Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 290th Review!
I just have to make it through Thursday and then it’s Vacation All I Ever Wanted! Since there’s no debate this week I don’t have to worry about any weird changes to my show. I’m praying for a nice and easy four days because I think I’ve earned it! Anyways, now that finding free streams of movies I want to watch has proven much more difficult, I scoured the streaming sites until I found...
Anaconda (1997). Netflix
This movie... I saw this waaaay back when. It was when my area still had a cheap theater, good old North Towne Mall. If you had mentioned this movie to me a week ago, the very first thing that would have come to mind is Ice Cube incredulously asking, “Is snakes out there ‘dis big?!” My goodness do I love that scene.
Before I get into the movie, you should know I don’t do well with snakes. Everyone has that thing they’re scared of, for me, it’s those legless reptiles. I don’t even like seeing them behind the protective glass of the zoo. When people used to ask me what was the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, I’d half-jokingly say Snakes on a Plane. Obviously it wasn’t scary, but I don’t think I’ve ever jumped more than I did watching it. Despite being literally about a snake, a giant one at that, this movie didn’t scare me. Everything about this snake is fake. The creature spends the majority of this movie screaming (snakes don’t scream), it looks fake as hell, and there’s no way a snake that big can move that fast. Although it was terrifying when they showed actual snakes.
When I talk about certain movies I say they’re very 80’s and you immediately know what I’m talking about. This one is unabashedly 90’s. I mean get a load of this cast; you have Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson, Eric Stoltz, and Jonathan Hyde. To give you an idea, when you first see Cube, J Lo asks him how he’s doing, he responds by saying, “Today is a good day.” I half expected/hoped he would have went on to say, “Last week fucked around and got a triple double,” but alas...
A documentary crew is traveling down the Amazon searching for a mysterious tribe. Shortly after setting off they come across a marooned man on a ship desperately calling out for help. They decide to pick up and when he claims to know where the tribe is, they let him tag along. Unfortunately for the crew, this man they rescued has his own plans of what they should be doing on the river.
That’s probably the fastest I’ve been able to sum up a movie because there’s really not much else too it. The film is really silly and I think only Jon Voight realized it, because he is a trip to watch. He hams up the entire movie giving creepy glances at J Lo but my favorite part is the accent he uses. Some actors, Leonardo DiCaprio for one, slips in and out of his accents when required to use it in movies, But man, Voight sticks with it and the movie is better for it. He’s just so fun to watch because he’s in on the joke even if no one else is. I think it’s because he knows how bad this movie SHOULD be, so he really goes for it.
Despite what you may think, the unbelievable premise works. It was never going to win any awards or be a critic darling, it’s there to entertain you and help you forget about reality for 90 minutes. It’s not good, but it’s a really fun time. This movie has no business being as entertaining as it is. I think though, it is 100% because of Voight. It’s hard to put into words but his scenery-chewing is some of the best I’ve had the privilege of watching. There’s a scene where he’s trying to get the people to go a certain way, but the leader pulls rank and makes them go another way. You think that’s the end of it and they start shooting a standup and Voight walks right into the camera shot to complain while looking off camera. It’s so funny and encapsulates the character. Even when he’s not supposed to be the one you’re focusing on, you’re just waiting for him to pop up on screen because he’s just awesome.
There are other things going on in the movie, for one, I love the setting. There are several beautiful sunsets and gorgeous scenery. I’d never venture down the Amazon, but I’ll certainly watch movies of people on that river because it’s so pretty and so dangerous, it makes for great window dressing.
As for what’s bad about it, as I mentioned, it’s not a good movie. The acting isn’t the greatest, the characters are meh and when Voight isn’t on screen, you’re wishing he were. But to its credit, once he comes in the picture, he dominates the movie. He literally overshadows everything because he quickly takes over and when he’s not in camera shot, the others are plotting against him. But still, it’s supremely entertaining in a very dumb way. I say come for the creature feature, stay for Jon Voight. He rules and I’m disappointed my group of friends no longer celebrate Jon Voight Day.
7.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
Anaconda - Netflix
A documentary film crew on a boat in the Amazon picks up a mysterious stranger who dupes them into pursuing a monstrous and deadly 40-foot-long snake. Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight