Monday, October 13, 2008

Tremors-An A-quality B-movie

It's always nice when you revisit a childhood favorite and find out that it holds up over the years. I recently re-watched Tremors, one of the few "monster movies" I like. I hadn't seen it in many years, but I think I might've actually liked it even more as an adult. The script is hysterical, but takes itself just seriously enough so that the suspenseful parts are actually suspenseful. The actors are nearly all terrific, and the special effects are actually quite good.

The plot concerns itself with the unexplained appearance of 4 gigantic subterranean worms that begin terrorizing the almost ghost town of Perfection, Nevada. The handful of residents in the area include survivalist nuts Burt and Heather (Michael Gross and Reba McEntire), Rhonda, a graduate student studying seismology (Finn Carter), as well as handy men Earl and Val (Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon). They fight against the monsters and, blah, blah, blah. That's not important. What is important is that this is one of the best "buddy" movies ever made. The script gives us a relationship between Val and Earl that really comes as a surprise for this kind of movie, and it's aided by the performances from Ward and Bacon. They bicker like an old married couple, but do look out for, and care about, one another. Fred Ward gets laughs just from some of the looks that he gives, and Bacon is all nervous energy and sarcasm (my favorite line in the movie being "Oh sure Earl, everybody knows about 'em, we just didn't tell you").

The script by Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson is very well written, and the movie moves along at a brisk pace. The scripting is surprising coming from the writers who brought us Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2, and would later bring us Ghost Dad and Wild Wild West, two of the notoriously worst movies ever made. But their script here is full of nicely written dialog that helps the actors create a sense of history that's needed to make a town of approximately 15 people be believable. And it's not just Ward and Bacon that are terrific, Michael Gross and Reba McEntire as the survivalists have a lot of good moments. Reba was making her acting debut, and it's a strange part for her to take, considering that she was already a famous singer. But she and Gross work wonderfully together and both have their fair share of great dialog (my favorite of theirs being after they kill a monster, Gross shouts "Broke into the wrong god damn rec wreck room didn't you you bastard!). Not all of the supporting performances are good, but none ruin anything about the movie, and are the smallest of distractions from the main characters, at worst.

Tremors is thankfully a movie that wasn't just good because I saw it when I was a kid and didn't know what good movies were yet. It's an hysterical comedy, a decent monster movie, a terrific buddy flick, and just an all around great time at the movies.


That Film Girl said...

That's an interesting concept: an A quality B movie. I think I've come across a few of those before as well: Gremlins and the more recent Red Eye. I've never seen Tremors in its entirety. I'll have to fully watch it the next time its on TV.

Kyle said...

Oh, "Gremlins", absolutely. And obviously I think you should give "Tremors" a shot in its entirety. I'll be interested to hear what you think if/when you do.

kathy said...

Who knew Reba could act! I think Kevin Bacon and his side kick are funniest with the whole paper/rocks/scissors routine.