FREELANCE WRITER. JOURNALIST, AND SCRIPT READER – FAN OF SCI-FI AND CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES – YSTV'S BEST DRESSED MEMBER 2013

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

On 7.9.16 by KieronMoore in , , , ,    No comments

“Half man… half ant… all terror!” That’s the tagline not to Joe Dante’s Matinee but to Mant!, the schlocky film-within-a-film produced by John Goodman’s cigar-chomping Lawrence Woolsey. Woolsey likes to put on a good show, and for the screening of Mant! in Key West, Florida, he’s pulling out all the stops, not least his ‘rumble-rama’ which will simulate the film’s nuclear explosion. The problem is, this is October 1962, and not far away from Key West, the Cuban Missile Crisis is threatening to tear the world apart – which Woolsey sees as an opportunity to draw on his audience’s fears.

Following a group of local kids in the build-up to the Mant! screening, and then the show itself as it goes as out of control as you’d expect, Matinee is a fast-paced and very funny farce, with broad, daft humour aimed at a family audience. 

It’s also a film filled with nostalgia; this is Joe Dante paying tribute to his favourite childhood movies, and though John Goodman’s long monologues on the magic of cinema can get a little bit too much, the warmth of Dante’s affection for this genre shines through in the upbeat tone, particularly when we get to see scenes from Mant!. It perfectly tears apart the tropes of that genre, from the shrieking women to the patronising scientist: “now he’ll grow at an accelerated – or speeded up – rate”.

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