Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bad Movie Month:The Final Chapter

It took me awhile to select the final entry to wrap up BBM-so many choices,from Showgirls to Gigli(didn't see Gigli,which made the choice abit easier)and beyond. Even looked thru my MST3K sets for inspiration but then a moment of clarity came forth and a conversation with one of my co-workers popped into view. We had been discussing why Hollywood can't make a simple genre adaptation work(in particular,comic books and video games,which was really his pet peeve-I personally don't believe that any video game can beget a good movie since the whole nature of games require some interaction and skill which a movie is not meant to deliever) and I brought up one of my pet peeves,Hideaway.

Hideaway was a mid-ninties horror film based on a Dean Koontz novel(back then,I think he was still called Dean R. Koontz)which was pretty cool but the movie was such a crapfest that Koontz sued the studio to take his name off the picture(a second go around for director Bret Leonard who had Stephen King win a similar lawsuit for Lawnmower Man,a way better sci-fi flick.)Being a Koontz fan,I couldn't blame him but did see the damn thing anyway(and bought the soundtrack because I liked the opening song,"Go to Hell" I hang my head in shame.) Jeff Goldblum starred as Hatch Harrison,an antiques dealer who died in a car crash but only long enough to come back from the dead with a psychic connection to a punky serial killer(Jeremy Sisto) who soon sets his sights on Hatch's daughter,Regina,as portrayed by a pre-Batgirl Alicia Silverstone.

Alicia was the main probelm with the adaptation(no,not her acting)-in the book,Hatch and his wife adopted a little girl after his near death experience who was physically handicapped. Regina was not a Little Nell sterotype;she was a smart,good natured character in her own right. Of course,Hollywood loves kid in jeopardy stuff but they were anxious to hook the MTV audience so hey,let's turn her into Jeff's firstborn kid and make her a sexy teenager but for some extra angst,we can make up a younger sister that gets hit by a car to make Jeff even more protective of his daughter!

The rewrite clearly shows in one early scene when the fatal car crash happens;Jeff and wife Christine Lahti take Alicia on a picnic or something(bear with me,haven't seen this sucker in a while)and during the accident,Alicia is conveniantly given the chance to escape the teetering auto just before it goes over. Gee,it helps to be a character that's not supposed in that part of the story in the first place,doesn't it?

I do have to admit that Jeremy Sisto was good casting as Vassago(he excells at being creepycool,which got him that gig on Six Feet Under)-too bad he wasn't made as interesting as the novel's version was. Alfred Molina gets some screen time to explain how Sisto fits into the plot but winds up being another victim,along with the audience. I won't even go into the goofy
F/X used for the final showdown,which looks videogamish in a bad way. So sad to see a potentially good story get grinded up in the multiplex mill.

Dean Koontz really has bad luck with film adaptations-the closest to a good one was the TV miniseries,Intensity(the French thriller,High Tension,has some plot similarites but they diverge on a major plot twist). It's a shame because while guys like Stephen King have a good mix of books-to-film adaptations(high point,Misery and The Shawshank Redemption-low point,Carrie 2 and Pet Semetary),a fella with really great storytelling skills can't seem to cut a break in this department. Granted,I'm not fond of his series titles-the Christopher Snow books and now the Frankenstein titles leave me cold-but when Dean gets his plot on,get ready for a meaty sucker that you can gleefully sink your teeth into.

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