Steven Spielberg, John Williams and the film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

Our appreciation for most films Steven Spielberg and most film scores John Williams at Matt Lynn Digital is a justifiable, poorly kept secret. An early film in the collaboration of these two titans of cinema is an alien-themed film with a lyrical bent that impacted editing, as opposed to the reverse. Today we remember the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

Close Encounters 5 - Steven Spielberg, film writer and director, left, and John Williams, music writer and conductor(Steven Spielberg, left, wrote and directed Close Encounters of the Third Kind as John Williams wrote and conducted the film’s music).

The film features two main stories converging into a single tack around the notion of alien visitors visiting Earth. Academy Award winning director François Truffaut director from Day For Night (1973) stars in the role of French scientist Claude Lacombe, the authority at the forefront of understanding odd disappearances, inexplicable alien encounters, and the human responses to these. Richard Dreyfuss stars as Roy Neary, one of the persistent and compelling humans to experience just such an encounter beginning in northeast Indiana and crossing over into northwest Ohio.

Close Encounters 2 - François Truffaut as Claude Lacombe, left, and Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary(François Truffaut as Claude Lacombe, left, and Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Melinda Dillon and Cary Guffey starred as Jillian and Barry Guiler, two caught up in the telling three compelling perspectives for the same encounter that drew Roy Neary (Dreyfuss) into the alien encounter tale spun by Steven Spielberg. Beyond the notion of aiming to make sense of a calling for answers that Jillian, Barry, and Roy each share from an overwhelming need for answers, the three work to come to grips with their attraction to their close encounter through what is an initially inexplicable need to express what they have experienced.

Close Encounters 3 - Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler, left, and Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler(Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler, left, and Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler in Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Barry plays music (composed by Williams) that is shared with him by his initial UFO encounter. Jillian draws a representation of Devils Tower National Monument in  northeastern Wyoming. Roy moves through various stages of molding the monument, from mashed potatoes in an emotional scene with him family through a defiling of the landscaping in his neighborhood that drives his wife, Ronnie Neary as played by Teri Garr, to take the couples kids and flee what feels like a husband losing his emotional hold on a sanity Ronnie understands.

Close Encounters 4 - Teri Garr as Ronnie Neary, left, and Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary(Teri Garr as Ronnie Neary, left, and Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Through some trickery, subterfuge, and tacit assistance from French scientist Claude Lacombe, Roy Neary and Jillian Guiler make it to the secret military communication with the aliens as Devils Tower, witnessing the communication through music wherein the abducted Barry is reunited with Jillian. An emotional catharsis through the communication and the return of veterans lost to history for 30 years previous without aging were made. Roy happily joins a dozen volunteers who will join the aliens aboard their flying ship, which to quote United States President Ronald Reagan “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to a destination unknown as the closing credits rolled. Our rating of Close Encounters of the Third Kind merits 3.75-stars on a scale of one-to-five.

Matt – Saturday, June 22, 2019

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Brian Jay Jones and the biography ‘Becoming Dr. Seuss’

Many in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have experienced the books written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss. Theodor Seuss Geisel, born in Massachusetts and dying in California, was the subject of the May 2019 Brian Jay Jones biography named Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination.

Becoming Dr. Seuss 2 - Brian Jay Jones, left, and Theodor Seuss Geisel(Brian Jay Jones, left, and Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Jones wrote the book Becoming Dr. Seuss).

As biographies go, Brian Jay Jones offers what feels like a rigorous treatment of the man that became Dr. Seuss. We see Theodor Seuss Geisel growing up in the northeastern United States during the period leading up to and through World War One, Prohibition, and through a college period where being of German ancestry and from a beer brewing family were not without difficulties in the United States. Dr. Seuss wasn’t a particularly studious college student, though he was capable when interested. We learn how Dr. Seuss grew up, some intent to become a teacher without the ambition for the work, and ultimately a path that led Seuss to use his unique drawing style as an advertisement man and political cartoonist.

Becoming Dr. Seuss 3(The biography Becoming Dr. Seuss among books written by Dr. Seuss).

In college at Dartmouth and in some advertisements and political cartoons drawn in his youth and through his time in the army during World War Two, Dr. Seuss struggled with drawing in racist and sexist stereotypes of the day. To his credit, Brian Jay Jones did not shy away from addressing the fact of these points in Theodor Seuss Geisel‘s background. When asked about this later in life, Dr. Seuss would acknowledge their existence and speak to the fact of there being objectionable things in addition to having matured and changed. Dr. Seuss was challenged from a feminist perspective, a Japanese American perspective, and generally from his early use of stereotypes in his material. As a children’s literary book writer, these subjects are raised through a general absence of female protagonists as well as in the book Horton Hears a Who! Read this Mental Floss depiction for more detail.

Becoming Dr. Seuss 4 - Theodor Seuss Geisel(Dr. Seuss holding a copy of his book The Cat in the Hat).

It was as a result of relationships during World War Two as a member of the United States Army that the children’s writer we know as Dr. Seuss really emerged. Seuss learned to write concise stories that moved action along quickly and concisely. In fact, his notion for not condescending to kids led to a pair of principles that should apply. First, the story should be “all meat and no filler.” Essentially, this meant that like a metaphoric train, a story for kids should ramp up like the sound of wheels on a train. At first things are slow like a train leaving a station. Within a short period of time, the motion of the wheels should be consistent and continuous.

Becoming Dr. Seuss 5- Theodor Seuss Geisel stamp(A United States Postal Service stamp for Dr. Seuss and some of his famous characters, circa 2004).

The second main principle for children’s books is that they should address some but not all the needs of a child. Not every story needs to include all or even most of the following needs of kids, but a story will not succeed if not addressing the following needs for security, to belong, to love and be loved, to achieve, to know, for aesthetic satisfaction, and/or for change. That list of seven items formed the basis of Dr. Seuss‘ books for children.

Becoming Dr. Seuss 6 - Oh, the Places You'll Go!(Dr. Seuss‘ last book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, circa 1990).

Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, aimed to write for children without condescending to them. In writing in the manner he did, Dr. Seuss meant to write for kids in a manner that treated them as emotionally fuller people than did books Seuss did not like, such as Dick and Jane books. Dr. Seuss believed in writing for people, and the last book he wrote, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, may be the best example of just such a book. The book is largely populated by people, and was the going away present to celebrate Theodor Seuss Geisel‘s career. The biography Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones gave me what feels like a fair sense of who Theodor Seuss Geisel, that is Dr. Seuss, was. The narrative included as definitive a telling as I have seen. As a result, I give the book 4.25-stars on a scale of one-to-five stars.

Matt – Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Jason Isbell and the album ‘Southeastern’

A special event to Matt Lynn Digital. This guest post brought to you by Cobra.

Jason Isbell has long been a critical favorite in the music world.  He first came onto the scene as a member of the Drive-By Truckers and was with them for a three album run, beginning with Decoration Day, for which Isbell penned and sung the title track, a fan favorite even now in his solo career.  In 2007, he moved onto a solo career with his first album Sirens of the Ditch, and then released two albums with his backing band The 400 Unit.

Then in 2013 when Isbell released Southeastern, it became an instant critical favorite.  The album chronicles Isbell’s journey from addition into sobriety using some of the most intense and imaginative imagery and metaphor.  It is pure poetry.  It is art in its purest and truest form.

Southeastern 2(The album Southeastern by Jason Isbell).

Southeastern starts off with “Cover Me Up,” a love song for his wife.  “[I]t was a really really hard thing to do to write this song because it’s very honest from my perspective and I basically just sat down across the table from her and I told her and about our lives together and it’s scary as hell,” he would later say of the song at a concert in Boston.

The song is just that – pure honesty about his love, his failures, and his desire to be better.  “Home was a dream one I’d never seen until you came along” he sings in the second verse.

The album then leads into “Stockholm,” a song about Stockholm Syndrome and the drugs and alcohol that had held him prisoner for so long and the love that drove him to set himself free despite the feelings that so many others had given up on him: “the night so long I used to pray for the daylight to come – folks back home surely have called off the search and gone back to their own.”

Traveling Alone” is a song for anyone who’s ever grown weary of a life of being on their own.  The knowledge that one has so much to give and so much to offer and no one to share it with is a hard burden to carry: “I know every town worth passing through but what good does knowing do with no one to show it to?”  Who hasn’t felt that way at some point?

Elephant” chronicles the loss of a loved one to cancer and the realization that no matter how much one may be there for a person, the dying part will always be alone.  As a friend, the narrator acts as normal as he can with his friend as they “try to ignore the elephant somehow.”  But even after she is gone, that loss remains with the narrator: “I’ve buried her a thousand times, given up my place in line, but I don’t give a damn about that now.”

Flying Over Water” is about looking down at the world and a life as a whole and still seeing the pitfalls that have been a detriment to one along the way, but taking solace in the support of others who have been through similar struggles and realizing that home and redemption are closer than we think: “Take my hand baby we’re over land, I know flying over water makes you cry – we’ve been in the sky so long, it seems like a long way home, but I can’t for the life of me say why.”

Different Days” returns to the narrative of addiction versus sobriety where Isbell describes the way his life is different now that he has found a new place in life.  He once again freely and openly admits his faults and past sins with a resolve to be better.  During the song while singing to an acquaintance, he admits that his past self would have had a much different approach to the relationship: “ten years ago I might have stuck around for another night and used her in a thousand different ways – but those were different days.”  However, he still acknowledges in the song that living a cleaner life is not easy, possibly especially for a musician who spends so much of life on the road: “Jesus loves a sinner but the highway loves a sin.”

Live Oak” is perhaps the most curious song on Southeastern.  The song tells the story of a man who, while on the run from the law, finds his way into a small farming town.  We soon learn he and a group of friends had robbed a train and killed some men in the process.  As his neighbors learn about his past, he again becomes an outcast and soon the woman he has fallen in love with learns of his past as well.  In the song’s final verse, he reveals his new lover’s death, telling the listener “I carved her cross from live oak and her box from short leaf pine and I buried her so deep she touched the water table line.  I picked up what I needed and I headed south again – to myself I wondered if I’d ever find another friend.”

At first this song seems very out of place; while a great story almost in the vein of Marty Robbins, it doesn’t seem to fit with the theme the rest of the album is presenting – until we learn what the song is a metaphor for.  The lover in the song was not frightened or turned off by the narrator’s past; instead, it excited her.  Isbell would later note that there are sometimes people in our lives who are attracted to the less attractive and less desirable parts of us.  This song was an expression of his fear that getting clean and sober may in fact cost him some of his friends – were there those who were only interested or invested in him because of his darker side?

Songs That She Sang in the Shower” finds a narrator struggling to maintain his sobriety in the wake of the loss of his support system.  After an altercation in a barroom, our narrator finds his partner asking him if he “had considered the prospect of living alone” and “with a steak held to my eye I had to summon the confidence needed to hear her goodbye.”  He then reflects on the songs his lover sang in the shower and how they still echo in his mind and he know he will never hear them again.  As he moves forward without her, he reflects on the loss of his support system for his sobriety: “I pace and I pray and I repeat the mantras that might keep me clean for a day.”

Super 8” is another song which at first seems out of place on the record.  It is a heavier rock song in an otherwise much more acoustically driven record.  Filled with somewhat hazy imagery seen through the memory of a drug-induced evening, our narrator tells the story of a night being stoned and waking up bleeding and vomiting and trying to figure out the night before.  Near the song ends, he remarks that “it would make a great story if I ever could remember it right.”

The album closes with the optimistic “Relatively Easy,” which focuses on the positives and realizes that despite our troubles and our struggles, “compared to people on a global scale our kind has had it relatively easy.”

Southeastern is Isbell’s master-work.  Despite two stellar albums since, it seems hard to believe how he may ever top this album.  It is full of honest, real songs that real people can relate to.  Six years after this album’s release, I am still captivated by it every time I listen to it.

Elephant by Jason Isbell.

Live Oak by Jason Isbell.

Cobra – Monday, June 17, 2019

[Editorial Note: Guest posts such as this one may occasionally appear on Matt Lynn Digital. To begin, such posts as become available will be shared on Mondays.]

David Treuer and the book ‘The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee’

The Wounded Knee Massacre in December 1890 has been culturally perceived by many outside Native American as the end of of native culture in North America. In his book January 2019 book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, Ojibwe (Cherokee) American writer, critic, and academic David Treuer gives us a studied rebuttal to this notion while offering an affirmative, provoking, and defining look into what it means to be a Native American in America.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee 2(Ojibwe American writer, critic, and academic David Treuer wrote the 2019 book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee).

In rebutting the narrative that Native American culture in America had met its end in 1890, in the Wounded Knee Massacre, David Treuer is taking aim at this notion as articulated in the 1970 Dee Brown book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. The Encyclopedia of World Biography quotes the book by Brown, a non-Native American lacking recognized connections to current native tribes, as “invaluable and extensive impact on how Native American history is viewed.” Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee tells a “story of U.S. government betrayal, forced relocation and massacres,” as quoted in a National Public Radio (NPR) review of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee 3(An image of the 2019 book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee).

Treuer takes pains in The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee to show a history that acknowledges external and internal pressures to force Native American assimilation while pointing to adaptation and maintenance of native culture and civilization despite some trying years. Treuer writes “I came to conceive of a book that would dismantle the tale of our demise by way of a new story. This book would focus on the untold story of the past 128 years, making visible the broader and deeper currents of Indian life that have too long been obscured.”

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee 4(Ojibwe American writer, critic, and academic David Treuer on C-SPAN discussing his 2019 book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee).

The United States and European powers before them justifiably come across as dishonest parties in the larger story of Native Americans in North America in Treuer‘s work.  So does the American Indian Movement, a radical and sometimes violent group from the 1960s and 1970s that sought to aid the political aims of Native Americans. Part of this telling demonstrated with clarity that natives as a collective group are not a single, unified force speaking and thinking with one voice. Treuer gives this history in an attempt to level the narrative with components of truth in recasting the story of what it means to be Native American.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee 5(Ojibwe American writer, critic, and academic David Treuer wrote the 2019 book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee).

The story that Treur tells speaks of government action through the Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan presidencies. The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act as signed by President Ronald Reagan allowed Native American tribes to begin administering  gambling. Many natives reference the period before this came to pass as “BC,” as in “before casinos,” wrote Treuer. While certainly profiting some within tribes directly, and skipping past many other natives in the way casino profits are shared, Treuer is careful to indicate that many secondary benefits for natives followed through construction work, improved education for work and a hybrid native and American system, has come from this legislation.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee 6(Ojibwe American writer, critic, and academic David Treuer).

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee comes in at slightly over 500-pages. The work aims to reframe the larger understanding of what it means to be Native American from the perspective of an actual native with sympathies toward the larger sense of civilization that is represented. While the style or message of this effort is not for everyone, the effort work is serious and responsible in its tone, to my Caucasian male 40-something ear. My overall rating for David Treuer‘s work The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is 3.75-stars on a scale of one-to-five stars.

Matt – Saturday, June 15, 2019

Benjamin Hardy and the book ‘Willpower Doesn’t Work’

Three sections and fourteen chapters of organizational psychologist Benjamin Hardy‘s book Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success provided me an interesting theory that at first seems to defy common sense. Hardy argues, as the description of the book on the Barnes & Noble website says, that “…willpower is nothing more than a dangerous fad-one that is bound to lead to failure…” The book goes on to show the reader how to change his/her surroundings to overcome the failed approach of willpower.

Willpower Doesn't Work 2(Benjamin Hardy wrote the book Willpower Doesn’t Work).

The opening section spends three chapters making a case that your environment shapes you. Chapters four through eight cope with the means of making willpower irrelevant. The third section, which suggests outsourcing high performance and success to your environment, exists in chapters nine through fourteen of the book. The prescription largely makes a logically appealing case that changed outcome works best through support, modeled behavior, and the removal of temptations that tend to be stronger than the mere power of will. Specific examples raised in Willpower Doesn’t Work make for anecdotally convincing means for applying change through environment more than willpower.

Willpower Doesn't Work 4(An image of the book Willpower Doesn’t Work).

In a sense, Willpower Doesn’t Work feels in some ways a condensed and repackaged telling of the Stephen R. Covey book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. The one central, effectively communicated message of Willpower Doesn’t Work for me was that personal change is a matter of setting up your environment to match the change you are looking to make. My overall rating for Benjamin Hardy‘s work is 3.5-stars on a scale of one-to-five stars.

Matt – Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and the movie ‘Looper’

The Rian Johnson written and directed movie Looper (2012) represents the film that rose the director’s acclaim and profile in Hollywood profile significantly in the American movie making industry. The Turner Classic Movie profile of Johnson largely describes the film as “a mind-bending sci-fi action thriller,” which in a slightly involved plot stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the same character.

Looper 2 - Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, top, and Bruce Willis as Old Joe(Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, top, and Bruce Willis as Old Joe in the movie Looper).

Looper sets out with the beginning of the film to introduce the audience to corporate assassin Joe in the year 2047, as portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Joe serves as the central protagonist and narrator for the film, as much of the background is not easily revealed without the sharing of this backstory. We as the audience learn that time travel is invented sometime after the “present day 2047,” and that it immediately is made illegal and used as a black market means of committing murder in the future and disposing of the evidence in the past. We learn that Joe, our narrator, is a looper who performs the illicit deeds involved of murder and disposal. Upon occasion, a looper must close a loop, which means kill and dispose of his or her elder counterpart. Bruce Willis plays Old Joe from 30 years in the future.

Looper 4 - Jeff Daniels as Abe, top, and Paul Dano as Seth(Jeff Daniels as Abe, top, and Paul Dano as Seth in the movie Looper).

Jeff Daniels as Abe lives in the same era as Joe, as portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Abe was born in the future and sent back to the present era portrayed in the movie to serve as the head of the organization running the looper enterprise. Abe aims to select and manage the loopers, which includes having cultivated Joe. Fellow looper Seth, as portrayed by Paul Dano, comes to Joe for aid when he could close his loop and allowed him to escape. In showing us the demise of Seth and the interplay between the current day and the effect it has on Old Seth, Looper writer and director Rian Johnson foreshadows what could happen if and when Joe’s loop is called.

Looper 3 - Emily Blunt as Sara, top, and Pierce Gagnon as Cid(Emily Blunt as Sara, top, and Pierce Gagnon as Cid in the movie Looper).

Looper as a movie gets little into how history may have changed due to present day 2047 injuries to Seth, yet the story quickly moves into the story for how Joe interacts with Old Joe and the farming family of Sara and Cid, both possessing a telekinetic ability that we learned of from the narration of Joe earlier in the movie. Emily Blunt plays Sara and Pierce Gagnon plays Cid. The narrative of these two are relevant and satisfying to me as a reviewer, though I choose to leave their role a mystery for those choosing to view the film.

Looper 5 - Qing Xu as Old Joe's wife, top, and Piper Perabo as Suzie(Qing Xu as Old Joe’s wife, top, and Piper Perabo as Suzie in the movie Looper).

The narrative of Old Joe’s wife and Joe’s female interest Suzie, are relevant yet less satisfying to me as a reviewer. These two offer something of a different nature than do Sara and Cid, yet I am less satisfied with the way the larger arc of their stories are resolved. I too choose to leave their role a mystery for those choosing to view the movie, though share these two for those who might need an R-rating to be attracted to Looper as a movie.

Looper 6 - Rian Johnson, writer and director(Rian Johnson wrote and directed the movie Looper).

The movie does offer an emotional punch of an ending that leaves you feeling sympathy for the moral stake taken by characters operating from a large sense of moral depravity largely through the movie. Part of what makes the central characters sympathetic is that we see people making their best with a difficult and degrading situation and metaphorically playing the hand of cards they were dealt. In any meaningful context where you think about things deeply, this dodges a larger and relevant point about decency. Since Looper is a movie designed for entertaining adults for a period of time, my view of the film is taken at the level of conceit through which the movie views itself. Therefore, my rating is 3.75-stars on a scale of one-to-five stars.

Matt – Saturday, June 8, 2019

 

Jeff Daniels, John Goodman and the movie ‘Arachnophobia’

How does a dark comedy thriller sound to you? How do you feel about spiders? Do you have a fear originating in childhood that shall be challenged over the course of two hours? Arachnophobia (1990) just might be the movie for you.

Arachnophobia 2 - Harley Jane Kozak as Molly Jennings, left, and Jeff Daniels as Ross Jennings(Harley Jane Kozak as Molly Jennings, left, and Jeff Daniels as Ross Jennings in the movie Arachnophobia).

The movie Arachnophobia starts onsite in a remote Venezuelan village where we meet a nature photographer from Canaima, California. Canaima National Park is an actual park roughly in the center of the Venezuela, and serves as the location where we are introduced to the nature photographer, and Dr. James Atherton, both of whom are central to this tongue-in-cheek homage to the film Jaws (1975). Steven Spielberg, who gained acclaim for his work with Jaws, was an executive producer for Arachnophobia.

Arachnophobia 5 - Roy Brocksmith as Irv Kendall, left Henry Jones as Dr. Sam Metcalf, center, and Stuart Pankin as Sheriff Parsons(Roy Brocksmith as Irv Kendall, left, Henry Jones as Dr. Sam Metcalf, center, and Stuart Pankin as Sheriff Parsons in the movie Arachnophobia).

Jeff Daniels as Ross Jennings and Harley Jane Kozak as Molly Jennings move to the small town of Canaima, California from San Francisco aiming to settle down to a more rural pace of life. Ross is the Yale trained doctor due to take over the practice of retiring doctor Dr. Sam Metcalf, as portrayed by Henry Jones. Upon the doctors meeting after the Jennings moved, Metcalf announces his desire to continue as town doctor. One defiant and healthy older lady in the town accepts Ross Jennings as her doctor and dies shortly after examination. The doctors feud on doing an autopsy. Stuart Pankin plays Sheriff Parsons of Canaima, and is joined by Irv Kendall as portrayed by Roy Brocksmith, as small town people with an avid distrust for anybody from outside small town Canaima.

Arachnophobia 4 - Julian Sands as Dr. James Atherton(Julian Sands as Dr. James Atherton in the movie Arachnophobia).

Dr. James Atherton, as portrayed by Julian Sands, rejoins the story after the initial scenes from Venezuela. Townspeople from Canaima, California had been dying, Ross Jennings started to gain traction in his belief that a spider was at the center of the spate of deaths in town, and the story moves from one with deaths occurring and little belief for out-of-town experts that were at first viewed as incompetent due to being outsiders. The expertise is slowly revealed that the source of the deaths in town were related to a Venezuelan spider that had hitched a ride back to small town California. In confirming some of that detail, Atherton loses his life in the barn of Dr. Ross Jennings.

Arachnophobia 3 - John Goodman as Delbert McClintock(John Goodman as Delbert McClintock in the movie Arachnophobia).

Canaima, California exterminator Delbert McClintock, as portrayed by John Goodman, offers some of the tongue-in-check small town humor that is a hallmark of Arachnophobia. The movie does work to a conclusion that offers a combination of humor, including McClintock, and a thriller quality including Ross Jennings. These two echo aspects of the narrative style of the movie Jaws, though obviously this film inserts spiders, also loosely known as arachnids, through the film. For the dark comedy, entertainment value, and interspersed off screen deaths, this movie scales toward family friendly. That is, if Jaws would be appropriate for your family, so would Arachnophobia. I rate Arachnophobia at 3.5-stars on a scale of one-to-five stars.

Matt – Wednesday, June 5, 2019