Sunday, May 7, 2017

Blast Off Weekend Rewind '99: Blast From the Past

Was just watching Police Academy the other day, which was directed by Hugh Wilson. Then we randomly turned on Blast From the Past Saturday night, also directed by Hugh Wilson. Surprisingly, Renny Harlin produced the time spanning, romantic comedy PG affair, maybe he was lined up to direct at one point to do something without guns? I saw this in theaters back in '99 and found it funny and cute. We meet neurotic inventor Calvin (Christopher Walken), his loving wife Helen (Sissy Spacek) and the fallout shelter he builds underground during the Cuban missile crisis. When a plane crashes on their house, locks are set for 35 years and their son Adam (Brendan Fraser) is born and goes out into the world to gather supplies and check out the would be radioactive wasteland. Adam runs into Eve (Alicia Silverstone) as he naively navigates the 90's while looking for love.

The film is still sweet and I was impressed by the fallout shelter set. Walken is kooky likeable while Fraser is fresh faced and funny. 90's queen Silverstone is her usual mix of awkward and cute while you get a pre-fame Nathan Fillon as a douche bag ex-boyfriend. The 90's-ness isn't too retro or laughable as Wilson and Bill Kelly's script is pretty straightforward and not too broad or slapsticky. Reportedly budgeted at a healthy $35 million bucks, Blast From the Past took in just under $30 million at the box office, not doing much for anyone involved. Fraser had already made a splash with Encino Man and headlined ensembles School Ties and With Honors to mixed box office results. Mega hits George of the Jungle, The Mummy films and Journey to the Center of the Earth would be evened out by big budget non-starters like Looney Toons: Back in Action, Dudley Do-Right and Inkheart.

After breaking into pop culture co-starring with Liv Tyler in multiple Aerosmith videos, Silverstone headlined seminal 90's hit Clueless but was a weak link in Batman & Robin and producing effort Excess Baggage didn't go far. Fraser and Silverstone have found regular work in television lately while Wilson hasn't directed a feature since 2004.

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