Sunday, May 25, 2014

Movies I Grew Up With: Teen Wolf

A couple years ago, MTV decided to make a television series out of the 80s movie Teen Wolf. As a fan of the film, I approached the very first episode with cautious optimism. I had seen a few commercials for it, but couldn't quite grasp which direction they were going to take. Thinking back, it was pretty obvious this wasn't going to be a raucous comedy. I guess I was just clinging to my memories of the movie and hoping against the massive rushing tide of evidence that this show would be woven from similar fabric. After all, it was still called "Teen Wolf," right? If you've ever seen the show, or even know someone who is a fan, you know that it's nothing like the movie at all. During that initial offering, I found the new, TW a dark and gloomy place with all the fun removed. If you've poked around this blog a bit, you might know that I typically like such places. Unfortunately, I didn't find this an appealing location at all. I think the curveball effect was largely responsible for my dissatisfaction. It's like that time when I told my wife we were going to one of the swanky steak houses in town, but wound up at Chili's because the two and a half hour wait was unbearable. Chili's is okay, and a lot cheaper, but disappointing when we were trying to have at least one night of living the high life.

I haven't returned to the TV series since. Just can't bring myself to give it another try. I wanted to start things off with Michael J. Fox at the free throw line. I wanted to see him doing flips on the roof of Stiles' van. I wanted to see him use his glowing red wolf eyes to make the guy at the liquor store sell him a keg, I wanted to see the guy in the wolf suit during the action scenes go Harlem Globetrotters all over the court. I wanted my campy, goofy, 80s cheese-tastic metaphor for puberty. I wanted what the show couldn't give me.

You know what? I might as well just go get what I wanted? I actually own the movie. Inspired by my niece speaking about the TV show, I decided to watch it when I got home. Figuring it to be a fun family experience, I included the wife and kids on my fun. As is normally the case when I pull a movie out of the deep freezer for family consumption, I've seen it a dozen times (but not in a number of years), my wife has seen it a few times and the kiddies have never laid eyes on it.

As soon as it started, there he was: a profusely sweating Michael J. Fox shooting free throws during yet another loss for Beacon High. The thing that pops out at the viewer is that Mr. Fox is obviously not a basketball player. His shooting motion alone is cringe worthy, almost as if he's never stepped foot on a court before. The thing is, no one else on the court seems to be much of a player. This contributes mightily to the movie having some of the worst sports choreography in cinematic history. I even noticed this as a kid way back when since I played nearly every day during my own years as a teen wolf. However, that's part of the movie's charm. It adds into all the campiness and becomes a key ingredient. It makes the leap in skill our hero has when he transforms into the wolf that much more astonishing. He goes from ninety-eight pound weakling to Michael Jordan in a manner of seconds.

Something else for you folks that have hung around here already know is that I've given favorable reviews to some raunchy stuff. I absolutely love the sleaze fest "Killer Joe," for instance. I'm also a dad, though. I wouldn't watch that movie with my kids. I'm not going to equate "Teen Wolf" to "Killer Joe," but there are a few moments that make a man squirm when his little girls are in the room watching. It was that worse kind of "questionable," too. There was nothing so blatant that I had to immediately jump up and shut it off, but it was enough to get the wife and I to give each other that "if this goes 'any' further, movie night is over" look.  I guess a side effect of my advancing age is forgetting about chunks of old movies even though I vividly remember others.

As I suspected, the kids enjoyed it. Truthfully, I always think they'll enjoy the old stuff I dust off for them. It doesn't always work out, but this time it did. It worked out so well that the kids suggested we immediately watch "Teen Wolf Too" to finish off the night. After all, it was on the same DVD. Since my girls threw the puppy dog eyes on me, I said yes and off we went. I was honestly kind of curious since I had never seen it. The sequel stars Jason Bateman and maaannnn, it's just an awful rehash of the first movie. It switches out basketball for boxing and does everything the first movie does with far less charm, skill, and tact. It was painful to sit through. Of course, this is the one my children preferred. I normally have all sorts of faith in my kids, but this inexcusable lack of judgement made me take at least one tiny step toward believing that this generation truly is hopeless.

1 comment:

  1. Teen Wolf Too sounds terrible. Like it has nothing new to add. Shame, because Bateman can be funny and likeable.