|Blast from the Past (1999)
"She was a woman of the world, he had never been around the block"
Directed by Hugh Wilson
The year is 1962 Cuban missle crisis is beginning to heat up. Professor Calvin Webber (Christopher Walken) and his pregnant wife, Helen (Sissy Spacek) retire to their fall out shelter to wait for the crisis to blow over. Only problem is an American military aircraft accidentally crashes into their house while they are in the bomb shelter, convincing them that the Russians have dropped the bomb. Calvin Webber is prepared to wait out the nuclear fallout and is prepared to spend the next 35 years in his well stocked shelter. Adam Webber (Brendan Fraser) is born into this world, where his only knowledge of the outside world comes from his parents.
Once the 35 years have passed Calvin ventures outside at night to see what survives. Calvin is unprepared for 1990's Los Angleles street life and quickly retires to the fallout shelter assuming that his post-apocalyptic nightmares have come true. Desparate for supplies, Adam offers to venture outside and fetch the necessary supplies. His parents also suggest that he find a non-mutant woman if at all possible to bring back to the shelter so that they can start a family.
It quickly becomes apparent that Adam's innocence about the world in general and 1990's culture in specific have left him unprepared to fulfill his parents requests. Eve (Alicia Silverstone) reluctantly comes to Adam's rescue and the two of them set about obtaining supplies. Although Adam is smitten by Eve, she convinces him that there can't be anything between them and proceeds to assist him in finding a non-mutant wife, only to discover that she has feelings for him.
Blast from the Plast is directed by Hugh Wilson who is the one of the creators and directors of the television series WKRP in Cincinati (1978-1982). Wilson's other dubious credits include directing and writing the original Police Academy (1984) which depending on your personal opinion is either a cult classic or pure drivel. Regardless, Wilson seems to have found another perfect vehicle to showcase Brendan Fraser's uncanny ability to play the innocent/vacuous character. Sure Fraser has made a career out of playing similar characters, namely Encino Man and George of the Jungle, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that it takes skill to play such innocent characters. Through out Blast from the Past the viewer is asked to look at the world we've come to take for granted through Adam's naive eyes. Adam takes simple pleasures in seeing the sky and the ocean for the first time, not to mention the expression on his face when he takes his first ride in a moving vehicle.
Blast from the Past takes a somewhat implausible story and for the most part manages to convince you that its possible. This is largely done in part through excellent performances by the cast and great writing through out. In additon to Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek, supporting Fraser is Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall, Brain Candy, and News Radio) who plays Troy, Eve's gay housemate. Foley's dead on delivery and timing out shine Silverstone in nearly every scene they share. Another small but pivotal performance is turned by Joey Slotnick, (The Single Guy, Twister) as the cult leader that worships the Webber family and their bomb shelter.
I felt that the central theme to the movie was how quickly things change (fashion, culture and values) and that taken out of context how bizarre they may appear to a "time traveller" from the past. The film even touches on the rapidly changing urban structure as the Webbers suburban neighbourhood is quickly overrun and turned into a seedy, decayed neighbourhood in just over 30 years.
A surprisingly funny film, the audience I saw it with were practically falling out of their seats with laughter.
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