Saturday, August 6, 2016

Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986)

Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986)

As I mentioned in my last post, I saw on The Metrograph's website that Jonathan Pryce would be showing up for a screening of Brazil, and after Brazil they would be showing Jumpin' Jack Flash as well, a movie he also had a part in.  Although he did not stay and watch Jumpin' Jack Flash, he did introduce it and was not only very nice about what would probably be a very easy movie to pick on, he was cordial and friendly about it too.  Of course he is British, so he may not be able to easily be rude like that! 

JJF is an odd film, to say the least.  It has a ton of people in it that you might recognize, like Whoopie Goldberg in the starring role, Stephen Collins from the 7th Heaven TV show (and from loads of TMZ stories regarding his child molestation charges), Carol Kane (from TV's Taxi and many movies), Annie Potts (from TV's Designing Women and movies including Ghostbusters), Jeroen Krabbe (a Dutch actor who has been in TV, movies, and my favorite movie of all time, Paul Verhoeven's The 4th Man), Jon Lovitz (from SNL and The Critic), Phil Hartman (from SNL and The Simpsons), Jim Belushi (TV's The World According To Jim and SNL), Tracey Ullman (from TV's The Tracey Ullman Show), Garry Marshall (who wrote, directed, acted in and produced dozens of famous TV shows and movies), Micheal McKean (from TV's Laverne And Shirley, and This Is Spinal Tap) and Kellie Martin (from TV's Life Goes On and ER).  As you can easily see, many of the people in this movie worked on TV shows.  In fact, this was directed by Garry Marshall's daughter, Penny Marshall, a director in her own right and probably best known as Laverne from TV's Laverne And Shirley.  The connections between her and many of the actors are plentiful. 

Whoopie Goldberg plays someone who works at a bank on their computers, doing currency exchanges and dealing with people on the internet.  Since this was 1986, this isn't exactly You've Got Mail, but there are computer message exchanges between Whoopie's character, named Terry, and other clients.  One night someone who has been monitoring her messages says hello, and gives Terry a challenge.  She accepts and when she succeeds, she finds out that this is a spy caught behind enemy lines that needs her to help him get out of a hostile country. 

This movie is a terribly typical 1980s comedy that could just as easily play on TV if you remove all the fucks from the dialogue.  Although there is some violence and killing, it is all very neat and clean.  There is also the romantic comedy aspect of it where Terry is falling for her British spy without even knowing anything about him.  It is all so absurd and ridiculous and almost nonsensical that it almost works in a goofy kind of way.  This movie definitely reaches back to some of the older films to give it the feel of a modern updating of a classic type of film. 

Now, to be honest, this is a movie I would NEVER have seen if I had not just seen Brazil right before and Jonathan Pryce was not introducing it.  I am not a Whoopie fan, though she is ok, and I generally hate most romantic comedies.  All that being said, there were actually a few funny moments, an amazing amount of recognizable actors, and the movie does take place in New York City and some of it was even filmed here!  For a movie I would not normally see, I was not tortured by it, which was a welcome surprise. 

Location : The Metrograph, theater 1, NYC
Date and time : Monday, July 25th, 2016 at 10 PM
Format :35mm print
Audience : About 20 people, audience laughed, seemed to have fun