By Darin Skaggs
Halloween is one of the best horror films ever made. Yeah, I know it’s not a controversial statement but a recent rewatch turned around whatever qualms I had previously. It is the first of the many slasher movies that began the phase of one monster, many movies with series like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm St, Saw and even the later moves in the Halloween series. It is all about the horrors of the male gaze and its ending suggest you can metaphorically poke the male gaze in the eye with a wire hanger, but sadly it will not soon go away and is still out there. It also delves deep into my fear of being chased, which is also done well in my favorite horror movie the 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but this one goes one step further with being chased by someone walking. Someone so confident that he doesn’t even need to run to get to you. The lone piano score is also absolutely fantastic.
Straight Time has the penitential to be great. It stars Dustin Hoffman in his prime. It co-stars Theresa Russell, Harry Dean Stanton, Gary Busey and Kathy Bates. It is about a criminal on parole that struggles to keep out of trouble and delve back into the criminal life. It should have worked, but it doesn’t and that is the scripts fault. There is no real struggle; Max (Hoffman) just gets mad at his parole officer with an unfunny, awkward comedic scene and runs off. There is also a love story with Jenny (Russell) that makes no sense. I wonder what she sees in him. Is it because he is dangerous? No, she does not seem to be a fan of that. There is no character development in this relationship, no reason for them to be attracted to each other. The script is the worst part of the film and really messes it up.
UP IN SMOKE
Cheech and Chong’s first movie is pretty funny. The plot is basically two stoners find each other and attempt to search for better pot. They seem to fall into a plot of a different movie where drug smugglers have made a truck completely made of marijuana that is being pursued by a drug task force. This is one of the better bumbling idiot cops in a raunchy comedy. He gets peed on by both main characters, makes his team sit in the back seat for not doing what he wants and forgets his badge while disguising himself as a Buddhist Monk with a tambourine to get into a rock show. It is pretty funny, moments of sheer ridiculousness, but it is mostly just stoner jokes.