofy and a little tired. The prologue is fun but reliant on dated references. Overall, an interesting stroll down Nostalgia Lane, but it does not do justice to the show even for a second.
Like pretty much anyone else you talk to about this uneven but essential anthology film, I'm gonna say that the first two stories (directed by John Landis and Steven Spielberg, respectively) are mediocre but watchable (though Spielberg's generally terrible "Kick the Can" comes close to being fast-forward-worthy), it's more than worth sticking around for the last two stories, which are just fantastic.
Joe Dante's "It's a Good Life" is the most visually appealing, a darkly comedic tale about a little boy both blessed and cursed by the ability to make anything he wishes come true. It's funny, filled with great visuals and inventive sets, and a bit disturbing.
The real treasure, though, is George Miller's "Nightmare at 20,000" feet, simply…
A certain amount of give-and-take is expected from an anthology film, particularly one updating one of the great left-field anthology series, but the lopsided quality and tone of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE is a drag. At least, it is for its first half: Landis' heavy-handed fable about intolerance aims for the kind of high-concept, easily digested irony that made the show great, but its erratic pacing and glib reflexive humor (har har a Niedermeyer joke!) dilutes the impact. Further, the show relied on one gut punch, but Landis barely gets five minutes in before turning his racist protagonist's world upside down, and even then he keeps escalating. It turns a final train to Auschwitz into the climax of an action…
The latest film I've had the pleasure of introducing to my ten-year-old nephew.
As expected, the first segment was over his head, but I tried to give it a little historical context without overloading him. Steven Spielberg's mostly dopey "Kick the Can" is what it is and he chuckled a couple of times.
As everyone knows, the real money stories are Joe Dante's funny, scary, genuinely unnerving "It's a Good Life" and George Miller's utterly terrifying "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." Pretty much everyone I know was traumatized by that last one at some point in their childhood, and I was happy to pass that down to my nephew. Ha!
Anyway, this film is far from perfect as a whole (despite the fact that the last two segments are solid "A"s on their own), but I love it dearly anyway!
Horror anthology film based on the TV show, 4 segments that tell different stories, by different directors; prologue and 1st section by John Landis about a racist bigoted man who finds himself "quantum leaping" in time as a Jew in Nazi occupied Germany/Poland/somewhere in Europe, a black guy about to be lynched by the KKK and a Vietnamese man being shot at by the Americans; 2nd section directed by Spielberg about an old peoples home where a man with a magic tin can that can turn them into young children again appears; 3rd section directed by Joe Dante about a young boy who has the ability to make everything he wishes come true; final section of the film is directed…
"Kick the Can" segment Directed by Steven Spielberg
There's at least two big asterisks on this journal entry. 1: "Twilight Zone: The Movie" is really four short films (about 20 minutes each) by four different directors and I only re-watched Spielberg's "Kick the Can" segment this time around (I have previously seen the film in its entirety). 2. Since it's only twenty minutes and also a remake of an episode of the original "The Twilight Zone" TV show, it hardly seems fair to compare "Kick the Can" to Spielberg's other work.
So with those points in mind... "Kick the Can" seemed oddly bland and forgettable on this viewing, to the point where I was scratching my head afterward,…
I loved the last segment, the third was good, and the first two I did not like at all.
I absolutely love those eighties style special effects. When it came to the monster on the wing and the two cartoon style characters in the third, they looked absolutely terrifying.
Anthology movie that updates three, arguably four original-series stories for the early 80's and big-screen production values. The first segments are bad. The Spielberg segment is Spielberg at his most agonizingly sentimental. I would sooner shit out my dick than watch that again.
It's the last two segments that save it from being awful - the third story lacks the desperation and terror of its ancestor, but it makes up for it with a loopy, childlike insanity and more affection for its monster. I haven't yet seen the (very famous) original episode that inspired segment four, but it makes for a hairy bit of airline thrillering.
They save it from being awful, but they don't quite drag it into good.…
Hard to recommend this one if only for the final segment 'Nightmare at 20,000 Feet' directed by George Miller (Though the creature looks hokey by today's standards). Even with the talent involved, the rest are a hard slog.
I also had no idea about the helicopter 'incident' on set until rewatching this. Very tragic.
One wonders how a younger generation would find this. I remember seeing this very young and being freaked out by the intro segment. Now it's pretty silly but classic Landis.
I also watched the 80's tv show when I was younger and remember the 'Shadow Man' episode where this kid befriended a 'shadow man' underneath his bed. Freaky shit when you're 10 years old.
"Time Out" (Landis) - 4/5
"Kick the Can" (Spielberg) - 2,5/5
"It's a Good Life" (Dante) - 3,5/5
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (Miller) - 4,5/5
"Told ya Cartoons were good. Anything can happen in them"
Anthony is a cipher. A character who works as a mirror into the inner workings of Joe Dante's style. He utters the above words as both a testament to his love for cartoons and his powers to manipulate reality around him involving that art form he so truly loves. Joe Dante is Anthony. His directorial style is so connected to the world of over the top animation of his youth that it bleeds into his cinema. Live Action and Animation are only the loosest terms when discussing Dante's work because he fuses them together in a way that I'm unsure any director ever has, and his segment here "It's a…
"Prologue" (Landis) - 3/5
"Time Out" (Landis) - 2/5
"Kick the Can" (Spielberg) - 0.5/5
"It's a Good Life" (Dante) - 4.5/5
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (Miller) - 3.5/5
I remember being psyched to see this film when it was first released and I remember leaving the theatre a little disappointed. The film has 4 stories and wraparound storyline involving Dan Aykroyd. The opening involved Aykroyd and Albert Brooks as travelers who end up talking about classic tv and end up reminiscing about The Twilight Zone show and a game of one up man ship as who can be scarier. The films first story is about a bigot played by the late Vic Morrow who was killed making this film which why the segment seems incomplete. Morrows character hates blacks,Jews,and Vietnamese and after leaving his local tavern travels back in various spots in time where he is treated as…
Probably the most totally OK movie I've ever seen. Nothing great, nothing offensive, nothing blew my mind, nothing bored me. Totally, perfectly OK.
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If you owned your very own movie theater and got to program the films it exhibited as you desired, what…
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More than 1100 movies of pure 80's horror.