Monday, June 1, 2009

Film Review: THE STUFF (1985, Larry Cohen)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 93 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Michael Moriarty, Danny Aiello, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino
Tag-lines: "Are you eating it ...or is it eating you?"
Best one-liner: "The yellow sons of bitches, they took their own lives! Commie bastards, you cheated me!"

"The name's Mo Rutherford. They call me that 'cause when people give me money, I always want mo'." Mo is played by a wise-cracking ("No one is as dumb as I appear to be"), Southern accented, method-acting, yellow-jumpsuit-wearing powerhouse, Michael Moriarty.

"Hit the juice!"

Whatever he's in, he's going to be effin' amazing. And when he teams up with Larry Cohen, part B-horror maestro and part channeler of classic genre Hollywood (Hawks, Fuller, etc.), the results are never short of satisfying. THE STUFF is a Reaganized, consumerized, 80's update of THE BLOB, with poster art that scarred a generation of susceptible children.

From its low-key opening scene depicting the arctic discovery of 'the Stuff' to the hardcore military shitstorm at the finish, it's silly as all hell, but as soon as you laugh too hard and you're caught unawares, it swats you in the nuts with the stick that is cogent social commentary. Cohen's commentary has always been a little less subtle than, say, George Romero's, but when immersed in the madness that is of one of his films, it certainly doesn't matter. With SNL's Garrett Morris as a Famous Amos stand-in cookie magnate, Paul Sorvino as a jingoistic, racist army Colonel, and Danny Aiello as a victim of 'the Stuff,' Moriarty and Cohen are well supported. Five foamy, creamy white scrumptious stars.

"You're supposed to EAT IT, that's all! You eat it and eat as much of it as you can and you KEEP eating it!"

-Sean Gill

No comments: