Movie Review: Matinee (1993)
Synopsis: Low-budget horror movie producer Lawrence Woolsey comes to Key West during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis and uses both the heightened tensions and a bunch of gimmicks to make his film, Mant, a lot scarier. However, not everything goes as planned, leading to lives being put in danger.
Review: I had some free time yesterday afternoon while my daughter finished up her homework and, after coming across this movie, decided to watch it. At first, I didn't think it would be a film I would enjoy and figured, at best, it would be background noise while I did something else. However, the movie was actually somewhat surprising.
There are a couple things I found I really liked about this film. One of the main ones was the movie-inside-a-movie, Mant. The funny thing is, had that been a real film from the 1960s, I probably would have found the time to watch it by now. In fact, I'm not sure this movie would have been anywhere near as good had it not actually shown a fairly large chunk of this fictional monster movie because I feel like it added to the overall effect.
Having this set during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis was also a nice touch. Even though the film was a comedy and played some of the hysteria off for laughs, the movie still does a good job of giving the viewer a sense of what people might have been feeling when the world seemed to be on the brink of destruction. I have to admit, the scene involving the missile drill at school and seeing the military preparing for war on the ocean beach did leave me a bit uneasy, even though I wasn't alive when that actually happened.
The side story involving the movie-obsessed Gene Loomis (Fenton) ended up being more interesting than I was expecting it to be, especially his relationship with the ultra-liberal Sandra (Jakub) and the way it accelerated when some miscommunication made it seem like the world was ending. I think I found that slighly more entertaining than Woolsey (Goodman) needing to use the surprise ending from his movie to save the day and kind of wish the film would have spent a little more time on it.
Final Opinion: I won't say this is John Goodman's best film but it did turn out to be better than I was expecting and, at minimum, I did enjoy watching Mant. I'd recommend taking the time to watch it at least once.
My Grade: B