Category Archives: Was I Wrong?
The heyday of once-heralded action director John McTiernan has faded into the misty night, like the last embers of an erstwhile firewyrm set to wreak magnificent hell upon the mortal world. Immortal McTiernan classics such as Predator and Die Hard gave way to arguably great fare (The Hunt for Red October), middling action-romance stuff (The Thomas Crown Affair) and absolute puke (Rollerball).
Towards the tail end of the 90’s, McTiernan graced the film-going public with the long-gestating, would-be Viking epic The 13th Warrior, starring an effete Antonio Banderas as the eponymous Warrior, alongside 12 hulking “Northmen”. Based on Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, the film version (filmed years before release, in the wake of other successful/not-so successful Crichton works like Jurassic Park and Sphere) makes some noble attempts to adapt a supposedly true account of an Arab scholar and his travels to the cold and harsh northern lands of Europe to face off against the forces of darkness.
When the movie was released in theaters, it was dismissed by critics and ignored by audiences. As a fan of the film, I have to ask Was I wrong about The 13th Warrior?
Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of the first movie to costar Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Joe Vs. the Volcano. And I’m pretty sure this is the only site on the internet that will mark the occasion. Hanks and Ryan went on to appear in two more successful movies together. But Joe Vs. the Volcano seemed to confound critics and audiences alike. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and flopped at the box office. It effectively killed writer-director John Patrick Shanley’s directing career. The Oscar-winning screenwriter of Moonstruck returned to theater after his directorial debut.
But 25 years ago, I sat in an almost empty movie theater and was completely enchanted by Joe Vs the Volcano. I didn’t just like it. I loved almost everything about it. I was certain that a movie this wonderfully unique would eventually find an audience. And while I have found others who love Joe Vs. the Volcano as much as I do, popular opinion on the movie hasn’t really changed.
I used to watch Joe on a regular basis. But as adult responsibilities made repeat viewings of any movie less and less frequent, Joe Vs the Volcano faded from memory. Eventually I reached a point where I was almost afraid to watch it again. What if I didn’t love it anymore? What if I had been wrong and everyone else who thought the movie was silly and stupid was right?
For the movie’s 25th anniversary, I decided it was time to take a chance and jump back into the volcano.
When Reality Bites was released in 1994, I was part of its target demographic of Gen Xers. So it’s probably not surprising that the movie really spoke to me in a way few movies ever have. At that point in my life, I could strongly relate to Ben Stiller’s slacker romantic comedy-drama. But almost 20 years later, I wondered if it would still hold the same appeal.
The purpose of this column is to revisit a movie and see if my opinion has changed years later. It might be a movie I liked or, as is the case here, a movie I hated. Often, a different perspective or expectations can make for a very different movie experience. Almost 30 years later, will that be the case for Superman 3?
The purpose of this column is to revisit a movie and see if my opinion has changed years later. It might be a movie I liked or, as is the case here, a movie I hated. Often, a different perspective or expectations can make for a very different movie experience. Almost 15 years later, will that be the case for Starship Troopers? Was I wrong to hate it?