Thursday, July 24, 2008

Short Circuit

I haven’t seen Short Circuit since my children were young – it was one of those movies (along with its sequel) that we watched over and over. The story and characters are pretty simple, but what makes the film is the wonderful character of Johnny 5 with his increasingly warm ‘humanity,’ his delightful eyebrows, and his constant cry of Need More Input!
I thought Steve Guttenberg was good at the time, but he seems a bit flat in the movie now, a bit slow-paced. And I thought Ally Sheedy must have vanished from the movie scene, but in fact she's kept on making movie after movie ever since (and made a number before this as well). She plays an over-the-top-irritating, too silly for her own good, and pretty much one-note character whom we don’t ever really believe in. Fisher Stevens’ pseudo Indian character (the father of all the other Asian IT people in movies?) has some funny malapropic lines and some surprisingly crude ones, considering this is supposed to be a kids’ movie. He was the only actor to make it into the sequel, where I think his lines might have been toned down a little, but it’s a long time since I saw the sequel (which also featured Michael McKean, that mad actor who’s appeared in some of the spoof documentaries made by Christopher Guest).
All the actors seem to be on that second-level area where they get plenty of work but they’re not really household names. I thought Steve Guttenberg had vanished from movies, as well, but in fact, he’s been just as busy as Sheedy. Obviously there are thousands of movies out there that we just never hear of – until you check out IMDB!
Any carping about the movie aside, it’s Johnny 5 who’s the real star. Apparently there were more than a dozen actual Johnny 5s, swapped and shuffled as required. Certainly some of them must have barely survived the ‘stunts’ they went through.

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