Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton
Week of June 1, 2020
One thing that COVID-19 is hugely responsible for is limiting what a film critic can review. When films are delayed in theaters, that eventually spreads to home entertainment which leads us to finding something else to write about. Just as you are probably having troubles entertaining your brood – I’ve had to resort to history for mine. So starting this first week of June, I think it’s time to revisit the ultimate summer director: Steven Spielberg. Sure, this isn’t exactly looking to be a magical summer – but Spielberg is movie magic personified, so maybe for two or more hours at a time – it’s worth revisiting, or, even better, introducing your family to the magic we grew up with.
Summer of Spielberg: Week One
Jaws: 45th Anniversary Limited Edition
Rated PG (but not really since ratings weren’t what they are today)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
It’s only fitting that the one movie that most people are comparing to the Coronavirus (since some of us are oh so cautious to get back in the water) is this classic about a great white shark that wants a piece of a small town in New England. 45 years ago started our fear of sharks that has only grown to this day. The great thing about this film is not what you see, but what you don’t. When the film was being made, the studio was sweating it because the mechanical shark was supposed to chew up some major screen time. But when the shark didn’t work correctly, day after day, week after week, it forced the filmmakers to sit around and rewrite a killer script that relied much more on suspense than violence, only helped by John William’s Oscar-winning score featuring two notes that live in our worst dreams. It’s a magnificent summer frightener that only gets better with age. And with it now in a beautifully-restored 4K release, its perfect for sending your kids to bed knowing they might not get the best sleep. I’m kinda kidding. But not really.
Top Gun: 4K
Rated PG (once again – ratings have changed)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%
Also now available in a new 4K cut is this high-flying action pic starring Tom Cruise from way back before we knew he was crazy. Here he stars as a young hot shot in pilot training who wants to be the best flier in the navy. With amazing aerial effects and an iconic soundtrack which seems way louder on this new version, it’s a perfect time to revisit this classic movie (can’t believe I’m saying that) before the long-awaited sequel comes out this December, after being pushed back from June 24. Sure its the not the critical darling you probably thought it was, and it is indeed super cheesy and contains tons of plot holes (ever wonder why there weren’t hundreds of pilots who would have graduated Top Gun Academy in the preceding decades that couldn’t have taken on the Russian threat), but that punch you remember it packing before is still there, and aside from the love scene that doesn’t seem very PG-rated, it is a fun one to remind the younglings that lots of big tentpole movies actually used to be quite entertaining back in the day when they didn’t need computers for effects.