In light of recent news of the extension of the stay-at-home order, I felt like this week’s Blast from The Past needed a bit more firepower in it. With that in mind, I decided to bring out my favorite film of all time. That’s right, when a film buff like myself enters the code, bypasses the security traps, and unlocks his secret movie vault to bring you his favorite movie, you know he means business. Without further ado, and with a minimal preamble to delay, here’s this week’s Blast from the Past.
Movie: “The Mummy” (1999)
Brendan Fraiser is a national treasure. There, I said it. He’s the type of actor who can say witty lines while being an awesome hero at the same time without it seeming like a forced action one-liner. It doesn’t seem like I’m the only one of the opinion that Fraser carries every film he’s in as there’s even a whole internet community on Reddit around the idea of getting him back on stage.
In “The Mummy,” Fraiser plays the rough-and-tumble hero Rick O’Connell, a man doing his best to be annoyed at almost everything throughout the film. On top of that, he needs to keep Evelyn and Jonathan Carnahan(played by Rachel Weisz and John Hannah) alive and save the world. We, the audience, love every minute of it. His attitude, one-liners, even the gunfighting is so full of energy and helps make the film an excessive amount of fun.
The film follows our lead characters as they embark on a journey to the hidden city of Hamunaptra in search of hidden treasures. Accompanied partly by an over-the-top group of rowdy Americans and Rick’s old pal Benny(the second-best character in the film), they eventually reawaken the mummy Imhotep. The rest of the film is a race against the clock to stop the evil creature before he kills Evelyn to resurrect his dead girlfriend and ends the world. You know, basic adventure movie stuff.
It’s hard to emphasize what makes this film my favorite, and I’m sure nostalgia plays a decent part in it. However, the film also has so many positive attributes that set it apart from other movies. The dialogue, for instance, is incredible. I’m not sure exactly how much of the film is directly quotable, but even having not seen it in maybe two years, I can still recite a decent percentage of the lines.
Each character is memorable, with side-characters like Jonathon and Beni having moments of brilliance on-screen that will endear or condemn them for the audience. Evelyn isn’t your typical damsel-in-distress either, despite being captured. She’s smart and capable, even at times more courageous than our hero. In the end, it’s her that ultimately saves the day.
I could go on forever about why this is a quintessential adventure-action film and why I think you should take the time to see it, but I do feel required to point out this is an almost perfect film. Since the film is from 1999, it is a bit dated in more ways than one.
The portrayal of Egyptians, for instance, is a bit less than stellar. The character of Warden Gad Hassan is hopefully not the movie’s idea of a typical Egyptian, but, even unintentionally, it feels very awkward from a modern viewpoint. The special effects are also very outdated from a modern perspective, but it’s used sparingly and luckily does not hinder the film as much as it could.
Overall, “The Mummy” is a fun, gun-blazing, rope-swinging, bi-plane flying for 2 hours with a lovable cast, amazing dialogue, and action that’ll get you on your feet and your blood-pumping. Give it a chance, and you won’t soon forget it.
TV Show: “Person of Interest” (2011)
“Person of Interest” is not “old” per se as it only went off the air in 2016. But this is my column, and I can do what I want!
What do you get when you mix government conspiracy mixed with “Minority Report?” You get close to the plot of “Person of Interest.” “Person of Interest” follows the adventures of Reese, a former CIA agent with a sad past, as he teams up with billionaire genius Finch, a man with a machine that can tell the future. Together they stop crime before it happens and navigate a world filled with evil government agents and helpful Mafia members.
For a typical crime-solving show with an exciting premise, the “crime-of-the-week” parts are honestly some of the weaker sections of the show, with the main plotline that runs through them far more interesting. Luckily, unlike some shows, “Person of Interest” seems to realize that too, and throws the typical formula out the window for full-on conspiracy fun in later seasons.
The show has an ensemble cast full of interesting and fleshed out characters that you learn to love over the many episodes. My favorite part of the show is how imperfect much of the cast is. For instance, Lionel Fusco, a detective liaison for Reese and Finch, is a former corrupt cop for the Mob. Sameen Shaw is a former CIA assassin. Instead of forgetting about and ultimately becoming lovable characters like some show might do, “Person of Interest” digs into their dark pasts and uses it to show their growth. It’s incredibly refreshing.
With such a plot-driven show, I’d be remiss to talk more in case I spoiler something, so suffice to say this is well worth the watch. Believe me, and you’ll thank me later.
Those are my picks this week, as always tweet me your favorite film and tv shows @illiniUpdate, and maybe they’ll be in a future article!