Friday, March 5, 2010

A Needed Winter Triple Feature: First, The Crazies

Over the past couple days, I've managed to stuff into my very (un)busy social schedule three movies that sent me reeling back into the awesomeness of the 90s/early 2000s.

On one night, I saw "The Crazies" and "Shutter Island." The next night, I found myself clutching my ever-growing gut as I giggled at Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in "Cop Out." Yes, I willingly saw "Cop Out" and quite liked it.

I haven't had that much unabashed fun at the movies in quite some time.

"The Crazies"

Back in 2002, I'd just moved to New York from Houston and hadn't a friend in the world within 1,000 miles. I went to the movies everyday and somehow sauntered into "28 Days Later" as tiny teardrops eked from my eyeballs, wishing I were home with friends instead of alone in a theater. Yet, as soon as the Infected individuals of the movie graced the screen, I realized I was watching an effective zombie movie of yore; I relaxed and the world was right again.

Little did I know that when I waltzed into "The Crazies" this week, I was about to see the same movie -- and love it all over again.

The Crazies stars Timothy Olyphant (of TV's "Damages" and "Deadwood") and Radha Mitchell ("Henry Poole Is Here" and, awesomely, "Phone Booth") as a Midwestern couple, David and Judy Dutton, respectively, who are about to watch their Midwestern brethren become bloodthirsty human-demons with a will to kill.

It all starts off nicely enough. He's the sheriff, she's the town doctor -- both are well-revered within the community, and she's expecting a baby. David Dutton (Olyphant) has a chummy sidekick deputy sheriff (Joe Anderson) who'd just about lay down in front of a bus before his boss got hurt.

One day, the whole small town is watching a little-league baseball game, when the Town Drunk walks out onto the field with a glint of Crazy in his eyes, wielding a shotgun no less. Olyphant scurries out onto the diamond and admonishes the drunk to put the gun down; no one wants to get shot out on the green.

Well, that glint of Crazy gets Old Man Drunk shot dead, right there on the field.

After an autopsy, we quickly learn that the town drunk had been sober for months; there was something infectious in his blood that drove him to be a wavering, zombie-like psychopath.

When Mrs. Dutton encounters a patient with the same look in his eyes shortly thereafter, we realize we have a Situation on our hands.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I was a balled-up block of angst the entire time (blood, guts, gore, thrills, etc.), but there were some surprisingly sweet twists, and the dynamic between the three protagonists wasn't without some clever quips.

The only problem I had was my mind not being able to turn off the internal: "This is just like '28 Days Later," "Village of the Damned," "I Am Legend," "Outbreak," "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "Last House on the Left," etc. -- but, those are all good throwbacks in my book.

Next up, "Shutter Island" -- fantastic, and awful, at the same time.

"The Crazies" trailer:

PS: Any movie trailer that includes that "Mad World" music from "Donnie Darko" gets me every time.