Written by / 3/11/2016 / No comments / , ,

GOODMAN CHANNELS BATES IN 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

release year: 2016 of 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
Cable shows are the best thing going for the Millennial Generation, and in their own "watching everything for free on your Apple Laptop" way, this medium equals the motion pictures of yesterday with splendid storytelling, excellent special-effects, worthy character-development for characters worthy enough to even care about in the first place...

Stars Winstead and Goodman
And JJ Abrams was one of the pioneers of this genre with his hit/miss island adventure mystery, LOST. It's important to note that author Stephen King was a huge LOST fanatic – and now producer JJ and his Bad Robot Company paid King back with a not especially subtle homage to MISERY, a film (based on his novel) where a crazed fan, played by an Oscar Winning Kathy Bates, kidnaps a crippled yet slowly recovering James Caan, keeping him in her home like some kind of ornament, stuck within a nightmarish nowhere (without snow) where, above a fall-out shelter style bunker, lies 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. And James Caan, like ingenue Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, initially goes from freedom exterior to captive interior because of a contrived car crash (ironically, same thing occurred to Matt Damon on the TV series WAYWARD PINES.

& A Guy named Emmett
Well Michelle is not a famous author like Caan played, and John Goodman's intense Howard isn't a mega fan but a survivalist who seems not only completely ready for mankind to end, but is happy to be fully prepared with a basement/bunker for this particular tragedy. In fact, he's an equal opportunity savior since there's a young bearded man (resembling an actor version of FOO FIGHTER lead Dave Grohl), who was also rescued. Enter John Gallagher Jr.'s Emmett, who not only gives our leading lady hope, but both silently agree that Goodman's Howard is plain nuts, especially when he spouts off about the grand galactic disaster to come...

Kathy Bates started it
And with an exception of a few extremely loud outta-nowhere jolts, LANE hardly fits within the horror genre, and is... especially during the 11th hour... far more Science-Fiction/Suspense/Mystery. And why spoil everything? Maybe everyone isn't a non-believer of an inevitable alien attack on the Earth. Yet in our heroine's opinion, Howard's hobby seems an excuse to capture young girls... or is he actually onto something concerning nefarious space monsters?

Goodman in FINK
Well that's the mystery that fuels an otherwise limp, claustrophobic vehicle running on fumes, providing a few intense MISERY like moments but without the peripheral hatred between captive and captor. And right when the two youngsters start figuring things out, Howard's right around the corner, eavesdropping (like Tom Berenger in PLATOON) and then answering questions not asked to him but rather, asked about him, lacking moments that could have been suspenseful, spooky, or even funny: Not that Goodman has to provide humor to be an effective wacko... just ask any fan of the Coen's BARTON FINK... But it does help, and he's funny in the Coen world, too...

And back to those new-fangled Cable TV Shows, the likes of AMERICAN HORROR STORY, the aforementioned WAYWARD PINES and oh so many others: CLOVERFIELD, being less than two-hours and with an ambiguous ending, proves that the small screen evokes a much better medium for something not only similar to MISERY, but mirroring two shows that were around before LOST took over prime time: those being TWIN PEAKS and especially X-FILES, the latter which a CLOVERFIELD sequel, if this sparks enough box office cash this weekend, will have to be more like, since Kathy Bates is no longer living... On the other hand, her character's doppelganger, Goodman. may have just rented the farm in this case, so a follow-up can go in many different avenues within some familiar lanes and faces.

RATING: **
TRIVIA: Before John Goodman even had an actual role as a cop in the low-budget horror flick C.H.U.D. during the early eighties, he provided an extremely quick cameo as a survivalist salesman in THE SURVIVORS starring Robin Williams, Walter Matthau and Jerry Reed.
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