Sunday, September 1, 2013
JUMPING JACK FLASH (1986)
Directed By: Penny Marshall
Story By: David Franzoni
Written By: David Franzoni, Charles Shyer (as J.W. Melville), Nancy Myers (as Patricia Irving) & Curtis Thompson , Steve E. De souza (Uncredited)
Cinematography By: Matthew F. Leonetti
Editor: Mark Goldblatt
Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Pryce, John Wood, Stephen Collins, Annie Potts, Roscoe Lee Bowne, Phil Hartman, Tracey Ullman, James Belushi, John Wood, Tony Hendra, Peter Michael Goetz, Jereon Krabbe, Miguel A. Nunez jr., Jamey Sheridan, Kellie Martin, Garry Marshall, Michael McKean
Terry works for a bank, and uses computers to communicate with clients all over the world. One day she gets a coded message from an unknown source. After decoding the message, Terry becomes embroiled in an espionage ring. People are killed, and Terry is chased. Throughout she remains in contact with this unknown person, who needs Terry to help save his life.
The film was originally titled KNOCK KNOCK
This was only my second exposure to Whoopi Goldberg my first experience was THE COLOR PURPLE. So as you can imagine seeing her in this was a totally new experience.
Shelley Long was originally cast to play the lead character. Which I don’t believe would have made the film as noteworthy to me. Letting Whoopi Goldberg play the role was the dawn of a new era. The beginning of her career. If Long would have taken the role, while memorable for many 80’s comedies no many of them were actually that good or at least survived. They were more disposable products of the time that age badly (Except For OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE)
My father took me to see this in theaters. He wanted to see it more then i did, but I was just happy to go to the movies. Plus he took me to see enough films that I wanted to see. So he deserved to drag me to one.
I remember the film being much funnier than it actually is. It is a fun film dated as hell especially when it comes to computers. Which back then I thought was cutting edge. To me Whoopi represented a hip outsider. Here she more represents nerdy. I loved her wardrobe and feel she was funny. His was one o the first films taken from a woman's perspective which was different to me at the time. Which is even more obvious considering this Is penny Marshall's directorial debut
I wonder If the film was written for her and around her personality which comes through in the film or if it was a pre-existing script.
One of he rewarding details is that the film deals with spies and espionage not through ridiculous grand action scenes, but more through deals, secret codes and information.
The most random scene takes place at 3 am at the docks in New York which is very random, but needed as it is one of the few action scenes and involves a death of a character.
The film is somewhat predictable yet extremely watchable. Seeing it now reminds me of why I like Whoopi Goldberg. She is funny and always herself in style and attitude. Which truly makes a unique performer and between her and Tracy Chapman some of the first people I saw to rock braids and dreadlocks.
I like that the film mixes comedy with espionage that is ridiculous but never reverts to zaniness and keeps it’s foot in the plausible at all times.
It is also why I have a weakness for her films up until 1998. Like woody Allen movies when she stars in a film I have an initial interest but shy away from watching it because I don't want to see the diminished quality and won't unless it gets good word of mouth though I might give it a chance on DVD.
It was one of the first films that I fully realized was directed by a woman, which was a revelation at the time and even more shocking was that it was directed by Laverne from Laverne & Shirley. It was a comedy which was right up her alley, but had a few action sequences as well. It just added to me the films hipness and it setting itself apart to me.
Burt Reynolds was the original choice for director but he had a falling out with producer Joel Silver and left the project. Howard Zieff was the original director.
The film makes New York look styled and like a wonderland.
I remember my dad wondering after the movie if it was too racy for me at 9 or 10 years old. Considering the films that Have been released since the film is quaint and nearly a family film considering what passes for r rated today. I mean I saw CB4 at 15 in theaters and was too young to see it and fully understand half the jokes but I was obsessed to watch it again and again.
It reminds me of my dad's enthusiasm sorry for the annoying Norman Rockwellish memories of my family, but a lot of my family film education is due to my parents. Who took me to the movies every weekend even to films that weren't appropriate (we didn't get cable until I was 15, my dad had it but I usually only saw him on weekends)
I am thankful for it. I saw many films especially thanks to my dad usually recording each new release on home video. I don't think I'd be where I am or half the film fan if not for them when it comes to seeing films on The big screen my whole family is responsible. They exposed me to film and encouraged my obsession/passion for/with it.
As near and dear to my heart as the film is it really doesn’t hold up, but I like it’s rather simple and easy going nature. That is a product of it’s time. The film really should be judged by it’s time period standards a bit then it’s overall donation to the world of cinema.