30 October 2018 | vesil_vesalier
Back when movies were crazy, fun rides instead of dark, grisly adventures.
The movies of yesterday get quite a beating by the moviegoers of today.
"Cheesy" is the word used most often, for movies like MANNEQUIN or WEIRD SCIENCE, that have silly or unbelievable plots surrounded by fun and humor. Movies like WARGAMES and TRON get bashed, because of their dated looks and technology-related plots that are clearly not possible today, only because the technology of today renders them ridiculous.
ROLLERBALL also suffers this fate, ironically, because its supposed to be a brutal future-sport based on Roller Derby, which by now has all but disappeared from the sporting world.
Taking all of this into account, I still love THE LAWNMOWER MAN. Jeff Fahey plays Job, a slow, mentally and physically abused man who is laughed at and mocked by his entire community, save Jeffrey Lewis playing Terry, his partner and friend throughout the film.
Pierce Brosnan plays the scientist Lawrence Angelo, a man who is obsessed with exploring the higher dimensions of the functioning brain by using chimpanzees as guinea pigs. All is going very well for him, until "the Shop" (admittedly a bad pun on Stephen King's work, most notably FIRESTARTER) demands that his research be used to modify the chimps into killing machines. When one of his chimps suddenly escapes, and cannot tell reality from the simulated virtual reality he was being trained in, all hell breaks loose.
As a result, the project is halted, and the doctor is out. Way out. He sinks into depression, questioning his life and his purpose. He decides one day, when he sees Job come to mow his lawn, a potential new guinea pig for his experiments.
Looking back at this picture, I can see that the doctor's intentions went way beyond his actions. He used Job as an experiment, and the experiment went awry. Mix in the fact that the Shop interferes, much in the same way that it did for the mass-murdering chimp, and even more hell breaks loose than before.
Now, is there a level of "cheesy", here? Absolutely. Some of the moments in the film where Job is having side-effects of his treatments come across as overdone, and the fears of the effects of Virtual Reality of yesterday are nothing but jokes today, because the tech still isn't really going anywhere. The ideas are strong, without the tech to back it up.
But you could make similar arguments about TRON. You could probably make similar arguments about ANY sci-fi pictures that came out before the nineties. Hell, you could probably make similar arguments about any sci-fi picture at all, once you debunk the science behind it.
What we've forgotten is how to have FUN at movies. The reason why silly movies like this one were so good is because we DIDN'T know how the world worked. We DIDN'T care about the tech behind it, because we knew it was FICTION. There are too many movies coming out today that are based on reality. Too much of what we see on the screen, both big and little, are rooted in the grim, grisly world of today.
If you want to enjoy this movie, like I still do, sit back, put your feet up, and pretend that what you see before you is actually possible. Let the actors do their jobs (which they did very well) and enjoy the ride. Enjoy the score, the theme, the plot, and even the silly CGI that doesn't hold up to today's standards, but looked pretty good for the crazy movie they were making back in the day. Stop taking everything so seriously.
Because I think THAT is the reason why "Hollywood can't come up with anything original anymore". Original, back in the day, was synonymous with "silly" and "chancy".
You wouldn't want any of that today, would you?