Matinee is one of the most underrated films. It has many underappreciated aspects. It’s directed by the great Joe Dante, stars the legendary John Goodman in a role where is alive and energetic in this fascinating story involving a William Castle style of movie about nuclear creations being shown in a time when everybody is in hysterics over the Cuban Missile Crisis.
How are so many people blind to this masterpiece?
Only second to The Big Lebowski regarding film, I feel like Matinee is one of John Goodman’s finest moments in a career filled with memorable performances. He’s so wonderful and exciting as the William Castle type Lawrence Woolsey. It’s impossible not to have fun while watching Goodman’s performance.
There is such a high level of storytelling in Matinee. One thing I love about this film is what seems to be Joe Dante’s mockery of nostalgia for this time period. At the beginning it appears somewhat of a jerk off for the times, a gaze at the early 1960s that would make any old fart watching leap up and scream this was the best time to be alive. Then, the reality of the time comes to light when a girl is in hysterics over a bomb drill, pointing out how putting your arms over your head does nothing and people consider her a communist when she points out common sense.
Matinee is also one of the only films to have actual teenagers. It was and probably still is so common for people in their late 20s to play high schoolers that creates a bizarre and unrealistic expectation as to how high school girls should be. My favorite example of this is Sherilyn Fenn playing a sixteen year old in Twin Peaks two years after starring in the softcore porno Two Moon Junction.
This film succeeds at show how kids actually are at such an age. Multiple times you hear the guys say dumb hormone filled lines that capture exactly how male teens are.
Matinee also has amazing prop work and explosions that are quite refreshing to see in a film culture that sometimes is ruled by mindless CGI effects that make the viewer feel nothing expect a seizure.
Matinee is a forgotten masterpiece that is a much watch for anybody who appreciates a well-made film that is also incredibly entertaining.