on June 14, 2004
Brendan Fraser is remarkably good in this good-natured comedy about a young man born and raised in a fallout shelter. Fraser manages to parlay his rugged good looks and youthful exuberance into an intensely likeable hero named Adam. Once released into the modern world, Adam is gleefully joyful to watch. Alicia Silverstone is fine as his "Eve" who is both enamored and repelled by Fraser's childishly kind behavior. Dave Foley as her gay friend is marvelous as well. I also liked Joey Skolnik as the bartender who metamorphoses from a happy teenager to the self-proclaimed monk of a new religion. Kudos also to Nathan Killion (Firefly series) as Alicia's macho boyfriend who gets put in his place by Fraser. Also to the delightful dance scene where Fraser and two girls jitterbug to high heaven. But one cannot overlook the truly marvelous performances from Sissy Spacek and Christopher Walken as Fraser's paranoid parents. They are both brilliant, and one can see how these two won Oscars for previous performances. Director Hugh Wilson keeps it all together and I found myself smiling and chuckling all the way through. A delightful find!
on February 23, 2004
Calvin Webber (Christopher Walken) is a slightly mad genius living in Los Angeles at the height of the Cold War. Paranoid about the communist threat, he has made a vast and elaborate nuclear bunker under his house. And, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he takes the precaution of going into it with his pregnant wife Helen (Sissy Spacek). By bizarre coincidence, just as they get down underground, a military aircraft crashes on their house. Convinced this is the dreaded nuke, he locks in and they prepare to stay there for 35 years until the radiation reaches safe levels. Finally come the 1990s and son Adam (Brendan Fraser) is sent out to reconnoitre and get look for fresh supplies in what they are convinced is a nightmarish and disintegrated post-apocalyptic world. (The neighbour has gone badly downhill in a way that makes this a more than understandable mistake.) Out he goes armed only with an indefatigable innocence and decency, an unshakable conviction that Perry Como is at the cutting edge of popular music and what he does not yet realize is a huge fortune in vintage baseball cards. After a few hours he is seriously at sea and hopelessly lost. Then he meets Alicia Silverstone's wordly and cynical Eve...
The central conceit of this film is the clash of what is basically a 1950s sensibility with the harsh and cynical realities of 1990s America. That way it strongly recalls 'Pleasantville', made a year earlier. But this is a much better film. While 'Pleasantville' rather condescended to the past, with its knowing modern kids teaching stuffy old 50s types how to be cool and have sex, this film is much more intelligently ambivalent about the blessings of modernity and has a very nice satirical edge. Not to mention much funnier. It is Eve who learns from Adam far more than the reverse. It's essentially an unusual romantic comedy with a bizarre fantasy premise. But it's an unusually sharp, witty and unintelligent romcom. A certain mismatch between British and American senses of humour may partly explain why I seldom laugh out loud at American movies. Several lines in this were notable exceptions. Its best moments recall, as very very few contemporary films manage to recall, the sharply observed intelligence of the great Hollywood romantic comedies of the 30s and 40s. Fresh, entertaining and extremely well-acted, it's well worth a look.
on July 7, 2002
This is an enjoyable film in a brain bubblegum kind of way; Brendan Fraser is charming, Alicia Silverstone is adorable, and the rest of the cast perform well, too.
Christopher Walken is a brilliant scientist who has created a huge, completely self-sustaining, unbelievably well-stocked nuclear bomb shelter beneath his family's home. During the Cuban missile crisis, he mistakenly believes that a nuclear bomb has been dropped, and locks his pregnant wife into this 35-year-time-locked bomb shelter. Brendan Fraser's character, Adam, is born there, and spends the first 34 years of his life underground, with only his parents for company. Predictably, after the 35 years are up, Adam emerges a bit odd, very polite, and exceedingly naive (but very well-schooled, thanks to his scientist father.) Adam learns about the modern world with help from Alicia Silverstone and David Foley, and searches for a wife (I'll give you three guesses as to whom he falls for, but who isn't interested in return.) Adam is not only lonely for female companionship, but he's lost as well; he can't remember how to get back to the the family's bomb shelter, which understandably causes him great distress. It's basically a happy movie, though, and appropriate for the family.
Even though the story isn't compelling or particularly well-written, it's charming and entertaining, anyhow. Fraser is adorable as always, and Silverstone turns in an enjoyable performance as well. This is a nice feel-good story for an evening or afternoon when you don't feel much like turning on your brain.
on September 13, 2003
I've seen this film a lot of times, more than I'd care to admit to, and I never tire of it. The first five minutes are pretty dull, so I tend to skip past them, as it really starts when the plane crashes into the house.
Christopher Walken & Sissy Spacek are the perfect people to play Brendan Fraser's parents, both as quirky as each other. Sissy plays the perfect wife, drinking to escape her husband and life below ground. Christopher is perfect as the Dad, teaching his son everything he knows.
Alicia Silverstone is kooky, "psychic", and is a perfect match for Adam's character, and of course she has to be called Eve. How original.
Troy's character is brilliant, playing the stereotypical gay guy, which Adam thinks means "happy". Troy and Eve live together, and have a very similar relationship to Will & Grace in the TV show. The girl who has a gay guy for a roommate - tell me, how many times has that been done?
The first fifteen minutes go quickly through the first 35 years of Adam's (Brendan Fraser) uneventful life, cutting back and forth between what's going on above the family.
I couldn't imagine anyone else in the part of innocent Adam, apart from Brendan. He comes out with the funniest expressions! He is brought up to be the perfect gentleman - opening doors for women, calling them ma'am, doing all those things, the guy who every girl would like but then quickly get fed up of!
Some parts of the film aren't explained, leaving you wondering how they had enough supplies to last 35 years, how none of them got seriously ill, until the dad does twenty minutes in, forcing Adam to go up into the big bad world, and how the money hasn't changed in 35 years!
The funniest bits of the film are when Adam talks to complete strangers, in his off-hand way. The best sequence in the whole film is The Mask-reminiscent dance scene, when Adam goes to a club and dances with the two women. It's very similar to when Jim Carrey & Cameron Diaz dance together in The Mask; both are great & memorable. And like any dance scenes in films (Grease, The Mask, Saturday Night Fever) the crowd instantly makes a circle around the main people dancing and watches them. This wouldn't happen in real life, so why do they keep repeating this in films?
The storyline is pretty predictable: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy gets girl back.
There aren't many extras on the DVD. There are trailers; cast & crew biographies; deleted scenes and a B-roll. They're your basic extras - not worth watching more than once, if you can last through them. According to the back of my DVD, there's a "Love Meter" but I can't find it amongst the extras so god knows where it is.
This is definitely for sentimental fools, like me, who love a good romance, and think Brendan Fraser is so cute - just not when he sings!
on January 9, 2000
In 1962, my junior high school science roject was to build a model fall-out shelter, complete with lists of supplies for 30 years underground. My father, who was a scientist, hung out with a bunch of guys who so closely resemble Calvin Weber (Christopher Walken) that I was startled to see him in the movie. These guys built hi-fis and robots in their basements for fun; and yes, my parents listened to Perry Como! BFTP portrays the essence of those times fondly and with a pointed humor. Both Sissy Spacek (the mother) and Christopher Walken (the father) do beautifully comic turns in this film as a couple having retreated to their fall-out shelter for a 35 year stay in the mistaken belief that Los Angeles has been bombed.
Brendan Fraser's performance as the bright but impossibly naiive Adam Weber is brilliant. Playing a totally sheltered (no pun intended) 35 year-old encountering the outside world for the first time, Fraser manages through use of his mobile facial features and skillful body language to look like a nerdy 14 year old. The performance was strongly reminiscent of Tom Hanks in BIG.
Alicia Silverstone and Dave Foley play strong supporting roles as Eve, Adam's love interest, and her gay room-mate Troy. The strongest scenes in the movie feature all three of them. For major laughs, watch Eve and Troy's faces while they watch Adam make a splash on the dance floor.
This movie made me a Brendan Fraser fan. I liked it so much I bought copies for several people for Christmas. Lest you think this is only for Boomers, I showed it to a 24 year old friend who completely cracked up over it.
on March 22, 2002
On one level, Blast Form the Past could be a whole lot better. On another, it's just fine as it is. In other words, it may not live up to it's potential, but it's still entertaining.
The movie starts in 1962 and it quickly points out humorously that this was a very strange time. America had never been more affluent. New inventions were making life easier and easier. Life was good. Yet paranoia over our Communist enemies was never higher. Beneath the laughter and the good times lay a sense of impending atomic doom. Fallout shelters were all the rage.
We meet Calvin and Helen Webber [Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek], a popular Los Angeles couple. Calvin, who is a scientist, is particularly afraid of the Communist menace. He has somehow secretly constructed an underground shelter the size of a super Wal-Mart. One night a news broadcast convinces him that nuclear war may be at hand. He drags his thoroughly confused and very pregnant wife into the shelter. Moments later an out of control US fighter jet happens to crash and burn on top of their house. The explosion prompts Calvin to lock the shelter down. The couple is trapped there for over two decades.
Some of the best parts of Blast From the Past show Calvin and Helen, along with Adam, the son she bears, passing the years underground. Adam [Brendan Fraser] grows up to be a strapping, well educated and polite young man. Naturally he gives new meaning to the term sheltered!
Meanwhile, life goes on apace above their heads. The old neighborhood goes downhill. This transition is neatly portrayed by the evolution of a family business, which starts out as a soda shop and ends up a dive bar.
When the locks finally open the shelter, Calvin ventures up. It takes about five minutes for him to decided that the world is now a place inhabited by mutants. The experience causes him to collapse and take to his bed. Adam must then go up and replenish their supplies.
It is here that the movie could be a lot better. The idea of a man who has been frozen in time and then sets off into the present world has all sorts of comic possibilities. Blast Form the Past does not explore much of this. Instead, it concentrates on Adam's search for a wife, aided by the delightful and talented Alicia Silverstone, whose character is named [you guessed it] Eve. She is naturally distrustful of him because she thinks he is mad. His saying only that he is from out of town doesn't help.
My main problem here is that Adam, who has never seen any human beings other than his nutty parents, is too quick to adapt to present day Los Angeles. He is the perfect gentleman, raised in a much more repressed culture, yet he seems unaffected by Eve's revealing attire or by her penchant for cursing like a sailor. In their search for a wife, she takes him to a disco, where it turns out he's a fabulous dance. It's good to know that Brendan Fraser is so talented in this department, but it doesn't seem like something Adam could do.
What saves the movie is the affecting romance that develops between Adam and Eve. While it's obvious that this is going to occur, it is still a sweet and wholly innocent situation. While the film does not go in a more innovative direction, which would have made it a more satisfying experience, a la The Truman Show, it does wind up be a charming romantic comedy.
on May 29, 2000
This movie is a very great movie for the romance lover. It's also a great movie for the comedy lover. But most importantly, it's great for the drama lover. It's about a boy named Adam Webber born and raised in a bomb shelter, all proposed by his father, who locks him and his wife in a bomb shelter for 3 decades due to a nuclear war threat, but the whole time they're down there, nothing happens. But when the 3 decades pass and Adam becomes a grown man, and the shelter opens at last, Adam decides he wants to see the outside world, and his parents realize they can't coop him up any longer. And since they're low on supplies anyway, they send him up in hopes of buying supplies and bringing down a "healthy young woman", but with caution, because his father previously went up and was shocked beyond belief by the fact his surroundings are not what they used to be: Cheerful people replaced by stumbling drunks, bright blue skies replaced by gloomy ones, and beautiful buildings replaced by run-down shacks, and Adam's father hurries down to the shelter and tries to perish the thought of going up at all, but has a heart attack through the entire experience. So Adam goes up to do just that and to make his ailing father proud. But through the whole movie, a bizarre religious group thinks Adam and his family are the family of heaven, but later save the day near the end of the movie. He then finds the "perfect" young woman, Eve, your average 90's woman who frankly thinks Adam is a freak, but grows to like him and doesn't know it, but Adam is viewed differently by her gay roommate Troy. Through it all, Adam almost loses Eve repeatedly, and risks being locked up in the loony bin, but in the end he and Eve realize they love each other, then he, Eve, and Troy build his parents a new house with Adam's riches that he didn't even know he had, through his very old and very valuable baseball cards, stock certificates, and accessories, and live happily ever after.
So if you like a wonderful combo of romance, comedy and drama, see Blast From The Past. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
on October 11, 2000
I didn't see this movie when it was in the theaters- nor did I have much desire to even rent it- largely because the TV commercials promoting its release did not do it justice (and because most of Brendan Fraser's films have not done well financially or critically). So I was pretty surprised when I finally did see it and found that it was witty and much more intelligent than I expected.
Adam (named after the biblical first man on earth, since his parents believed they were the only survivors of the "blast" that kept them locked in their amazingly well-stocked shelter for 35 years, waiting for the radiation to clear) is sent out into the real world for supplies when his father suffers a heart attack. After his inital shock at seeing the sky for the first time, exploring the supermarket, and riding the bus, he meets Eve by chance at a baseball card store. (She prevents him from getting ripped off by the store owner, who is trying to buy Adam's extremely valuable 60's cards for a fraction of their worth). Reluctantly (for Eve, not for the puppydog-ish Adam), the two gradually become friends as Adam persuades Eve to help him gather groceries and other staples... never really revealing why it is he needs so much stuff. By the time Eve finds out about Adam's past, even the fact that she (briefly) thinks he's clinically insane can't stop her from falling for him.
Of course, this whole story line is completely unbelievable, but that's part of the fun. It's amusing to see how Los Angeles grows, changes, and decays above-ground while things remain stuck in a 60's time-warp down below. (And can someone please explain how this family of three managed to live down there for 35 years without killing each other?) Also humorous is the side-story of the down-on-his-luck guy (an employee of the various businesses occupying the space above the shelter over the years) who is there to witness Adam's arrival into the real world, and builds a whole religion out of worshipping his new god. (It's funnier than it sounds). I must also say I disagree with ... claim that Alicia Silverstone is poorly cast as Eve. Though her character could have been more well-rounded and personable, I think Alicia did a fine job with the role (and her hair looked great, by the way).
All in all, a creative, sweet, and funny movie.
on November 23, 2000
When Brendan Fraser uttered those words during the playing of a Perry Como song, I almost lost control. His facial expressions are a riot, and really make the film complete.
Blast From the Past is just pure humorous entertainment. Not only is the stroyline funny, but the reading-between-the-lines and subtle dry humor is fantastic. The whole plot just flows so well, making for a very enjoyable viewing experience. On top of it all, the film has a pleasant underlying message, stressing good family values.
Fraser is terrific in his role as the naiive Adam Webber. Despite his tremendous acting ability, Fraser's facial expressions easily steal the show. He, hands down, makes this role happen. Alicia Silverstone is the perfect compliment to him in this movie, and it is refreshing to watch her character develop over the course of the story. Dave Foley has always been great in comedic roles, and the part of the gay room-mate seems to have been made for him in the film. Sissy Spacek and Christopher Walken as Adam's parents are amazingly funny in their seemingly unusual roles. On the whole, the acting in the movie was nothing less than spectacular.
Blast From the Past is a wonderful film to gather the family around. It's incredibly humorous, and has a very positive message. This film will leave you feeling good.
on October 1, 2000
I loved this movie although I know its a bit too sweet and too cute at times. It's an excellent candidate for a "family movie" but actually its just a good, solid movie all around. Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek turn in delightful performances as Brendan Fraser's parents - wholesome and quirky. This movie does have its hints of the darker side of the middle class 60's type environment in which Adam (played by Brendan Fraser) was raised - such as Spacek's closet alcoholism as well as hints of the way our society has changed - from the so-called innocence of America during the Kennedy era with its Cold War paranoia to a modern-day America with its acceptance of a diversity of lifestyles that the 60's hadn't accepted just yet and also its societal problems that just didn't seem to be a part of the early 60's consciousness even though they existed then as now. Brendan Fraser turns in a wonderful performance, effectively portraying Adam's innocence and sense of wonder at everything he sees with humor and even pathos. Alicia Silverstone does a passable job although I felt the flaws in her character were not her fault so much as it was the fault of her character being underwritten and the director being confused as to what to do with her character. David Foley is wonderful as always. The movie is also peppered with wonderful character actors who actually make up some of the movie's funniest moments. Although the screenwriting is not as tight as it could be - especially with regard to the latter half of the movie when Fraser wanders around the modern world - Fraser carries the movie with ease and charm. This movie is well worth watching. Good movie if you're in the mood for something light, not too serious but not bubble gum either, funny, and with wonderful comedic acting by Walken, Spacek, and Fraser. The type of movie you can watch again and again and still enjoy because its just fun and cute and well done.