Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Film Review: HOMECOMING (2005, Joe Dante)
Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 59 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Jon Tenney, Thea Gill, Robert Picardo
Tag-line: "If I had one wish...I would wish that your son could come back..."
Best one-liner(s): "We're lookin' for a few good men."
Joe Dante has been a purveyor of cogent social commentary since PIRANHA's government cover-ups and ROCK 'N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL's detonations of higher learning. He's does what genre pictures have done best since the 40's and 50's, whether pinko and red-baiting, exposing corruption, or celebrating/exploiting counterculture, B-movies have provided a terrifically unpretentious outlet for reactionary and radical views alike. So out of this tradition (and that of Romero's zombie films with their progressive, albeit nihilistic, commentaries) comes HOMECOMING, which in my opinion, takes these practices to an entirely new level. Dante pulls no punches in his analysis of everything from right-wing thinktanks (Karl Rove, Ann Coulter), Washington media (in frighteningly accurate depictions), rampant political hypocrisy, empty rhetoric, and the new, American flag pin-wearing definition of patriotism. The idea of American soldiers coming back from the dead to vote, the ridiculous spin placed upon it by the religious right (and a secondary spin when they realize exactly WHO they're voting for), and the collective supernatural rage of those who died for a lie has, despite its unearthly underpinnings, the ring of truth to it. And Dante handles it with a perfect, even-headed direction, pendulating between irreverence (a ridiculous Vietnam flashback plot twist and a comical "Spirit of '76" finale) and actual weight (undead veterans face a prejudice that I'm sure hits a little too close to home for real-life, discarded veterans). I believe that this is not only the kind of film that is timely and relevant in its moment, but, unlike films such as the higher-profile FAHRENHEIT 9/11, will continue to resonate as the years pass and the politicians' legacies (or lack thereof) crumble away. Hands down, this is the best Masters of Horror episode, and the only one I would recommend without reservation. Don't forget to vote today!