Weekend Plans Post: The Double Feature
Maribou was out of town last weekend and one of my buddies said “come on over! We’ll watch some movies!” and he suggested the new Top Gun and I suggested The Black Phone (a movie that he had never heard of).
Okay, I’m going to talk about the movies here and talk about spoilers for both. HOWEVER. The spoilers I talk about are going to be spoilers that you can see for yourselves in the trailers. So if you’ve seen the trailers, you’re not going to get new information here. If you haven’t… well, I’ll just say that both movies are pretty good and you know pretty much what you’re getting when you see the movie poster. The Black Phone is a thriller movie (with some, not a lot, of horror elements) and Top Gun: Maverick is a Tom Cruise movie where planes go fast and there’s rock and roll montages and explosions. So if either of those sounds good, great! You’re going to have a treat when you watch it. If that doesn’t sound good? Well, these ain’t gonna change your mind.
Spoilers follow, but they’re the spoilers that you get when you watch a movie trailer. So here are the movie trailers:
See? They give away the whole dang movie in the trailers anymore.
When it comes to The Black Phone, let me open by saying that I really can’t stomach horror flicks anymore. I loved the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and the Hellraisers and whatnot in the 80s but somewhere around Event Horizon I started asking myself “what the heck are we doing here?” and somewhere around The Ring I said “Nope, no more of these.”
But I still liked the “edge of your seat” thrillers. I just didn’t like the horror stuff. So when I saw the trailer for The Black Phone, I got intrigued. It looked like a thriller rather than a horror flick.
So I asked if we could watch The Black Phone first while the sun was still up. And you know what? It’s a thriller. It’s got some horror elements to it but it mostly plays with the horror tropes while taking the thriller tropes seriously. The big one? If you’ve seen The Ring or The Grudge or any number of the creepy kid movies that were big in the oughts, you’ll know the whole feeling of dread when the dead kids show up. And after the movie? You’ll be holding the blankets and wondering if maybe your significant other could come to bed a little bit early.
Not here! When the dead kids show up, they’re helping! Hurray!, you’ll say. One of the dead kids! Whew!
The main thing going on in the film that you might not necessarily pick up from the trailer is that the movie is set in the late 70’s in Denver. So you’ll see people pulling pop tops off of Coors and you’ll look at the mountain range in the distance and only people from Colorado will know that that ain’t Denver.
The movie has a host of fun (and dreadful) characters that will have you at the edge of your seat and wondering “Jeez, was a young Stephen King involved with this?” and I’ll tell you that the movie is based on a Joe Hill short story. Joe Hill is the pen name of Joseph King, Stephen’s kiddo. If there’s one person on the planet who can get away with taking Stephen King’s basic formulas and running with them, it’s going to be the kid who sat at the table while Stephen gave speeches about how to tell a story and make it *STICK*.
So if you’re okay with a thriller filled with dead kids that you’ll be relieved to see and a story flow in the vein of 70’s and 80’s Stephen King? Check out The Black Phone. (I slept like a baby. No leftover dread whatsoever.)
Speaking of the 80’s, Top Gun was one of the big hits of the decade. Jet planes, volleyball, testosterone, father issues… everything you could ever want in a movie about a hotshot pilot. Well, 35ish years later, it got a sequel.
The kids who watched the movie in their teens are now fully GenX grownups in their prime and they will see themselves in this movie:
“You should be management.”
“I’m more of an engineer.”
“We’re going to make you management.”
“WHY IN THE HECK ARE YOU SUCH A FRUSTRATING MANAGER?!?!?”
And so on. Maverick will give you everything you could ever want in a sequel that came out 35 years later. Jet planes, football, testosterone, father issues… everything you could ever want in a movie about a hotshot pilot trainer.
Both movies will give you more or less exactly what you’re expecting and while both movies have surprises, the surprises are of the form “how are they going to do the thing I know they’re going to do?” rather than “what are they going to do?”
I mean, hey. If you already watched the trailers, you’ve pretty much seen the movies, right?
This weekend will be a weekend where I am *NOT* going to watch a movie. Instead, Tiger had his canines removed today and he is recovering from the anesthesia and, golly, is he ticked off at the two of us. So this weekend will be one of making amends to Tiger and running errands to refill the fridge, do the travel laundry that Maribou brought back from Seattle with her, and recover from a heckuva week.
So… what’s on your docket?