Saturday, October 15, 2005

Blast From The Past

I really thought this movie might be worth seeing when it came out, but one thing led to another, and I didn't see until just now. It isn't a perfect movie, but its flaws are so minor....

If I tell you the premise, it won't give anything away; the coming attractions for it were clear enough. Brendan Fraser stars as Adam Webber, born in 1962 at the heights of the Cuban Missle Crisis. An implausible set of events causes Adam's father and very pregnant mother to go into their extraordinary fallout shelter, and a plane crash on their house causes them to think that World War III has started. Adam is born shortly thereafter--and every stays in the shelter for 35 years. The reasons for this are bad science, but this isn't a science fiction movie--it's an entertaining examination of the way that our popular culture has changed, and for the worse, since that time.

Brendan Fraser is one of my favorite comic actors--in George of the Jungle he managed this same wide-eyed, cow in the headlights character--so innocent, sweet, and decent that he simply can't understand anything else. As Adam Webber, being raised by his brilliant scientist father, he is an exaggeration of 1950s middle class values. When Dad goes back to the surface in modern America, he sees the graffiti, the violence, the styles, the adult bookstores, and assumes that the radiation caused a race of mutants to take over--and Adam has to go out on a shopping trip.

I can barely remember the late 1950s, but in some senses, the cultural values of our society in that time survived into the late 1960s--a time that I remember well. I would have to call 1968 the period when everything clearly started down the toilet. By contrasting Adam Webber's exaggerated middle class values with the present, it reminds of what we have lost.

The language is generally pretty clean--and the only mildly offensive langugage is there to show Adam's disappointment. There's a gay character, but he's the rather morally scrubbed sort of gay guy that seems to be present more in movies than in real life. I do recommend it.

UPDATE: One of my gay readers asked me what I meant by "morally scrubbed." I mean that he isn't the sort who stands naked on top of a float in gay pride parades and... does things.

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