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.

Who's in it? The movie stars John Goodman, Cathy Moriarty, Simon Fenton, Omri Katz, Lisa Jakub and Kellie Martin.


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

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