Netflix Stream of the Week: Popcorn

Just saw this for the first time and it was okay. I knew I had to get to it eventually, as the screenplay was by one of my heroes, Alan Ormsby. He also directed, but was replaced by someone else halfway through. The lead was similarly fired and the part was given to Jill Schoelen, which is permissible cause she's a total fox.

Ormsby had his name replaced with a pseudonym for writing and directing credits. Given his pedigree, it's safe to assume it would have been a better film had he been given the opportunity to finish it. Most of the movie looks like a typical 80's USA Network hackjob. The editing is indifferent, and the pace slows to a crawl towards the end. It's also contrived enough that you can turn it off 20 minutes early and not miss much of anything. It could have been so much better, but as is, it's still worthwhile. 

Like Joe Dante's Matinee which came a few years after, Popcorn is set entirely in a cinema which is screening 1950's William Castle-type gimmick movies. These non-existent films within the film are the best part of Popcorn, like "Mosquito", which features a giant light-up remote-controlled bug flying over the audience, "Attack of the Amazing Electrified Man" with random  seats wired to shock theatergoers, and "The Stench", a Japanese Toho-looking production with smells piped in from the projection booth on cue. There are also lots of movie references and cool details like an "Incredible Melting Man" poster in the lobby. And "buy a bag, go home in a box" is an inspired tagline, you must admit.

Filmed inside a real movie theater in Kingston, Jamaica. In many shots, you can clearly see the audience of white people on the main floor and black extras up in the background of the balcony.

Been out-of-print on dvd for awhile, and I can't find it on flash video anywhere, but it's on netflix streaming here.

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