What I'm Watching: Twilight Zone

In this case, the 1983 movie. It's kind of a waste of celluloid, the originals were better, but back then you would be lucky to ever see a good episode in syndication, and if there were VHS tapes of the series, they would've been very expensive. Maybe the best case would've been to never make another Twilight Zone after Rod Serling's death. Not all the originals were great, many were repetitive, but they had a real sharp edge which is missing here.

The two Dan Aykroyd scenes are short but OK. Dan driving around scaring people would be a better show.

"Time Out" with the racist becoming prey for the racists. I hate the time-jump mechanic, and it's a very selfish revelation. What does Nazi Germany or Vietnam have to do with him, anyway? Maybe if they'd just had 'Nam and the KKK as his direct ancestors, and it would've been less preachy. The original plan was to have two Vietnamese kids he has to protect to redeem himself, but they and Vic Morrow died in a helicopter accident on set, so what you see is what they could salvage from that footage.

"Kick the Can" with Scatman Crothers making old people in a retirement home young for a night. The original was kind of a traditional fairy tale except in reverse, the fairies take the elders instead of the children, and leave the narc behind. The remake has only the fun "kid" run away young, with no real moral for everyone left behind.

"It's a Good Life" introduces a new character, teacher Helen (Kathleen Quinlan), instead of just having the miserable "family", and the town isn't nearly as bleak and horrible as the original episode. Little Anthony is now… 9? instead of 6, which makes him more capable of reason, if still having tantrums. The new kid isn't as creepy as Billy Mumy was, but he's fine. There's no cornfield. The cartoon monsters are hard to even look at, they're cel-painted instead of CGI or practical, but it's not comic like Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The happy ending is so weird; is Helen hoping to be this new god's controller, or is she horny for the boy, or genuinely wants to teach? Nothing about her motivation is revealed so we can't tell.

Notable for having a Tempest arcade cabinet and gameplay!

"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" remake with John Lithgow doesn't work at all. William Shatner always looked competent, so his breakdown was frightening. Lithgow is a crazy man when he's sane, and he's a plausible Trinity Killer or Lord John Whorfin when he's not. The new gremlin is differently awful from the gorilla-suited original. Nothing is resolved, nobody learns anything, it just gives up.

★★☆☆☆ — I remembered this as being much better than it was.