Mars Attacks!
My Rating:

You Gotta Give 'Em Credit fo Trying!

Bitable Bytes:
"A cameo-rama sure to please any Hollywood name-watcher!"
"Heads up! Excitement alert!"
"These brilliant film-makers don't let us see any characters in depth, thus saving us from grief as we watch them die!"
"A 10-star pinball machine!"


What to do while watching:
Adults: Paperwork. Kids: Homework. Dogs: Bark at the tv when a dog comes on, otherwise, rest.

What to eat while watching:
Half a dozen un-fresh, chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Sometimes it amazes me how thick stacks of paper can pile up! I use binder clips to keep together bills I need to pay, correspondence I need to answer, and other things that generally must be taken care of. I start with a quarter inch clip. In a day or three, I need a half-incher, and if a week to ten days goes by without my getting to these maintenance tasks, I'm needing a big full-incher! When the stack gets that big, procrastination is all too common a pattern for me, and yes, it was a night to procrastinate.

I rented Mars Attacks, directed by Tim Burton, and starring Jack Nicholson (in two roles), Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Danny DeVito, Tom Jones, Michael J. Fox, a famous black actor, a cute female actress, more actors and actresses, and even more actors and actresses in a cameo-rama sure to please any Hollywood name-watcher.

The opening shot is rural Kansas, at 6:57 p.m. A stampede of burning cows tears across a country road, baffling a farmer and a Filipino family. Heads up! Excitement alert! In erie, Burton style, the next scene shows puppet flying saucers blooming from the surface of Mars like silver flowers going to seed. These saucers speed to Earth, and the fun really begins.

All the Earthlings without exception aren't people I'd personally want to know. Everyone with social power is bumbling buffoon. The college professor clings to tiny-minded assumptions like no self-respecting human would. The president, played by Nicholson, is a complete pansy. The Vegas casino owner, also played by Nicholson, is a tunnel-visioned money-grubber, and nothing else. Anyone with personal integrity in the world of this work has no social power. The hero of the film is a least-favorite son in a trailer trash-heap. Another hero is an ex-boxer now making a living by dressing as an Egyptian at the Luxor.

The Martians, small gibbering puppets who are classic Burtonisms, live in a violent culture and enjoy killing sprees. Pretending to be friendly, they insist on blasting everyone on earth with red and green rays that make skeletons out of the just and unjust alike.

The film's point of view continually changes to cover all the different characters, each representing a different stereotyped, American walk-of-life. These brilliant filmmakers don't let us see any characters in depth, thus saving us from grief as we watch them die at the hand of Burtonian muppets. It would have been too much to bear, and so the viewer is kept from making any emotional investment whatsoever. What thoughtful artists these filmmakers are!

Eventually, the Martians zap the old Landmark Hotel in Las Vegas-the main reason I rented this film over any other. About 5 seconds of footage of the falling tower commemorate the passing of this once-magnificenterlandmark.

Other things continued to happen on the screen, but the very best part of the evening was looking up at the end of the film and finding that my stack of papers was now contained in a single, small paper-clip. Almost everything had been paid, filed, answered, dispatched-and I cleaned the shower to boot. What a great film!

As a P.S., there is a pinball machine based loosely on this movie. It's called "Revenge from Mars," and it marks a new age in pinball machines, combining 3-D projections with standard pinball play. I highly recommend it as a 10-star pinball machine for wizards and non-wizards alike.

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