When last we convened for one of these "What I Watched" posts, it was in early May. I indicated that I was going to be done with those writeups for a while, and that was true in one sense, but false in another: true in that I intended to be done with them, but false in that I kept on writing the capsule reviews anyways. Caveat: I restricted myself to detailing the horror movies I watched, as well as anything horror-adjacent enough to fit in here for one reason or another. I omitted quite a lot, though, and I say thankya. (Would I have liked to devote some time to discussing some of those? You bet. The Winds of War: outstanding. There's one example.)
Bottom line: I've got several months' worth of movie watching to catch y'all up on, beginning with:
Scream 2 (1997)
I'd seen this movie only once before: sometime shortly after it opened in 1997. I remember one thing above all others in relation to that viewing: that I went to see it with a group of friends from work, and that it was snowing in Tuscaloosa when we went. It was, therefore, kind of risky and irresponsible for us to be driving at all, much less to go to a movie.
Beyond that, I remember being entirely underwhelmed. I didn't dislike it, but it didn't scare me even a little bit, whereas the first had terrified me only a year previously. Either I had grown a bit by the time the sequel came out, or it was less effective; perhaps a bit of both.
Revisiting the sequel now, I got more out of it. In some ways, I think I might even prefer it to the original. It's arguably less fresh, but it's also arguably more inventive; I think it's maybe a touch less pretentious than the first, too. Or perhaps I'm simply responding more positively because I had very low expectations for the revisit. I'm simultaneously too in my head these days and too unfocused to make much use out of being there, which is one of the reasons I opted to take a sort of step back for a while. Solution: don't worry about it!
A few notes:
- I continue to not particularly like Neve Campbell and/or Sidney. I don't particularly dislike her, either. She's just an odd sort of nonentity for me. I do like the way she puts an extra bullet into the bad guy at the end of this one, though.
- A number of King alumni (and future ones) here: David Arquette returns, obviously, but also there's Jerry O'Connell from Stand By Me, Laurie Metcalf (Misery on Broadway), Timothy Olyphant (Dreamcatcher), and Heather Graham (The Stand).
- Sarah Michelle Gellar gets to be the lead in a very brief Black Christmas homage sequence which is better than both of the Black Christmas "remakes" put together. Not that that's saying much.
- Courteney Cox is brutally hot in this movie. She doesn't always hit me on that level, but golly, she sure does here. She's very good, too, as is David Arquette. Their relationship is endearing. Dewey's theme music -- which is evidently a Hans Zimmer piece from Broken Arrow, though I'm pretty sure it was meant to evoke the theme from Twin Peaks -- is ridiculous, but also kind of appealing.
- Olyphant gives good pyscho. So does Laurie Metcalf, to be honest; she's a bit less persuasive than he is, but it more or less works. I'll take these two over Skeet Ulrich and (especially) Matthew Lillard every time.
- I despise the opening scene with Jada Pinkett and Omar Epps. This is perhaps just because I, as a theatre manager, could never abide an audience that rowdy. The idea for the scene is kind of clever, but only kind of, and it puts one of my least favorite aspects of these movies front and damn center: I simply cannot take it seriously. It's not meant to be taken seriously, so I'm aware that I'm complaining about something needlessly, but even so, I don't get a great degree of usefulness out of the metafictive aspects of the movie(s) overall, and I get none whatsoever out of this opening scene. I do like Omar Epps, so there's that; Pinkett, less so.
- Luke Wilson playing a fictional version of Skeet Ulrich's character from the first movie is pretty amusing. Supposedly, there were plans for the role to be filled with Johnny Depp; it didn't happen, and the world is poorer for it. Even so, Luke Wilson is amusing.
reviewed on May 16