Sunday, December 04, 2005

What if... Volume I

I rented a pile of time travel movies from Netflix, and last night I watched the first of the bunch: TimeQuest. This one I rented at the recommendation of my brother Ed. And I am going to have to assume that Ed was: 1)heavily medicated, 2)temporarily insane, or 3)just pulling my leg when he told me to watch this piece of dreck.

The premise is interesting: what if someone was to travel back in time and not only stop the Kennedy assassination, but also convince JFK to stop screwing around behind his wife's back, stop Vietnam from happening, show RFK how to bring down J. Edgar Hoover (played by the ever-odd Larry Drake), and make the space race with the Soviets into a space partnership. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, perhaps in the hands of competent filmmakers, yes. But the folks who made this movie didn't have a lot of talent or vision, and they clearly didn't have a lot of money either. (And what they had appears to have been completely blown on a useless, phoned-in 2-scene cameo by Bruce Campbell playing some low-rent Oliver Stone-type. But Bruce did bring the film it's only humor, so he gets points for that.)


I'm not sure what bothered me more about the film - the horribly weak script (with no ending at all) or the awful acting from most of the cast (oh lord, the woman playing Jackie was dreadful!) I give a pass to the following people: Victor Slezak as JFK, who did the most he could with the crap he was given, Barry Corbin in a 5-second cameo as Lyndon Johnson, and Ralph "The Waltons" Waite as the Time Traveler, who was actually touching, despite having little of depth to say to move the film forward.

I think one of the things I found most annoying was the central premise that the Time Traveler really only came back to change things because he had a childhood crush on Jackie, not because he wanted to save JFK. All he wants from the Kennedys for saving their collective asses is to dance with Jackie. Which he does, in this Texas hotel room, at 12:30 on November 22, 1963, with JFK and RFK sitting on the sofa two feet away. Dancing in his space/time travel suit, with Jackie in her pink one. I found it creepy.

I dunno. I think this film's concept had promise, but it needed a script doctor (and more cash) in a big, ugly way - the cuts between the past and the future were awkward and hard to follow. The actual lines spoken? Oh man, I might as well be honest here. The whole damn thing sounded like it was written by someone who's usual genre is soft core porn for Showtime or Skinamax. (Especially when we needlessly see Marilyn Monroe's funbags for a few seconds. Poor Norma Jean...)

The weird thing is that there was no crisis of any sort in the new future - the Kennedys had brought about a colony on the moon, there was no Vietnam, and everything was hunky dory. Maybe that's because, in this vision of the world, there was no Teddy. (I'm just guessin' there...) But, seriously - just keeping JFK alive makes the world a beautiful tomorrow? New Frontier, sure. Shangri-la? Awww, c'mon people, get real!

Next up from Netflix: a poet/philosopher goes back in time to remember his youth inspired by Kurt Cobain. Let the sucking commence!


Sasquatch said...

Funbags, eh?

Merujo said...

You're killin' me! I knew you'd be the first person to comment on my choice of boobage terminology! I was torn, you know. So many tacky terms, so little time...

I'm guessin' you won't be wanting me to hand this movie off to you???

Claire said...

I'm so happy you're writing about the time travel movies. I was wondering what you'd gotten when you mentionned them last post.