Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ten Statements About....THE FACULTY (1998)

Just because Robert Patrick acting all up with people doesn't
mean he's an alien....right? Right?
"Body Snatchers is a story somebody made up, dingus. It's located in the fiction section of the library."
"So is Schindler's List. Look, all fiction is based on truth, right?"
1) Even though this is a Robert Rodriguez film, it belongs more to Kevin Williamson and, as such it has the weakness every Williamson film has--namely, when the movie is dialogue driven, it works beautifully. The second it starts relying on things outside of human interaction, it fails.

2) Seriously--the films literally falters every time the CGI craziness starts, and totally collapses the second the aliens stop being guys behaving oddly and start becoming big ass tentacle monsters. And the sad thing is how, right in the middle of Teen Stars Being Chased By All-Mouth-Squid Thing, we get a brief moment where the Queen Alien reverts back to human form and gives a lovely speech about her origin. That moment, with the human alien walking through a darkened locker room, only these snaky shadows following it giving indication that this is Not A Normal Teen, is so achingly beautiful it kills the rest of the climax once it ends.

3) Boy, I remember when Jon Stewart wanted to be an actor. Am I the only one secretly glad how that worked out?

4) I don't think this would have worked half as much if Robert Patrick--an actor who is so much better than he allows himself to be most of the time--chose to make his Coach so reasonable and even tempered after his transformation instead of being Cold Emotionless Guy. Seeing him smiling and supportive of everyone is waaaaay creepier.

"RAAAAR!  I'm a late 90's CGI Monsta!  FEARS ME!"
5) I liked how the pre-title sequence makes it out to be more of a slasher, right down to the red-glowey title card.

6) Having so many of the adult actors playing against type--I swear I didn't recognize Famke Janssen for a long time when she was playing pre-alien Miss Burke--worked well, as it ups the ante of paranoia amongst our Outsider Teens.

7) Salma Hayek in a nurse's outfit. Why didn't you show us more of this, Mr. Rodriguez? It's like you don't know how blisteringly solar she is....

8) Going back to that climax--I really wish that the coda had the balls to not show our heroes going through such shocking transformations. It sort of blunts the whole fact that the guys who survived the ordeal are the ones who kept their individuality when the Goth Girl suddenly shows up in a gingham dress with her make-up Stridex'd off.

Ewwwww....don't kiss her, Josh Harnett--she's got alien cooties!
9) I find it absolutely hilarious that the film's de facto Final Girl is Elijah Wood. I suspect it's his big eyes that convinced Rodriguez this had to happen.

10) It needs to be said...Jordana Brewster may have been cute as a teen actor, but she didn't truly become beautiful until she got older and grew some lines on her face. I think she also grew a bit as an actor as well....

Overall...for what it is, and accepting that it degenerates into Rodriguez wanting to get in touch with his Carpenter love by emulating The Thing in a half-assed way, it works as a good popcorn kinda horror-thriller. If only it had the courage to be a little more restrained with its monster effects in the third act....

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