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Top Secret!

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Poster for the movie "Top Secret!"

Top Secret!

Don't tell anyone.

19841 h 30 min
Overview

Popular and dashing American singer Nick Rivers travels to East Germany to perform in a music festival. When he loses his heart to the gorgeous Hillary Flammond, he finds himself caught up in an underground resistance movement. Rivers joins forces with Agent Cedric and Flammond to attempt the rescue of her father, Dr. Paul, from the Germans, who have captured the scientist in hopes of coercing him into building a new naval mine.

Metadata
Director Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker
Runtime 1 h 30 min
Release Date 8 June 1984
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

As much as Airplane is the greatest comedy of all time (and I will die on that hill), there aren’t all that many other comedies in the same style. At least, not ones that approach the same quality. It’s pretty much just the Hots Shots duology, The Naked Gun trilogy, and Top Secret. There are a few others out there like pretty much everything else Leslie Nielsen was in after Airplane, but they’re not quite as funny. Top Secret does take itself a bit more seriously than the other films I’ve mentioned, but not by much.

The main difference here is that the jokes aren’t quite non-stop. That’s not to say they’re far apart, they’re not, but it isn’t quite the same constant stream as Airplane. And it doesn’t have that same modern(ish) setting as The Naked Gun. But that’s actually one of the jokes; Top Secret somehow seems to take place in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s all at the same time and it works, which is just a treat. And the joke structure as a whole is very similar to these other films despite not being as consistent. There are direct jokes, setting jokes, background jokes, and more. This is definitely a film where you won’t catch everything on your first viewing.

One thing that really sticks out is the plot. In Airplane and Hot Shots, the plot doesn’t matter. The Hot Shots movies parody Top Gun and Rambo while Airplane is Airplane. Yeah, The Naked Gun has a fairly important plot (comparatively), but Top Secret makes it even more relevant. And I think this really comes down to Top Secret being a parody of a spy thriller. The genre forces this movie to have a villain, a good one too who’s just as funny as the protagonists. And as far as characters go, a bunch of fun cameos are littered throughout the cast. I will watch anything with Peter Cushing, no matter how minor his role (another hill I will die on).

I probably laughed more watching this film than any other comedy I’ve seen in the last couple of years. Fun fact: Top Secret is Weird Al’s favorite comedy. If that’s not enough of an endorsement, I don’t know what is. And considering all that, I’m kind of surprised it took as long as it did for this movie to fall onto my radar. Best I can tell, it just doesn’t have the same renown as something like Airplane. But despite that, it is very much worth the time for anyone who likes tickling their funny bone.

July 26, 2020

Triassic Attack

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Poster for the movie ""

Triassic Attack

20101 h 24 min
Overview

A Native American owner of a kitschy roadside museum accidentally brings to life three dinosaur fossils. Now really annoyed, the giant dinos wreak havoc on the small town and the local university.

Metadata
Director Colin Ferguson
Runtime 1 h 24 min
Release Date 27 November 2010
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very bad

Triassic Attack must have begun with some director/executive/whatever sitting down and saying, “You know what would make for a good Syfy Channel movie idea? Magic.” That is right, movies that are obviously fantasy on a channel that is all about science fiction. Granted, it is difficult to walk into a bookstore and not find the fantasy and sci-fi books mashed together into one section. How to Survive a Sharknado even covered this area a little bit with an entry on the Syfy Channel film Rock Monster. That being said, we can just hold our breath and give this film a quick run-down.

Even for a Syfy Channel movie, Triassic Attack is a bit off the wall. Considering how off the wall most of their movies already are, that is saying something. The premise is not terribly complicated. There is this little town, a college/university town, where the townies agreed to sell a bunch of their land and buildings to the university for an expansion project. Then they change their minds (after they have signed all the legal documents, by the way). The leader of this angry mob is a Native American man who uses a ritual to summon spirits and help them. But then the spirits possess some dinosaur fossils and decide not to give a hoot about who should or should not be vengeance killed.

Now there are plenty of sci-fi channel movies that have giant animal type monsters running around killing people. Giant crocodiles, snakes, sharks, spiders, various combinations of all those things…take your pick. This is the only movie where Rexy from Night at the Museum decides to snack on people, so that makes it somewhat unique. Not so unique that it can be considered anywhere close to a good movie, not even by Syfy Channel standards, but still unique. That is not to say that Triassic Attack was 100% bad. There were a few interesting scenes with the fossil skeletons running around causing carnage and some of the comedic moments were chuckle-worthy, but there were not nearly enough of these moments to make up for the rest of the film just being bad.

The main male character is the town sheriff, in classic Syfy movie fashion, while the female lead is his ex-wife. Of course, this disastrous life-or-death event ends up rekindling their love and reigniting the spark of marriage but…why? Throughout the entire film, the female lead goes out of her way to ignore the advice and orders of her ex-husband in the middle of this crisis, more often than not causing more problems for the group in the process. The question of why they got divorced seems to have a very clear answer, but the question of why they got back together does not. None of the other characters were as interesting except for the comic relief guy, who if anything was the true hero of Triassic Attack.

If bad characters are not enough to scare you off, do not worry because their acting is bad too! Sometimes actors are just given bad roles and do the best they can with them, but this group did not seem like they considered Triassic Attack to even be worth the effort. With a…plot?…like the one in this movie, who can blame them. While this is not the worst movie ever aired by the Syfy Channel, it is pretty far down the list. The “fossils coming to life” idea had some merit, but everything else was just too godawful to leave us with even a fun B-movie monster flick.

July 17, 2016