Over/Under-rated movies: the redux

And that made me think of Amistad.

Andrew Niccol’s other sci-fi movie In Time is like a lost J. G. Ballard story that never made it into print

(… that is, “one of his other sci-fi movies”—it looks like most of his work is science fiction actually)


I really tried to be moved by that film. I wanted Spielberg to succeed. Instead it became the last Spielberg movie I ever watched.


I have finally seen the original Mad Max. The movie that firmly fixed the idea in American’s minds that Australia is a barren wasteland sparsely populated by oddballs.

I’ve seen some very impressive portions of the movie before on television, but seeing it from beginning to end made certain flaws stand out.

Most of the problems with Mad Max are caused by uneven pacing.

Some parts are very precisely edited, and then there are odd cross-fades that don’t fit in. It is as if the producers handed the completed movie off to another less-talented editor to make changes for either time or content considerations.

Another aspect of the odd pacing is caused by the script. We see too much of Max’s private life. These scenes slow the movie down without contributing anything. I don’t care about his father’s shiny brown shoes, his Halloween mask in the kitchen, or his reliance of peanut butter. I suppose George Miller wanted to make a well-rounded movie with fully-developed characters. That’s a noble intention, but in retrospect it shows he really didn’t know what movie he was making.

On the other hand, the cross-country van trip was well-written and should have been kept unchanged — we get to know his private life and it contributes to the story. It’s interesting to note that Max’s wife, Jessie, had to deal with Toecutter face-to-face twice. Max never did.

We should have seen more of Toecutter. Both the actor and character are not given enough to do. We needed to spend more time with this manipulative, psychopath. The third act should have been a long cat-and-mouse game between Max and the trio of Toecutter, Bubba and Johnny the Boy. Toecutter should have been the last and most devious prey. His death at the end is far too quick, simple and unsatisfying. Why does Johnny the Boy get the long final scene with a monologue and an improvised time bomb, but Toecutter simply crashes into a truck?

But other than that it was great. But what’s with that opening scene? The Nightrider? Please. That guy doesn’t look anything like David Hasselhoff. Try again, Australia.

Two bits of trivia that were new to me at least:

  • The road sign at the start has a graffito on it that uses the date 1984. So the movie takes place sometime after that. I assume this is an Orwellian reference.
  • The woman riding in the car with the Nightrider is Lulu Pinkus. She is an actress, screenwriter and producer. She later married Yahoo Serious and was instrumental in getting his various movies made.

Like 2001, I’ve never made it through Mad Max awake.

Well close the pod-bay doors, HAL!

1 Like

That’s usually about the time I wake up.

1 Like