While there are many quotable lines, and an edgy dark humor that… MoreWhile there are many quotable lines, and an edgy dark humor that usually gets waylaid with Christmas comedies, a classic this film is not. For all its strangeness and obtuse darkness it's not always all that funny. Our lead character, played by a drunk Billy Bob Thornton, is mean-spirited, heartless, and inappropriate, but the only times this is played for comedic effect is when he is paired with the kid (Kelly). The kid is odd, not all that forthcoming, and true to himself, which is a great balance with Thornton's unappealing sadsack Santa Claus. When they're onscreen the laughs roll in, but otherwise this film is very depressing and meager with its side characters. Marcus (Cox) plays well off Thornton but as his own character he is very one dimensional. Mac makes an interesting villain, but he doesn't get enough screen time. If the story was a little more fleshed out and the characters were a little more interesting this would have been an easy comedy to love.
There is a lot of dramatic credibility attached to this film, which… MoreThere is a lot of dramatic credibility attached to this film, which isn't warranted. Yes, Meryl Streep is the lead and she received an Oscar nomination for the role, but this film is less dramatic than much more soapy. This film falls into the sub-genre of "white woman saves inner city children" which also includes "Freedom Writers" and "Dangerous Minds," and overdone and quite manipulative genre that needs to be done away with. You will either find this true story enlightening and sweet hearted or overly dramatic, based on taste or being able to stomach racially motivated storylines. Though, in general, I find these kinds of films tedious and over the top, the last half hour did make me well up. Real life music teacher Roberta Guaspari is inspirational, and her story is at least treated with respect. It is also interesting to note this is the only film Wes Craven has directed that has nothing to do with horror or sci-fi, and for those unaware of his finesse, this is a great showcase of his talents. This is an entertaining film, if a little overdone in its execution.
This classic sci-fi gem is the original story of invading alien forces… MoreThis classic sci-fi gem is the original story of invading alien forces taking over the world population. A very subtle and deliberate metaphor for the creeping American fear of Communism, Body Snatchers was very popular on release and has had a long lasting effect on the genre, even spawning an amazing 1978 remake. This original isn't as nuanced or artsy as its later version, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in thrilling drama. Because of the time it was released there's an urgency that cannot be replicated, and it shows in the hammy performances from Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. There is a reason this film is a classic, and it still holds up to this day, but I will say that the performances were very over the top and somewhat stilted. Otherwise, the paranoia and high production value really make this a horror/sci-fi must see.