This review is dedicated to the great Roger Ebert, whose style of writing influenced my own! Farewell, sir! You shall be missed (and please say hi to Gene for us)!
"He's not a monster, he's a shoe salesman!"
Let's face it, the summer of 1993 was the summer of Jurassic Park. There were, of course, other successful films such as The Fugitive, In the Line of Fire, and The Firm. But anything that was science fiction was certain to be overshadowed by the film which became, arguably, the most famous of all dinosaur films.
One such film was this one from Joe Dante which is certainly worth a look.
It is 1962 and Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman) is a successful filmmaker (based on the great William Castle) who decides to make a new film-Mant!. As fate would have it, his opus of a half-man, half-ant creature is set for release on the very week that JFK informs the world of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Despite the protests of some, Woosley is allowed to put out his film as scheduled.
But the real-life potential horror, naturally, puts everyone on edge, including Florida high schoolers Gene Loomis (Simon Fenton), his brother Dennis (Jesse Soffer), and their friends Stan (Omri Katz) and Sandra (Lisa Jakub), whom Gene is smitten with.
These young Woolsey fans eventually find themselves taking cover in a missile silo when that fateful October weekend arrives and everyone is certain that the end has arrived.
Goodman is perfectly cast as Woosley, and his younger co-stars match him because they are instantly likeable. Cathy Moriarty also shines as Woosley's actress Ruth Corday.
Like many of Dante's films, there are nice laughs, with my favorite of these being the moment when Woosley gives a giddy fan an autograph, to which said fan replies: "Thank you, Mr. Hitchcock!"
It is a shame that this film didn't become as famous as earlier Dante pictures like Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990).