First on this tape is Mrs Doubtfire, the lightweight but entertaining Robin Williams as a woman comedy. It’s lightweight and schmaltzy, but still entertaining. Pierce Brosnan is very good in comedy.
Next, by complete contrast, is Joseph Ruben’s thriller The Good Son. Ruben made The Stepfather, an excellent 80s thriller starring Terry O’Quinn. The Good Son is an entry into that small but interesting genre, the Bad Seed.
The movie is written by novelist Ian McEwan. Elijah Wood plays a young boy, Mark, whose mother dies of cancer. His father has to go away on business, so he goes to stay with his aunt and uncle, who have two children of their own, Henry, played by Macauley Culkin, and his little sister Connie, played by real-life Culkin sibling Quinn Culkin.
Henry is a bad seed. It’s implied early in the film that he might have had something to do with his younger brother drowning, a tragedy his mother has yet to fully come to terms with. And when he gets Mark to unwittingly help him with escalating mischief, including throwing a dummy off an overpass causing a ten-car pile-up, and shooting a bolt at a dog and killing it. Mark knows Henry is dangerous, but Henry is able to manipulate the adults around him, and starts to make it seem as if it’s Mark who is the danger.
In many ways, this plays out fairly predictably. When Mark befriends Connie, Henry is jealous, and Mark fears he might hurt her so when they go skating, we’re just waiting for the thin ice to crack. We’ve all seen The Omen (or was it Damien: Omen II?)
However, when the film reaches its denouement, I have to admit the twists the climax takes definitely surprised me, as I didn’t expect the film to quite go where it did.
It’s an efficient thriller, and Elijah Wood is very good. Culkin is, well, about as you’d expect. He’s not the most convincing actor in the world, but he’s supposed to be somewhat emotionless here, so perhaps that plays to his strengths.
After The Good Son, during all the adverts and trails, there’s an almost 1 minute long stretch of dead air – black screen with no sound. Someone in Presentation fell asleep?
Finally, the tape plays out with the start of a late night movie, Final Combination (billed as ‘A Nigel Dick film’).
- trail: Milk Money
- trail: Rob Roy
- IQ Builders
- Tonka RC
- Radio Rentals
- Tunes – Darth Vader
- trail: Terminal Velocity