A Matinee of Memories
It had been just another day for Gene Loomis (Simon Fenton) and his brother Dennis (Jesse Lee Soffer) having gone to the flicks to watch the latest Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman) horror before returning home to the military base, excited that Woolsey would be coming to town when the theatre shows his next movie Mant! in full Atomo-Vision and Rumble-Rama! But back home news breaks about Soviet missiles in Cuba, something which plays in to the hands of Woolsey who plans to use the air of fear to heighten the horror of his new movie. Meanwhile Gene is dealing with feelings for pretty Sandra (Lisa Jakub) who is always protesting something whilst his friend Stan (Omri Katz) is attracted to Sherry (Kellie Martin) who has had a much older boyfriend.
"A trip down memory lane" is one of the things I read in a review of "Matinee" and "An Ode to the Past" was another and those are two very true and as it turns out important statements. You see "Matinee" ends up this movie which attempts to transport us back to October 1962 and in to the lives of a couple of teenage boys with 3 things dominating their lives. One was the kitsch horror movies of Lawrence Woolsey, another was the threat from the Cuban missile crisis and of course there were teen romantic feelings. The thing is that whilst this might hit an accord with those who were teenagers back in 1962 it doesn't manage to offer that same experience for those who are younger.
I am one of those people who weren't even born in 1962 and so whilst "Matinee" doesn't deliver the same wave of nostalgia as it does for others I can appreciate the intention. It means I can appreciate the scenes of people panic buying, stripping out the supermarket in the process whilst I can also appreciate the scenes of air raid drill. But not once did "Matinee" really come together in such a way that it drew me in. Although I have to say that from Woolsey introducing his own movies to drumming up interest in them with fake protestors it did on occasion make me smile.
Smile is also what the various actors made me do but truth be told beyond John Goodman turning on the showman as Woolsey the rest of the performances and characters end up ultimately forgettable. Again, maybe those who were teenagers in 1962 might find the teen characters much more interesting than I did but in a way their forgettable nature contributes to why "Matinee" ended up a bit of a let down for me especially as it is a Joe Dante movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Matinee" didn't really do it for me although I can appreciate in many ways what the intention was. And as such I reckon this is a movie for those who were teenagers back in the early 60s who can connect with this movie in a "trip down memory lane" kind of way.