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'It's Alive!' (1969)
Everything's Bigger in Texas but Movie Budgets
Texas-based schlockmeister Larry Buchanan strikes again with another no-budget monsterpiece, this time about a bunch of unwary travelers imprisoned by a madman in a cave with a monster in it. All the Buchanan trademarks are there-no plot, inane dialogue that is dubbed into films that were shot silent to save money, the same monster suit he used in several other movies, but what makes this film stand out for me are two things: first that it must be the absolute low point of Tommy Kirk's eclectic career-even though his character does manage to survive a gunshot wound to the chest simply by putting a handkerchief on it and bravely soldiering on-and secondly the fact that I watched this maybe 5 times on the Saturday night creature feature (It was the 70's in Southern Illinois, what can I say?) before I realized that the monster was supposed to be 50 feet tall! The same shot shown about 4 times of it walking through a tunnel and one really horrible forced-perspective shot offer no clue as to its actual size! Worth seeing one time for bad-movie completists only.
The Snapper (1993)
Long live (and God help) the Irish!
This movie is a warm and life affirming comedy about a working-class Irish family dealing with the impending motherhood of their eldest daughter. The circumstances of this drunken accident soon have the entire neighborhood up in arms! There are uniformly good performances but two in particular anchor this movie. Colm Meany (best known to American audiences as Chief Miles O'Brien on "Star Trek") gives one of his typically outstanding performance as Dessie Curley, the family patriarch who is just in way over his head. His struggles to deal with this situation run the gamut from hilarious to heartbreaking. he is well matched by Tina Kellegher as his daughter Sharon, truly ashamed over the position she has put herself and her family in ( a reaction most American girls have long since become incapable of) but determined to make the best of it. Contrary to some reviews I found nothing depressing about this movie. The fact that these are very average, not even terribly attractive people living in drab surroundings makes this film even more resonating to the audience, who find themselves drawn into the Curley's situation and rooting for them every step of the way. Nor do I think it is correct to call this family "dysfunctional". They work well together and band together to help Sharon despite their misgivings. They function as a family even IF some of the individuals are a little off (and the little girl in the marching band uniform is a LOT off). I have only one major criticism of this great little movie. Despite having gotten pregnant while drunk Sharon continues to drink throughout the rest of the movie,despite being pregnant, even going on a memorable (and admittedly very funny) bender just days before going into labor. this is irresponsible to do -and to be shown-and loses Sharon some of the large mass of sympathy she gains. But all in al this is a funny and tender film that will leave with a smile--and maybe even a happy tear or two. 7.5 out of 10