*batteries not included (1987)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Family, Fantasy


*batteries not included (1987) Poster

Apartment block tenants seek the aid of alien mechanical life-forms to save their building from demolition.

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6.6/10
28,201

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  • Jessica Tandy in *batteries not included (1987)
  • Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn in *batteries not included (1987)
  • *batteries not included (1987)
  • Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn in *batteries not included (1987)
  • Hume Cronyn and Dennis Boutsikaris in *batteries not included (1987)
  • Jessica Tandy in *batteries not included (1987)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


12 May 2006 | jimbo700
7
| Use only as directed...
*batteries not included is a very underrated movie, especially among reviewers on the IMDb. The pros, such as Roger Ebert seem to give it some respect (along with 3 thumbs up). There was nothing sugar coated about the performances of the 5 main characters in *batteries not included. Jessica Tandy gives one of the best performances of her career as Faye Riley who appears to be in the early-to-mid stages of Alzheimer's disease. Hume Cronyn is Faye's husband Frank, owner of a small diner with no customers. Elizabeth Peña is Marisa Esteval, a single soon-to-be mother who clings to her statue of the Virgin Mary for what little hope she has. Dennis Boutsikaris is the cynical artist/painter Mason Baylor, who has a heart as big as his artistic talent, yet no one other than Marisa seems to acknowledge his talent. Finally there's Frank McRae as the former boxer extraordinaire Harry Noble, now living in the basement of the building that houses each character and the Riley's diner. Oh... Harry watches way too much TV... especially the commercials. His only lines (which were few) in this movie were lines from commercials. This movie represents a cross section of people who are on the verge of losing their homes to a real estate developer, who will stop at nothing to get them out of their building. After throwing large sums of money at them (to no avail), the developer hires Carlos (Michael Carmine) to run them out using whatever means are necessary, including force. The characters are developed to the point that you actually care for all 5 of them. Just when it looks hopeless for our friends, small spaceships, compliments of Industrial Light and Magic show up and start fixing everything. And flipping burgers in Riley's Dinner. They also wash dishes, repair broken Virgin Mary statues and stopwatches and they replicate using spare pots and pans and electrical appliances, fused together by at least 1.21 gigawatt's of electricity. Although the aliens are portrayed as mechanical beings with heart, they certainly give hope to the residents, and help bind them together. The visual effects are a treat... especially for those of us who have tired of CGI effects that look more like a cartoon than reality. There's something about filming a real model, built by human hands against a blue screen, then matting it into the film that makes it look more realistic than computer animated visuals. Many have written that this movie tries to suck the viewer in, using emotional techniques, as opposed to making it an intellectual masterpiece. I believe it takes more talent to get the audience to emotionally invest themselves in a movie than to create eye candy. Thanks to great acting, a decent-enough script, good cinematography and an equally emotional score from James Horner, this picture works in every way... even 20 years later. If you haven't seen this movie in 20 years, go ahead and give it a spin. It's as good today as it was in 1987! Prices may vary in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico...

Critic Reviews



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Did You Know?

Trivia

The jazz music that is heard at different points throughout the movie can also be heard in the movie Cocoon: The Return (1988) which also star Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.


Quotes

Frank Riley: Hey! You ever hear of private property?
Gus: Just coming for a hamburger, Pop.
Frank Riley: Hah! You got alotta nerve. Get your food somewheres else.


Goofs

When Carlos escapes from the cellar after throwing Harry down the stairs, he tries the door to the main entrance which is locked. In the same scene, Harry beats Carlos up and throws him out of the door, however, Harry opens the door without ever using a key to unlock it.


Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, pictures of young Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy are shown. This includes their actual wedding photo, since the actors (who often play a married couple on stage or in the movies) were married for decades.


Alternate Versions

When aired on KTLA in 1991, the following scenes were omitted: When Frank attempts to give Faye her medicine; Before Frank asks for somebody to help them, he breaks a vace and kicks a chair; a scene of Carlos and his gang planning; Frank and Faye are reading the newspaper and while one of the spaceships pours them coffee, Faye asks what ever happened to General Eisehower; Harry searches his room for his whistle; While Marissa, Hector and his friends hold a fiesta in the apartment, Mason sits outside and drinks.


Soundtracks

LET'S HAVE ANOTHER CUP OF COFFEE
by
Irving Berlin
Performed by Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Comedy | Family | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,326,530 (USA) (20 December 1987)

Gross:

$32,945,797 (USA)

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